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THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT Is a Lesson in Vapid Materialism

HBO Max/YouTube

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT Is a Lesson in Vapid Materialism

By Movieguide® Contributor

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT is an American comedy-drama, mystery-thriller television series streaming on HBO Max. The series, developed by Steve Yockey based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Chris Bohjalian, stars numerous talented actors including Kaley Cuoco, Michiel Huisman, Zosia Mamet, T. R. Knight, and Michelle Gomez. The series follows Cassie Bowden, an American flight attendant and reckless alcoholic, as she tries to discover who murdered the handsome stranger she woke up next to in a Bangkok hotel room before being arrested as his killer.  

Cassie Bowden is an American flight attendant known as a reckless alcoholic who drinks on the job and spends her free time having sex with strangers, including many of the passengers on her flights. While flying to Bangkok, Cassie meets a handsome businessman by the name of Alex Sokolov. The two flirt on the flight and later meet up after the flight lands. After a long night of heavy drinking and partying, Cassie wakes up with a massive hangover. She discovers she spent the night with Alex, who is lying dead next to her with his throat slit. Afraid of what will happen to her if she calls the Bangkok police, Cassie attempts to clean the crime scene, then reunites with her flight crew traveling to the airport. 

When she arrives back in New York City, she is questioned by FBI agents about her layover in Bangkok. Still unable to piece the events of that night together and suffering from intermittent flashbacks and hallucinations in which she imagines herself talking to the dead Sokolov, she begins to attempt to find Alex’s killer before she can be blamed. However, this is no simple task, and her search will lead her into a complex world of espionage, undercover government operations, and almost certain danger. Will she find Sokolov’s killer before it is too late?   

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT has a primarily secular humanistic worldview with elements of materialism and romanticism. Throughout the series, characters are solely focused on themselves and how to get themselves out of the illegal mess many of them have ended up in. Many characters hold the view that the world is chaotic and senseless and lacks a creator (implied by some, inadvertently expressed by others). As a result, they live for their own gain and pleasure. Many put value in material things such as possessions and money, others in physical pleasure and addictive substances.

The characters also do not believe in a moral code or have a sense of what is right or wrong. They obtain what they wish through any means necessary including money laundering and illegal espionage. Christianity is not looked favorably upon throughout the series and there are several derogatory comments toward members of the religion including an instance where a character says, “cleaning the cabin is the only time I get to look a pastor in the eye and say trash.”

While much of the show lacks a positive worldview, it should be noted that there is some redemptive quality to the end of the series. The lead character makes the choice to leave her past behind, makes amends with her brother and best friend, and vows to remain sober in the future. 

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT contains some violence and gore. Many characters throw or break objects out of anger at various points over the season. A woman is knocked out and another is stocked. Several characters carry firearms (some are federal agents, but other characters carry them illegally). A man’s throat is slit and there is blood all over his neck and chest. This is seen in almost every episode. A woman attempts to clean up a crime scene and lots of blood is present. Upper male nudity is seen in almost every episode (the murder victim was shirtless).

There is one instance of full male rear nudity. Women regularly wear skimpy attire. There are lots of sex scenes throughout the series – including a five-minute intro to the first episode with multiple mild sex scenes. The main character is known to sleep around and is seen sleeping with passengers sometimes on a layover, other times in the plane’s bathroom. Each episode contains a large amount of swearing including eight f-bombs in the first episode. The Lord’s name is also frequently taken in vain. There is frequent, excessive alcohol use. The main character began drinking as a child and grew into an alcoholic who sometimes drinks on the job. There are numerous party scenes, and one woman sells drugs to a student. A brother and sister fight, though they later make up. There is a large amount of manipulation, deceit, espionage, fencing, murder, attempted murder, and money laundering. 

While the series content is questionable, it has a suburb production quality. The script is well written and engaging and the acting and production is top quality. As a result, viewers will have no trouble being drawn into the complicated mystery the first series is dedicated to unraveling. However, because THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT contains immorality and worldview problems, Movieguide® finds the series to be excessive.