QUEEN OF THE SOUTH Review: “Billete de Magia”

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presents two drug deals and the danger of doing business in “Billete de Magia.” Brenda has her team working hard on their new meth business. They’re watching darknet videos and learning to cook. She wrangles up some buyers for their first batch, but it blows up in their face. Brenda misses her old life, her house, her things, the future she saw for Tony. It’s possible when things get worse in the Epifanio/Camila war, Epifanio may reach out to her. Camila has Teresa, leverage against him. Brenda could be Epifanio’s leverage against Teresa.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "Billete De Magia" Episode 108 -- Pictured: Veronica Falcon as Camila -- (Photo by: Bill Matlock/USA Network)

This week Camila has to turn $2.5 million into $5 million. In her world, this is an extinction level event. Camila is honest with Teresa about the stakes before sending her and James out to heist a crew from Florida in town to sell James some coke. If they don’t end up with both the cash and the product, Camila is finished. If Camila loses, Teresa will be the first piece to fall. Big stakes are great for the story world and marrying Camila’s fate to Teresa’s works at this point.

James puts together a solid plan as usual. He knows these guys, led by Talky John, and they trust him enough to make the exchange in Texas. James sends Teresa to John’s hotel to plant a tracker on the luggage for the cash. Teresa takes a housekeeper, Maria, hostage to use her hotel uniform and key card to enter John’s room. Maria is afraid of Teresa, but Teresa explains she means her no harm. Even when things go bad, Teresa lets Maria get away. This is an important plot point for Teresa, she still isn’t willing to hurt innocent bystanders to get what she wants. We’ll see Maria soon, in Teresa’s world, this kind of mercy draws heavy interest.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "Billete De Magia" Episode 108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jorge Jimenez as Marco, Stephen Monroe Taylor as Reggie -- (Photo by: Bill Matlock/USA Network)

James and John have a smooth exchange. John’s product tests really pure, which means a good payday for Camila. James hands over the cash, John loads into the suitcase with Teresa’s tracker attached, and they drive off into the second phase of the operation. A few miles down the road, James’s second team ambushes the Florida crew on their way back to the airport. James gets the money back, but there’s a shootout. One of Team James is hit and all but John from the Florida crew are killed. John is wounded, but he gets a good look at James before limping back to the hotel.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "Billete De Magia" Episode 108 -- Pictured: Alice Braga as Teresa Mendoza -- (Photo by: Bill Matlock/USA Network)

James calls Teresa to tell her John might be returning and she needs to wait with him if he does. John makes it back to the hotel and is about to make a call to his people to report James when Teresa steps out, gun in hand, and makes him stop. John is mouthy and disrespectful, but he knows Teresa doesn’t really want to shoot him. On the other hand, he knows he won’t survive another meeting with James. John makes a move for his gun and Teresa triple taps him. This is really a self-defense kill, John is signed on to this social contract of violence in the criminal world, but Teresa feels bad about it. The ladder of violence is all part of her rise as Queen of the South. We should see her killing a more innocent person or someone close to her soon, at the very least, she has to face this dilemma.

TB-TV-Grade-A
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Queen of the South airs Thursdays at 10PM on USA

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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
Twitter: @Etom2012

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