In the first season finale of Snowfall, the main players in the game are finally put to the test. Even though it seems like Franklin, Teddy, and Gustavo’s journeys moved slowly throughout the season, by the finale scenes, the parallel to the premiere make it clear how far they have actually come.
Franklin and Gustavo are the two who grew the most over the course of ten episodes. Both started from the bottom with nothing and slowly moved their way through the ranks to come out on top. Teddy was in a similar situation, being an exiled agent, but his rise through the ranks wasn’t as much power, but more about being in control of his operation.
Franklin started as a recent graduate just wanting to do good for his neighborhood. He fell into the cocaine business and throughout the season got jumped, lied to, shot at, and threatened. However, he always seemed to keep his positive outlook even though his “career” was heading him down a dark path.
In “The Rubicon,” Franklin finally shows the tough boss-like skin he’s been growing over the season. Franklin strikes a deal with Ray Ray after Lenny shoots Leon in cold blood. Jerome goes with Franklin to meet Ray Ray who has Lenny tied in the trunk of his car. When Ray Ray hands Lenny off to him, Franklin throws a wad of cash and a blade telling him he has to finish the job.
This was probably one of the hardest scenes to watch as Franklin held a gun to Ray Ray’s head, prompting him to slash his friend’s throat. While Ray Ray does actually kill Lenny, the scene shows Franklin’s power over people. Ray Ray and Lenny early on easily beat him up. But now, Franklin is in control of the situation. He now has the power to have others kill people when they cross him and his friends.
This is the type of scene I have been waiting for to show that Franklin isn’t a doe-eyed boy, but someone who understands the underbelly of the cocaine industry. For once, he acts like a true boss, but at the same time, I’m not sure how I feel about seeing Franklin become a hardened murderer.
Gustavo is the other character who rises from the ashes. His storyline and character development progressed the quickest throughout the season. He went from poor wrestler to the right-hand man of the boss.
In the finale, Gustavo plots with Lucia against her family. She has no one on her side now that her father is dead. Ramiro is now in charge of the family. Lucia’s mother says she is not in charge after her father’s death not because she is a woman, but because Lucia’s father felt her ambition would damage the family.
And he was right. At the end of the night, Lucia calls Gustavo to inform him that Ramiro is outside smoking alone. That cues the Mexicans, whom Ramiro screwed over in the cocaine deal, to come and shoot Ramiro and his men dead in front of the house. This now leaves Lucia the head of the family business with Gustavo as her trusted colleague.
Teddy is the one character who never gets a big break. His character is constantly having to put out fires, but he never reaps any benefits afterward. He goes from an exiled agent to an agent with two people’s blood on his hands.
After a reward flier was posted with Alejandro’s face on it, Teddy says Alejandro has to leave town until he can fix the situation. However, Alejandro has the Columbians to close the deal with and says he can’t really leave. Instead of staying low, Alejandro makes matters worse.
Later, Teddy finds that his gun is missing and goes to the sister’s apartment and finds Alejandro sawing up her body in her bathtub. Alejandro says he is just doing his job to keep them safe. He tells Teddy, “see ya soon,” like it’s no big deal he’s chopping a girl up in her bathtub. Fed up, Teddy shoots Alejandro in the head, leaving Teddy with two bodies to dispose of.
It seems like Teddy is at his wit’s end and he begins to spiral out of control in the same way that leads him to exile to begin with. Lucky for him, his boss James arrives. Teddy tells him that he might not be the man for the job but James doesn’t buy it. Apparently, the president and director of the agency are pleased with Teddy’s work in getting the money and drugs moving south.
Because of this success, Teddy ends up visiting the Columbians at their hotel suite where he tells them that Alejandro is going to use them as bargaining chips with the DEA. Teddy strikes up a deal that he’ll continue to help move their product as long as they supply him and the U.S. Government with pure cocaine. In the end, it seems that Teddy comes out on top, but his character had to struggle the most to get there.
The inaugural season of Snowfall centered around the drug epidemic in Los Angeles in the 80’s and showed the good, bad, and ugly sides of what these characters went through. The last scene of the finale showed the “good” side as Franklin and his crew happily count their fortune while a tune about California dreams plays over the montage.