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'Mayans MC' Debuts and is Worth Some Patience
September 4, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment
 

After a short and rather unsatisfying visit to the Middle Ages, Kurt Sutter is returning to his comfort zone of contemporary violent California motorcycle gangs. Er, clubs.  

Lest there be any doubt that Sutter’s new series, Mayans MC, shares bloodlines with his late underappreciated Sons of Anarchy, the opening scene of Mayans MC features a crow.

Since the acronym for the motorcycle club in Sons of Anarchy was SAMCRO, no fan will miss the connection or the message.

Mayans MC roars into action on FX on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET, and Sutter smartly sprinkles Sons references and motifs into a new yet familiar world.  

The Mayans we’ll mostly be seeing belong to a charter club in California near the Mexican border. They are virtually all Latino, which itself adds an intriguing subtext.

While they probably multitask, the Mayans’ primary job here is providing transportation and protection for the heroin pipeline of the Galindo cartel, headed by second-generation boss Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino).

Miguel has the slick manner and arrogant confidence of a man with all the answers. His deal with the Mayans was struck for mutual convenience, not mutual affection.

Miguel has such faith in his untouchability that he maintains a publicly respectable life as the wealthy, loving husband of Emily (Sarah Bolger).

Emily serves as a critical link because she was for a long time the girlfriend of Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (J.D. Pardo, top), the linchpin character in Mayans MC.

The son of hard-working immigrant Felipe “Pop” Reyes (Edward James Olmos, left), EZ was the second-generation kid who was going to smash his way into successful America because he was smart and knew the game and had every resource of the family behind him.

He got as far as Stanford. Then something happened, and now, instead of applying for a John S. Knight Fellowship, EZ is a “prospect” being vetted for the Mayans.

His brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas) is his sponsor. They love each other, which may or may not be enough.

To the surprise of no one, the Mayan/Galindo arrangement hits a rough patch and violence breaks out. While bad guys are often bad shots, they throw enough sheer volume of lead that some people get hurt.

The first episode contains almost no counter presence to the illegal drug industry. The police seem at best seriously outnumbered, which doesn’t mean the cartel has nothing to worry about.

For starters, they might want to be concerned about Adelita (Carla Baratta, right), who has a history with the cartel and would like to get some closure.

Mayans MC has a tough task in at least one sense: Even though Sutter segued from Sons of Anarchy to the unrelated Bastard Executioner, any new Sutter motorcycle drama inevitably will be compared to Sons.

That’s a high bar, and no show, including Mayans MC, could instantly clear it. It will take a while for fans to reactivate that level of engagement.

Sutter always said Sons at its heart was about family, and the closeness of the Reyes family alone suggests he would likely say the same about Mayans MC.

As for viewers, we had a love/hate relationship with the Sons characters. We hated their career choices and the often gruesome consequences, at the same time we never stopped hoping something could keep alive the small flickering lights of their better angels.

That’s already a good description for the EZ Reyes character: Whether we will eventually care enough about him to maintain that hope will likely determine whether Mayans MC endures.

Sons of Anarchy started well and needed time to get better. Mayans MC deserves some time, too.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Zeke
My daughter, knowing it was an unusual recommendation, described Sons as:
Two steps forward, one step back. It summed up the protagonists dilemma perfectly.
Sep 4, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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