The freshman season of Mayans M.C.rode off into the sunset Tuesday, but not before dropping a major bombshell and leaving a couple casualties in its wake. In "Cuervo/Tz'ikb'uul," after a few members of SAMCRO arrived in Santo Padre to help broker a gun deal, it was revealed that Happy (David LaBrava), of all people, was the person who murdered EZ's (JD Pardo) mother eight years prior to the start of the series. Say what?!?
This is pretty huge news, but let's not skip over what's most important about this particular reveal: It means EZ's photographic memory and all those flashbacks finally paid off! There was a reason we had to sit through all those scenes featuring a clean-shaven JD Pardo trying to convince us he was suddenly eight years younger! All joking aside, this news threatens to complicate the connected worlds of Mayans M.C. and Sons of Anarchy in a major way -- more than Marcus Alvarez's (Emilio Rivera) decision to work as counsel for Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino) does. So, while everything is still fresh in our minds, let's take a look back at the last 10 episodes and break down the winners and losers of Mayans' first season.
Winner: Sons of Anarchy fans
One of the joys of watching a spin-off of a show you love(d) is seeing familiar faces pop up and spotting all the references to it, and Mayans M.C. definitely didn't disappoint in that regard. In addition to the character of Alvarez, who was always going to be a presence in any show centered on a charter of the Mayans, the series also featured a brief cameo from Gemma (Katey Sagal) in the premiere, which quickly established a connection to the larger world of Sons of Anarchy. The subsequent arrivals of Chucky (Michael Ornstein) in Episode 2, Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) in Episode 6, and eventually Happy and Quinn (Rusty Coones) in the Season 1 finale meant the first season of Mayans M.C. was littered not just with references to the men and women of Sons of Anarchy, but the actual people too. This show was always intended for a specific audience, but it's clear now that it was actually made for them too.
DEA agent Kevin Jimenez (Maurice Compte) first lost his job and then his life when he was murdered by his own second cousins (EZ and Angel, obviously) on Potter's orders. This would probably be a shocking development on literally any other show, but the law has always come out on the losing side in the greater Sons of Anarchy universe. Like its predecessor, Mayans M.C. is a show about outlaws, and we're rooting for these ostensibly bad men to escape the cold hands of justice at every turn. And they have. Corruption is the name of the game here, so the law was always going to come out a loser in this one.
This first season wasn't exactly easy for EZ (heh), but he now knows who killed his mother, a mystery that's haunted him for years. Beyond that though, he also managed to slip out of every single sticky situation he found himself in this season. That's one of Sutter's favorite tricks -- he loves to put his leads in impossible situations and make them squirm for a bit only for them to somehow get away scot-free at the end of the day -- but honestly, it's worked all right so far. The hands of fate may eventually come calling for EZ, but since he and Angel killed Kevin (and Kevin's former boss) for Potter, EZ's deal with the DEA is complete and the record of him being an informant has been erased. Now, Potter probably isn't going to just go away, and EZ obviously killed yet another law enforcement officer, which can't be considered a victory of any kind, but EZ's troubles have been diminished significantly for the time being.
Loser: The Mayans/SAMCRO deal
Happy arrived on the scene in the Season 1 finale, which was definitely a thrill for fans, but knowing that he murdered EZ's mother might put the current Mayans and SAMCRO alliance that happened under Jax (Charlie Hunnam) on thin ice. Alvarez said he wanted to honor the promise he made to Jax, but now that he's hung up his cut and is working for Galindo, who is to stop EZ from getting his revenge and threatening the relationship between the two clubs? (Or at least attempting to get revenge -- this is Happy we're talking about, after all.)
On one hand, putting Happy in the crosshairs is a sneaky and clever way to bridge the world of Mayans M.C. with that of Sons of Anarchy. It teases a second season that could potentially see a Mayans and SAMCRO war, which echoes the beginning of Sons of Anarchy, when the two clubs were enemies. But on the other hand, co-creators Kurt Sutter and Elgin James did a commendable job of making the two shows feel distinct and yet familiar, and as much enjoyment as we glean from seeing these two worlds collide, this latest development could threaten that.
Of course, there's also still a lot we don't know here. Was Happy working independently or was he carrying out club orders? If he killed EZ's mom eight years ago, he might have still been a Nomad and therefore not working on behalf of SAMCRO. Either way, Happy's actions in the past could still blow back on SAMCRO in the present, and that puts the current and future working relationships between the Mayans and the Sons of Anarchy in jeopardy.
Has there ever been a tertiary character who's survived as long as Chucky has survived? Honestly, there's no real reason for Chucky to be part of Mayans M.C., and yet I'm eternally grateful he not only survived the bloodbath that was the final two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, but that the Mayans won him in a poker game and he's now in Santo Padre. He's a near-constant reminder of where Mayans M.C. came from, but his presence doesn't steal focus from the men at its center.
Loser: The old regime
Galindo cleaned house in the penultimate episode of the season after discovering that Devante (Tony Plana) had been feeding him lies about his brother. And in a brilliant move (for him), he let Adelita take care of business and kill Devante after revealing he was the leader of the execution squad that murdered her father, mother and baby brother all those years ago. This decision not only fortified their new working relationship, but it meant his hands were clean and Devante was out of the picture.
However, the old regime wasn't limited to his father's advisor. Galindo's mother Dita was in on the lie -- she had to support it, obviously -- and that's put a strain on her relationship with her son and his family, so he probably won't be listening to her anymore. Meanwhile, Nestor (Gino Vento) is also now out of the field and acting strictly as Galindo's head of security because Galindo doesn't trust him to be as skillful as he needs. Basically, there's a new regime in place now that Galindo and Adelita (Carla Baratta) are preparing to work together to screw over the feds.
Speaking of Adelita, she's definitely come out of Season 1 a winner after having successfully gotten revenge on the men who murdered her family and wormed her way into Galindo's operation. But perhaps more importantly, she and her little rabbits are no longer living out of tents and constantly moving from place to place. They have a house to call home now, even if not all of the children actually understand it. Plus, it looks like she's also got Angel (Clayton Cardenas), you know, once he stops hating himself.
The biggest winner of Mayans M.C.'s first season is without a doubt FX. Sons of Anarchy remains the network's highest-rated program in history, and Mayans is a very successful spin-off of said program. There was no guarantee that Sons fans were going to show up for Mayans, but the four-year gap between the end of Sons and the premiere of Mayans M.C. probably helped the spin-off in the long run, because it allowed some of the fans who'd soured on SOA by the time it ended (like me) to remember why they enjoyed the biker drama in the first place (and being a mainstay on Netflix didn't hurt, either).
Beyond being able to successfully continue the Sons of Anarchy universe, this show is also a win for FX because of what it means for its programming lineup. Basically, FX needed the show to be successful because its most prolific creator, Ryan Murphy, bolted for Netflix earlier this year. The network still has at least two more seasons of American Horror Story, but American Crime Story and Feud appear to be plagued with issues. The success of Mayans M.C. ensures that FX has at least one successful series it can rely on in the post-Murphy era.
Mayans M.C. will return for a second season at a later date.