*** Spoiler Free
When the curtain closed on Jax Teller’s Hamlet-inspired story of betrayal, bloodshed and lies in the gut-wrenchingly dramatic conclusion to SONS OF ANARCHY, many viewers wondered if we would ever return to this wonderful world of outlaws and in-laws that we had come to love over the past seven years. Thankfully we didn’t have too long to wait as in 2016 FX announced that a new chapter in the SOA universe was in development from original creator Kurt Sutter alongside Elgin James putting this deal back on the table!
MAYANS takes place 4 years after the events of SONS OF ANARCHY and follows the story of Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a once promising young man who has returned home after a stretch in Stockton Penitentiary for accidentally killing a police officer. Back on the street he soon becomes a Prospect for the MAYANS MC, the motorcycle group of which his brother Angel is already a member. Set on the South California/Mexican border the MAYANS run guns and drugs under the employment from the Galindo Cartel.
EZ must find his place in the world as he comes to terms with his new life and the remanence of his old one still ever present around him. His high school sweetheart is now married to the Miquel Galindo, the Cartel’s big cheese. His proud father becomes unwillingly entwined in the life EZ and his brother have chosen while trying to find the balance between his obligation to the MC and the Cartel and the people of Mexico who are under the ruthless grip of the Galindo’s.
Just like SOA, MAYANS is not afraid to touch on very dark and real feeling content, wasting no time in setting the scene in which the MC find themselves in the middle of a war between the Cartel and an army of freedom fighting rebels. What unfolds over the 10 episodes is nothing short of a masterclass in TV viewing. As each character is given time to be fleshed out and developed, you’ll witness agendas unfolding, loyalties tested, past lives being revealed and alliances being formed in a twisting and turning plot that comes to a head with a finale that will keep you guessing right until the credits roll.
Fans of SOA will be pleased to see the return of some familiar faces, Emilio Rivera makes a welcome return as Marcus Alvarez as well as a few other fan favourites that pop up along the way, all of which serve purposeful roles and ensure the show remains connected to the bigger world that Kurt Sutter has created without overshadowing the new cast of lovable rogues that has been assembled.
Right from the start MAYANS felt welcomingly familiar yet managed to set its own tone very early on. Unlike the common curse of spin off’s that try to recapture the past glory of their predecessors by taking the concept and dressing it up in different clothing, MAYANS is very much its own beast, this is helped by certain changes to the presentation style. Using flashback’s instead of overture dialogue to show back story and events that lead to the present-day scenarios is very well done and given in short but steady scenes throughout the season, keeping the viewer engaged and revealing just enough each time to help the plot form together at just the right time. Language has also taken a step towards the mature. SOA was unable to use strong language due to sponsorship, MAYANS does not have that problem, strong language is present and thankfully this doesn’t feel forced in as just swearing for the sake of it, given the brutality depicted in the show it only makes sense to have strong language present to drive home the impact of events.
MAYANS is a welcome return to the biker world we came to love in SOA. Full of great characters, twisting plot lines and hard-hitting brutality. Despite a pilot that crams a few too many plot points into one episode and the odd bit of justice league quality CGI this show is very much worth your time. Whether you watched SONS OF ANARCHY or not, MAYANS can be enjoyed as a stand-alone series or as a welcome addition to an ongoing saga. Freshly renewed for a second season I can honestly say we’re all in favour!
Beard Score: 7/10