IIt was impossible to accuse the first season of The Flight Attendant (Sky Max) of being underrated. For those who were late to the party, and it was quite a party, Kaley Cuoco played Cassie, a hard-living flight attendant who woke up in a Bangkok hotel room with the mother of all hangovers and no memory of what she was up to. it had happened the night before. Alex, the man she had been having sex with, was practically there to help jog her memory, even though in reality he was dead and communicated with her mostly through surreal, hallucinogenic flashbacks. She then got involved with the FBI, followed by the CIA, and it was a lot.
It was also very, very funny. Cuoco’s performance as Cassie was one of the best of the year, and despite the occasions where all the excess threatened to turn into silliness, it was a hugely entertaining caper with some clever and insightful explorations of a messy psyche. However, she wrapped up the mystery of what happened to Alex quite well, leaving the show’s inevitable return with a dilemma: how does Cassie get into another sorry mess, and how quickly can they get her there?
Based on this double aperture bill, the answer is to turn the dial all the way up and then push it further. It works, though such a spirited embrace of WTF moments eventually cushions their impact. It’s been a year since Bangkok, and Cassie has moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where she attends Alcoholics Anonymous, having been sober ever since the whole fiasco with the dead lover in the sheets changed her life. . This gives us both a sunny change of scene and the prospect of a sensible Cassie taking care of her problems. “Let’s agree not to get into mischief,” says her colleague Jada, who finds it hard to believe that Cassie is sober from her.
But The Flight Attendant would be nothing without shenanigans, and a carryover from the first season is that Cassie now also works for the CIA as an asset, on the side. When she flies to Europe, she is given a note in Berlin and told to report him, without “getting too involved”. About that: She can’t help but get too involved, right away, and she finds herself in the middle of what appears to be a modern version of Charlie’s Angels. She knows exactly which buttons to push to get excited, and it’s exciting to watch as Cassie tracks her brand around town, only to end up in a huge mess that prompts the story.
The first season was over the top, but this takes things to another level entirely. Those surreal conversations with dead Alex have been replaced by sober Cassie talking to versions of her old self: there’s party Cassie, depressed Cassie, even teenage Cassie, all appearing in a version of reality that exists in her mind to encourage her to behave better. or worse than she is capable of. If this portrayal of a fractured self isn’t literal enough, there’s also a real-life doppelganger of Cassie, who may or may not have stolen her identity and baggage, and who pretends to be her to do terrible things.
Add to this rich mix a Bond-style plot about the CIA. Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines plays a big boss who just found out about Cassie’s job at the agency. She’s not as thrilled at the prospect of Cassie as active and offers vague pastoral care that seems deeply sinister beneath the surface. Then there’s the return of Rosie Perez as Megan, living a wild existence and sending emoji codes through her estranged son on Snapchat. Mae Martin also joins the cast, as new stewardess Grace, who is a genius at sourdough and benevolent drug dealing, but she most likely has another identity, underneath the hobby of baking.
Bringing all of this together and pulling it off depends heavily on Cuoco’s performance as Cassie, who continues to ground things impressively. She has a Jennifer Aniston-like energy that makes you forgive all of Cassie’s bad decisions and keeps you rooting for her, even as she repeatedly demonstrates how unlikely it is that the government would trust her to deliver a Christmas card, let alone one. . delicate international operation. Given the style in which she presents herself, which is effervescent and energetic, often showing multiple versions of the same scene on screen at once, you have to buckle up for her giddiness. But if you can’t get dizzy with a goofy spy prank about explosions, undercover agents, global travel, and a woman having repeated conversations in her head with several different versions of herself, when can you?