Saturday, December 19, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Flight Attendant' - Cassie Fears for Her Life as Alex's Killer Moves Against Her in Rome in 'Arrivals & Departures'

HBO Max's The Flight Attendant - Episode 1.08 "Arrivals & Departures"

Cassie comes face to face with Alex's killer. Annie works with the FBI. Megan comes clean.

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 season finale of HBO Max's The Flight Attendant.

"Arrivals & Departures" was written by Steve Yockey and directed by Marcos Siega

It's easy to get sucked into the drama and excitement of life. It's much more difficult to actually be introspective and acknowledge one's faults and failings. Cassie has needed to solve the mystery of what happened to Alex in Bangkok. It was a traumatic event. One that consumed her life. One that absolutely forced her to address the various shortcomings she has always exhibited. But it has also placed her life constantly in danger as well. She has always been running away from some new threat. Nothing bad ultimately happens to her. Others have certainly been hit in the crossfire though. She has had to atone for those mistakes as well. The narrative forces her to face this precarious reality while also dealing with the vices that have long plagued her life. It's difficult because they inform one another. She got into bed with Alex after he was murdered because she was drunk. She sees alcohol as the way to numb her pain. It also pushes the people she loves away. It's hard for Davey and Annie to continue showing up for her. They know that she can be a bad influence. However, their lives aren't perfect either. These connections are genuine though. Annie is baffled as to why Cassie is now in Rome. It makes no sense to her. She was expecting her friend to lock herself away in a hotel room while she collected the evidence necessary to prove to the FBI that she is innocent. Everyone comes to the conclusion that Felix was in Bangkok and killed Alex. He has been getting close to Cassie just to retrieve the book with the information to retrieve the money Alex stole. Cassie always had that in her possession. She was protected in a way even though she didn't always recognize that security. Again, she hasn't always been perceptive of the world around her. Only now is she reckoning with the fact that Felix has been stalking her. The audience probably picked up on that a lot sooner. It was only in the penultimate episode that his behavior was revealed to have lethal consequences to it. Cassie and Miranda made a plan for how to eliminate him as a threat. They don't even leave New York before all of that goes awry. Somehow they both survive every twist and turn in this finale. That is miraculous. But it also highlights just how crafty and capable they both are. Cassie has these doubts about herself. She too views herself as a disaster. She drinks in order to dull down that depressing reality. She is not responsible for every bad thing that has happened though. Her father was to blame for the accident that killed him. She uncovers the entire conspiracy that led to Alex's death. She is targeted because of what she has learned. She fears that she has to secure a gun in order to protect herself. But she also has the support around her to protect her even in the most dangerous circumstances. Plus, that allows the show to deliver one final twist with Shane revealing himself as a CIA agent. He works as a flight attendant in order to get close to Megan. That again proves that these people aren't nearly as covert as they like to believe they are with their actions. Someone is always watching. And yes, that is incredibly unnerving. It could leave all of them paralyzed with fear. And yet, they rely on the connections they find along the way. Cassie admits to herself that she is not responsible for the tragedy of the past. Her accepting that is the first step to her improving her life. She accepts Megan as a friend completely. No action is too bad that would make her push her away. Now, Megan still takes on the burden of trying to fix this by becoming a fugitive in Italy. That development is the most open ended event in this finale. The show teases what can come in the future with the second season. However, it's a very fitting conclusion as well. One where Cassie can point to the emotional growth she has embraced despite the darkness that forced it all into happening. Many people have made mistakes in their lives. It's never too late to try to change and do better. Cassie starts attending AA meetings. Miranda kills the people targeting her and Cassie. Annie quits her job because of the questionable things she had to do. It never suggests that these actions will radically change things. It's simply an acknowledgement that things haven't gone well so far. A change is needed. They don't know what the future might hold. Cassie could become an asset for the CIA. These familiar faces could find ways back into her life despite this threat now being gone. The narrative leaves just enough open to welcome those returns in the future. But it also leaves on a note where the audience feels grounded and secure in the journey that happened in these eight episodes.