Review by Sean Boelman
The first season of The Flight Attendant won over HBO Max subscribers with its perfectly entertaining blend of comedy and Hitchcockian suspense. And while it was initially envisioned as a miniseries, the show’s immense popularity caused the streamer to order a continuation, and the second installment takes the series in a very different direction.
Picking up months after the events of the first season, season two follows Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) as she has been recruited by the CIA to be a new asset only to find herself wrapped up in another conspiracy. While the first season was based on a novel by Chris Bohjalian, this season doesn’t have source material to go off of, but it doesn’t struggle to find its own way.
This season is certainly much more on the lighthearted side than its predecessor. It’s no longer a murder mystery that Cassie is trying to solve, but an international espionage conspiracy. While the stakes are fundamentally much higher, it doesn’t feel like it because the plot has turned into something at a much bigger, less personal scale.
Cassie’s struggle with alcoholism has now turned into her journey with sobriety, and while it still gives the character a relatable angle, it isn’t as developed as the analogous subplot in the first season. Her personal life as a whole is much less interesting in this season, even in regards to her friendship with Ani (Zosia Mamet).
Instead, we get more of an investment in Cassie’s former flight attendant coworker Megan (Rosie Perez) who is wrapped up in espionage of her own selling secrets to the North Koreans. It’s a much more generic story, yet the series seems content with hitting only the basic plot beats of the genre.
Cuoco yet again gives a fantastic performance here — arguably the best of her career — nailing the comedic timing of the script while bringing a lot of empathy to the character. Even more impressive this time around is that she plays multiple versions of herself, becoming a Byronic hero and filling the void left by Michiel Huisman’s character who was murdered in the first season.
This season also has the same aggressively energetic style as the first. It can get to be a bit excessive at times, but for the most part, it makes the whole thing a lot of fun. The only part of the show that gets to be exhausting is the gimmicky editing that is used to transition between scenes.
The Flight Attendant continues with a new season that takes the story in a different direction but maintains the energy and tone that made it such a hit. Even if the mystery isn’t quite as compelling, it’s still great to go on another adventure with these characters.
The Flight Attendant streams on HBO Max beginning April 21, with new episodes streaming subsequent Thursdays. Six out of eight episodes reviewed.