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Franklin (Apple TV+) Series Finale Review 

Michael Douglas in the season finale of Franklin

Episode 8 marks the end of Franklin. With its season finale this week, the series delivers a fitting conclusion for the AppleTV+ show.

At the end of Franklin’s season finale, one of the characters describes the titular protagonist as “a great man from America.” This line seems to sum up the entirety of the series and its mission throughout the past eight episodes. After witnessing his every move and his struggles to ensure France’s support to the American Revolution, the audience has also come to know Franklin as a great man from America, one without whom such a pivotal historical event might have gone in an entirely different way.

In episode 8 of Franklin, the future of the United States hangs in the balance. The fight is not on the field in the season finale but is instead discussed by the men in the room. Most notably, Benjamin Franklin (Michael Douglas) himself is leading the conversation as a new nation is formed under our eyes. In this diplomatic effort, he finds opposition from the man who has been his antagonist all along: John Adams (Eddie Marsan). Elsewhere, Temple Franklin (Noah Jupe) attempts to make his own way in France as the world is starting to change on both sides of the ocean.

The season finale of Franklin perfectly illustrates the show’s biggest strengths. The production design is once again flawless as it succeeds in creating the historical atmosphere of the show as well as giving us a good idea of who the characters are. As with previous episodes, the show allows audiences to travel back in time to 18th-century France thanks to its period costumes and mise-en-scene. Visually, this is a very successful episode: the filming location is beautiful and heightened by the masterful use of lighting which makes it even more fascinating and captivating to look at.

Unfortunately, the season finale is too repetitive and similar to previous episodes of the show. Franklin figured out a successful formula for its storytelling and stuck with it for every single episode from then on. While it is a structure that works, it also quickly became overused and even predictable by the time we reached the season finale of the show. If anything, at least this episode finally tied all its storylines together and wrapped them up nicely with a particularly successful montage featuring most of the main characters of the series at the end of episode 8.

Franklin’s season finale also once again points out the missed opportunity for the show to touch on matters of racism and gender inequality in the 18th century. While the latter is at least mentioned in previous episodes of the show, the former is never even talked about which becomes particularly evident as one of the characters who feature heavily in Temple’s storyline in the second part of the show is Black. Understandably, the focus of the show is on the titular character, but it is a shame to see the female and Black characters so underutilised and used merely as love interests rather than having their own storylines and depth.

Michael Douglas and Thibault de Montalembert in the season finale of Franklin
Michael Douglas and Thibault de Montalembert in the season finale of Franklin (Courtesy of Apple TV+)

The historical context is also somewhat missed in Franklin despite its entire focus and premise depending on the American Revolution. This is a recurring issue in the series, but it is more relevant than ever now. In the season finale, the show focuses on the post-American Revolution political situation in France. And yet, episode 8 does not look at the future in any way. While it does tell us about Franklin’s future, there is nothing in the episode that suggests what is going to happen in the country and how much the upcoming French Revolution might have been influenced by the same events we have seen for the past eight weeks.

Overall, Franklin’s season finale is a good episode, but much like the show itself, it is not great. There is so much that the show could have done – from showing more action regarding the war itself to touching on the issue of women’s role at the time – to make it go that extra step and become a memorable product instead of a historical biopic on an important character like many other films or tv series that came before it. In the end, the season finale proves that even such beautiful cinematography and masterful use of the mise-en-scene can’t save its basic storytelling and plot issues, or at least not entirely.

Watch on Apple TV

The series finale of Franklin is now available to watch on AppleTV+.

Franklin (Apple TV+) Episode 7 Review  – Loud And Clear Reviews
Episode 7, the penultimate one of Franklin, heightens the stakes even more this week, but is it enough at this point of the show?
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