Photo credit: Eniac Martinez / USA Network.

Television

Dallas-Set Drama Queen of the South More Than a Guilty Pleasure

Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, Teresa will be the one who knocks in this USA television show.

Queen of the South is a Dallas-set crime drama that follows Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga, I Am Legend), a woman who gets caught up with the wrong crowd — specifically, a Mexican drug cartel. She flees to Texas after the death of her drug-trafficking boyfriend, and ends up leading her own drug empire in North Texas.

The third episode in the series, which aired last week, proves it’s a show that could claim a spot on your cable television rotation, and not just by becoming your next guilty pleasure.

In case you’ve missed the show the last several weeks, USA is streaming the first three episodes for free on its website.

As Episode No. 3 started I thought I might have been watching some sappy soap opera: the opening scene featured Teresa and her beau in the bathtub together, surrounded by candles and bubbles. He speaks softly: “One day you’re gonna come home and I won’t be here. Cause I’ll be dead.” She smiles at him and says, “Don’t say that.” And bam: Bathtub handjob. Romantic, right? And then present-day Teresa wakes up to find herself in the drug mule-filled basement of the warehouse she is now working in, with a better-dressed imaginary version of herself giving her a pep talk. OK, this could be good.

Shortly after, we see Teresa’s friend Brenda and her son, Tony, walking down the sidewalk as she tries to get in touch with Teresa.

It appears they are walking down Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff. It’s totally fitting for the vibe of the show, especially in the scene where Brenda and her hijo make a speedy getaway from the bad guys after finding out Teresa is in Dallas.

Teresa’s future empire is just a little embryo in the drug cartel world at this point, but it’s developing quickly. Near the end of the episode, she identifies counterfeit bills in a huge drug deal, simply by watching her partner James count the money with the buyer and feeling the paper. Did you know each bill weighs a gram? I didn’t. Anything under a gram is fake, at least according to Queen of the South. Then Teresa did it a second time with a gun pointed at her! Impressive.

The teasers for Queen of the South are alluring. However, it doesn’t help that WWE Smackdown cut into this show’s airtime. I’d say some of the acting in Queen of the South and the acting in professional televised wrestling are comparable.

I said some, not all of it. I’m mainly just stuck on Bathtub Boyfriend from the opener. Yikes.

But it is clear the producers of this show want it to be so much more than another run-of-the-mill drama — they have 10 more episodes to prove it, and I think they will do so.

This powerful little lady has seen enough for us to know that her one true destiny is to be a boss ass bitch. Although the episode wasn’t full of explosions or too much excitement, we can feel what is to come. Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, in the south, Teresa will be the one that knocks.

Episode No. 4 airs 9 pm Thursday, July 14 on USA.

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