Unpacking Season 1 of The Flight Attendant - Episode 5
This is Part 5 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 4 here. Be warned: since the plot will be discussed, there are spoilers ahead!
The Flight Attendant - Episode 5 - 'Other People's Houses'
Creator: Steve Hockey
Director: Glen Winter
The pace increases in this episode as Cassie and Max visit Alex's home in search of evidence. A game of cat and mouse ensues with Miranda as both parties realise that the information they need will be on Alex's personal computer. While I enjoyed the episode and the extra insight that somebody's living quarters provide, the tension when they were all in the apartment together was short lived. I would have liked to have seen this developed and maximised, but instead, Miranda gave up and left abruptly. So far, the show's writing has gone to extremes when creating cringeworthy sequences, but it felt like it withdrew at this moment of potential suspense.
Alex's apartment is spacious, minimalist and masculine. On one hand, it's exactly the sort of apartment you would expect a single man working in finance to inhabit. On the other hand, the meticulousness of it all (catalogued Playboy magazines?) and artwork may make some viewers think of Patrick Bateman's apartment in American Psycho. The art choices in particular feature faceless women, which holds a similar ambiguity: does he wish for the women in his life to remain anonymous, does he adore the female form so much that this is the focus of the art, or is there something more sinister about his attitudes towards the role of women in society generally? It's a small detail that Cassie and Max comment on (perhaps the writers pre-empted the audience's response and wanted to get some meta-dialogue in there) but is also important in shaping Cassie's response to Alex as she explores the intimate details of his life.
The repercussions of Cassie's actions have a serious impact on those around her this episode. Ani is cornered by the client she owes a favour to, and can't even confide in her boss about the terrifying thing she's been asked to do. Max also makes a physical sacrifice as he pushes Cassie out of the way of a speeding car when they flee the warehouse holding a collection of servers. When the episode ends, it's not clear whether he is alive or dead.
Along with the increase in pace, the intensity of this episode soars. The colour palette especially is more saturated than ever with neons used in several different locations. The blue lights in the server room, a blanket of neon yellow is the backgroup against Victor's sillouette during a brief phone call with Miranda, as well as neon green strips in Alex's apartment block hallway. All of this artificial lighting creates a general uneasiness as more of the narrative arcs and characters interweave and Cassie's trauma manifests further.
What questions do I have at the end of episode five? Does Max have a job? He has a lot of spare time. Beyond that, is he still alive? If not, will Ani be able to forgive Cassie or will she be forced to cut ties with her?
What predictions do I have at the end of episode five? Megan is getting complacent and lying is coming far too easily to her. I don't think this will last and she will soon trip up. Miranda seems to be getting more and more furious despite being told to stand down so I think her kill count will go up. Finally, Cassie was drinking vodka for breakfast in this episode and does so without any embarrassment. This isn't necessarily a prediction, but a hope that someone will point this out to her, and lead her to help instead of ignoring or enabling it.
Read the next instalment of this blog series here!