Queen of the South spoilers: Hidden meaning behind key Teresa motorbike scene exposed

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Teresa Mendoza endured her biggest challenges yet in the thrilling fourth season of Queen of the South. Before the series returns with a fifth instalment on the USA Network and Netflix, a key crew member on the crime drama has revealed some revealing foreshadowing from the first episode fans may have missed the first time round. 

Drug queenpin Teresa Mendoza (played by Alice Braga) expanded her operations for a new start in New Orleans at the start of Queen of the South’s fourth season. 

Despite trying to lay low in the Big Easy, her enterprise soon attracted the unwanted attention of corrupt law-enforcer Judge Lafayette (David Andrews).

As the two rivals waged war on the streets of Louisiana, the Judge fought back with all the political power at his disposal.

Unfortunately, their cat-and-mouse game saw Teresa’s beloved godson, Tony Parra (Julian Silva) caught in the crossfire.

Now Teresa will begin the next season plotting her revenge, whilst the surprise return of James Valdez (Peter Gadiot) warns of the arrival of either a new threat or some familiar faces. 

While the latest instalment of the hit cartel series took some shocking turns, Teresa’s development from self-assured mogul to public enemy number one was hinted at in the very first scene of season four.

Following the trend of previous season premieres, Teresa narrates the first moments to set the scene for what’s to come.

Wearing a striking white leather riding suit, Teresa ducks and dives through the streets of New Orleans on a motorcycle before parking in front of a glamorous hotel.

Setting the tone, she narrates: “Running a cartel is like driving a motorcycle a hundred miles an hour in traffic. Any miscalculation, any mistake, can have fatal consequences.”

As anyone who tuned in to Queen of the South’s fourth season, either on the USA Network or when it was made available on Netflix, will now, Teresa’s metaphor proved eerily prescient. 

More recently, Director of Photography for the series Abraham Martínez revealed how Teresa’s head-turning fashion choices set the stage for the tragedy to come in season four. 

Martínez explained to Reel 2 Reel Talk: “In our flashforwards there’s a lot of slow-mo, voiceover and some symbolism, a little bit heightened; the directors set the point of view of how to tell that.

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“That was a flashforward to where she’s building her wealth, we wanted to show how close to death, and vulnerable she is.”

Each season so far has opened by showcasing Teresa at the height of her powers, before the subsequent action unfolds and she is forced to make tough decisions to keep her empire afloat. 

As the DP revealed, Teresa’s white leather casing represented how the cartel queenpin would find herself more vulnerable than ever in Queen of the South’s latest outing.

He continued: “The white clothing is a superstition of what is going to protect her from harm.”

“There’s this balance the writers did, which was to put her on a motorcycle which is very vulnerable, being chased, close to death but escapes it.”

As the next scene reinforced, the colour red has also become a striking symbol for the violence that follows Teresa wherever she goes.

Martínez added: “Then she goes to a part of her empire at the hotel and is cutting the ribbon – also another metaphor – the scissors and the red ribbon where it slowly blows away.” 

As one of the most luscious and smartly shot television series on screens, observant fans will have plenty of foreshadowing and visual metaphors to watch out for when Queen of the South returns. 

Queen of the South season 4 is available to stream on Netflix.

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