HBO Max’s murder mystery’s have been blowing up the internet lately. While The Undoing may be getting the most attention, dramedy The Flight Attendant has plenty to offer. The smaller show is well worth watching – and might be better than The Undoing.
What Is The Flight Attendant About?
The story begins with Cassie (Kaley Cuoco), a party girl flight attendant who is completely content with her lifestyle. On a flight from New York to Bangkok, she meets Alex Sokolov – or as the flight crew refers to him, 3C. The wealthy, handsome American takes her out for dinner and drinks, and more drinks, and more drinks when they land in Bangkok. Cassie wakes up the next morning with no memory of the night before, and a brutally murdered Alex next to her in bed.
Naturally, she panics. Next thing Cassie knows, she’s tampered with evidence and is fleeing a police interrogation. Because of Alex’s wealth and involvement in international business, the FBI think they’re looking for a spy, not an (maybe) alcoholic flight attendant. The plot thickens. Cassie starts having strange visions of Alex and flashbacks to her mysterious childhood. Her best friend, Annie, gets dragged into things when she agrees to be Cassie’s legal counsel. Annie’s computer hacking boyfriend Max is too intrigued to leave everything alone. Cassie seems to be pulling everyone in her life into her mess, and things aren’t getting any less illegal.
With not only the FBI, but Alex’s dangerous business associates trying to track her down, Cassie spirals deeper and deeper into the mystery. She wants to save herself from going to jail, but is so self destructive that she takes two steps back for every step forward. And she’s not the only one getting hurt. As a viewer, you want Cassie to succeed; there’s no way she killed this guy. But at the same time, you know there has to be a reckoning for her outlandish behavior. Cassie’s mental health decline only contributes to the suspense. She drinks heavily throughout the show and clearly has some PTSD from the incident in Bangkok. Then there’s her childhood, which seems to have caused her a lot of trauma, but you end up realizing that even she isn’t recalling those memories correctly.
Who Are The Characters?
The show is a never ending spiral of funny and dark, and even though Cassie is a mess, nothing about this show is messy. Everything falls into its place neatly but in unexpected ways. The twists and surprises keep you on your toes and the characters keep pulling you in. Kaley Cuoco is an unexpected delight as Cassie, a complete 180 from her character on The Big Bang Theory. Cassie is vulgar, impulsive and takes comfort in alcohol and sex. She has trouble letting people get close to her; she actually feels closer to the dead Alex that she’s having hallucinations of than almost anyone in her real life. The flashbacks to her childhood don’t really seem to connect at first, but the more they impact the story, they bring out a wonderful depth to her character. Her brother Davey is also a welcome addition to the cast. Not only does his family’s visit to New York create another obstacle for Cassie’s plot to solve Alex’s murder, but he gives the audience a needed outside perspective on Cassie’s life and choices.
Cuoco, who also produced the mini-series, is surrounded by an excellent cast to support her antics as Cassie. Zosia Mamet is a standout as usual as Annie, Cassie’s very successful lawyer best friend. We know she can do funny with ease from her role in Girls, but this part shows that she can hit dramatic points perfectly as well. Rosie Perez brings the comedy as Cassie’s fellow flight attendant who is eager to find some drama of her own. Michelle Gomez, another actress who excels at being funny, menacing and quirky all at once, plays villainous Miranda Croft, a mysterious business associate of Alex’s who seems to be out to get Cassie. Gomez is best known for her role as Mary Wardwell in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The two FBI officers in charge of Cassie’s case make a funny put pointed side show. Officers Kim Hammond (Merle Dandridge) and Van White (Nolan Gerard Funk) make an interesting team. As a Black woman and an Ivy League educated white man, there’s a natural tension between them that isn’t in any way glossed over. Kim tells Van off for being too aggressive, but he’s the one who’s determined to catch Cassie red handed. Kim isn’t so sure that the wide-eyed flight attendant is the person they’re looking for; but isn’t she?
The real kicker is that Cassie isn’t sure where she fits into this herself. Should she be giving information to the FBI? Should she be trying to protect herself? She’s trying to trigger her blacked out memories, but each step of the way she gets herself and her friends deeper into a dangerous world she never wanted to be a part of. Cassie may be an alcoholic, commitment-phobe, at times outwardly rude and selfish, but she’s still trying so hard to do the right thing. She just can’t figure out what the right thing is.