Sunday, December 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Flight Attendant' - Davey Forces Cassie to Confront the Ugly Truths About Her Childhood in 'Conspiracy Theories'

HBO Max's The Flight Attendant - Episode 1.04 "Conspiracy Theories"

After piecing together evidence with help from Annie's not-boyfriend Max, Cassie follows the paper trail to a suspiciously empty private jet manned by Nate, her on-again, off-again flight crew fling. Meanwhile, Megan attempts to hide her shady dealings from her family, and Annie faces a reprimand from her boss, Diana. Later, a visit from her brother Davey and his family forces Cassie to confront her memories of her "unconventional" childhood.

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.

"Conspiracy Theories" was written by Ian Weinreich and directed by John Strickland

It's been teased repeatedly that Miranda is dangerous. She is a crazy stalker who breaks into apartments and was involved in some shady dealings. Cassie runs away from her when they suddenly bump into each other on the train. She succeeds as well. However, it's not until the end of this episode that it's actually confirmed that Miranda is capable of physical harm to people who cross paths with her. Sabrina is pushed out of a window when Miranda shows up to ensure she can't share any more information with Cassie. Miranda doubts that Cassie is simply a flight attendant who has become obsessed with the murder of a man she was in bed with. She assumes that she must be some operative for another interested party. The various passports with different identities is certainly suspicious in that regard. However, the audience has the clarity of knowing that Cassie really is fumbling around in this world trying to find some answers in this case when she doesn't need to be getting tangled up in this mess. Or perhaps the show is trying to convince us that is some big fake. That's unlikely because of how clear the dysfunction truly is. Cassie is a barely functioning alcohol. She has blocked out memories of her childhood. She represses all of the bad things in order to continue embracing her vices. Davey wants to give her opportunities to show that she is better. She isn't making the same bad choices that their father did. And yet, he only gets more confirmation that she is a mess. She is a drunk who only brings despair and panic wherever she goes. He doesn't want his family around that energy at all. He loves his sister but this can't work. He receives that clarity right away too. He knows she hasn't improved. He calls her out on it as well. That forces her to recall some of the darker details about her childhood. It wasn't all perfect. She had concocted memories in the hopes of making things better. In reality, Davey was constantly abused by their alcoholic father. Cassie probably encouraged it by openly enjoying the attention and praise she got from the same man. She has never really questioned any of this before. She doesn't want to do so now either. Nor does she want to unpack the trauma of Alex's death. Instead, she just wants to repress and investigate. It's still not healthy for her. She has escaped several dire situations. Or at least the show implies that she does. It's unclear just how serious the audience should take any of the threats that are sent Cassie's way. Again, Sabrina's death confirms that she shouldn't be messing with this any longer. She will of course. She will probably take it as her getting close to uncovering the truth. As such, she has to keep forging ahead because she can't be silenced. Of course, Miranda isn't going to let her slip away either. Cassie remains a loose end from Bangkok that needs to be taken care of. Annie can pull some strings with her clients to help Cassie. She still has to deal with the consequences of that. Meanwhile, Cassie is only creating more chaos. Max encourages it. He enjoys the puzzle of putting together the shredded documents. That presents a new clue for Cassie to pursue. She uncovers a sketchy flight that is transporting parts for rocket launchers every day. Again, she knows that she should be scared. And yet, she keeps making these mistakes. She keeps placing herself in these vulnerable and perilous situations. That is the pattern of her life as well. She isn't doing a great job at hiding it. Megan is similar in that regard. She has stolen information from her husband for personal gain. It was exciting for her. She is terrified too over the fear of getting caught. Nothing bad has happened to them so far. That potential still exists though. Cassie can't just escape to a sexy night with Buckley either. That distraction isn't fulfilling nor will it offer much protection the higher the stakes increase. It's meant more to deflect from addressing the serious issues in her past and just how dangerous her current predicament is. And now, Miranda is refusing to leave and let someone else handle this. That could be a blessing because Cassie knows who to look out for at the moment. But she's still struggling to piece together her life and this mystery probably won't provide her with what she seeks in the grand scheme of things.