Welcome to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Kurt Sutter and Elgin James’ Sons of Anarchy spin-off, Mayans M.C.. While Kimberly Ricci provides her always excellent coverage of the series (here’s her write-up of the season premiere), 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. Let’s kick the episode off by looking at the episode title, “Xbalanque.” In the first season, each of the episode titles were the Hispanic and Mayan words for a featured animal in each episode. This season, the episode titles appear to refer to mythic figures in the Popol Vuh, a text recounting the mythology and history of the Mayans. Xbalanque is one of the Maya Hero Twins along with Hunahpu, and the two combined refer to complementary forces, like life and death, sky and earth, moon and sun. The Hero Twins traveled through Xibalba — or “the place of fear” — defeating the Gods of the underworld. Xbalanque likely refers to EZ Reyes, while Hunahpu is probably Angel.
2. The graffiti the teenagers spray painted in the opening sequence reads “Muros son para perras,” which is translated to, “Walls are for bitches.” Showrunner Kurt Sutter, of course, likes to take swipes at Donald Trump, and this is exactly what that is.
3. Cameo Alert: Ibarra, the leader of the Tucson chapter who also oversaw the execution by overdose of a chapter member, was played by Mike Beltran, a popular MMA/UFC referee.
4. The theme song the first season is performed by David Hidalgo & Los Refugio Tiernos,. In the second seaosn, the theme song is the same, except that it is performed by a female musician alongside Los Refugio Tiernos. No, it’s not Katy Sagal. It’s actually Diana Gameros.
I sing the theme song "Nunca" on Mayans MC's second season! Grateful to Bob Thiele Jr. and Kurt Sutter for the honor to be a part of this. Take a listen here now (or tomorrow when new season starts, and every time it airs on TV!): https://t.co/1XeIUM08tf https://t.co/cnDAiqINMF pic.twitter.com/AVFjU6FflJ
— Diana Gameros (@DianaGameros) September 3, 2019
5. There’s an eight-month time jump in the episode. Not that much has changed. EZ and Angel are still on the outs after Angel found out that EZ was an informant for the feds. Marcus Alvarez is now the lead henchman for Miguel Galindo; the Mayans, meanwhile, have allied with the Galindo Cartel and the Los Olvidados rebels led by Adelita against Potter and the Feds, although Potter still believes that Galindo and the Mayans are working for him. One thing that has changed is that Adelita is now pregnant. The way that Angel looks at Adelita suggests that at least he believes he’s the father. However, the way that Emily questions her husband, Miguel, about the paternity suggests that she thinks it could be him.
“That scene in particular is where you first see cracks emerging,” Emily Bolger, who plays Emily, told EW. “Where you see lies and mistrust. Where you see her question for the first time the strength of her marriage and the legitimacy of her marriage.”
Bolger’s comment strongly hints that Miguel is the father, which could definitely create friction between Angel and Miguel and thus the Mayans and the cartel. Or, at least Emily thinks Miguel is the father, which may give her license to sleep with EZ, creating all sorts of Kurt-Sutter style drama.
6. Something else that happened in the last eight months is that Miguel’s mom, Dita, got burned very badly all down the back of her head and down her back. We don’t know why, although it might have something to do with the burned down structure Emily and Miguel were working on rebuilding in the beginning of the episode.
7. In Sons of Anarchy, Jax’s whole agenda was getting SAMCRO out of the gun business and moving it over to the Mayans. According to Chucky’s exchange with Happy in this episode, however, it seems that Jax wasted his life and the last few seasons of Sons of Anarchy. He killed himself for nothing, because SAMCRO is still in the gun business.
8. Reminder: The SOA prospect, Hallorann, is played by Ray Nicholson, who is the son of Jack Nicholson. The resemblance is apparent.
9. Finally, the big question this season is did Happy actually kill EZ and Angel’s mom (yes) and why? Based on the timeline, at the time Happy — a former hitman — killed EZ’s mother, he was a roving nomad and not a full-fledged member of SAMCRO, according to Kurt Sutter in a THR interview last year:
We did the historical mythology homework to realize at the time [EZ’s mom died], Happy was a Nomad. We established him as a button guy and a killer-for-hire. That piece of it worked, in terms of it not impacting the Sons mythology. He wasn’t a member of the charter at that time. He was free and clear.
It looks like he had contracts on both EZ’s mom and Felipe, but only managed to execute one hit. Why didn’t he go back and kill Felipe? The why of it may not arrive until much later in the season, but I would not dismiss the possibility that Potter was involved. He seems to be involved in everything.
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesdays on FX. Check back next week for more callbacks and theories.