QUEEN OF THE SOUTH explores the hard choices Teresa faces in her new world when Camila orders the execution of an innocent in “Coge Todo lo Que Puede Llevar.” The major movements for this episode involve Camila getting her business back on track with her customers and strengthening bonds with her suppliers. James is tasked with finding and executing their one eyewitness, a hotel maid named Maria, and Teresa must decide where she stands when it comes to murdering a woman just because that woman saw her face. In the middle of all this plot motion, the McGuffin book returns to the narrative.
Camila’s drug trade has been under attack from Epifanio’s machinations for weeks and he almost ran her out of business. She needed this Florida cocaine heist to pay at least $2.5 million to add to her payment to the Columbians, and she needed the drugs for her best customers. There were a few bumps in the heist; Talky John from Florida recognized James, Teresa had to kill him, a member of team James was wounded, and there is a maid who can identify Teresa. None of these little issues derail Camila, she handles her obstructions one at a time.
Camila takes her cocaine straight over to Allen, one of her most important dealers. Allen his happy with the quality of the product and he has a history of doing business with Camila, but he’s already ordered back up product from the Jimenez Cartel. Camila jumps on the opportunity to prove to Allen she’s in charge and deals with Eric “Birdman” Watson when he arrives. Watson is a first rate tough guy, he doesn’t like Camila or approve of her expansion. He isn’t stupid but he’s nowhere near as clever as Camila.
Meanwhile, Leon, the third brother of Talky John and Reggie flies to Texas to find out what happened to his brothers and settle on compensation from James. Camila has James tracking down Maria, the maid that saw Teresa’s face, and puts the Leon todo on her list. She meets with angry Leon and convinces him Eric Watson killed his brothers under orders from the other Texas narco power, the Jimenez Cartel. Leon is happy to murder Watson himself, he has no accords in Texas to honor. Camila gives him a time and place to find Watson, but it’s Watson that survives the ambush. He strolls back into Camila’s club with a jar of Leon’s teeth and a mouthy monologue of disrespect for Camila. We needed a good villain scene and the jar of teeth was a nice touch.
Camila also sets things right with Jaime and the Columbians. Jaime didn’t really think Camila would raise the $5 million in time. He admits he underestimated her. Now, he is confident in her problem-solving skills. He extends her credit and agrees to double their shipments. No more secret agendas, he knows Camila’s taking the reigns of Epifanio’s Texas operations. Camila is back in business, stronger than before.
Teresa struggles with the idea Maria will be executed just because she saw Teresa’s face. James explains the decision isn’t hers to make or worry about, but Teresa rides off to save the innocent woman. She gets to Maria’s apartment first. Maria has a teenaged son and neither one of them fully understand why they are in so much danger. Teresa convinces them they must leave their apartment immediately, a killer is on the way. Teresa chooses to help this woman to solve her dilemma. They get away this time, but I’m hoping we see Maria and her son again. Teresa’s world seems like the kind of place where good deeds are not rewarded. Maria says she’ll never forgive Teresa as she heads into the tunnel leading back to Mexico. The surprise of the episode happens at the tunnel.
James contacts Teresa by phone. He knows she moved Maria, but doesn’t know where. He assures Teresa he’ll keep her unapproved mission from Camila if she returns with Maria immediately. Teresa not only refuses, she tells Brenda she’s heading back to Mexico with Maria. This is an interesting turn in Teresa’s journey and could play out a few different ways.
Queen of the South has four episodes left, next week should ring in the third and final act of the season. Third acts are where we usually see a battle or showdown, over the McGuffin, where the heroine uses her new skills and relationships. Not to get all metaphorical, but there is often a death and resurrection beat. This episode ends with Teresa heading underground. Just sayin’. Teresa’s goal isn’t so much to run from Camila, but to reacquire the black book Epifanio is so worried about. Teresa would also need this book to bargain her way back to Camila’s organization from a more powerful position.
On the other hand, much has changed since Teresa left Mexico. At first, the book was Epifanio’s biggest worry. Now he has to deal with the fact the Columbians are siding with Camila. Even if he gets his greedy hands on Teresa, she may be valuable to him just for all the knowledge she has of Camila’s operations. She knows Watson has a bomb hidden in his bedroom. That alone could be helpful to Epifanio. Maria could turn against Teresa to save her son. James could catch up with Brenda and leverage her and Tony. Plenty of juicy possibilities for the final act.
Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)
Queen of the South airs Thursdays at 10PM on USA
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.
Eric Rodriguez | Contributor