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The Flight Attendant weaves a comical mystery that delves into dark places 

Created by Steve Yockey (Scream: The TV Series, Supernatural), this series focuses on charismatic Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco), an alcoholic international flight attendant who after a Bangkok fling with passenger Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman) wakes up the next morning to find him dead from a slit throat ... and she has no memory of what happened. Back in the states, she's questioned by the FBI and begins to wonder if she did it. To complicate things, she begins to imagine seeing Alex, with whom she has conversations as she attempts to unravel what happened. (eight 42- to 48-min. episodes)

click to enlarge LUSH LIFE Flight attendant Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) seems to have a glamorous life of travel and partying, but when she wakes up hungover next to a murdered man, the messy truth of her lifestyle reveals itself, in The Flight Attendant, streaming on HBO Max. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER HORIZON TELEVISION
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Horizon Television
  • LUSH LIFE Flight attendant Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) seems to have a glamorous life of travel and partying, but when she wakes up hungover next to a murdered man, the messy truth of her lifestyle reveals itself, in The Flight Attendant, streaming on HBO Max.

Glen What starts as something of a lark of a story becomes increasingly engaging, complicated, and deep. Yes, this is very funny, and Cuoco as Cassie is wholly engaging and likable, but as the story unfolds, we discover Cassie's complicated relationship with her dead father (Jason Jones) and gay brother, Davey (T.R. Knight), and her realization that her alcoholism is real and is a problem. Watching a good-time party girl confront her selfishness and reckless behavior sounds like a downer, but you can't help but like Cassie even though she's a train wreck, and we're rooting for her to come out of her tailspin. Cassie's bestie is Ani Mouradian (Zosia Mamet), a lawyer whose firm may be involved in some shady business, and her fellow flight attendant, needy and desperate for attention Megan Briscoe (Rosie Perez), clings onto Cassie and wishes she was as likable, while stealing secrets from her husband's computer to sell to the North Koreans. Add in Cassie's burgeoning understanding of Alex's criminal family and how morally compromised everyone around her is and you've got the makings of a cracking good story with a muddled sense of right from wrong.

Anna Cuoco is brilliant as Cassie, an on-paper unlikable mess who in actuality is funny, charming, and forgivably flawed. There's intrigue and action, and as the complicated story continues to weave through the eight episodes, we delve deeper into not just Cassie's backstory but all of those who seem to follow in her wake. Fellow flight attendant Megan is bound and determined to make Cassie her best friend, to live a life more exciting than the seemingly mundane one she lives, and Perez's needy desperation is pulled off so well. A big part of Cassie's character and backstory exploration is told through scenes she has with Alex—who is dead but appears to her in fugue-like states that force her to explore the reality of her past and present instead of looking through the gauze that time and booze put on tough moments. She's a screwup, but one people care about. The series has everything I'm looking for, and I'm hoping there is a season two in the works.

Glen I read that HBO Max has already renewed the series, so your hopes are fulfilled. The road to Cassie's recovery certainly has a lot of bumps along the way, mainly in the form of her new love interest Buckley Ware (Colin Woodell), who seems like a good guy but maybe isn't, and Miranda Croft (Michelle Gomez), who seems like a bad guy but maybe isn't quite as bad as she seems. They're both somehow connected to the Sokolovs and a mysterious mastermind named Victor (Ritchie Coster). All these complications make for a great story, and the way the nonlinear plot is put together creates a postmodern stew of evolving emotional revelations for Cassie, her role in her father's death, and her culpability in the ostracism of her brother, Davey. It comes to a very satisfying conclusion and tees up the possibility of Cassie as a law enforcement operative—despite her personal demons, she turns out to be a brave and capable detective. Great first season!

Anna Murder and intrigue, a classic combo! I've been recommending this one to everyone, and I'm glad HBO Max is creating content worth the monthly premium. Being stuck at home for almost the entirety of 2020 has meant a need for more content—more importantly good content—and the twisty-turny nature of Cassie's adventure along with all the side stories between Ani and Megan and Buckley and Miranda delivers on all fronts. It's a whodunit and an action thrill ride wrought with touching emotional moments and downright funny content and deliveries. There's too much sex and blood to watch with little kids around, but it's a fun one to sink your teeth into once they've skipped off to dreamland. Put this one on your list to watch in the new year; it's worth every minute! Δ

Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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