SPOILER HEAVY REVIEW: "Mayans M.C." (Series Premiere, FX, 2018)
We've waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, we get satisfaction.
Kurt Sutter gave us a gift in 2008 with Sons of Anarchy. The show was a lynchpin in launching FX as a premier network for dramatic television. The story of Jax Teller and the Sons struck a chord with America at large. The Vietnam era gave us motorcycle clubs across the country, and the story of the "Redwood Originals" gave us a modern day dramatic descendant of the embodiment of the American spirit. There is, however, another chapter of that story to tell.
Mayans M.C. tells the story of the Latino M.C. that was such a critical part of the Sons universe (both as enemy and ally). It focuses on the story of Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes (JD Pardo, NBC's Revolution), a prospect in the M.C. who's spent the last eight years in federal prison. His brother, Angel (Clayton Cardenas, ABC's American Crime), is bringing him in at a time when things are getting very hairy for the Mayans. They run the border between Mexico and Southern California for the Galindo Cartel while also under the leadership of "El Padrino" Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera, in a returning role from Sons of Anarchy). EZ is more intelligent than his M.C. brothers and also more torn; his father, Felipe (Edward James Olmos, Selena), runs a local meat market and serves as his go-between with the D.E.A. in a sentence reduction deal.
Mayans M.C. promises to be every bit as heavy on both the drama and the violence as its predecessor. In the premiere alone, there are two major gun battles and a dismembering. They're not fucking around here. Everything you loved about Sons is here in full force- a killer M.C. headquarters (complete with sick Table), bloody violence, drugs, sick humor, and a raw setting that feels incredibly real and honest.
Don't let the nastiness fool you, though- there is a heart of gold at the core of this one. Just as Sons of Anarchy was a tale of a man entering his 30's torn between two families, Mayans M.C. promises a heavy dose of very authentic human drama. EZ is no thug. He was a college kid who ended up in a world he didn't plan on. He's got the spirit of a poet and the trigger finger of a certifiable badass.
Where I am concerned for Mayans M.C. is in the area of possible spreading itself too thin. There are already a cubic fuckton of subplots at work. EZ has to contend with his high school sweetheart being the wife of the head of the Galindo cartel. His brother is a double agent, working for the orphans of the cartel who oppose them. EZ himself is beholden to the D.E.A. On top of all that, he's fiercely loyal to the M.C. and wants desperately to be a part of that family as well.
Needless to say, something is going to have to give.
Still, I have the utmost of faith in showrunner Kurt Sutter and his ability to pull this one off. We've already had cameos from everyone's favorite crazy Mom, Gemma (Katey Segal, Sons of Anarchy & Married with Children) and Sons of Anarchy's Southern Cali chapter President, Les Packer (Robert Patrick, Terminator 2). This is Sutter's wheelhouse, and if you know his story then you know why it works so well. The vibe is pure Sons of Anarchy with a decidedly south of the border flavor.
Speaking of that border, the cinematography focusing on the clear line of demarcation between the US and Mexico is a thing of beauty. One episode in and we've already got tunnels!! You can't beat that shit.
I suppose it goes without saying that I'll be tuning in on a weekly basis. There's a hint of fanboy here, as S.O.A. is one of my Top 5 favorite shows of all time, but you'd do well to hop on and take the ride. You don't even have to be a fan of the progenitor show....but it helps.