The Flight Attendant could have been a better show as an anthology series
Since HBO Max’s stylish comedy thriller The flight attendant After being renewed for a second season in late 2020, I couldn’t shake the thought that it would have been cool if the show had taken the daring but intriguing path of revolving around a different character each season, whether it may be someone new or not a character we are already familiar with and the turbulent events that they are at the center of.
Although I think an expansion of what was originally intended to be a limited series is entirely unnecessary (keep that in mind Big little lies?), due to the show’s success, it had to happen, and a good way to change it is to do something outside of left field — in other words, The flight attendant Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) – an (understandably) self-destructive woman who doesn’t follow orders and acts on impulse even when completely sober – should have walked to the curb. sorry babe
The first season introduces us to Cassie, a high-functioning intoxicated flight attendant from New York City who wakes up to find her one-night stand dead in bed during a layover and becomes involved in international espionage, among other things as a result.
There really was so much to love about this show: it made audiences take Cuoco more seriously as an actress with a big A, it had a gripping storyline that served as the perfect dose of escapism, and it consistently filled the screen with plenty of beautiful ones coats . However, this new season has confirmed what I was afraid of: repeats. Same age, same age. Cassie has been subjected to intense situations that will cause her to unravel again in the most damaging of ways.
(Warning: Spoilers follow for Season 2 of The flight attendant.)
Traditional multi-season television has a way of sabotaging itself by putting fragile characters through such cycles. Something bad happens to a character, this character begins to spin, the problem is solved and the person gets a decent place in life, and then everything repeats to the point of exhaustion.
Season 2 of The flight attendant fell into this pattern early on. A year after Season 1, Cassie is now living a happier, sober life in Los Angeles and has a hot and hopefully normal boyfriend named Marco (Santiago Cabrera), plus she still works as a flight attendant while also working as a CIA agent on the side. For the first time in her traumatized life, everything seems to be going well.
That is, until she embarks on an overseas assignment to gather intel in Berlin, but apparently discovers something far more disturbing, causing her to find herself once again in a pit of increasingly insane circumstances.
The stakes are higher this time around as the series juggles far more than it can handle to live up to our high expectations. This season is at its best when it’s a character study, focusing on Cassie’s personal journey with sobriety. I applaud the writers for creating a messy, selfish, and imperfect character that you can’t help but sympathize with despite the fact that she’s constantly having to make horrible decisions (she still hasn’t learned how to silence her phone) .
She hits rock bottom in episode five when she relapses after a series of bad decisions (including boning her handler) and other stressful moments that serve as a turning point. While it’s a nuanced story that’s realistic in its portrayal of alcoholism, watching it return to the beginning feels tragic and reinforces my belief that this show depends on repeating its protagonist for our entertainment to put through hard shit (blonde characters named Cassie has a long history of absolutely making it through, from skins to euphoria).
In the first season, Cassie is ruthless and instead of trying to prove her innocence, she digs a deeper hole. Now the same thing is happening to her again and she doesn’t even take the time to think about it, just making an effort to make sure she isn’t buried in distressing circumstances.
The flight attendant has a far-fetched plot and elevated atmosphere that makes it easier to be petty – even the smallest things, like the fact that Cassie wears flashy coats while trying to follow shady people undetected. A person can only handle so much with a story as hectic as Cassie’s before it becomes too much because the moment you start warming up to her she ends up doing something stupid that makes you want to screaming into a pillow for eternity.
As a result, attention to her storyline has resulted in the rest of her ensemble being sidelined, to the point that most of Annie’s (national treasure Zosia Mamet) lines consist of “um,” “okay,” and “like.” ”
“Of course, Cassie is the nominal flight attendant, but there are plenty of other flight attendants orbiting the show who are there almost exclusively to serve her act and could seamlessly take the pilot’s seat.”
Which brings me back to my main point: I believe this with all my heart The flight attendant should have been an anthology series à la Fargo and The girlfriend experience.
The anthology series has had a rocky journey. Some start strong and then lose their strength (True detective), while others are mostly successful (black mirror). Regardless of the outcome, the anthology structure has always been a great way to approach different stories while maintaining a common tone between installments without becoming overwhelmingly repetitive.
It also allows experimentation and chances for different ensembles to shine, such as The after party and The White Lotuswho will both introduce new plots and bring back some previous members for their second runs.
The flight attendant was originally based on Chris Bohjalian’s 2018 book of the same name, which has no sequels, meaning it has no commitment to following any particular narrative established by existing source material and had the room to twist for the unexpected take. The first season told a full story, and an anthology could have seriously improved the series given it’s a format that offers endless possibilities for new narratives and worlds.
Of course Cassie is that nominal flight attendant, but there are plenty of other flight attendants orbiting the show who are there almost exclusively to serve her act and could seamlessly take the pilot’s seat.
There’s Shane von Griffin Matthews, Cassie’s co-worker and fellow CIA — remember, our favorite blonde trainwreck isn’t the only one on her payroll — who’s on a criminal underutilization this season. I would be so devastated to see an entire season devoted to his exploits for government as he hops from city to city, whether it be across the States (I bet he can make Utah look exciting) or abroad ( Shane in Paris, when? ). Plus there’s the drama of how that affects his relationship with Justin, who is unaware of his boyfriend’s side act. During The flight attendant makes him someone who normally tends to follow all the rules, I know that deep down he would be taking some risks that would backfire in the end.
Alternatively, I’d do anything to do an entire season around flight attendant Megan Briscoe just because Rosie Perez is worth it, even if Meg sucks at times. This season, Cassie attempts to rescue her from what she feels is an urgent situation in Iceland, but ends up becoming a false alarm, causing even more uproar. A season about her followed the year before these events, specifically how she ended up in Reykjavik of all places and how she eventually crossed paths with Utada (Margaret Cho).
It is already clear that the two are not lovers, but here they would become friends because they deserve it. To take things further, it would examine what prompted Megan to initially do business with the North Korean government and her relationship with her husband’s company. she could be just as complicated as Cassie, if not more so.
I now present you with option three: ditch all the flight attendant frills and shine the spotlight on Miranda Croft (played by the sinfully brilliant Michelle Gomez), an elusive but accomplished assassin/businesswoman. She’s an intriguing character with an extensive history of twisted stories just waiting to be explored, and she’s always stealing every damn bit she’s in. Miranda is it The flight attendant‘s secret weapon, so why not give it a season — or fuck it, an entire spinoff — all to yourself?
While I enjoyed this entertaining season for the most part, I still think the decision to once again put Cassie to the test was predictable and disappointing, and the show had a chance to evolve into something much more interesting and unique without having to lean into familiar tropes. For all the originality of the first season, the sequel was full of gimmicks (Cassie is visited by different versions of herself), cartoonish and one-dimensional characters, and tiresome storylines.
With only a few episodes left until the finale, it’s all up in the air and there’s still room for the show to redeem itself, but there’s a strong possibility that it will end on a predictable note that ushers in a third season – a petition for just being in therapy with Cassie, In treatment Style.
I can only hope that another season centered around Cassie’s dumpster fire of a lifetime doesn’t fall further into the pattern and result in a drop in quality. In the meantime, I’ll just be here dreaming of the Megan season that could have been.
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