The Flight Attendant Season 2 review: Darkly entertaining
Ivan Radford | On 26, May 2022
Never seen The Flight Attendant? Read our review of Season 1 here.
“What passes for boldness in men is often seen as reckless in women.” Those are the words that greet Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) after she’s wound up in another impossibly dangerous situation – and so begins the second season of The Flight Attendant, a thriller powered by one woman’s impulsive instincts. Those same reflexes are what somehow got Cassie to surprising safety in Season 1, after she woke up in a hotel room next to a dead body, her ensuing chaotic behaviour and copious drinking as much a coping mechanism for trauma as a survival mechanism to speed her away from the assassins and CIA agents on her tail.
Season 2 picks almost one year on from those events – and that timeframe is no coincidence, as we find Casey not only continuing her life as a flight attendant but also attending Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the guiding rules for its members? No major life changes in the first year. And Cassie, being Cassie, just can’t resist several of them. When we catch up with her, she’s not only upped sticks to LA and got a serious boyfriend, but also taking on a side gig as a civilian asset for the CIA – having impressed them with her fast-thinking resourceful during Season 1.
It’s the latter where things start to unravel, as Cassie comes across a lookalike doing some very shady things – and so she once again finds herself trying to conceal secrets and dodge threats while pretending that everything is fine to her friends. Also returning are the superb Zosia Mamet as her loyal lawyer friend, Annie, and Deniz Akdeniz as Annie’s amusing and tech-savvy boyfriend. They provide entertaining support but also, along with TR Knight as her brother and the brilliant Griffin Matthews as her scene-stealing colleague, call Cassie out on her unthinking privilege.
But there’s no doubt that this is Kaley Cuoco’s show, and she excels once again in the lead, inhabiting the character of Cassie with an intensity, vulnerability and manic desperation that makes her thrilling to watch in action. And in action is invariably how we see her, as her physical performance (and killer comic timing) finds a natural outlet in a character who is always in motion. The more chaos erupts in her life, and the more she seeks it out, it becomes increasingly apparent that her problem isn’t alcohol, per se, but a compulsion to disobey orders, step out of line and dive into complications, each new obstacle distracting her from what’s in her rear-view mirror.
That central truth is the lynchpin driving the series’ engine, as the show fuses high emotional stakes with perilous risk, both fuelled by Cassie’s intriguing and often sympathetically flawed character. As she investigates her doppelgänger out in the world, she also retreats into her PTSD hallucinations to be confronted by other fragments of her subconscious, turning the labyrinthine plot into a maze of dawning self-awareness. Unfolding at the same gripping pace as the gorgeous noir-tinkling credits, it’s a ride that’s bold and reckless in equal measure – and leaves us waiting to see what happens when that reckless streak inevitably runs out. Expect to binge the whole lot in a weekend.