Friday, November 27, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Flight Attendant' - Cassie Investigates Her Night in Bangkok to Avoid Dealing with Her Numerous Traumas in 'Rabbits'

HBO Max's The Flight Attendant - Episode 1.02 "Rabbits"

Rattled by her own lies and under pressure from the FBI, Cassie goes against Annie's advice to lay low and tries to find some answers by digging into Alex Sokolov's work life - with bizarre and shocking results.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO Max's The Flight Attendant.

"Rabbits" was written by Steve Yockey and directed by Susanna Fogel

It's such a relief that Cassie has someone in her life she can confide in about what happened in Bangkok. She needs that support system. And yet, it's also abundantly clear that won't prevent her from continuing to make dangerous and reckless decisions. Annie has the clarity and knowledge of how to interact with the FBI. As a lawyer, she wants to protect her client. She believes that Cassie is innocent in Alex's murder. She is even willing to support the idea that Cassie got into bed with a dead guy in it. That is much more palatable than the alternative. It lines up with the behavior her friend has exhibited for a long time. But Cassie still feels the constant compulsion to investigate. She has to keep moving. She can't allow herself to sit still and experience all of the traumas that have occurred in her life. There is something in her past that she deflects away from whenever it is brought up. Whenever her mind starts to wander there, she immediately goes for the alcohol. She is thrown off when her subconscious in the form of Alex brings up these concerns. She has never allowed herself to be open and frank about them. She would rather deflect. That has created a life she sees as sustainable. And yet, everyone is concerned about her and her behavior. People believe she is incredibly self-destructive. Her brother, Davey, wants to believe he can bring his kids for a visit in the city. But he also fears that Cassie will be too irresponsible. That influence would not be good for the well-being of his family. He is concerned without even knowing the extent of the trouble she has gotten herself into. She feels the burden of taking on the mysteries of the night in Bangkok. It makes no sense to her. She has to make it make sense. That is her obsession at the moment. It means she completely blurts out the truth during her second interview with the FBI. Van White believes he successfully pushed that information out of her through his aggressive tactics. In reality, she was already crumbling to the pressure as it existed in her mind. Annie expects her clients to listen to her advice. She created a coded system that would allow Cassie to have this interview without putting herself in legal jeopardy. Cassie buckles under the pressure because her internal conversation is fearful of what others think. She believes that everyone wants to condemn her. She is the killer because she had such close contact with Alex. No one would ever believe her story. Annie does though. The FBI agents don't arrest her for this crime. They don't see that as a valuable tool at the moment. These conflicts may continue. But it also highlights how people live in fear of the world around them. Annie can interact with these authority figures. Meanwhile, Megan has no idea how to protect her co-worker. Anything she says Cassie perceives to be a direct threat to her well-being in this case. It's confusing. And yes, it is overwhelming as well because Cassie always has to forge ahead. She brings chaotic energy no matter where she goes. She believes others want to do her harm. That may not be their true intentions at all. Of course, the audience wants the viewer to be wrapped up in that concern as well. It closes this episode with the visual of Miranda as Alex's crazy stalker who broke into Cassie's apartment to kill her as well. The situation is probably more complex than that. That simplicity highlights how the show lives in the moment instead of hoping the audience wants to dig deeper in the psychology of these characters. It expects us to go along with one person's perceptions as detailed through their lived experiences - some of which are known and some are mysteries that need to be solved. Cassie fears all the memories she regains from the fateful night. She has to get the truth out there in order to feel a sense of relief. It's all about herself and how to cope with this. It's never an action of compassion and trying to mourn this man's tragic death. Instead, she projects him as an ally. He is the voice in her head pressuring her to make the situation even worse. It's a house of cards that is always crumbling for her. She wants to believe she is smart in her actions. She can make a difference in uncovering the truth. But that only reveals an inherent mistrust in others that then props up destructive behavior whenever someone tries to address the inner turmoil that she has been running away from for years. She is high-functioning in her addictions. It's not healthy in the slightest and only places her life further on the knife's edge.