"Pan Am" Episode 4: The Orient Express
Just like an airplane climbs in altitude before it reaches its cruising level, “Pan Am” is improving each week, getting closer to that golden stage where it becomes a self-sustaining show. The fourth Episode “Eastern Exposure” changed the format up a little from the past three episodes, focusing more heavily on interpersonal relationships, and how each character faces not living up to expectations.
After terrorizing Western Europe with their high heels and even higher levels of drama, the “Pan Am” stewardesses set their sights on a different continent this episode: Asia.
While the girls were busy tearing up the Orient with their dance moves and bunny slippers, there was serious tension brewing between flight captain Dean (Make Vogel) and his co-pilot Ted (Michael Mosley). This episode provided necessary insight to Ted’s background so that he could become less of an unlikeable jerk (brushing off someone sexually assaulting Maggie as nothing back in episode 2!) and more of a character that viewers can actually get behind. The story goes that prior to his stint with Pan Am, Ted was actually a Navy officer with astronomic dreams: he literally wanted to become an astronaut. But, all of that came crashing down when he was incorrectly blamed for an airplane crash. Though his father (apparently a man of great power and influence among those in aviation) had the evidence that could clear his name, Ted was forced to accept an honorable discharge… and a job at Pan Am as a consolation.
Fast forward some time and Ted is practically boiling over with jealousy that Dean, who has considerably less experience, is a captain and he is not. The stewardesses should take notes from Dean. If he can withstand jealousy-driven, undermining remarks, land an aircraft in practically a monsoon with his co-captain yelling at him the whole time, get punched in the face by said co-captain Ted, and can still remain Ted’s friend by the end of the episode, then Kate and Laura can surely work past their issues over a camera.
But, here’s the funny thing, they really didn’t. If there was a rift between sisters Kate and Laura Cameron in weeks past, this week it became a full-blown canyon. For her latest mission (yes, she is still employed after last week’s defection stunt) Kate (Kelli Garner) needed to deliver a camera to a contact in Jakarta, Indonesia, but, of course, as it tends to go with dramas, simple things are never really quite so simple. Especially when said camera was off partying with Laura (Margot Robbie) and Maggie (Christina Ricci) instead of being delivered by Kate. Though she eventually completed her mission, her loyalty to her country outweighed her loyalty to her sister and one nasty catfight ensued.
The aftermath of this catfight is sure to be felt for weeks to come as it prompted Laura to get closer to Ted (don’t lie, we all saw the way she was looking at him while holding the television satellite in her nightdress and bunny slippers), and in a particularly decisive move, abandon Kate’s residence to become Maggie’s new roomie. While Laura was finding her independence (sort of), Kate was finding out that her sister meant a lot more to her than she expressed. Too little, too late apparently, as she came home from buying Laura a new camera to an apartment painfully devoid of little sis.
On a side note, would anyone else like to see Kate finish a mission without trouble sometime soon? The espionage hijinks are getting a little predictable, and it is doubtful the C.I.A. would have chosen her in the first place if she were such a bad spy.
After last week’s botched trip down memory lane, Colette (Karine Vanasse) was back to her demure and reasonable self. Definitely the voice of reason on the show (except when it comes to Germans), Colette was not-so-coincidentally lacking in an episode where everyone could have used some good French advice before making a mess of their personal lives. Let’s hope that next week she is back front and center, because “Pan Am” becomes instantly ten times more charming whenever she is on the screen.
As for Maggie, she just couldn’t help but position her petite self right in the middle of a Cameron family feud. While there are no doubts Maggie can hold her own in the world (after all, she can order beer in 15 languages), squaring off with Kate is not necessarily where she might want to find herself in weeks to come. As the two most dominant personalities in the quartet, they will certainly be setting off fireworks in the future.
Speaking of fireworks, where was that Dean-Colette romance? Was that just a flirtatious fling? Or, a long-term storyline that will be revisited in the future? Who knows? Well, we do… sort of. In the promo for next week, Dean is shown to be very, very cozy (and not in the bunny slippers way) with a new lady.
Overall, this episode was an evolution of character relationships. Laura found a new “sister”, Maggie found a new bird to take under her wing, and Kate found herself an unwilling only child. Meanwhile Ted found he still needs time to live down the disappointments of his past, and Dean found the ability to forgive a sucker punch to the face. Things may not run so smoothly for the “Pan Am” crew in weeks to come, but viewer should channel Dean and forgive this, especially since the niceties are being traded for intriguing character insight and delectable drama.
From the looks of the promo for next week’s episode, drama might not be the only thing heating up and Dean definitely will not be the only one finding some romance…
If you missed the episode check it out on Hulu.
Reach Kelly Hanelt here.
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