Mayans M.C. star Danny Pino on Miguel Galindo's unraveling: 'The loss of his mother untethers him'
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Tuesday's two-episode season 3 premiere of FX's Mayans M.C., "Pap Struggles With the Death Angel," and "The Orneriness of Kings."
After more than a year of waiting, Mayans M.C. is back and fans should be worried about Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), who is falling apart after his mother Dita's (Ada Maris) death in the season 2 finale.
"Miguel losing his mother to what he suspects is suicide brings with it all kinds of challenges, psychological and otherwise," Pino tells EW of what his character is facing this season.
"He's blaming himself and the guilt is consuming him. He wonders what else he could've done and whether or not this was all his fault," he adds. "The loss of his mother untethers him. He's unmoored. His marriage isn't in good shape. He doesn't quite know where he stands and he feels isolated. And when seeking out who's to blame, the hardest thing for him to do is look in the mirror."
Miguel might be feeling isolated, but he isn't alone. He's got a new lover, Montserrat Palomo (Mia Maestro), who keeps him grounded — especially when they're in the bedroom.
"I think that's the one area of solace that Miguel has, that he's found a place where he can let his guard down," Pino says.
"It is kind of a hedonistic sanctuary for him, having an extramarital affair. I think Miguel needed to find refuge in a relationship with somebody else. Politics and crime breed strange bedfellows. [Montserrat] is this incredibly strong, powerful, and thoughtful woman and someone who is Miguel's equal, if not surpasses his capacities. At the most basic level, he just needs somewhere to not hide from himself and someone with whom he can share things."
Unfortunately, that person he so desperately needs is not his wife, Emily [Sarah Bolger], and it seems inevitable that their marriage will not end well.
"In the first two seasons, there was this push and pull between Miguel and Emily, and the lies Miguel would tell Emily [were] in his mind to protect her from the world of the cartel," says Pino. "Emily, being a strong person in her own right, had secrets of her own. But Miguel was smart enough to know she was lying to him. So lies begat lies and now they've reached a point where neither one trusts the other."
While battling guilt over the death of his mother, Miguel is also damaging other relationships along the way.
First, he sends his henchmen Nestor (Gino Vento) and Paco (Joe Ordaz) to kill Dita's former therapist after she wouldn't give Miguel information about his mother's sessions. Then, Paco is also dramatically and messily shot to death by Miguel in front of Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera), a close friend of Paco who often looked after his son.
"There's this overarching sense of lack of control of his own business, his own life, and his own marriage," shares Pino. "The way he tries to regain control and to show people that he's in control is through violence. A way to elicit loyalty is through fear, which Miguel learned from his father and is something that has been reinforced as the head of the cartel. A lot of the violence that Miguel propagates is to make people fear him and to keep those who might stray loyal to him. Miguel is always worried about loyalty."
Miguel has so much to deal with that it's almost easy to forget that the borders have been closed and it's putting the squeeze on everyone in Santo Padre and beyond.
"The closing of the borders changes everything. It changes his business, his relationship with the Mayans, and there's also political and financial stress," Pino explains. "It threatens his vision, his dream for the agro park project. Then when you add the loss of his mother to the that there's a feeling of implosion to Miguel's life."
Lest we forget that the truth about Miguel's parentage has yet to be revealed to him, as well as the knowledge that his nemesis is his half brother EZ Reyes (JD Pardo) — and also the man who killed Dita with her permission.
"You're asking questions that go way beyond episode 2," Pino says with a laugh. "I will say this, there are so many unanswered questions as to what Miguel knows and what he'll find out. This season does an exceptional job of taking those questions and exploring underneath some of the heaviest rocks."
He adds, "You should be afraid for everyone's life this season because the world we're playing in has shifted so dramatically. Nobody is secure and everyone is under extreme pressure. That's the reality of what this show is: a show that takes place on the border, a show that's equal parts beauty and brutality, romance and cynicism, hopelessness and hope. Our show is about characters who are struggling to survive."
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