‘Snowfall’ deserves all the awards, and this sixth and final season is proof
OPINION: The late John Singleton created a series that introduced us to the lives of Franklin Saint, his family and his friends. The actors and the writing have kept us invested.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
This column contains spoilers and plot information about the FX series “Snowfall,” including details about the most recent episode that aired Wednesday night. If that type of thing bothers you, I suggest you stop reading right now.
There are only four episodes left in this final season of “Snowfall,” and I still have so many questions.
What really happened to Alton? What really happened with Peaches? Are we ever going to find out what happened with Lucia? Will Franklin get his money back? Is Teddy going to kill Franklin? Is Franklin going to kill Teddy? Is Veronique an op like we all think she is? Will Wanda and Lee make it? Will we ever see Mel again?
Ever since the show debuted in 2017, we have been captivated by the story of Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), an intelligent young man from South Central Los Angeles who unwittingly becomes a drug kingpin — going from selling bags of weed on the side with his Uncle Jerome to running a full-scale drug distribution operation.
Each week, we are transported back to Los Angeles in the 1980s. When we first get there, crack isn’t the big deal that it is now, but through Franklin’s enterprise, it becomes a main character in the show and the connecting thread between all the characters we meet along the way.
Freeway Ricky Ross — the well-known drug dealer whose criminal enterprise was allegedly tied to the CIA and the Iran-Contra affair and whose government name has been used by rappers including Philly’s Freeway and Florida’s Rick Ross — has said the character of Franklin Saint and the premise of “Snowfall” is based on real-life events from his life. While there are similarities between what happened with Ross in real life and what happens with Franklin on the show, “Snowfall” is so much more than Franklin’s story.
While the show could have focused on Franklin alone, it instead gives us a view into his entire world, including his family, friends, love interests and various associates who float in and out of his life throughout all six seasons.
We don’t just see the drugs and the money change Franklin; we see the drugs and the money change everybody, and it is, at times, hard to watch.
“Snowfall” is very much an ensemble show, and the intertwining narratives of each individual character have displayed both the acting talent these performers possess and the writing ability of those who pen this narrative for us week after week. Season six alone is an ongoing sizzle reel that exemplifies exactly why this show deserves all the nominations and all the awards.
Amin Joseph plays Franklin’s uncle Jerome, brother to Franklin’s mother Cissy (Michael Hyatt).
Throughout his tenure on the show, Jerome has embodied and personified the proverbial “OG” and “unc” we all knew from the hood. He initially lives a quiet life with his girlfriend, former sex worker Louie, but as he and Franklin get deeper and deeper into the game, we watch Jerome go from a caring uncle to a cold-hearted killer at war with his own flesh and blood in a matter of years.
Joseph ate every episode he was in, and he has provided many memorable one-liners that have turned into Twitter memes and gifs.
“Teach your man how to squabble” will go down in history as one of the greatest lines ever uttered in a television drama.
Our beloved Unc died in this week’s episode, and he went out like the gangster we all knew him to be.
I had accidentally spoiled his death for myself but looking at the trending topic on Twitter as I was watching the show on West Coast time, but even with me knowing it was coming, his final moments hit me in the gut and made me catch my breath.
Amin gave a stellar acting class in every scene he was in this season, but most especially in the last few episodes. We watched Jerome struggling to reconcile his love and loyalty for Louie with his desire to get out of the game for good, and all of that came to a head in his final scene Wednesday night.
He got his wish, but it didn’t come in the way he or any of us watching would have wanted.
I just want to know where Amin’s Emmy is. If he isn’t nominated for his acting this season, I am going to take it very personally.
On the night his final episode aired, Joseph said on his personal Twitter account, “I gave this everything I got. Thanks for the ride.”
You did, Amin, You did. And they better show you love for it, too, but even if they don’t, all you have to do is look at the trending topic on Twitter and see how the fans responded to your death.
I haven’t felt this bad after a character on a show died since Omar and Bodie on “The Wire.”
If we are being real, all of this is Louie’s fault, which brings me to Angela Lewis.
Lewis has played “Aunt Louie” from the beginning of the series, and her character’s evolution has annoyed literally everyone who watches the show, which means Angela has done her damn job.
I swear, as much as I hated seeing her being tortured in those scenes this week, there was a part of me that hoped she would be the one to die in the episode — because we all knew somebody was dying.
Lewis (with help from the stellar writers) has built Louie into a powerhouse of a woman. We don’t always like her, but we have to respect the fact that she ain’t scared of nothing or nobody. In this last episode alone, she demonstrated that she would rather die than give up her crackhead, former cop bodyguard, and honey, she is a better woman than me cause I would have given up that man’s location so quickly the episode would have been over in five minutes.
Louie is not as smart as her business partners, but what she lacks in common sense and book smarts she more than makes up for with street smarts, a salty tongue and an understanding of the game that a lot of girlfriends of drug dealers never acquire. That is a testament to her work as an actress and the brilliance that is happening in the writers’ room.
Over the course of six seasons, Louie has gone from the beloved girlfriend of Jerome to someone we all want to beat the hell out of. When I saw the preview for next week’s episode in which she blames Franklin for everything that happened, I wanted to punch her in the throat. That’s how you make people feel a character.
The writers of the show have worked hard to elicit emotions out of us every week, and they have been successful. We mourned Mel getting hooked on crack at the same time we criticized Wanda (Gail Bean) for doing the same thing, only to turn around and root for Wanda to win after she got off the pipe and started trying to do better for herself.
We have watched Franklin go from a soft-spoken teenage nerd to a boogeyman. We have witnessed former CIA agent Teddy McDonald’s descent into madness and obsession. We’ve noticed Cissy go from hating what her son does to actively participating in it and helping him clean his money. We’ve seen Franklin’s father go from being a houseless drunk to a man trying to make a huge difference in the Black community.
Seriously, where are the flowers for the writers’ room? They most definitely deserve.
And then there is young Damson Idris himself.
This young British actor has made us all champion a drug dealer who is killing his community one kilo at a time, who has killed his friends, who inadvertently got his first love hooked on the pipe, who has gotten his entire family involved in a conspiracy that includes the U.S. government, and we still want him to win.
We want Franklin to win because we want young Damson to win.
Questionable South L.A. accent aside (his dialect coach is none other than L.A. rapper W.C.), in this season alone, Idris has demonstrated a range of emotions with Franklin. He is a young man bent on revenge, and he is doing whatever it takes to get back at those who have caused him problems, including former federal agent Teddy.
When he killed Teddy’s father in episode 5 this season, it was so cold and so unexpected, I gasped and sat there with my mouth open for several minutes after. I felt his rage. I believed his anger, and I was astonished at the lengths he would go to get back at the man he once called friend — a man who has since betrayed him in more ways than one.
The 31-year-old actor came into his own on this show, and his incredible acting has let us experience Franklin’s character growth and descent into something diabolical one scene at a time.
For Idris, Franklin Saint is a bright, shining star on his resume. Week after week, he has taken us inside the mind and emotions of a young man who started out just wanting to make a little extra money and ended up fighting for power and control at every turn.
We still don’t know if Franklin will make it all the way to the end or not, but either way, Idris has done an amazing job, and our world will be a little bit empty once he is no longer filling that 10 p.m. slot on Wednesday nights.
Damson Idris deserves.
Amin Joseph deserves.
Angela Lewis deserves.
Gail Bean deserves.
Give them their flowers, and tune in to the remaining four episodes to find out what happens to Franklin and the rest of “The Family.”
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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