If the first season of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant did nothing else, it put all of our trust issues to the test. It proved that you never quite know who the hell you work with (or who you’re in bed with), and answered a very important question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another: What would you do if a one night stand turned into a crime scene and threw you into an alcohol-fueled spiral amid government espionage that forced you to face all your unresolved trauma?
The second season of the Kaley Cuoco-helmed show turns an entirely new leaf: Cuoco’s Cassie Bowden is now sober and living a seemingly picture-perfect life in Los Angeles. She has a dangerously hunky photographer boyfriend named Marco, attends regular AA meetings, goes on morning jogs, and is thriving in her side-hustle as a... CIA civilian asset. Then, juggling it all seems to get a little hairy when Cassie is sent on an assignment in Berlin to get intel about an important mark, who, naturally, appears to be sleeping with and doing business with a mysterious woman that has the exact same tattoo and blonde hair as Cassie.
Meanwhile, Cassie’s best friend and lawyer, Annie (Zosia Mamet) and her fiancé Max (Deniz Akdeniz) are crashing at Cassie’s bungalow, deciding what their future may or may not hold. Little do they know, they will get sucked right back into Cassie’s antics and serve as problem-solving detectives, once again. Now that the CIA has suspended Cassie for her rogue behavior, Annie and Max will have to piece together a puzzle that asks what a bloody wig, a View-Master, and a foreign license plate have in common.
Episodes 3 and 4 take the audience on a fast-pace, high-stakes chase as Cassie heads off to Iceland to play hero, prompting a litany of questions: Will our girl stay sober? Is Megan going to die? Will Annie finally admit she’s engaged? Have we already met Cassie’s doppelgänger, and is she the weird blonde girl- possibly serial killer pretending to be in AA?!? Sprinkled in, of course, are poisonous mushrooms, a home invasion, a maxed out credit card, and even a scene where a sheep’s head becomes a meal.
With so much chaos, I could see how a viewer could struggle to keep track of everything happening. No one person in this show seems particularly stable or pulled together anymore, but the quick unraveling of everyone’s sanity is what makes it all so addictive. First, Annie blows her interview, and for what? She’s smart, driven, could’ve nailed it. It’s almost as if both she and Cassie blow up their lives on purpose. She legit takes off her “non-engagement” ring in front of Max before meeting his parents for the first time. Really, sis? Also, why blow up at his parents’ place when they mention kids and fertility tea? I get it, but Max is cool as hell—a simple vulnerable conversation could have sufficed. Nobody on this show seems to really be honest with their significant others. Cassie’s subconscious keeps calling her comfortable relationship with Marco’s fine ass “boring;” meanwhile, this man is all the way smitten, ready to leave his toothbrush at her place and move in. And don’t get me started on how unhinged her brother seems—when his eye twitches, I worry. He’s one cold brew away from snapping.
That said, these latest episodes definitely require the suspension of disbelief and don’t answer why the CIA seems to be really bad at doing their job. Like, with all your resources you can’t get ahead of the clues and piece together crimes better than civilians can or catch not one of your assets?
There are many plot holes, and it can often be hard to buy into everything that’s thrown at us, but ultimately it’s just enough fun to have me saying, “Fuck it.”
Much of Season 2's point seems to be that Cassie will always be the person you want to root for, but she’s often her own worst enemy. Will I keep watching? Hard yes. The characters—particularly the supporting cast—are honestly just so good. I’m a particular fan of Miranda (Michelle Gomez), the fiery crime boss and former nemesis turned accomplice, and obviously Megan (Rosie Perez), Cassie’s flight attendant BFF who is now being hunted by both North Korea and the CIA. When I’m not watching the dumpster fire that is Cassie’s life, Max and Annie are often part of my favorite moments, as their chemistry and comedic timing pairs nicely—especially since, at times, they feel like opposites. Annie’s refusal to accept traditional gender roles and her defiance of social constructs like marriage make her a delight to watch. Grace, the queer new drug-dealing flight attendant, also adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the mix with her witty banter and “middle finger to the man” commentary.
Cassie and her band of misfit toys are loyal to a fault, and I can’t stop watching their grip on reality loosen. Although Cassie’s self-absorbed antics will probably get all of them killed in Season 3, I’m here to watch the ship go down in flames with popcorn and a Cassie-approved soda with lime.
Cassie, oh Cassie. The things I grew to love about her in Season 1 were her manic and irrational behavior, frantic decisions, and her unyielding determination to uncover the truth. In Season 2, it’s fun to watch her build a sense of normalcy and safety and then blow it up, piece by piece, with every bad decision she makes. She’s just a super relatable, entertaining train wreck.
You see, Cassie is a shit CIA asset who doesn’t follow orders, acts on impulse, leaves fingerprints on evidence, is horrible at being subtle, and even has a crush on her handler. But, for me, these flubs don’t derail the plot—they seem plausible, because the rest of Cassie’s life is also a shit-show. Although she has successfully remained sober, she essentially replaces her addiction to alcohol with her addiction to CIA work and solving crimes. The case-obsessed jittery Cassie moves a million a minute, and I love the suspense of waiting for the ball to drop.
I’m also drawn to Cassie’s fierce love for her friends. She flies halfway across the world to save Megan, all because she received an encrypted message that Megan might be in danger. She’s consistently been a rock to and a cheerleader for Annie, leaning on her as a partner in crime and ride-or-die bitch. I’m here for it. Their special opposites-attract friendship and dry humor has me waiting for how the next episode will unfold.
Speaking of which: The next episode, “Drowning Women,” is set to air on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 12 a.m. PT / 3 a.m. ET.