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US TV Recap

'Pan Am': 'New Frontiers' recap

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'Pan Am' (ABC)

© ABC

Season 1, episode 12 | Aired Monday, Jan 23 2012 at 11:25 GMT on BBC Two

It feels like I begin every Pan Am recap along the lines of: "It gets no viewers, critics think it's rubbish but hey, I like it." But when you get an enjoyable episode like this - admittedly not perfect, and in places beyond silly, but a fun way to spend an hour - how else are you supposed to respond?

We open with Kate, who's being taught the art of pick-pocketing by Richard in Central Park. In what'll turn out to be one of her most simple but entertaining missions yet, she's going to have to attend an ambassador's party in Rome and take a microfilm of stolen American rocket plans from her target's pocket before he hands it over to the Soviets.

It's almost time for the flight to Rome, but Dean's still mooning over Colette. After some wise words from none other than Ted (guess the whole 'engaged' thing has changed him), he resolves never to give up. But on the plane, Colette's refusing to speak to him, even though Dean begs for a chance to make things right. What's more, Colette's asked for a transfer.

Things take a turn for the worse when a mysterious passenger shows up just in time for the flight - he'd been "wandering around the cargo area", according to Kate. The man, Omar, booked the flight that morning and doesn't even have any luggage. But Colette takes an instant shine to him and flirts with him all the way to Rome, much to Dean's annoyance.

Pan Am S01E01

© ABC



When they land, Dean has even more reason to get on his high horse - he's confronted by customs officials who have found smuggled cigarettes in the cargo. If they don't find the culprit, Dean will be in trouble. Are there any suspicious passengers travelling alone, with no luggage, perchance? Hmm...

Colette and Omar are having a great time in Rome, by the way, and Omar invites her to dinner. But Colette has to go to the party at the ambassador's residence. Just at that moment, Dean arrives to break up their date. He's still suspicious about Omar, and Colette's so annoyed that she ends up inviting Omar to the party with her.

Meanwhile, Maggie agrees against her will to go to dinner with creepy Broyles, who has a proposal for her (she only really goes because it's JFK's favourite Rome restaurant). It turns out that he wants her to join him in his smuggling racket - he needs a partner and she can help him smuggle things onto planes. But will Maggie agree?

Time for the party, and Kate soon spots Allesandro. She knocks into him accidentally and expertly picks his pocket (she's been practising all day, and apparently it's beginning to pay off - I suppose the flirting doesn't hurt). But she soon discovers that all she's managed to steal is a lighter.

Pan Am s01e12: New Frontiers

© ABC



There's a second false alarm when she successfully picks his pocket, but ends up with a pen. Still, she also gets his cloakroom ticket, so decides to do a bit of jacket-pinching. That would be a great plan, except that Allesandro shows up and offers to walk her outside. Kate's quick, though, and drops the ticket on the floor.

When Allesandro gets his coat back, Kate helps him with it and, of course, steals the microfilm of rocket plans from the pocket, before pretending she left her own ticket in the powder room and saying goodbye. Her little grin of: "Gotcha" when she looks at her prize is a cheery moment.

She's not the only one up to some covert stuff - Broyles wants to know whether Maggie's made her mind up about smuggling with him. Maggie's not convinced that she should be profiting from others' misery (Broyles smuggles all sorts, like medicine, not just cigarettes), but Broyles threatens to tell Dean that she snitched on him about his affair with Everett Henson's mistress.

Pan Am S01E01

© ABC



But eventually Maggie does what we all knew she would, and rejects Broyles's offer, even though he warns that he could ruin her Pan Am career. Basically, she just wants to prove she's nothing like him. But I'm a bit disappointed - it would have been fun to have Maggie and Kate both being on secret missions. Maybe after that ending...

We're not there yet, though. Colette and Omar are dancing, but Dean shows up with some police officers, dramatically announcing: "That's him!" Unfortunately, they're not there to arrest Omar - instead, it turns out that he's a Prince that has been missing for a few days. I know. The best thing to do is forget about realism when you're watching Pan Am. (Funnily enough, this wasn't even the bit of the episode that made me go, 'Yeah, right'. It's only thinking about it now.)

Anyway, Colette's kind of taken with the idea of dating a prince - it turns out Omar felt like a break from the Royal Palace. He has to leave, but not before inviting her to dine at the White House with him in a week's time. Who could turn that offer down?

Pan Am s01e12: New Frontiers

© ABC



Dean retreats to lick his wounds, but he's still confused about who the smuggler is. After a chat with a customs officer, he puts two and two together - Broyles! Instead of confronting him, though, he heads straight over and punches him. Brilliant. Then he just has to apologise to Colette, saying he knows now that he can no longer protect her. Colette kisses him on the cheek - all is well again!

But that's not all that's going on - let's return to New York. Laura's surprised when someone recognises her in Central Park... for her nude photos. Discovering that they've ended up in a gallery in the Village, she's horrified, and heads straight there to get them taken down.

Everyone's praising the photos (there's an awful lot of stuff about the photos being empowering and transcendent and changing how you feel). But the gallery owner admits he can't take them down - he has a contract. He reveals that he's already got an offer for them (and for a lot of money) but agrees to sell them to Laura for his cost price if she gets the money to him that day. The only problem is, it's $500...

Pan Am cast

© ABC



Elsewhere, before Maggie flies to Rome, Amanda goes to see her to apologise for kissing her and check that she's not planning to tell Ted anything. Maggie promises to keep her secret, but it turns out Maggie's the worst secret-keeper ever, because she can't help but blurt it out the next time she sees Ted.

Ted refuses to believe the kiss happened and Maggie claims that she was joking - though not very convincingly, because it plays on Ted's mind the whole time he spends with Amanda. But when he tries to talk to her about "honesty", she distracts him with a kiss. Nice work.

But later, Laura comes over in desperation to borrow the money. As Ted takes the call, Laura admits to Amanda that she needs the cash, and Amanda immediately hands her a cheque ("an investment in friendship", which isn't weird at all). Laura's hugely relieved and hugs her... though as Ted watches the embrace, he only becomes more concerned.

Pan Am s01e12: New Frontiers

© ABC



Laura returns to the gallery, but she's not alone - loads of people are there, and they're all praising her for her photos. One of them's even a critic for the Village Voice! And then Laura hears that the buyer asked to meet her... but who is it? Only Andy Warhol!

I'll admit it, this is when my eyes started doing some serious rolling. Really? But you know what? I'll go with it. Slightly more concerning is that Laura's objections to the photographs suddenly disappear and she agrees to meet Andy. Oh my. The sudden change of heart disappointed me slightly, I'll admit. I wish Laura had stuck to her guns instead of being won over by some praise and celebrity.

Let's return to Ted, though, who's worried that he doesn't actually know anything about Amanda. And when he suggests that she looked more comfortable with Laura, Amanda denies it... and then takes it further than a kiss and distracts him with sex, claiming she can't wait any longer. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an awkwardly disappointing experience all round.

They meet the next day in the park and Amanda promises that things will get better - they can build on their marriage. But Ted's reached the end of his tether and says they can't have a marriage without honesty. Finally, Amanda admits that she's more comfortable with women. Her confusion about this was touching - things were, after all, different in the '60s and I can't imagine Amanda knew an awful lot about sexuality.

Pan Am s01e12: New Frontiers

© ABC



Anyway, Amanda's got an offer for Ted - they'll get married and have each other, but they can also have whoever else they want as well. Now that's modern - who doesn't want an open marriage, right? What's more, she knows he's in love with Laura. But before Ted can answer, there's a commotion at a hotdog stand...

You guessed it - the moment that Pan Am feels like it's been building towards is finally here. We see all the stewardesses and pilots - whether it's Ted in the park or Laura in the gallery or Colette and Dean at the Pan Am headquarters - hearing the news of the assassination attempt on JFK.

He's still alive, so we hear Maggie murmuring: "He'll be fine. He has to be fine." But of course, we all know that he won't be fine... what kind of an impact will that have? It's a brilliant moment to end the episode on... a cliffhanger where we know the outcome, but the characters don't.

So there you go - another enjoyable and entertaining episode of Pan Am. Sure, it has ridiculous plot moments - the Prince, Andy Warhol - but I've come to accept those in Pan Am, and see them all as part of the fun. Suspend your disbelief, and you can have a great time. It'll certainly be a shame when Pan Am is almost inevitably grounded in a few weeks...

Plane Speaking
  • I love that when Amanda apologised to Maggie, the goodbye hug was just that little bit too long.
  • We already knew that Maggie was a JFK fangirl - did we need her sitting with all her badges and memorabilia? It was a little obvious how the episode would end.
  • "It's technically possible to love three women but I'm not going into specifics." Ugh, Ted. Ugh.
  • "That's the only rational thing you've said all day. Good, then I've met my quota."
  • I really enjoyed Kate's attempts to practise pickpocketing on Maggie and Dean... then getting distracted and messing it up. The best one was definitely when she tried it on Maggie and distracted her by stroking her hair, causing Maggie to despair that she's giving off "the girl signal". "Is it my posture?"
  • I think this might have been my favourite of Kate's spying missions, actually - it was so simple, but allowed for a lot of humour and was also just tense enough.
  • Andy Warhol? Really? I know I said this already, but...
  • I'm interested to see how Maggie reacts to the assassination of JFK. I have a feeling it's not going to be pretty... Do we think she'll join forces with Broyles?
  • I did really enjoy Amanda and Ted's post-coital awkwardness. "It's my fault." "No, it was... nice."
What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!

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