"Pan Am" Episode 3: Ich Bin Ein Berliner
Third time’s a charm. At least that’s the case for “Pan Am”, which in its third episode managed to access all of its (up until this point, modestly-used) potential and blossom into something that is really worth getting in to. “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” was the most serious hour thus far. It had drama and danger, romance and intrigue, adventure and emotion, all of the necessary components to a nighttime drama, just with better hair.
This week’s episode sought to answer the most pressing question facing “Pan Am” so far, what kind of a show is it? Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? Well, the answer, at least last night, is that it is both…. and neither. “Pan Am” is more of a light-hearted drama, something that is light and easy watching but whose increasingly impressive plotlines and performances will trap audiences in a committed relationship before they realize otherwise.
Speaking of committed, that is certainly the word to describe Maggie on Sunday. The episode saw all four stewardesses flying to Berlin just in time for President Kennedy’s “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech, and while Kate, Laura, and Colette were excited just to hear the speech, Maggie had more ambitious plans. After dedicating more hours than anyone else for Kennedy’s campaign, Maggie earned the chance to meet the President… a chance that was thwarted by an ill-timed bathroom break, and a chance she was going after with a vengeance in Berlin. She schmoozed and flirted her way into the press section at his speech with the help of Mike, a Village Voice reporter, and then again into a party for the President at the U.S. Mission… however the pint-sized stewardess was always just two steps behind. But her determination, and Cuban cigars, paid off as President Kennedy waved to her just as he was boarding Air Force One. Epic success.
Success means different things to different stewardesses, though. For Kate, success meant safely smuggling a burned contact out of Berlin. With the German secret police hot on their heels, (literally though, never a heel nor hair was out of place when running for their lives… realistic? Hardly. Good television? Definitely) Kate and her contact Anke were forced to overcome minimal experience in the field devise an exit strategy. Despite warnings by her CIA superiors to abandon her mission to help Anke, Kate smuggled her into the party for at the U.S. Mission dressed as a Pan Am stewardess and directed her to the right people to help her defect safely. Kate was chastised for this, her empathy turning out to be not a benefit but a detriment to her employment as an undercover agent. The Cold War is cold for a reason.
While President Kennedy was declaring “Ich bin ein Berliner” to Americans and Germans alike, there was one Frenchwoman who was singing an entirely different tune. Indeed, Colette came to Berlin to forgive the past offenses of Germans against her. She was only three when the Nazi’s invaded France and killed her parents, something she carried with her everywhere. She carried it with her especially into the party at the U.S. mission where she openly shamed a German official by refusing to ignore the World War I sized elephant in the room. Overcome with bitterness, Colette regretted her decision to fly to Germany at all, and judging by her harsh words against them, it is unlikely she will return any time soon.
Colette may have been feeling nothing but hatred for the Germans, but it was impossible to ignore the blossoming between her and Dean. Their stolen looks and clandestine conversations lit up the screen. And with chemistry like that, who needs Bridget? It will certainly be a rocky romantic triangle if (or, more likely, when) she returns.
Romance was in the air for Laura too… or at least attempted romance. In the middle of watching Kennedy’s speech from an apartment building window, Co-captain Ted thought it would be the perfect time to make a move on Laura. For a girl who just ran away from her wedding two episodes ago, and broke her ex-fiancée’s heart in favor of freedom just last week, kissing co- captains is the last thing Laura needed. She recognized this and rejected him in the nicest way possible. He may see something different in her, but it does not look like viewers will see any romance between them anytime soon.
Besides, romance is a double-edged sword for the lovable ladies of “Pan Am." Marriage effectively terminates their employment as a stewardess upon the airline. So while viewers may want their favorite characters to find love on the transcontinental adventures, or right there in the cockpit (We’re looking at you, Colette), it may mean the end of their careers… and audience’s entertainment.
Overall, “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” was the kind of episode that “Pan Am” needs more of. It was a glorious display of character development and intriguing drama, and, hopefully, a prototype for episodes to come.
Looking ahead, next weeks brings the foxy quartet to the Tropics, where they are flirting up a storm the size of Irene.
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