Mayans MC 1x01 "Perro/Oc" Review
Mayans MC is the highly anticipated spinoff of Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy. This time around, we’re delving into the lives of members of the Mayans Motorcycle Club that live in the fictional town of Santo Padre, California, along the Mexican border. Where the Sons of Anarchy ruled the streets of Charming, the Mayans rule the streets of Santo Padre.
The story takes place a few years after the events in the Sons of Anarchy series finale. The scene starts with a wild dog chewing on a dead crow along the US-Mexico border, when the crow gets run over by a certain motorcyclist. Seeing as how Sons of Anarchy (SoA) had a thing with crows, I can’t help but see this as symbolic. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new show. There is also a not-so-subtle piece of graffiti along the wall: “Divided We Fall”. Symbolic of the MC life and symbolic of our country’s current political climate, no doubt.
We are first introduced to Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo), who you would assume is the “Jax Teller” of the series. Well, you’re both right and wrong. EZ is his own entity. He is not the prince of Santo Padre, like Jax was the prince of Charming. He’s actually at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak. He’s the prospect. (In case you’re new here, that means he’s not quite yet a member of the Mayans. Until the club knows they can trust him completely, EZ does the grunt work. It’s kind of like a trial period.)
This episode contains several flashbacks, showing the path EZ was on before he became involved in the club. EZ is smart. He had his whole life ahead of him, until he landed himself in the Stockton State Prison. The first flashback shows our young hero, clad in a Stanford hoodie, reuniting with his young girlfriend, Emily (Sarah Bolger). He’s attending a prestigious university and he’s in a relationship with a lovely young woman. His life looks pretty good.
We are then introduced to the ongoings of the Santo Padre chapter of the Mayans. The president, Bishop (Michael Irby), is shown marching through a dress-making factory. The female factory workers are hard at work, sewing kilos of drugs into extravagant quinceanera dresses. The endgame of this operation is to get these drugs to Las Vegas, Nevada for the infamous Galindo cartel. As club president, Bishop decides who the transport group will include, and he’s decided that EZ is ready to start becoming more active in the club. He consults with EZ’s brother, and fellow club member, Angel Reyes (Clayton Cardenas). This conversation is where we learn the EZ ended up in Stockton for several years for killing a cop. He was let out because the cop was later found to be crooked.
EZ and Angel’s father, Felipe Reyes (Edward James Olmos), is the next prominent character we are introduced to. He runs a butcher shop and has a small bookcase full of books for his customers. Showing us he’s not like the bikers we’ve seen in this universe before, EZ is immediately drawn to the books. Felipe and EZ are focused more on the poetry books, especially. It’s a sweet familial relationship, no doubt. You can see how close they are.
EZ gives his pop a mysterious package, and this is when Angel arrives to collect EZ for the transport mission to Nevada. Felipe makes it a point to ask if Angel knows anything about the mysterious goings-on involving the package he was handed. EZ tells his father not to worry about it, and I can’t help but worry about it. (I’ve known Felipe Reyes for all of 30 seconds and I want no harm to befall this gentle butcher.)
Where EZ and Felipe appear to be close, you can see that’s not necessarily the case between Felipe and Angel. Angel asks his brother if their dad has spoken to him about their mother, who appears to have had something tragic happen to her around the time EZ was sent to prison. While Felipe hasn’t spoken to either of his sons about their mother, his relationship with EZ comes across a lot stronger. Angel mentions that the only thing he talks about with Felipe anymore is baseball. He’s seems to be wistful for a better, stronger relationship.
Cut to later that night, when they are in the middle of the run to Nevada. There are several club members riding their motorcycles riding behind the truck that’s carrying the dresses laced with drugs. Inside the truck, there are two club members in the front and two members in the back of the truck, riding with the merchandise. One of the guys gets a mysterious text message and that’s a signal for them to buckle up. You instantly know something is going to happen. The guys that are riding in the back asked for the volume of the radio to be turned up, but they don’t let them know to buckle up because something is going to happen.
The crew is attacked by, we later find out, a Samoan gang called the Base Town Tribe. They were all wearing masks, but we come to find out that, not only is EZ smart, he’s also observant and has a killer memory. He spotted a tattoo one of the guys’ wrists that would lead them to identify this gang as the culprit. This attack leads the Samoan gang into stealing cartel’s drugs and the Mayans truck going up in flames in a lovely explosion that I’ve come to know and appreciate in the SoA world.
One of my favorite scenes of the episode is actually in the aftermath of the explosion. We finally meet the head of the Galindo cartel, Mr. Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino) himself! We’d heard small things here and there about the Galindo cartel in Sons, but we finally get some face time with them! Miguel Galindo is a force to be reckoned with. Pino commands the screen and the room in a way I hadn’t seen from him in his Law & Order: SVU days.
It is in this scene that we find out that there is something going on within the Mayan crew. Only somebody with inside knowledge would have known their route for that particular run because that’s something they change frequently. (Remember my thoughts from above about that text message?) Bishop is insistent that it couldn’t have been someone from HIS club. Motorcycle clubs are notorious for being a strong brotherhood.
Later in the episode, we find out exactly what’s going on in Bishop’s club. Turns out, the Base Town Tribe were just the middle-men. A gang of rebels, aptly named Los Olvidados, were actually behind the attack. They were the ones to intercept the drug transport and also sully the good name of the Mayans with the cartel. Oh yeah, and some of the Mayans were even in on it. Towards the end, we learn that Angel and a few other Mayans are working with Los Olvidados because they are the future. Angel tells EZ that working with this rebel group is what’s best for the club. Cartels have no respect for the club, so why should the club work for them? He introduces EZ to Adelita, the leader of Los Olvidados. She and her crew of orphan children orchestrate attacks on the cartel.
My favorite twist of the evening was definitely learning that EZ was a government witness. That package he gave his father earlier? It went to an FBI agent. EZ is working for the Feds to bring down the cartel. While the feds know all about the trouble with the robbery and following shootout, EZ reminds the agent that he’s not there to bring down the Mayans.
It’s the beginning of a very slippery slope and EZ is stuck right smack dab in the middle. I cannot tell you how excited I am to follow this journey. My only hope is that EZ, while nothing like Jax at the moment, doesn’t become Jax. I want him to stay perfect the way he is right now. Kurt Sutter has a way of turning his protagonists this way and that.
I’m kind of a little in love with Adelita and I can’t wait to learn more about her.
Angel has my heart. I knew I would love EZ, but I had no idea how much I would love Angel.
MARCUS ALVAREZ, EVERYBODY. EL PADRINO. I was always over the moon when he guest-starred on SoA. I truly loved his relationships within the Sons and I’m excited to see a little bit more of his relationships with his own MC.
The underground tunnel that allows the Mayans to go back and forth between the US and Mexico is actually kind of neat. It’s also extremely dangerous and risky.
This world was made a whole lot smaller when we learned that Emily, EZ’s ex-girlfriend, is now with Miguel Galindo and has a family with him. I’m kind of a little let down? I’m going to withhold my judgement until we see some more movement on this relationship.
The masks the orphans wear are creepy as fuck. Do not want. 10/10 get away from me.
Having EZ lug the one-armed, big dead guy was just a small bit of dark humor in this dark world of storytelling. This world is full of that kind of dark humor and if you aren’t down for that, you’re probably not going to like this kind of show.
This show is called Mayans MC. As in, THE MAYANS MOTORCYCLE CLUB. While I understand that it was Sons of Anarchy that brought you over, this is going to be a different show. Jax isn’t coming back. He’s (*SPOILER ALERT*) dead. If you came into this expecting a heavy SoA presence, you’re going to be disappointed. There are small easter eggs to hold you over, though. I did love seeing the Sons ride in, despite them not being the Sons that I know and love.
Mayans MC airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.
Sarah’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝🐝