What to Watch Verdict
Some fun and heartfelt moments, but the overstuffed second episode raises some red flags.
Searching for clues with the View-Master
The effortless dynamic between Cassie, Annie and Max
The intriguing couple trailing Cassie
There are too many mysteries
Cassie's unmanageable packed day
NOTE: This post contains spoilers for The Flight Attendant season 2 episode 1 "Mushrooms, Tasers, and Bears, Oh My!"
A year without drinking or dangerous drama is worth celebrating, but Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) has fallen into another high-stakes mystery in The Flight Attendant. Despite the many reasons she is being given to reach for the nearest bottle, she is so far maintaining sobriety, but she doesn’t need to be inebriated to take risks as "Mushrooms, Tasers, and Bears, Oh My!" reveals. The jam-packed season 2 premiere introduced several big and small questions and this list of conundrums continues to grow.
Over the course of one day, Cassie follows Grace (Mae Martin) to a small airport after becoming convinced she is the blonde-wig wearing culprit, she hangs out at Grace’s apartment, celebrates her one year of sobriety at AA, goes to Echo Park with Annie (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Deniz Akdeniz) to follow a lead and has dinner with her visiting friends and boyfriend Marco (Santiago Cabrera).
The episode is set over 24 hours and this timeframe is a distraction. Cassie is dividing up her time in unmanageable chunks, speaking to how overstuffed the second season already is. The signature split-screen editing has a dizzying effect when dealing with this many different plots — and this is just the Cassie storyline.
Let’s start with what works. Cassie brainstorming with Annie and Max is a fun opening to the episode. Revealing her CIA connection to her best friends gets the ball rolling. Marco still doesn’t know, but her dreamy photographer beau might have more to do with the wider plot than he is letting on. Learning from season 1, probably better to trust no one (aside from Max and Annie), even if Marco seems sincere when he asks Cassie to move in with him. This huge step renders her speechless before she is interrupted by a phone call from Megan’s (Rosie Perez) concerned son.
The Megan element of the episode is less successful because it lacks a strong connection to the main thread. While a storyline about plotting a death using poisonous plants is certainly curious, as is a slow dance with guest star Margaret Cho to "The End of the World," more time is needed with these characters. Megan asked her son to pass on a message to Cassie, but Megan’s number is disconnected. Cassie already has enough on her plate and her ex-flight attendant friend will have to get in line.
Cassie's suitcase filled with creepy items is a hive of clues and Max is keen to decode the View-Master. His plan is to do a reverse image search of the snaps in the vintage toy and he matches one to the Lady of the Lake statue plaque in Echo Park. When the trio head to the location they are photographed by an unseen person (or persons) and the obvious culprits are the same couple who cloned Cassie’s phone in the first episode. The pair are now camped out in the home opposite Cassie’s, which is not good news for anyone — particularly, the old couple tied up in the closet.
Annie and Max catch Esteban (Joseph Julian Soria) trying to break into Cassie’s place, but he quickly blames an AirBnB mix-up for his prowler-like behavior. Gabrielle (Callie Hernandez) introduces herself and has a gun hidden behind her back — just in case you were wondering about their intentions. How they fall into this whole conspiracy is unclear, but this cliffhanger suggests they are major players.
Character introductions add to the overstuffed mood as Cassie’s LA life overlaps with her past. At the AA meeting, Cassie’s brother Davey (T.R. Knight) and her boyfriend Marco attend to celebrate her achievement. Here they met Cassie’s sponsor, Brenda (Shohreh Aghdashloo), another character we should keep an eye on. What better place to get close to someone without drawing suspicion than AA?
The same goes for the overly friendly Jenny (Jessica Ennis), who tells Davey at dinner that she has a true-crime podcast. Again, this feels very convenient and you can’t help but think she has other motives. Jenny is quick to butter up Davey and uses his vulnerability to build a rapport.
Earlier, Cassie spotted her brother at a farmer’s market and his interaction suggests he has been in LA for longer than his sister knows. Cassie pretends she didn’t see him, but this is only because she was following Grace. She crosses Grace’s name off the imposter suspect list even though there are multiple red flags. Grace’s military background, her ease at stealing artifacts and the drug story she spins are all suspicious. Yes, she says the medical-grade fentanyl lollipops are for people who can’t afford pain meds, but this is too neat.
Cassie keeps her alcoholism secret from her new friend and accepts the glass of rose before pouring it into a plant pot (even though the sink is right there). For someone who has been through a lot, Cassie is very trusting of the first thing someone tells her.
One person she can rely on is Annie and their dynamic has shifted slightly since we last saw them. Annie is concerned she is no longer the stable one. Annie was suspended from practicing law after the events of last season and she has spent the last year working in legal aid.
The reason she is in LA is for an interview that should be nothing more than a formality. "Imagine the worst date ever and then set it on fire," is Annie’s description of how she turned a slam dunk interview into a hot mess.
The second episode hasn’t hit the slides in the same epic fashion, but it is noticeably more disjointed than the premiere. Cassie has a lot of people in her life and right now The Flight Attendant is struggling to find balance.
New episodes of The Flight Attendant will debut every Thursday exclusively on HBO Max. The entirety of season 1 is also available on HBO Max.
Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.