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The Flight Attendant proves Kaley Cuoco's greatness

  • "The real proof of Cuoco’s brilliance in The Flight Attendant lies in how she handles one of its most dubious plot devices: every now and then, Cassie is panicked enough to dissociate, outwardly entering a fugue state and inwardly revisiting the hotel room where she woke up next to Alex’s dead body," says Philippa Snow. "Alex, spry and chatty and reanimated, reappears there as a figment of her cracked imagination; because he is in her head, he knows only what she knows, and because she knows very little, he exists as an idealized, flattened version of himself. She bickers with him, alternately raging at him and then asking him to kiss her, eventually telling him that she is beginning to love him. Sometimes, she hallucinates CGI rabbits, a quirk later explained by a violent flashback from her childhood. Cassie’s mind-palace-cum-Hilton is the kind of dumb idea that ought to end up killing a TV show’s credibility stone-dead, mawkish and self-consciously kooky enough to end up being memed on Twitter eight years down the line as “the most amazing scene in television history.” Instead, Cuoco’s vulnerability makes it believable that she might love the man she’s dreamed up in her mind, and touching when we realize that she’s actually beginning — falteringly, nervously, with some reserve — to love herself. The big epiphany for Cassie is that she is not in fact an awful person, but a person who was treated awfully by the cruel, alcoholic father she adored. There is, of course, a lot that happens in The Flight Attendant that is zippier and more thrilling than the material about Cassie’s pain: there are near-misses with murder and mysterious jets that smuggle bombs, and there are car accidents, comas, and sub-plots about Korean-American espionage. Still, nothing quite compares to seeing Cuoco make good on the minor, tender flashes of emotion that occasionally crackled, like some distant radio signal, through the cozy comedy of her seemingly endless tenure on The Big Bang Theory."

    TOPICS: Kaley Cuoco, HBO Max, The Flight Attendant