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Franklin (Apple TV+) Episode 7 Review 

A boy wears a wig and French clothes period drama syle in the show Franklin

Episode 7, the penultimate one of Franklin, heightens the stakes even more this week, but is it enough at this point of the show?

After keeping up with Franklin for weeks, I had high hopes for episode 7, the one that would precede the season finale which we can usually expect to be one of the best and most impactful episodes of any show. This is especially true for a show like this one that has a fantastic production design and brilliant directing, as seen in the previous episodes so far. This week, I expected the series to set up for its finale and surprise me after a couple of average episodes that left very much to be desired in my opinion.

Unlike the previous episodes, episode 7 of Franklin starts in Virginia, where we see troops of American soldiers fight in the historic battle of Yorktown. However, our focus quickly turns back to France where tensions are rising between the country and the not-yet-formed United States of America. The two countries start plotting against each other as both Benjamin Franklin (Michael Douglas, of Avengers: Endgame) and John Adams (Eddie Marsan, of Fair Play) plot to secure much-needed support for the American cause across the ocean. Elsewhere, Franklin’s nephew Temple Franklin (Noah Jupe, of Dreamin’ Wild) obtains a position at the French court.

In the opening scene of episode 7, Franklin finally shows us a glimpse of what is happening on the other side of the ocean while Franklin is busy arranging a treaty in France. While we do not see much of the American Revolution in the show, the scenes set in the United States are some of the strongest as they allow the audience to see for themselves what exactly Franklin is fighting for. Much of what the main character does revolves around political discussions that work entirely better when they are supported by scenes like this one that remind us of the stakes and importance of the many debates we see in the show.

Franklin only starts to get interesting in the second half of episode 7, as we see Franklin’s health deteriorate. Now that a new element is finally introduced in the show, it feels like the plot can finally move on from the stagnant and repetitive storytelling of the past few episodes. This is especially true regarding the last scene of this week’s episode which leaves a cliffhanger open for the season finale to hopefully resolve, heightening the stakes with what promises to be a fascinating family conflict in the future. With only one episode left in this season, however, I cannot help but feel that it is too late for the show to finally move things along and become more dynamic just now.

Michael Douglas, looking sick, sits holding the hand of Jeanne Balibar, who's standing next to him, in episode 7 of Franklin
Michael Douglas and Jeanne Balibar in episode 7 of Franklin (Courtesy of Apple TV+)

Aesthetically speaking, watching Franklin is always a pleasure, and this is particularly true for episode 7. The setting is particularly impressive the audience once again sees many beautiful palaces and gardens as the different backdrops where the action takes place, it is almost as if we are literally travelling back in time with the characters. Every detail in both the production design and the costumes is extremely curated to deliver the atmosphere of 18th century France, on the one hand, and also explore the character’s individual stories and personalities on the other.

But episode 7 has the same problems that I have been seeing in the entirety of Franklin so far. Except for the opening scene, the action is regularly left behind as the show prefers to focus on political discussions: in short, there is a lot of telling and not showing in the overall series, which becomes even more evident in this week’s episode. I also felt like the pacing of the episode was a little off and only picked up in the second half. A lot of this is because Franklin chooses once again to focus on the love story plot, at least when it comes to Temple’s storyline in this episode, rather than the much more interesting political questions the show is based on.

With one episode left this season, Franklin still has a lot to improve, particularly when it comes to its storytelling, which remains the least impressive element of the show so far. Thankfully, episode 7 showed us some changes in the tried and tested formula that audiences have seen in every episode so far, which was starting to get too repetitive for my liking. If anything, this week’s episode proves that introducing new plot points can only benefit the show, allowing it to deliver even higher stakes as the series prepares to reach its season finale next week.

Watch on Apple TV

Episode 7 of Franklin is now available to watch on AppleTV+.

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