Narcos recap: Explosivos
While Escobar plans to assassinate Gaviria, the Search Bloc closes in on one of the cartel's major players.
The bodies are stacking up so quickly in Colombia that Pablo Escobar has to keep a ledger full of the names. Well, maybe not the names, but at least their dollar value. With extradition now on the table and Carrillo declaring war, Escobar has started paying his men to kill government officials, police officers, soldiers, etc. For instance, Poison gets $1 million a piece for the officers he kills at a roadblock. It’s pocket change for Escobar.
Still, while those officers are part of Escobar’s problem, his biggest political threat is still Gaviria, who’s running for President on a pro-extradition platform. Considering what’s happened to every other politician who got in Escobar’s way, Murphy and the DEA are being very careful with Gaviria.
Murphy even goes to meet with him and his head of security, Eduardo Sandoval. Despite Murphy’s advice to stay hidden and out of sight, Sandoval understands that Gaviria needs to be out campaigning. The potential president is in a tough spot. He needs to be careful because he’s speaking out against the cartel, but he also doesn’t want to be seen as cozying up to the Americans.
Murphy is concerned for Gaviria, but he also has his own family to worry about. Just before he’s meant to transport Elisa to a safe hiding place, he finds a bug in his car, clearly planted there by the CIA. He uses that knowledge to his advantage, pretending to have Connie and Elisa in the car, meaning that the CIA follows him while Connie and Elisa escape in a separate car.
With Elisa safe for now, as she gets through a security checkpoint along with Connie, Murphy turns his attention to a man they call The Spaniard. There are photos of him being picked up from the airport by Poison, which means he has to be important to Escobar.
After doing a little digging, Murphy realizes that the CIA has information on the Spaniard, likely locked away in their secret White Room, a room that the CIA doesn’t even admit exists.
Murphy confronts the CIA at the U.S. Ambassador’s office though, and that forces them to let Murphy into the room and search for the information he needs. It turns out that the Spaniard is a member of ETA, a group of “freedom fighters” in Basque trying to secede from Spain. More relevant to Murphy’s interests though is the fact that the Spaniard is known for building bombs that take out high-level political leaders.
Escobar has hired the Spaniard to build a bomb that will kill Gaviria. The question is, when and where will the bomb go off? With that danger imminent, Gaviria’s wife is sent to the U.S. for safekeeping, but the potential president refuses to stop his campaign. He has a number of cities to visit, and while he’s taking precautions—like not giving speeches outside—he’s not going to completely derail his chances at the presidency.
NEXT: A lone, dead wolf
While all of this is going on, Pena and Carrillo are closing in on Gacha in Cartagena. Getting the man isn’t going to be easy though. He’s living in a huge mansion and is surrounded by bodyguards. He also has his creepy son by his side, but he doesn’t seem like much of a threat.
Still, they decide to raid the house, but Gacha is one step ahead of them. He suspects that Navegante has betrayed him, so they leave the house and head to Tolú. That’s still not enough to escape the Search Bloc though, as Carrillo tracks him down once again.
The subsequent raid on Gacha’s camp is one of the season’s most thrilling sequences. It’s beautifully directed, taking advantage of aerial shots and the stunning scenery. It’s the perfect clash of beauty and brutality, with Gacha and his son attempting to escape in a red Chevy, while Pena and a few soldiers, situated in a helicopter, chase them down. They shoot the truck, killing Gacha’s son and forcing the drug lord out. He fires off a few bullets but it’s all he has.
They’ve got their man, and as Pena reports to Carrillo, he can bring him in alive. “It’s your call,” he says, and Pena barely hesitates to kill the man. It’s brutal and horrific, but according to Murphy’s voiceover, it’s the first big win for the Search Bloc, and if that comes at the cost of the democratic process, so be it.
With Pena helping to take Gacha down, it’s up to Murphy to keep Gaviria safe. The candidate is set to fly to Cali for a campaign trip, but Murphy has a bad feeling about it. He wants to convince Gaviria to stay, but that might be a problem. Sandoval seems to be reluctant to get help from any “gringo,” so Murphy’s advice and presence isn’t exactly helpful.
Escobar has recruited a young man named Jaime to go to Cali to record a conversation. He’s exploited the young man’s need for money and security, basically sending him to die. Of course, Jaime doesn’t know that; he’s just happy to be a part of the fight, which makes his inevitable demise at the end of the episode one of the more devastating deaths in a season filled with corpses.
What Jaime doesn’t know is that the tape recorder he’s meant to use to record the conversation on the plane to Cali is rigged with the Spaniard’s bomb. He boards the plane thinking this will be a simple mission, but it’s a suicide mission, one that shows just how ruthless and uncaring Escobar is at this point in his life.
Murphy knows something is going down on the plane, so he approaches Sandoval and pleads with him to skip the trip. Sandoval clearly doesn’t want to listen to the American, but he goes with his gut this time around. Considering that the episode ends in a flash of light, with Jaime exploding the bomb on board the plane, Sandoval might be thanking Murphy sooner than he expected. For now, Gaviria is alive, and the race toward the election, and the drug war, continues.