Entertainment September 8, 2016
The hunt for Pablo Escobar continued earlier this week when season two of “Narcos” was released on Netflix. The new season created a binge-worthy weekend that started with Escobar’s escape from La Catedral and ended with his prospective death.
While we have only been watching Escobar for twenty total episodes (season one debuted last August of 2015), we have been beside Agent Pena and Agent Murphy in their quest and against them as our heart strings were pulled for the kingpin. At times, we were faithfully rooting for the legendary and murderous Pablo Escobar.
And while season two brought us some great new characters – Limon, for instance – and some epic scenes – the Cali Cartel’s wedding, anyone? – there was one aspect that we just could not ignore: the women.
This season, the women of “Narcos” played the roles of advisors, loyal mothers and even kingpins themselves. Complex characters with loaded talent, these women were out to play in a Pablo-crazed world.
Tata Escobar, Pablo Escobar’s wife, played by Paulina Gaitan, gained a vocal role in season two. While her character in season one was portrayed as a more traditional Colombian housewife who did not have her hands in any aspect of Pablo’s business, Tata grew up this season and took control of her family’s future.
While she displayed her role of dominance while the family was in hiding in numerous mansions around Columbia – speaking out against Pablo’s mother and purchasing a personal gun to keep herself safe – she also became a main consultant of Pablo’s when business got rough. She was an advocate for Pablo to surrender to ensure her children’s safety when the government gained the upper hand in the drug war. She also became the center of Pablo’s decision-making as the war began against Los Pepes and the Cali Cartel.
Even Pablo knew how strong his wife was. In episode six, Tata’s brother Carlos visited to keep Tata company. When Carlos expresses his concern for his sister’s safety, Pablo corrects him by stating that Tata is a stronger woman than Carlos credits.
With Tata’s newfound strength came her captivating seduction and control over Pablo. While Pablo had mistresses in season one, Tata lures Pablo home with her innocent-gone-bad power trip. Pablo only had eyes for Tata and her lingerie slips she frequently displayed.
There’s no doubt that Tata Escobar is strong, but the performance of Paulina Gaitan – an actress from Mexico City who has an acting history with Mexican television and movies such as “Sin Nombre” and “Cosas Insignificantes” – was fierce in its poignance and its haunting devotion. We see this from the clip of her shaking and crying when she receives the news of Pablo’s death to her harrowing worry when she isn’t even saying a word.
Finally, a woman playing at the boy’s table. When Escobar killed Judy Moncada’s husband, Kiko Moncada, at La Catedral in season one, it left Judy in the rare position as a female head of a cocaine-trafficking empire. It was a role she filled naturally and aggressively. She joined forces with the Cali Cartel and the Castanos brothers (aka Los Pepes) to kill Pablo Escobar. And while her male counterparts may have seen her as an emotional pain (she was out for revenge and power), she held her own as a major player, even hurting Pablo Escobar’s strength directly at times.
While Judy Moncada ultimately was sent away by her most loyal partner for considering making a deal with the DEA for safety (no one likes a narco rat!), she proved that she was just as cold and diplomatic as the men of the cartel world. Not to mention, she arrived, demanded and made her presence known all while looking head-to-toe fabulous. Judy Moncada held her strength like a man while unafraid to flaunt her femininity in beautiful suits, statement sunglasses and high heels. Her looks were never used against her – despite her being regal beauty. In that sense, she was untouchable.
While the end of season two for Judy Moncada was not her ideal situation (she was forced to get on a plane that was headed to a mysterious location), actress Cristina Umana is in a great place. Born and raised in Colombia, Umana has wanted to be an actress since she was a child. She studied acting in Mexico and has a resume of feature films, television, soap operas and even theater. Additionally, she has won countless awards in Colombia for her acting talents.
Maritza is a new character – and that is exactly what she feels like when we are first introduced to her; she is a fresh face, a breath of fresh air, a pious woman. Her cascading brunette hair and mesmerizing eyes make Maritza the girl-next-door of “Narcos.”
Maritza is introduced by another new but vital character, Limon, who brings her into the world of Escobar unkowningly. She is taken on a ride where she is wrongfully charged on both sides – La Quica is out to kill her, Agent Pena is out to arrest her.
While Limon places her in trouble by making her an accomplice to driving Pablo Escobar through the city, Maritza has the courage to protect herself and her little girl. Amongst a slew of characters for whom right and wrong don’t matter, Maritza is our moral compass.
While being in the wrong place at the wrong time causes her near run-ins with death and an escape to the country side with her daughter, she is continuously the character that we pray survives. However, it was Limon who got her into this mess and Limon who got her out; he shoots her when she provokes him and blames him for her misfortune (rightfully so). Her little baby is seated right next to her when she is shot and Limon flees, revealing the ugly side of narcos and drug cartels; the innocent are often the ones who pay.
Actress Martina Garcia may seem fresh-faced to viewers, but she has been in an impressive list of television shows and movies including “Homeland” and “Biutiful.” Martina Garcia was also born in Colombia, making the “Narcos” narrative that much closer to home.
“Narcos” is intense and constantly toying with the viewer. We witness unthinkable massacres that leave the question of our own loyalty to the characters as if crime is justifiable with a side. With Tata, we begin to love Pablo. With Martina, we see the effects of devotion on an otherwise clean character such as Limon. With Judy, we see that women can be kingpins after all (queenpins, maybe?) and that the heart of revenge is stronger than the prospect of death. With Hermilda, we see that love is blind and that having signs of grandeur for your child can lead to danger.
With all of these women, we see multi-faceted, Latin characters that, amongst the drug wars, kingpins and La Quicas of the show, stand their own as moving players of the narcos game.
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