[Warning! The following contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 8 of Mayans M.C., "Rata/Ch'o." Read at your own risk!]
One of Kurt Sutter's go-to tricks has been to tighten the nooses around his characters' necks by pulling slowly from different directions until the snare seems inescapable. Going back to Sons of Anarchy, it doesn't always work well — he can sometimes pull from ridiculous angles — but when it does, it's Sutter (and now Elgin James) at his best. "Rata/Ch'o," the eighth episode of the first season of Mayans M.C., gave some hefty yanks on the ropes of a few men we thought were untouchable, and it provided one of the better episodes of the season.
Look, we know that EZ (JD Pardo) is living on borrowed time given that he's working with the feds against the Galindo cartel as a snitch inside the Mayans, and also working with his brother and the rebels as a snitch against the Mayans. But we also know that these close calls that Mayans M.C. keeps delivering are just that — close calls that won't stick. But the tension of EZ's potential outing as an informant was thick as hell this week, to the point where EZ's life felt legitimately threatened even though he's sure to be around until the end of the series.
It all started in the aftermath of Miguel's (Danny Pino) pickup by Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon, killin' it), as Potter put the clamps on Miguel. The big reveal here was that Potter didn't want to lock Miguel up; he wanted to partner up with him. "The devil you know...," he said, harkening back to the stability he had to enforce back on Sons of Anarchy with the IRA and SAMCRO. It's a crazy turn of events that's only really believable in this world, and sure, why not? This isn't just a television show, it's Mayans M.C., and this is how the show lives and breathes.
And yes, if you're keeping score, it's the second time in three episodes that Miguel has been detained only to see his captors (or those who set up his capture) make him a business deal instead of cuff him. Must be nice being so popular! With Emily (Sarah Bolger) feeling the pressure to choose between her husband and her son, Miguel signed the deal to work with Potter. Of course Potter didn't know that Miguel already agreed to a deal with Adelita (Carla Barrata) in another episode, and under his breath as he was leaving Potter's office, Miguel said he was going to screw over Potter with the help of his 2,000 forgotten soldiers. The enemy of my enemy, and so forth. But really, this was Miguel's only play.
If the end game for Miguel — who isn't nearly as safe as EZ, but should stick around for a while — is coming down to EZ versus Miguel, cramming Miguel in the middle of a fight between the rebels and the DOJ is a clever way to extend Miguel's story. It's also likely to make things a tad more complicated, and I can't believe I'm admitting this given my history with Sons of Anarchy, but Mayans M.C. has been easier to follow than Sons (ask me again in Season 6 of Mayans M.C. and I will probably give you a different answer), so this won't muddle things up. It just postpones the Miguel-EZ showdown we figure is coming, and does so in a very juicy way.
While all this was going down, EZ's cover came closer than ever to being blown as Potter promised to give up names of whoever was giving the feds intel to Miguel, and Emily figured out that EZ was working with the feds (or did she think all of Potter's info was B.S.?). As the Mayans sat around the table talking about setting something up out of the way in private, the implication was that the Mayans found out the truth about EZ, and were plotting to kill him. It was another classic Sutter trick, with just enough information withheld to get us — and EZ — thinking one way, while the truth was something entirely different. (What were the Mayans planning around that table, anyway?)
It turns out that EZ's cover was still intact, though getting more frayed by the minute, and now Potter is taking even more of an interest in him. But there wasn't a happy ending for EZ. No siree, after that close call, Sutter threw another rope around EZ's neck. While Angel (Clayton Cardenas) and EZ agreed to bury Coco's (Richard Cabral) dead mama for him — those are some good friends — they were pulled over by cops, natch, who discovered the corpse in the trunk. Uh oh. And that's how the episode ended.
Elsewhere, Riz (Antonio Jaramillo), who found himself in a bind in the previous episode, lost his title as club secretary after the tunnel was found. Bishop (Michael Irby) doesn't think he's the snitch, but his side gig violated club rules and he got punished. The whole thing created a lot of bad blood between Riz and Angel, because Angel told Bishop about the tunnel in the first place to take the heat off of Coco, who Bishop thought was the mole. Of course, if Coco had just told everyone that Letty (Emily Tosta) was his daughter in the first place — and we'll never get a satisfying reason why he didn't — a lot of this could have been avoided. However, Riz and Angel cooled off with a cage fight, so they're all good now.
Meanwhile, Felipe/Ignacio (Edward James Olmos) paid his priest friend a visit to tell him about Adelita's bloodlust, and warned him that she'd probably be coming for him. The priest turned that around and reached out to Galindo to tell them he could deliver Adelita to them, but now that Miguel and Adelita have a pact, I'm not sure what use that will do for the priest. He's a dead man, right?
I'll close by talking about my favorite part of the episode, which was EZ and Coco smoking a joint and getting philosophical while the corpse of Coco's mom lay between them. That was some messed-up sh--, but it was hilarious, too. Depending on your stance, Coco telling EZ that he was never supposed to go to Stanford and that he shot the cop to end up right here in that moment was either the musings of a gang-banging Socrates or the muddled thinking of a stoned psychopath who just offed his own mother. What a ridiculous and awesome scene. It makes sense that Coco is a fan of fate rather than free will; it will help explain all his incredibly dark humor. Did he really want his mom buried inside a dick-shaped hole? You better believe it.
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on FX.
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