“Bat/Zotz” was another excellent episode of Mayans MC, proving the show has depth and complexity to back up its engines and action.
It’s a bat that opens Mayans MC this week, although I suppose the episode’s title, “Bat/Zotz”, kind of gives that away. But it isn’t the only nocturnal creature lingering on the U.S.-Mexico border as the motorcycle club chug beers and pimp women to local police officers. The familiar cracks of rifles pierce the night: hunters, according to the locals, which is the right definition, but their prey isn’t wildlife or the fences they usually use for target practice – tonight, they’re shooting people.
The hunters’ victim is an illegal immigrant – Bishop (Michael Irby) describes the murder as “redneck patriotism”. But the Santo Padre Mayor, Antonia Pena (Alexandra Berreto), thinks differently. The corpse was carrying oxy, and the Mayans are supposed to have that particular trade sewn up. There’s some snappy dialogue here, about the concessions law enforcement and bureaucracy make in service to the greater good; the lesser of two evils and all that. The Mayans might have their fingers in some unsavoury pies, but at least the good guys know who’s baking them.
The Mayans’ investigation takes them to a tasteful compound draped with Confederate flags, presided over by a yellow-toothed, foul-mouthed racist matriarch, where EZ’s (JD Pardo) super-memory turns up more clues. A fistfight and a shootout with this group provides the action in “Bat/Zotz”, including the removal of a finger for phone-unlocking purposes, although nobody suggests to Angel (Clayton Cardenas) that once the phone was unlocked he could have just changed the setting, rather than have EZ carry the dismembered digit around.
Meanwhile, Emily (Sarah Bolger) is so desperate to get her son back that she has been researching ISIS and Taliban tactics and likening them to those of Los Olvidados. In so doing, she convinces Galindo (Danny Pino) to use a local annual celebration to sway public opinion back in favour of the cartel; as long as the rebels can repurpose displays of force and fear to their own ends, they’ll always have a foothold among the disenfranchised. It’s a clever ploy that helps to give Emily some agency and flesh out the politics of the region, which is still what sets Mayans MC apart from Sons of Anarchy.
The Feds have a plan of their own: to use EZ’s relationship with Emily to flip her loyalties while she’s vulnerable – something that EZ isn’t down for. But they also have dirt on his father (Edward James Olmos), and threaten to expose his shady past if he doesn’t convince EZ to flip Emily. The agent doing the blackmailing finds it so distasteful that he pulls over to puke his guts out, which is a nice way of continuing to deepen and complicate even seemingly minor characters – another feather in Mayans MC’s stitched leather cap.
“Bat/Zotz” is careful to spend time with the rebels too, as Adelita (Carla Baratta) nurses the sickly Cristóbal while her new recruit spies on their activities. This results in Galindo being made aware of a Dominican nun who is helping to care for his child, and to say that knowledge doesn’t particularly benefit the sister would be an understatement. Then again it doesn’t benefit Emily much either, further proving that the more Galindo tries to take matters into his own hands, the less control he has over matters.
Speaking of sisters, Coco’s (Richard Cabral) familial issues continue in “Bat/Zotz”, as his little sister who is also his daughter runs away from he and his hooker mother, fleeing in a truck after promising she’ll suck the driver’s dick as payment, and blimey, this is all a bit much, isn’t it? These episodes are so dense with plots and sub-plots that it can feel a little overwhelming at times, but you can’t fault Mayans MC for ambition. Thus far, though, it’s handling itself very well indeed, and the show continues to impress; it has already worked to distance itself from Sons of Anarchy, and this week’s episode was a fine hour of television in its own right. Hopefully it continues to provide more of the same.