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Queen of the South - Episodes 5.01 to 5.06 – Review

With a new episode tonight let us do a quick rundown of S5 so far.

5.01 through 5.03 – Overview

The first three episodes of the season primarily dealt with all the fallout from S4.

Picking up from James showing up badly wounded and warning Teresa, the crew try to identify the threat, while unrightfully being suspicious of James. Unsurprisingly however he once again proves his loyalty; he saves the day and helps exposing the Russians as the ones who have been conspiring against Teresa. This puts Oksana in a precarious situation as she seems intent on staying on Teresa’s good graces while trying to thwart an insurrection in Kostya’s ranks. For her part and never liking to be cornered, Teresa expands her business in New York anyway as she needs the laundered cash to finalize the purchase of the water font estate. This pushes her into making a deal with the Dominicans, who happen to be Kostya’s competition in the region. With some luck and diplomatic manoeuvring she does however manage to broker a deal between the two in order for her product to be the only one basically circulating in NY. After some debating on whether or not he is, wants and is going to stay, James rejoins the fold, though he does slowly begin to realise the girl he came back for is not the woman he came back to.
On the New Orleans front, Lafayette, in a last ditch effort to salvage his good name, covers up his son’s suicide as an attack and points the finger at Marcel who in turn goes into hiding. Team Teresa try both to manage the judge and clear Marcel’s name in the process. They do manage to get some dirt on Cecil in order to get him to heel and retract his accusations against Dumas. However it’s Boaz’s thirst for revenge over Javier’s execution that puts a damper in that plan, as he kills the judge in retaliation, using old school cartel methods. With the corrupt cop under Lafayette’s thumb out for blood Teresa decides to sacrifice Marcel in order to maintain her operations running. Marcel is rightfully pissed as not only has he been the only one who believed in Teresa since she showed up in NOLA he has James vouching for Teresa.
Oh! Also Pote and Kelly Anne are pregnant.

There was a lot of housekeeping to be done in these first three episodes, and for the most part they functioned well for tying loose ends from last season and setting up the stories for the show’s final run. There was also a clear attempt of trying to get back to basics and the things that made the show work in the first three seasons, but I think the missteps of S4 have affected the tone and direction of the show irreparably and trying to recapture and replicate that magic of seasons 2 and 3 in particular feels more superficial than genuine.

5.04 and 5.05 – Overview

With Marcel in prison and unwilling to engage with Teresa in any way Lucien sees an opportunity to get back in the game. However Teresa’s mistrust of him doesn’t get him too far and so he attempts to use Marcel’s name to get by. Teresa sees right through this and makes sure to confirm where Dumas stands. In the end that comes back to haunt her as the confrontation leads to Dumas calling her out and standing his ground. Sacrificing him and by extension going back on her word was in a hit to her reputation she doesn’t handle too well. Marcel not willing to stay in business with Teresa is not something Lucien takes too well himself, so he instead conspires to get everyone else out of the way as he gently begins to point the feds, who have been snooping around, in the direction of Teresa’s operations.
With some trickery Team!Reina manage to blow smoke in the feds’ face and come out the other side clean, while also managing to frame, implicate and assassinate the corrupt sheriff in Lafeyette’s dealings thus laying the groundwork for Marcel’s defence. Lucien also gets dealt with for good.
Oskana asks help from Teresa to settle a side deal she made unbeknownst to Kostya that has gone sideways. This leads the original quartet plus Oksana to Europe. Teresa come through for Oksana, heists, bloodsheds and shootouts notwithstanding, and even gives Oksana a boost to start something of her own. As we learn via exposition that Rocco DeLaPena is dead now this also set the board for Teresa to start expanding to Europe.
Meanwhile George is sent to Miami to keep an eye on Boaz. Boaz seems to be saying and doing all the right things, but in conversations he has with Angel, the new Jimenez cousin for the season, we get a feeling this is more of a front than him actually being a good soldier.
Lastly Pote and Kelly Anne try to figure out how to fit a baby in their lives. Pote goes a bit overboard in the overprotective department. He’s also being wary about the possibility of his baby not being a boy. Kelly Anne on the other hand worries about her place in the business and that Teresa will think the pregnancy is more of a distraction.
In this middle stretch of episodes Teresa’s transformation into the white Queen is in its final stages. Putting the business above all and the constant concentration of power, indicate survival is not the primary goal anymore. And the morals and codes she used to run her business by have gotten a lot more flexible and open to interpretation. This is evident by every time someone even tries to offer a different perspective: how she jumps down Kelly Anne’s thoat, or the vacant platitudes she shares with James to either appease his quiet disapproval, or every time he asks the simple question of “why”. Words like “it’s the smart thing to do” and “this will not only help Marcel but also the boys Lafayette put away” sound more like things she seems to say because she feels she needs to, and it certainly feels as if she’s more trying to convince herself there is still an altruistic undertone in her decisions. These episodes also start to frame Boaz as a more worthy adversary than we might have probably ever considered him. To his credit he did warn Teresa she should have killed him, and now all the passive aggressive moves like sending bags of cash that Teresa can’t launder in time feel very well earned. I’m a bit conflicted about de la Pena’s demise. On the one hand I’m glad it was addressed, but considering how things were left between him and Teresa in 3.03 I was hoping for an actual showdown instead of what we got. Killing him of screen and making that whole loose thread of his looming threat feel redundant. Maybe this was more of a Covid restriction issue and Jordi Mollà simply couldn’t travel for the show, in which case I should show some leniency, but still...

5.06 – Plata O Plomo

In last week’s episode Teresa and the Wonder Twins are left back in Berlin trying to establish their European connect with Isidro Navaro via Oleg. Alas Oksana again seems to have brought more trouble into Teresa’s plans as the shootout our team got involved in for her benefit actually hurt Isidro’s operation seeing as they killed his supplier. In a tit for tat Isidro makes an attempt against Teresa’s life. Still Teresa insists on making this deal work, and does manage to get him to negotiate even if some brute force was required to get him there.
Back in New Orleans Kelly Anne is dealing with the sleazy real estate guys they bought the waterfront property from, as they “forgot” to inform her that the private road leaving to the land was not part of the sale. Kelly Anne does her best to deal with the con artists who try to extort more money from her, but they seem unwilling to play ball. When she informs Teresa about the situation, La Reina kicks in and decides that if these guys are going to act like gangsters, then Teresa will treat them as such. And she does, getting the road and getting rid of both sleazy yuppies in the process.
In Miami Boaz takes George on an opp to supposedly identify the crew who has been cutting Teresa’s product with fentanyl and could cause problems for La Jeffa. The way Boaz deals with gang impresses George enough to give Teresa his endorsement that Boaz is on the up and up. But come by the closing of the episode he discovers it is in fact Jimenez himself who’s been messing with the product. Unlikely for George Boaz walks in on him and shoots him.

While I personally enjoyed the plot with real estate guys I’m a tad annoyed it was over and done within the span of an episode. The whole storyline could have been introduced in S4 and evolved over the course of a few episodes, which would have given Kelly Anna much more productive screen time last season and would have given its wrap up a more lasting impression. Regardless of the rushed narration of this specific plot I do think it was necessary as it plays into the theme of 5.06 signifying Teresa’s full and complete transformation into La Reina. If how she handled the real estate guys wasn’t enough proof of that, James’ talk with Kelly Anne sure drove that point home while George’s death functioned as the final nail in the coffin of the “Girl from Culiacan”. Speaking of George...
The promo for the episode was being touted as a “shocking” one we wouldn’t expect. However, sad as it was, George’s demise had been well telegraphed even before he set foot in Miami. Even though QotS has never been beneath killing off major characters I will commend TPTB on the follow through of the gutsy move to kill off such a fan fave character midway through the season though. This places Boaz firmly as the Final Big Bad of the show. If it wasn’t gonna be a Camila return that would shake Teresa and her crew to their core, seeing a character that has been around since season 1, the black sheep of the cartel, the crazy one everybody is quick to dismiss was a good choice to give Teresa a run for her money.

That’s it for the show until now! Tune in for a brand new episode of Queen of the South, on tonight on the USA Network!


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