The opening minutes of “The Flight Attendant” are as vivid and glamorous as the life Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) projects into the world as she travels through it. She jumps from one fuzzy night to another, trading cities and men with exerted abandon. But when she wakes up in Bangkok after a fuzzy one-night stand to find her date (Michiel Huisman) horribly murdered, she does what most rational humans would do: panic. Thousands of miles from home, with no memory of the end of her night, Cassie doesn’t know what to do other than clean up what she can and tear up from there. As her whole life seems poised to crumble in front of her eyes, the camera tilts, the music gets unbearably sharp, and the focus shifts just enough to let us know things are about to become. very bad, very quickly. Soon Cassie takes a flight back to New York, hoping it will give her enough distance that she never has to think about it again. After all, she told herself and almost everyone she meets, she’s just a drunk flight attendant.
This qualification, to the intriguing credit of “The Flight Attendant,” ends up being both true and false. In the four critically screened episodes (the season has eight in total), creator Steve Yockey writes Cassie as a believable mess as a result. She can barely sleep without panicking, and her attempts to figure out what happened are … well, like her lawyer friend, Annie (Zosia Mamet), stammers, saying they’re “misguided” would be an incredible understatement. Every other decision Cassie makes – especially when confronted with a pressing FBI probe, her suspicious brother (TR Knight), and a mysterious woman hiding behind the scenes (Michelle Gomez) – is just terrible. , even when her amateur research miraculously leads her closer. to an answer.
So, no, “The Flight Attendant” is not about a supernaturally intelligent woman who witnesses a crime and is urged to act. This is an extremely messy person who stumbles upon something truly horrible and has to deal with it, a combination that threatens to bring down the reckless character she has so carefully crafted over the years. The story, based on Chris Bohjalian’s novel, is pitch black, especially when Cassie has to grapple with the dark corners of her long-suppressed memory. But with Cuoco at its center as both an actor and executive producer, the series has enough of a sense of humor that it doesn’t slip into boringly dark territory.
Cassie’s story would be more than enough to keep the show moving, but hardly anyone on “The Flight Attendant” – not even Annie or Cassie’s nervous colleague Megan (Rosie Perez) – is exactly what they seem. . Everyone is so fishy, in fact, that counting all the dirty details can make the show completely ridiculous. But the actors bring enough of the comedic spark to their sometimes amazing characters that it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re up for the bumpy ride, and the pace of the show makes it hard to stop watching even if you try. . (If that’s the case for you, take note: rather than rolling out the entire season at once, HBO Max drops the first three episodes, then two episodes per week until the finale drops to solo. ) Arguably the most glowing entry from the original HBO Max. Programming slate again, “The Flight Attendant” is a bubbly cocktail of an easy-going show – which, for a fledgling streaming network trying to keep its audience’s attention, might be right.
With elegant staging by Susanna Fogel, jazzy score by Blake Neely, and sporadic flashes of Cassie’s terrified subconscious, the show quickly turns into a surreal noir with a solid screwball performance at its center. He just traded the tough traditional detective, probably alcoholic, for a sparse-brained flight attendant, probably alcoholic. Luscious and surreal, watching “The Flight Attendant” feels like reading a page turner you pick up at an airport for a flight and accidentally tear up within the first couple of hours. Hope your trip doesn’t end like Cassie’s, but if it does, at least you’ll know exactly what do not make.
“The Flight Attendant” will be released November 26 on HBO Max.
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