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The 'Mayans M.C.' Have Returned
March 16, 2021  | By David Hinckley
 


The Mayans are back. Nobody’s happy and several people who were alive at the beginning of the first return episode are dead at the end.

Clearly some things were not changed by the pandemic.

Mayans M.C., Kurt Sutter’s quasi-sequel to Sons of Anarchy, kicks off its third season with a pair of episodes Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

It’s still a dense, dark story that, like Sons of Anarchy, has a complex, strong and, in many ways, deceptively conventional family bond at its heart.

It’s just that the families here, unlike the families on, say, black-ish or Modern Family, include a number of core members who view homicide as an acceptable and sometimes necessary option for human behavior.

The Mayans, a Southern California motorcycle club that played a supporting role in SOA, support themselves mostly by running heroin and guns. Since they aren’t the only ones to see the capitalist possibilities in this industry – supply and demand, anyone? – and since the government employs people whose job is to disrupt activities of this sort, it’s not surprising there’s a high mortality rate.

Some killing will be a given whenever an outlaw organization operates at the center of a drama. Sutter works on the high end of the body count scale, routinely employing the kind of violence for which shows like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos picked their spots.

While Mayans largely revolves around the motorcycle club, which is the alpha family, the third season starts off with an equally strong focus on the show’s other two core families.

That includes the Reyes family, whose two sons, Angel (Clayton Cardenas) and EZ (J.D. Pardo), are also key club members. Their father, Felipe (Edward James Olmos), is a Mexican immigrant who wanted his sons to live clean, better lives in America. Lo siento mucho, Felipe.

The main family outside the club is the Galindos. Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino) inherited his father Jose’s business, better known as the Galindo Cartel. As that informal name suggests, the Galindos got ridiculously rich by promoting human misery. Like Al Pacino in The Godfather, Miguel makes a few noises about going legit but doesn’t. His mother also recently died, which has made him unhappy and more sociopathic.

Miguel is married to Emily (Sarah Bolger), who was once a wholesome all-American girl. She dated EZ back when he was still going to be the wholesome all-American boy. Things happened, and she ended up with Miguel, which, as Season 3 begins, does not seem to be working out.

Problems are also piling up for the Mayans. Federal agent Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) has gotten the government to crack down on gun-running and drug smuggling, which has squeezed the club at a time when it’s recovering from all-out war with a rival gang and working through a number of personal minidramas.

Then there’s the wild card Adelita (Carla Baratta), whose family was murdered years ago by the Galindos. She organized a group whose goal was to take down the Galindos outside the legal system, but then her plans hit a snag and she is, yup, very unhappy.

If Sutter’s past work has any predictive value, not all these situations will end well or happily. But Sutter does have a nice touch for making them all converge at critical junctures, as well as an unsentimental approach to who survives. To the extent there are some decent people under the surface of his flawed characters, the most sympathetic are not always the ones who survive.

If you haven’t watched Mayans before, it would be advisable to watch the first two seasons before tackling the third, because otherwise what is sometimes challenging to follow could become impossible to follow.

The fact that COVID-related production issues pushed the new season back six months also doesn’t help. It’s a show where there’s a lot to remember.

All that said, it’s good to have it back. Television is packed with dark worlds today, and Mayans M.C. uses that darkness to tell us something about real life, which fortunately is a bit brighter. 

 
 
 
 
 
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