In many ways, Franklin is the main lead in Grand Theft Auto V. He is the first character we actually get to control, and out of him, Michael and Trevor, he holds more power over the path of the story than anyone else. Michael may seem like the most obvious choice, being that he dominated the trailers and is the string that ties Franklin and Trevor together, but Franklin serves as the moderator between those two, and at times relegates them to a side act while he comes across as the voice of reason, and the main attraction.
Of all the characters in GTA V, the most contradictory character is Michael without question. The story begins with him being one of the few examples of a career criminal who got out of the game, and perhaps the only example of one who spends their witness protection living in a mansion in Vinewood Hills, the Grand Theft Auto universe’s equivalent of the Hollywood Hills. As the story goes on, Michael ends up falling back into a life of crime, jeopardizing everything he was lucky enough to have because of—best-case scenario—a mid-life crisis, or worst-case scenario—boredom.
Franklin’s contradictions are more subtle; his desire to escape his surroundings and make a better life for himself contrast with the activities he chooses to take part of, the ways he chooses to make money and the people he chooses to associate with and do business with. So with that, let's take a look at 25 things about Franklin that make no sense.
*Warning, this article contains SPOILERS for GTA V
25 Why Is He Even Friends With Michael?
GTA V really kicks off when Michael and Franklin are introduced. That being said, the circumstances are very unique. Franklin breaks into his home to repossess a vehicle that the car dealership he works for sold to his son Jimmy, as he cannot make the payments. Michael, asleep in the back, points a gun at him, making him drive it through the dealership, threatening his life while losing him his job. Franklin returns to the home for guidance and a drink; he may be trying to change his life, but surely he wouldn’t take that lying down!
24 And Why Does He Continue To Follow Michael?
Franklin spends the entire game trying to better himself, and although he isn’t willing to abandon the life of crime, he still wishes to find an alternative to dealing and gunplay to get ahead in life. And while it's true that Michael just introduces Franklin to another class of crime, he also warns him when they formally meet each other for the first time to get out of the game and go back to school. Even when Michael’s weirds past comes up, Franklin still stays loyal to him. Maybe college would’ve been better?
23 What's With The Loyalty Problems?
One of Franklin’s biggest flaws is his lack of loyalty to those around him. The best example of this is his relationship with childhood friend Lamar. Now, as we’ve mentioned earlier, Franklin wants to leave the game behind him, however, he spends almost every moment with Lamar voluntarily engaging in some form of bad activity; worse still, he criticizes Lamar for the very thing she does himself. His loyalty is fickle to all those around him, except for Michael—but even that can be betrayed depending on what path the player goes down…
22 Why Is He Friends With Lamar?
Similar to the entry about Franklin’s lack of loyalty but not quite the same. Franklin, honestly, cannot stand his friend Lamar. The two have polar opposite visions of where they’re going and where they want to be, Franklin is thoughtful and rational (when he’s not offing people) while Lamar is impulsive and dim-witted. Still, though, if Franklin really wants the bougie life of a white collar criminal, he needs to shed him. Even if he wants to be a petty crook, surely there are other dudes in his ‘hood to do it with!
21 Why Does He Still Live With His Aunt?
When Franklin’s mother passed, she left her house to both him and his auntie, who live together. Unfortunately, the two of them do not get along together. Which begs the question: why not just leave? Surely Franklin’s not so broke that he couldn’t strike out on his own and find somewhere to live! He eventually leaves, but that’s only when Lester finds him a place in Vinewood Hills. You’d think Auntie would be happy, but she actually berates him for leaving to live with the rich folk!
20 Why Is He So Devoted To Tanisha?
Everybody falls in love. Even Franklin, the money-hungry gang member is susceptible to its influence. The woman he is in love with before, during, and after the events of GTA V is Tanisha, a girl who grew up in the same South Los Santos neighborhood as him. All that being said, given everything that’s going on, and the money Franklin makes during the course of the game, would he really have the desire, or even the time, to chase after his ex-love like this?
19 Why Does He Listen To Lester?
Lester and Franklin form an unlikely friendship throughout GTA V. Getting along with each other better than most, Lester even gets Franklin sorted with a house in Vinewood Hills. However, he also hires Franklin to rub out people he hates for money. It’s strange because out of the three protagonists, he seems the most unlikely to do something this cold-blooded with no personal motivation. Surely if it's just business, Lester would go to Michael or Trevor with these tasks and protect his young friend’s neck.
18 Why Is He So Reluctant To Save Lamar?
We’ve already discussed that Lamar and Franklin are not exactly the most compatible friends. In fact, having Lamar around seems to be more trouble than it's worth. That being said, they are still lifelong friends and gang members for whom loyalty is paramount. So when Tanisha has to go to Franklin’s house to have to practically beg him to save Lamar from an enemy gang, his hesitation to acknowledge their friendship, never mind go to his rescue, is kind of sad.
17 Why Didn't He Seek Revenge On Trevor?
When Trevor leaves Michael at the mercy of the triads he attempted to do business with, it doesn’t surprise the player; the two’s relationship was beyond strained at this point. Franklin goes to Michael’s rescue, but fails to take any further action. Now, Franklin can get rid of Trevor at the end of the game, but the motivation is business rather than personal. But with all the problems Trevor causes, and personal betrayal now being atop that list, then would’ve been the time to act.
16 Or Lamar, For That Matter?
GTA V is a deep game with lots of distractions and Easter eggs. One of these is a website called Psychic Shoutout, where the player can get an online psychic reading done. If you opt to do this as Franklin, it is revealed that Lamar actually was with Franklin’s ex Tanisha. Given how Franklin has helped Lamar out of many jams—including one at the insistence of Tanisha—and how much he loved her, it seems odd that Franklin wouldn’t even bring this up!
15 Why Does He Help The Paparazzi?
During the course of the game, Franklin encounters a paparazzo named Beverly lurking in some bushes waiting to catch snaps of prominent celebrities in compromising positions. Rather than condemn, ridicule, or ignore the man, Franklin inexplicably helps him photograph and film a litany of people! At this point, he hardly needs the money, and out of the three—including the ultra-cynical Michael and the anti-establishment Trevor—he seems like the most unlikely to help the celebrity obsesssed photographer in his endeavours.
14 Does He Know CJ?
In preparation for a heist, Lester alludes to the existence of Niko Belic as a man in Liberty City “who went quiet” when looking for accomplices. It seems strange, then, that CJ, protagonist of San Andreas, isn’t referenced at all. Admittedly, the events of GTA V take place two decades after San Andreas, but you’d think Franklin be aware of, and speak of, a legendary gang member for his hometown, especially considering the fact that one of his missions sees him not only going into Grove Street, but to CJ’s old house!
13 How Is He So Clean?
Michael, Trevor, and Franklin’s homes tell the player a lot about their character. Trevor’s home is a mess, Michael’s is neater (probably due to having a maid) while both of Franklin’s homes are spotless, with all his clothes neatly folded and organized, with no rubbish or garments littering the ground. Now, Franklin is no slob (especially by Trevor’s standards), but you would think that a young, single man and stressed out criminal would occasionally neglect his domestic duties!
12 Young, Single, And Unable To Mingle
In both San Andreas and GTA IV, the player is able to go on dates with various partners. It seems bizarre, then, that a loner pessimist like Niko Bellic would have an active love life but someone like Franklin—young, confident, fit, and the recipient of a sweet pad on the hills—would either be unable or unwilling to play the field. To make it worse, GTA V even has a dating website which seems, bizarrely, only there as video game window dressing.
11 Why Didn't He Learn To Fly?
In GTA V, the ability to fly planes was brought back. It was a fun activity to do and embraced by fans of the crazier style of San Andreas. However, Trevor is the only character who can fly them. Now, granted, Trevor was a talented air force pilot, but he’s also a loose cannon—someone who could go all Kamikaze in an instant. Franklin has no pilot training, but he is the best driver of the three and the calmest. It would’ve been fun to have a mission where Franklin has to learn how to fly.
10 Why Isn't He Better At Fighting?
Another one here that could, feasibly, be seen as a problem of game design as opposed to Franklin’s character. But, whatever, it’s our list! Another criticism waived at GTA V is the one dimensional hand-to-hand combat—consisting of lazy arm punches that knock out NPCs with seemingly no chin. Michael is out of shape and Trevor is unorthodox by nature, but you’d think Franklin, being just as street smart as them as well as the fittest and most athletic, would be able to throw a decent straight right.
9 Tennis Star?
Now, we doubt that there are too many tennis clubs in Strawberry, so the fact that Franklin isn’t apt at the sport isn’t surprising. That being said, we hardly imagine that Trevor would’ve played much tennis growing up either; and while Michael has a tennis court in his life now, we doubt there were many courts in the trailer park he grew up in. So, going back to our previous point about Franklin’s athleticism, we cannot understand why every character can play—or attempt to play—tennis, but not him.
8 Running Wild
Franklin was, by his own admission and according to those around him, was spoiled by his grandmother who took him in when his mother passed away. It’s unfortunate then that he ended up becoming a street hustler, in spite of her affections. Even his grandfather showed him love in his own way by chasing him around Los Santos when he found out of his illicit activities. Unfortunately, none of this deterred him from continuing his gang activities though.
7 Why Isn't He As Skilled?
Michael, Trevor, and Franklin shoot guns. It goes hand in hand with the lifestyle they chose. However, the disparity between the three gentlemen’s shooting abilities (at the beginning of the game before they level up) is truly surprising. Sure, Michael and Trevor may have more experience as criminals and gunmen, and sure, being in a gang may not be necessarily conducive to shooting accuracy, but we find it hard to believe that there would be such a gulf in class between Franklin and his two older pals!
6 Why Does He Help Tonya?
Tonya is one of the more irritating characters in GTA V. Hooked on what we can only assume is something weird, Franklin finds himself running errands for the neighbourhood girl. Tonya’s partner has a tow truck that he uses to make ends meet but, probably being strung out himself, doesn’t seem to use it much. So Tonya ropes Franklin in to tow some vehicles for them. With all his hopes and aspirations and all the opportunities in front of him, why he submits to help her is beyond us!
5 Why Does He Do This?
Another one here that shows how malleable or easily riled Franklin can be. Mary-Ann confronts all three GTA V protagonists at one point or another throughout the game, challenging them to a race to satisfy her own ego. Now, we could see Michael, the ex-football player with an even bigger ego, and Trevor, the lunatic who inexplicably falls in love with Mary-Ann, being coaxed into competing with her. Cool, calm Franklin, though? C’mon homie, you’re half her age and twice as fit!
4 Why Didn't He Question About Lenny?
The Vanilla Unicorn is a classy club in the heart of Strawberry in Los Santos. Franklin, when he’s not robbing banks or shooting people, likes to unwind here, watching the people dance and, naturally, knows the owner Lenny. So when Trevor “takes over” the business and disposes of Lenny, Franklin doesn’t seem too suspicious. He questions Trevor about his absence, but he merely blows it off. Maybe this is Franklin’s naivety on display tenfold, or maybe he figures what’d happened but is too afraid to inquire further.
3 How Can He Slow Down Time?
So this may seem a little bit petty considering that it has more to do with the gameplay mechanics of GTA V than Franklin as a character, but as it’s solely applicable to Franklin, he is intrinsically tied to it. GTA V is somewhat guilty of diluting the immersion of previous titles (such as having an on-foot soundtrack), and Franklin’s ability to slow down time while driving is indicative of that. It makes no sense within either the context of the GTA franchise and the context of reality.
2 Why Didn't He End Trevor?
This is a reverse of the previous entry. While Michael and Franklin have formed a bond based love, ambition and (kind of) trust, he never forms a similar kinship with Trevor. Trevor’s relationship with Michael and, frankly, the world at large, is even worse. Trevor poses a constant threat to end the lives and derails the plans of all those around him, so when taking him out is put on the table as a viable option to save himself and Michael, both in the short and long run, surely the pragmatist in him would find it difficult to refuse.
1 Potentially Ending Michael
This may seem to contradict one of our previous entries on this list, but bear with me. Franklin’s loyalty to Michael is questionable both pragmatically and on moral grounds. He’s dishonest with Franklin and leads him down a worse path than he’s already on. All that said, there is no doubt that one of the subtexts of the game is the father figure role Michael fulfils for Franklin. That’s why even though it may be one of the safer options, Franklin offing Michael is simply inconceivable.