There is something wrong with the first episodes of The stewardess Season 2. You can feel almost as soon as “Seeing Double” begins. As Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) lists her life’s big changes at an AA meeting — new town, new boyfriend, new side job — there’s a desperate wholesomeness to the character that we’ve never seen before. . “My life and everything, it’s going pretty well,” Cassie said, her big beaming smile matching her cheery pink outfit. Everything seems too perfect, too scripted, too contrived. And that’s the point.
Based on the first six episodes that were given to critics, The stewardessThe latest installment of isn’t the teased recovery saga. It’s a big, messy, anxiety-inducing breakdown of a season that fits Cassie herself perfectly. And absolutely no one but Cuoco can make that manic intensity both relatable and weirdly entertaining.
Last season, Cassie and her friend Annie (Zosia Mamet) were the only “normal” people in a world full of mobsters, assassins, CIA agents and North Korean informants. Even Annie’s boyfriend, Max (Deniz Akdeniz), was secretly a lewdly talented hacker. Season 2 turns those expectations upside down entirely. As the CIA’s newest asset, Cassie finally has an ounce of control over the criminal underworld that seems to be stalking her. Likewise, Annie finally accepts her own criminal expertise. If last season saw these best friends on rough ground, this one levels the playing field.
And yet, this equalization only increases the stress. For Annie, this means a slow existential crisis as she begins to question her morals and how she was able to break them so easily. As for Cassie, that means overdoing it for her new job and accidentally witnessing a murder overseas. You know, normal things.
As is always the case with this show, the criminal elements are a blast. The dialogue is still lively and the spy scenes are as tense as expected. If anything, those elements weren’t refined until Season 2. There are several amusing escapes and shocking explosions that seem designed to make viewers give a grateful “Woah.” But that mile-a-minute pace more than enhances the action of Season 2. That whirlwind also perfectly captures the all-too-real stress of trying to make a major life change.
It’s hard to praise Cuoco enough for what she’s done on screen this season. One moment will see her effortlessly cracking deadpan jokes. The next will see her sink into a full-fledged depressive spiral, alternating between huge heartbreaking sobs and disturbing apathy. When Cassie is at her peak of self-destruction, Cuoco becomes venomous, hurling insults and puckering her lips in such deliciously evil ways that she could be Disney’s next evil queen. These extreme emotions are always tied together by an almost manic thread of anxiety. Right from the start, you know Cassie is going to break down and burn out. It’s just a matter of when.
Most of us will never know what it’s like to be a CIA asset or to wake up next to a corpse. Yet we have all been Cassie. We’ve all tried to break a bad habit that’s slowly killing us. And in this quest to be a better version of ourselves, we’ve all lied to ourselves inside our own mind palaces. We’ve let go of negativity, taken big steps, and bought expensive pillows in the desperate hope that if we try hard enough, we can force ourselves to be better overnight. That’s exactly where Cassie finds herself in Season 2. And like all fad diets and ambitious New Year’s resolutions, she’s doomed.
Failure has long been The stewardessthe secret weapon. That remains the case in Season 2. Almost every episode has revolved around the same song and dance: Cassie trying to make a good decision before finally leaning into her dark comfort. Before these addictions were only alcohol. Now they are so much more – his zealous dedication to his job, his long list of lies, the dreamy Marco (Santiago Cabrera). Yet it is in confronting these very failures that the show is at its strongest. Cassie can fail and fail and fail and fail again. But after tripping a hundred times, she still finds a way to take a small step in the right direction. This is what growth really looks like, and it’s so encouraging to see.
Season 2 of The stewardess premieres on HBO Max on Thursday, April 21 with its first two episodes.
New York Post