PAN AM “Eastern Exposure” Review

PAN AM “Eastern Exposure” Season 1 Episode 4 – We’re off to the exotic Orient (as they said in 1963) in “Eastern Exposure,” this week’s Pan Am. After Kate’s CIA contact pulls a few strings to help her complete a mission, the flight crew is re-routed from snowy Iceland to the warm wonders of Rangoon and Jakarta.

I think Kate would be a much better spy if she was given clearer instructions. In Rangoon, she’s given a camera and told to take it to Jakarta, but nothing more specific than that. So in Jakarta, she has to cable her contact to find out exactly where to take it, but by the time she gets a reply, Laura has borrowed the camera to go out on the town with Maggie, so Kate winds up being late in getting it where it needs to go.

Of course, this was just a plot device to put Laura and Kate into conflict, but I can’t really call Kate a bad spy anymore; it’s not entirely her fault. Too bad she’s not winning the Best Sister Ever contest, either. After she lashes out at Laura for taking the camera without permission, Kate accuses her little sister of not being an adult. Laura turns to Maggie as her new role model, even going so far as to move in with her when they get back to New York. It’s an interesting friendship; I look forward to seeing innocent Laura at a beatnik poetry reading.

We learned a lot more about Ted this week. Our favorite first officer spends most of his time in Jakarta trying to get the hotel TV to work in order to see a shuttle go up into space. It turns out that his own dreams of space exploration were dashed when he was honorably discharged from the Navy after a test plane he piloted crashed. He blamed mechanical error; the Navy wasn’t willing to admit fault. Ted wound up first officer for a commercial airline. I loved the wonder and longing in his eyes as he watched the shuttle launch. So did Laura; this might be a turning point in their fledgling attraction.

His eventual conflict with Captain Dean was very well played out. Ted resents Dean for having made captain so quickly, but when their landing in Hong Kong turns into a nail-biting experience, Dean proves exactly why he was picked over someone like Ted. Dean has confidence in his piloting skills; he’s willing to take calculated risks that Ted isn’t, perhaps because of the crash that ended his Navy career. That doesn’t excuse Ted sucker-punching him, but Dean accepts the blow and after two days of awkward silence, the men are able to make up and go on flying. It was one of the most mature confrontations I’ve seen between two male characters on TV ever and I heartily approve; not every argument turns into a massive fist-fight that spans the entire length of an empty plane.

All in all, another very fun episode of Pan Am. I’m starting to really look forward to my weekly trips around the world with the team; I just hope ABC doesn’t clip their wings.

What did you think of the episode? Was Kate too hard on Laura or not hard enough? Is Maggie a good influence or a bad one? Let me know below!