As Teresa and James plan a hit on a rival cartel leader, Brenda starts making her own moves in the drug business

By Kyle Fowle
July 22, 2016 at 12:38 AM EDT
Bill Matlock/USA Network
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  • TV Show
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One thing Queen of the South has failed to really dig into so far is the show’s interpersonal relationships, be it Teresa and Brenda, Camila and Epifanio, or Teresa and James. The show has done a good job so far of showing off Teresa’s skills, both at staying alive and working within a cartel, but a certain human element has been missing. “Un Alma. Un Mapa. Dos Futuros.” changes that, digging a little deeper into how all of these people, connected by a single criminal enterprise, interact with one another.

For Teresa, that means balancing her friendship with Brenda with her obligation to stay loyal to Camila. While driving her friend to a hotel, Teresa explains why she’s not staying with her. She reveals she’s been working for Camila Vargas, which, of course, sets Brenda off. She can’t believe Teresa would work for the woman tangentially responsible for the deaths of their men.

Brenda brings up some good points, asking Teresa that while it may be safe for her to work with Camila for now, what happens when she becomes disposable? Brenda thinks Teresa is kidding herself if she believes Camila’s just going to get bored of someone who was a witness to murder — and who’s clearly holding some sort of power over Epifanio, a huge cartel leader who’s also running for governor.

Those are all smart points, but Teresa has no choice right now. She has to stick with Camila and hope she can find a way out in the future. At the moment, though, she’s back to learning the ropes with James. He orders her to come on a job with him, but she wants to know what the job is first. “I’m going to kill someone,” he says.

Back in Mexico, Cesar and Epifanio are discussing what to do about Camila’s clear betrayal. The difficult part is parsing out her intentions. She let Cesar go, apparently to test his loyalty, but is that truly her motivation? Epifanio isn’t buying it. He thinks she let him go so he could deliver this info — about Teresa, about her growing drug trade — and hopefully provoke some sort of attack.

Rather than let on that he knows too much about his wife’s operation, Epifanio decides to play his own game. He orders Cesar to stop drug shipments to Camila immediately. When he’s on the phone with her later, he’ll explain the missed shipment as a result of increased federal presence.

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Epifanio taking this route in dealing with Camila is about more than just angling for control over his wife. It’s about keeping control of his cartel. Cesar believes he has ideas about where to take the cartel — should he gain control after Epifanio wins the election — but Epifanio is still out there proving his dominance. When he says he’s the only one who knows how to deal with his wife, it’s not just a statement about their long marriage, but also a threat to Cesar and anyone else who might come after his territory. Basically, he’s saying “nobody can do this like I do.”

NEXT: Exotic birds and lovebirds

Before James can take Teresa on the job, she apparently needs a dress. After all, this isn’t your average drug-running job; it’s a fancy-party stakeout job. James takes her to meet his girlfriend Kim, a real Southern belle complete with accent and blonde hair. While Teresa gets outfitted in a cocktail dress and heels — “I used to have that same pair,” she says, a reminder it wasn’t too long ago that she had her own comfy lifestyle built with shady cartel money — James is gathering his equipment, including a huge sniper rifle. Cocktail dresses and sniper rifles: This is Teresa’s world now.

We also get a little tease during this scene of something more going on with James and Kim. While he’s readying his equipment, Kim’s phone receives a text. He takes a glance at it. All it says is “Kim — are we going out tonight?” When James asks her what her plans are for the night, she says she’s going out with a friend. Then she realizes he’s worried about “that oil guy,” and tells him to just relax. We don’t really know what any of this means, but it feels like an important tease of future events.

With everything ready to go, James drives Teresa to a big house party being held by some rich dude named Eric. While James waits in the car, Teresa is given a device and told to head inside the party and wait for instructions, but to avoid Eric at all costs. Seems easy enough, but as the party unfolds, the situation challenges Teresa’s loyalty and morality.

James later sends Teresa into the master bedroom to plant the device in a floor grate. After she does, she has to hide when a man, tied and beaten, is brought into the bedroom and left there. Teresa tries to help him escape, but he tells her to leave and warns her she’ll be dead if she stays. Teresa takes off just as James activates the device, which sends out a signal and disrupts the caged exotic birds just outside the bedroom. When Eric comes to check on them, James gets him in the sight of his rifle but doesn’t shoot.

When Teresa returns to the car, she asks him why he didn’t shoot Eric. “I said I was going to kill someone. Just not tonight,” he responds. It turns out Eric is basically holding down territory for a cartel that rivals Camila’s in Dallas, but James doesn’t yet have the green light to execute the hit. He’s just planning for the future, proving he can get to him.

With the video camera still rolling inside the bedroom, James and Teresa then watch as Eric murders the man Teresa tried to help escape. Teresa attempts to get James to do something, even struggling with him in the car and nearly giving away their position, but the man dies before she can really do anything. “This is your world now,” he repeats to her, over and over again. She needs to accept it, otherwise she’ll end up dead herself.

NEXT: Brenda, business mogul

While Teresa is getting a crash course in how to plan a hit, Brenda is taking matters into her own hands. With Teresa giving her very little to go on, Brenda sees the need to make her own money, to find her own way in Dallas. So when she goes to buy some food and sees a guy unsuccessfully selling drugs outside the motel, she offers to show him the ropes.

She gets him to drive her to a club where the rich white folks hang out, and once inside she works her magic, selling off his entire product. Brenda knows the business and she’s charming as hell, so this new partnership could be something — or it could get her in hot water with the cartels. Either way, she needs to be careful.

More than showing off Brenda’s skills, though, the contrasting scenes of Brenda and Teresa drive home the complicated relationship these two share. Teresa is trying to keep Brenda away from the cartel, but she’s also not giving her a lot of information to go on. Brenda can’t just hole up in a motel and hope everything sorts itself out. She needs to live, so of course she’s going to use what she knows to better her situation and make a little money.

Essentially, everything is getting more complicated for everyone. Camila is calling Reynaldo in Colombia to get an expedited shipment of coke, and Epifanio is calling him moments later to warn him about continuing business with her. He says he has something big in store for his wife and Reynaldo isn’t going to want any part of it, so he better back off now. Then there’s the growing tension between James and Teresa, and Camila’s threats to kill Teresa if she had to. “I’m really starting to like you,” she says to Teresa, more a threat than a compliment.

Epifanio and Camila are on a path of potentially mutual destruction, and Teresa, Brenda, and James just might be caught in the crossfire.

Episode Recaps

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 4
Genre
Premiere
  • 06/23/16
Performers
  • Alice Braga
Network
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