Mayans M.C. star JD Pardo on EZ's future after shooting: 'It changes his mindset moving forward'
The first half of FX's Mayans M.C. season 3 ended with a bang, literally, with series protagonist EZ Reyes (JD Pardo) getting shot in the stomach while out on a date with his love interest Gaby (Sulem Calderon). How does this impactful moment set the tone for the remainder of the season?
"He's starting this new relationship with Gaby and I think there lies a little weakness for EZ. He became a little too comfortable," series star Pardo tells EW exclusively in EW's Around the Table series (video above).
He adds, "In episode 5 when the shooting happens, it just kind of happens. It's not like anything he expected and it changes his outlook from that point on. There's a part of EZ that hates that it happened and more so that he put down his guard. It's when he put down his guard and when he was focused on this relationship that he got attacked. It changes EZ's mindset moving forward."
Pardo was joined in the discussion by series co-creator and showrunner Elgin James and costars Clayton Cardenas, Danny Pino, Carla Baratta, and Richard Cabral to discuss the personal turmoil each character individually is having to face this season and how it affects their organizations and their loved ones as a whole.
"It gets dicey for everyone," James replies coyly when asked if he's gunning to kill every character this season. "Whether it's for your life, for your soul, it gets dicey for everyone."
It certainly gets dicey for power couple Angel (Cardenas) and Adelita (Baratta) who were surprisingly reunited after she was sprung from Potter's (Ray McKinnon) stronghold. Though. she's now merely a shell of her former self.
Angel proposes marriage to his beloved, hoping to protect her in ways he was unable to do so for her and their son who's now believed to be dead. But Adelita can't see a future with the man she cares passionately about, at least not now.
"As we move into the end of episode 5, Angel had this fantasy he had put to bed is now reignited again," he says of his character's renewed dreams. "The flood of feelings he goes through is somewhat irrational to the point where he makes the decision where he's never going to let this woman out of his sight again."
All that did was scare a now almost feral Adelita into swiftly moving into the next stage of her life that begins with a short haircut and a thirst for revenge.
"Adelita is at a point where she decides to take the steps to take revenge into her own hands," the Venezuelan native shares. "Everything that's happened to her in the first half of the season shows that no matter how deep in a hole you are you have to get up on your feet, get that strength, and just go for it. That's where Adelita is now."
Pino's Miguel Galindo is going through an evolution of his own in the worst way possible after the loss of his mother Dita (Ada Maris). And that's without the knowledge that it was his secret half-brother EZ who strangled her to death at her request that turned his life upside down.
"He's trying to rationalize his life in this new world that he lives in and [his lover] Palomo [Mia Maestro] just makes it easy," the former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star, who unknowingly has a sitdown with his natural father Felipe (Edward James Olmos), says.
"With Felipe, he doesn't know what's going on so he's not playing any subtext there," he continues. "What I think he finds in Felipe is somebody who knew his mother, it's another contact to his mother... Any kind of mundane things he finds that connects to his mother is gold."
Fans are mostly afraid for the life of Coco (Cabral), whose spiral has led him down a dangerous path into drugs and dealings with dangerous characters who ask that he break M.C. laws that also put his life at risk. The California native, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a limited series for American Crime in 2015, lost 60 lbs off his already thin frame for season 3.
"We're an all-star team who brings their hearts and souls [to work every day]," he says as to why the Television Academy shouldn't overlook Mayans M.C. come award season. "This season, there are no filler scenes. Every scene has a purpose and every actor was thought of. The work speaks for itself. For me, this is the greatest performance I have given in my life. I sacrificed my body for nearly six months, which is also how I got nominated the first time."
James admits he was worried about the lengths the method actor went to reach his goal.
"When we were on Meth Mountain, I asked him to lift up his shirt as if I was a cop," he says. "I told him, 'You gotta eat or you're gonna die.' He was eating like five almonds a day! His big treat was he could eat an apple. He literally sacrificed everything. We were all worried about our friend Richard but also awestruck by what he was doing and where he was going."
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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