‘Mayans M.C.’ Rides Into Season 2 With a Twister of a Plot

Mayans M.C.” is quickly becoming one of those shows where if you’re coming in late good luck keeping up. Even diehard fans probably need to take notes just to keep track of what’s going on. However FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff remains entertaining in its own, testosterone-fueled way. In keeping with its network’s tradition, season two opens with a feature-length premiere clocking in at 2 hours and 17 minutes. That should be plenty of time to tie up loose ends, but in this case even more story threads get tangled. 

Opening again along the U.S. and Mexico border, the season premiere, titled “Xbalanque,” finds the Mayan motorcycle club still gripped in its own intrigues. So lest you forgot, eight months ago Angel (Clayton Cardenas) learned that EZ (JD Pardo) was secretly informing for the DEA. The two brothers are not in speaking terms and EZ has decided to stick around with the club. Now it’s time to take notes. The Mayans are still connected to insurgent group Los Olvidados, cartel boss Galindo (Danny Pino), who used to be against the group is now aligned with them, yet he is still fooling U.S. attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) into thinking they remain associates. The Mayans are also fooling Potter into thinking they’re his allies. In this episode the Mayans pretend to team up with a group of mercenaries sent by Potter to wipe out Los Olvidados. But at the moment of the raid the bikers turn on the mercenaries when they capture a young rebel and kill them all except for the Chris Kyle-like leader. The band essentially reunites with legendary head honcho Marcus (Emilio Rivera). Enraged, Potter decides to target Los Olvidados leader Adelita (Carla Baratta). 

Going into a second season “Mayans M.C.” is becoming its own show without having to reference “Sons of Anarchy” all the time. The plot itself is becoming so intricate that it doesn’t need to branch out into other titles. Most of “Xbalanque” focuses on the Mayans’ double crossing of Potter. It is only in bits and then larger pieces at the end that it returns to another central theme, EZ’s search for who killed his mother. The main suspect remains Sons of Anarchy member Happy (David Labrava), who begins to ask Chucky (Michael Ornstein) questions about EZ’s dad Felipe (Edward James Olmos). The clincher comes in the final moments, where Happy digs through some papers and finds what looks like a target file for EZ’s mom and underneath it, a file for Felipe. In a dramatic cliffhanger EZ visits Angel to bury the hatchet, especially because the club will soon vote on whether he gets the required patch, and claims he might know who killed their mother. 

The rest of the episode is the required game of catch up with key players. Galindo learns about Potter’s new desire to smash Los Olvidados, so he leaves to secretly meet with Adelita to move the group to a safer place. But the drug lord’s home has its own tensions as wife Emily (Sarah Bolger) is running business affairs while being suspicious of Galindo’s closeness to the rebel leader. It doesn’t help that Adelita is pregnant and hasn’t revealed who the father is, although for the sake of melodrama we can make a safe educated guess. Emily is also feeling overbearing pressure from Galindo’s mother Dita (Ada Maris), who doesn’t like Emily being in charge and is suffering from deteriorating health. She delivers another of the episode’s best scenes, a moment of pure silence where she removes her wig and reveals that the entire back of her body has severe burn scars. We still don’t know what it is Dita has, but the season promises to slowly start delivering some answers.

“Sons of Anarchy” fans who have migrated over to “Mayans M.C.” will enjoy the other, more bloody and upfront moments. The opening shot finds kids putting graffiti on the U.S./Mexico border wall with the message in Spanish, “walls are for bitches.” It’s a fitting way for this show to comment on the Trump era. A meeting with Bishop (Michael Irby) and club members from a nearby branch results in a tainted drug load being uncovered along with a traitor who is immediately whacked. Aesthetically the show moves with a rugged style with those shots of EZ riding down streets and highways like a Mongol on a steel horse. JD Pardo is the defining face of this franchise now and he carries on with both intelligence and raw toughness.

Loyal viewers to “Mayans M.C.’s” first season could be tempted to keep going as this second one teases us with grander story developments. It’s weaving quite the intricate web, and even more impressively with a genre usually associated with brawls of action. Setting us up for a complex ride, hopefully the destination makes the trip worth it.

Mayans M.C.” season two premiered Sept. 3 and airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.