Key to the visceral believability of Snowfall’s storytelling is its nimble balance between exploring the effects of the cocaine epidemic on a local, national, and international level. We’ve seen the cocaine made in the Nicaraguan jungles, drug smuggling tunnels dug for surreptitious transport between America and Mexico, and the moment a young Black girl takes her first inhale of crack cocaine in the ghettos of Los Angeles.
As the show’s name implies, cocaine trickles down from unseen sources onto any and everyone in its path. While the season five premiere episode focused on the national implications of the cocaine epidemic from the vantage point of Franklin, episode two takes a look at the international largely through the perspective of disgraced CIA operative Teddy McDonald.
Teddy entered the Snowfall universe in the series premiere as a CIA agent tasked with diverting money from drug sales in Los Angeles to fund Nicaraguan Contra rebel fighters in Central America in an effort to stifle the communist Nicaraguan government. The second season of Snowfall started with President Ronald Reagan’s March 16, 1986 address to the nation regarding the threat to the United States posed by the Nicaraguan government’s Soviet Union-supported attempt to topple democracy in South America, and how a proposed $100 million aid package from the U.S. to Nicaraguan “freedom fighters.” It then cuts to Teddy watching Reagan asking Congress for $600 million in 1983 to prevent the Soviet Union from gaining more control in the region.
After Teddy is exiled from the CIA following Franklin’s father publicly outed his true identity as a government agent and involvement in drug sales at the end of last season, he reenters the fold in this episode after learning the Iranian national guard has confiscated the guns the U.S. surreptitiously was selling to Iran to help fund the Contras, and also free American hostages being held by the terrorist group Hezbollah. Teddy suggests the U.S. cut ties with Iran, to which Teddy’s longtime CIA handler informs him Lieutenant colonel Oliver North is dedicated to pushing forward with the original plan. After Teddy learns about his replacement in supplying Franklin with cocaine is taking drug money for his own personal gain and not to fund the Contras, he unofficially rejoins the mission to make sure Franklin is keeping the drug money flowing back into the country’s secret war in South America.
Snowfall has always been a bifurcated look into the rise of the cocaine epidemic, typically paralleling the U.S. government’s involvement with that of the Los Angeles drug dealers. It not only makes sense for the fifth season to premiere with back-to-back episodes but also having its two primary pillars — Franklin and Teddy — anchor each episode, allowing viewers to see how the two government’s entanglement with the drug trade ran so deep, the two characters’ circumstances begin to mirror one another. Three months after the August 1986 death of basketball star Len Bias placed national attention on drug dealers like Franklin, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa revealed the United States had traded guns to Iran in a negotiation attempt with pro-Iranian kidnappers to free the seven American hostages Teddy mentioned in this episode. It would take years before the world found out about the connection between the U.S. government and the crack epidemic in Los Angeles that Snowfall fans have been immersed in for five years.
Teddy surprises Franklin at his home to inform him Grady is out of the operation, and he will be resuming his role as Franklin’s connect to Columbian cocaine. Before Teddy leaves, Franklin tells him “It’s your world, man. I just sell dope in it.” If the first two episodes are any indication, the fifth season of FX’s acclaimed drama will be the first season where Franklin and the U.S. government have to maintain their dirty little secret while the world’s watching
‘Snowfall’ Season 5 Episode 2 Enters The Iran-Contra Affair And Traps Franklin was originally published on cassiuslife.com