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Spend Some Time This Season with 'Mayans M.C.'
September 3, 2019  | By David Hinckley

Like its parent tale, Sons of AnarchyMayans M.C. doesn’t get the respect it deserves. 

But like Sons, it rewards those who will make the effort – some is required – to follow it. 

The second season of Mayans M.C. launches Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX, and it picks up the rhythm the show found around the middle of its first season. 

Mayans M.C. started with a tough challenge. It was a spinoff from Kurt Sutter’s dark and compelling Sons, but it revolved around a group that was in most ways peripheral to the primary plotlines. 

Like the Sons of Anarchy, the Mayans are a fictional motorcycle club that finances itself through illegal enterprises. 

So far that has primarily meant dealing heroin, which the club regards in the same matter-of-fact way that the Good Humor driver regards the sale of Toasted Coconut ice cream bars. 

The Mayans differ from the Sons in that their roots are Mexican and they operate in a border town, placing them in a different cultural context. 

On the surface, Sutter has not spent a lot of time on the politics of immigration. Mayans has focused more on the nuts, bolts, rivalries, and internal dramas of the M.C. A particularly graphic scene in the new season’s first episode, for example, illustrates the club’s approach to family justice. Let’s call it swift. 

In the wider picture, though, Mayans M.C. focuses steadily on one of the most critical and enduring corollaries of immigration, which is assimilation. 

The central character in Mayans M.C. is EZ Reyes (J.D. Pardo, top), brother of Angel (Clayton Cardenas) and son of Felipe (Edward James Olmos, top).

Felipe Reyes, a man of standing in Mexico, came to the U.S. and opened a butcher shop. That wasn’t his dream. His dream was that his sons could live in freedom and become respectable and important, unencumbered by the history of a tangled life in Mexico. 

For a while, that dream seemed to materialize. EZ was an exceptional student on track to great success. Golden Boy, they called him. He had a girlfriend, Emily Thomas (Sarah Bolger), equally gifted and also headed for prime time. 

Angel took a different track, joining the Mayans. The big blow, though, was the death of Felipe’s wife, and in the end, a confluence of unfortunate events shoved EZ out of college and onto Angel’s path instead.  

That’s where we met him last season, as a Mayans “prospect,” and where he starts this season. Now he’s got some club experience, not all of it admirable, and his complicated life and loyalties have triggered a falling-out with Angel. 

We might also mention that EZ’s new situation poisoned his relationship with Emily, who took a different turn of her own and married Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino). 

Miguel is a success story, too, in his own way. He inherited the Galindo drug cartel from his late father Jose, meaning he and Emily live in a very large house with one child and lots of money. 

Material riches aren’t always synonymous with a life of ease in the cartel game, however, and events in the first season have driven Emily to become a more active partner in Miguel’s life – to his occasional unease.  

As this might suggest, Mayans M.C. spends a lot of its dramatic time and energy on the whole matter of family. 

Bishop Losa (Michael Irby), president of the Mayans’ Santo Padre chapter, is as much of a patriarch as Felipe Reyes and Jose Galindo used to be. Like them, he has prestige and influence. Also like them, he doesn’t always enjoy stability and security.  

Mayans M.C. required viewers to learn and sort out a large cast of characters in the first season. That exercise has become a bit easier as we start Season 2. 

The plotlines also feel more focused, particularly the efforts of federal agent Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) to bust the Galindos and maybe the Mayans by any means necessary; and the determination of the clever, shadowy and formidable outlaw Adelita (Carla Baratta, above) to avenge the death of her family at the hands of the Galindo cartel. 

While Sutter tucks welcome humor into Mayans M.C., the show tends more toward serious stuff. If you wouldn’t want to hang out with most of these guys, seeing them on television is a great alternative. 

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