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I was underwhelmed by this episode, as I have been with a few since the premier. The premiere stuck fairly close to the original, but it's been mostly down hill since then.

Quite honestly, since James clearly knew Teresa was hiding something about the maid, it just seems a bit unbelievable that he didn't at least tell Camilla or just flat out kill Brenda to set an example or even kill Teresa (of course, killing Teresa means no show, so unlikely that would have happened). He has now put his own life on the line for someone he doesn't seem to like all that much. Also, the odds of Teresa getting into Mexico to take the maid and her son back and then somehow managing to get back to US are slim, yet there was never at any time any risk or danger shown relating to the crossing. I know they used a tunnel, but even despite that, there just seemed to be absolutely no panic at all about getting back and forth.

I did giggle a bit when they guy who was working in Epi's kitchen put his headphones in pretty quickly when he realized that he could hear Camilla and Epi screwing in another room. 

If Camilla breaks her promise to Epi and kills Birdman as she told James she would, how is that going to impact her budding business? Epi isn't a complete idiot and he's managed to keep her reigned in pretty tight so far, so I have no doubt that, regardless of how hard she tries to cover it up/make it look like suicide/an accident/another cartel, etc., that Epi is definitely going to suspect she had a hand in it somehow. This is another reason why I don't think Camilla will ever really be successful - she is slow on the uptake (it took her forever to realize Epi was behind her lost shipments) and she seems to think she can do anything and not be suspected - or even if she is, that she can control Epi, yet he seems to be able to pull her strings better than she can his, especially as she went to Mexico when he asked and went to the fundraiser, etc. I think she can only control Epi for so long, especially as Batman went straight back to him and told him that she tried to get him to turn on him and work for her. That was an incredibly stupid move on her part - she's known Epi and Batman for decades and knows how loyal Batman is, yet still gives Batman all he needs to go back to Epi and cause him to have more her shipments confiscated. Just as an FYI, the actor that plays Batman in the original version really does look bat/Dracula-like - much more so than the actor in this version. You can easily see how he ended up with the nickname.

The original has over 60 episodes and yet seems to move at a faster pace than this series, which, if I remember right, only has 2 or 3 episodes left this season (not sure it will be renewed given what I've read elsewhere). Teresa has yet to even really even begin to start to become who she is in the original version and so many of the best characters are missing - including Epi's other henchmen (which all have good nicknames). There are other characters that are my favorites that get introduced a bit later in the original version, so I am holding out hope that they may still bring them in, but given that they've created new and hybrid characters in this version, I have my doubts. It will be a shame if they leave those characters out altogether as the bonds Teresa forms with them and how they play into her becoming La Reina del Sur is pretty significant.

I like some of the actors in this version, specifically Alice Braga and the actress that plays Brenda. I want to like Camilla, but she is just so one note, however I don't necessarily think this is the fault of the actress as she doesn't seem to be given the content/writing to show any real range or anything at all. As I mentioned, Camilla also seems a bit too slow on the uptake, which is definitely something you would never expect from a woman who considers herself/building herself to be a drug queenpin.  

Spoilers below about the original version and some comparisons to the current version:

Spoiler

In the original, Teresa is pretty sharp (more so then they've shown her here) and she can read people quite well - which helps her accomplish what she sets out to do. There is no true "Camilla" character in the original version, though I suspect that in this version she may be a hybrid type character. Camilla is nowhere near as clever as she should be and as Teresa is in the original and she appears nearly stupid in comparison. It took her forever to realize that Epi was playing her. Camilla also had huge advantages that he Teresa in the original did not have - Teresa had to start from absolutely nothing. She had the balls to blackmail Epi and trade the journal for her escape to Spain and to meet with a connection of his there to help get set up. 

Once in Spain, she had to choose between northern or southern Spain, and she picks the southern piece (the part that is technically part of Africa) as the weather is better, which is where the title "La Reina del Sur" or "Queen of the South" comes from. She then meets up with the person the contact says can give her work, but he is the owner of a pub/gambling establishment/whore house and expects her to sell herself in exchange for a place to live and a small cut of the money she makes. She quickly is able to prove her usefulness with numbers and accounting, however, and  avoids ever having to become a whore to survive after she ran off to Spain from Mexico to avoid being killed by the Cartel like her boyfriend, El Guero, was - along with Brenda, Chico (Brenda's significant other) and Brenda's kids).

There is no "Camilla" character in the original, so that leaves me even more concerned as to whether or not they will bring in some of the more interesting characters as Camilla seems, at the moment, to be a bit of a hybrid of some characters from the original.

I am dying to see them bring in Oleg, the Russian gangster/cocaine trafficker  at some point as the relationship he has with Teresa is special - despite how dangerous he is and the horrible crimes he has committed (not to mention that initially he wants to kill Teresa as well). He can be quite violent and quite ruthless, yet seems to have a soft spot for Teresa. He is her true mentor. The best thing about the relationship is that it never turns sexual, though you find yourself wishing they would get together. They have wonderful chemistry and clearly end up developing a very strong bond and attachment to one another. That's part of what makes the relationship so interesting - it would have been so easy for the writers to make them lovers, yet they didn't and instead just had them develop this intense and unique bond that you do not come across often at all. The relationship is really well written and well played by the actors.

I would also like to see Patti brought in at some point, however since they didn't kill Brenda off when they killed her husband, Chico (like they did in the original), I have a feeling Brenda may act as a kind of replacement for Patti, especially given the brief love affair they have when they meet in prison (though Patti always wants to be with Teresa) between Teresa and Patti in the original. I have a feeling that they are likely to leave that out altogether in this version. However, it is with the help of Patti's money (as she comes from a well known, very wealthy family) that Teresa is able to live and also really develop her drug running business (in addition, it helps her make the connection with Oleg). Brenda has no money, unless she all of a sudden makes a mint with this ragtag group she is putting together to try to sell Meth or whatever they can get their grimy little hands on. I suppose it is possible that maybe Teresa somehow gets the money off of Camilla (or maybe even Epi), especially since she now has the journal.

In the original, Teresa gives the  journal up to Epi right away in exchange for her passage to Spain and to meet a connection of his there that helps her pick a location to settle in and who gets her the initial job at the pub/brothel. Thankfully she didn't have to whore herself out thanks to her skills with numbers and was able to manage the till and the books instead, but the owner/pimp does give her housing and she meets a lot of good friends who work at the brothel, even helping one of them, Fatima, reclaim her son who was left in an orphanage in Morocco. I wonder if they will introduce the Fatima character as she really does become one of Teresa's closest friends and the first decent person she meets when she gets to Spain (actually on the ferry on the way to where she will be living/working at). Fatima is not the brightest bulb, but she will do anything to help those close to her and is extremely loyal. Without her, a lot of what Teresa ended up doing would not have been possible. Again, maybe since they kept Brenda alive in this version, Brenda is supposed to be a hybrid of Patti as well as Fatima, though Brenda is so different from Fatima (and even Patti) that it would be hard to believe.

Given that this season is nearly over, I am tempted to re-watch the original ASAP as I do think it is a step or two above this version and I want to be reminded of all of my favorite characters and relationships that, at least so far, haven't shown up in this version yet.

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When this season is over, I am so watching the original. I feel like there is a lot more story going on off screen, that was maybe there in the original or something. That being said, I do like what we get here, especially with Theresa and seeing how she will get out of whatever situation she finds herself in. Although, it seems like a lot of time, Theresa is just lucky. I do not mean to take away from her being smart and resourceful, especially considering she just got thrown into all this craziness after spending much of her life as a down on her luck part girl, then the spoiled girlfriend of a drug runner, only for her boyfriend to get murdered suddenly, and her fancy life fell apart, and getting raped, and getting chased down by various scary people, and now is in the semi reluctant employment of a drug lord in the middle of a messy divorce with another drug lord who wants to kill her. She is doing a great job staying alive, but if it was not for luck, and the fact that more than a few people have decided not to kill her out of the goodness of their hearts, she would be all kinds of dead. 

I also had to laugh when the maids dad was all "if I see you again, I will kill you!" and Theresa is just looking at him like "yeah, no problem dude. Not really in any hurry to catch up with you either." I mean, I get where the guy was coming from, and its not like he actually killed her, but this is pretty much the least guilty person in the entire cartel. You really did not need to bother with all of this, especially considering she risked her life to save his daughter and grandson. I know he does not know Theresa whole backstory of how she got stuck in all this, but come on.

Brenda has become such a hardass! I hope she survives to join Theresa empire. She might actually be more suited to the criminal world than Theresa. 

Edited by tennisgurl
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On 8/21/2016 at 10:47 PM, Arwen Evenstar said:

Thanks! Rapunzel. I appreciate your telling me about how you feel about this vs the original telenovela. I knew there was one done prior and its Wiki blurb shows the majority of it taking place in Spain. I might just binge watch it on Netflix if available. My Spanish isn't so great but my husband is a native speaker.

Alice Braga is Brazilian, and though she speaks Spanish fluently, I still remember her as the beautiful bikini clad love interest of Rocket in City of God who makes bad choices in boyfriends...and not a drug queenpin. I like her scrappy and spunky way of playing her part though.

FYI, you can watch it on Netflix with english subtitles.

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I liked this episode.  I felt there were more chess pieces that were moved as we saw why Camila decided to go through with killing Eric (even if I felt the outright explanation was a bit unnecessary) and we found out why that book/journal is so darn valuable to Epifonio. 

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I initially resisted watching this show because I loved the original Spanish-language version so much, but I find I can enjoy it because they bear almost no resemblance to each other. Aside from using the same names, and the presence of the all-important notebook, they are completely different stories.

One thing they do share, that I'm glad about, is the way Teresa struggles to maintain her humanity in the face of this awful, violent life she's been forced to survive in. While doing what she has to do, she refuses to sink as low as the people she works for, or give in to despair. She saved Maria, at enormous personal risk to herself, and even when she killed the drug dealer in self-defense, she felt sick about it. She hasn't let herself go totally to the dark side. It makes her a really interesting character to watch.

This episode was good, I liked seeing more of James and Kim, their relationship amuses me. And it's always great to see more Brenda, I love her feistiness. This show is so dark that the occasional moments of lightness or humor are very welcomed.

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On 8/26/2016 at 9:42 PM, slf said:

I like the actress playing Camila and she does her best but man they don't give her great dialogue or even write Camila all that well. Epifanio saying that she knows the right thing to say, that she knows how to get inside people's head...you pretty much have to take his word for it. It took her way too long to figure things out, she's really passive where Teresa is concerned, and it was so obvious that James was lying to her about the maid but she just took it at face value (so to speak). The actress has presence but it's wasted on this writing.

Laughed at Brenda being all "you gotta do what you gotta do" when James threatened to shoot her employees. It's the first time I've enjoyed Brenda the entire season tbh.

Teresa is a good person and character, and I like Alice Braga, but the show really needs to step it up. I thought the premiere was too packed, that way too much happened, but now I'm thinking this show works best with a faster pace.

I like Brenda (the actress and the character) but is anyone else distracted by her accent? She sounds like someone from the Caribbean (perhaps someone whose parents are from Puerto Rico but grew up in the US). An accent in both English and Spanish that's influenced by  Caribbean Spanish sounds way different. The other non-Mexican characters have different accents as well. Epifanio's Spanish definitely doesn't sound like anything from any region of Mexico I'm familiar with. Nor does Teresa's. However, their accents (IMO) are not so obviously from a particular region so it makes it easier to try to pass them off as something else. 

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"I initially resisted watching this show because I loved the original Spanish-language version so much, but I find I can enjoy it because they bear almost no resemblance to each other. Aside from using the same names, and the presence of the all-important notebook, they are completely different stories."

Got a bit frustrated with this series -moving so slowly - so I picked up a copy of the book the other day - talk about two different stories - this tv series has a couple of characters with the same names but that's it.  Would like to see the Spanish version myself - does it resemble the book at all?

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14 hours ago, Marsupial said:

I initially resisted watching this show because I loved the original Spanish-language version so much, but I find I can enjoy it because they bear almost no resemblance to each other. Aside from using the same names, and the presence of the all-important notebook, they are completely different stories.

One thing they do share, that I'm glad about, is the way Teresa struggles to maintain her humanity in the face of this awful, violent life she's been forced to survive in. While doing what she has to do, she refuses to sink as low as the people she works for, or give in to despair. She saved Maria, at enormous personal risk to herself, and even when she killed the drug dealer in self-defense, she felt sick about it. She hasn't let herself go totally to the dark side. It makes her a really interesting character to watch.

This episode was good, I liked seeing more of James and Kim, their relationship amuses me. And it's always great to see more Brenda, I love her feistiness. This show is so dark that the occasional moments of lightness or humor are very welcomed.

I am also interested in James & Kim. I wonder how much of their relationship is similar to what Teresa's and Güero's would have looked like if he hadn't been killed. 

I took a look at the first episode of the telenovela on Netflix and it's hard for me to envision La Reina del Sur that way. The actress who plays her on USA looks way grittier and she was introduced to us that way.  Apart from Teresa in the white suit and the few scenes when she and Güero were happy and doing well, she is mostly scrappy and dirty. I like Teresa that way but once this season is over, I think I will give the telenovela a chance.

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I am also interested in James & Kim. I wonder how much of their relationship is similar to what Teresa's and Güero's would have looked like if he hadn't been killed

That's an interesting observation. I wonder if they will show some of that in flashbacks.

One of the things that the Kim-James relationship points out is how tenuous any romantic relationship would be with somebody in that line of work. It's like the modern-day version of the gangster's moll. There was another very popular telenovela, Las Munecas de la Mafia, that was all about the wives and mistresses of big-time drug dealers. It painted a very ugly picture of those relationships, showing them as being devoid of real caring, with women who were exploited and treated as disposable. For the women, there was money and excitement involved, but no status or respect whatsoever unless you were a wife.

In the original Reina, Guero and Teresa were married but I can't recall if they were in the USA one.

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Brenda isn't the brightest star in the sky, is she?

Now that Camilla's crew has murdered DEA agents, her empire should be on shaky ground, even if she allies with the Jimenez cartel.

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Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.....I had such high hopes for her, I really felt like she was going to make it....guess that's why I wasn't seeing her in the slow mo walking promos.......

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On 9/7/2016 at 1:30 AM, Marsupial said:

That's an interesting observation. I wonder if they will show some of that in flashbacks.

One of the things that the Kim-James relationship points out is how tenuous any romantic relationship would be with somebody in that line of work. It's like the modern-day version of the gangster's moll. There was another very popular telenovela, Las Munecas de la Mafia, that was all about the wives and mistresses of big-time drug dealers. It painted a very ugly picture of those relationships, showing them as being devoid of real caring, with women who were exploited and treated as disposable. For the women, there was money and excitement involved, but no status or respect whatsoever unless you were a wife.

In the original Reina, Guero and Teresa were married but I can't recall if they were in the USA one.

They weren't married in the USA show. 

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Dear God, Brenda, why would you ever volunteer that information? If they're paying you they are obviously not going to kill your cousin. I sincerely hope that in the next episode she isn't shitty to Teresa for running because that's like 75% Brenda's fault.

I really wish this show focused a bit more on Teresa because Epifanio and Camilla can't hold my interest for very long, and James on his own is a little boring. The series premiere was the best episode so far and it focused almost exclusively on Teresa.

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On 6/23/2016 at 2:33 PM, Misanthrope said:

I'm a big fan of the book (and most of Reverte's work) so I'm super excited for this. If it's anything like the novel, shit's gonna get craaaaaazy.

I'm 300 pages into the book - the tv show is a travesty - 

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2 hours ago, slf said:

Dear God, Brenda, why would you ever volunteer that information? If they're paying you they are obviously not going to kill your cousin. I sincerely hope that in the next episode she isn't shitty to Teresa for running because that's like 75% Brenda's fault.

Somehow I doubt Brenda will be around next episode and that is why Teresa ran.....

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5 hours ago, TigerLily20 said:

Somehow I doubt Brenda will be around next episode and that is why Teresa ran.....

Yeah, Brenda isn't long for this world.

The assault on the DEA safehouse was...Lord. I'm fairly certain it would take more than 6-10 guys* to pull that off and even if they did- to what end? I mean they used the word 'war' to describe what the DEA's response would be and I'm like, really? Do the writers really understand what that sort of assault would get in return? If they do season two will be a freakin' massacre of Camila's cartel.

*Led by someone more capable and cunning than James.

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Got a bit frustrated with this series -moving so slowly - so I picked up a copy of the book the other day - talk about two different stories - this tv series has a couple of characters with the same names but that's it.  Would like to see the Spanish version myself - does it resemble the book at all?

I'm curious about this too, I have not read the book so I don't know which one resembles it more. But based on the description of the book I read, it sounds like it's much closer to the Spanish-language version.

I do know the legend of "La Reina del Sur" predates both the book and the series. "La Reina del Sur" was originally a song, a so-called narcocorrida (drug dealers' ballad) that was recorded by Los Tigres del Norte in 2002. The song, and the book, are both believed to be inspired by a real-life woman trafficker named Sandra Avila Beltran, who went by the nickname "Queen of the Pacific."  Los Tigres wrote another corrida for Beltran called "La Reina de Reinas" (The Queen of Queens).  The story told in the lyrics of "La Reina del Sur" is an almost perfect recitation of the story told in the telenovela and, from what I gather, the book.

Here's an article from the Guardian about Beltran: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/oct/06/mexico

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22 hours ago, Negritude said:

This actress playing Isabella...is no spring chicken. There really weren't any teenage Latina actresses they could've cast?

I agree with that, as well as her having the maturity level to verbally slay Camila and call her out like she did--that seems to take someone more mature than a college frosh. 

Brenda had me smacking my head. IIRC, she told Teresa to run.  It wasn't long before Epifanio's minions were tailing her.

The dead bodies stacked in that tunnel made me want to vomit. It was another of many scenes in this series that has showcased the ruthlessness and brutality of the cartels. 

The cartels have far less decency than the Mafia. Even though the mob has committed their fair share of brutal acts, the code of omertà forbids going after the wives and children of one's enemies and seems to require to leave bodies in a manner that the decadents would at least get a Christian burial. These cartels seem to have no such standards.

Looks like Brenda is a goner. We haven't seen Future Teresa for a few episodes, but since Present Teresa has gotten herself into scrape after scrape.

Camila and Epifanio seem to have the stuff to be a "power couple", but his desire to dominate and control his wife is a huge buzz kill for her. 

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The cartels have far less decency than the Mafia. Even though the mob has committed their fair share of brutal acts, the code of omertà forbids going after the wives and children of one's enemies and seems to require to leave bodies in a manner that the decadents would at least get a Christian burial. These cartels seem to have no such standards.

The definition of "omerta" in the quote above is not really accurate. I'll address that in the next paragraph, but it is about silence, not who gets killed or leaving bodies visible to be buried.  It's true that most Cartels generally do not have a code or really follow many rules. I live in San Diego, about 45 minutes from the boarder, and have, on a couple of occasions, seen some nasty things when I've crossed over before, so they definitely seem to have few boundaries. However, the mafia hasn't had a code either for some time  (if they had stuck to it, perhaps they would be more dominant than they are today).  In the mafia of eras past, they did have some kind of code, but leaving bodies out to ensure they were found to have a Christian/proper burial? Not really accurate at all in many cases. Read up on Murder Inc. - that firm was contracted by the mafia and many of the people they are believed to have killed still have not been found.

In any case, the "omerta" code (which, as I mentioned, is about silence, by the way - It has nothing to do with who dies or who can be killed or whether or not bodies are found to be burried) largely died out when the Feds caught on to a lot of their ploys and RICO went into effect. This helped cause the mafia to lose its code, which is what "omerta" was about - keeping your mouth shut (one of the key rules was not to snitch, which is where "omerta" should have come into play - meaning to keep silent). How many mafia members and associates are in witness protection or in jail on reduced sentences because they did snitch and cut a deal (see "Goodfellas" and Henry Hill as well as Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, not to mention the Valachi Papers)? Many of them have written books about what actually happened in that world - they were all pretty high ranking, with Sammy even being Underboss (typically next in line to take over the family if something happens to the boss/head), so the books are fascinating to read.  I've actually even spoken to Henry Hill (he left witness protection on his own not too long after he was put in and also wrote a cookbook), the main subject of Goodfellas (Ray Liotta played him in the movie), when I was in college doing my undergrad work.  The mafia has also killed women and children, despite the fact that it was originally forbidden back in the very early days. Read some of the biographies and autobiographies out there (many written by high ranking mafia members). Those providing info admit that family members (wives, mothers, children, etc.) were killed.

In any case, for Queen of the South, there is  only one episode left this season  and it has not even come close to the storytelling of the original version. This version has deviated so much that I find myself losing interest since I have seen the original.

I'll put some notes about the original in spoiler tags.

Spoiler

In the original, Brenda was killed off at the same time her husband was. Her children were also killed off at the same time (she had at least 2 kids in the original, if I remember correctly). Brenda spilling some of the beans in this episode was just stupid. Also, it appears Teresa may not get to Spain as she did in the original by giving Epi the journal. She never had to pay this high fee that the coke head lawyer is asking for to get passports as she had her own and went from Mexico to San Diego to Spain, where she met Epi's contact. If Brenda stays alive, I am worried that some of the best relationships from the original series will never be introduced, like those with Fatima, Patti and Oleg. I love the actress who plays Brenda (and have ever since I first saw her in 6 Feet Under), but the bonds Teresa (La Mexicana, as she is called in the original as it is primarily set in Southern Spain) forms with the girls in Spain in the original version is far better than any relationship she has with Brenda or any other character that had ben introduced to date.

Even though the original had far more episodes work with, they still managed to cover more ground in less than 10 episodes than this version has. This is really crawling along and the characters are no where near as compelling as in the original "La Reina del Sur."

I have no idea what the last episode holds, but they really have deviated from the original series, and not entirely in a good way. The first episode is the only one that is even close to the original, though there are several differences there as well. If this gets renewed, I'm not sure I will stay with it after having seen the original and the relationships and bonds Teresa forms there. They are not replaceable, nor is the setting. The original had a far better setting than this one does and better characters that were much more developed. They had more episodes to work with in the original, but there are certain things that could have been adjusted in this version to make it a much better story.

Edited by Rapunzel
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Thanks for setting me straight, Rapunzel. I did remember omertà was much about keeping your mouth shut, but I thought the mafia had another codex as well for behavior with written and unwritten rules.

The Godfather movies portrayed a sense of a more genteel time where there was some sensibility. I was always fascinated by their devotion to Catholicism contrasted with every reprehensible thing they did. Women and children were at one time protected, but now you mention it, they killed their share in Goidfellas. I should have clarified they had obviously relaxed that rule. Many families at first didn't wish to engage in drug trafficking as well as any other enterprises they found distasteful.

LOVED Goodfellas!  How cool you actually got to meet Henry Hill. Ray Liotta's portrayal of him was some of the best screen work I've ever seen! Totally obsessed with Mafia movies, but narco dramas are much too visceral for me at times.

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As I posted in another thread, I have only been able enjoy this show because it is so far from the original that it's become just an entirely different show. Aside from thname similarities and the all-important notebook, there is no resemblance whatsoever. So I simply approach it as an entirely different story.

That said, I am really getting impatient with the slow pace of this one, and the unrelenting grimness. The original had a fast-moving plot, moments of humor and beauty and lightness, gorgeous settings (it was filmed on location in 3-4 countries),, gorgeous people (especially lots of eye candy for the ladies), and many more secondary characters who were really interesting and engaging. This show doesn't have any of that, and frankly, it is not compensating for those lacks in any substantial way.

Someone said the USA series had a bigger budget? I find that hard to believe as the original telenovela was the second costliest telenovela ever produced, I think the budget was around $10 million. I can't see where USA is spending the money!

Also, there were times in the original when I felt my credulity had to stretch to buy something, but never to the extent this show has asked me to. This episode being a prime example.

It's making me miss the original more and more.

Agree 100% with what you said in the spoiler, Rapunzel.

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2 hours ago, Marsupial said:

As I posted in another thread, I have only been able enjoy this show because it is so far from the original that it's become just an entirely different show. Aside from thname similarities and the all-important notebook, there is no resemblance whatsoever. So I simply approach it as an entirely different story.

That said, I am really getting impatient with the slow pace of this one, and the unrelenting grimness. The original had a fast-moving plot, moments of humor and beauty and lightness, gorgeous settings (it was filmed on location in 3-4 countries),, gorgeous people (especially lots of eye candy for the ladies), and many more secondary characters who were really interesting and engaging. This show doesn't have any of that, and frankly, it is not compensating for those lacks in any substantial way.

Someone said the USA series had a bigger budget? I find that hard to believe as the original telenovela was the second costliest telenovela ever produced, I think the budget was around $10 million. I can't see where USA is spending the money!

Also, there were times in the original when I felt my credulity had to stretch to buy something, but never to the extent this show has asked me to. This episode being a prime example.

It's making me miss the original more and more.

Agree 100% with what you said in the spoiler, Rapunzel.

Thanks Marsupial. You articulated many of the issues I have with the US Version quite well.

I also tried to view this as a completely different story,  separate from the original though sharing some similarities. However, that is not how it has turned out so far. With a bigger budget, known actors, higher production values, etc. I was expecting more from this version. Instead, it has just made me miss the original all the more. This version is creeping along and does not have the same character development or variety of characters that the original has. The setting is also no where near as interesting and that plays a pretty key part in the original.

Though the original had more episodes to work with, this version is still just creeping along and has accomplished what the original did in a few episodes, as I mentioned in an earlier post. This back and forth between Mexico and Texas is ridiculous - especially for someone who wants to get out of danger and start her own life. They are making the character of Teresa seem just stupid, which she  wasn't in the original.

This version is a let down for me as I know how Teresa was originally portrayed (and she had basically the same info in the first episode as the Teresa in the current version does), but they are making her seem so ignorant in this version and not able to turn certain things to her advantage. I'll put some info about Brenda in spoiler tags for those who don't want to know how she was in the original version.

Spoiler

Brenda seems to be a hindrance for her - especially since Brenda was also married to someone fairly significant in the Cartel. If Brenda had been killed off when her husband was in the first episode, I think the storyline for Teresa would be fairly different (like in the original) and much more interesting. Brenda is basically going to weigh down Teresa until she is killed (if that happens to Brenda in this version). Brenda's presence may prevent a lot of the most interesting things that happen to Teresa and the bonds she forms with others. Not having those would be a major disappointment as they are some of the best things in the original.

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Totally obsessed with Mafia movies, but narco dramas are much too visceral for me at times.

Agree, Arwen Evenstar!! I am obsessed with Mafia movies as well, and have probably watched ALL of the Godfather movies 100 times, as well as The Spranos, The Departed (Irish mafia), and so  on. Mr. Marsupial loves the narco shows but I find them too horrifyingly violent. Those drug cartels make the mafia look like a bunch of schoolchildren.

Not that I care that much, but why did Teresa ask for only half the amount she and Brenda had agreed to? Was she afraid to ask for more? If the information is so important that a ruthless drug trafficker would pay $250,000 for it, why not ask for a lot more? Why risk your life for so little, comparatively speaking? But what do I know...

And I guess Brenda is already dead, or going to be soon? I like that actress and remember her from Six Feet Under and I liked the character of Brenda. But I guess they can't figure out what to do with her so they will just kill her off.

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This back and forth between Mexico and Texas is ridiculous - especially for someone who wants to get out of danger and start her own life. They are making the character of Teresa seem just stupid, which she  wasn't in the original.

Yes, you do have to wonder how someone so clueless becomes "the Queen" in the end.

And I love the insta-tunnel between the two countries, good Lord, where did they get that idea? The reality of how illegal immigrants travel between the two countries is actually quite grim and brutal, if there is an easy-access tunnel like that I'm sure they would love to know about it.

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I live in San Diego and sadly, the tunnels are very real and are all along the boarder and keep moving, which is why ICE and the DEA have such a hard time shutting them down. The tunnels are one of the reasons a "wall" will never really work. There are always ways around it, and many have been able to move fairly freely back and forth between the US and Mexico. The drugs, unfortunately, do as well, despite efforts to stop them.

Edited by Rapunzel

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So this season, I haven't found a reason for "Kim" to exist (although she is quite lovely to look at). 

Agree that Kim (I didn't even know her name until I saw it in your post) has basically been a waste of screen time and space so far, and I have a feeling she may not be long for this world. I'll spoiler tag some things about the original.

Spoiler

iI La Reina del Sur, there is no "James" and, subsequently, no girlfriend of his, so no "Kim" either. There also isn't really a Camilla, so 'I suspect they may be creating some "hybrid" characters, which would be a definite shame as the relationships Teresa forms when she is actually able to go to Spain are so well written and far more meaningful than any of the relationships she has in this US version so far.

"James" as written in the US version, does not exist, as I mentioned. I really hope they are not trying to use him as a replacement for Teresa's boyfriend in Spain who teaches her about boats and about smuggling hashish across the Gibraltar Strait. Those two really were in love - I think she may have loved him more than she loved El Guero, What happens to him is unfortunate, but that's when she ends up in jail and forms the bonds with some of the women who will always stand by her while they are able. Writing relationships like that is not easy and it is those bonds are one of the things I appreciated most about the original series. She does not seem to have that deep level of connection with Brenda at all - especially as Brenda appears to be out only for herself and is a complete idiot who can't keep her mouth shut. I am having a hard time understanding why Teresa brought her over unless it was purely for the sake of Brenda's son or because Teresa just wanted company.

Edited by Rapunzel

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Rapunzel, I stand corrected. So I guess there is truth in how they depicted that crossing. Interesting!

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My shock of the week:  I watched an interview with Peter Gadiot and he has a very posh sounding English accent!

I'm always amazed at how well the Brits can do American accents of all kinds. Has he been in other things? He's very goodlooking, and he looks like he could easily be Latino (the name Gadiot is French, I think?).

Spoiler

I had the exact same idea, that James was going to be El Gallego. I still think they might try to go that way but it would not be the same. I like James, but Itheir relationship is not at all like that of Gallego and Teresa.  I miss all the great characters like Pote, and Il Russo, and Teresa's friends from prison.

Rapunzel, responding to your spoiler in a spoiler.

Edited by Marsupial · Reason: clarification

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35 minutes ago, Gabrielle Tracy said:

Rapunzel, it seems like there is so much more detail in the original.  How long was the series?

It is over 60 episodes (63, I think). Most Mexican and Latin/Southern American series have that many each season as they tend to air most nights each week rather than just once a week. That's a big reason they can go into more detail, however even many US Fall Series, that often have about 20-23 episodes (and typically more like 10-13 for Summer Shows) could do a much better job with character development than some of them seem to, including the US version of "La Reina del Sur." The setting of the original version is also a character in and of itself in this show and is far better than the one in this version.

If this show gets a second series, I think there is still time for it to get better if it starts to lean more towards the original and introduces characters from the original version, but we'll have to wait and see. Putting some info on the original in spoilers.

Spoiler

My absolute favorite character was the Russian, Oleg, in the original. He has such a special bond with Teresa that never turns romantic, but clearly the two of them care deeply for one another, and even seem to love each other in their own way. This is despite Oleg being a pretty ruthless guy and kingpin/drugloard with the Russian mob (and Teresa is originally scared to death of him). He helps mentor Teresa and helps her out of some very sticky situations and the whole relationship is just so well written because they have a special kind of intimacy and chemistry that does not cross the line into sex/romance. That is not an easy thing to accomplish when writing a TV series.

Another favorite is Fatima, who is the first woman Teresa meets when she gets to Spain. Fatima is not the brightest bulb, but clearly a very good person who is working as a prostitute to try to get her son out of an orphanage in Morocco (Fatima is from Morocco originally). She will do nearly anything to help Teresa, and Teresa does help her rescue her son eventually. A lot of the woman she meets when she first gets to Spain and starts working at the brothel/pub/gambling den (Teresa manages to avoid being a prostitute as she is good with numbers so the sleazy owner has her working the till and doing the books instead) are great characters and develop good relationships with her. I really hope they are not trying to use Brenda to replace Fatima as Fatima is a much more compelling character.  The original Brenda was killed when her husband and kids were, so I worry that by changing the story and keeping Brenda alive along with her son is a way to replace Fatima and Fatima's son, which would be a shame as this version of Brenda in the US version has shown herself to be pretty stupid and really only out for herself. The bond with Teresa just isn't there to the extent the one with Fatima was.

Edited by Rapunzel

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4 hours ago, Gabrielle Tracy said:

I really want to find La Reina del Sur and watch it.  I loved Deutchland 83, subtitles and all, so I should be able to get used to it.

I believe it is still streaming on Netflix, so if you have that, you should be able to watch it. It has all the episodes and they are subtitled.

There is a book as well, which is based on the True Story, though the name of the actual woman the book/series is about isn't Teresa Mendoza. I can't remember exactly what it is at the moment.

Before they even made the original Mexican version, there was talk about making a movie, but it never came off despite them having some of the cast members picked out - actors popular in America (some interesting choices, from what I remember).

Edited by Rapunzel

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iI have never understood why the original was not released with English subtitles on DVD. It did air with subtitled on the Mun2 channel but apparently the only place that's available now is Netflix. I'm baffled that the producers wouldn't want to further the reach of such a successful show.

The original was about 63 episodes. Note that most telenovelas don't have "seasons" as we understand them, they run a story from beginning to end, usually several nights in succession. They tell one story from beginning to end, similar to American miniseries except with a lot more episodes. There have been a few popular ones that came back for a second or even third run, but that is not the norm.

Edited by Marsupial · Reason: spelling

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For those interested in the "true story" of the Queen of the South, I'm reposting this from an earlier thread:

I do know the legend of "La Reina del Sur" predates both the book and the series. "La Reina del Sur" was originally a song, a so-called narcocorrida (drug dealers' ballad) that was recorded by Los Tigres del Norte in 2002. The song, and the book, are both believed to be inspired by a real-life woman trafficker named Sandra Avila Beltran, who went by the nickname "Queen of the Pacific."  Los Tigres wrote another corrida for Beltran called "La Reina de Reinas" (The Queen of Queens).  The story told in the lyrics of "La Reina del Sur" is an almost perfect recitation of the story told in the telenovela and, from what I gather, the book.

Here's an article from the Guardian about Beltran: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/oct/06/mexico

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14 hours ago, bentley said:

I don't see a thread for general news about the show so I'm dropping this here. Queen of the South renewed for season 2!  I'm thrilled. This is my favorite show.

http://www.usanetwork.com/queenofthesouth/blog/queen-of-the-south-renewed-for-season-2

Yay!  No this show isn't perfect but I do like it and I do think it has potential to get better once they move into another phase.

6 hours ago, Marsupial said:

The original was about 63 episodes. Note that most telenovelas don't have "seasons" as we understand them, they run a story from beginning to end, usually several nights in succession. They tell one story from beginning to end, similar to American miniseries except with a lot more episodes. There have been a few popular ones that came back for a second or even third run, but that is not the norm.

Right.  And that's why I'm torn when it comes to comparing the telenovela with this show.  I know I remember doing it with Ugly Betty (although I did love the US version, it was just a very different show) so I 100% get the urge.  It is tough to reconcile one version of a beloved story with another, sometimes radically different, version.

But telenovelas do have the advantage of knowing how long they'll last to tell their story.  Sometimes the novelas get extended which can lead to some meandering but it seems like the original pretty much knew the story it was going to tell in 60 episodes.  This version with seasons doesn't.  And, for all we know, they may be less inclined to follow the book unlike the telenovela because they do need smaller season long arcs.

I think I will check out the original Spanish version because it is different. 

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I'm curious to see how people who have seen the original feel about it. (Although maybe we need a separate thread comparing all three versions.)

From what I've read about the telenovela and book, I had suspected that the TPTB saw the first season as the phase that got Teresa to the point of joining the game.  And I think this episode pretty much got us there.

I don't know how I feel about Guero being alive.  I had anticipated it but still...

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We had a power surge just as Guero identified  Teresa. I know it was very close to the end of the show, but did anything else happen after that while my cable service was rebooting? 

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I was surprised Teresa was so forgiving of that henchman she teamed up with at the end. I don't recall him trying to stop her getting raped. He made a token protest to the rapist and then stood by and let it happen is how I remember it.

I'm also wondering, if Epifanio is going scorched earth on his former operations, isn't the book losing much of its value? I'm also wondering where the book is right now. Did we see what Teresa did with it?  

I love the reveal of Guero at the end. He's gonna have a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Edited by bentley
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More later, but I am so happy to see Rafael Amaya in this episode! He was El Guero in the original version of this show, "La Reina del Sur." The character he is playing in "Queen of the South" is the same character he plays on another Mexican TV show that just finished its third series not too long ago, called "El Señor de los Cielos" (The King of the Skies). His character, Aurelio Casillas, is the lead in that show and is a pretty big drug kingpin. "El Señor de los Cielos" is streaming on Netflix as well and has all 3 seasons so far with over 60 episodes each. It's a pretty interesting show as well.

Edited by Rapunzel

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 So Brenda is finally killed in this version (man, do I feel bad for Justina Machado - she keeps getting killed off in TV series lately). I like the actress a lot and would like to see her in a role that lasts again.

El Guero still being alive is a bit of a surprise. I love that we got to see original actor who played the original El Guero in the Mexican version ("La Reina del Sur") in the beginning of the episode. He was played by  Rafael Amaya in that version. Rafael is now playing another famous Mexican TV character that they have introduced into this show in one of the first scenes of the episode, Aurellio Casillas, in "El Senor de Los Cielos,"  (not sure if he will play a long term role, especially given who his character is in the series he is currently in and that he is the lead - it just finished it's third series, with each series being over 60 episodes - they may have just brought him in for a Cameo given that he was the original Guero). We also go to see "new version" El Guero at the end of the episode (played by the actor they chose for the US version). The new "El Guero" didn't get nearly as much screen time as the original El Guero (Rafael Amaya) in the original series, but since they have kept him alive that may change in the next season. I'm not sure that the fact that he is alive now necessarily means he'll stay alive for too long. I think he's alive, in part, because he's been working with the DEA while he was stealing money from Epi and the Cartel and the DEA wants that journal just as bad as Epi does (there is some additional info in my spoiler tags).

Teresa partnering with Pote happens in the original, though a bit differently. While Pote is a criminal and has done awful things, he's the least nefarious of Epi's men and the only one who appears to have a conscious or a code. Yes, Gato raped Teresa while Pote was there, but had Pote done anything to stop it, he would have been killed. I know it doesn't make it right, but given the world Teresa is living in, she doesn't have many options nor much support/help from anyone.

Lots happened in this episode - some things that tie back to the original more, others that do not, however I'm looking forward to next season and to see how things continue to play out.

I'll put some additional info on the original, including more about El Guero and thoughts about his future, in spoiler tags.

Spoiler

Towards the end of the series when Teresa needs help as Epi sends his henchmen to Spain to kill her, the Russian and his people help her capture them and then torture them to get info on what Epi is doing and what he is after. She has the Russians kill them all, including the one that raped her.  One of the henchmen. called La Rata in the original, is actually Epi's nephew (turns out later he is actually his son) had been wanting Teresa's blood for a long time - he even went to jail for a bit as Epi forced him to after he disobeyed Epi's orders and followed Teresa to San Diego and also since he was clearly going off the rails to some extent - his obsession with Teresa, as well as "getting high off of his own supply" too much led Epi to believe he was a loose cannon. Being his nephew/son, however, Epi would not have him killed, but opted to send him to jail in a Federal Prison in the US so he couldn't get out so easily, especially as Epi was Governor. He didn't get much of a sentence, however (I think it was 5 years or maybe even less), and he was eventually transferred to prison in Mexico, with Epi's help, and "released".  

The other henchmen who go to Spain with La Rata are also killed, but she has Oleg's men keep Pote alive and sends him back to Mexico to tell Epi what she did to his men and that she has become fairly powerful. Pote sees that Epi isn't going to do a thing to protect him and, because Epi treats him like shit, he returns to Spain as he has nowhere else to turn as Epi kind of rejects him since he lived and the others, including his nephew didn't, which, starts to have Epi thinking he can't really trust Pote.  Since Teresa spared his life, he becomes loyal to her and ends up being her closest bodyguard and is with her until the end. He would, and did, do anything for her, and their relationship is actually kind of sweet, despite how things started, as Pote was so grateful to her.

I don't believe they will keep Guero alive for long. If I remember right, in the original the DEA was also getting a cut of the money he was stealing from Epi and the Cartel (one corrupt agent in particular). That agent pretends to be a friend of Guero's and is actually the one who calls Teresa on the special phone and tells her Guero is dead and that she needs to run (later, at Teresa's request, he tells her how Guero died as he was actually there when it happened). The agent then starts to hunt Teresa just like Epi's men are. Teresa does not know that this is the man that called her claiming to be Guero's friend at this point, and he is eventually able to catch up to Teresa by pretending to be a business man on his way back to San Diego. She eventually figures out, while on the way to San Diego, that he's actually DEA and wants the journal. 

The agent does help get her out of Mexico and to San Diego via one of Guero's planes with the understanding that Teresa will give him the journal though the agent has no idea she already gave the book to Epi in exchange for him arranging her safe passage to Spain and a contact she can meet there to get her a job/situated in a new life. Guero told her he had a ton of cash stored for her at a bank in San Diego that she needed to use to escape if anything happened to him, However, after briefly meeting with Guero's sister who lives in San Diego, she is denied access to bank money as someone had tipped off the bank. She manages to suss this out and escapes, but with none of the money.   

 I think in the US version, if the DEA doesn't get the book, Guero is as good as dead. It has info that implicates the DEA, especially the corrupt agent, as well. If Guero lives, I'm not sure what his role will be. If he comes out of hiding, Epi will have him killed, so perhaps he and Teresa leave the country together somehow by cutting a deal with Camilla and then that is where Guero teaches her about the drug business and she gets her start, which would mean Guero would possibly replace Santiago, her boyfriend in Spain, who teaches her how to work on boats to run hashish across the Gibraltar Strait. 

Edited by Rapunzel

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Farewell, Brenda. Ultimately she died for a very human mistake. It's tough to think about how she was beaten to death for wanting assurances about her son's safety.

Not too surprised Guero is alive. I'm just hoping this doesn't mean next season's going to involve a love triangle between him, Teresa, and James with him trying to get Teresa to work with the DEA and James pulling her further into that world. Girl's got bigger fish to fry, like is Brenda's kid somewhere safe? 

Pote may not have been able to help Teresa without risking his own life but that doesn't mean Teresa has to forgive him. Choosing your own safety over someone else's is understandable but that doesn't absolve you morally. I do think it makes sense that Teresa would box that up for later, though, since she's not in a position to pick and choose allies. Her situation is very precarious.

The actress that plays Isabella is the worst in the cast, tbh, so it's difficult for me to separate my dislike of her from my feelings for Isabella. The kid comes off as not too bright if she thinks her father genuinely wants to go legit after more than twenty years as a drugpin. Especially if she thinks politician is a huge step up, morally speaking. But she's not wrong to dislike her mother who is, after all, a murderer and trafficker.

I think part of what doesn't work for me w/r/t Epifanio is the actor as much as the writing. He has no presence and no sense of menace. Even when he was strangling a man to death with his tie there was...nothing. His aide exclaming, "Are you kidding me? The press is waiting!" is the only thing that got a response from me. (I do like Epifanio's aide. He's just so put-out about how incovenient his client's criminal activity is.) I just don't buy Epifanio as someone other people would look to as a leader or as a threat.

Alice Braga is great as Teresa. The way she plays Teresa, you can see her learning, thinking, you can see her heart breaking when she has to shoot someone to defend herself. Teresa is still the only character I care about and the show kind of slows for me when it doesn't focus on her. I hope next season she's a bigger player and the show gets inside her head more.

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Here's something I don't understand about Guero being alive: why did Teresa get that call? Did someone else make it honestly thinking he was dead (even though there obviously wasn't a body) or did he have that call made to help make everyone believe he was dead? Is Brenda's husband dead or is he still alive too?

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1 hour ago, slf said:

Here's something I don't understand about Guero being alive: why did Teresa get that call? Did someone else make it honestly thinking he was dead (even though there obviously wasn't a body) or did he have that call made to help make everyone believe he was dead? Is Brenda's husband dead or is he still alive too?

I'm not sure how to tell you without possibly creating a spoiler based on the original version. I expect this will be explained more next season, but in any case, I'll put it in tags based on info from the original.

Spoiler

In the original, Guero is working with DEA as well. Although he really is killed initially, it is a DEA agent who calls Teresa and tells her that Guero is dead - he was there and saw it happen. This DEA agent is corrupt and was taking some of the money Guero was taking from the Cartel. The Agent also needs the journal desperately, as it has information that incriminates him as well.

In this version, I believe the DEA Agent still made the call, however the DEA kept Guero alive as they need the journal.

Brenda's husband, Chico, really is dead. We saw him get shot in the head in the show and he wasn't the brains behind the stealing operation and I don't think he was in with the DEA - he also didn't have anything valuable, like the journal, to trade.

This could, of course, end up varying in the US version - we'll just have to wait until next season to see what happens.

Edited by Rapunzel

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54 minutes ago, Rapunzel said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

In the original, Guero is working with DEA as well. Although he really is killed initially, it is a DEA agent who calls Teresa and tells her that Guero is dead - he was there and saw it happen. This DEA agent is corrupt and was taking some of the money Guero was taking from the Cartel. The Agent also needs the journal desperately, as it has information that incriminates him as well.

In this version, I believe the DEA Agent still made the call, however the DEA kept Guero alive as they need the journal.

Brenda's husband, Chico, really is dead. We saw him get shot in the head in the show and he wasn't the brains behind the stealing operation and I don't think he was in with the DEA - he also didn't have anything valuable, like the journal, to trade.

This could, of course, end up varying in the US version - we'll just have to wait until next season to see what happens.

Oh God, I can't believe I forgot that about Brenda's husband. We saw him get plugged. I guess I never did find Brenda's family that interesting.

W/r/t that info about Guero, I think the US version will probably go that route. Based on what little we saw of him this episode nothing else makes sense.

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2 hours ago, slf said:

Here's something I don't understand about Guero being alive: why did Teresa get that call? Did someone else make it honestly thinking he was dead (even though there obviously wasn't a body) or did he have that call made to help make everyone believe he was dead? Is Brenda's husband dead or is he still alive too?

We saw Brenda's  husband get killed.

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