Narcos: Mexico – Episode 9 Review

Narcos mexico
© Netflix

The last episode left Kiki in the hands of Gallardo’s cartel, and this episode picks up with the DEA’s desperate attempts to rescue him. Kuykendall is frantically trying to grease the slow-moving wheels of bureaucracy in Guadalajara, but he keeps coming up against obstacles. The truth is that the higher-ups in Mexico don’t really want to do anything to help him because everyone is up to their necks in pay-offs and corruption. The US government aren’t really helping either, because they don’t want to rock the boat which, ironically, is the reason they called off their investigations in Mexico in the first place. If only the cartel had known that, Kiki would be at home reading Charlotte’s Web to Kiki Junior.

But Kiki is still missing, and the frustration builds as Kuykendall fruitlessly trails from one office to another, trying to get the right signatures on the right forms to put Kiki’s rescue operation into action.

Michael Peña has done an incredible job as Kiki throughout the series, making him incredibly likeable, but now it’s the turn of Alyssa Diaz to step up and steal the show as Kiki’s wife, Mika. She’s understandably distraught at the disappearance of her husband, and she’s smart enough to realise that he only has a limited amount of time. She can see that Kuykendall is doing what he can to put a rescue plan in motion, but she can’t tolerate the lack of results, and it is Mika who eventually gets the US officials to sit up and take notice. It’s hard to ignore an emotional, angry Mika.

Kiki is being subjected to horrific torture,while the cartel’s men try to get information out of him about how much the DEA’s investigation has uncovered. The problem is, Kiki doesn’t really know anything, which makes this episode all the more difficult to watch. They even have a doctor on hand to revive Kiki with adrenaline and keep him alive for as long as physically possible, unaware that they’re not going to get anything out of him.

Kuykendall sees a glimmer of hope as he returns to the DEA offices to find a room full of agents, even the ones who had been reassigned back to the USA. He also has Calderoni on his side again, who has a very casual attitude towards bureaucracy in general, and warrants in particular.

Rafa decides to make a run for it with Sofia (again), and the two of them are just getting ready to take off on their private jet when the DEA, relieved to be finally doing something, arrive. There’s a brief standoff, while Rafa waves his gold-plated gun at them, but eventually it’s business as usual as Mexican law enforcement force the DEA to stand down and let Rafa go. Despite all their efforts, the DEA have to watch their best lead on Kiki’s whereabouts fly off into the distance.

narcos mexico Rafa
Photo: Netflix

But the DEA aren’t done with Rafa yet, and neither is Gallardo. He understands that the DEA need at least one fall guy for all this. They took one of the DEA’s men, so the DEA are determined to take at least one of theirs. After all his erratic behaviour and his eventual, idiotic betrayal, Gallardo doesn’t have a huge problem offering Rafa up as a sacrificial lamb, so Rafa’s location gets leaked to the DEA. Rafa and Sofia’s house is raided, Rafa gets roughed up quite considerably, and Sofia turns on him by revealing to the DEA that they have the right man. Rafa tolerates the beating they give him for so long, but eventually he gives up Kiki’s location.

The DEA waste no time in getting to the address Rafa has given them, but when they get there they find it empty, and Kuykendall is frustrated again. They know by this point that they’re probably not going to be getting their happy ending.

I have a memory like a goldfish, and I had forgotten that Kiki, and his fate, was mentioned in the very first series of Narcos. It was only during the last couple of episodes that I finally remembered I had heard the name Kiki Camarena before, and I actually knew what had happened to him. Somehow, even this knowledge didn’t take the tension out of this episode.

With Kiki’s whereabouts still unknown, the final, heartbreaking, scene takes place at Kiki’s house. There’s no Kiki to read to Kiki Junior, so Mika takes over, reading the part from Charlotte’s Web where Charlotte dies. As the scene fades to black we hear Mika’s voice say, “No one was with her when she died”.

Kiki’s time has run out.

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