‘Queen of the South’ 503: No te pierdas la cabeza

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "No Te Pierdas La Cabeza" Episode 503 -- Pictured in this screengrab: Alice Braga as Teresa Mendoza -- (Photo by: USA Network)

With episode 503 “No te pierdas la cabeza,” Queen of the South is asking if Teresa is changing “the business” or if it’s changing her. Only time will tell and time is running out. One of the only Latina-helmed shows currently on TV, Queen of the South is in its final season and LatinaMedia.Co and Fangirlish are teaming up to give it the coverage it deserves. So join us each week as we celebrate/commemorate/mourn Queen of the South through episode recaps, filled with our hot takes, commentary, and, of course, Latina perspective. Let’s do this!

CRISTINA ESCOBAR, CO-FOUNDER OF LATINAMEDIA.CO: Oh Teresa. After last week’s tour de force, I was looking forward to a season of Teresa just owning her power, hatching/executing plans, and then swatting away obstacles (aka men) like so many dirty flies. But alas, that was not to be. Boaz went back to his cartel roots and beheaded the judge, putting her in a pretty impossible position.

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ, FANGIRLISH EIC: Part of me isn’t that surprised, because this is TV, and we needed some sort of problem. It didn’t make much sense to just have Teresa making all the right decisions in episode two, and then have that be the storyline the rest of the season, especially considering the show is ending. But that doesn’t mean I’m not upset about it! Especially because I’m really just getting tired of men ruining Teresa’s vibe – and robbing her of her wins.

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: I know! And this week she had tough decisions to make with no-wins options. I didn’t like that she gave up Dumas but I don’t think it would have bothered me so much if we hadn’t seen it from James’ perspective. We spent SO much time with him and Dumas talking, James just singing Teresa’s praises, how loyal she is, and then, she turns on Dumas. I guess, the question about loyalty is – loyal to what? Is Teresa supposed to be loyal to her business? Her people? Herself? Certainly, I don’t expect her to be loyal to James’ idea of her, and after I sat on the episode a bit, that framing irked me more and more. This is Teresa’s story – I want to see it from her point of view

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ: Like you, I had to sit on this one for a bit to understand why it was bothering me, and I have come to the conclusion that, like you, my issue is with the framing of it. Did I want her to give up Dumas? No. Did she have a choice? I’m not sure she did. I’d say, if anything, Teresa is supposed to be loyal to herself first, and then her people, and Dumas wasn’t one of those. But framing it from James’ point of view is not just irksome because, like you, I want to see Teresa’s story from her point of view, but also because… we’re not in season one. James is not a new guy that just met Teresa. James has been around from the beginning, and even if he was gone for a bit, you’d think James would be less… well, idealistic? Sure, Teresa is what he thinks she is, but she also would never put someone like Dumas over her business, her long-term plans, or even James. He, of all people, should understand that. 

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "No Te Pierdas La Cabeza" Episode 503 -- Pictured in this screengrab: Peter Gadiot as James Valdez -- (Photo by: USA Network)
Oh James, getting yourself in trouble like always

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: I agree and James was hardly the only problematic guy this episode. I like Boaz, or I like watching him on screen (I don’t think I’d like to be in a room with him in real life). So part of me was glad he lived to deal another day. But also, like really, he’s indispensable to Teresa’s business? I don’t think so. She could get someone else, someone who wouldn’t directly defy her orders. This whole idea that any business needs “brilliant jerks” is just not true. With an emboldened Boaz involved, I see nothing but trouble ahead.

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ: The way this episode frames it like Teresa absolutely needs Boaz made me roll my eyes a little bit. Short term, might be easier to keep him, but I don’t for a second believe someone like Boaz will not just do what he wants the next time he disagrees with Teresa. He’s a liability, and he’s given Teresa no reason to trust him. She certainly doesn’t care for him. So why is he still around? 

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: Unclear! Other than the audience (like me) likes him! Do you think he was right though, to kill the judge? I was all in for Pote killing that contractor guy but that was different in my book, not premeditated, not undermining Teresa. I’m not a big fan of incarceration generally, but I would have liked to see the judge go to jail with all those Black and brown men he put there. Certainly beheading is a pretty gruesome punishment and the judge deserved something awful…

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ: For me, jail would have been a more fitting end for the judge, especially considering what he did. But it’s not that I’m mad about the judge being dead, as much as I’m upset about the trouble Boaz caused when he killed him when he did and the way he did. If the judge had managed to give the press conference, would we have cared as much if Boaz went off the rails and killed him? No one’s truly mourning the judge, it’s more a matter of the trouble his death caused. 

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: So much trouble! And I do wonder if we’re setting James up to fall out of love with Teresa. Can’t you see the breakup scene where he says “you’ve changed” and we all just roll our eyes? Because these are cartels! They kill and torture and destroy. Even Teresa. Even (maybe especially) James. So if the show lets her live in the end, will her “punishment” be losing James? She’s already lost so much after Tony’s death and Brenda’s before that. Pote is her family now but I don’t exactly see everyone retiring to the suburbs and having a bunch of kids.

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ: But would “losing” James truly be a punishment when she’s a) lost him before and survived and b) cannot even admit to herself that she loves him too? That’s why the framing of all of this is a bit confusing to me. For this to be leading to a breakup scene, and her “punishment” to be losing him, she’s gotta at least have him, otherwise, the emotional impact on the viewers isn’t the same. And if that’s it, it feels like they went through a lot of trouble to bring back Peter Gadiot for nothing. So, I hope this leads somewhere else. I’m just not sure where that could be. 

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- "No Te Pierdas La Cabeza" Episode 503 -- Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Hemky Madera as Pote, Molly Burnett as Kelly Anne Van Awken -- (Photo by: USA Network)
Who would have guessed that Pote and Kelly Anne could become #RelationshipGoals?

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: Me neither but I am glad Pote and Kelly Anne are having that baby. His busting into the AA meeting was the comic relief this episode needed. Plus his speech about how Kelly Anne will be a great mom was so great and so relatable. I remember when I was pregnant, just being filled with doubt and I’d been trying to get pregnant (and I’m not an addict, “rat,” or in the drug business to name just a few of Kelly Anne’s concerns). So even though extreme, this moment felt human, normal even, and it was a good reminder that these characters are people, like the rest of us.

LISSETE LANUZA SÁENZ: This was my favorite scene of the episode because it feels earned. Pote and Kelly Anne have been one of the highlights of this show for me, in a way I could have never seen coming. The worrisome thing, for me, as a viewer, is that I’m invested in the two of them, in their kid, and of course, in Teresa, in James… And it just doesn’t feel like all of it can end the way I want it. Or that it should. 

CRISTINA ESCOBAR: Right – we’re back to asking if a happy ending is possible and perhaps that’s not even the right question (even if it’s what we’re focused on as viewers) I mean shows like this, when they’re really good, get the viewer to question our own morals. And after watching this episode, I was trying to imagine what I’d do in Teresa’s shoes. Is the business worth sacrificing her friends? I don’t know but I guess that’s (one of the many reasons) why I’d never be in Teresa’s position.

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