PAN AM “The Genuine Article” Review


PAN AM “The Genuine Article” Season 1 Episode 6 – For anyone who wanted to know more about Maggie, this week’s Pan Am, “The Genuine Article,” answered a whole lot of questions about the bad girl, beatnik stewardess…and she is anything but genuine.

In a series of flashbacks, we learn that Maggie was a scrappy waitress who hopped a truck to a better life as a registrar secretary at Berkeley. From there, she was able to educate herself a bit by attending the classes other students dropped until she was inevitably caught and forced to flee. She turned to Pan Am and with an elaborate set of lies that included knowing Portuguese, faked her way into a job.

While a lot of these scenes were over the top and heavy-handed, I actually really approve of these revelations. You wanted to root for Maggie, just as literary history has wanted to root for the title character in her favorite book, The Great Gatsby, but by the end of the episode, Maggie emerges as a character you absolutely can’t defend anymore. She is willing to do anything, sacrifice anyone to save herself.

Because when her job is threatened, not only does she shamelessly try to butt in on Laura’s photo shoot with Time magazine, she commits the ultimate betrayal by revealing Captain Dean’s affair with the Pan Am VP’s mistress to the VP himself. Even at the end, as she sits alone at Pan Am headquarters, trying to learn Portuguese, you can tell that she knows she went too far.

It’s good to have characters like this. Not a straight-out villain, but certainly morally compromised in comparison to sickeningly honest characters like Laura. Now that Laura knows some of Maggie’s secrets, will she be able to keep her mouth shut? I somehow doubt it.

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Dean (as sorry as you can be for a golden fly-boy having hot sex with a gorgeous woman). He never meant to have an affair, just a fling, and he really did try to get the mistress to leave him alone in Rio. But he should have known better than to have personal conversations in the middle of the airplane, within hearing distance of the stewardesses. We didn’t get to see the fall out from Maggie’s disclosure, but we can assume it won’t be pretty for Dean and might even be the thing that puts Ted in the pilot’s seat.

Meanwhile, Kate is grounded by some government manipulations in order to spend some quality time with Niko, her Yugoslavian diplomat hottie. She’s ordered to get him to talk about his political leanings and learns that he’s no fan of his Communist government. Upon hearing this, her CIA contact instructs her to start softening him up to become a spy for the US. Kate is appropriately horrified by the suggestion; she’s barely been able to perform minor courier duties without threatening the entire Cold War. How is she ever going to get a man to betray his country?

It would just be cruel of ABC to cancel Pan Am now, six episodes in. I like these characters; I enjoy our trips together. Is the show perfect? No, but very, very few shows ever have a flawless freshman season. Forgive me for this metaphor, but like a plane taking off, it sometimes requires time to gain enough momentum to take flight. Given the chance, I think Pan Am could pull it off.

What did you think about the episode? Did Maggie go too far? What will the fall out be? Will Colette ever get more than a few random lines again? Let me know below!