Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TV: Pan Am (episode 2)

Any time you have a show like Pan Am where the pilot episode was clearly a place they invested a lot of money (you have to spend money to make money - or attract viewers, right?), you have to be a little cautious of how they'll follow it up. As I mentioned last week, I was going to need to see how the episodes unfolded to determine if I would be investing more time on the show or not.

So, yesterday afternoon I fired up the ABC app on my iPad, started walking on the treadmill and watched episode 2 entitled “We’ll Always Have Paris”. The title was fitting since most of the episode centers around the crew’s flight to Paris and time there after they arrive.

I’ll try to keep the plot spoilers to a minimum where I can, but you have been warned.

Laura, the runaway bride, is going to have to face her mother who happens to be on the flight. We get some hints too of Kate’s complex relationship with the matriarch as well. And, there is a bit more of flashbacks to cover the events after Kate drove her sister away from the dreaded wedding last week and more. I see the flashback formula is going to be sticking around a bit with this show, so if you aren’t a fan of it then best to grin and bare it.

Maggie shows her spitfire side again, first with the administrative shrew in charge of doing to gals' weigh-ins and later with an aggressive male passenger who wants to see how far he can go with the “coffee, tea or me” approach. I was hoping the show could go a bit longer before going to this eventual plot element, but it seems to be a possible stepping stone to more interaction between Maggie and first officer Ted so I will let it pass.

Dean, meanwhile, enlists the aid of Colette to help him in his search for Bridgette. As his flashback reveals, he is confused about an incident in the past and Bridgette’s mysterious behavior, and he needs Colette because she speaks French. Sadly, he finds out more than he bargained for, and he and Colette seem to be moving down a road that could lead to more than just friends.

Clearly Dean picked the wrong gal to talk to, for Kate’s spy mission this week helps us find more about what is going on with Bridgette. Go figure.

I definitely felt this episode lacked some of the polish and “gee whiz” aura of the first. Yes, we still get some nice costuming that gives a good sense of the early 60’s. I especially noticed the sweater/shirts the guys wear when not on duty and Laura’s very smart casual dress in Paris. And I liked the hotel/housing sets used by the Pan Am team when they’re in-between flights in Paris (another nice touch). As I said at the start, they are now settling into the weekly show budgets so some things aren’t going to be as grand as the debut.

In the final analysis, I’m not completely bored with Pan Am yet. There are some performances I am enjoying - like Karine Vanasse (Colette) and the less utilized, so far, Christina Ricci (Maggie). The sisters haven’t gotten my attention yet; Dean needs to break out of his lovelorn mode to be more interesting. I think giving it a fare shake until the November sweeps is pretty likely for me at this point.

However, if the ratings don't improve after this week's episode I'll not have to worry about making a decision.

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