Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Queen Of The South Season 5 Explained

For fans of USA's hit series "Queen of the South," their time following Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) on her journey to power and riches has come to an end. The show finished off its long run with the fifth and final season, which aired its finale on June 9, 2021. 

Beginning in 2016, the intense drama is all about Teresa's personal struggles. She starts off as a drug runner trying to save her boyfriend from the trouble he gets himself into, but soon enough, Teresa is able to move up the ladder and quickly accumulate power and influence over the illegal drug trade. Along the way, she forms key connections with people like the initially untrustworthy James (Peter Gadiot), the protective Pote Galvez (Hemky Madera), and Kelly Anne Van Awken (Molly Burnett), who Teresa first meets as a housewife in way over her head.

Based on the telenovela "La Reina del Sur," which is in turn based on the book of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, "Queen of the South" is a whirlwind story, and just as each season features plenty of action, romance, and loss, the final act of the show does as well. If you need a little help understanding what exactly happens to Teresa and her crew and what it all means, here's the ending of "Queen of the South" Season 5, explained.

Pote, Kelly Anne, and James avenge Teresa's death and settle her business

"Queen of the South" Season 5 faces a lot of pressure to finish up Teresa's story in a satisfying way. The pilot episode of the show, which aired all the way back in 2016, begins with a flash-forward scene showing Teresa living a glamorous life funded by her drug empire — that is, until she is shot and assumed to be killed in her home. Throughout the rest of the show, viewers have this scene in the back of their heads, and the show's fifth season has the responsibility to address this expected ending. Well, it does, but it also manages to surprise everyone. 

In the second to last episode of Season 5, Teresa meets this fate, dying at the hands of her lover, James. This is a gut-wrenching reveal, as it seems safe to say that most fans of the show are rooting for James and Teresa to end up happy together. James is tasked by Devon (Jaime Hector) to kill Teresa, and after proving that the job is done, he heads off to save his own skin. Despite his betrayal, James still doesn't want Devon to take over Teresa's business, making him a threat. Add to that a vengeful Pote, and you've got an intense confrontation still to take place. 

After Pote cremates Teresa and heads off to Mexico to spread her ashes, he ends up getting put in jail for three years, but even that doesn't stop his plan to get revenge and take down the men behind Teresa's death. Meanwhile, Kelly Anne is trying her best to survive and find her way back to Pote.

Teresa fakes her death to start a new life

Of course, not even James can take Teresa down, and the final episode of the series shows exactly how cunning the protagonist really is. Before her supposed assassination, Teresa puts together a plan with Pote, Kelly Ann, and James to fake her death and convince everyone else that she is gone. Although it seems unlikely that Pote's incarceration is a part of their plan, they manage to pull it together, and Pote gets revenge on the villainous Boaz (Joseph T. Campos) before reuniting with the crew in a beautiful remote paradise. 

"Queen of the South" ends with Teresa and James together and in love, Pote and Kelly Ann reunited with their daughter, Lena (Mileiah Vega), and everything is peaceful and happy. What more could you ask for? But even with this picture-perfect ending, the series also addresses the overlying story of the two versions of Teresa, as the character starts seeing the emotionless, focused version of herself wearing all white (the same outfit she wears in the pilot flash-forward) very early on in the show's first season. Almost like a ghost, this vision of Teresa frequently shows up in important moments to remind Teresa of all she goes through and what she becomes because of it.

While the end of the series reveals that Teresa technically doesn't die from the bullet, a voiceover explains the symbolic death of the intense, money-obsessed version of the character, with Teresa saying, "She was killed by me, a money changer from Culiacán who defied all odds to survive. They said that prison or death were my only options. But what do they know? I chose life."

The showrunners imagine the group is thriving after the finale

Before it was announced that Season 5 would be the end for "Queen of the South," the showrunners were unsure whether or not there would be more time to explore Teresa's story further. Unfortunately, it was decided that the show would be ending, but luckily they were able to present a satisfying ending for the characters. Still, many fans can't help but wonder what might've come next for the group, or what Teresa, James, and the others could be up to in their beach paradise. 

In an interview with Deadline, showrunners Benjamin Lobato and Dailyn Rodriguez revealed they purposely chose not to kill Devon as a loose end for a possible Season 6, leaving it up in the air as to whether or not he truly believes that Teresa is dead. Since they were not able to go any farther with the series, fans will have to simply imagine what could've happened. In the same way, Lobato and Rodriguez revealed that they think Teresa and James eventually have a family after the finale's events. According to Rodriguez, "I do believe that these last years, while Pote's been in prison, I think what they've been doing is trying to find who they really are, without the death constantly looming over them."

While the five seasons of "Queen of the South" focus on Teresa's inability to avoid her future, it's good to see that, in the end, she can successfully leave her past behind.