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Snowfall - Make Them Birds Fly - Review: "Feeling Good"

15 Jul 2017

Snowfall 1.02 "Make Them Birds Fly" - Review:
Directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah & Written by Dave Andron & Eric Amadio & John Singleton

One of the things that Snowfall knows how to do really well it's create a good atmosphere. I mentioned this in my review of the pilot but the world that Snowfall is exploring here has been established really successfully, opting a fantastic tone that the series is going for. The wonderful opening scene for this week's episode used Nina Simone's brilliant Feeling Good to kickstart proceedings in a suitably moody way as we saw Franklin looking at the rewards that he made from last night's endeavour. It'll be interesting to see just how successful Franklin will get in his newfound career path, because this show did a good job at exploring his character and how he feels after the successful operation. Character development is something that this show also knows how to do as well, and knows how to do fairly successfully, so with the beginnings of Franklin's transformation in place at the start of this episode, things quickly kicked off on an interesting note. Of course he's going to go headlong and spend it as soon as he gets it, deciding to spontaneously invest in a new motorcycle, but it's only a matter of time before he learns the hard way that actions have consequences.

Teddy isn't exactly the bravest CIA agent ever and he's still getting used to his undercover job. Sadly this storyline was not convincing enough as he'd have to have known what he was getting into going in and I would have appreciated a little more groundwork with his character and believability. After not making the best of first impressions on Avi, Alejandro began to question whether or not Terry should even have been involved, which certainly spelled bad news for him. But luckily for Teddy he's able to quickly get to grips with the situation at hand, getting back in their good books when he shows some initiative in not only pulling off his first meeting with Lucia successfully, but also in setting up a stash house. This storyline does seem to be picking up some momentum after it started off in a less than engaging way, but it still needs to continue to build steam if it's to be viewed as one of the stronger Snowfall storylines. It's interesting to see that the show is continuing to keep the main storylines separate at this point for now, and you have to wonder how long it will be, if at all, that Teddy goes without running properly into people like Franklin. That said, it's still very early stages in establishing both Franklin and Teddy's world, and this show doesn't exactly like to move along at a quick pace.

Franklin himself is experiencing problems with his mother who isn't a fan of his involvement in the drug trade. Whilst he hasn't had any proper consequences come back to haunt him yet and the tension affecting his storyline is currently minimal at this point, his mother is so reluctant to see him join the drugs business that she'll ask what's in his bookbag and forbid him from going to see his uncle who is. But she doesn't actually check the bookbag, not yet at least, because she believes in him. Whilst he remains largely safe for most of the episode, the ending sees him on the receiving end of a beating which serves as a good way to increase the tension to his storyline. Now he knows that there are consequences he'll be more careful in the future, and it'll be interesting to see how this affects his approach to the industry going forward, if at all. Will he still be as naive as he was at the beginning of the episode? It's all about character development, and something like this will almost certainly have an effect on Franklin. Whilst the tension isn't there for most of the episode, it comes back in a big way at the end. This serves as a good way to create further drama as well because although he's fairly smart, this is an industry that he's fairly new in, as well, so he's always bound to make mistakes. Carrying around the drugs in the backpack may have been a sign that something was going to happen, but in reality, there wasn't anywhere that he really had the opportunity to hide it. The choice of Bill Withers' Lovely Day playing over the ending beating from the rival gangs really made for a good contrast with Feeling Good at the beginning of the episode, and just like before, I'm really excited to how Snowfall continues to execute music cues like these going forward. It's certainly shown so far that it can manage them really well.

So now Teddy is back on good terms with Avi and Franklin is in a difficult position going into episode three with his money missing. I know it's still early stages, but there is a lot of potential at the same time for the show to get to and explore. Once it moves properly past the set-up stages, there will almost certainly be an upswing in quality for the series, especially given the calibre of the team behind this series. Hopefully it gets to that point sooner rather than later, because so far, the show really needs to be more convincing. At least it is showing promising signs at this stage, though, and is already seemingly undergoing a course correction to make its two main storylines more interesting.

What did you think of Snowfall's second episode? Let me know in the comments below and check out the next episode this Wednesday at 10pm on FX.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, Black Sails, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, The Mist, Star Wars Rebels, Silicon Valley, Snowfall and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Succession, Star Trek Discovery, and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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