Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TV: Pan Am (episode 10)

After a month long hiatus, this week was the airing of the tenth episode of ABC's Pan Am. If you recall, episode nine ended with a cliffhanger: Kate had shot and killed Bolger in order to save Anderson, her FBI ally. Dean and Colette slept together, Maggie had gotten involved with Congressman Chris Rawlings, and Laura was starting to realize she has feelings for Ted.

This week's episode is entitled "Secrets and Lies". Conflict arises between Maggie and Rawlings while fate intervenes between Colette and Dean. And just who has Ted believe is the love of his life? Oh, how the soap opera elements are swirling now.

Let's take a look at the details...

Things pick right up where we left off. Kate is in shock having killed for the first time. Anderson says they need to make her an alibi and she needs to run. A week later, Kate learns she will have her chance to end her assignments, but she will have to take a polygraph test first. Anderson teaches her that the way to get past the hard question ("did you kill Bolger?") is to just think of a question that she would answer clearly "no" to. When she is interogated, she outwits the test. After she tells Anderson the question she used was "will I ever forgive myself?". So, you'd think she would be ready to turn her back forever on this, right? Anderson compliments her and she decides to stay after all.

Sister Laura is trying her hand at photography for a class, taking portraits of both Maggie and Ted. But as Laura is realizing that she has feelings for Ted, he's trying to spend the night with Amanda. He's ready to throw in the towel when Amanda adeptly puts Ted's hard-ass father in his place over lunch. That convinces Ted that maybe she's the girl for him after all. He brings Laura a new, expensive camera as a gift as a thank you for the good advice and to help him shop for an engagement ring for Amanda. As Laura closes her apartment door, you can see how heartbroken she is over this news.

Even though Maggie has feelings for Rawlings, she can't handle his politics. She writes a scathing article but Mike at the paper tells her it needs a ton of work. She later meets Rawlings for lunch, learns more about him as a person, and starts to feel maybe she was wrong. Mike calls her later to tell her that he is running her article (the paper needed to fill space). Rawlings shows up later at her apartment to wine and dine her; she forgoes telling him about the article and sleeps with him. Big mistake.

Meanwhile, Bridgette, Dean's former fiancee, is back to get both her old job and her old guy. Uh oh. That throws a huge monkey-wrench in Dean and Colette's budding romance. Colette convinces him to talk to her, to put the past truly behind them so they can move forward. Dean meets with Bridgette and questions her lies (all the men they encountered while dating, her sudden "illness" and disappearance, then sudden recovery). Dean goes to Colette, tells her that she is the one he wants to be with, but the French woman can see that he still has feelings for his former fiancee. She sends him away. Bridgette finds Dean and lays it all out, explaining that she was an MI6 spy for the English government. When Dean asks what he's supposed to do now - just accept that - she tells him that she will walk away if he says he no longer loves her. Spineless Captain can't do it; he succumbs to passion and the two spend the night.

So, final tally: Dean ends up with Bridgette in bed, Maggie ends up with Rawlings in bed, Ted is content to end the date with Amanda without going to bed, and Colette, Laura and Kate are alone.

Clearly the writers are hoping heavy soap opera elements are going to save this show from cancellation. The problem is this: they abandoned the elements that made the show unique to do it. We spend little time in uniforms this episode and little time in flight. Yes, we have 1960's touches like the Beatles performing in London, but that's about it. All the touches that made the show a draw are starting to fizzle. I think they went too far to the other extreme with these last couple episodes and need to find a happy medium.

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