Teresa runs into a whole lot of trouble on her first solo job, including a threat from Epifanio Vargas
Credit: Bill Matlock/USA Network

Teresa’s arc on Queen of the South thus far has shown her proving herself one job at a time. She’s proven she can handle swallowing balloons of coke. She’s proven she won’t snitch if she gets caught by the DEA. The next step is to prove she can handle a delivery on her own. That’s the focus of “Lirio de los Valles,” as Teresa is given a solo job for the first time. She’s meant to deliver a bag of drugs to a woman named Sandra.

While Teresa is preparing for the job, Camila is preparing for her inevitable confrontation with her husband. She’s been expanding her business without him knowing, and she needs to take further steps to make sure she has enough people on her side when she goes after Epifanio and his empire. With that in mind, she buys four high-end cars as gifts for some suppliers in Mexico.

Camila needs to be careful, though. Unbeknownst to her, Epifanio is starting to suspect she may have Teresa with her. Cesar, Epifanio’s right-hand man, manages to track the call Brenda received from Teresa to a burner phone pinging off a cell tower in Dallas. As he points out to his boss, that cell tower is only three miles away from Camila’s drug warehouse. Yeah, that’s a bit suspicious.

Meanwhile, Teresa gets her instructions from James and sets out to make her delivery to Sandra. She shows up at the address and is greeted by an intimidating skinhead-type, who tells her Sandra is on her way back and that she can come in and wait. Teresa gets a pat down and then heads inside.

The two make their way into the kitchen, and just as Teresa is starting to unload the drugs, she sees something from the other room reflected in a mirror. It’s a woman, tied up and bleeding on the floor. Teresa makes eye contact with her. It’s clear to her what’s going on here, but the question is, can she do anything about it?

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This is future drug queen Teresa Mendoza, so you’re damn right she can. She sneaks a knife into a newspaper and then nonchalantly lets it fall to the ground. That allows the woman, who we find out is Sandra, to cut herself loose, and that’s when things really get started. Sandra storms into the kitchen and throws the knife into the skinhead guy’s chest, and when another guy comes running from another room, Sandra pops a few rounds into him.

From there, Teresa and Sandra call James and tell him there’s a problem. James shows up with Camila, and after a mention of someone called The Birdman, Camila sends Teresa back to the club to recover and tells Sandra to “turn the stove on.” Something tells me the one guy left alive is going to quickly wish he was dead.

NEXT: Changes are coming

Teresa heads back to the club, but her long day isn’t over just yet. While she’s sitting in the car, Cesar — who’s found his way to Dallas and has been monitoring Camila’s operation — smashes in her window and shocks her with a Taser. He stuffs her into his car and heads for the border.

Camila gets the news while she’s out in the desert burying bodies; well, she’s not burying them, because drug queens don’t do that kind of work. The call sends Camila and James back to the warehouse to get a look at the security footage. Thankfully for Camila — and for Teresa — this seems like an easy fix.

You see, being the reigning drug queen in Dallas means you have a few connections. So, Camila manages to have Cesar pulled over by a few state troopers on her payroll. They deliver Teresa and Cesar back to the warehouse. Cesar spent much of the drive asking Teresa about that all-important notebook she still has stashed away, but that’s about to be the furthest thing from his mind.

Back at the warehouse, Camila basically warns Cesar of her plans and gives him a chance to prove his loyalty. She tells him how Epifanio isn’t going to make him the leader of the drug cartel, that he’ll only do it in order to have him killed, giving him a huge PR moment when he’s governor. She says that if he proves himself, she’ll take him in with her operation when she wins the drug war.

Teresa, meanwhile, finally gets to see Brenda and her son face-to-face. She finds them at a diner she designated as a rendezvous point, but she tells them she can’t stay. She doesn’t give them the details — she does give them money for a hotel across the street, though — but we know she’s going after that notebook. I am dying to know what’s in there and how it helps Teresa take control.

As much as “Lirio de los Valles” is about Teresa continuing to rise through the ranks, it’s also about how close the drug war looms. A man named Juan Carlos in Sinaloa is working to get a shipment of coke on the road for Epifanio when he’s interrupted by a delivery: It’s a bright white luxury car. He gets a phone call while he’s admiring the delivery.

It’s Camila Vargas, who she tells him she’s been keeping a close eye on what’s been happening in Mexico and that she’s ready to return the empire to its former glory. She’s buying these men with promises of massive amounts of money in the future, and it’s working. At the same time, Cesar returns home and tells Epifanio he’s found Teresa. Oh yeah, this drug war isn’t too far off now.

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Queen of the South
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