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The Flight Attendant’s second season high-flying self-actualization ‹ CrimeReads

While a slick end product might seem easy to achieve, it’s hard to cleverly blend genre characteristics with comedic commentary – to create text that qualifies as a certain kind of genre while riffing on it. It’s even harder to do it in a way that feels new or original. Season 1 of The stewardess, HBO Max’s effervescent light-hearted spy series which premiered in late 2020, was, despite narrative turbulence here and there, rather surprising for the stability with which it navigated from its thrilling spy plot to its commentary. comic and postmodern, to a reflective meditation on sobriety, and vice versa.

Based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, The stewardess (which originally billed as an eight-episode miniseries) introduced us to Cassie (Kaley Cuoco), a partying flight attendant who wakes up one morning in a hotel room in Bangkok next to a (brutally stabbed) dead man she is sleeping with (Michiel Huisman), and thus finds herself caught up in what appears to be an international conspiracy. The show touches on so many things and jumps from multiple angles to others that it seems hard to believe it could be able to maintain a safe cruising altitude. But it is – and was met with such fanfare that it was renewed for a needless second season even after reaching its final destination.

Season 2 kicks off this week, with a tough task ahead of it: re-starting the whole story after it’s already made a comfortable descent, and bringing it back to life at the speed its previous journey went. In Season 1, Cassie finds herself to contend with not only a potential murder investigation, a global intelligence disaster, and a target on the back of an assassin, but also family issues and her longtime addiction to alcohol. The plot she lands in is the result of the cocktail of her fortuitous Hitchcockian circumstance and her own self-destructive inclinations; she embarks on her own investigation because she is curious about what happened, more than that, she feels she must exculpate herself.

The new season picks up speed with an entertaining, multifaceted plot that makes sense as a logical sequel.

She drags her family and friends, including fellow flight attendant Shane (Griffin Matthews), her lawyer best friend Ani (a sensational Zosia Mamet) and Ani’s new pirate boyfriend Max (Deniz Akdeniz) into this dangerous world, while ignoring cries for help. of needy co-worker Megan (Rosie Perez) who finds herself embroiled in a betrayal business selling the secrets of her husband’s business to North Korea in an effort to make her suburban life milquetoast more exciting. Ironically, since she doesn’t know much about the capers Cassie has fallen into, Megan wants her life to feel as exciting as Cassie’s. Cassie is partying all over the world, handsome men are waiting for her in several cities. To those on the outside, his life is a relentless rage. Only the few who peek inside can sense its self-loathing, evasive, and sabotaging tendencies. And the dangerous plot in Cassie’s life becomes a mechanism, a metaphor, for her to work through those issues.

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Season 2, which I’ll say right off the bat is a lot of fun, kicks off a year after the previous season arrived, with Cassie having moved from her apartment in New York to a tiny house in Los Angeles. She’s still a flight attendant for Imperial Atlantic, she has a lovely new boyfriend named Marco (Santiago Cabrera), she’s been sober for a year, and she has a side job monitoring. all of these things are featured in an exposition she recounts to her AA group in the first episode of the new season, beginning the season’s pattern of tapping the gas of her narrative hard enough without giving her runners time to warm up. to prepare. Pacing issues continue into the new season, as it attempts to quickly remind new audiences of Season 1’s many plot points and characters while taking them into new territory, including introducing the many players in the Cassie’s new side-hustle (including two of the government officials, played by Mo McRae and Cheryl Hinds). But aside from those few jaw-dropping and dizzying moments, the new season picks up speed with an entertaining, multifaceted plot that makes sense as a logical continuation of the previous season without repeating itself too much.

Even so, this new season is (wisely) more interested in Cassie’s self-development than the cloak-and-dagger machinations that turn her newly controlled life into dysfunction. This season brings to the fore her relationship with her strained brother Davey (TR Knight) and her commitment issues with Marco, just as it highlights Ani’s anxiety about potentially marrying Max. Season 1 has a lot of character development to do, but the international distress of this episode pales in comparison to the domestic stressors of the (still globetrotting) second season.

Cuoco brings high-octane engagement to every laugh, every tear.

Season 1 tells the story of a character who unpacks her relationship with her jet-setting job as more of an escape than just a match for her spontaneous personality, but Season 2 tells the story of a character who explicitly turns to travel because she is terrified of trying to make a real home for herself. Now Cassie clings to the flight responses that once worked for her and learns to confront them, sometimes with the help of her godmother, Brenda (the always funny Shohreh Aghdashloo), and some wise words from her old friend Miranda Croft ( the Michelle Gomez who always rolls her eyes). She won’t stop digging into the lives of everyone around her – even a new friend, fellow flight attendant named Grace (Mae Martin) – in order to forestall the inevitable need to take a long, hard look at herself. .

It’s a lot to handle, even on top of the fact that this season features a murder plot involving a suspect who appears to be impersonating Cassie, and it all leads Cassie to an identity crisis bigger than anything she’s been with. had to count in his previous adventures. It also allows Cuoco to really wring out his acting chops; even more so than last season, Cassie puddles from high comedy to desperation, and Cuoco brings high-octane commitment to every laugh, every tear. This season also talks about Ani as another potential mirror for Cassie (or vice versa), which the last season really wasn’t, and Mamet, too, the natural comedian that she is, casts her character into anxiety. nervous to heartfelt pathos at least once per episode.

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Last season, our characters realized they had to change their lives. This season they are trying and finding it terribly difficult. But, this season emphasizes, sometimes you have to step back before you can meaningfully move forward. Or, I guess, sometimes you have to put on the Fasten your seat belt sign before you can move around the cabin safely again.

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