QUEEN OF THE SOUTH gets a lesson in mercy while Teresa helps Brenda stay alive and makes a couple new friends in “Estrategia de Entrada.” This week we see a little more of the incredibly depressing world of Camila’s foot soldiers. James, her main guy in the distribution center, hints that she has her hooks into him, but we don’t see how he lives. The women on the other hand, endure a hellish existence, living in pens and cages divided up by position in the network.
Camila moves Teresa from the “expendable” pool to the mule cage. It’s basically a fenced in area with several mattresses where each girl has a couple of feet around the bed for their things. Teresa finds her cell phone and sees Brenda has been calling. She has the sense to borrow someone else’s phone and reach out to her friend. Brenda is on the run with Tony and barely escapes Cesar’s henchmen when Teresa tells her to destroy her phone. She has no love for Americans, but Teresa convinces her to find a coyote and get to Texas.
At first, we think Teresa is bringing Brenda across the border out of an act of friendly love or possibly to have a familiar ally. There is another possible scenario, slightly darker and spicier from a story perspective. It’s possible Teresa is going to use Brenda as a piece in one of her schemes. Teresa isn’t in charge yet, but she is very smart and learning more all the time. Camila makes James take Teresa on a big drug run. She tests Teresa at the warehouse where they make the pick-up by having a fake DEA team arrest Teresa and question her. Future Teresa reminds her not to snitch. Camila feels like she can trust her, which is a big step forward. Later, when they make the transaction with the seller, Lopez, Teresa spots counterfeit bills in the payment. It isn’t every bill, but it saves Camila around $50K. She appreciates Teresa’s actions but reminds her not to show mercy to the thief next time. Mercy is perceived as weakness and women in their business can’t afford either.
Camila has an important scene this week when we see her interact with her daughter. She’s failing the mother-daughter relationship and Isabella is at that age where she lets Camila know it as often as possible. James warns Teresa to be careful how much she lets Camila into her life. She casts a dark shadow and it’s important to the story to see her make these kinds of choices. She’d rather spend time vetting Teresa than visit her daughter. Camila would rather seed the destruction of Isabella’s father than build a family relationship.
Teo expresses his concern over making moves against a man as powerful Vargas, but Camila offers him a percentage that makes the stretch worthwhile. Moving forward, Teo will be her legal advocate, though she doesn’t really seem to listen to his advice, not yet.
Queen of the South is right where it needs to be. There is energetic momentum, interesting characters, and clever suspense. Nobody here has any superpowers, Teresa is in a fight for her life and spends her days controlling panic and making the smartest moves available, no matter how dangerous or uncomfortable.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
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