Snowfall Baby Teeth Review
Snowfall: Season 1, Episode 8: Baby Teeth breaks away from the uninspired monotony of previous episodes by injecting some much-needed humor into its story.
Whereas previous installments of the show are too convinced of their seriousness to allow the characters and narrative to breathe, last week’s episode seems to realize that there is room for funny exchanges and humorous interactions. This does much to combat the impression that I’ve developed of the show as absorbed with its own wokeness, being content to tell the tired old tale of the CIA’s involvement in the 1980’s drug trade and the effects it had on black communities without doing anything to make it fresh or intriguing. A story based or inspired by true events does not a good show make: a good story and interesting characters do.
Indeed, this newfound sense of humor does much to make Kevin (Malcolm M. Mays) more than just another potentially-untrustworhy associate of Franklin (Damson Idris) and Leon (Isaiah John). One scene sees him regaling Leon with the plot of Trading Places, cracking himself up over the film’s premise, execution, and “Eddie [Murphy’s]” performance before his partner finally reminds him that he saw the movie with him, prompting a surprised Kevin to shrug it off and depart. It’s a short conversation that doesn’t really add anything to the plot, but it adds to our understanding of Kevin’s character – that is, an excitable fellow who is prone to missing or forgetting important details.
Teddy (Carter Hudson) also gets in some funny moments too, mostly revolving around a Jimmy Stewart impression he launches into when Victoria (Justine Lupe) reveals her contact as one Jim Stewart. There’s a callback to it later on when the two go to a club and she implores Teddy to dance like the It’s A Wonderful Life actor after he admits that he can’t dance. Again, this contributes in only the smallest way to the narrative, but it adds color to the characters and dialogue and makes the viewer more invested in them than they would be otherwise.
This humor is noticeably absent, however, from Lucia’s (Emily Rios) storyline. In fact, she gets in what might be the most intense moment of the episode, blowing up on Pedro (Filipe Vallee Costa) after learning he ratted her and Oso (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) out to his father Ramiro (Jose Zuniga). As far as violent interactions go this episode, it’s rivaled only by Franklin and Leon’s scuffle towards the end of the show, although the tighter framing of Lucia’s outburst might give it just the slightest edge over Franklin and Leon’s fight.
Zuniga is surprisingly interesting to watch, bringing a quiet menace to his role that belies the calm exterior he projects and compounds the anxiety that Lucia feels when he silently walks in on her berating Pedro. Although he has a passing resemblance to Tony Shalhoub, Zuniga’s Ramiro is a far cry from the fast-talking, occasionally-neurotic characters the former plays and definitely someone to keep an eye out for in future entries of Snowfall.
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