Spoilers below for Mayans M.C.'s double-episode Season 3 premiere, so be warned!
When Mayans M.C. returned to viewers for its long-awaited third season, it came without co-creator Kurt Sutter, whose planned exit was usurped by his eventual termination. Now, showrunner Elgin James is riding solo at the head of the creative pack as EZ, Bishop, Felipé, Miguel and so many other characters suffer through the aftermath of their violent acts at the end of Season 2. And fans can be absolutely sure that knows just how important this season is for Mayans M.C.'s future, with Richard Cabral's storyline as Coco standing out as a more personal tale for James to tell.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Elgin James after the battleground-setting Season 3 premiere aired, with some of that conversation is too spoilery to share now, and he talked about this being something of a make-or-break season for Mayans M.C. now that it's no longer living in the direct shadows of Kurt Sutter and Sons of Anarchy. To that end, James had the show's cast and crew go all out in case Season 4 doesn't come to fruition. In his words:
While Mayans M.C. will possibly always be compared to Sons of Anarchy to a certain extent, the follow-up series continues to set itself apart from the flagship drama, even as it builds upon connections to SAMCRO members in Season 3, which J.D. Pardo previously hyped as the best one yet. I'm as guilty of anyone viewing Pardo's journey as EZ through a Jax Teller-shaped prism, though without ever thinking the two characters are overtly similar in personality. It's hard to tell whether Mayans M.C. is working with an advantage, a disadvantage or otherwise by releasing at this point during the pandemic, considering TV audiences have been shifting so much, usually in negative directions.
For everyone who keeps tuning in, though, either on FX or on Hulu, Elgin James promises that Season 3 will bring a lot of reckoning for many Mayans M.C. characters, saying:
Viewers have already witnessed some of the mental toll that Edward James Olmos' Felipé is dealing with in the wake of EZ favor-murdering Dita, while Clayton Cardenas' Angel is using rebound sex to bury his sorrow regarding his child with Carla Baratta's Adelita. Danny Pino's Miguel is having his own emotional reaction to Dita's presumed suicide, which involves murdering anyone close to her who didn't see it coming, which is everyone, since she didn't actually kill herself. Then there's Michael Irby's Bishop, who is eagerly burning bridges before he even has time to cross them, and the list goes on and on. Which brings us to Coco...
Why Coco's Story Is So Meaningful To Elgin James
In the first two seasons of Mayans M.C., Richard Cabral's Coco went from something resembling comic relief to one of the biker drama's most fractured characters. That dissolution is absolutely on full display in Season 3, too, as Coco is extremely deep in the throes of addiction to Oxycontin (among other things), which is affecting both his behavior and his physical appearance in pretty heinous ways. And it's through that character's twisted storyline that showrunner Elgin James is able to work out some of his most volatile personal demons, in part because he and Cabral have similarly dark pasts. James explained:
To be sure, Coco came to some pretty overwhelming realizations in Season 2 that sent him down a drug-abusing path, though by the end of Episode 2, it didn't seem like he'd be able to go down any paths in the near future. Coco made the completely irrational choice to attempt a robbery from the assumed top dog within a drug community known as Meth Mountain. Nobody should be doing anything at Meth Mountain besides "getting the hell out," but Coco went and probably made himself a new set of enemies by trying to impulsively hijack a bunch of Oxy and other pills. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures.
While Coco's storyline might come off as too much in another actor's hands, Richard Cabral really plays into Coco's depravity and addiction-fueled desperation in completely humorless ways, to the point where he's not even able to have functional shit-talking conversations with other members of the M.C. The actor was intent on bringing the authenticity to the performance, regardless of how likable Coco was throughout, and Cabral's dedication to the role in Season 3 actually had Elgin James worried about his health and safety. According to the showrunner:
One can presumed that Coco isn't dragged into a swamp and eaten alive by cannibal meth-heads, but it'll be interesting to see how the character's suddenly hectic journey in Season 3 plays out, considering how far down the rabbit hole he already is with his pill fixations. Can he possibly make it over the hump and into a recovery state without Bishop or any of the other Mayans discovering his transgressions? I doubt it.
With a lot more mayhem and excitement on the way for the Reyes brothers and beyond, Mayans M.C. airs Tuesday nights on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. It's probably time to start putting bets down on which main character will be the next one to be killed off.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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