For Pan Am’s fifth outing, we return to Europe, and after a brief layover in London the story moves to Monte Carlo, where very little of note happens and I spend a lot of time trying very hard not to nod off.
Our story begins with Laura (Margot Robbie), visiting a pawn shop, trying to get back her engagement ring after having pawned it. She plans to return it to her ex-fiancée; a plan which falls apart when she finds out it was already sold.
We then go up in the air, where a mysterious woman in a mink coat charms her way into the cockpit. Ah, yes, pre-9/11 airlines. She trades witty banter with the men while giving Captain Dean (Mike Vogel), more than a few suggestive looks. It is something of a no-brainer that the two will eventually hook-up. That this happens before he finds out that she’s the mistress of a Pan Am vice president is just a little spice.
Meantime, Kate (Kelli Garner), rendezvouses with Mister Anderson, her CIA contact in London. He sends her on a little mission to get the fingerprints of an Italian woman spying for the Soviets. We also learn that she’s not currently being paid.
It wouldn’t be a Pan Am episode without another pointless and annoying flashback, and this time it’s to Laura and Ted (Michael Mosley), going on an adventure to Harlem to find the man who bought her engagement ring.
Despite all these potentially interesting plots, I found this episode to be flat-out boring. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was just dull. Nothing engaged me about the plot, and I felt at several points there were some real missed opportunities, like doing something to show the racism that existed in the 1960s. There’s some vague hints, but nothing big, and when you’ve got two white characters visiting Harlem, one would think there would be plenty of room.
I also really failed to get into the spy story, and I’m entirely convinced that the best thing they could do with it at this point is toss it aside. It doesn’t do anything to add to the storyline or to Kate’s character, and it leaves me asking questions like, “Don’t they have people they hire and train specifically for jobs like this? Why haven’t they hauled her off to Langley for a week or two for training? And why isn’t she getting paid?” Oh, and I was also really unimpressed with the fact that the spy story managed to work in a flashback from something we’d seen earlier in the show. Yes, it was a flashback to about twenty minutes of screen time earlier.
But anyhow, at least that storyline did have me asking those skeptical questions of mine, which meant there was something there, however weak. Captain Dean’s dalliances with a VP’s mistress wasn’t really interesting, nor was Laura and Ted’s story, the resolution to which had me rolling my eyes big time.
On a more positive note, the show’s production values continue to be top-notch, and it is definitely one of the best looking things on TV these days. Ultimately, though, it needs to be more than just nice visuals, and so far I’m not seeing anything that would make me continue to watch the show if I wasn’t reviewing it.