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Franklin (Apple TV+) Episode 6 Review 

Michael Douglas looks outside the window with his hand touching his chin in episode 6 of Franklin

With episode 6 Franklin is reaching its end: with only two episodes left, is the show going to surprise us in its second half?

With only two episodes left to go, Franklin is well into the second half of its season. As the stakes are higher than ever for all the characters involved, the show seems to be heading towards wrapping up loose ends and concluding all its narratives in episode 6, but so far it has not brought any new element into the mix. Is it playing it a little too safe? Probably, but the rest of the season may still surprise us.

As Franklin’s episode 6 starts, Benjamin Franklin (Michael Douglas, of Avengers: Endgame) is more fearful than ever, suspecting traitors in every corner. His fears are not entirely unjustified as, in the opening scene of the episode, we see an attempt to take Franklin’s life that almost succeeds. At the same time, he struggles to find an agreement with John Adams (Eddie Marsan, of Fair Play) on how to best handle finding support for the American cause. Elsewhere, Franklin’s nephew Temple Franklin (Noah Jupe, of Dreamin’ Wild) continues to blend in with the French boys of his own age and their hobbies, as he attempts to engage in the thrill of the hunt.

In this week’s episode, we get to see the personal stakes for Franklin and the personal danger he is undertaking. While the general stakes were always clear in terms of the historical setting, I am glad to see that Franklin is also showing us the personal risks for its main characters. Ever since the season premiere, it has been clear that Franklin carried the weight of ensuring the success of the American Revolution, but in this episode, Franklin’s life is actually on the line more than ever before, which works particularly well as the viewers have now grown attached to the main character of the show.

The best scenes are by far those between Franklin and Adams where we see two of the most famous historical figures of the time oppose one another. In this sense, Franklin seems to have taken a page out of every beginner screenwriting class that always reminds aspiring writers of the most basic – and perhaps most useful – tip in storytelling: telling the story through conflict. Episode 6 is a brilliant example of this, as the conflict between Franklin and Adams is both a way for the show to deliver some key contextual information and to showcase each character’s unique point of view on the war as well as their personality.

Théodore Pellerin and Noah Jupe in episode 6 of Franklin
Théodore Pellerin and Noah Jupe in episode 6 of Franklin (Courtesy of Apple TV+)

As episode 6 delves deeper into the characters we have not gotten to know and love over the past few weeks, the acting in Franklin is particularly impressive as it unveils the various layers that make up the main characters of the show and their relationships with each other. Douglas is, of course, the crown jewel of the show, as he gives us a masterful portrayal of Franklin in all his complexities and humanity. Jupe also particularly stands out as Temple, acting brilliantly in both French and English, which he constantly and effortlessly interchanges in this episode.

However, episode 6 moves too slowly, making the audience feel its entire 60 minutes. This episode seems to struggle to fill up the run time between a strong opening scene and a brilliant final one with scenes that are more of a filler than anything else. Much this episode felt irrelevant to the overall plot of the show, which made it very hard for me to actually care about the characters involved or their future in the series. There is also not much that is new for the audience in Franklin: the characters have been all introduced by now, so has the historical context, and the stakes are always the same. This makes it seem like the episodes keep repeating themselves by now.

Admittedly, episode 6 of Franklin is not bad – as we have seen in the previous week, its impressive production design and masterful acting make it a very enjoyable product every week – but it is not memorable either. I have never been a fan of filler episodes in general, let alone towards the end of the show when the plot should be moving along if anything. As the show comes closer and closer to its season finale, I would love to see something a little more exciting and a little less predictable in the two episodes we have left.

Watch on Apple TV

Episode 6 of Franklin is now available to watch on AppleTV+. Read our review of episode 7 of Franklin!

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