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Dear Writers of 'The Flight Attendant': Do Not Screw Up Annie and Max

By Nate Parker | TV | April 26, 2022 |

By Nate Parker | TV | April 26, 2022 |



I am not a man who bargains with cruel and arbitrary gods, except when I plead for the health of a loved one or that the cop I just passed doesn’t turn on his lightbar. But as I watched The Flight Attendant Season 2’s first frantic episodes, it struck me that it wasn’t Cassie I rooted for the most. Don’t get me wrong — Cassie’s great! Kaley Cuoco’s rendition of a hallucinating, recovering alcoholic flight attendant is a riot, equal parts gutsy and flibberty-gibbet. And Megan is great as a sweet person out of her depth, on the run after she was coaxed into treason. But as much as I hope for Cassie’s continued sobriety and for Megan to poison that North Korean dude, it’s the show’s power couple that means the most. And so here is my heartfelt plea to the writers of The Flight Attendant: DO NOT RUIN ANNIE AND MAX!

It’s not that they’re hot, though they are. They’ve given several great looks so far. We’ve seen Power Attorney Annie:

Home-Life Annie:

Flummoxed Annie:

And Done with Your Shit Annie:

Then there’s Clean-Cut Max:

Hospitalized Max:

Domesticated Max:

And, of course, Shower Max:

I’ll give you a minute.

But it’s more than the physical attractiveness of Zosia Mamet and Deniz Akdeniz. They are, between them, the perfect filter for the audience to view Cassie’s inspired insanity. Annie is constantly astonished by her best friend’s ability to make the worst decision possible but still backs her up even after calling Cassie on her selfish behavior and alcoholism. She goes to the mat for Cassie with the FBI and organized criminals whom you don’t want to owe bus fare, let alone life-saving favors. She is abrupt, emotionally closed off, and aggressive. Whether those are symptoms of her upbringing or the pressure of being a mob lawyer is still unclear, but Annie keeps everyone at arm’s length and is fiercely protective of the few who make it passed her defenses. So far that’s Cassie and, to Annie’s own surprise, Max.

Max, meanwhile, is a triple threat. He’s good-looking, he’s a talented hacker, and he’s a decent person. He’s a man at home in the kitchen or breaking into corporate servers. His calm energy brings high-strung Annie back down to earth. Despite wanting a more defined relationship, he respects Annie’s boundaries and obvious need for therapy enough not to push. When he does push, it’s to make Annie recognize Cassie’s toxic codependency or Annie’s own self-recrimination for the unhealthy habits they really are rather than his own selfish needs. It doesn’t hurt that he’s as eager to dive into Cassie’s mysteries as she is. Max is clearly a man who enjoys solving puzzles and between the Sokolov family and the CIA, Cassie provides plenty of both. And who doesn’t love a partner willing to commit multiple felonies to help your career and/or best friend? Plus his immediate man-crush on Cassie’s new man, Marco (Santiago Cabrera), is adorable. I get the impression Max’s goal is to reach a state of ultimate chill, and he sees Marco as living the dream.

They are a couple with fantastic onscreen chemistry. As such, they’re a tempting target for the kind of inevitable tragedy that makes writers salivate. A shocking betrayal or death that leaves the remaining uncoupled character shattered. I’m here to tell you we don’t need that, dammit. Cassie has once again implicated herself in a murder, is a CIA asset, and finds herself on the verge of a relapse. More drama is not required. A permanent end for either character will turn me off from the show entirely because it feels too easy, too expected. There’s nothing TV writers hate more than a happy couple. I get it; we all have emotional baggage and therapy is expensive. I’d appreciate it if working through your parents’ traumatic divorce didn’t involve murdering Annie or Max and leaving the other to pick through the wreckage of their life.

And so I find myself asking — no, begging — Steve Yockey, Elizabeth Benjamin, and what seems like a stable full of writers for The Flight Attendant to just let us have this. Annie and Max are fun. They’re hot. They’re a cute couple. They deserve some happiness. Viewers do as well. So don’t screw this up!