As first episodes go, Mayans M.C. did a pretty solid job of introducing us to this particular charter of hardened bikers and seasoned criminals along with shady underworld businessmen and a mysterious rebel group, all centred around Mayans prospect, Ezekial Reyes (JD Pardo), and his struggles as he enters the notorious Motorcycle Club.
As promising as this first episode was, there was a hint of overload with a lot to take in. Would Mayans M.C. live up to Sons of Anarchy, the show it’s a spin off from? Would we grow to love (and also hate) these characters like we did with the original Reaper Crew? And would Ezekial Reyes become as beloved as SOA’s central character, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunam)?
Of course, it’s too early to answer any of those questions, but with a show as popular as Sons of Anarchy, fans have been waiting with bated breath and expectations are high. One thing’s for sure, with Kurt Sutter behind the writing desk, Mayans M.C. will contain at least some of the drama, tension and excitement we saw in Sons of Anarchy. On this early evidence, Mayans M.C. is heading in the right direction.
Carrying on from the first episode, we are still settling in to this new world on the Southern California/Mexican border. As is Ezekial Reyes, as we follow him through his various trials and tribulations as he continues his prospect role for the Mayans, taking counsel from his wise father (Edward James Olmos) who runs the local Butcher’s shop and worrying about Emily (Sarah Bolger), the ex-girlfriend who is involved with sinister local businessman, Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino). Whereas the first episode introduced you to these characters and situations, things start to become a little clearer as it seems a group against Galindo’s empire is after him and everything that is his – including his son – and Emily, usually kept safe from harm, wants answers. Reaching out personally to the Mayans for help, the club agree but also want answers themselves as this mysterious group could potentially cause them unwanted danger. This puts everyone else around Galindo in danger, including a poor street vendor and his young son who Galindo believe’s saw the group but didn’t say anything. Needless to say, the street vendor suffers for his potential misconduct, ending up covered in hot cooking oil.
So it’s a case of ‘so far so good’ but also, it’s pretty standard fare for Sons of Anarchy fans who are used to this set up. It’s not long before family secrets are revealed, car chases happen and fist fights flare up. All to a soundtrack of bluesy rock and punk. But this isn’t a bad thing. This recipe worked so well first time round and with a host of new characters to bond with, why change too much?
Of course, we are still getting to know the various characters and in this episode; it’s our turn to learn a little about club member Johnny Cruz (Richard Cabral), or at least a hint about his life anyway. Initially coming across as the Mayans version of SOA’s resident pervert, Tig Trager (Kim Coates), Johnny Cruz is clearly hiding a dark secret as we see him sneaking a look at an adult website whilst visiting a local garage, noticing a familiar face in a line-up of women on the site. The episode also ends with him picking up said familiar face whilst seemingly curb-crawling. This was a nice way to end the episode as it took away from the nasty underworld goings-on of the Galindo clan and the various scrapes that the Mayans get themselves into and shows you a side of a clearly important member of the Mayans M.C. with a secret to hide that’s very personal. This is something Sons of Anarchy did so well during its run; taking time away from the fist fights, gun fights, car chases and torture to show you another side to these apparently battle hardened and streetwise characters. Hopefully this is something that continues throughout the series.
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Another nice moment towards the end of the episode is the meeting between Ezekial and Emily at his father’s Butcher’s shop where Ezekial reveals tension on the streets is more dangerous than Emily realised, leaving her in shock with Ezekial reassuring her that he won’t let anything happen to her and her son. Featuring another flashback of Ezekial’s younger years, it’s another example of the human element of the show that Kurt Sutter has carefully written in so we form bonds with these characters throughout the series, which looks promising for Mayans M.C.‘s future.
Two episodes in and there’s all the twists, turns, mysterious groups, dangerous secrets and alliances along with the shoot-outs, fights and torture we’ve come to know and love from Kurt Sutter’s biker gangs. Hopefully it won’t all become muddled, run out of steam or at worst, become SOA‘s inferior younger brother – like Danny DeVito to Arnie in Twins, if you will. But so far, it looks like we could grow to love Mayans M.C. yet. Only time will tell.