With 2021 still in the grips of the global pandemic there are few things that bring a smile to my face. One of those things is the third season of the FX series (and Sons of Anarchy spinoff) Mayans M.C.. The cast and crew did film during the pandemic, with precautions in place so strict that everyone involved had their temperature taken three times a day.
The showrunner/co-creator/executive producer/writer/director Elgin James wanted to make sure that his crew and cast had the utmost safety precautions in place in order to do their absolute best. I commend him for that as the leader of this ship, he was determined to keep it afloat, and he certainly did.
This third season has been by far, in my opinion, the best yet. Every single actor is on their A game and has been able to delve further into their character and all that twists and turns that each one is faced with. With the departure of co-creator/writer/executive producer Kurt Sutter, it is obvious that Elgin James had taken being the head of production seriously. From the new opening sequence to the new theme song, the presence of the Latino community is stronger than ever. I for one enjoy the new opening.
It is about time that the Latino community be featured in the forefront of a show that is about a Latino motorcycle gang. For far too long in Hollywood people of color have been marginalized, put in the background, or just underrepresented in every way, shape, and form. So, the fact that with images of prominent Latino leaders throughout history we see the progression of what they have gone through for the last few centuries.
I am also happy to see that Elgin James has become more and more involved with the writing and directing as well as every other aspect of filming of this series. I have become a huge fan of his and will continue to be a huge fan for an exceptionally long time. I am also happy to see that actors like Richard Cabral (Johnny “Coco” Cruz), JD Pardo (Ezekiel Reyes), Michael Irby (Obispo “Bishop” Losa) and Carla Baratta (Luisa “Adelita” Espina) are getting to use their magnificent acting abilities to delve further and further into they are complex characters.
The third season starts out with JD’s character Ezekiel a fully patched member. He wastes no time in voicing his opinion about what needs to happen within the club. We also get to see JD flex those incredible acting chops that he has and I for one am so incredibly proud of him to see that he is not holding back in his craft.
JD takes Ezekiel to places that he has not been before, and we as the fan get to see that journey. We have now in this third season, a sneak peek if you will, of what it was like for him to be in jail, to have that experience shape who he is today especially as he is now as Mayan.
The scene where he went to go see Alicia (Denise G. Sanchez) in jail is probably one of the best scenes that JD has ever done in his career in my opinion. He was so visceral that I felt all his emotions as I was sitting at home watching him. The flashbacks, the body language, the expression on his face, the look in his eyes you could completely tell that being back in jail, albeit to visit someone behind glass, deeply deeply affected him.
This season reminds me of a lot of the mafia movies that I have seen in the past. You have one faction warring against another faction or at least trying to become one entity. And that is certainly what has been happening this season with Mayans. With the Santo Padre chapter butting heads with the Northern California chapter of the Mayans over the heroin trade due to the border shut down, things get heated quickly.
It was great to see that even though they are essentially the same club, there are different leaders (or Kings as they are referring to them here) for each chapter. It reminds me again of the mafia movies I have seen over the years where the heads of the families are constantly at war with each other to see who can come out the victorious winner.
This year we also get to see another prospect played by the wonderfully hilarious Momo Rodriguez. His character Steve is a bit of an oaf but can certainly help the club in its time of need. Cries of “WTF Steve” are this season’s “My Bad” that was coined by Coco throughout season one and two. It is also nice to see Ez take Steve under his wing knowing what it was like to be in that position just a year ago.
Danny Pino’s character of Miguel Galindo is not taking the death of his mother Dita (Ada Maris) well that he has virtually ignored his wife Emily (Sarah Bolger) and has gone off the deep end emotionally, his behavior is erratic, even for him. We also see that he has started an affair with Palomo (Mia Maestro) that gives him a leg up when it comes to his shady dealings.
There are certainly changes for all the characters in this season. With Ez finally getting a new love interest in Gaby (Sulem Calderon) his life may be finally getting back on the right track, or does it? An incident happens in the fifth episode that launches the club into a situation where they have to defend themselves as well as their livelihood. It was definitely something that would have eventually happened considering the situations that happened in the previous two seasons. Gaby brings a lightness to Ez’s character that he had not seen in quite a long time. I am hoping that it will last but knowing what the Mayans series has given us I do not think it will.
Ez is walking that fine line between two worlds and eventually those worlds will collide, or he will have to choose one over the other. Again, JD does phenomenal here not only is he physically fit for what the club has or will rather be doing later on in the season, but his emotional journey has definitely upped the game. For me as a director watching actors like him it is such a treat, it is my drug, it is my high, it is something that I strive for when I am working with actors. When you are able to truly transform, truly be in the moment where you are physically that person, when you can see it in the character’s eyes, when you can feel it resonating off the screen. I am so so proud of him and Richard Cabral for their work this season.
Carla Baratta, who plays Adelita aka Luisa has done a phenomenal job this year as well. With her coming back from being captured by Potter (Ray McKinnon) her day of reckoning has certainly arrived. Carla has such a wonderful way about her when she acts, she has a subtlety, but it is enormously powerful. She does not need to say much her actions as the character speak volumes and even though she is quiet at times or a woman of extraordinarily little words those words that she does speak are enormously powerful.
Her journey this year has been one of pain, of redemption, of rising again and again, of finding that immense strength through incredibly difficult times as well as through incredible sorrow. Her character does shave her head and that liberation is definitely seen through her character. Carla had mentioned in an interview that it was very liberating and free for her to do that because it basically shed all of Adelita’s past and she became almost like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. That act of shedding her former self, that had been holding her hostage in a way, was a way to reveal this new chrysalis to the world. She is a fantastic actress and I have become a huge fan of hers through this series.
The one actor that no matter how many times I see him on screen is absolutely astonishing is Richard Cabral. Richard is staggering, his journey this year as Coco is something I rarely see in actors.
Cabral is on the Marlon Brando level, on the James Dean level, on the Montgomery Clift level, he is on the level of greats with this season I am so incredibly proud of him and would kill to work with him one of these days. What he is doing with Coco is not acting, it is living, it is living your truth for the whole world to see warts and all, and that’s exactly what Richard is doing!
Elgin James was even a little bit worried about Richard because he apparently went a little too method for his role this year as Coco. Elgin was worried that he was not eating and was not sleeping properly and that was going to affect his health throughout the production, but luckily Richard did what needed to be done and the result speaks for itself on screen.
The one actor that we have not seen much this season is Sarah Bolger who plays Emily Thomas. I hope that we get to see more of her because I do love to see her on screen. I think she is a fantastic actress, and she brings an innocence to Emily with a sharp edge.
I definitely see the progression that she has made over the last three seasons from this woman who was not really considered a threat to someone who has basically stood her own against the big boys and is just as smart and just as ruthless as her husband.
I do feel that she is underused this season I think that she will hopefully be seen more in the next three episodes that are left this season and be featured a little bit more prominently.
There is a lot that has been revealed this season, a lot that will be happening in the next three episodes. In this latest episode titled What Comes of Handlin Snakeskin, things come to a violent head. We see Steve (Momo Rodriguez) stepping up his game and becoming more part of the club than expected. It is also a wonderful scene between Steve and Ez as he is basically giving Steve some sage advice about not only life but being a Prospect. I had tweeted about that scene that I hoped EZ takes his own advice about something greater than himself. Luckily, I did get a response from JD Pardo himself that said “Ez knows it’s there because it’s pulling him. He just does not want to accept it. He is seen life happening a different way for himself. It’s hard to let go of.” I am awfully glad that I received that tweet from JD because it gives a little more of an insight into what Ez is thinking and where the character may be going.
Mayans MC to Date:
I will definitely say this that it has been a rollercoaster ride of a season from the introduction of the Northern California chapter of Mayans to Juan Denver (Keong Sim) which was a great episode to Miguel’s meltdown to Emily’s frustration with not being able to raise her own son correctly. Things are definitely coming to a head it is such a complicated season that I do not really want to reveal much more. The great thing about a series like this is that when you are watching from the beginning you understand where the characters have gone, how much progress that has been made over the last three years. It is getting so complicated and so deep that to do just one post would not do it justice.
If I were able to go episode by episode by episode, then I could definitely delve further and further into what the abyss of what Mayans has become. I am so looking forward to the rest of the season with these last three episodes upcoming. I am just on edge with what happened in the last few moments of this episode seven that I am sure everyone is on pins and needles. I am incredibly happy that this season has become better not just by the writing but with the acting and just overall in general. From production value, to music, to the way that it is shot and directed is exceptional. It is interesting how with the departure of Kurt Sutter everything finally fell into place.
A lot of people had expected Mayans MC to be almost a carbon copy of Sons of Anarchy. I can understand where people wanted to see that, but the great thing is that it stands alone, it stands by itself and it stands well. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it is such a Latino heavy series where 85% of the crew, the cast, the writers, the directors are Latino.
I also love the fact that Elgin made it a point this year that the writers room have more women this year. I am one person that believes heavily in diversity in Hollywood and will champion and rally for it as hard as I can. Because it is supposed to represent life, it is supposed to represent the people and communities around you and if you cannot represent that then you should not be writing a TV show. Sorry getting a little political there again I am just so happy to see that it is doing well that it has finally broken open the confines of what it was before. I am also hoping that FX will renew it for a fourth season and beyond.
I hope you enjoyed this update so far and will journey with me through the remaining episodes that are left this season. Tuesday cannot come fast enough!
Thank you for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency. Thanks to Kenn for video embedding and adding images for my feature article. I will be back later this season to provide additional analysis about Mayans MC as we learn more about this wonderful series on FX Networks!
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Until next time,