Mayans MC series premiere review: Is the Sons of Anarchy follow-up a winner?

Mayans MC - JD PardoToday, FX debuted their Mayans MC series premiere review, and what we had here was a story about family, about betrayals, and also about characters getting in over their head far earlier than probably anyone expected.

At the center of the entire series was JD Pardo as EZ Reyes, a Prospect who was desperate to find his place in the Southern California chapter of the Mayans close to the Mexico – US border. EZ is a guy who carries with him his own sad past, one that began with him landing in prison despite being at first a seemingly-innocent college student. Upon his release, he found himself getting roped in with his brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas) and the rest of the local Mayans charter, where he found himself sent down a road that includes plenty of business dealings, violence, cartel dealings on both sides of the border, and drama all around.

We would be remiss to not mention some of the series’ exceptional cast, including Edward James Olmos as EZ and Angel’s father Felipe or Danny Pino as the cartel boss Miguel. Sarah Bolger, who has doing some fine work on an array of shows including Into the Badlands and Once Upon a Time, turns up here as Reyes’ former flame Emily, who ends up having a connection to the world that is somewhat surprising in her own right. All of the performers are capable, but the premiere spends so much time dealing with the characters and setting up the world that there are not too many opportunities to really give anyone an especially-large percentage of the screen time.

Instead, the premiere episode spends most of its time establishing that EZ is in a world where, despite his interest in eventually escaping, there are no clear opportunities to do so. His family is already in too deep and this show has already established many different forces all facing off against each other, including the DEA and also an anti-cartel movement. Everyone has their own agenda, and many of them choose to wage war the only way they know how: With brutality. This was certainly a brutal premiere from start to finish.

Sons of Anarchy cameo time

We’re sure that most of you out there caught the brief appearance of Katey Sagal as Gemma within the presence. She was in the background after EZ learned that Emily was pregnant, and then proceeded to lose his mind over it.

CarterMatt Verdict

The premiere for Mayans MC ran long at well over an hour, but with series premieres this makes some sense given the fact that there were so many different characters and stories worth setting up. This was a solid start to the series that probably appeals greatly to Sons of Anarchy fans — it doesn’t really feel that different from the original show and at times can be heavy-handed (the crow imagery), but it’s certainly still entertaining.

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