Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
There have been a lot of shows tackling the cartel and drug trade over the years. From Narcos and El Chapo through to the wildly popular Breaking Bad, all of these series have been shot through the eyes of the gangsters and dealers at the heart of this.
Somos then is an interesting kettle of fish. Looking to buck that trend, Netflix’s latest series delivers a story focusing on the everyday joes caught in the middle of this conflict.
Based on the ProPublica article “How the U.S. triggered a massacre in Mexico”, Somos is a sombre and shocking reminder of how ruthless and damaging the cartel can be to a community.
All of this drama takes place in the quiet town of Allende. Sporting realistic dialogue and a sharp eye for detail, the 6 episodes follow a handful of different characters as they navigate this murky world of deception and danger.
At the heart of the cartel are the twin demons, Hector and Cesar. They run the game and turn Allende into their own playground of misery. Ranch owner Isidro finds himself caught in the middle of this though when his son Benjamin ends up owing money to the cartel. Unable to pay them back, he’s forced to ferry the thugs about as their own personal chauffer.
Lay about and father Paquito is another key character here. He’s shacked up with the kind Mrs Chayo, who runs her own food cart and keeps an eye out for suspicious characters in town. Paquito soon finds himself on the wrong side of the law though, as crooked cops keep a laser-focus on him. They remain intent on snatching the kid up and throwing him in prison if they can get the chance.
Meanwhile, firemen Chema and Ronaldo find themselves caught between succumbing to the iron rule of the cartel and fulfilling their obligations as servicemen. There’s also vet Erika and her son Armando, who just so happens to be best friends with Daniel. Daniel’s father however, is Cesar.
There are other players in here too, but this intricate web of central characters really helps to give this town a living, breathing feel of a thriving community sunk to its knees in the wake of greed and devastation.
The main story essentially revolves around the infamous Allende massacre. If you’re unaware of this story, I won’t spoil anything here but as you can guess from the title, the town is shaken to its core with tragedy. Unfortunately those responsible for this happen to be the DEA, who leak crucial details about an operation that goes horribly wrong.
What’s particularly shocking here though is just how nonchalantly the show kills off its characters. There’s a real knife edge tension running right the way through the six episodes, and a lot of that comes from the writers making bold decisions about different people.
Some of these deaths do occur off-screen, while the 75 minute finale takes the chains off and absolutely runs with its themes. The result is a shocking and poignant tale that rounds everything out on a sombre and reflective note.
Somos won’t be for everyone but it does feel like an important historical show. It’s a very powerful allegory about the horrors of the cartel, and seeing this small town ripped apart from the inside out is truly tough to watch. It’s definitely worth watching though, leaving a thought provoking and important series behind in its wake.