August 16, 2022

When The Flight Attendant first premiered, it was evident from take-off that the HBO Max sequence had the purpose of filling a really particular TV area of interest. The darkly comedic homicide thriller, tailored from the novel of the identical identify by Chris Bohjalian, had every part going for it when it comes to each its twisty, intriguing narrative and all the required humorous beats — and with a comedy veteran like Kaley Cuoco (recent off her long-time tenure on The Huge Bang Principle) on the helm, the outcome was a present in contrast to every other in latest reminiscence. At first look, Cuoco’s Cassie Bowden has the plain aesthetic of any variety of Hitchcock’s trademark blondes — however the longer we spend in her presence, the extra we come to appreciate that this younger lady shouldn’t be the cool and polished lead than may be assumed at first look. In different phrases: she’s type of a trainwreck, and a self-professed one at that, somebody who lucks out and in of harmful conditions to a level that may threaten anybody’s willingness to droop their disbelief. Thankfully, Cuoco has the flexibility to toe the road between charming and maddening, leaving us simply as compelled to know the basis of Cassie’s wrestle with alcoholism as we’re engaged by the higher spygame occurring round her. With the present’s return, nevertheless, The Flight Attendant falters in giving its quite a few plots equal consideration, resulting in the second season affected by one thing of an id disaster general.

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When Season 2 picks up once more with Cassie, the titular flight attendant is in a a lot better place than after we final left off together with her. She’s packed her luggage and left wet New York Metropolis behind in favor of transferring to a brighter, sunnier Los Angeles, she’s courting a brand new man in delicate artist Marco (Santiago Cabrera), and he or she’s steadily closing in on the one-year anniversary of her sobriety journey, attending common A.A. conferences and chatting together with her sponsor Brenda (Shohreh Aghdashloo) over all of the free donuts she will be able to deal with. She additionally simply so occurs to be in cahoots with the CIA now, although the explanations for which can be a bit unclear — as a result of even at her most sober, Cassie looks like the least-likely candidate the company may faucet as a invaluable asset, and that is along with taking her jet-setting selection of career into consideration. It does place her in a pleasant position of opposites towards her new handler, agent Benjamin Berry (Mo McRae), whose adherence to company guidelines clashes with Cassie’s obvious incapability of doing something to the letter, and who additionally finally ends up working interference on Cassie’s behalf on multiple event in relation to his supervisor Dot (Cheryl Hines)’s concern about her involvement in delicate assignments.



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Picture by way of HBO Max

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It is a terror that is not utterly unfounded, both, as Season 2 kicks off with Cassie as soon as once more in over her head within the instant aftermath of a mission seemingly gone fallacious. This time round, she is aware of past a shadow of a doubt that she had completely nothing to do with the sudden dying of the goal in query — however there’s one other mysterious lady on the market who’s clearly making an attempt to border her for the kill, proper all the way down to a well-applied blonde wig and the identical butterfly tattoo on her again. Nonetheless, whereas Season 1 revolved across the central query of making an attempt to uncover who was really answerable for the physique Cassie wakened in mattress beside, with its B-plots accentuating the first story, Season 2 establishes too many narrative threads to trace and solely appears prepared to drag on one in every of them at a time, with an expanded solid that solely makes intermittent appearances compared to the returning gamers.


One of many present’s greatest visible ways that continues to excel is the frequent layovers we spend inside Cassie’s thoughts; this season highlights that she’s segmented herself into the strongest and ranging facets of her general persona, from the dormant occasion lady model of Cassie, full with sequined gown, to the all-black-wearing Cassie with smudged eyeliner and a way more pessimistic outlook on the world. The depth of Cuoco’s expertise is on show to an extent right here, as she navigates enjoying every of those Cassies with a distinction that makes all of them really feel like elements of the messy entire. The opposite half of Cuoco’s emotional capability is not absolutely revealed till the latter half of the season, through which Cassie hurtles full-tilt towards a spectacular implosion by embracing all of her worst habits in a method that performs as distressing and inevitable — like a automotive crash that may’t be steered away from despite all agency efforts to keep away from it. Cuoco’s presence on-screen is an plain gut-punch in a number of scenes this season that see Cassie lastly being prepared to confront how her self-destructive tendencies have not simply harmed her however her instant family members, together with her brother Davey (T.R. Knight) and her estranged mom Lisa (Sharon Stone).



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Picture by way of HBO Max

But the present shifting focus and time towards these tangled household dynamics halfway by Season 2 can be an indicator of its largest wrestle — trying to juggle each narrative ball that is being established, with a lot of them launched solely to be dropped in favor of one other diverting B-plot. Not solely does Cassie have to determine who’s been impersonating her to lethal impact, however she’s additionally enjoying host to the arrival of her greatest buddy Annie (Zosia Mamet) and boyfriend Max (Deniz Akdeniz) from New York, snooping across the latest flight attendant on the scene, Grace (a woefully underutilized Mae Martin), and additionally determining the place the hell her former co-worker Megan (Rosie Perez) has disappeared to since she went on the run from the North Koreans. By the point Cassie admits that she’s mainly forgotten about her boyfriend Marco’s existence in gentle of every part else occurring in her life, it is a tearful character confession that additionally feels just like the sequence itself acknowledging it could have bitten off greater than it may well chew.


Whereas The Flight Attendant‘s first season had Bohjalian’s e book to work from, Season 2 goals to maneuver previous that accomplished story arc and away from the supply materials, however solely to varyingly rewarding returns, and continues to stumble over the identical points Season 1 did in regard to balancing its fundamental thriller with every part else taking place on the margins. The place the present in the end persists in its success, although, is thru its lead; Cuoco renders an award-winning efficiency by Cassie’s highest highs and lowest lows, the latter of which remind us that she’s nonetheless as a lot of a scorching mess specific as she’s all the time been, whether or not she desires to confess it to herself or not.

Ranking: B-

Season 2 of The Flight Attendant premieres April 21 on HBO Max.


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