The Flight Attendant Season 2 Spoilers Ahead
Where perhaps critics and the academy could argue that The Flight Attendant‘s debut season was somewhat of a comedy, we’re certainly beyond the genre in the show’s sophomore season. The Flight Attendant Season 2 is anything but a drama, bordering much closer to a thriller with its plot-heavy focus that relies entirely on the performances to make the show a success. This isn’t to say that the second season was bad or less appealing, but it was anything but subtle or quiet.
Though the series loses itself at times with the plot going from one twist to another, specifically in the finale, “Backwards & Forwards,” Kaley Cuoco continues to bring her A-game as she strengthens and evolves every version of Cassie. It’s no small feat to play with the chaotic turmoil of inner thoughts coming to life that Cuoco excels at this season. If she weren’t bringing something astounding to our screens week after week, the series would fall into the slumps with storylines that aren’t easy to invest in (and, quite frankly, too much to even grapple with).
This isn’t to say that the rest of the performances aren’t aces either because ultimately, to carry storylines that are this jumbled and not all interconnected doesn’t allow for the kind of character development we care most about. However, despite a pot full of dangerous stakes, every performer, including Shohreh Aghdashloo‘s Brenda (who we wish we had more of), is top-notch.
The Flight Attendant Season 2 carries on with the storyline from Season 1 with Cassie Bowden presumably one year sober before she eventually succumbs while revealing that this isn’t the first relapse. In tireless confrontations with various versions of herself while she attempts to figure out who’s impersonating her, Cuoco brings something intriguing and nuanced to the voices inside her head who are visible in the light of her struggles.
As the season thematically focuses on deconstructing the character’s current misfortunes along with her past, Cuoco never once overacts when presented with specific developments pertaining to either her recovery, her relationships, or the uncertainties ahead. Though the chatter is purposely too loud and overwhelming at times, in each interpretation, Cuoco brings her strongest performances to the surface, showing off her chops in a way she’s never done before as she blends them all together while keeping them distinctly separate.
But to look into moments where her performances are truly excellent, we need to deconstruct the darkness and narcism that leads her towards growth after she understands that she’s letting herself down more than anyone else. A large majority of Cassie’s growth depends on her past with her father and her present with her mother. It also depends on her own relationship with her inner demons and whether or not she learns to forgive herself. When it’s all too much to handle, Cassie begins to question everything that she’s ever known and how she got here—the past, present, and future all need to thread together before the internal growth to last.
In “Brothers and Sisters,” viewers watch most of the development unfold as her mother essentially rips her to shreds with her words, telling her that though she loves her as a daughter, she does not like her. Cassie’s arc with her mother alone requires immense excavation because while human beings are responsible for their own choices, there is no denying how much verbal abuse could tarnish a person, along with how it leads to self-destructive tendencies. And it’s crucial to acknowledge that Cassie didn’t bring alcoholism upon herself; she’s a victim of it, fighting through hell and high water when she decides she wants to reclaim her life. Where Cassie crumbles under pressure and uncertainties, Kaley Cuoco dives deeper into the character’s heart to bring eons of heartaches to life in a storm of rage, darkness, and pain.
It’s perhaps why the season’s end is so rewarding because when Cassie understands that change is up to her, she begins to not only take responsibility for her actions but she accepts pieces of her as they are. You cannot hate yourself if you want to fix the mistakes, and as the character finally understands this, she calls her mother to tell her that she heard her words during their fight. The phone call thus results in Cuoco bringing a haunting form of contentment to life as she cries happy tears for the first time when she learns that her mother hears her too.
The road to recovery isn’t easy, and whether or not The Flight Attendant returns for another season, it ends at a mark where we can be confident that our main character is on the right path towards growth. To watch her go from consistently on edge to basking in genuine happiness at Annie and Max’s wedding equates to the most rewarding part of the anxiety-inducing season.
In short, the season isn’t easy to watch, and it’s particularly tough to binge. It dives deep into addiction’s brutal and tragic realities while simultaneously placing its characters on the edge of difficult situations. If the season took a step back from the side plots, it could have been more powerful with the performances coming front and center. Still, it’s solid, and Kaley Cuoco deserves another Emmy nomination, without question.
The Flight Attendant Season 2 is now streaming on HBOMax. What are your thoughts about the season and the performances?