Narcos recap: The Palace in Flames
Despite the fact that Lara took a few bullets from Escobar’s men in the previous episode, the Justice Minister who was trying to do good now just another body in the War on Drugs, Javier Pena is in a good mood. A lot of good came from the exploitation of Escobar’s mugshot, he says, meaning that Lara is just a casualty of war.
Murphy doesn’t see it that way though. He’s not ready to celebrate yet, as there’s still a lot of work to do to put Escobar away. Thankfully, the U.S. has introduced new extradition laws, meaning that anyone caught smuggling drugs into Miami, or anyone who is even associated with bringing drugs to the United States, can be extradited to the U.S. for punishment.
As Murphy tells us, such a law is potentially a very real deterrent. In Colombia, the kingpins, backed by money, can live lavishly in prison. In America though? You’re just another scumbag doing his time. You’re not special to anyone.
Escobar’s hoping to get out ahead of this new law, before it effects his operation, so he calls another meeting of the leaders. He proposes they form another group, this one to fight against extradition. The other leaders are still pissed about Escobar’s foray into Congress, but they back him here, knowing what needs to be done. Thus, they form Los Extraditables.
Because Escobar has no political power anymore (legal power, at least), his men begin terrorizing the judges who extradite the smugglers. The judges in turn begin wearing masks in court when they’re sentencing smugglers so as to keep their identities secret. As Murphy says, “for once, the good guys were wearing the masks.”
With the extradition law in place for now, Murphy and Pena feel this is the time for America to capitalize and bring Escobar in. They need more resources from the U.S. though and, unfortunately, the CIA isn’t ready to make Escobar a priority. They feel that with Escobar out of Congress, he’s just another criminal. They’d rather focus on the communists within the country, who, according to the flawed policy of McCarthyism, are the biggest threat to Americans.
Just because the CIA refuses to go after Escobar doesn’t mean Murphy and Pena are going to give up though. Instead, they partner with pro-extradition politician and presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán to help go after many of the players in the operation.
As much as Galán can help them by supporting extradition, the DEA still needs a way of bringing Escobar in, of catching him on some sort of charge. They start by using their limited resources to pay $100,000 to General Jaramillo, bribing him to put their friend and confidant Carrillo on the Escobar case.
Pena and Murphy get their wish, but Pena is still hesitant. He thinks that it was too easy to get Carrillo on the case, that the General might just be waiting for him to fail so that he can put his own man on it. That means they need to take advantage now.
NEXT: Waiting for McPickle
The reason that Murphy and Pena manage to get close to Escobar is because they tie him to the communists. It’s the way to get the U.S. to pay attention, however briefly. That also means that Elisa, the M-19 communist who covertly works with Connie, is asking questions about Murphy and his intentions, because it might not be long before she’s on the U.S. government’s radar.
When Pena and Murphy execute a raid on Pablo’s home, forcing him to flee in a helicopter with his family, they don’t discover much but burned files and a whole lot of food. Amongst those burned files though is the shred of an address.
They raid that address and find Blackbeard, Escobar’s chief accountant. They also find a ton of evidence. They’re worried what might happen to the evidence if it’s not kept safe, away from the prying hands of local law enforcement being paid by Escobar, so they store it all in the Palace of Justice, essentially the Colombian Supreme Court.
Once there, Murphy and Pena discover evidence of a man with the alias Ellis McPickle among the files. They run the name by Suarez, who tells him that while they don’t know his real name, McPickle is an American pilot who got his start in the CIA.
Murphy goes to question the CIA guys who were too reluctant to help them in the first place, but he doesn’t need to push too much. When he shows the agent the picture of “McPickle,” the agent refuses to give up the name. Another agent passes by though and says, “is that Barry Seal? What’s he up to these days?” Murphy now has his identity.
They manage to track Seal to one of Pena’s favorite brothels, arresting him and letting him know that he’s going away for a long time on charges of treason and trafficking. Seal has a trump card though, something that both agents need to see. He shows them a picture of Escobar loading cocaine onto planes while on the tarmac in Nicaragua.
It’s damning evidence, and Murphy takes it to the U.S. Ambassador. Basically, the photo not only indicts Escobar, but it manages to tie him to communism, which is exactly what they need to bring in the CIA. With that kind of power behind them, they can go on a raiding spree.
Seal, on the other hand, ends up dead, a death that Pena is angry about but which Murphy turns on him. Something good came from his death, he says, flipping the script on his partner from the episode’s beginning.
Murphy, Pena, and the CIA execute a ton of seizures over the next little while, shutting down Escobar’s labs and arresting Carlos Lehder while they’re at it, sentencing him to life plus 135 years. It’s a message for the cartel, one that’s heard loud and clear.
Escobar, back on his heels, has only one move. He visits Ivan the Terrible, the head of the M-19 and the man who’s life he spared, and offers to pay him $2 million to execute a siege on the Palace of Justice.
The siege is successful, and the M-19 burn all of the evidence tied to Escobar and the cartel that the DEA had stored there for safekeeping. It’s a devastating blow to the case, especially since the CIA won’t be interested in Escobar anymore. Now, their focus turns to Ivan the Terrible and Elisa, the two communists they consider a threat.
Elisa may be a threat, though she does warn Connie, Pena, and Murphy about Ivan’s plans, even if it’s too little too late. Ivan, though, is no longer a threat. With the siege completed, Escobar and his men bring a briefcase full of money to Ivan, only to shoot him and his fellow communists dead. Escobar isn’t playing around anymore, and the body count keeps getting higher.