Mayans M.C. star Richard Cabral on Coco's spiral into drug abuse: 'He's reached the point of surrender'
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Tuesday night's episode of FX's Mayans M.C., "Overreaching Don't Pay."
"Heroin is this drug you hear about but you don't fully understand the blissfulness nor its chaos until you do it. It's through Coco's drug use that he can finally relate to his mom," the Emmy Award-nominated actor tells EW.
"His mom's addiction trickles into this episode and you see where the trauma, the heartbreak, and the turmoil comes from and it started with little Johnny," he continues. "He promised himself that no matter what, he would never follow in her footsteps but here he is. Hope [Vanessa Giselle] tried to help him but little did she know, she made it infinitely worse. Coco has reached the point of surrender."
The reasons for his relapse lie in two of the biggest plot points for the character thus far: him murdering his mother, and his need for painkillers after the Vatos Malditos nearly took his vision.
"Everything is connected to season 1, beginning with him murdering his mom," Cabral shares. "When we go through traumatic events like that, they never fully go away. He's done hiding in season 3 and pretending that what happened never did. And there's also the pain from his eye that leads him back to drugs. His spiral stems back to his traumatic life, with an emphasis on the murder of his mom."
Coco's downward spiral is affecting the M.C. in dangerous ways. Not only is he slacking while in a haze, but his close friend Gilly (Vincent Rocco Vargas) is pretty much done covering for him.
"The club has rules and you have to abide by them or you can easily be removed from the club," Vargas shares. "Coco is walking that fine line right now. He's choosing the addiction over the brotherhood, that's rough. I don't foresee Gilly softening his stance on this one; he's frustrated. They're connected because of their military background, which is an even deeper brotherhood that the rest of the club wouldn't understand but Coco is making it hard."
Adds Cabral, "I'm so proud of those scenes that show Coco's and Gilly's relationship. We hadn't had a chance to tap into the camaraderie, the brotherhood before season 3. [Executive producer] Elgin [James] and the writers really honored that. I think that a lot of that comes from Elgin, who knows what it's like to be part of that brotherhood, being in prison, and gang life.
"Me being from a gang, we understand the meaning of brotherhood without judgment," he continues. "I know seeing Coco like this hurts Gilly but I don't think he would throw him under the bus."
Coco is now bound to this commune, where he meets with Hope for his daily hit and where all sorts of trouble dwell. It's true, Coco didn't seek out heroin, but the person behind that act, newcomer Isaac (JR Bourne), knows exactly how to exploit this weakness.
"He has something over Coco and things aren't going to end there," Cabral says. "Him showing up at the club, there's a bigger set-up. As the upcoming episodes unfold, you'll see why Isaac took that photo of Coco [passed out on heroin]."
With the border closures putting the squeeze on everyone, only the strong will survive. As the M.C. finds creative ways to stay in business, Coco is lagging behind.
"Gilly's family is the club, so he's going to continue to push forward," says Vargas. "He will stand by the club and whatever decisions they make, with or without Coco. If he continues down this path, he will get left behind."
Adds Cabral, "All of our income comes from the border, so with these closures, Santo Padre is dying. We have the weight of the whole club because we're the gatekeepers, so not only does our chapter suffer but so do our brothers in the Mayans' universe. We have internal and external trauma we're battling, external forces... We are on the brink of imploding, which is not somewhere we've ever been before."
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesday night's at 10 p.m. only on FX.
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