Welcome to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Kurt Sutter and Elgin James’ Sons of Anarchy spin-off, Mayans MC. While Kimberly Ricci provides her always excellent coverage of the series (here’s her write-up of the finale), here we’re going to endeavor to look deeper into the episode and excavate some of the details viewers may have missed, callbacks to Sons of Anarchy, and posit questions explore theories about the direction the series.
1. The title of the episode, ‘Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul,’ is fittingly Hispanic and Mayan for “crow,” which works on a number of levels. Members of Sons of Anarchy’s SAMCRO make an appearance in this episode, and the opening scene of crows picking at a dead dog is a juxtaposition of the pilot episode opening scene featuring a dog picking at a dead crow. In other words, you thought SAMCRO was dead, but they’re still very much alive on Mayans MC.
2. The task that Angel and EZ needed to pull off for Potter was fairly straightforward. Felipe couldn’t pull the trigger when faced with Jimenez (“I’m just not that guy anymore”), so it was left to EZ and Angel to do the deed, and do the deed they did. Unfortunately, they inadvertently got two for the price of one when EZ shot and killed Bowen, who they didn’t know would be there. Of course, we already know that EZ shoots before he thinks, which is exactly the reason why he ended up in prison in the first place. Here, at least he saved Angel by not thinking before he shot. Of course, Potter knew damn good and well that Bowen would be in the house — he planned it — and while Potter did clear EZ’s record as promised, he also kept EZ in his debt for killing a second fed. “You owe me one,” is basically Potter’s way of saying, “I’ll be back in season two” (which has already been greenlit). Honestly, that’s probably the best news of the entire episode.
3. In case you missed it, Kurt Sutter — who wrote the episode — used Lincoln Potter to take a not so subtle swipe at the Trump Administration. Potter, who is a big deal at the DOJ, said of the department that was run by Jeff Sessions up until two days ago, “All the gatekeepers have been fired, or resigned trying to salvage what is left of their souls. There are no longer any obstacles between avarice and executive order. The only limitations are imagination and the conscience of the men with the task.” Potter then asked if the pie on the table with two dead men lying beneath it was store bought or home made, because Lincoln Potter is the best.
4. As it turns out, Angel has been playing Ben Affleck from Good Will Hunting this entire time, trying to get EZ out of the club and out of Santo Padre so that he can make something of himself because he’s “special.” But unlike Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, EZ has no interest in finding a better life. The one inside the Mayans is the one he wants, or at least, he wants to stick around until he figures out exactly what he wants. So, when EZ meets with Bishop, it’s not to quit the club. It’s to ask Bishop to sponsor him, because the family issues between EZ and Angel are an impediment. Angel doesn’t take it well, but I think Angel will come around.
5. Bishop has another meeting, as well. This one with Alvarez, and it’s a harder pill to swallow for Bishop. But with Devante out of the picture (also, missing a head), Miguel Galindo needs a new business advisor, so Alvarez takes his leave as the godfather of the Mayans and takes a job upstairs. The good news is, this should keep him around more next season. The bad news is, Nestor is gonna be pissed. I don’t think that Miguel’s mom is too happy about it, either. I think she may take a run at Emily next season.
6. The big, fun twist in the episode is that we find out who killed EZ’s mother and it’s … Happy? I’m sure the thought process for most Sons fans in this episode was, “Oh cool! It’s Happy … Oh sh*t! It’s Happy.”
EZ recognizes the SAMCRO member with a violent streak as the man who murdered his mom, and as Kurt Sutter has clarified himself, Happy was a Nomad eight years ago, so he was in a position to do so. “Happy was a Nomad. He was freelance. He had no ties to Charming. I don’t want to misrepresent the direction of the series. But is it a cool way to intersect mythologies without f**king with what we did in Sons?”
The question is, why? If you’re trying to piece together a motive, your guess is as good as Kurt Sutter’s at the moment. After discussing with The Hollywood Reporter how it’s possible for Happy to kill EZ’s mother, he basically admitted he doesn’t know the “why” yet, either. “Now I just have to figure out where the f**k to go with it. (Laughs.)”
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with this approach. It’s the same one that Vince Gilligan admits to taking on every season of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. They write the show one season at a time.
7. Fun fact: The prospect that Happy is sponsoring — the guy that asked EZ for more beer — is Ray Nicholson, the son of Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson. Kurt Sutter says that he’s mentoring him, and that we can expect to see him back in season two.
8. I thought it was noteworthy that Emily — who seemed as though she were going to play a larger role in the story — fell by the wayside in the end. She’s still well positioned to take on a larger role in future seasons, perhaps as a love interest to EZ, but the show didn’t get into how and why Emily ended up with Miguel. In that THR interview, however, Sutter said that there was a backstory shot for Emily but that it had to be cut because his episodes were already running too long:
It was a backstory for Emily (Sarah Bolger). It was a scene where she goes to see her mom, when her husband is in the back hole at the border. She goes to her mom and we learn more about her family. It was an interesting reveal for her in terms of character. Ultimately, the episodes were so thick that I had to extract that story. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to do that next season, where we get a little more of Emily’s story, and see the things that shaped her so you understand who she is and why she’s with Miguel, and the choices that she’s made.