Unpacking Season 1 of The Flight Attendant - Episode 2
This is Part 2 of a blog series about The Flight Attendant. I will be posting my response to each episode after watching, and doing a bit of 'on the fly' analysis after each initial viewing. You can read Part 1 here. Be warned: since the plot will be discussed, there are spoilers ahead!
The Flight Attendant - Episode 2 - 'Rabbits'
Creator: Steve Yockey
Director: Susanna Fogel
We pick up exactly where episode 1 left off: in the airport just as the initial FBI interviews are wrapping up. As the crew are leaving, Cassie states when talking to flight attendant friend Megan (Rosie Perez), "New route, new me," though this episode proves it is more a case of "more flying, more lying." With episode 2 of The Flight Attendant the patterns of Cassie's life are well and truly solidified. There is more unravelling, more panic and more partying. If the partying was a ploy to try to cover up the panic, it's not really having the desired effect.
Talking of desire, my hope to see more of Zosia Mamet's character Ani was granted in this episode. It is confirmed that she is Cassie's best friend, and she also happens to be a lawyer. In many ways, she acts as the audience surrogate as she listens to Cassie retell her experience, almost exactly mirroring most viewers' responses: 'What were you thinking!?' As friends go, she seems like the sort you would want on your side though: she is very level-headed, has the legal qualifications and can advise based on experience. Does that mean Cassie heeds said advice? Of course not. She blurts out a load of details about her sexual encounters with Alex Sokolov in front of the FBI. Although fitting with Cassie's previous shenanigans, this was quite a shocking moment. I assumed that she would listen to her friend's counsel, but she was extremely easily ruffled by the line of questioning.
There are more scenes with Alex and Cassie in this episode, with him helping her to recall the events in Thailand from inside her own head. You know when you've had a really heavy night out and you wake up and you're gradually remembering things you did the night before, or your friends kindly recall all the embarrassing things you did or said for you, revelling in your humiliation? This show is a bit like that, except the conversations are happening with a dead man.
One of the recollections reveals Miranda as the name of a woman who was present on the night of Alex's death. Cassie does a bit of amateur digging to try to find out more about who she is, and embarrasses herself at his financial company's offices in the process. Though she does extract information from a colleague after getting them drunk in a bar (how else?), this appearance will clearly look suspicious to the FBI agents on the case. If there weren't any links between Cassie and Alex previously (besides being on the same flight), there certainly are now.
The name of episode 2 is 'Rabbits', and the animal is present in two different ways. Firstly, there is an a conceptualised rabbit statue that Cassie knocks over after leaving the aforementioned offices (see image). Second, there are more flashback images from childhood of rabbits looking terrified in their natural habitat. There are parallels between rabbits fleeing to avoid being shot and Cassie regularly bolting from her life as she takes off to the next destination, but more than that, the bigger hint with this could be that she is now becoming the hunted rather than the predator.
At the end of the episode, I still haven't decided what I think happened to Alex. Cassie and Ani theorised that someone could have entered his hotel room when Cassie was elsewhere, then she returned and got back into bed with him, without realising he was dead. How black out drunk does one need to be to do that?
This relates to my final observation that Cassie is a very unreliable protagonist. Everything is seen from her perspective, which is skewed at best. I don't think trusting her memory is a good idea - never mind the excessive drinking, she has also experienced something extremely traumatic so the innocence she is projecting may not be entirely accurate. That said, I am really enjoying Kaley Cuoco's performance! As the lead, she is holding up the show with great panache and is a perfect complement to the slightly off the wall narrative and spirit of the series so far.
What questions do I have at the end of episode two? Despite a conversation in this episode covering the topic, I'm still not sure what a hedge fund is. Also, we know Cassie is going to Rome on her next route so I would love to know if all episodes were shot on location.
What predictions do I have at the end of episode two? Cassie isn't liked (or trusted?) by her workmates so I think they will ruin things for her, or drop her in it at some point. Jada in particular doesn't seem to hesitate in expressing disdain for her, even to her face. We also saw some tension between the two FBI agents in this episode - Kim Hammond (Merle Dandridge) and Van White (Nolan Gerard Funk) - I think there will be some further disagreement in their approach to the case, and some competition between them to solve it 'their way'.
Read Part 3 of the blog series here: Unpacking Season 1 of The Flight Attendant - Episode 3.