The symbolic image of a wild and feral dog picking at the carcass of a dead crow was certainly not lost on me as we rolled into the opening of Mayans MC on the crossroads of the California/Mexico border and a bold and feral new landscapes opens up before us in this first episode of Mayans MC.
Set three years after the season finale of Sons of Anarchy and the death of Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller (Charlie Hunnam), Mayans MC follows the fortunes of young Mayan prospect Ezekiel ‘EZ’ Reyes (J.D. Pardo). This young man was once the pride of his family and was poised to live the American Dream, but a tragic accident robbed him of this opportunity and instead he was sent to prison and found himself within the outlaw world. Now EZ will have to find his way in this dangerous new world and will have to adapt to its unwritten laws if he’s to thrive and survive as an outlaw and earn his patch.
Veteran showrunner Kurt Sutter returns to chart a new chapter in his outlaw motorcycle world and along with fellow series creator Elgin James they are really shaking things up with Mayans MC. From the opening images we are drawn into a new world and the conflicts and dangers that await its members. While Sons of Anarchy did not hold back in its violence or carnage, Mayans MC takes things up a notch. Considered to Charming, Santo Padre is the wild west, and there are plenty of laws to break as the Mayans MC Santo Padre chapter takes on protection runs for the Powerful Galindo Cartel. To say that there will be blood is putting it mildly and when the Cartel does wish to make an example, Sutter and James don’t hold back on the graphic detail. Like I said we ain’t in Charming any more.
Just like Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC has a host of interesting new characters for us to meet and Sutter and James are pretty upfront with who there are. Young star J.D. Pardo is an altogether different protagonist as Ezekiel ‘EZ” Reyes, once destined for the American Dream he was robbed of his bright future and now finds himself on a far darker path. Educated, smart and ready to put in the work to earn his patch, EZ is a character that I’m gonna be interested to see develop up on screen and from this first episode Pardo has us invested in him.
As an introductory episode, Sutter and James introduced us to the players such as the Reyes family who include EZ’s older brother and full patch Mayan member Angel (Clayton Cardenas) and the stoic family patriarch Felipe played by the legendary Edward James Olmos. We also meet the members of the Santo Padre crew who include the iron-fisted Presidente Obispo “Bishop” Losa (Michael Irby), level-headed Vice Presidente Che “Taza” Romero (Raoul Trujillo), the crazed Johnny “El Coco” Cruz (Richard Cabral) and resident enforcer Hank “El Tranq” Loza (Frankie Loyal Delgado). In this episode we also get a surprise visit from the original Mayan OG himself Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera), who as the club’s godfather has his own agenda at stake.
In addition to EZ’s current outlaw life we also see flashbacks to what could have been with his relationship with childhood sweetheart Emily Thomas (Sarah Bolger) who’s own life has taken a serious twist that seriously took me by surprise, but who I still sense harbors feelings for EZ and the life they could have had. All of it spells drama and that’s a good place to be in this first episode and the path ahead looks very interesting indeed.
The world building of Mayans MC is an incredible sight to behold as well with Sutter, James and their team drawing on American, Mexican-American and Meso-American themes in constructing it. From the use of Mayan imagery to the presence of a Madonna statue draped with a bandolier filled with bullets and the symbolic presence of a feral dog fighting to survive, all of it builds the presence of something that is familiar, but also new, and this new setting and aesthetic is something that I’m looking forward to seeing more of.
And finally if you want action, well, you’ve got. From open road sessions aboard custom made Harley Davidson’s to the adrenaline of a full-on O.K. Corral gunfight in a cemetery, Mayans MC throws its audience into it, and it will really get your blood pumping.
We’re only at the beginning of Mayans MC, but I’m liking what I see so far and this is one ride I’m excited to take. I can only see the world building further and with the amount of shocks and surprises that were visited in episode one, well, I can only imagine at the carnage that is about to follow and it will make for some great television.
Mayans MC will premiere new episodes every Wednesday at 9.30pm on SOHO and Neon.