Queen of the South recap: Billete de Magia
Camila Vargas’ operation is reeling. She’s missing shipments left and right, her customers are turning to other dealers, and unbeknownst to her, her husband is behind all of it. Epifanio’s slowly bleeding her supply dry, which would force her to come back to Mexico and once again be under his control. Of course, this is Camila goddamn Vargas we’re talking about. She’s not just going to take this lying down.
So, the plan to rip off the dealers from Florida is underway. James wakes up Teresa at 4:30 in the morning, much to her confusion. She staggers outside with him and hops in a truck before Camila comes over to give her a pep talk regarding what’s about to go down. She tells her how they’re going to rob the dealers and turn their $2.5 million into $5 million by the end of the day, so long as Teresa stays composed.
Thus, Teresa and James are off, and the first step in the plan is a gruesome one. They arrive at someone’s house, and what Teresa sees there is terrifying. Two men have a guy strung upside down in the back room, and they’re continually lowering him into an aquarium filled with ice water. In the living room his wife and child cry. James approaches them, asking the woman when she goes to work and what kind of security is involved with the place. What could that possibly have to do with a drug deal?
As it turns out, that’s information James needs for a more elaborate plan. The idea is the men from Florida, led by James’ friend John, will arrive at their hotel before the drug deal goes down. Teresa will go inside and plant a tracker on the case holding the 25 kilos before moving on to the next part of the plan. Easier said than done, of course.
James pulls up outside the hotel and watches as the men head inside. James snaps a few photos while Teresa and another of Camila’s employees wait in the lobby. Once they see the men check in, Teresa races up the stairs while the other man gets in the elevator with John. He texts Teresa the number of the floor they’ll be on, and from there, Teresa puts the second part of the plan into motion.
This part involves Teresa undressing and tying up a hotel maid at gunpoint, so she can steal her badge and cart to pose as an employee and get into John’s room. While two of John’s men are threatened by a man downstairs — it’s all part of James’ plan, to spook the guys into getting the deal done quickly — Teresa makes her way into room 1208 and, right under John’s nose, slips the tracker on the suitcase. She then heads back to the other room and frees the maid she tied up. Her care for the woman is important later, as is the statement “I’m not who you think I am.”
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Meanwhile, Camila makes a call to Cesar. She tells him it’s rather suspicious all this bad luck is happening to her after Cesar returned to Mexico (and to Epifanio) with all her secrets. Cesar does his best to assure Camila that nothing conspiratorial is happening, but she’s smarter than that. She tells Cesar he better be careful, because Epifanio surely has plans for him as well. “There’s more than one way to die,” she says.
NEXT: All kinds of messed up
With Teresa successfully planting the tracker, the final part of the plan is set in motion. James meets up with John and his buddies to examine the shipment. James makes it look like the most casual of drug deals, even holding a coffee in his hand while John examines the money and James’ buddy tests the coke. When all is determined to be on the level, James and John part ways, everything seemingly friendly and uncomplicated.
But as John and his two pals — one of whom is his brother, Reggie — ride away in a taxi, two trucks carrying masked men pull up and fire explosive canisters into the car, causing it to flip. Someone shoots Reggie and another blows the face off of the hulking man who acted as their bodyguard, but not before he gets his own shot off.
In all the chaos, James’ mask comes off and John catches a glimpse of him. They shoot at each other and John gets hit, but he escapes. James frantically calls Teresa and tells her to head back into room 1208 and wait to see if John shows up. If he does, she needs to keep him there.
Sure enough, he shows up, but it’s clear from the get-go he has no interest in sticking around. He’s either going to kill Teresa or go down in a blaze of glory. It’s a tense scene, and Teresa’s clearly shaken by the idea of having to kill this man to save her own life. Eventually, after taunting her, John goes for his gun and Teresa puts three bullets into his chest.
While Camila meets with Teo to convince him to leave a trail in the papers to see if Epifanio is truly behind her problems — and while Brenda struggles with the life she’s leading, including a disastrous first attempt at cooking crystal meth — James picks up Teresa on the side of the road. She’s struggling, too. She just killed a man. Sure, it was his life or hers, but this isn’t what she wanted. As she told the maid, “I’m not who you think I am.” But what is she now? This whole thing with Camila Vargas wasn’t supposed to go this far. She was supposed to be out by now.
Now, she’s further in than she ever could have imagined.
Queen of the South