Previously on Snowfall, “Trauma”
After a pair of unevenly paced episodes that threw its sizable cast into narrative disarray, “Seven-Four” righted the ship by focusing on the intimate relationships between main pairs in each plot line. The drug trade is on hold this week as everyone celebrates the Fourth of July with bombastic aplomb. Despite the joviality exhibited by all, the show would be remiss to not feature a few rivals or family members butting heads or engaging in heated conflicts. Yet in “Seven-Four”, these confrontations feel more authentic and relatable thanks to the deft writing of Jerome Hairston. Furthermore, this week’s installment doubly provides insight on and renewed motivation for our ambitious would-be kingpins, revealing they aren’t as confident as they appear.
Five episodes in and “Seven-four” is the first one that finally displayed a broader relatability with its audience by focusing on most of the characters preparing their Independence Day festivities. While the pilot was engaging and eased potential viewers in through Franklin Saint’s engaging and accessible journey into the sinister world that is the drug trade. Since then, we’ve been thrust in the middle of an entanglement involving eccentric maniacs, rivalries, family betrayals and deals gone really wrong. It was a lot to take in between the premiere and now and everyone – from the characters to you and I – received a much deserved breather and a fairly enlightening episode, in terms of our leads’ hidden motivations and deep fears.
Once more, Franklin (Damson Idris) is the driving force in the episode, providing heaping amounts of angst and bravado only an 18-year-old could accomplish. From the time Franklin and Louie (Angela Davis) saw Saint’s estranged father shuffle about in the late hours, he became the impetus to Franklin’s desire for him and his mother to leave the neighborhood and no longer survive, but thrive – after creating a new market for his drug lord friends. That didn’t work out as expected and now Saint is out. We all know he really isn’t because the opportunity is too great and there are
In the meantime, everyone is going all out for the weekend, including Franklin’s mom Cissy (Michael Hyatt). Possibly no one outside of her son is more deserving of some downtime and community spirit. The cook-out was in full effect at Jerome’s place; liquor was flowing, the turntables were spinning and aside from a flaming hole on the roof, things are were looking up. Until Cissy’s ex-husband Alton (Kevin Carroll) showed his raggedy face, due to Franklin’s open invitation. For many of her scenes, Hyatt had been relegated to playing Cissy as an overworked associate of a slumlord, emotionally and physically drained from being the face of The Man throughout South LA. We finally got to see a more vibrant and upbeat side to Cissy in “Seven-Four” before Alton’s arrival. Even then, Cissy’s impassioned refusal towards Alton’s presence was a welcome display of emotions and proves she can be just as bombastic and heated as her brother Jerome.
By the time the police arrived, we’re given a greater picture of the state of things around the block. The use of police brutality as a plot device may have been tired trope in many films and show over the decades, but given the increasingly reported incidents the last few years, these scenes, when used properly and sincerely to the story, are more of a testament to the gross harassment PoC have experienced for generations. The choke hold by the white cop was the breaking point for the number of characters; Alton left his son yet again during the heat of the moment as Cissy attempted to pry her son from his grip. As for Franklin, the incident made reevaluate this decision of giving up his brief run as Avi’s dealer. Now with Leon and Kevin (Malcolm M. Mays) ready to roll, Franklin is determined to make it work… which it could if he can finally find the backbone necessary to succeed.
At the Nava compound, Pedro invited Oso to join in the celebration, to Lucia’s chagrin. Though the trio’s conspiracy to found their own cartel appears to be intact, Pedro’s erratic, typically coked out behavior has proven worrisome for his partners. The younger Nava has shown he’s more bark than bite and is as unprepared in getting his hands bloody as Franklin, despite being raised in the life. One thing the cousins didn’t anticipate was Gustavo’s proclivity for guile, recognizing his worth has grown considerably in their fledgling operation. No longer mere muscle for their personal protection and their “den”, Oso has now eliminated two of Ramiro’s (José Zúñiga) top lieutenants and, more importantly, knows the ins and outs of their plans better than they realized.
So of course Pedro decided to introduce Oso to his father, who was suspicious of outsiders well before the latest incursion on his cartel. In his drug-addled brain, he likely believes if he plays things open and honestly with his father, Ramiro won’t assume his son has become his competition. And if he thinks otherwise, Pedro can throw Gustavo under the bus to save his own skin. Problem is, Pedro said the one thing untrustworthy people say to others leery of their antics: “You can trust me.” Clearly Ramiro already keeps his head on a swivel when Pedro is concerned, but the addition of Oso – whom he recognizes as a quiet player between his son and neice – could add a new dynamic between family members. In any case, Gustavo wants what he’s earned. At the moment we’re unsure who will provide it for him.
Snowfall – S1E5 – Seven-Four | Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Emily Rios, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Michael Hyatt, Amin Joseph, Angela Lewis, Juan Javier Cardenas, Isaiah John, Filipe Valle Costa | Writer: Jerome Hairston | Director: Lawrence Trilling