Up until this point, apart from throwing a phone across his office once, Gallardo has been unnervingly cool and controlled while he masterminded the creation of the biggest drugs cartel in Mexican history. But now he seems to be unravelling somewhat. He’s got trouble at home, dissent within his organisation, and political woes – and something’s got to give.
Poor Don Neto is also having a tough time. Usually the comic relief, we see a different side of him in this episode, which is executed perfectly by actor Joaquín Cosio. He really is the best thing about this show. His son Gilberto, who we hadn’t met up until this point, gets into a fight after everyone involved has had one too many tequilas. Gilberto’s companion attempts to help in the most heavy-handed way possible, by shooting at Gilberto’s assailant, only to miss and shoot his friend dead instead. The news of his son’s death absolutely crushes Don Neto, leaving him a broken man.
He visits Gilberto’s friend, and menacingly plonks his gun down on the table between them, while rambling on about some childhood hero or other. Gilberto’s friend sits and weeps, expecting Don Neto to shoot him dead at any second, but eventually Don Neto stops waffling and gets to the point – he forgives him.
Don Neto gets up and leaves, followed by his driver Sammy. Once back in the car he tells Sammy that Glberto would have wanted Don Neto to forgive his friend. But then he says that he can’t let his son’s killer live, so poor Sammy has to go back in and take care of him. Is this going to be the start of a slow unravel for Don Neto too? Gallardo should maybe employ a resident counsellor for the men in his organisation, because to say they all have a few issues is putting it mildly.
Rafa’s main issue is that he is a giant pain in Gallardo’s backside. He’s still on edge about the diversification into cocaine because he thinks it’s driving out the marijuana from the business and making his position obsolete. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with snorting comical amounts of it himself though, which is possibly contributing to his edginess. He’s still broken-hearted over Sofia, and he’s throwing tantrum after tantrum about his position within the cartel. Then, coked out of his mind in a restaurant, he becomes convinced two innocent American tourists are cops, and instigates a ferocious attack on them. It’s one of the most horrifying scenes in this series so far, and it brutally illustrates Rafa’s descent into drug-fueled mania.
All this strain starts to show on Gallardo. Not only is he completely done with everyone who is making his life difficult, he seems to be increasingly convinced that he doesn’t actually need any of them. He restructures the business, ruffling a lot of feathers in the process, snubbing Isabella for the Tijuana position he promised her. He gets home to find his wife is about to leave him, so he gets violent. He eventually agrees to go back to Sinaloa with her, but then once she’s all packed and ready to go, he coldly tells her to leave without him.
The final straw seems to be Gallardo’s nemesis Nava turning up like a bad smell again. He finally pushes Gallardo too far, and we see his facade of control drop as Gallardo smashes Nava’s head in with an ashtray.
And it’s this new, angry Gallardo who Kiki is about to do battle with. He persuades the reconnaissance pilot to fly him over the weed farm, capturing photos of an operation that is way too big for the DEA to ignore. He’s finally about to get what he wants – a raid on Gallardo’s operation – but it isn’t going to happen until after he is supposed to have left Mexico for California with Mika and the kids. Much to her disgust, he opts to stay and see it out. The showdown between Kiki and Gallardo looks like it finally might be on.