As much as Snowfall has followed Franklin’s transformation over the years, Louie’s journey paralleled his, also turning her into a full-blown anti-hero. When we first met Franklin, with his backpack and naïve decision-making, Louie encouraged him to move beyond dealing weed to the coke game. Louie convinced Jerome to help his nephew after he made it clear that dealing with coke brought nothing but trouble. It was Louie who developed the business while Franklin was locked up, and she was the one who decided to break off and start an empire of her own. If Franklin is Prometheus, bringing fire to Compton in the form of rocked-up cocaine, then this episode proves that Louie is Icarus, flying too close to the sun.
Fast-forward to the final chapter of Snowfall’s story, and Louie’s ambition and chronic desire for fulfillment send all the characters over the edge. Jerome’s existential crisis leads him to quit the game altogether, telling Louie that it’s time to leave the country, fly to Jamaica, and escape the chaos. After being told by Deon that he’s a dying breed, Jerome understands that there’s an expiration to street life, and his time is coming to an end one way or another. When he comes home with this drunken declaration, ready to end the incessant fighting with his family, he admits that the only reason he’s been in the game so long is for Louie. He appeals to her logic, how nothing can change how fucked-up this lifestyle is, then appeals to her heart, wondering aloud if her love for him would be enough to get her to stop. It isn’t.
Louie isn’t convinced quitting is right for her — she’s laser-focused on the end game, and walking away doesn’t seem feasible after coming so close. The following day, after Jerome has sobered up and Louie has had time to process what her husband wants, they sit down and talk about the crossroads they’ve found themselves at. For the first time, we really get to hear about Louie’s motivation and the internal turmoil that has been driving her decision-making. Being a Black woman isn’t easy, and being a Black woman in the drug game isn’t any easier. She talks about how regardless of pulling the majority of the weight and being the brains behind the operation, the one people respect is Jerome, while they can only muster up enough energy to wink or lick their lips at her. Even before becoming drug kingpins, Louie has had to fight for respect from the world and from her man. It took breaking up with Jerome in the earlier seasons even to get him to see her as his equal. Even though she’s sitting on the throne, she realizes that her gender is still holding her back. Jerome asks if all of this is worth dying over, and Louie replies that her self-worth is. Sadly, I think Louie will play back this moment for the rest of her life.
The conversation between Jerome and Louie ends in a stalemate, with Louie asking for more time to sort her shit out with Teddy and get access to their money in Panama. Jerome agrees to do one last drop with Teddy while Louie gets her mind right, but makes it clear that, regardless, he’s leaving. Everyone is starting to make plans for their safety and their future as the ripple effects of the last few episodes continue. Reeling from his father’s death, Teddy has no choice but to finally be a father himself and call his ex to alert her that Franklin might be coming after them next. He becomes increasingly emotionally untethered between his dad’s death and knowing the KGB and DEA are on his tail. So he initiates a Hail Mary type of play that seems like both an act of desperation and self-preservation.
Teddy pulls up to Ruben’s apartment and tries to give the KGB agent an out before things get out of hand. In an oddly emotional interaction, Teddy says that ever since Ruben has been in town, he’s felt less alone. I’m sure the life of a spy/CIA agent is lonely and isolating, so, of course, Teddy sees himself in Ruben, even if it’s all projection. But that’s not enough to keep Teddy’s ruthlessness at bay. First, he shows his hand, saying that technically he doesn’t have a strategy up his sleeve, so perhaps they can talk it out and find a way to both walk away safely, avoiding their mutually assured destruction. But, of course, for Teddy’s selfish ass, this means Ruben lying to his employers and running away with his lover, while Teddy continues to do whatever he’s doing. Then he weaponizes the happy ending he himself proposed by threatening to out Ruben if he doesn’t comply. He gives him 24 hours, stating that if Ruben stays in the apartment, he’ll assume he wants his help, but if Ruben leaves, all bets are off.
Now that his plan to get the KGB out of the picture is in motion, Teddy confides in Parissa that the next step is killing Franklin. But, as usual, Franklin is a step ahead. Since he essentially declared war on Teddy after killing his elderly father, Franklin sits down with those closest to him to decide how to move forward. Cissy, sick of all this shit, again refuses to live in hiding, so Leon steps up to keep an eye on her and protect her. Franklin enlists Gustavo’s services to track down Teddy in exchange for money and passports to help him and his family flee … and a promise that he will kill Teddy.
While everyone is shuffling to make their next moves, Kane’s men finally get a hold of Louie when she comes to the stables to decompress with her horse. They kidnap her and hold her hostage so Kane can terrorize the person who put him in the hospital. It gets dark fast. Basically, all of the oppression Louie has endured as a Black woman is amplified through the torture Kane enacts on her as he tries to get Buckley’s location. There’s the usual Snowfall violence, but soon things take a turn, making it particularly hard to watch. When repeatedly kicking her in the stomach doesn’t get her to give up Teddy, he brands her, like a piece of livestock, as Franklin, who Kane summoned, watches.
As if the brandings weren’t enough to evoke the darkest ways Black women have been persecuted, Kane organizes a group rape of Louie. He handles tormenting Louie differently than he would a male counterpart, making it a point to show her that he sees her as nothing more than a Black bitch. A redbone, to be exact. The branding was eerily reminiscent of antebellum practices on Black women, but the planned sexual assault took things over the edge. I’ve never seen Snowfall get this graphic, and it’s a shame that the target of the violence was a Black woman who just passionately spoke about feeling invisible. I wonder if this level of violation was even necessary; the brandings could’ve been sufficient on their own. I don’t think viewers needed to see her almost get gang raped, even if it happens in real life. Louie deserved more.
Franklin calmly watching his aunt be tortured was a part of a strategy on his end so he could alert Jerome without seeming suspicious. Coming back together as allies, Jerome, Leon, Skully, and Franklin intervene right before anything more could happen to Louie. Kane holds Louie to his chest with a gun to her head, daring Jerome to make a move. The love Jerome has for his wife knows no bounds, so Jerome shoots anyway, and Louie manages to get out of the way. Kane falls to the ground, and Louie rushes over to her husband. At first, Jerome seems fine, but then it’s apparent that he’s unresponsive before falling to the ground himself. Louie cries over her dead husband, and Franklin yells in disbelief as they both realize the gravity of their loss. RIP Jerome! He will be missed.
• Honestly, I don’t blame Cassandra for trying to get Veronique away from Franklin. Like she admitted to Teddy’s father, you can tell she’s learned a thing or two about motherhood after falling out with her daughter. After seeing Franklin’s unhinged violence, she tells Veronique that she has the means to get her and her unborn child out of there, but Veronique decides to stay by her man’s side. Hey, I give her more credit than I’d give myself, because I would’ve been on that plane and then ditched them both. But Veronique chose to stay because Franklin trusted her more, even giving her the exact drop location.
• Leon has become somewhat of a peacemaker and community leader now that he’s back from Africa. With a more enlightened mind-set, he’s making moves to improve life for everyone. In a well-thought-out scene, Leon takes a call from Franklin while he’s in the middle of getting his hair cornrowed. He sits in front of the mirror, half of his hair representing the revolutionary inside of him and the other half representing the gangster he’s become. The side with the Afro faces the mirror, indicating his true nature, while the side with the cornrows holds the phone to his ear as he takes direction from Franklin, calling him back to violence. It’s brilliant.
• Parissa and Teddy’s little fling annoys me. I hate how he said that she’s the only bright spot in his life, when he has a whole child whom he abandoned. I don’t know what will fulfill Teddy, but this self-loathing act is growing tired. All of his choices have been fueled by wanting to impress others, be it his dad or his boss or Parissa, and I want him to just stand up on his own.
An earlier version of this recap confused the characters of Buckley and Teddy. It has been corrected.