After being on top of the world for a few seasons, the Snowfall series finale left Franklin Saint worse off than where he began.
Season 6’s Episode 10 titled “The Struggle” fast-forwards to a year after Franklin lost his business, his fortune, his family, and his way out of the drug business. This new broken (and broke) Franklin, phenomenally played by Damson Idris, has taken to drinking, is living in filth in his mother’s humble home in Compton, is completely alone, and is a fraction of the man he used to be.
He hasn’t paid property taxes on the home and at the end of the episode, the city authorities seize the property, leaving him without the last thing he had to his name and without shelter. Now homeless, Franklin walks away from his best friend Leon (Isaiah John), disheveled and empty, with an alcohol addiction and none of the promise of who he or his life was supposed to be.
Betrayal from those closest to him had a lot to do with the Franklin we meet in the finale. His mother, Cici, ended up in jail after she shot and killed Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson)—the former CIA agent Franklin was in cahoots with, right as he was on the brink of transferring half of the $73 million fortune they amassed together through their joint drug operation. Franklin’s plans to retire from his cocaine empire and go into the real estate business were also destroyed, and all the people around him started disappearing from his life, little by little.
Franklin lost all hope when he learned that Veronique, his partner and mother of his child, took $800,000—which is equivalent to $1.8 million today—out of his bank account and fled, leaving him alone and with nothing in his most vulnerable moment. Franklin finds refuge inside his childhood home, but when he tracks down the long-lost Peaches (DeRay Davis) who stole $5 million from him earlier in the series, he learns his former bodyguard has blown it all and left him with just $12,000.
Uncle Jerome and Aunt Louie (Angela Lewis) breaking away to run their own operation was the starting point of Franklin’s downfall. But after Jerome’s death, Louie was able to make an escape from the FBI by hiding out and working at a ranch. She found a way out, but Franklin is stuck dealing with everyone’s and his own consequences. After also making it out and building a new life for himself in Ghana, Franklin’s best friend and ride-or-die Leon, returns and tries to help him to no avail. There is nothing that can be done for a man who has lost his pride and his ambition.
That’s also the ultimate crux of having it all and then losing it—most of the people who are with you at the apex won’t be there when you hit the valley. This is especially true in Franklin’s case since he also didn’t treat the people around him fairly or with respect, so them jumping ship is understandable. In his eyes, they worked for him and he owed them nothing, disregarding the sacrifices and work they also put in to help build his empire. The more people from his team he lost, the harder it was to stay afloat. There’s a price to pay for being the boss and staying at the top, and Franklin quickly ran out of checks to cash, which brought his reign to a sour end.
Snowfall masterfully showed Franklin’s progression from being a young, eager kid selling small amounts of drugs to being a drug lord that employed, fed, and supported his family and a large group of people. (Idris’ remarkable transformation in order to portray such stark and clear character development throughout the series deserves endless praise and recognition.)
As Franklin’s power and success increased, he became a cruel, calculated, and cold man without morals, who went against his family and his better judgment to make it big. Countless people lost their lives on his watch, too, not to mention the irreparable damage the sale and consumption of his product did to his community. Who can forget the iconic line that a young Franklin tells his present-day self in Season 5? “Tiana, Khadija, Lenny, Karvel. Him, him, her, him. Bodies, bodies, bodies, bodies, bodies! They’re all dead.” Once he attempted to right his wrongs and pull out of the game, it was far too late for everyone involved, and we see the young man who could’ve been anything he wanted to be end up on the streets.
Franklin went from having a private jet to being excited when Leon hands him $20 to spend at the corner store in the finale. Perhaps this isn’t the ending Snowfall fans wanted. Some may have preferred for him to die or end up in prison, and that would seem like a more realistic conclusion than a multimillionaire losing it all. But is it? It’s common to come across someone who has stories about their golden days and of everything they once had and squandered along the way.