QOTS Rewatch - 1x02 - Cuarenta Minutos
Well folks, my recap thoughts on this episode are looong. So I won’t say too much else except that I fucking love this episode. Easily in the top 5. I mean, what’s not to love about what became my OTP of all OTPs crashing full-force into each other for the first time (and literally, among other things, getting into a car crash together, lol).
I’ve written extensively about the dynamic this episode sets up between James and Teresa in a previous meta, so I won’t go back over all that again here, but go read that if you haven’t. Then you can come back for my other Random Thoughts as I rewatched this episode for the umpteenth time:
Teresa wakes up in the warehouse, disoriented and dirty. The first thing that happens to her? Tonto clocks her with the butt of his gun when she asks to speak to Camila. And according to Aveline, he’s the nicest one there?! What does that make James, does that mean he’s supposed to be meaner than that??!
I never really understood what the purpose of the “pros” was (i.e., the sex workers). It seems incongruous at least with what we eventually learn about James’s scruples. Not that Camila would’ve had issues with the sex trade necessarily, but it seems a little odd to me that James would’ve gotten in-step with a woman who was involved in kidnapping women to sell them for sex. Or am I missing something? Is this an actual thing and the show is just trying to present this world somewhat accurately at this point?
God I remember watching this episode for the first time and feeling increasingly like something sinister was about to happen with Aveline. So intense. Also... not exactly realistic that she’d just fall over dead in a split second from a coke overdose of that magnitude.
Little could I have fathomed that Tonto and Charger (who digs through Aveline’s guts before she’s probably even fully dead) would eventually become Teresa’s soldiers and that I’d feel fondly towards them.
Not unlike Pote I guess?
Teresa’s first escape attempt! Hon what did you think you would accomplish by running UP the stairs? This part kind of tears me up. She was so desperate and scared. But tough as a nail. And ends up in a crumpled heap on the cement 🤯
Still has that black nail polish. Not even chipped!
Six and a half minutes in… and HELLO JAMES!! That loose strand of hair, that black leather jacket over a black shirt, that necklace. Skinny and scruffy-faced. I’m also partial to skinny-faced James and round-faced Teresa of this season. Anyway, I knew HE was trouble as soon as we saw him, just like he knew Teresa was trouble.
Because the first thing he does is dig even deeper into Aveline’s guts to rescue the last packet of coke. Literally getting blood all over his hands.
Reminds me of the scene later (episode 1x08?) after the shootout with the Miami dealers and Teresa is washing the blood off her own hands at the same sink, and he says, “I know what you’re going through.”
And while James is washing that blood off his hands, he looks up and catches his first glimpse of Teresa, waiting restlessly for her punishment for trying to run. I’d never noticed that this was actually the first time he laid eyes on her until Annie pointed it out to me. But look at those intense eyes. It’s like some kind of sign from the universe, that as he’s trying not to feel troubled about digging through a dead woman’s guts, he notices this almost feral, untameable bundle of raw energy in front of him. And in true Jeresa fashion, she doesn’t notice him looking at her.
Brenda to Tony: “your father went six days without eating the first time he escaped from jail” hahaha how have I missed this line before? I wonder how many times Chino escaped from jail total 😂
Ok, no matter how many times I watch this episode I don’t understand the purpose of the scenes showing Camila at her goddaughter’s quinceanera. It feels like a waste of space? Does anything important happen here? We learn about Isabela and that she’s 14. That Camila used to be a dancer herself. That her business is growing. That she supposedly values family (or at least gives lip service to it). But I’m not sure we needed this scene to tell us these things?
Then we get James’s first acknowledgment of Teresa, via text to Camila that she tried to run.
“He’s the old chemist now” lol Camila gets some great one-liners.
I also just fucking love Camila and Teresa’s dynamic in this episode. Camila is a master manipulator. The scene where she calls Epifanio on speakerphone. She doesn’t even need to say anything to Teresa. Her leverage now is crystal clear, all just via the perfect performance of this phone call with Epifanio (whom Teresa didn’t know was still alive). You see Camila watching Teresa’s face and listening to Epifanio’s forced nonchalance and coming to understand that there’s way more to the story than either of them is revealing.
Teresa’s whole demeanor in this scene and the ensuing struggle with Camila’s men is so great, so well-acted. Really the whole episode. Again with that almost feral quality.
Notice that James is standing there during that whole struggle. He walks in right as she starts screaming “no no no” as she’s getting pinned down on the table. We don’t really get to see his face but it looks like he’s facing away, like he can’t watch the struggle.
Then his face as she says “I’ll deliver the drugs.” He turns towards her for the first time and looks down slightly. Looks slightly uncomfortable. I’m dying to know what’s running through his head as he watches this struggle (and of course she’s headed for the “pros” which, again, I’d love to know what’s going through his head as he processes that). I need like, a James interior monologue of this episode in fic form.
Then of course the famous last words, “I don’t care about her, I care about getting the drugs to Han.” LOL. We’ll see about that James. We’ll just see about that. He wasn’t even being totally honest, even at this point, what, less than an hour after seeing her for the first time? It was already a fib, I think to try to protect Teresa from harm, even if he wasn’t entirely aware he was fibbing. We know it’s a fib because in the car, he tells Teresa unequivocally that he’s “not having that again” (with respect to another girl dying).
And Camila makes it very clear it’s his responsibility to make it happen and if Teresa dies, it’s on him.
That passport photo, lol. Sporting the same shirt and same cut on her face as she appears at the airport security in. Must’ve been a pretty tuned-out TSA agent.
James’s face watching her deep-throat, I mean swallow, the coke packets. LOL. I mean there IS something sexual about it, right? Especially when she just stares across the table at him as she’s shoving one down her throat. You can’t convince me the parallel doesn’t cross James’s mind. I almost feel like he interprets it as a challenge? Like a challenge to not look away?
I appreciate how Teresa basically adopts silence as her number one survival strategy. Like don’t say anything unless absolutely necessary. Don’t reveal anything. Just look blank. Exhibit 17,374: when Camila asks her if the patron saint Malverde trinket gives her faith or comfort. Teresa: ::silent blank stare::
Then her first words to James: “you’re religious? That’s a laugh.”
The sunglasses coming offffffff. And the whole physical struggle. I DIE every time I watch that part. And I definitely died like four times in a row watching it for the first time.
“Well then I’m gonna die too, because I’m not gonna throw that shit up” AND HIS FACE. HIS EYES. He can’t control the “who the fuck is she and what the fuck is she doing” expression of baffled awe and concern that passes over his face at that point. Look, James is not going to win in the “who holds their cards closer to their chest” contest against Teresa, and it’s because his eyes are always a dead giveaway. They don’t mask a thing. That’s why he’s always gotta wear sunglasses 🕶
And the sunglasses go back on before he says “you’re gonna die.” Gotta make sure he’s got his mask on before he says that. As much to hide any possible emotions from himself as from her.
“She’s always so last minute” to the TSA agent. Comedic gold—acting within acting. And one of the few times in the ENTIRE SERIES we see James smile?? Meanwhile Teresa just looks like a traumatized porcupine.
I love the wrist grab trying to run into the bathroom. She grabs him first and then he pulls her to the right door.
God the tension in the storage closet scene. It’s so good. Her weak “I can’t” does me in. His look of panic as he grabs for the soap. And incredulity once she gets the last one up. It’s now been made abundantly clear to him that, if they weren’t before, now they’re definitely in it together.
I think this scene is the first time he says her name? “C’mon Teresa” [ta-ray-zuh]
No time for dallying though, still gotta get the drugs to Han
THE ESCALATOR SHOT. Enough said. I’ll rb a gifset of that and say more lol.
Then the cab ride back. I reblogged a gifset of this here. Buuut I’ll rb another one too because there’s so much to say about it.
Camila meeting Teo. “Speaking of life, I like life.” Poor Teo. And his line to her, when she says she’s good at handling her husband: “it’s always the best swimmers who drown.” The two of them are good at speaking in metaphors. But this conversation is also some terrific foreshadowing! Both for Teo’s storyline and Camila’s (though hers took a few seasons to get there).
Speaking of, poor Teo. He should stay away. But he won’t because Camila always uses her sex appeal to get what she wants out of her men. Except James—she never goes there with him. Of course, James would never fall for it, or respect her for doing it to him. He respects her because of her strength and intelligence, not because of her sex appeal. It’s an interesting parallel to his burgeoning respect for Teresa for those same qualities.
Camila: “I’m just supposed to keep looking for this girl that means nothing to you, whom you need alive, preferably, and who needs to be made an example of?” Epifanio: “Thank you, I knew you’d see it my way.” Hahahaha. Season 1 was the best for Camila and Epifanio repartee. It started to drag a little in season 2 in my opinion.
James visits Camila in the warehouse. “You know this Mendoza girl. Keep an eye on her. I think she might be more useful than I thought.” And James does that nose wrinkle and twitch he always does when he’s feeling uneasy. And when she tells him to talk to her and get her to trust him, he starts smoking his second cigarette of the scene (nervous habit? lol) and doesn’t make eye contact with Camila. He does a thing with his tongue against his teeth as if he’s lost in thought and trying to mentally brace himself for something. Again, I need a James interior monologue of this episode!! But you can tell that he’s already compelled by Teresa at this point. Her nerves of steel, her composure, her wildness. And I feel like he already knows at this point that she’s going to change things. If not in a personal way, at least the dynamics of his workplace.
And the episode ends with a queenpin vision. “It looks like you’re all settled in. Sweet dreams.” Sweet dreams indeed. The actual love of your life has entered, stage right.
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