“Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul” was a little uneven, but it closed Mayans MC satisfyingly enough, and left plenty of potential for the second season.
This recap of Mayans MC Episode 10, “Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul”, contains spoilers.
It seems everyone in “Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul” is in a rush to kill Kevin Jimenez (Maurice Compte). Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) assigned EZ (JD Pardo) and Angel (Clayton Cardenas) the dirty deed at the end of last week’s episode, and neither wants the other to participate. EZ assumes full responsibility for the situation, which I suppose is fair enough, but Angel wants to protect his little brother, who he believes is better than the life he’s currently living. So, too, does Felipe (Edward James Olmos), who tries – and fails – to kill Jimenez himself. He’s family, after all.
Family has been a big theme of Mayans MC and is a central one in “Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul”. And it’s through the exploration of that theme than Angel, surprisingly, emerges as the show’s more interesting leading character. Maybe that was an accident, but who knows? Either way, I was buying how conflicted he was between his obvious love for his brother and his simmering resentment for how he has always been treated more preferentially, even if I’m not exactly buying the idea that EZ is “special” in quite the way that the show insists. One of the few real flaws of the first season of Mayans MC is how it has consistently failed to characterise its leading man as some kind of rarefied genius beyond him having occasional flashbacks to sexy time with a younger, ginger Emily (Sarah Bolger).
Speaking of Emily, she’s basically smugly running the Galindo household at this point, and a rather obvious conflict that I’m sure will emerge in the second season is between her and Dita (Ada Maris), who is a bit miffed about Devante (Tony Plana) having been casually beheaded last week thanks in no small part to Em’s facility for uncovering damning paperwork. Miguel (Danny Pino) is really settling into the cartel lifestyle, meanwhile, making personnel changes that include the recruitment of Marcus (Emilio Rivera) as an advisor during his upcoming “three dimensional chess game” with Los Olvidados.
Marcus hanging up his leather is one of several structural changes occurring within the MC, as Angel gets a promotion and EZ asks Bishop (Michael Irby) to be his new sponsor, despite having agreed to leave the life for good after Jimenez was taken care of. And Jimenez was, indeed, taken care of; by Angel, although not before EZ was forced to off Bowen (Curtiss Cook), too. This, naturally, causes some additional problems for Potter, who ominously lets EZ know that he “owes him one”. Potter was especially great in “Cuervo/Tz’ikb’uul”, particularly during the aftermath of the double-murder. Eating pie in the foreground of the shot and disappointedly declaring it “store bought” while the brothers rolled up the bodies in the background was a perfect little metaphor for how those in power turn their backs to the dirty work that others do in their place.
At least, while disposing of those bodies, EZ and Angel had time for a heart-to-heart. And while it was largely just a reiteration of similar conversations they’ve already had, it still felt more impactful than the murders did. (Jimenez was taken out with very little ceremony, which I suspect was a stylistic choice, but it robbed the moment of some emotion.) While wheeling the corpses through the border tunnels, Jimenez’s spilled out onto the floor. Angel asked Reyes if he remembered him as a kid; apparently not, which is weird considering he seems to remember everything else quite clearly. But, details. Angel shares his memory instead. Once, at a barbeque, he got relish on the Reyes tablecloth, and his father beat the **** out of him for it. “Good times”, EZ calls them. He’s being sarcastic, but it’s a telling line – an indication of how tightly intertwined violence and severe punishment are with the idea of family and loyalty and respect. These aren’t just vague concepts to people like EZ and Angel, or Felipe and Jimenez. They’re essential codes by which they all, in one way or another, continue to live.
Again, it’s Angel who sees the futility in all this, perhaps more than even Felipe. While he and EZ dig graves, he insists again that his brother should leave the MC. “This will be the last ******* grave you have to dig,” he tells him. Later he visits Adelita (Carla Baratta) at her new, secure compound, where her beloved “little mouse” still sleeps on the floor next to the bed. She finally asks him if he’d like to stay the night. “More than you know,” he replies, “but not on a night when I hate myself this much.”
Like Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC is, at its heart, a tragedy. And while EZ is the sympathetic figure around whom most of the plot has revolved, it’s Angel who most embodies the idea of tortured men being made to suffer for love and loyalty. Perhaps the second season should be all about him. But with a last-minute revelation regarding just who killed EZ’s mother and landed him in prison, it seems like we’ll continue to ride with the prospect. I hope he manages to find himself.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.