Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Mayans MC’ Season 5 on FX and Hulu, The Final Installment Of The ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Spinoff About A Biker Gang On The Cali/Mex Border

Mayans MC (FX and Hulu) will gas up its bikes for one last ride. Over four seasons, the Sons of Anarchy spinoff has traded in similar themes of devotion, loyalty, machismo, and tragedy while proudly focusing on the Mexican heritage of its central motorcycle club, which is based in the fictional border town of Santo Padre, California. And as its final season unfolds, there is ongoing conflict with the Sons and dirty business with the drug cartels. But there are also chances for redemption and emotional nourishment for these hard-hearted men. Is there time left for love after all of the murder and crime? Do they even deserve it?


Opening Shot: The war that exploded in Mayans Season 4 continues unabated. Some Sons of Anarchy guys are kicking the crap out of a Mayans MC member, a deadly beating at the behest of Isaac Packer (JR Bourne), the chaos-sewing, philosophy-spewing president of SAMDINO and former leader of the desert encampment known as “Meth Mountain.”  

The Gist: Internecine warfare with a rival motorcycle gang is just one of the problems facing Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo) as the fifth and final season of Mayans MC begins. After ousting its founder Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) and becoming club president in a maneuver known as a “killswitch,” EZ escalated the Mayans’ turf war with SOA and agreed to run heroin for Soledad (Selene Luna), the calculating new leader of Lobos New Generation, a Mexican drug cartel, who herself has contracted with Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), EZ and his club’s old Galindo Cartel adversary. But an act of sabotage has taken the bulk of Soledad’s drug product off the board, and her patience with the Mayans alliance is growing thin. When EZ and the crew conduct a brazen tactical assault on a contingent of SOA, netting a clutch of Cold War-era AK-47s in the process, Soledad just scoffs at EZ’s peace offering of the munitions. The Mayans are losing brothers and business at every turn, and their new prez is left searching for solutions.

Angel Reyes (Clayton Cardenas) still has faith in his brother’s leadership. But he’s also found a kind of domestic bliss with Luisa “Adelita” Espina (Carla Baratta), and as they raise their infant son Maverick together, Angel’s starting to weigh the bonds of his biological family against his devotion to those of the club, with all of its unrest and bloodshed. Felipe (Edward James Olmos), the Reyes brothers’ father, has become estranged from EZ as his youngest son embraces his darkest impulses. But in Maverick, he sees a golden opportunity for Angel to flip the script on the generational violence that has plagued the Reyes men. It’s a prospect made only more dicey by Adelita’s secret involvement with LNG as one of the cartel’s contract killers.

There is violence everywhere in this world. For Letty (Emily Tosta) and Hope (Vanessa Giselle), left high and dry with bills to pay after the SOA murder of their loved one Coco (Richard Cabral), knocking over low-level drug dealers for quick cash is the only way to stay afloat. And though Obispo “Bishop” Losa (Michael Irby) is growing ever closer to new flame Maggie (Presciliana Esparolini), he’s also a vocal proponent of the continued warfare against the Sons in his new role as EZ’s vice president. Right now, that’s a war they aren’t winning, and Angel likely isn’t the only member of the Mayans who’s wondering how it will end for them.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? After seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, and spinning five successful seasons of Mayans MC out of that, it’s worth considering what’s next for life in the SOA universe originally created by Kurt Sutter, who was unceremoniously canned from the production in 2019. Could principal Mayans writer/director Elgin James craft a new motorcycle gang saga out of the ashes? It seems possible, at least, given the track record of this material. (Theo Rossi has also done some teasing.) But in the meantime, there’s a third season confirmed for The Outlaws, the Christopher Walken-starring crime comedy created by James and Stephen Merchant.  

Photo: FX

Our Take: Since Mayans MC began, JD Pardo’s Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes was always the reluctant patch, a guy subsumed into the motorcycle gang life by circumstance, family history, and a sense of duty to his brother Angel, who Clayton Cardenas has consistently played with a fine mix of vulnerability and simmering intensity. But with the events of season 4, which included the shock of EZ murdering his ex-girlfriend Gaby (Sulem Calderon) so she couldn’t finger Angel for his own murder of a civilian, the moral tenor of Mayans has shifted drastically toward unchecked violence, and that dark turn has taken the Reyes brothers’ relationship with it. Pardo always looked the part as EZ, with his cut physique and ease with leathers. But here in season 5, he’s found his truest footing with the character, applying EZ’s formidable intellect in ways not unlike a certain brooding mob boss with a penchant for therapy. Pardo is terrific at balancing his character’s outward actions with his rich inner life. We’re only privy to parts of what’s under the surface, but we understand the layers within the Mayans’ new president because of how Pardo represents them. It’s a multi-layered performance that’s on a collision course with Cardenas’ own journey as Angel, and there’s no guarantee that either of them will survive the final go-round of the series.   

That said, once Mayans killed off Richard Cabral’s beloved Coco (RIP Coco!), all bets were off on any core member’s fate. Like The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy before it, Mayans has proven adept at illuminating the personal stories of its supporting characters, and upholding their respective paths. Watching all of those stories intersect – or be cut short with mortal certitude; it could happen to any of them at any time – will be a fitting finale for a series that has represented the Sons universe well in all of its machoness, bloodshed, and yes, sensitivity. 

Sex and Skin: There is a scene of intimacy between EZ and his new girlfriend Sofia (Andrea Cortes), one markedly different in tone than the Dionysian display which occurs later at the SAMDINO clubhouse.

Parting Shot: After a busy, tightly-plotted opening episode to the final season of Mayans MC, to reach its final moments with a few minutes left feels like foreboding. But if it feels like that for the viewer, imagine how a member of the club feels, stripped of his kutte and without backup as a biker war rages. In other words, there’s another stab of violence as the ep concludes.

Sleeper Star: Let’s take a moment to appreciate the ballad of Neron “Creeper” Vargas, played with mirth by Joseph Lucero. In Mayans season 4, the club’s fiercely loyal road captain fell in love with a woman named Kody (Stella Maeve) after they met at an NA meeting, and the entire story arc allowed Lucero to show some tremendous and emotional range as an actor, especially when Kody was revealed to actually be Katie, an undercover ATF plant. Now, Creeper’s stewing in prison, having confessed to numerous crimes committed by the Mayans in order to shield the MC from prosecution. But the club’s war outside rages inside those walls, too.     

Most Pilot-y Line: “Whoever burned that heroin effectively tried to murder everyone in this room.” After his powerplay to become club president, EZ is feeling the heat from both his MC brothers and their rivals. Can he make the right moves on the street to restore the Mayans’ perch on top of the Southern California drug trade? He’s got a lot of work to do.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Mayans MC has been steadily building to the events of this, its culminating season, since the very beginning of the series. Survival was already at a premium in the violent and unsettled world these characters inhabit. Will anyone be left standing once EZ’s war is finished?  

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges