The Reykjavik Ice Sculpture Festival is Lovely This Time of Year sees Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) attempting to decipher the Snapchat emoji message an in-distress Megan (Rosie Perez) sent to her son. It was her last form of contact with anyone. With some smart sleuthing work, Cassie deduces that Megan is asking her to bring the mysterious puffin keychain to Iceland where Megan is in serious danger.
Cassie hops on a last minute plane to Iceland by blackmailing a fellow Imperial Airlines flight attendant into giving up her jumpseat. The only issue is that the desk agent didn’t update the name on the ticket or flight log, so now Cassie is flying internationally under a false identity.
After arriving in Reykjavik, Cassie visits places she and Megan used to frequent together during their layovers. It’s difficult for Cassie for two reasons. First, she’s worried about the safety of her friend. Secondly, many of the places they used to go are bars and Cassie is now sober. She’s met with flashbacks to her wild party days.
When trying to pay for food at a restaurant, Cassie’s card comes back declined. She gets an alert from her bank that someone is making large purchases at a hardware store. Chains, rope, trash bags, duct tape, and a knife all purchased by a blonde woman. Could this be the woman who stole Cassie’s identity?
Cassie’s paranoia spirals and sends her to a dark place. The alcohol in the hotel mini bar mixed with her memories of fun drunken nights out with Megan in Iceland make it very hard for Cassie to stay on track with her sobriety. She garners the strength to leave her hotel room and goes to a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. There, a man describes befriending someone who matches Megan’s description perfectly.
Based on the information from the man at AA, Cassie is able to track down Megan, but Megan insists she’s not in any danger. In fact, by Cassie finding her, Megan is convinced that they are now more in danger than ever before.
Ani (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Deniz Akdeniz) are still at Cassie’s house in Los Angeles trying to decipher the pictures from the ViewMaster. Their every action is being watched by a secretive pair. The audience first saw this unnamed couple bump into Cassie in a hotel in Berlin. Then, they appeared as people renting out Cassie’s neighbor’s house through Airbnb. Cassie’s neighbors aren’t actually renting their home out and this pair has them tied up in a closet. They’ve put listening devices in Cassie’s house so they can keep tabs on what Ani and Max are saying.
Max takes Ani to meet his parents for the first time. His dad shows Ani an old car that he’s refurbishing in the garage. She immediately recognizes the license plate from the first picture in the ViewMaster. Ani calls in a favor from a friend she knows from work and asks her to track down who the license plate is registered to. Her friend says it’s a German license plate and sends a photo of a car that was involved in the bombing in Berlin.
Moments after Ani and Max get home, they are attacked by the mysterious couple. They knock out Ani and Max with chloroform and begin to search Cassie’s house as the episode ends.
Blue Sincerely Reunion reveals that Cassie horribly misunderstood the Snapchat emoji message. Megan never intended for Cassie to come to Iceland. Instead, she was just asking Cassie to take the puffin keychain to their friend, Cherri, who works at the Queen Strip Club on Long Island. The key unlocks a box that has evidence on the North Koreans that Megan is hoping to use as leverage to no longer live on the run. The North Koreans have put out a reward for half a million dollars for anyone who brings Megan to the North Koreans.
Since being on the lam, Megan has started a relationship with Charlie (Margaret Cho), a black market tuna fisher. They’re aware of someone trying to kidnap Megan, so they have a plan to kill him tonight. They collected poisonous mushrooms to put in his whiskey. Megan and Cassie hide while Charlie serves him the drink. Just as he’s about to take a sip, Cassie’s phone goes off. He pulls his gun and runs to where the sound is coming from. Before he can pull the trigger on Megan and Cassie, he’s stabbed in the back by Cassie’s unlikely first season friend, Miranda (Michelle Gomez).
Miranda and her partner, Cecilia (Briana Cuoco), help Charlie, Megan, and Cassie escape by boarding a tourist bus to a spa lagoon. When they arrive, the group finds out they are being followed because Cecilia sold them out for the bounty on Megan. To avoid these incoming adversaries, they steal a docked boat before boarding a helicopter that Cecilia set up. When the helicopter lands, Charlie and Megan must part ways so Megan can stay safe. Charlie gives Megan her necklace, a bundle of cash, and some poisonous mushroom powder to remember her by.
Back in California, Ani and Max slowly wake up from being drugged. The still unnamed couple is adamant that Ani and Max know where Cassie is and that she’s in the states. They’ve checked passenger lists for all flights and there’s no record of Cassie leaving the country. The pair says they’re after Cassie because of a bounty on her head. As the woman is about to begin torturing Max, the man discovers the postmarked envelope from Iceland from Megan. They now know that their next stop is Reykjavik and offhandedly mention that they are in contact with the North Koreans who want Megan dead.
The audience is given another glimpse of the blonde woman impersonating Cassie. This time, she’s at the park from the ViewMaster at night with a bloody knife. There’s still mystery surrounding what she looks like and if she is behind the confusing pictures on the ViewMaster. It’s clear that the knife was the one purchased using Cassie’s credit card at the hardware store.
Megan (now living as Hildegard thanks to a fake passport provided by Miranda), Cassie, and Miranda are on a private jet back to Los Angeles. When they land, they see a local news broadcast doing a special report on the two recent murders in Echo Park. The same park from the ViewMaster. The bodies were found in the lake, wrapped in heavy tarp, and weighed down by chains. In the news footage, Cassie sees the same man who was watching her in Berlin when the car exploded.
With all of these coincidences piling up, Cassie goes to visit her contact at the CIA, Benjamin (Mo McRae). She finds him drinking alone in his office because the victims of the Echo Park murders were two of his analysts. Benjamin tells her that he’s growing frustrated with the CIA and wants to burn it all down from the inside. Perhaps from her exhaustion from these mysteries and desperate to have some control over her life, she kisses Benjamin and the two have sex as the episode ends.
The performance by Cuoco in these two episodes proves that The Flight Attendant is more than capable of going beyond being a breezy, murder mystery show. Cuoco’s ability to crack jokes (especially the winking joke to Cecilia who is portrayed by her real-life sister) and perform nuanced scenes about the struggles with staying sober solidifies her as a strong lead. The tangled web she’s weaving and desperately trying to solve remains immensely compelling. It’s funny, tough, and mysterious. Most impressively, it’s balanced extraordinarily well. Returning with a second season and managing to maintain the same tone without rethreading a similar story is a high wire act. The Flight Attendant season two’s first four episodes proves they are more than up to the challenge.