Opening Shot: Sons of Anarchy has never been the most subtle show, and neither is Mayans MC. “Perro/Oc” opens on a graffitied wall that says “Divided We Fall” before panning to a stray dog that’s eating a dead crow. The message is clear. This is no longer SAMCRO’s story, and things are no longer rosy in the world of biker clubs. It’s the Mayans and EZ’s time to shine, and there are few better metaphors for our leading antihero than a sweet-looking wild dog. On cue EZ himself (JD Pardo) drives onto the scene, running over the crow.
A Spanish rap version of “Ayúdame Dios Mío” intercut with children singing plays as EZ rides. As the song continues, the scene cuts to another member of the Mayans, Bishop (Michael Irby). Donned in his club jacket, he confidently struts through the last place you would expect a hardened biker to strut — a dress-making factory that specializes in Quinceañera gowns. Soon it becomes clear why he’s there. This isn’t any factory. The Mayans MC biker club is using these dresses to smuggle shipments of drugs.
Bishop needs another biker to help transport the club’s latest shipment. After a quick conversation with one of his subordinates, he decides that his newest prospect, EZ, is up for the task. From the very beginning, nothing in this biker club is quite what it seems, and that more than extends to its newest recruit.
The Gist: Set four years after the finale of Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC tells a new story in a familiar world. Rather than following the main biker club in SOA, SAMCRO, this spin-off follows the original club’s rivals-turned-allies, the Mayans MC club. But though both shows come from the Sutter’s warped mind and share a love of brotherhood and twisted torture, there are some key differences between Mayans and its older television brother.
Even in the midst of Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Clay’s (Ron Pearlman) biggest throw downs, Sons of Anarchy always focused on how connected the SAMCRO club was. Mayans MC, at least in it’s first couple of episodes, never achieves that brand of seamless singularity. There are several betrayals and double crossings happening in the first episode both within and outside of the club. It’s a biker drama where the stakes feel immeasurably higher, and the show’s relocation from the relatively quiet and confined town of Charming to the free-for-all of Southern California helps escalate that tone.
Also, EZ’s story is unlike any this universe has ever told. Unlike Jax, EZ isn’t a product of club royalty.
In some ways he’s still very much a kid who is still grappling with the fact that a single crime took his promising future from him. He’s a prospect who has to work his way up the ranks as his beloved brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas) stands as the devil on his shoulder and his father Felipe (Edward James Olmos) stands as his angel. Is doing the right thing the same as doing the right thing for the club? And can EZ get out of the mess he’s made without hurting his loved ones in the process?
Our Take: Mayans MC premieres 10 years almost to the day after Sons of Anarchy, and it shows. Kurt Sutter and Elgin James‘ biker drama is immediately more mature, compelling, and balanced than the first episodes of SOA. But it’s the characters in this world who sell Mayans’ many twists.
Part of what made SOA such a beloved Shakespearian soap was Hunnam’s lovably conflicted portrayal of Jax Teller. Pardo gives EZ the same odd sweetness. Even though he’s a convicted criminal part of a biker club that’s forcing him to take part in all sorts of unspeakable crimes, there’s a sincerity and gentleness to EZ that’s impossible not to love. He reads poetry. He helps children. He remembers small details and tries to help people even when his club brothers warn him that he shouldn’t. EZ is a good person who tries to be honest, and that’s why watching him being forced to lie hurts so much.
Adding to EZ’s overwhelming sympathy is his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Bolger‘s Emily, and his father, Edward James Olmos’s Felipe. Though the show’s first episode barely touches on their relationship, it’s clear that EZ and Emily have history. At some point when he was in prison they drifted apart, and Emily went on to marry into a higher class world. Bolger plays her part as the newly-placed society woman well, but it’s her longing and subtle glances at Pardo that sell this romance, nodding to the fact that there’s more to EZ than meets the eye.
And it should come as no surprise that Olmos excels as the wise father figure. Felipe’s quiet conversations with his son stand among the show’s most intimate.
But every good drama needs a good villain, and Mayans has morally complicated villains a plenty. Danny Pino stars as Miguel Galindo, the son of the founder of the Galindo cartel, which has been employing the Mayans to transport its product. With his perfectly shaved face and clearly expensive suits, there’s a Patrick Bateman quality to Miguel. Even surrounded by a group of hardened criminals, he’s consistently the most unnerving man in every scene.
Mayans has also found an excellent foil for Miguel in the club’s forced enemy, Adelita (Carla Baratta). An extremist dedicated to stopping the Galindo cartel by any means necessary, Adelita is the epitome of calm determination, combatting Miguel’s limitless money with her flock loyal followers. Right away Mayans establishes that its first season is going to be a face-off between these two powerhouses. Who knows what will happen to the club that’s caught in the middle?
Because this is a Sutter show, there are a lot of characters to keep track of immediately. But in its first hour, Mayans MC does everything a good crime drama should. It establishes a murky world full of morally conflicted characters with compelling motivations, and it basks in some pretty extraordinary fights. Through all of this Mayans is able to consistently generate sympathy for its characters. Yes, this is a biker drama about criminals, but EZ will make you feel.
Sex and Skin: Gotta love Kurt Sutter’s love of hot man bods. Around the 43-minute mark EZ takes off his shirt, and it is H-O-T. Taking off his shirt to dispose of a dead body is decidedly less hot, but still. Pardo has abs for days.
Parting Shot: After whispering about Adelita all throughout this first episode, EZ’s brother Angel finally takes him to her lair. In the middle of the desert, Adelita’s camp is packed cartel rebels wearing animal masks. That’s when Mayans reveals one of two massive, series-altering twists. This is going to be a fun Season 1.
Sleeper Star: That’s a toss up between Carla Baratta’s Adelita and Richard Cabral‘s Coco. Baratta plays her young rebel leader with an unbelievable amount of composure and gravitas. It’s easy to believe that she would be the inspiration for a revolution, and Baratta gives an incredible performance, blending the gravity of her character’s situation with ferocity and a surprising amount of humanity.
But then there’s Cabral’s Coco, the Mayans’ club member who is consistently given the best one-liners. Coco is a sketchy weirdo like every friend Jesse Pinkman ever had in Breaking Bad. Keep an eye on him. In Sons of Anarchy terms, he may be our new Tig.
Most Pilot-y Line: This one goes to Bishop. After a drug shipment goes wrong, he says, “Do you know who’s shit you’re jacking, Mr. Spooky?” Thankfully EZ later delivers an incredible pun that more than makes up for this cringe-worthy line.
Our Call: Stream it for sure. Mayans MC is an excellent crime drama with a heart of gold that can stand on its own.
AUBURNDALE (FOX 13) – A Polk County family ended up with two bullet holes in their car after trying to change lanes, and the accused shooter may have done it as part of a gang initiation, according to investigators.
Auburndale police said they got a call from a driver who saw the incident go down on Saturday. The family was riding in their truck when bullets tore through their vehicle
On Saturday, a man, woman, and two 9-year-old children were driving their truck on Highway 92 West in Auburndale. They tried to change lanes near Havendale Boulevard
That’s when gunfire erupted from a group of about 15 motorcyclists driving alongside them.
“He pulls up next to it, almost next to it and fires two shots at a car, having no regard for who’s in the car,” said Auburndale’s Interim Police Chief Andy Ray.
No one was hurt, but it could have been much worse.
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Police said they arrested 25-year-old Aaron Delaune for attempted murder.
“I have a son. So, if you can imagine you’re driving somewhere and some idiot just fires a shot into your car and it hits your son or your daughter, I mean it’d be really hard to get over that,” said Ray.
Officers said Delaune was with the Kinfolk motorcycle club, a gang in Polk County. The police affidavit said they found loaded guns, ammo and evidence he was a gang recruit.
Delaune allegedly told police he thought the family was changing lanes too close to the bikers.
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Police are cautioning drivers and urging people not react to road rage.
“I think the most important thing to think about is you don’t know who’s next to you or in front of you or behind you. So, with that in mind, try to drive carefully,” said Ray.
Police said the witness played a big part in helping them catch the suspect quickly.
Delaune is in the Polk County jail and he’s also charged with shooting at a car with people inside it.