In the Wild Wild West, trying their hardest and doing their best, the fearsome “Family” of Snowfall have soldiered on in times of war. Propelled by their love for one another, whether it be familial, platonic, or romantic, Franklin and his crew have had their bonds tested time and again by the influences of power, reprisal, and profit. A lover and a fighter of the highest order, Franklin’s uncle Jerome has, from the show’s pilot episode, established himself as a man deft in the art of managing complex relationships. This season, while Jerome’s relationship with his partner, Louie, has remained steady, his friendship with military veteran turned bodyguard Peaches has suffered a mighty blow. When the succession of hits on the crew took place during Peaches’s day off, all but Jerome wondered aloud about his potential involvement. Stolen money and a sudden disappearance give the group a clear answer on Peaches’s betrayal and alliance with Kane.
Despite Franklin telling him that he has hired a hunter to find Peaches, Jerome sets out to uncover the mystery of his heartbreak. Visiting the local Veterans Center, Jerome pays off the front desk to disclose that Peaches (whose government name is Dejaun Hill) had visited the center just a week before to see a Dr. Evans at the clinic. After talking to the doctor, who doesn’t give him any info, Jerome runs into Oakley, a white veteran who remembers meeting him at a party with Peaches years ago. Oakley is emphatic that he saw Peaches just a week ago and that “He’s probably with Curtis — they served together.”
Later, when Oakley takes Jerome to the house, there is no answer after several knocks, and the two decide to enter as Jerome closes the door behind them. As he looks around, Jerome discovers an assortment of substance abusers who inhabit the home. Feeling misled, Jerome puts a gun to Oakley’s head. “You think I don’t know when someone’s running game on me?” he says. “I am the game.” Oakley cowers but maintains his story: Peaches was an addict and frequented this spot. In the plot to take Franklin’s money and aid Kane, Oakley hints at the distance Peaches likely traveled to evade being caught. Oakley says Peaches went to Thailand, but another man in the house says Peaches has fled to Burma. Jerome grows silent, his eyes wandering across the room. When he looks at a man with a needle in his arm, he sheds a single tear.
As Jerome’s better half, Louie knows how much Peaches meant to him. Making an effort to empathize with Jerome’s friend, Louie notes the precarious situation he must have been in. “If I was on the needle and I saw Franklin kill Rob, I’d be making my exit plan too,” she says before switching the subject to Jerome’s wellness. He tells her not to worry but that he needs to “make some changes” and “reconnect back with my shit.” Sure, that means his goals of building out his business, but it also means marrying his sweetheart. Getting down on his knees, he proposes to Louie with passion and clarity. Shocked and affirmed, Louie gets choked up as she accepts the proposal. (I am so excited to see both of their crazy asses get married!)
The engagement of South Central’s premier couple aside, this episode is far from a reprieve. After all, on Snowfall, it goes first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Teddy with a CIA-backed ultimatum. After paging Franklin’s phone nonstop, Teddy meets up with Franklin and lays down the law (literally!). After discovering that Cissy has returned from Cuba and that “somebody on the inside” was responsible for the shooting that injured him, Teddy declares that Franklin has grown “sloppy as hell” and asserts that he is no longer allowed to bring security to their drops, for which he will set all future meets. He also tells Franklin to pull his real-estate business out of a high-profile deal to minimize their risk of exposure, but Franklin resists.
Unfortunately for Franklin, after his long stay at Parissa’s house, Teddy is especially irritable. Teddy remains drawn to Parissa’s cold, erotic calculus. When he bursts his stitches, he returns to her, and she calls him out as she tends to his shoulder wound. She also notes that back in Tehran, Teddy was too “by the book” to sleep with her, his asset’s wife, but now he’s “just a grumpy asshole.” They verbally spar — “I’ll rip my stitches,” Teddy says. “I’ll sew them back together,” Parissa declares — before proceeding to make out at the risk of reinjury.
Staging yet another flirtation with the Feds, Louie meets up with Officer Buckley, whom she propositions to take out Kane for her. After attempting to negotiate both a pay increase and a date (the latter of which Louie swiftly rejects), they agree on $150,000 for the hit. Before officially agreeing to the deal (to which Franklin and Leon have not agreed!!!), Louie turns to Jerome as counsel. “I won’t move forward with Buckley without your support,” she tells him. “Just do what you gon’ do. I’m gon’ protect you,” says Jerome.
Without any knowledge of Louie’s efforts to orchestrate a hit, Leon goes to meet with Kane in the hope of peacekeeping. From Leon’s perspective, firing back at Kane for the prior attacks will only cause more suffering in the community. Unbeknownst to Leon, who made it very clear that he didn’t want a “piece of shit cop [to] kill the man who practically raised us,” the wheels of retribution are already in motion when he meets up with Kane to offer him a business deal to squash the beef. To level with Kane, Leon leads with transparency and tells Kane about Kev’s betrayal. As he elaborates, he paints a clearer picture of the high stakes that led to the death of Kane’s brother, Kevin, and their cousin Delroy. Kane laughs while smoking, waiting for Leon to complete his peace offering: Kane should get a piece of the pie and work with them, dealing drugs to his far-reaching networks. “I would’ve taken that bullet instead of Kev; I promise you that he was my family, too, and I ain’t got much left. We could squash this beef here, right now. If you really wanna look after your family, this is the way,” Leon tells Kane.
Later, when Franklin informs Veronique of the resolution with Kane, as in his agreement to cease fire for a seat at the table, she asks a crucial question: “Why would he do that?” Franklin responds nonchalantly that Kane is motivated by family love, driven by a caretaker’s spirit. “You believe him,” Veronique says, her words both a statement and a question. “It’s the best play for now,” Franklin concedes. “We do deals here all the time. You’ve seen when they’re in bad faith. One thing my mother taught me: You deal with liars all your life, you can usually suss one out.” I have a bad feeling Veronique is onto something here. This deal feels tainted with distrust. By bringing Kane in on the business, Franklin and Leon have chosen an avoidant battle strategy that underestimates their opponent. And this is, of course, the soldier’s cardinal sin: To take an enemy at his word. For if love is a losing game, then war is a liar’s game.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
• Mo(u)rning Sickness: While at the Veterans Center searching for Peaches, Jerome is encouraged to seek counseling. He sits in on a group-therapy session in which men talk about not being able to sleep, nightmares of combat, and fear of being hunted. “I’m just so goddamn angry all the time. I just can’t take no more of this,” one man says. Jerome resonates with their struggles and finds himself struck with grief and anger over his friend’s descent into duplicity and drug addiction. The streets need a Sopranos-style exploration of Jerome’s psychological journey!
• Baby Monitors: Teddy shows Gustavo a wireless transmitter and explains that he needs Gustavo to help him bug Franklin’s phones, offices, and car. “He’s gotten lazy. Can’t afford to take any more chances,” he tells him. Later, Cissy looks at the recorder from Rubén in her purse and wonders what to do with it. Somebody get Franklin some stationery and a quill. Feds watchin’!
• Oopsies!: Life can get messy and mistakes happen. In Teddy’s line of work, however, I am far less inclined to be sympathetic, and it seems as though I’m not the only one. When Teddy apologizes to Gustavo for leaving him to die at the drop shoot-out, he describes his offense as simply “taking off like that.” “I shouldn’t have just left you like that. I’m sorry. Glad you’re okay,” he says. Gustavo hears him and walks away. What does OneRepublic say? It’s too late to apologize? Yeah, very much that!