FX’s Mayans M.C.
Season 1, Episode 2: “Escorpión/Dzec”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Kurt Sutter
* For a recap & review of the premiere, “Perro/Oc” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Búho/Muwan” – click here
Emily Thomas (Sarah Bolger) and her child are confronted by the rebels, forced out of the car. One of the young rebels takes the baby, as Emily calls the man with a gun in her face a “coward.” After that her driver’s executed with a bullet to the head. Then they’re gone with her child.
What I always found interesting about Sons of Anarchy, and what’s double as interesting here due to the Latino gangsters, is how the biker outlaws are of a different class of criminal than others. It’s similar to the way the Italian mafia once looked down on drug dealers, or how killers in jail will torture and/or kill molesters and rapists. There’s a code amongst criminals— some of ’em, anyway.
While EZ Reyes (J.D. Pardo) is out with the rest of the club taking care of business, his father Felipe (Edward James Olmos) is at home still living with the ghost of his dead wife, talking to her as if she’s right there with him. Felipe worries about his son, knowing he’s caught between two dangerous worlds.
Bishop (Michael Irby), Taza (Raoul Trujillo), and the club go to a dog shelter doubling as a bare bones hospital, including rehab for junkies. The back cages are filled with people strung out from heroin, trying to kick the habit. Later, the club run into a gangster on the road named Louie, who accidentally let Coco’s (Richard Cabral) underage sister shoot a porn scene. Instead of death the club offers Louie a better deal, kicking up a percentage to them until Coco deems it’s enough. Turns out, it wasn’t even his sister. Sly motherfuckers.
Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) gets in contact to let them know Galindo wants a meet. Although Angel (Clayton Cardenas) doesn’t appear worried, the look on Coco’s face spells STRESSED OUT. The club meet up with Alvarez then head to see Galindo. Miguel needs help on the “U.S. side” in case the kidnappers remained over there. Despite any concerns, Bishop agrees to offer the club’s aid. EZ remembers seeing the license plate of the car, letting the others know. Nobody wants to hear it, not willing to trust his near photographic memory— he’s only a prospect, y’know.
At the butcher shop, EZ stops in to see dad. They share the secret of what EZ’s doing out there in the motorcycle club world. Felipe wants to know more about what’s going on, even if his son’s trying to keep him at arm’s length for safety. He’s worried not just for his boy’s physical safety, he worries for his mental state and emotional safety. Now, with EZ scared for Emily’s child, things are getting worse.
So good to see Chucky (Michael Ornstein) turn up again! He’s alive and kicking, working for the Mayans at their shop. We see more of Coco, as well. His morality is biting at him, worried about the young girl being taken advantage of in the local porn industry at the hands of Louie.
At the seamstress factory, Miguel’s got a new lead, which means another man strapped to the pillar and facing amputation or maybe death— or maybe something nastier. The man learns about “cooking with grease” when he gets a hot pot tossed all over his face and torso. EZ talks out of turn by questioning Miguel’s treatment of “greasy fucking peasants,” and he’s saved from any repercussions. Galindo has the man’s kid brought out next. Angel can’t take it, pretending to get a call about the station wagon EZ saw earlier. When they leave, EZ apologises to Bishop, who’s not pissed for once. They can all see the prospect’s got big balls.
At the shelter, Galindo’s men are causing trouble. The Mayans show up and it’s a Mexican standoff— so literal it’s awesome and hilarious. Nobody wants to start killing, so it’s left to a massive fist fight between the cartel gangsters and the Latino bikers. A fantastic, shit kicking scene.
Miguel has his father’s man Devante (Tony Plana) helping him with things, in order to ensure the cartel remains in its glory. Word is, Devante’s a “serious fucking dude.” There’s no telling what that means, we’ve already see Miguel do some crazy shit. This older man comes from a different time, though one no less bloody and brutal. I wonder if he and Miguel will always see eye to eye.
Miguel’s told of his brother who was kidnapped when they were young, previously under the impression he died of pneumonia when it was all cartel business. Miguel named his own son Cristobal after him in honour. They’re back in the same situation. Devante talks about the elder Galindo – “fear was his best weapon” – and tries making clear what must be done, for the sake of family and also business. And the whole talk puts the cartel leader in a foul mood.
Across the border, Angel and the boys go to see Adelita (Carla Baratta) to put “everything on the table.” They talk about everything with the kidnapping. We also see more to Angel and Adelita outside their professional relationship, making things more complicated. This is when a cartel message turns up in the middle of town: two burned, bloodied corpses with the rebel flyers stuck in their dead mouths.
At the butcher shop, EZ goes to help Felipe. Looks like dad’s been sneaky, setting up a meet for his son and Emily. She arrives with her cartel escort. She wants the straight truth about what’s happening, her own husband won’t tell her anything. It’s the fear of a mother driving her. He tells her honestly about the bodies dumped down in Mexico in the square. He further promises not to let her son get hurt. Could be a tall order in that violent world.
We’re given a quick flash – love how they use the ambulance to show us 8 YEARS EARLIER, similar to a shot from the 1st episode – of Felipe and EZ watching a body being taken out to the ambulance under a sheet. A tragic past. There’s also another past connection for Coco, whose mother works on the street as a sex worker. This is why he feels a pang of guilt about the young girl mentioned by Louie— we’ll see more of all this soon enough.
Knockout follow-up to the premiere. Father Gore was already in for the season. After this episode, it’s game on! Can’t wait for more. Lots of conflict and intense drama already opening up wider just in the 2nd outing.
“Búho/Muwan” comes next time.