The Flight Attendant
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The Flight Attendant is, no pun intended, a great ride. Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cucco) is a freewheeling, no-strings-attached party girl who works as a flight attendant. She’s that chick who wakes up drunk and hungover on the subway, but still manages to make it on time for her flight. Of course, her vodka-fueled functional alcoholism is bound to lead to trouble.
The morning after a mile-high-club hookup and whirlwind night in Bangkok with first-class passenger Alex (Michael Husiman), Cassie wakes up to find him bloody and dead in the hotel bed they shared the night before. Running on adrenaline and fear — her best friend Annie (Zosia Mamet), a lawyer with some pretty scary clients, reminds her that the laws in Thailand are “byzantine” — Cassie makes a series of boneheaded decisions. She doesn’t tell Annie exactly what happened or ask for legal advice right away. She doesn’t alert the hotel or call the police, but frantically cleans up the room the best she can before sneaking out. She unsuccessfully tries to ditch the FBI team questioning all the attendants on Alex’s flight, then lies unconvincingly about her time with him. So many red flags!
Cassie has no memory of what happened the night before, but she’s pretty sure she’s not the murderer. As she tells Alex’s “ghost” (a recurring subconscious projection who helps her process the trauma and puzzle out the mystery), “I’m not that kind of drunk! I’m a public nudity, yelling in the subway kind of drunk. I’m not violent!” Even when it becomes clear she’s not a suspect, she can’t let Alex’s murder go. So she starts her own investigation, pulling her friends, family, and co-workers into it. Another bad idea, as it turns out.
Adapted from a novel by Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant is filled with entertaining twists and turns as Cassie works to jog her memory of that night and figure out who would want Alex dead before she meets the same fate. The role of Cassie isn’t a huge stretch for Cucco (who’s also credited as an executive producer on the series). She’s a slightly more damaged and messy version of Penny from The Big Bang Theory. But it’s the damage and mess that counts, as Cassie throws herself into increasingly dangerous situations that can’t be resolved with a warm male body or a cold drink. Cassie is a very likable and appealing character, but I give props to the show for not glamorizing her alcoholism. It’s a problem, and clearly the reason she’s in all this trouble in the first place. Given the eye rolls around her, it’s been affecting her work and her personal relationships for a while.
I also really enjoyed Huisman’s performance as Alex. He’s charming and funny, and he and Cucco have great chemistry. He makes you feel really sorry that Alex is dead.
A perfect binge watch for this holiday season, Flight Attendant is an intriguing mystery that’s not too light, but not too heavy. A smart and humorous script with engaging performances and gorgeous travel destinations that you’ll want to put on your post-pandemic bucket list.
Given the bloody violence and sexual situations, I’d keep the kids out of the room. This would be a great date-night watch, though.
Be prepared: You are going to spend a lot of time screaming at the screen, “Cassie, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” That’s half of the fun, but oh my god, this girl!