FX’s Mayans M.C.
Season 1, Episode 9: “Serpiente/Chikchan”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Sean Tretta & Kurt Sutter
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Rata/Ch’o” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul” – click here
A snake watches the opening action of this episode. A snake can represent so much— it lurks in the grass, it sheds skin becoming anew every so often, and it’s very often used to describe a person who’s untrustworthy, someone unpredictable.
The Reyers bros, EZ (JD Pardo) and Angel (Clayton Cardenas), are in lockup, trying to get Franky (Edwin Hodge) to help but his hands are tied. The Department of Justice are already involved and it’s got to do with a “Homeland Security issue,” as the plot thickens.
Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) goes to see the brothers, making the prospect very nervous. And quickly, he reveals to Angel the truth about little brother’s deal with the DEA after his time in jail. The attorney lays things out plain for the prospect, who’s got few, if any, good options. He gives EZ the choice to work with him and then his former deal will have “never existed.” That’s fine. But the prospect has not only his brother to deal with, he’s got to face the fact that if he’s exposed it’ll take Angel down, too. Although it makes things easier for the older brother to know his prospect made a deal on the condition nothing was used against Angel or the MC. Still, it’s a betrayal in a world of outlaws.
The brothers are set free. Angel drives to a secluded place where he punches EZ in the face. Nearby, the snake watches. Big brother gives little brother more punches, a kick. He’s angry for being betrayed. He finds out his dad Felipe (Edward James Olmos) was in on everything, making the betrayal cut deeper. The rattlesnake nearly bites EZ but Angel grabs it— he may be angry, he’s not THAT angry. He drives off and leaves the prospect on his own.
EZ remembers younger days, first meeting Coco (Richard Cabral), who we discover was in Iraq with the military. He got a gun from his brother, intending on using it to avenge his mother’s death. Angel tried to steer him away from revenge murder. “It‘s not a fucking math problem,” he said. Life sometimes doesn’t make any sense.
In the morning, Felipe finds his oldest son drunk in his house, looking over EZ’s old awards. Angel feels like the lesser loved son. He’s upset with his father for, in a sense, choosing EZ over him. Dad says he only tried to save his boy, and knew Angel would look after him outside. Not good enough for Angel. He’s wounded.
Miguel (Danny Pino) has Devante (Tony Plana) sweep the place for any taps on the mansion. Emily (Sarah Bolger) does her wifely duties as cartel mama, sifting through legal paperwork. Miguel wants to create a “shadow structure” to make the feds believe he’s working with them while using the deal with Adelita (Carla Baratta) to do business as usual. Devante doesn’t like this, whereas the married couple are united in their plan. While Miguel’s alone he looks through one of the files about his brother and finds an x-ray that makes him curious. Hmm.
Across the border in the tunnels, Angel is rushing to try warning Adelita of trouble. He gets there to see the rebel camp is gone, the area deserted. At the same time, Adelita is off meeting with Bishop Rodrigo. The holy man says her “heart is poisoned” and then he lets Nestor (Gino Vento) in to see the rebel leader.
“If they don’t take your life, they take your soul.”
At the DEA office, some agents discover the Reyes files are locked up. Meanwhile, Kevin Jimenez (Maurice Compte) returns to apologise to his former colleagues for any embarrassment he might have caused them, and his old office looks torn apart, as if it was searched for any illegal taps.
The Mayans have a meeting with Galindo at the casino. While they ride, a snake at the side of the road swallows a rat whole— certainly a bit of combined imagery that goes far. At the casino, Bishop (Michael Irby) and his boys arrive with Alvarez (Emilio Rivera). Miguel asks EZ to stay during the meet, and makes a show of telling Devante to sit across from him instead of next to him.
The cartel boss tells the Mayans about his recent troubles. Then he brings Adelita into the meeting, giving her Devante’s original seat. Adelita explains she’s agreed to work with Miguel to “cut through the layers of greed, bureaucracy, and ignorance” that’s damaged the Mexican people. She tells it simply: “We need the edge of the most dangerous blade.” Miguel wants the Mayans to act as a “trustee” to keep both sides in line.
Emily confronts EZ alone with what she knows of his “beautiful mind” from the things Potter showed her. She somehow tries lording over him, when she’s the one married to a cartel kingpin. This all makes things especially complicated because of the ties between the cartel and the Mayans, making Mrs. Galindo feel increasingly paranoid. That’ll get UGLY down the line.
Miguel takes Alvarez to ride home with his wife as he goes with Devante. He’s brought along his little brother’s medical records showing Cristobal died of pneumonia, contradicting the other story of his being kidnapped— the consigliere went so far as to convince mom to lie to her son, too. Miguel stops, calling Adelita out. He tells the story of her family and the bishop who gave her family up. Devante was the one who led the “execution squad” that day, and now he’ll face revenge at the hands of the rebel leader. Galindo gives him up to create a bond of trust with Adelita and pay off his “family‘s debt.” He offers her a machete, then she chops off his head. That night, the Bishop also gets murdered in a suicide-like scene and framed with child pornography.
On his bike, EZ sees a note left for him: ROOM 237 (same as in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining). He goes up to where Gilly (Vincent Vargas), Coco, and Angel are hanging with a bunch of ladies and getting warrior tattoos. For his tat, EZ gets a snake. Angel agrees to keep his brother’s secret, to help him get free of everything. That is, if EZ will walk away when it’s done— from the club, from his family, from the city, everything.
In the meantime, Potter requires the brothers to kill somebody: Jimenez. Holy shit.
Mayans M.C. has kicked into higher gear here right before the finale.
“Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul” is next time.