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The Hollywood Insider The Flight Attendant Season 2 Review

Photo: ‘The Flight Attendant’

Character Above All Else

When looking back at the past 20ish years of prestige TV, at the heart of every great series be it ‘Mad Men’, ‘The Sopranos’ ‘The Wire’ or ‘Breaking Bad’ is a compelling if not tremendously flawed protagonist. Cuoco, as the flight attendant Cassie Bowden, is certainly no different. When we meet Cassie in the first season of the show, she is struggling mightily with alcoholism. A classic case study, as she thinks she is just the fun party person, when in reality her addiction is ripping apart all meaningful relationships in her life and even leads her to wake up from a blackout in bed with a recently murdered man thus kicking off the events of the first season and thriller that ensues as she attempts to not only clear her name but find the person responsible for the murder. 

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With all of that in mind, the writers were certainly in for a new challenge when it came to season 2 which just came out on HBO Max. As Cassie comes to terms with the fact and ultimately admits that she does indeed have a drinking problem at the end of the first season, we meet a whole new character at the beginning of the second season. She is in a loving relationship, is heavily involved in her AA meetings, and is a CIA asset… Wait what? One of those things is not like the others. This is where the team behind the show created a nice wrinkle to keep the show going with the current characters in place. While still employed as a flight attendant for the international airline she works for, Cassie is moonlighting by working for the CIA as a civilian. 

Cuoco, after making a name for herself on the sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’, is incredibly solid in the role of Cassie. She is a legitimate bonafide actress, playing this complex character to perfection. A good deal of the second season thus far naturally centers around Cassie struggling with her newly found sobriety. Having such a talented and impressive actress as Cuoco in the role definitely helps the writing team to express the inner machinations of Cassie’s mind. A lot of the scenes feature Cassie’s inner thoughts, played out by Cuoco acting as the two different versions of Cassie. One version is the party girl with a drink in her hand and the other her now sober self, consistently at odds with one another as Cassie fights the temptation to have even just one drink in the face of the stress caused by her new side hustle. 

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I really was blown away by Cuoco’s acting ability in the first season, and she is certainly back and even better in the second. While the Cassie character had her troubles with drinking in the first season, this new storyline is even more compelling. We really have the opportunity as the audience to dive in and grow with this character in a unique way I don’t remember having seen done so well. We are able to watch, feel and when necessary, hurt with the character and her friends and family with every decision and indecision she makes to further her journey. For that, Cuoco deserves all the praise she has coming her way for her performance as Cassie. 

‘The Flight Attendant’ – Don’t Fix it if it Ain’t Broken 

One of the more fun production aspects used in the first season that they kept for the second is the travel sequences for the airline crew. There are great scenes between Cassie and her fellow cabin mates on the flight attendant team, giving what feels like a nice peek behind the actual curtain. There’s fun banter and devastating as it is, feels super close to what really is in discussion back there behind the first-class curtain. So much of the tension and intrigue end up ultimately being built during these lulls for Cassie as she is able to spend too much time with her thoughts. Whereas previously she would shut the thoughts down with a nice vodka and soda, she is forced to confront them all while keeping her cool and still giving a strong customer service response. 

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A lot of these sequences are set up and built by using creative transitions frames, showing establishing shots of different monuments or sightseeing opportunities in different countries around the world. It helps to not only establish the setting for storytelling purposes, but also functions to show how high stakes and international the spy game that is new to Cassie is. While in the first season she was mainly focused on what city would have the best party or theme her night based on that country’s signature drink, now she is facing many different circumstances as she bounces from country to country. 

A Protagonist is Only As Good As Their Supporting Cast

True for pretty much every great piece of written or filmed work, but this sentiment certainly rings true here. With a supporting cast featuring Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet and Griffin Matthews Cassie has no shortage of interesting personalities running around throughout her life. Mamet plays Cassie’s best friend Ani, who functions almost as a placeholder for the audience in a lot of ways. Ani reacts to Cassie’s wild antics in the same way any normal person would whose friend is continually devolving into chaos. Constantly trying to be supportive, while also not afraid to smack her in the face with some reality and truth, Mamet is really fun in the role and helps to provide some comic relief when justified for the plot. 

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Rosie Perez and Griffin Matthews are also stellar in the series, both serving as fellow flight attendants on Cassie’s crew. Spoilers aside, after having been established as fairly inconsequential characters, they both have an exciting twist that helps to launch Cassie on her newfound path working for the CIA. The two characters greatly embody the major theme of the show, which is no one is actually who they appear to be. The writers seem to be saying we are all just playing a part, wearing different masks for different groups and interactions depending on the situation. 

Season 2 of ‘The Flight Attendant’ is streaming now on HBO Max and I encourage all to give it a whirl, and catch up on the first season as well if you have not yet!. 

Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet, Griffin Matthews  | Developed by Steve Yockey | Directed By: Silver Tree, Jennifer Phang, Pete Chatmon 

By Mark Raymond

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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