Episode 3 of Narcos: Mexico Season 3 starts with El Chapo and his gang feeling the heat from Benjamin. With more tax due and their operation being squeezed down to nothing, they contemplate whether to take a slice of the border by force. Things are volatile and you know what they say about a cornered animal; this one looks set to pounce.
Andrea continues to investigative further into the cartel, showing up at Soto’s door. Andrea brings up the hospital bills for the kid following the brutal beating last episode, but she’s met with a slammed door in the face for her troubles.
Meanwhile, Amado comes up with a big idea that would change drug trafficking forever. Essentially it’s called the Cell System, whereby each part of the cartel would be divided into different parts so if one cell goes down, the operation would continue.
At the top of all this would be Amado, but given the magnitude of this operation, he needs help to see it to fruition. Step forward Vicente. Amado’s brutal brother is only really good for killing so that’s another member joining the gang. He also calls on the expertise of Jerrado Corral, a master with numbers and able to help with the logistics.
With the gear stuck for the time being until this is all set up, we cut back to the Sinaloa gang as they head aboard the ship with independent trader El Mayo. They try to strike a deal and with less than six months before they’re out of business, time is of the essence.
The gang do their best to try and convince him to buy into the idea of striking their own border. Given he’s in 20 million debt, the Sinaloa’s try to sweeten the deal… but to no avail. However, El Mayo does agree to set up a meeting with Benjamin, given he’s heading south anyway.
Andrea stakes out Hodoyan’s place and decides to tail him. With Isaac by her side, snapping pictures of the Narcojuniors, she uncovers that the Arrelanos are bankrolling the Tijuanas for their drug developments.
Bringing that info back to her boss, Andrea shows him all the pictures she’s obtained. All the pieces are there to be pounced on, but right now it’s too vague and there isn’t enough to pin down on them. Thanks to what Andrea’s found out so far, she’s given the greenlight to continue pursing it.
Walt meanwhile, deliberates on handing in his transfer request. Interestingly though, he heads down to see Victor who plays dumb and claims he doesn’t know Amado or any of the other gang members. It’s a brief meeting but a clever way of intersecting some of these stories together.
Down in Colombia, Amado meets Pacho who’s growing impatient with the non-start of their operation. With no product being moved until the books and operation are set up, Pacho is growing angsty and tells him he’s out. He wants to find someone else to move the Cali product. However, when Amado brings up the tragic story of his daughter passing, it’s enough for Pacho to take pity and give him an additional two months to turn everything around.
This isn’t the only meeting that goes south. Benjamin meets with the Sinaloa gang who lay it out straight, wanting to buy out The Imperial Valley. Benjamin counter-offers and suggests they rent at an extortionate fee instead. El Chapo is absolutely livid, and it sparks the flames of backlash for Chapo and the gang to strike.
That evening, during a big party with the Narcojuniors, the cops are paid to look the other way… or are they? As we soon find out, the officers at the party are actually the Sinaloa’s in disguise. It doesn’t take long before gunshots rain down, igniting the club in a barrage of bullets and screams.
It’s a complete mess, but with the real feds inbound, Chapo and the others skip away to safety as the truth is unveiled over who died in the shootout. Claudio is killed. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; Enedina is desperate for revenge and tasks the boys to move on Chapo.
The Episode Review
With Claudio dead and the one part of this binding keeping everything intact, it looks like all-out war is on the horizon for the Sinaloa’s and the rest of the cartel. Anyone who has seen El Chapo will probably know how this goes down but it’s an important part of the Mexican drug war nonetheless.
The interesting meeting between Victor and Walt is a nice inclusion too, although to be fair most of the episode focuses on the ensuing conflict between Chapo and the Narcojuniors. The shootout at the end is nicely shot though, and the whole conflict leaves numerous question marks over what the future holds for the cartel.
With Amado’s operation grinding to a halt and his Cell System looking like it’s about to change drug trafficking forever, the screw is just starting to turn for our various players.