"Pan Am" Episode 8 Recap: Helpless in Haiti
Ok, so let’s do the math:
1 part “Up” + 1 part “Indiana Jones” = 1 Awesome Episode, “Unscheduled Departures.”
This week, “Pan Am” stripped itself of its escapist image. Instead of traveling to Paris or Rome or Brazil, the aviation crew landed in a very different kind of place: Haiti. It was a welcome wake-up call. In a show that can be as frothy as your afternoon cappuccino and as filled with visually delectable locations as to inspire wanderlust in the guiltiest couch potato, it was important to see that not the entire world is beautiful and fabulous. Especially considering the devastating earthquake in Haiti last year, this episode really hit home on an emotional level. So, let’s get down to it.
On a flight down to Venezuela, Kate’s broken heart found company in the elderly passenger Henry, who was flying (for the first time ever) to Caracas to heal a wounded heart of his own. Comparing her to the redhead that broke his heart, Henry revealed that his wife had died of cancer and he was flying to her hometown to try and make a difference, help people, something they had always wanted to do together. At this point in the episode, the plot line was mirroring that of Disney Pixar’s “Up” in uncanny ways. But then things went in an entirely different direction. Henry’s heartbreak became more than just a metaphor – the elderly patient had a heart attack.
This medical emergency forced the Pan Am crew to make a sudden landing at the nearest airport, which, in this case, just so happened to be crisis-stricken Haiti. Madness ensued from the get-go when the airport correspondents spoke nothing but French, almost made Dean land in the dark, and then had the entire grew welcomed by two men with guns. Oh yeah, and this was all happening in the middle of a hurricane.
Ted and Colette ventured off into the Haitian jungle to find the nearest village with a doctor. On their way they managed to pick up a Haitian girl whose family had just been killed (and who’s eventual storyline turned out to be the most endearing of the night). They finally located a doctor and even though he was reluctant, he gave the two a pill that could calm heart attack symptoms, and practically pushed them out the door where they were greeted into the Haitian night by being shot at. Don’t worry, the three made it back to the aircraft safely, but not before we got an earful of Ted’s deepest thoughts…. Sort of. Ted seems to have given up on Laura, and focused his attentions on other, more pressing matters. Like flamingos. His comic ramblings, while driving the Jeep through the Haitian jungles, were a welcome lighthearted moment in the episode.
While Indiana Ted and his sidekick Colette were off saving the day, situations on board were pretty tense for Laura, Kate, and Maggie. Or, as they should be called, the Powerpuff Girls. You have to admit, the similarities are eerily accurate. (For those who are not as fluent in 90s Cartoon Network programming, check it out here) They were left to save the day in their own rights as the passengers rebelled against stopping, and staying, in Haiti.
Despite everyone’s grandest efforts, Henry passed away before Ted and Colette could return. Problem solved? Not even close, as what has got to be the worst group of passengers ever rallied around a new cause: keeping the Haitian girl off the plane. And they were that close to getting their way, too, but in an intense conversation Colette reminded Dean that he landed in Haiti to save a life, and this was his opportunity to do that.
Problem solved now? Still, not even close. So, let’s do some more math, shall we?
1 crowded airplane = too heavy to take off on 1 runway – 500 feet of hurricane damage
1 crowded airplane + 1 Haitian refugee – all the luggage – excess fuel burned – Henry’s body = light enough to take off (but just barely).
So the great weight loss ensued: baggage was thrown overboard (quite literally in one spectacularly sassy scene with Maggie), fuel was burned, and Kate, in realizing that this would be a way to fulfill Henry’s dream of helping people, left his body behind so the Haitian refugee could fly back. Despite the brevity of her friendship with Henry, it was an important step for Kate in moving on from her own broken heart. She was able to open up to Henry in his dying moments about Niko in a way she really couldn’t have with anyone else. Catharsis attained? Maybe not yet, but the feisty redhead is one step closer.
With all the excess weigh shed, and Haitian rebels coming in close, the Pan Am crew was forced to take off in a mighty big hurry. Dean proved just why he is the youngest pilot in Pan Am (and here I was thinking it was because a love triangle with a 60 year old is creepy) and raised the plane just short of the massive hurricane induced pothole.
Once back in Miami, Kate was able to put in a call to Richard (he owed her big time, being single-handedly responsible for wrecking her relationship and breaking her heart) and attained a green card for the Haitian refugee. A green card, and a foster family.
The stewardesses got off the hook for bringing a refugee on board with the classic “we’ll all admit to the infraction because they can’t fire all of us” shtick. And it worked! The fierce foursome will go on to fly another day. Or more, hopefully.
Dean didn’t get off the hook quite so easily and was reprimanded (quite loudly) by the Pan Am Miami representative. Where was his congratulations for flying the plane back to safety in the middle of a hurricane? A hurricane that ripped up the Haitian runway, a hurricane that caused so much trouble for our cast, a hurricane that, although never seen, was so interactive with our cast that it was practically… a character.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that this hurricane’s name was Ginny?
Wikipedia confirmed, Hurricane Ginny raged through the Atlantic from October 16th to October 29th, 1963. What else is Ginny raging through? Dean’s potential love life, that’s what. It is unclear if the oft-mentioned pilot’s paramour is still a part of his life, or just haunting it like the debris left behind after a massive storm. But, she is certainly responsible for clouding Dean’s vision as to the smitten stewardess right in front of him. Right in front of him, kissing him? That’s what his expression read after Colette laid one on him at the end of the episode. And with that nonplussed visage we leave the lovebirds (or not?? Not yet??) for three weeks.
“Pan Am” is taking a mini vacation (after all the crazy drama going on aboard these flights, they deserve it) for three weeks, but in the mean time here’s what we have to look forward to:
✫ A dangerous life or death scenario.
✫ A potentially dangerous meeting of the parents.
✫ Twilight’s Ashley Greene guest starring as a debutante from Ted’s past.
Check out the promo for the next episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" below.
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