Teresa Mendoza, an orphan adept at resourcefulness and tricks, lives quietly in Mexico. She shares her life with a drug trafficker, but her life changes the day Guero is assassinated.
When Jane The Virgin meets Narcos
If you watched Jane The Virgin in French and you watch Reine du Sud in the language of Molière, something will strike you: Teresa and Guero are dubbed by the same actors who dubbed Jane and Rafael in Jane The Virgin. Suffice to say that this is quite disturbing, as the female characters seem poles apart from each other.
However, we are indeed in a telenovela, with the same narrative style, the same construction and even an omniscient narrator. One of the guidelines of telenovelas is that we are faced with a magical realism. It must seem real, but you have to breathe a part of dream, of magic into the story, to hook the viewer.
The problem with Reine du Sud is that it does not meet this criterion. It is impossible to dream: Teresa is mistreated, kidnapped, raped, locked up, she is used as a mule, etc. Initially, we think we are in front of a female version of Narcos. But that doesn’t work either.
In Queen of the South, part of the traffic is handled by a woman: Camila Vargas, who is as tough as her male counterparts. On the first and second season, it pretty much holds up. The scriptwriters wanted to break the idea that a woman could not be as ruthless as men in the conduct of criminal cases.
But, from the third season, everything breaks the figure. The female characters begin to show tenderness and benevolence. It would have made sense in another universe, but in the narco universe, it doesn’t. Teresa’s moral conflict is also incongruous. From the start, she wants to climb the ranks in her school of crime, she wants her piece of the cake and eliminate the competition.
From then on, his moral posture of not shedding blood, not to buy some form of peace, but because it’s not nice to kill his opponents, is totally far-fetched. If Teresa was so tortured by any morality, she wouldn’t do drug trafficking, even if we imagine that she never knew anything else. What is deeply annoying is that the characters do not assume who they are. It’s fun for a few episodes, but the entire series is based on this premise, which quickly becomes heavy.
Computers in the service of crime
If the series is full of inconsistencies, we can nevertheless give a good point on the use of computers. We find the usual range of surveillance tools, for example, GPS beacons or cell phone tracking. There are also disposable cell phones, which do not exist in France, but are very common in the United States.
The use of cryptocurrencies also seems to hold up more or less, but if the author of his lines readily admits not understanding anything about it. A true system specialist will be able to look into this question by watching the series.
The exploitation of social networks is also well brought and well integrated into the narrative, as is the reference to Silk Road and the development of a market on the dark web. Without going so far as to say that the dark web is only used for illegal markets, we cannot deny that it is also used by people who are not armed with good intentions.
We let ourselves be carried away by the series, thanks to the technique of telenovela, but over the episodes, we end up getting bored. We have the impression of going in circles and we feel that the end is telescoped. On a purely technical (computing) level, the series holds up, but that’s not enough to create a good story. Queen of the South is available in full on Netflix.
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