"The Flight Attendant and The Undoing are fundamentally different shows, especially where tone is concerned," says Jen Chaney. "While The Flight Attendant, which just concluded its first season on HBO Max, deals with some dark subjects, including alcoholism and criminal behavior, it doesn’t feel wrong to characterize it as a caper or describe it as fun. HBO’s The Undoing, on the other hand, is as serious as a frigid January morning. It is bracing and dramatic, the sort of series you watch with senses on high alert. The two shows do overlap in one important way, though, aside from being members of the broader HBO family: Both of them center on a murder mystery and, throughout their respective episodes, attempt to keep the identity of the killer a secret until a climactic reveal in the last episode. Only one of them does this truly well, though. Hint: It’s not the one that stars the villains from the two Paddington films." Chaney adds: "What The Flight Attendant does most right is actually deliver a finale that is surprising. I won’t reveal the killer’s identity here, but I will say that it was not who I was expecting...To put it more succinctly: While The Undoing closes with a chase and the odd liftoff of helicopters, The Flight Attendant efficiently and slyly does something much more gratifying: It lands all of its planes and leaves us hoping we can fly with it again, should a second season come to pass."
The Flight Attendant season finale was terrible and frustrating: "There has been rapturous praise for HBO Max’s soapy thriller starring Kaley Cuoco as an alcoholic flight attendant trying to escape suspicions that she killed a one-night stand," says Kevin Fallon. "If the praise has been slightly overblown, it’s understandable. At a time when we’re all stuck at home and the best bingeing options can seem too labor intensive, it’s a welcome treat to jaunt around the world as a pretty woman attempts to drunkenly solve an international crime and clear her name. But what happened with the series’ finale is the same malfunction of too many recent trashy-thriller series that departed too severely in their final acts. Maybe seduced by this very 2020 thing of being labeled as 'prestige' while actually producing throwback camp-crime content, they chase the fool’s errand of being profound while tying things up. But nobody really wants that. They just want dumb fun."
To love The Flight Attendant is to hate its protagonist: "Each episode is equal parts pleasure and taunt, as 30-something Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) triggers a cascading sequence of awful decisions — usually within the first five minutes," says Alex Abad-Santos. "Watching Cassie is like watching the hero of a horror movie run up the stairs where the killer is instead of out the door to safety. But in Cassie’s horror movie, there are multiple exits and signs that say “Do not enter, you will get murdered if you go this way.” It’s just not in the cards for Cassie to ever heed those calls. And here’s the dark magic of The Flight Attendant: I still want to see this fantastically inept person succeed."