Does Kurt Sutter’s new biker series measure up to the hype? We say ABSOLUTELY, and then some.
The considerable hype that preceded the Mayans M.C. series premiere on FX today might seem pretty hard to live up to for many. It was touted on the tube for weeks, and even spawned some major pop-ups online. It’s not like Sons of Anarchy fans didn’t know exactly when this SAMCROW spinoff would air. We’ve been waiting for it forever. But, all the ads undoubtedly brought in some newbies as well. Nothing to fear here though; Kurt Sutter and his band of renown definitely have not disappointed. Mayans is AWESOME.
The hour and a half series premiere opens exactly where Sons left off, complete with the signature black crows. They represented some serious symbolism during Jax Teller’s gruesome death scene at the close of the wildly popular series finale, and they added a bit of gorgeous gore to the opening of Mayans as well. In the initial scene a scrawny stray dog is seen eating the remains of a dead crow in the middle of the highway. He abandons his snack as the show’s lead, Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo) roars onto the scene on his Harley soft tail deluxe with 22” ape hangers and runs over the dead bird. We see more of both the crows and the stray dog throughout this episode.
Now, EZ is new to the Mayans Santo Padre chapter, a fictitious town in California just as Charming was in SOA. His fellow Mayan members mostly call him ‘Prospect’ and sometimes ‘Boy Scout.’ He really just seems to be the biker with a heart of gold and a head full of poetry. He became a Mayans prospect because his older brother, Angel Reyes (Clayton Cardenas), is a patched member. In reality, however, he’s working for the DEA because of a deal he made to get an early release from prison for killing a cop. His father, Felipe Reyes (Edward James Olmos), is the go-between for his son and DEA agent, Kevin Jimenez (Maurice Compte).
So, in true SOA style, there are plenty of drug deals, shoot-outs, and car chases, with a little torture and murder thrown in. Yes, ‘Mr. Mayhem’ definitely crossed over from SOA. And, there’s no shortage of snarky jokes at the victims’ expense either, like chopping off a rival gang member’s arm and saying, “That’s a difficult way to lose weight.” This cruel line is artfully delivered by the head of the cartel, Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), who formerly played NYPD Detective Nick Amaro on Law & Order. BTW, Galindo just happens to be married to EZ’s former love interest, Sarah (Emily Thomas).
Of course, SOA fans wanted to see some beloved characters pop up in Mayans M.C. and the show didn’t disappoint there either. The President of the Mayans’ Oakland charter, Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) is back and makes a grand entrance with some of his club members roaring into town on their choppers. They’ve come to help out their Mayan brothers with a rival gang of Samoans that allegedly ripped them off. This spawns a good-old-fashioned gunfight in a sprawling cemetery where the Mayans fight for the upper hand, then brutally take it.
We’re pleasantly surprised by the arrival of none other than the Sons of Anarchy, and lots of them, to save the day. Now, of course, there’s no Jax Teller leading them, but their new president is played by the inimitable Robert Patrick. If you loved him as the metallic-liquid killing machine in Terminator 2, then you’ll be thrilled to see him here. We hope to see more of him in future episodes (Kurt Sutter is already talking about doing more Sons).
Last but not least, Gemma (Katey Sagal) is back in a quick cameo from a period eight years ago when Sarah is visiting EZ in prison and Gemma is obviously visiting Clay.
All in all, the Mayans, aka Los Asesinos de Dios (God’s Killers), are just a band of fun-loving, drug-running, murdering guys played by a bunch of consummate actors who do their characters justice and then some.
The show takes a giant leap up from Sons, for the fact that the cinematography and all-around general feel of Mayans is one of epic cinematic TV – something that Sons of Anarchy never aspired to. Show-bosses Kurt Sutter and Elgin James should be proud of this new-found quality, and we hope it keeps on keeping on.
Frankly, we can’t wait to see if next week’s episode, Escorpian/Dzec, is as good as Perro/OC was. We are already hooked!
This first episode of Mayans gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Mayans MC is currently screening on FX globally, with a new episode every week.