A Mayans M.C. recap with hefty spoilers will be found below…
Over seven seasons, Kurt Sutter‘s Sons Of Anarchy showed SAMCRO’s Charming chapter receiving plentiful assistance (and trouble) from outside sources. The Irish, the Russians, and the Chinese all came and went, each leaving varying degrees of mayhem in their midst, but the opening episodes of Mayans M.C. set up an insular world for the Cali/Mex border chapter that has taken over the biker drama universe. This set-up was designed to emphasize how this club is dealing with more immediate and dangerous challenges than their predecessor, perhaps ones that are too risky for third-party involvement, but as it turns out, allies are necessary after all. So we see the Mayans join with members of a Chinese crime syndicate, in a meeting that takes place at a tribal casino and ends with violence on multiple levels. And on a more character-based note, we watch the war brewing inside the Galindo cartel.
The Galindo family itself is in chaos, and drug lord Miguel is starting to lose his bloody mind after the kidnapping of his son, Cristobol. Adelita’s rebels have the baby, and EZ gives the baby a cuddle (Dustin Rowles has noted that he’s awfully concerned about the child, leading some to speculate that EZ could actually be the kid’s bio dad). The #MayansFX Twitter account enjoys this a lot.
Meanwhile, Emily is reeling after her child was ripped from her arms, and she’s incensed by the truth about how Miguel keeps them rolling in dough.
Emily’s watched the rebels’ new viral video that shows Cristobol’s silver pacifer near the charred bodies left in the town square. And Miguel is not only battling internally with what his father once did — sacrificed his first son to another rebellion to stand firm and make a point — but the ordeal is fracturing his marriage. His braided mercenary is on the case and isn’t making much progress, so Miguel takes matters into his own hands. We’ve already seen graphic glimpses of this cartel head’s taste for torture, but when it appears he might chop a limb off a teen who may have knowledge of the abduction, the drug lord settles for a flesh wound. Then Miguel bizarrely rubs the teen’s blood all over his own face and declares the boy to be part of his entourage. Kurt Sutter didn’t write this episode (that credit goes to Sean Tretta and Andrea Ciannavei), so the significance of this “blood vow” may be even more mysterious than usual.
Meanwhile, Emily has had enough of her husband’s Mafia-style sh*t.
She confronts her mother-in-law, Dita, who tries to persuade her to support her husband to no avail. Dita relents and realizes that Emily’s budding baddasery might be a karmic payback for letting her firstborn be killed as a baby, so they forge out while wearing disguises (sunglasses and scarves, it’s a little ridiculous) to investigate the matter. Their prying leads to nowhere, but we do hear Dita tell the backstory of how she sent Miguel to college because they wanted a different (non-drug-oriented) life for him. And yet he came back from school, as Emily notes, with the intent of reshaping the family legacy.
Sounds familiar, right? Miguel might have a little Jax Teller in him. And as Dita tells Emily, “You did what a mother does, followed your instincts.” As for the question of whether the Galindos can “wipe the blood off the family fortune,” we’ve all seen enough mob movies to know that isn’t possible. Miguel wants to hold onto his last shred of humanity, even as he feels the monster within. He climbs into bed at episode’s end and tells Emily, “I know where you went today.” She responds, “And you know why I had to go.” The drug lord then weeps, “I’m so sorry.” She’s surprised and grasps his hand, but the matter is not settled.
Meanwhile, the Mayans need to make a drug hookup for Miguel, and since the rebels sabotaged their last Vegas run, they must gain allies. This quest sends them blazing through the desert to “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (the Kill Bill: Vol 1 version of the song from Santa Esmeralda, featuring Leroy Gómez). This leads them to interface with the Chinese, who “toast to new allies and dead traitors.” Then because there’s gotta be some chest puffery (warning them not to lose another shipment), the Chinese boss uses Bishop to shoot a rat in a conference room at a damn casino.
After the deal is done, the Mayans enjoy some bar time at the casino, and EZ has a run-in with some local cops who heckle his “badass motorcycle gang” ensemble. The club pushes EZ to complete his “unfinished business,” and the prospect has no choice, in order to prove his loyalty to the club. Hell, this is tribal ground, so he tosses a punch, which always makes a flashy casino atmosphere more fun, but mostly, the exchange leads to yet another flashback about EZ’s fatal clash with an officer. And we’re reminded again, on a somber note, that EZ is double-crossing the club as part of his DEA deal. Fortunately, we do get to hear Coco’s catchphrase once more.
— At the clubhouse, Bishop asks Alvarez why he didn’t want to tell anyone in the chapter more details about the Chinese. As it turns out, Alvarez is very concerned (unlike Bishop) about who leaked details (to the rebels) that led to the botched Vegas run. This turns Bishop onto the possibility of a mole inside his club, and boy, he has no idea that multiple members are to blame, but these glances between club presidents say everything.
— Felipe’s a slow burn of a character, but there’s some firepower on the way. He’s already pulling guns on federal agents when they stake out his shop (for protection’s sake). While watching Vietnam war footage, he attempts to hide his guns from EZ because the prospect’s so stressed out already, and he lovingly covers both sons with blankets after they fall asleep in his living room. Pop’s gonna defend them at any cost possible.
Mayans M.C. airs on Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX.