Queen of the South: Ep 2 Cuarenta Minutos – Gut Wrenching (Review)

 Queen of the South - Season 1Episode two of Queen of the South; “Cuarenta Minutos” (forty minutes) follows Theresa Mendoza’s faltering steps towards becoming the Queenpin of drugs in the US.  The journey is a gut wrenching and white knuckle experience this week. While not as adrenaline fueled as the pilot, it  has enough suspense to make up the difference.

Mendoza is still in a caged area surrounded by women being injected with drugs. Despondent, Theresa is not hungry and another woman stops by to offer help. She is a mule  waiting to make her delivery. As the young drug trafficker is speaking to Theresa she collapses. The mule is dead as the balloons inside her have started to dissolve.

Theresa shouts for help and the men outside the cage collect their dead mule. The balloons are retrieved from the dead woman’s stomach.  The urgency of gathering the drugs overtakes security precautions and the gate to the cage is left open.

Theresa runs.

She is caught and Camila asks the young woman once again why Epifanio is so keen to get her back. Mendoza explains that she does not know what  Guero did and Camila sentences her to be drugged and used as a prostitute.  Theresa desperately offers to deliver the shipment the dead girl could not and Camila agrees.

James Valdez is the “go to” man who sorts out Theresa’s identity, passport and helps her to down the 23 balloon wrapped parcels. Watching Mendoza shove the balloons down her throat is almost as stomach turning as seeing her expel the packets  later.

Time is running out and James must rush Theresa, and the drugs, to the airport. Once there they get through passport control and head past airport security. An accomplice opens a janitor’s cupboard door and  the two head inside.

Theresa begins ejecting the balloons and James gives them a quick rinse.  There are still three balloons left to expel and Mendoza cannot vomit them up. James squirts liquid hand soap down Mendoza’s throat.  Two  more packets land in the sink.

Valdez grabs the two balloons in the sink and begins wrapping the packets for delivery. One of the  balloons lands on the floor and James does not notice (more about that later). The drugs are handed off the Han.

Back in Sinaloa, Mexico, Brenda and her son are on the run from Epifanio’s thugs.  They head to her grandmother’s shop only to find two of his men waiting. A deliveryman that Brenda has known since childhood stops and picks the mother and her son up, saving their lives.

Late the delivery driver is tortured to give Brenda up but he holds out against the vicious Batman. The coldblooded enforcer for Epifanio shoots the man. Brenda’s cell phone has been pinged once and when it surfaces again the godfather’s men will kill her and the boy.

Camila has big plans. She is divorcing Epifanio and planning to increase her drug intake.  The current queenpin of Texas is also moving assets and reinvesting. Her husband calls again inquiring about Theresa.

When James reports on how well Mendoza did on the drug run, Camila orders him to talk to her and use Theresa again. She will be valuable, Varga says. James appears to be taking a personal interest in Mendoza. At first it seems that Valdez may be the new Guero.

There is one problem however. At the airport terminal, James was counting the packets of drugs that came out of Theresa.  Expecting 23, he began wrapping the product when only 22 had been vomited up.

Theresa leans over after giving her stomach such a severe workout and finds the last packet. Handing number 23 to James he puts it in the bag.  Earlier Valdez insisted that Mendoza force the balloons back up as they are late to the airport. He says that she will die as the balloons are dissolving and he cannot face that again.

Yet he does not bat an eye when he believes that she still has one dissolving packet inside her. This alone would sentence her to death as it is a pure uncut version of the drug. So at this point it does not seem likely that he is the new Dallas version of Guero.

Mendoza is visited by her “future self” a couple of times. In the first  visit successful Theresa tells a bemused and bedraggled Mendoza, “I said welcome to America. I did not say it was going to be easy.” The last time she drops by it is to tell her younger self  that she is heading in the right direction.

Braga is killing it in this remake of a popular telenovela.  The stunts are impressive even when they are not that spectacular. The car sequence where James and Theresa are rushing to the airport terminal is nail bitingly good.

Veronica Falcon is suitably icy and aloof as Camila Varga and de Almeida is superb as the godfather going into politics.  Machado is spot on as the new widow on the run.

This is drama/thriller is great entertainment. Regardless of the subject matter, we are behind Theresa Mendoza as she struggles to survive.  While not on par with Walter White in Breaking Bad we do like Theresa and feel comfortable rooting for her.

Queen of the South airs Thursdays on USA. Looks like Mr. Robot will not be the only addictive series on the network in 2016.


Joys of Withdrawal in the Real Desert

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Screenshot
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Keeping to the theme of writing about my new, temporary, abode in the great Southwest desert, or the “Real Desert” as I like to refer to it, I’m now dipping into the less fun aspects of my refuge from the criminal element of Las Vegas and the Internet. The above title is a bit of a misnomer, anyone who has gone through withdrawal knows that there are no joys involved.

Just a lot of suffering.

This is not a complaint, just a fact. While the discomfort is not fun, it is nothing compared to the original ailment that required the painkiller to be prescribed initially. Regardless of pain levels, as any addict will tell you, getting off any drug, or pharmaceutical medication, is damned hard. Even more so when the tapering off procedure is inadvertently bypassed  because you have run out of the substance  that has taken up residence in your system for far too long.

Years ago, when I was taking a plethora of pain medication for a back condition that was finally sorted out with surgery via the NHS, I became addicted to several medications. I was naive back then; despite reading about various celebs who were all “fessing up” to being hooked on prescribed medication, I thought that becoming addicted had to do with illegal substances like, crack, heroin and so on.

I soon found out that when the stuff the good doctor has shoved in your system, via pills and potions, runs out, addiction is not so close minded or choosy. Whether the drug of choice is cocaine or valium, or Tramadol (a man-made morphine substitute) or Percocet, when you run out or try to wean yourself off the bloody stuff, life becomes upsetting and pretty unpleasant.

My retreat into the joys of withdrawal in the real desert started with giving the wrong address to the VA, after inadvertently either suffering from numerical dyslexia or just “old man idiocy” I swapped out the last two numbers in the temporary PO Box number I now have. As a result, my pain meds, and more importantly, one of my heart medications was kept for four days at the local USPS and then returned to the sender. Through a series of misinformation and a non-caring Hitler-ish type woman who runs the local post office and a ticking clock, I have been without one of my heart meds for over two weeks and my pain meds have been drastically cut down from my usual 300 mg per day to nil.

Ironically, I went in the day before the meds arrived and asked about the medicine coming in and since I  could not open the post box, could they please check for the parcels. Firstly, she refused to look in the actual post office box and then she went back in the sorting area, stood in plain view of me and the rest of the customers looking blankly at the room behind the service desk and announced, “There’s nothing back here.”

I went back a couple of days later, when my medicine was there (according to the tracking numbers) and got the same song and dance, even after explaining about my getting the PO Box number wrong, so “please, can you actually look for the parcel.”  No dice,  the woman lied to me and did not care that my heart medication had run out. I’ll deal with that later, especially since the “big” USPS office told me that the packages should have been kept a week at a  minimum and not four days.

My heart meds came in today. My pain meds are yet to arrive, but hopefully will be here tomorrow. I’ve got to take my hat off to the beleaguered VA. I rang them yesterday, the first day after President’s Day and reminded them of my plight, the lovely lady I spoke to said she would pass the details of my dilemma onto the pharmacy, who by then had my “drugs” with them.

On a side note, as stated above,  my heart meds arrived this afternoon. They’d actually been posted on February 13, the day I first rang, quite panic stricken at my dilemma, before I rang yesterday to see if they were paying attention. Way to go guys!

While the heart pills are not helping me to cope with the Tramadol withdrawal, at least now I know that I can, if needs be, exist without the heart meds for a pretty extended period of time.

I have also learned that living in the real desert, with no car, a bike out of commission, and miles away from the nearest VA facility, or bloody town for that matter, is not the best of all situations. I am away from the greedy vampire that was and is GLV and now different problems are cropping up.

On the bright side, and there is one, the weather is warm and my feet and ankles, which were so swollen from the ride back on the bike with the flat tire, have deflated from their Bugs Bunny hugeness and I can again wear something on them besides flip-flops. They still feel swollen and uncomfortable so my six mile trudge to town will have to wait for one more day.

There are other stresses that I am ill equipped to deal with, but that will change. Once the joys of withdrawal in the real desert are overcome, this old man will once more be able to deal with things that, right now, are urging a temper tantrum that would make North West at her daddy’s concert look like a fan.

Hopefully, the muscle twitching, nausea,  headache, weakness, cold symptoms and inability to think along with the struggle to not turn into a homicidal, foul-mouthed, maniac will cease by tomorrow, or the day after (Please? Big Guy?). Oh and before you ask the question of why I haven’t just gone to the local quack and gotten a prescription, answer me this, how would I pay for the visit and the drugs? Even if the VA sign off on using a non VA treatment arena, it is still co-pay. While these folks, Veterans Administration,  only charge me afterward, the doctor’s office will not be so obliging, not to mention that the stuff  not provided by the VA is damned expensive.

In the meantime, I’ll say a big “Thank you,” to the Nevada VA;  you guys rock and give the USPS another nod of thanks, they called me today, not the Hitler lady who runs Quartzsite, but the bigger more professional postal people,  to confirm that the VA had my drugs. To the large lady who runs the local USPS, I give you fair warning, address me in that tone of voice again and you’ll be amazed to see that there is an old codger who can vault your service counter and kick some manners into you. I’ll even wait calmly for the police to arrest me, from what I’ve heard from other customers, no judge in the local area will convict me.

18 February, 2015

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Episode two of Scorpion did not have as spectacular a problem to solve as in the pilot, there were no jet passenger planes falling out of the sky killing hundreds this week. In A Single Point of Failure death was still an issue but in numbers much smaller, just as the potential victims themselves were small. The first on the list of the dying was the governor’s daughter whose health was failing at a rapid rate with doctor’s giving the girl less than 24 hours to live.

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Scorpion Episode Two (Recap and Review)

Episode two of Scorpion did not have as spectacular a problem to solve as in the pilot, there were no jet passenger planes falling out of the sky killing hundreds this week. In A Single Point of Failure death was still an issue but in numbers much smaller, just as the potential victims themselves were small. The first on the list of the dying was the governor’s daughter whose health was failing at a rapid rate with doctor’s giving the girl less than 24 hours to live.

The Bridge Season Two Episode Six Eva Escapes (Recap and Review) *May Contain Spoilers*

The Bridge Season Two Episode Six Eva Escapes (Recap and Review)
*May Contain Spoilers*

At the start of season two, episode six of The Bridge Jack Dobbs has figured out what those child-like drawings of his brother’s means and by the end of the show Eva escapes. This week’s episode has Dobbs digging up a body, after he deciphers his late brother’s artwork as maps. When he digs under a water tower, he finds the corpse buried there. The prosecutor who wants to help Eva, now has a private bodyguard since his attempted kidnapping in the last episode.

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