What to Watch Verdict
Digging into Cassie's past delivers some emotional scenes, plus the imposter makes some bold moves in Los Angeles.
The nuanced brother/sister dynamic
Everything Sharon Stone does in this episode
Annie admitting her fears
The signature split screen
It is Cassie's story, but it would have been good to hear Davey's letter
What appears to be a Benjamin red herring
Cassie’s (Kaley Cuoco) drinking dates back to her childhood, as alcoholism runs in the Bowden family. Cassie revisits her past when she accompanies her brother Davey (T.R. Knight) to their childhood home and experiences a surprise appearance by her mother. The timing of this visit is precarious as Cassie is dealing with a significant shame spiral after the vodka bender she went on. Not to mention the imposter using her identity while committing deadly crimes.
Before confronting her family history, Cassie has to face her loved ones in the present as Annie (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Deniz Akdeniz) arrive home from their burglary adventure to find Cassie passed out on the couch. It looks like someone has ransacked the place, but they quickly determine that Cassie caused this mess herself.
"I’m not going anywhere," Annie tells her BFF when Cassie tries to push her away. Annie suggests practical solutions such as telling the truth if she slips up again because hiding in her mind palace has not worked.
Annie makes sure her best friend doesn’t feel alone by sharing how events that transpired a year ago have made her no longer trust her choices. This accounts for Annie’s inability to give Max a definitive answer to his proposal and for tanking her recent interview.
Turning Annie from a tower of stability into someone with doubts has been one of the highlights of season 2, though hoping Annie and Max make it as a couple. The latter is more likely now she has spoken her fears out loud, but first, they need to get Annie’s engagement ring back from bounty hunters Esteban (Joseph Julian Soria) and Gabrielle (Callie Hernandez).
Before they can look into the contents of the stolen laptop, Annie has to distract Cassie’s CIA handler Benjamin (Mo McRae), who has shown up unannounced. Matters with Benjamin are complicated because of the whole sleeping together thing, but also, someone at the CIA seems to be involved with the plot to frame Cassie. All signs point to Benjamin, which probably means he is not the one committing these nefarious acts. Dot’s (Cheryl Hines) overly friendly and forthcoming attitude toward Cassie suggests she may be the one Cassie should fear.
Years of watching spy shows teach us not to trust any character who claims they are trying to help the protagonist, but so far Shane (Griffin Matthews) is an exception to this rule. He is still annoyed at Cassie for drunkenly telling his boyfriend about his CIA job, rightly so, as the danger levels are reason for concern. "I’m gonna try not to die," he tells Justin. And now we have to worry about Shane’s survival chances.
Shane tells Cassie about the internal memo circulating about a "person of interest" involved with the recent murders that fit her description. "The agency is not your friend," he warns and tells her they need to meet. This danger is made abundantly clear when the milky-eyed agent — yes, the one Cassie fears — gets killed at the harbor by the mysterious person in the blonde wig. The timing is particularly alarming as Cassie has just identified the boat he was stationed by from one of the View-Master images.
The imposter has been busy, leaving a message in Cassie’s childhood bedroom (this is where they got the View-Master from) and planting a bloody knife in Cassie’s house. They do this while Max and Annie are in the other room and the use of The Flight Attendant’s signature split-screen ramps up the tension during this sequence.
Max is working on the stolen laptop and discovers the North Korean agents are still tracking Cassie, including as she heads east with her brother. Once again, Cassie manages to escape; this time Davey's love of fireworks provides the necessary distraction.
Cassie’s relationship with Davey shifts into focus in "Brothers & Sisters," as she uses the flight to tell him the truth about her drinking. Doing it in a place where neither of them can run away from is purposeful and he cannot hide his disappointment or worries. He takes her hand during this conversation, yet he is also holding back.
The purpose of the visit is to read honest letters at their dad’s grave that might help them eventually move on. It's disappointing we only hear Cassie’s. Yes, this is her story, but Davey also had a complex relationship with their father.
The real shock comes when Cassie discovers her mom (Sharon Stone) is not on the yoga retreat as Davey had told her she would be. Years of avoiding each other have only made the bitterness grow. Cassie thinks it was her actions as a teen that her mother is still angry about, but it is quite the contrary.
"Nobody is mad at you for what you did when you were little," Lisa tells her before listing off all the times she abandoned her mother as an adult. "I am exhausted," she yells. Stone is excellent as Lisa Bowden, as her delivery of this line gives the impression this exhaustion is right down to her bones.
Cassie points out that she stayed, whereas Davey left. The volatile situation increases when Lisa says, "I love you. I do, but I don’t like you… at all." If this wasn’t already a gut punch, Lisa then slaps her daughter, knocking the wind out of Cassie’s entire being. The Bowden family’s deep-rooted trauma remains fixed in place. Later, Cassie sees her mother sobbing in the front seat of her car. It is an eye-opening moment interrupted by the everyday peril Cassie cannot escape.
Meanwhile, Megan (Rosie Perez) is also trying to make things right with her family. After an emotional reunion, her husband tells her that he has to call the FBI to report this interaction. Megan’s isolation continues.
Fractured families are the theme of this week’s episode, but the shooting at the end of "Brothers & Sisters" is a reminder that when Cassie returns home, she might be on the most wanted list.
New episodes of The Flight Attendant are released Thursdays 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.