Ten minutes or so into the primary episode of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant, as Cassandra “Cassie” Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) is partaking in a more and more flirty dialog with one of many passengers on her flight; their chat rapidly turns to the topic of centuries-old literature. Whereas Cassie tries to defend a selected title she likes, she utters a line that unintentionally encapsulates the general expertise of watching The Flight Attendant: “What’s incorrect with messy?” Based mostly on its first four episodes, The Flight Attendant exists within the spectrum between a soapy community dramedy and a status HBO collection. However, oddly sufficient, there’s nothing incorrect with that. Anchored by Cuoco’s efficiency, the group establishes a chaotic, engaging, and earnest thriller that may completely hook viewers in.
The Flight Attendant Review
Based mostly on Chris Bohjalian’s 2018 novel of the identical identify, The Flight Attendant follows Cassie, a New York girl who uses her profession as a stewardess on a significant airline — and her fondness for alcohol and informal romantic hookups — to flee the trauma of her previous. This involves a surprising head when she meets Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman), an enthralling businessman she meets on a layover in Bangkok. After the pair spend the night time collectively, Cassie wakes as much as discover Alex useless within the mattress subsequent to her, with no recollection of the time main as much as his loss of life. As Cassie returns residence to the US, she begins to query if she had one thing to do with Alex’s homicide — or if a bigger conspiracy may very well be behind all of it.
From the soar, probably the most stunning components of The Flight Attendant is its method to its storytelling, which honors the supply materials while also deviating fairly. Along with some general narrative adjustments — a number of characters are gender-bent, and the situation of Cassie and Alex’s deadly night time is modified from Dubai to Bangkok — there are some fascinating pivots by way of construction. Whereas the construction of Bohjalian’s novel, which instantly opens on Cassie discovering Alex useless, may have naturally lent itself to a tv format, the collection decides to determine extra of Cassie’s life and interpersonal relationships earlier than sending all of that crashing down.
Consequently, the collection restructures key occasions to weave in plot twists and divulges that can be a little bit apparent to those that have to learn the ebook, however nonetheless play out in an efficient approach. (It additionally seems like The Flight Attendant may be the primary HBO Max unique to really make the most of the streaming service’s “three-episode premiere” launch format because the third episode ends on a notice that merely’s engaging sufficient to go away viewers wanting extra.)
That being stated, there may be one side of The Flight Attendant that would polarize those that watch it — its tone. Initially, the miniseries is far more plucky than its grisly homicide thriller may recommend, with a tackle life in New York Metropolis that seems like Intercourse and the Metropolis, if Carrie was about to get up after Mr. Huge’s corpse.
That oddly aspirational veneer begins to regularly fall away because the episodes progress; however, there is a mishmash of tones that nearly feel baffling should you cease to consider it for a minute. It is nowhere close to the cringe-worthy alternate actuality of Emily in Paris, and the performances in The Flight Attendant are sturdy sufficient to maintain you invested. However, it is unclear if the collection needs to be an intense thriller, a classy office dramedy, a rumination on habit and PTSD, or a spirited look at life for a single girl in New York.
The aesthetics and technical components of the collection add to that quaint, however frenetic vitality, from the frequent use of split-screen montages to Blake Neely’s catchy, however chaotic rating. To an extent, the clashes between what kind of story The Flight Attendant needs to inform virtually work in its favor and illustrate the paranoia and emotional freefall that Cassie is at the current process.
By far, the most vital factor The Flight Attendant has going for it’s its ensemble solid, which anchors the collection and produces a variety of coronary heart even because it veers in the direction of the absurd. Cuoco, who additionally government makes the collection, brings an efficiency to Cassie that feels each new and acquainted — a little bit of the “messy woman subsequent door” vitality of The Huge Bang Concept’s Penny, a little bit of the chaotic relatability of her tackle Harley Quinn, and a variety of additional earnestness.
As Sokolov (who, due to an intelligent framing machine, has a more significant function within the collection past a glorified corpse), Huisman is a superb complement to Cuoco, bringing an appeal and thriller that followers of his work on Orphan Black and Recreation of Thrones will acknowledge. Rosie Perez, who performs Cassie’s work confidant Megan, can be given a more significant function than viewers may count on and is a welcome addition to mainly each scene she’s in. By and enormous, a variety of the standouts of the collection are the ladies, together with Zosia Mamet as Cassie’s lawyer finest buddy Ani, Merle Dandridge as one of many FBI brokers on Sokolov’s case, and Michelle Gomez as Miranda, a mysterious character who may seemingly be the darkish horse of the complete collection.
The Flight Attendant is much from an ideal Show. However, that does not cease it from being the most entertaining one. It is abundantly clear that Cuoco and firm see the collection as a labor of affection, which makes the truth that it is a little bit tough across the edges a lot simpler to excuse. The collection has a thriller that may go away viewers eagerly awaiting the subsequent episode, and a chaotic vitality and sense of fashion that feels oddly simple to flee into. The Flight Attendant seems like the tv equal of overhearing anyone else’s private drama at a crowded restaurant — it is a little bit erratic and never expertly instructed; however, you may be left desperately wanting to listen to extra.