Previously on Snowfall, “Make Them Birds Fly”
“Slow Hand” is as the title suggests, a deliberate, patient examination of the ever-changing priorities and values of Snowfall’s three biggest draws: Franklin, Teddy, and Gustavo. With its run-time neatly allocated for their respective story lines, we are present when each man is suddenly confronted with the very real consequences of their unremitting turpitude.
Ironically, the least compelling beat in “Slow Hand” revolves around Teddy’s confidence in the success of his operation. Ever insistent in running things exactly as he envision, McDonald once more frustrates the hell out of his partner Alejandro and their runner – who is providing them an enormous cache of U.S. govt-issue rocket launchers. This foul-up is the latest in a string of missteps in the Teddy’s op, and it would have been handled in a painstakingly thorough manner if it wasn’t for him getting word of his girlfriend Jules (Peta Sergeant) and their son’s impromptu visit to Los Angeles.
It’s apparent why Jules has been his constant; from the moment she’s introduced into this seedy world her baby daddy virtually oversees, Jules knows Teddy is over his head. A fellow CIA operative, Jules clearly exudes a greater awareness for potential damage the Agency will inflict on the very Americans it is charged to protect. McDonald’s eagerness to take on such a distressing task left Jules perturbed that the company she works for would approve such a heinous undertaking, but the man she loves would volunteer enthusiastically to poison countless lives to restore his standing in the CIA.
During what was probably the most tense train ride in a children’s park, Teddy and Jules realize they are now completely different people and their time in Tehran may have been nothing more than a fluke. In the meantime, Alejandro had enough of Teddy’s antics and cleared out the safehouse of its weapons and product, leaving McDonald in the wind.
Meanwhile, Gustavo has taken a more active role in his partnership with Lucia and Pedro, as they conspire to kill another high-ranking cartel to cover up their previous murder. Trust me, it’ll make sense eventually. Out of the five men they’ve in mind, Gus chooses Tomas because he isn’t a family man. He nearly goes through with it, but realizes he has a boyfriend and doesn’t want to ruin their happy life. Naturally, Pedro is incensed and frustrated by Gustavo’s contrarian morals yet the trio do have another man in mind. Yet it’ll take a bit more planning to produce a convincing body of evidence to deflect their druglord uncle’s attention from their side business.
Without question the journey Franklin and Leon took in finding the former’s stacks was the locus of “Slow Hand” as it provided a harrowing example of what “the life” truly entails and how Saint wholly unprepared for its brutality. After Leon suggested getting some help from Karvel (Sheaun McKinney), things quickly descended into some traumatizing series of events that proved there are truly no rules when it comes to the streets.
After being jumped by local dealers Ray Ray and Lenny (Craig Tate), Saint enlisted the help of the hardened Karvel to intimidate the pair and discover the location of Franklin’s missing “couple grand”. Instead viewers must endure a cringing moments of torture by Karvel and, ultimately, the unsettling rape of Lenny. It’s a disturbing sequence and seems altogether meaningless to the progression of the story; it was well established that Karvel was unhinged and that Franklin and Leon almost immediately regretted calling upon his services. After Karvel kneecapped Lenny then broke a few ribs for good measure, Franklin got the point: he’s not ready to lose his humanity.
Nevertheless, what happened, happened. It’s a questionable decision to go along with that uncomfortably audible scene as it left Franklin, Leon and most certainly the audience in shock and disbelief. In any case, the trauma of what Saint heard and witnessed will propel his character …somewhere. Clearly he won’t immediately give up the potential riches and influence from slinging cocaine for Avi. If anything Lenny’s assault unfairly pushes Franklin into an odd zone where we’re supposed to feel sympathy for his character, when he’s the one directly responsible for all his troubles and Lenny being violated and psychologically scarred from the ordeal.
Snowfall – S1E3 – Slow Hand | Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Emily Rios, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Michael Hyatt, Amin Joseph, Angela Lewis, Juan Javier Cardenas, Alon Moni Aboutboul | Writer: Leonard Chang | Director: Daniel Attias