FX’s Mayans M.C.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Perro/Oc”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Kurt Sutter & Elgin James
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Escorpión/Dzec” – click here
We begin on the Mexican-American border. Fitting a Mexican biker runs over a crow to start out in a post-Jax Teller/Sons of Anarchy world. We’re catching up with the Mayans Motorcycle Club at one of their drug factories, disguised by dresses made in the same factory by seamstresses. The dresses are filled, then they’re loaded on trucks to be transported. This place is looked after by Obispo ‘Bishop’ Losa (Michael Irby). There’s a new prospect coming up the ranks, too. People like him. His name is Ezekiel ‘EZ’ Reyes (J.D. Pardo).
The past is complicated for EZ. He had a high school sweetheart, Emily Thomas (Sarah Bolger), whom he remembers fondly. But obviously there’s been a change since those times. In current day, we meet Felipe Reyes (Edward James Olmos)— EZ’s dad. Felipe runs a butcher shop. He and his boy are pretty close, they discuss literature. There’s also other things between them we don’t know yet. We further meet Angel Reyes (Clayton Cardenas), brother to EZ, and a full patch in the Mayans. Angel’s the one to let little brother know the club needs him on a run to Vegas.
The Mayans are on the road to Las Vegas with their latest shipment. On the road they come across trouble. Their truck windshield is splattered with paintball guns. They’re run off the road and the truck flips. Armed men pull everybody out, but one of the Mayans comes out shooting. A return bullet starts the gas tank burning. The rest of the Mayans arrive to spoil the plan: “Do you know whose shit you‘re jacking here, Mr. Spooky?” Bishop explains the cartel will kill their families. This doesn’t deter one of the masked men. Bishop and his men put their weapons down, kneeling in the dirt. EZ spies a tattoo on one of the men’s forearms— could prove useful, both for the club and for him as a prospect. Either way, right now they’ve been robbed, and there’s going to be payback, you can bet your ass.
The club goes back to see Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino) from the Galindo cartel. He wants to know about these thieves. He knows somewhere along the line, something leaked out. EZ mentions seeing “BTT” on the one guy’s arm – “Base Town Tribe” – a gang from San Bernardino. Things are a little tense between Miguel and Bishop, the latter mentioning they were only doing this to help out Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) in Oakland. It doesn’t matter. The cartel wants a head on a platter, and if they can’t find one it’ll be one of the Mayans’ heads. After things are over, Bishop punches EZ for speaking out of turn. A welcome return to the life of the outlaw! It’s been a while since Sons of Anarchy. I almost forgot how things went.
The Mayans are heading across the border through the tunnels below the wall. They’re getting one of their boys, Neron ‘Creeper’ Vargas (Joseph Raymond Lucero) fixed up after the truck ambush. Again, this is a world steeped in toxic masculinity, for better or worse, so a gunshot and a dislocated shoulder? Pfft.
While Creeper’s fixed up, they hit the streets. EZ helps a little kid from getting caught stealing. He sees graffiti on a wall in Spanish that roughly translates ‘Kill the devil, resurrect Mexico’ right next to an armed policeman in full riot gear. It’s a different world from the one they know in America as Mexicans, a vastly different place. While there, who does EZ see? Emily. Evidently it’s been a long time. We’re given a flashback to him in jail. Things were falling apart, he saw himself wasting away behind bars and he didn’t want her waiting around, despite their being together several years. Emily was also pregnant, deciding if EZ was going to determine their not being together then she would determine the fate of her pregnancy alone, too. Interesting to see Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) there visiting someone in jail at the time. This gives the timeline a bit of coherence, setting all the events of this series in line with that of Sons of Anarchy.
At the scrapyard in California, Alvarez and his Oakland Mayans arrive. Marcus and Bishop are cousins, as well as Mayans brethren. The big man’s come to talk business. All the patched members meet at the table, whereas probie EZ has to gas and wipe down the Oakland bikes. Not easy being a grown man treated like a child. At the table, the club discuss their Galindo troubles.
In his butcher shop, Felipe gets a visit from Kevin Jimenez (Maurice Compte). He wraps up a package he was given by his son EZ, no meat. He’s passed a note back inside a $10 bill, requesting to “see him tonight.” Ohh, shit. Serious mysteries going on already for the Mayans.
In a graveyard, Bishop and the club find the Samoans who robbed them. They advise the men to give over the stolen merchandise, or else the cartel’s going to make things bloody. The Samoan gang leader makes threats as more of his men arrive, but the Mayans say fuck that and start firing. They’ve got plenty of assault rifles and ammunition to rumble. This gives the prospect another chance to prove himself amongst the chaos. The Mayans get help from the Sons of Anarchy after President Lee Packer (Robert Patrick) swoops in with his charter.
They take the Samoan right to Galindo. He mentions a woman who “spoke English“— a young Latina who somehow knew of the shipment. He claims not to know her name or anything else. Galindo then has a man hack the Samoan’s arm clean off. Just like that, it brings out more information. Something about “diablo” relating to the graffiti we saw earlier, relating to the rebels who are kids orphaned by the cartel. Once all’s said and done, the Samoan must be dealt with and that’s the work a prospect does.
Oh, and guess who Galindo’s married to? Emily, of all people. She’s certainly got a type.
“Blood is blood— the only thing that matters.”
EZ gets a call from his father. He shows up at the butcher’s shop, where Kevin is waiting for him. As suspected, Kevin’s a DEA agent trying to go after Galindo. He gets information about the recent heist on them by the Samoans from the prospect. EZ only gets so much info himself, he’s “not at the table” yet. He also doesn’t want to do these secret meetings anymore, either. Too dangerous. We discover the prospect killed a cop, which is why he was in jail for a time and why he’s now connected to Jimenez and the DEA. If he helps bring down Galindo, he can return to a somewhat normal life again, away from the cops, the cartel, and the Mayans, as well. Dad has his back against the world. They’ve also got to keep it from Angel.
In the border tunnels, the Mayans are transporting the Samoan, wrapped in plastic. Or, EZ’s doing the work, anyway. Angel tells the others he can’t “keep lying” to his brother about what’s actually going on in the club. Elsewhere in the desert, Angel and the others head to a camp where the rebels stand armed. They’re all in makeshift animal masks. Their leader is the woman EZ saw earlier with the stealing boy, Adelita (Carla Baratta). She thanks EZ for his help.
Angel’s doing this stuff on his own, knowing Bishop and Alvarez won’t do what needs doing. This will make things especially compelling going forward. Between this and Galindo being married to Emily, there are many threads unknowingly attached throughout the world of this series. It’ll be exciting to watch them tangle and unravel.
Father Gore’s down with this spin-off. It’s timely and relevant, making it the perfect moment for Mayans M.C. to burst onto the scene. Can’t wait for more!
“Escorpión/Dzec” is next time.