[This story contains spoilers for season one, episode two of FX's Mayans MC, "Escorpion/Dzec," as well as major spoilers from Kurt Sutter's Sons of Anarchy.]
If the death-by-dismemberment featured in the series premiere wasn't enough to indicate the level of violence at play in Mayans MC, then the second episode of FX's biker drama sure did the trick.
Bloodshed and brutality were cornerstones of the series' second installment, "Escorpion/Dzec," by way of a few different father-son dynamics. In one corner, there's Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), the vicious crime lord whose infant son was abducted at the start of the episode, ripped away from his mother (Sarah Bolger as Emily Thomas) in the dead of night moments after a bodyguard was shot to death. Later in the episode, Galindo learns that his own baby brother was abducted years earlier under similar circumstances, and was ultimately sacrificed when his father wouldn't pay ransom. History seems primed to repeat itself, as Galindo exits the episode with an apparent willingness to sacrifice his own child.
With that said, Galindo won't lose his child without a fight, which he makes clear by way of targeting a local man and his son, whom he believes are connected to the kidnapping. First, Galindo has the man tortured, splashed with a hot vat of oil. Later, members of the Mayans see how Galindo finished the job, as the bodies of the man and his son are dumped in the middle of a town square, their charred remains still sizzling from being burned to death.
Through the two episodes released thus far, it's easily the most barbaric act in Mayans MC lore. While it's one of the most nauseating moments of the young series, it's nothing new to viewers familiar with Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter's original biker drama that paved the way for Mayans MC's existence. Over the course of seven seasons of the Northern California-set series, Sons of Anarchy unleashed ruthless amounts of violence upon almost everyone in its path, good and bad guys alike. Some examples:
• The second-season finale of Sons included an incident rather similar to the one featured in this latest episode of Mayans, as Jax Teller's (Charlie Hunnam) infant son Abel was kidnapped by a man, moments after he murdered a member of the Sons right in front of the child.
• Season five contained a scene similar but even more graphic than the two aforementioned burnings that occurred in Mayans' second episode: Tig Trager (Kim Coates) helplessly watching as his teenage daughter is coated in gasoline and subsequently burned to death, in retaliation for his role in mistakenly killing a powerful crime lord's daughter. Her full fiery fate was featured onscreen, with Trager's wailing providing the score.
• The sixth season featured two of the most brutal main character deaths of Sons up to that point: Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), shot in the throat by his own step-son in unblinking and unceremonious fashion; and Jax's wife Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff), stabbed in the head with a carving fork after an epically bad misunderstanding with her mother-in-law Gemma (Katey Sagal, featured in the series premiere of Mayans.)
Really, the list goes on, and it's not even accounting for the character played by Sons and Mayans creator Kurt Sutter himself: Otto Delaney, an imprisoned member of the Sons who suffered one major injury every single season he was active on the show, from being stabbed in both eyes on separate occasions to forcibly biting off his own tongue. Otto finally ran out of lives early on in the sixth season, shot to death in a visceral display of gore. Put another way, the Sons of Anarchy universe is an unspeakably violent one, filled with so many different methods of murder and mutilation that even the most horror-hardened viewer is likely to wince from time to time.
For his part, speaking at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour ahead of the Mayans MC series premiere, Sutter addressed the level of violence viewers will encounter over the course of the Sons of Anarchy successor.
"I don’t think in terms of the externals of how much can I do, how much can I get away with, what’s an appropriate amount of violence, what’s too much," said Sutter. "That’s [FX CEO] John Landgraf’s job. So for me, it’s about telling the stories that I want to tell. I did it on Sons and Mayans will be no different, that as violent and as absurd as my stories can be, that nothing ever happens in a vacuum. So violence is never gratuitous in the sense that it just happens and then we move on, that as a result of that violence and of those violent acts, that there’s always ramifications. Some of them are subtle ramifications that impact character relationship, and some of them are big ramifications that affect mythology, but that always there’s a cause and effect of all that violence."
Certainly, in the aforementioned examples from Sons of Anarchy, the violent deaths yielded violent results for everyone involved. Given the current state of the Mayans MC narrative, with Galindo's baby still in the hands of Adelita (Carla Baratta) and her fellow resistance fighters, the history of violence is bound to continue without interruption.
What did you make of the second Mayans MC episode? Sound off in the comments below and keep checking THR.com/LiveFeed for more coverage of the FX series.