(Warning: Spoilers for Mayans M.C. will be found below, so don’t continue unless you’re all caught up.)
This week’s Mayans M.C. episode sees Emily Galindo (neé Thomas), the icy-blonde wife of a cartel head, finally see results with a project that, honestly, has been an obsession. That would be the seemingly odd “agripark” fixation, which feels unusual to see continually play out on a biker-drama show, but really, this is Emily’s way of making her mark. She also wants to help Miguel legitimize his crime-soaked family (there’s a The Godfather theme still at play here), but her chosen means (bribing a government worker and enlisting EZ for a final push) certainly aren’t legitimate. In other words, Emily’s probably gonna be working hard to hide any unraveling threads.
Sarah Bolger, who plays Emily, was happy to speak with us about her character’s motivations on the Kurt Sutter and Elgin James-created Sons of Anarchy spinoff. In the process, we got a little goofy while shouting about agriparks, but Emily’s transformation has taken a serious turn. She’s assuming her own power in a masculine world, and Bolger’s excited for what’s to come while hoping that it includes a ride.
When we talked to Kurt Sutter before Mayans began, he told us that it was important to distinguish this show’s strong females from Gemma or Tara on Sons of Anarchy. What’s your take on how Emily is coming to her own power and energy?
Well, in season one, she was sort-of blissfully unaware. Her husband, at the time, was always just trying to get out of that world, the cartel, the tremendously violent world that the were stuck in because of his familial ties. And I think the new revelation for Emily in the second season and how we see her grow is that we find that she’s very well-equipped for this kind of work, which surprises her. She’s very well-equipped to be in this nefarious business.
Emily sort-of ominously hinted to Iliana that she’s inherited part of her newly cutthroat abilities from her mother, who we haven’t seen.
Yes, that’s interesting because we’ve never really played the mother into the story yet. What I think we’re inferring there is that she grew up in [an environment] that was hard, that was tough on her and that this seeming seediness that Emily dives into during season 2 is maybe stolen from her mother.
We don’t know too much about who Emily was before marrying Miguel, right?
We don’t, but I guess what we do know is in the flashbacks we’ve seen.
It feels like those flashbacks with Emily and EZ play in a pretty dreamlike way, and they almost feel unreal.
Oh, they were very much in love. The usage of that feature in the show is through EZ’s eyes, so you never really see it through Emily’s perspective, which would be more useful. But I believe they were very much infatuated, they were of a love that I think is very pure and very honest and came about in a very organic way and holds true to today. So when you see them have scenes together, we know that that relationship ended because he went to jail. Not because of any lost love. EZ cut ties because of the sentence, and I think there’s potentially a torch that’s still held.
Emily was also pregnant when he went to prison. I wonder if they would have stayed together if things had gone differently?
I believe, and I think that Emily believes, that if EZ hadn’t gone to jail, they would still be together, and their lives would have been completely different. They were two kids with a very adult plan.
This week, it looks like Emily is finally seeing some success on this project that she’s been pursuing for so long. But are you tired of saying the word “agripark”?
[Laughs] “Agripark project” is not easy to say! Early on, I’d have to just keep repeating “agripark project, agripark project.”
It’s definitely a mouthful, but is Emily happy, now?
Yes! Because her whole goal is to legitimize her husband and to legitimize the business. That was her dream and the goal. I think that’s what she’s holding onto with this agripark project. That’s her realizing that she can legitimize, and the light at the end of the tunnel is glorious for her. That’s exactly what she wants, and she wants to prove to Miguel that she can do it.
Emily’s also gotten her hands dirty now, and Miguel doesn’t know that yet.
She did, and I think he doesn’t. When you live in that environment where aggression and danger are the vicious tools at your disposal, I think the lines get blurred, and Emily is just as guilty of that as anyone else on the show. It’s the state of the world that she’s in, and she doesn’t realize that she’s doing everything illegal, and it’s all very questionable. She’s sort-of glass-full in that respect.
Emily obviously had one person that she could call for help when a Chinese bid snuck in, and that was EZ. What were her true motivations?
My interpretation of this is that he’s the only one that she can trust. I mean, [with everything else], she often feels slightly betrayed, and EZ has come through for her multiple times. He’s solid and steady, but I feel like it’s this thing where they’re each other’s pillars.
Of course, her dynamic with Miguel is already shaky right now with all of the Adelita speculation.
Exactly. And she wants to prove to him that this is doable and that legitimization is possible, so it’s impossible for her to go to her husband and tell him that she messed up.
Well, I was rooting for her and Miguel to get it together, especially after that steamy scene from the first season. It felt like they had a true connection.
I do think they have that connection still. Emily and Miguel have gone through the worst together. I don’t think this is an easy dynamic in which to maintain a sturdy relationship. Just being in a position where lots and lots of lies becomes your currency, it almost becomes impossible to have a whole-hearted and true and beautiful relationship, but I do think that what these characters have is steady. Like, their foundation is solid, they just have to find it again, and it’s been difficult these past two years.
To get a little lighthearted here, you don’t get to interact much with the M.C. members, but if Emily could have a bottle episode where she just hung out with one of them (not EZ), who would it be?
Oh, I love Michael Irby, who plays Bishop. He’s such a badass, so I think that would be a fun day for Emily.
Do you ever want her to actually ride?
Of course! That was the first question I had when I got the role: “Do I get to be on a bike?” They still haven’t answered me.
Well, I don’t think Gemma or Tara ever got to ride, so maybe you need to push the issue a little bit and make it happen.
That’s true, I need to start an online poll to get Emily to ride!
‘Mayans M.C.’ airs Tuesday nights at 10 pm EST on FX.