The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Review

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run premieres on Paramount+ on March 4.

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Who lives in a pineapple under the sea, boasts 13 seasons of kooky cartoon hijinks, and is finally fronting his third feature film? SpongeBob SquarePants! The giggling goofball with a heart of gold returns with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run, a road trip romp that is celebrity-studded, candy-colored, and full of family-friendly humor.

It’s an average day in Bikini Bottom. An ever-ready SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) frolics with his pet snail, Gary, before heading to work as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. Like clockwork, Mr. Krab’s pint-sized nemesis Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) will endeavor to steal the secret recipe for the delectable Krabby Patty. As always he will fail in a way hilariously embarrassing. But change is on the horizon when this aspiring “slop king” realizes the only thing standing between him and formula is the “boob savant” behind the grill. To kick SpongeBob out of the kitchen, Plankton steals Gary and sells him to the vain and dangerous Poseidon (Matt Berry), who rules over the Lost City of Atlantic City. To rescue his beloved pet, SpongeBob teams up with his BFF Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) on a quest that will take them through wild terrains, bonkers beats, and a show-stopping musical number.

Of course, Plankton, Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), and Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence) will join in on the shenanigans too. This signature cast crackles, delivering the sugar-high energy that fans have come to expect from these outlandish undersea creatures. The visual gags and banter are still gleefully silly. For instance, when SpongeBob commends Patrick for his sense of “irony,” the dopey starfish responds by ironing a shirt with comically smug satisfaction. Yet for all this familiar fun, there’s a new look to the crew.

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The hand-drawn animation originated by the late Stephen Hillenburg has been re-imagined in bouncy CGI. This is a cuddlier 3D aesthetic than was unfurled for the climax of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, where the gang took to land and briefly became superheroes. This time, the characters look like squishy toys that might spring from the screen to run amok around your living room. Their soft makeover pairs with a string of childhood flashbacks to serve as a backdoor pilot for the upcoming spinoff series, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years. Though these detours to the past are fun, they slow down the rollicking ride of this road trip comedy. Thankfully, a pit stop in the Western ghost town of Goner Gulch provides a wallop of welcome wackiness.

In this live-action setting, a parade of celebrity cameos begins, including Danny Trejo, Snoop Dogg, and Keanu Reeves, who plays a talking tumbleweed of sage, named Sage, who is a wise sage! While some co-stars might match SpongeBob’s level of zany, Reeves plays his role surprisingly straight. Tumbling after the dim-witted duo and delivering advice, Sage grows irate as they barrel into one radical mistake after another. A recurring gag is born from their irrepressible impulsiveness challenging Reeves’s trademark chill, turning his grumbles into our gain.

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Matt Berry proves another stellar addition to the SpongeBob universe. The What We Do In the Shadows star lends his bold voice and bravado to Poseidon, swiftly establishing the immodest merman as a megalomaniac from the first boom of a petty pronouncement. Whether he’s hollering at his servants or applauding a stage show, Berry brings the kind of over-the-top energy that makes Poseidon snap right into place with the rest of these wild maroons.

Poseidon’s kingdom is a casino metropolis under the sea, providing a dramatic contrast to the small-town vibe of Bikini Bottom. Naturally, SpongeBob and Patrick get caught up in the razzle-dazzle and sugary churros. The bright lights, big city vibe allows director Tim Hill to pack the final act with eye-popping color. Plus, this more mature location sets the stage for allusions that’ll play better to grown-ups, like a tentacle parody of Kenny G or spoofs on courtroom dramas and castle-crashing showdowns. There’s a healthy dose of action in chase scenes and fights, more playful than violent. Yet there’s something missing that keeps The SpongeBob Movie from being great. It’s just not weird enough.

SpongeBob has long been defined by a brand of humor that is kid-friendly, silly, slyly observational, but ultimately unapologetically weird. The films thus far took Hillenburg’s bonkers realm and spun it into wondrously WTF big-screen spectacle, like SpongeBob and Patrick riding the freckled back of Baywatch’s David Hasselhoff as he serves as a human jet ski. Moments like these are so bizarre they feel like Pop Rocks are bursting in your brain. The surreal unpredictability brings a rush of joy! The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run absolutely has bizarre bits, but nothing so out there that it achieves that Pop Rocks rush.

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Animal Crossing Is Getting Sanrio-Inspired Villagers And Items Next Month

Sanrio-inspired villagers and items are coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the game’s March update. Following the update, you’ll be able to invite new villagers and order items themed after Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, and other Sanrio characters by scanning the Animal Crossing Sanrio Amiibo cards.

Just as in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, there are six Sanrio-inspired villagers in total, one for each of the cards in the Sanrio Amiibo pack. The full list of villagers and the Sanrio character they’re themed after is as follows:

  • Hello Kitty – Rilla (gorilla)
  • Pompompurin – Marty (cub)
  • Kiki & Lala – Étoile (sheep)
  • Cinnamoroll – Chai (elephant)
  • My Melody – Chelsea (deer)
  • Kerokerokeroppi – Toby (rabbit)

You’ll also be able to order various furniture and clothing items based on the Sanrio characters, such as a Cinnamoroll couch and a Hello Kitty rug. These items and villagers will all be introduced to the game in the 1.9.0 update, which is slated to release on March 18.

The Sanrio Amiibo cards themselves were first released in Japan and Europe back in 2016 to coincide with Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s big Welcome Amiibo update, but they’ll be available for the first time in the US starting March 26. The card packs will be sold exclusively at Target stores, and each pack contains all six Sanrio Amiibo cards.

In the meantime, Nintendo recently rolled out New Horizons’ Mario update, which introduced a line of Super Mario furniture and clothing to the game such as warp pipes. The Mario items will all be available to order from Nook Shopping starting March 1. The update also added a handful of new seasonal items, which will go on sale at different points throughout March.

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Ubisoft’s Werewolves Within Film Hits Theaters June 25

Werewolves Within, the film based on Ubisoft’s VR game of the same name, is officially heading to theaters June 25 thanks to IFC Films, Ubisoft announced today.

The premise of the movie is much the same as the game it was based on. Werewolves Within is a VR version of a game you’ve almost definitely played. Mafia or One Night Ultimate Werewolf around a table; Among Us from your phone or computer. One player is a monster, and the other players have to suss out which of their friends is out for blood before time runs out.

The film runs along the same lines: Set in the small town of Beaverfield, a snowstorm traps a group of residents inside a local inn, and its up to the new forest ranger, played by Sam Richardson (Veep) and postal worker Cecily, played Milana Vayntrub (AT&T’s Lily, This is Us), have to keep the peace.

Werewolves Within is directed by Josh Ruben, with a script from author Mishna Wolff. In addition to Richardson and Vayntrub, the cast also features George Basil (Crashing), Sarah Burns (Barry), Michael Chernus (Tommy/CBS), Catherine Curtin (Orange Is The New Black), Wayne Duvall (The Hunt), Harvey Guillén (What We Do In The Shadows), Rebecca Henderson (Russian Doll), Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock), Michaela Watkins (Brittany Runs A Marathon), and Glenn Fleshler (True Detective).

Despite being essentially the same idea as the sci-fi paranoia thriller The Thing, Werewolves Within is a comedy that IFC calls a “hilarious film adaptation of Ubisoft’s genius original game concept.”

Werewolves Within hits theaters June 25, assuming it isn’t delayed like so many other films.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ Starter Pokemon Have A Hidden Link

The Pokemon Company recently revealed a brand-new Pokemon game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, coming to Nintendo Switch in early 2022. As part of that reveal, we got to see the game’s three starter Pokemon, all of which hail from different regions–Cyndaquil from Gen 2’s Johto, Rowlet from Gen 7’s Alola, and Oshawott from Gen 5’s Unova.

At first glance, these three Pokemon look like completely random picks, and no core Pokemon game thus far has ever combined starter Pokemon from previous generations in this way. However, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set far in the Sinnoh region’s past, and the style of the reveal trailer lends the game a very feudal Japan feel–think shogunates and samurai. The Sinnoh region is based on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, which came under feudal rule during this era of history.

So how do Cyndaquil, Rowlet, and Oshawott fit into that theme? Oshawott is the most obvious: Its final evolution is Samurott, a portmanteau of samurai and otter, and the armor on Samurott’s legs is reminiscent of samurai armor. That’s as natural a fit for the setting as you can get.

Rowlet’s final evolution Decidueye, however, isn’t quite as easy a fit; it’s an archer owl that will probably remind you of Robin Hood more than samurai, though the character of Robin Hood did originate around the same time (we’re talking 13th or 14th century, here). That said, the Japanese practice of archery, kyūdō, emerged around the same time in history as well, which makes Decidueye a good choice for the setting overall.

Most interesting, though, is Cyndaquil. Its final evolution, Typhlosion, bears no resemblance to samurai or archers or anything “feudal”–until you take a look at its Japanese name, via @MelkorPxP on Twitter. Typhlosion is called Bakufoon in Japanese, and according to Bulbapedia, that comes from “bakufū” (“blast”) and “typhoon,” which would make the English Typhlosion a very literal translation of that same portmanteau (“typhoon” and “explosion”). However, Bakufoon can also be considered a play on the word “bakufu”–Japanese for “shogunate.” This makes Cyndaquil an especially brilliant fit for Legends’ setting.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is coming to Nintendo Switch in early 2022. Preorders for the game are now live.

Now Playing: Pokémon Legends Arceus – Official Reveal Trailer

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Nomura Is Handing Over Final Fantasy 7 Remake Co-Director Role

Along with the reveal of Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade’s story content and PS5 upgrade, Tetsuya Nomura gave some updates to the development process of FF7 Remake’s future. In a translated interview by Famitsu (provided to us by Square Enix), Nomura explained that he’s transitioning away from being the co-director of the project, and that Naoki Hamaguchi will now be the sole director moving forward. However, Nomura mentioned that not much will change for him.

When asked about his role as a director and concept designer for the multiple projects in the works, Nomura prefaced, “There have been three Final Fantasy 7-related games announced, but as I mentioned before, I have more projects on my plate at the moment than ever before.” He then explained that the foundation has already been established and that he can pass on the role, saying, “For Remake, the core gameplay direction has now been worked out and we can see the points that need improving, so I will hand over directorship to Mr. Hamaguchi (co-director on FF7 Remake) for the next game and continue to be involved in all FF7-related projects, such as the remakes and mobile games, as overall creative director.”

If you’re wondering how this might affect future entries of FF7 Remake, this move may not make that much of an impact; Nomura stated, “The way I am involved in the development work will basically not change, though.”

Although we don’t have any indication of when FF7 Remake’s second part may come, Nomura said, “The next game is being worked on at that same kind of pace,” and stressed that Intergrade’s story content will be an important piece to the broader Remake saga.

For more on what’s going on with the Final Fantasy 7 universe, check out everything we know about Intergrade, which includes details on how Yuffie is getting involved in the story and how the free PS5 upgrade works. Two new mobile games were announced as well, The First Soldier and Ever Crisis–the former being a multiplayer battle royale and the latter being a revamp of the original FF7 and its various spinoff stories.

Now Playing: Final Fantasy 7 Remake PS5 Update Reveal Trailer | PlayStation State of Play

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New To Peacock In March 2021: WWE Fastlane, The Golden Globes, Leprechaun Movies, And More

A new month means far too many new things to watch on a variety of streaming services. Peacock, NBCUniversal’s service, might be a new entry to the pack but is no slouch when it comes to its massive library. In fact, March will see dozens of new movies, a slew of TV shows, and its first exclusive WWE pay-per-view event become available.

That pay-per-view event, WWE Fastlane, signifies the integration of the WWE Network into Peacock. The move was first announced in January and will see all of the currently available WWE Network content, as well as future original programming and live events, streaming on Peacock. The WWE Network, in turn, will be shuttered. Fastlane is the final stop on the road to Wrestlemania, WWE’s biggest annual show of the year–which will also stream exclusively on Peacock. Fastlane streams live on March 21.

Another major event being added to Peacock in March is the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. The show, which will be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, presents awards to those who work on both TV and movies. It arrives on the service on March 1.

Lastly, if you’re looking for scares, all 7 films in the Leprechaun movie franchise will be added to Peacock on March 1. Yes, that includes the truly terrible Leprechaun: Origins that was produced by WWE Studios and stars wrestling leprechaun Hornswoggle.

Those are just a few of the many titles coming to Peacock in March. You can take a look at the full list below.

March 1:

  • 47 Ronin, 2013
  • A Beautiful Mind, 2001
  • Away From Her, 2007
  • Beauty Shop, 2005
  • Boomerang, 1992
  • Brothers, 2009
  • CB4, 1993
  • Cinderella Man, 2005
  • Columbiana, 2011
  • Flash of Genius, 2008
  • Fried Green Tomatoes, 1991
  • Gods of Egypt, 2016
  • Harlem Nights, 1989
  • Heist, 2015
  • Honey, 2003
  • Land of the Lost, 2009
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, 2003
  • Leprechaun, 1993
  • Leprechaun 4: Lost in Space, 1997
  • Leprechaun II, 1994
  • Leprechaun III, 1995
  • Leprechaun Origins, 2014
  • Leprechaun V: In the Hood, 2000
  • Leprechaun VI: Back 2 Tha Hood, 2003
  • Letters to Juliet, 2010
  • Lost in Translation, 2003
  • Mortdecai, 2015
  • Next Day Air, 2009
  • Notting Hill, 1999
  • Ride Along, 2014
  • Role Models, 2008
  • Slap Shot, 1977
  • Sudden Death, 1995
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D, 2013
  • The Beaver, 2011
  • The Big Lebowski, 1998
  • The Blues Brothers, 1980
  • The Blues Brothers 2000, 1998
  • The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988
  • The Legend of Hercules, 2014
  • The Town, 2010
  • Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, 2008
  • Def Comedy Jam, Season 5
  • Hip Hop Houdini, Season 1
  • Good Times, Season 1-6
  • The Widower, Episode 1-3
  • 78th Annual Golden Globes

March 2:

  • Cold Pursuit, 2019
  • Debris, Season 1
  • Top Chef, Season 17

March 3:

  • New Amsterdam, Season 3

March 4:

  • Mr. Mercedes, Season 3

March 9:

  • Field Trip with Curtis Stone, Season 1-2

March 10:

  • GI Joe: Retaliation, 2013

March 12:

  • Resident Alien

March 15:

  • Mr. Baseball, 1992
  • Neighbors, 2014
  • The Babe, 1992*

March 16:

  • The Change-Up, 2011

March 18:

  • Come and Find Me, 2011
  • TrollsTopia, Season 2

March 21:

  • WWE Fastlane

March 25:

  • John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise

March 31:

  • American Pie, 1999
  • American Pie 2, 2001
  • American Wedding, 2003
  • U-571, 2000

How To Create A Valheim Dedicated Server, Invite Friends, And Join

Playing Valheim with friends is the premier way to enjoy the viking survival game. To do that, you’ll need to either create servers in the game so other players can join you, or join them in their servers. Valheim’s menus can be a bit confusing to navigate, though, especially if you don’t really know much about local hosting or dedicated servers. And even joining games can be a little wonky, requiring you to use Steam’s menus to find servers using IP addresses.

Check out the guide below for everything you need to know to set up your own servers or join someone else’s in Valheim. It’s also worth noting that if you’re looking for new co-op viking friends, you can check the Community server list and join in with other people you don’t know–although you should do so at your own risk, since you never know if your new friends might turn out to be griefers. It’s also good practice to check for Discord servers to go with your Valheim servers so you can talk to other players.

We’ve got even more Valheim coverage so be sure to check out our guides for upgrading your Workbench, crafting armor, hunting down Iron, and beating The Elder.

Joining A Server

The Join feature for Valheim can be a bit janky. We had trouble finding the servers created by our friends by going through the game client. You should be able to join a friend’s Valheim server from the main menu by using either the server name or the IP address. If the server is set up correctly, it should appear on the Community Server list by name; use the “Filter” text box to search for it. You’ll need the password to gain entry. If that doesn’t work, use the “IP” button to search for the server by its IP number and enter the password.

If neither of those options work, however, there is another way around using Steam. Quit Valheim and go to the Steam window you use to launch the game. Look up the menu at the top of the window and select “View.” Go down the list to “Servers” and click it to pull open a new window.

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On the servers window, go to the “Favorites” tab and click the button to “Add a Server” in the bottom-right corner. That’ll bring up another menu window where you can enter the IP address of the server you want to join. Do that and enter the password when prompted. Steam will automatically launch Valheim and allow you to choose your character; you’ll have to enter the password again to get into the server, but you should load in no problem from there.

That should add the server to your “Favorites” list, so it’ll appear in the Servers window from now on. You can enter it again the same way, from the View menu. Just double-click on the server you want and enter the password to jump into the game.

Creating A Local Game

This is a relatively simple option for players who want to hang out in small groups and don’t intend to play alone. Creating

Start the game and choose a character. When you hit Start, you’ll have the option to create a random world, to make a custom one based on a specific seed, or to join a game created by someone else. If you create your own world, you can start a server that other players can join by clicking the “Start Server” radial button. That’ll allow other players to log in with you–just set a password and a name for your server and you’re all set. Other people you provide with that information should be able to find your server and join you while you’re playing.

Making a local server uses the computer you’re playing Valheim on to host everyone else who’s playing with you, which comes with some drawbacks. First, you’re limited somewhat in the number of people you can host. Valheim game worlds can support up to 10 players at a time, but it’s likely your computer will struggle the more players you get in, so try to keep your groups closer to four or five.

Also note that since a local server uses your computer to host the game, it’s unavailable when you’re not playing. If you log out of Valheim while others are playing on your local server, they’ll also be logged out of the game, and they’ll have to wait for you to log back in to play on your server again. With that in mind, it’s best to use a local server when you’re going to play reliably with the same small group at predictable times.

Creating A Dedicated Server

You can also create a dedicated Valheim server that won’t require you to be logged into the game in order to play. You’ll either need a computer that can stay online to allow your group to log into it, or consider paying a service to rent a server that you can use for the game.

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to set up Port Forwarding on your internet router to make sure that other players can access the server from the internet. Check the website for your internet service provider and router for more information on how to do that. Make a note of which port number you use for this step, because you’ll need that info later. By default, Valheim’s servers use ports 2456-2458.

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To start a dedicated Valheim server, you’ll need to download a tool from Steam that came with the game when you bought it. Find it by clicking the drop-down menu on the left side of your Steam interface, labeled “Games,” and select “Tools.” Searching “Valheim” will bring up the Valheim Dedicated Server tool, which you’ll need to download.

From there, the steps for setting up a server are pretty straightforward, although you’ll need to do some quick text editing to get up and running.

1. On the Valheim Dedicated Server page on Steam, click the gear icon for Settings in the top-right corner. Go to “Manage,” then “Browse Local Files.” You can also get this same menu by right-clicking Valheim Dedicated Server under Tools.

2. In the local files window, look for “start_headless_server.bat”. You’ll need to edit that file using a text editor like Notepad, but first, make a copy of the file to serve as a backup should anything go wrong.

3. Right-click start_headless_server.bat and choose “Edit” to open it in Notepad. Go down to the last line of the file, which starts with “valheim_server”. You’ll need to make a few changes to this line to set up the parameters for your server

4. Find ‘-name “My server”‘ in the line and change “My server” to the name you want to give the server. It can be anything, but it’s good to choose something your friends will recognize. Your name should stay inside the quotation marks–so if you were to name your server GameSpot, the entry would look like this: -name “GameSpot”

5. Find ‘-port 2456’ in the line and change the number to the number of the port you used for port forwarding on your router.

6. Find ‘world “Dedicated”‘ in the line and give your game world a name in the place of “Dedicated”. If you’ve already created a Valheim world (which you can do from the start menu when you launch the game), you can use that world–just put its name inside the quotation marks. Otherwise, a new game world with the name you use here will be created instead.

7. Find ‘-password “Secret”‘ in the line and set your server’s password. Whatever you put in the quotation marks will be the server’s password, and it’ll be case-sensitive. You’ll need to give this password to anybody else you want to be able to access the server, so it’s a good idea to write it down for quick reference.

8. Find ‘savedir [PATH]’ in the line. By default, Valheim saves your game Worlds and various permissions files in a specific folder in the AppData folder inside your Windows username folder. If you want to make the game save those files somewhere else, you can specify the file path.

9. Save “start_headless_server.bat” and run the file to launch your dedicated server. You’ll know it’s ready to go for other players to connect to it when you see the message “Game server connected” in the server program window. If the server program triggers a pop-up from Windows Firewall, make sure to allow it full permissions by checking all the boxes so that other players can connect to your server.

10. Allow other players to join your server by adding it to the Community server list from the Valheim menu when you launch the game–players should be able to find your server by the name you gave it. You can also grab the server’s IP address once it’s up and running and give that to friends so they can search for the server that way. As mentioned in the Join section above, if Valheim’s server list and IP address search function are acting up, use the Steam “Server” page (under the View menu in Steam) to search for the server that way. Make sure to give friends the password to the server or they won’t be able to join.

That’s it! If you need more information, you can find the “Valheim Dedicated Server Manual” PDF in the Valheim Dedicated Server local files, where you found start_headless_server.bat.

Now Playing: The Valheim Viking Guide For Beginners

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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Trailer Comparison – Switch vs DS

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are almost 15 years old, having originally launched for Nintendo DS in September 2006 in Japan. The games were released four years after the previous entry, Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire, and we wouldn’t get the next generation, Pokemon Black and White, for another four years. Instead, we indulged in some Pokemon nostalgia with games like Pokemon HeartGold & Soulsilver–so it wasn’t completely empty.

Now, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are inviting us to take a trip down memory lane again with Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which are remakes of the classic DS titles. This gives us the perfect excuse to put both versions of the two games side-by-side to see just how far we’ve come.

As you might have guessed the DS and Switch versions don’t look similar at all. The Switch version went with a chibi art-style the harcons back to the little sprites on the DS, but otherwise everything is shiny and new including the battles between Pokemon.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl will be released in Late 2021 on Nintendo Switch. The Pokemon Company also revealed Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a brand new open-world Pokemon title that seems to have some similarities to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Pokemon Legends: Arceus will be released in Early 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.

Mayans MC: How Season 3 Ties Into Sons Of Anarchy

It’s been over a year since Season 2 of FX’s Mayans MC came to a bloody end. The series, which follows the events of Sons of Anarchy, has somehow managed to take that show’s violence, debauchery, and love of motorcycles to an entirely new level. And now, thankfully, it’s coming back for Season 3.

And in that season, the show’s connection to Sons of Anarchy is going to get even stronger. Before now, we’ve seen characters from the original series show up from time to time, and a big chunk of Season 2 revolved around the discovery that SAMCRO’s beloved psychotic killer biker Happy Lowman killed EZ and Angel’s mother years ago. After that Season 2 cliffhanger, though, it looks like the Sons will become a more direct enemy in the Mayans universe.