The Flight Attendant Season 1, Episode 1 recap: In Case of Emergency

Kaley Cuoco in The Flight Attendant Episode 1, "In Case of Emergency" -- Photograph by Phil Caruso
Kaley Cuoco in The Flight Attendant Episode 1, "In Case of Emergency" -- Photograph by Phil Caruso /

After a one-night stand, flight attendant Cassie Bowden wakes up to a dead body beside her in The Flight Attendant Episode 1.

For more than a decade now, the name Kaley Cuoco has been synonymous with the long-running, award-winning  CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Now, Cuoco is ready to pursue other ventures, which brings us to HBO Max’s new thriller, The Flight Attendant, based on Chris Bohjalian’s book of the same name. In The Flight Attendant Episode 1, we’re introduced to Cuoco’s character Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who enjoys hardcore partying, drinking, and sex between flights.

On an average workday, Cassie’s coworkers, including her best friend Megan (Rosie Perez), ice queen Jada (Yasha Jackson), and frequently sarcastic Shane (Griffin Matthews), take bets on how late she’ll be to her shift. She’s a little messy and often puts having fun in her jet-setting lifestyle over substance. However, as we discover throughout the first episode, Cassie isn’t a bad person — she loves rescuing animals, comforts scared children on bumpy flights, and appears close with her brother Davey (played by T.R. Knight) — she’s just flighty, probably lonely, and prone to bad decision-making.

More from HBO Max

We get to see the start of her downfall before the (stunning) opening credits sequence rolls for the first time. During the flight to Bangkok, Cassie was charmed by the man in 3C, a businessman named Alex Solokov (Michael Huisman).

She and Alex flirt heavily, to the point that all of the other flight attendants notice and tease her about it. After a brief mile-high hookup in the bathroom, Alex gives her his card with his personal number scrawled across the back of it.

Once at the hotel, Cassie changes into a gorgeous gold dress and immediately meets up with Alex. From there, the night goes down in a romantic haze of alcohol and sightseeing. The pair share a wild night together, and come morning, Cassie is ready to embrace the day and perhaps spend more time with Alex. Unfortunately, their time together is cut short when she discovers that he’s dead in the bed beside her with his throat slit and blood everywhere.

Understandably, Cassie completely panics and immediately calls her friend and lawyer Annie (Zosia Mamet). She doesn’t tell her what happened but babbles about Amanda Knox and the potential similarities in their stories. Annie uses the Find My Friend app (which Cassie forgot to turn off — the result of yet a past drunken escapade) to figure out that Cassie is in Bangkok and warns her not to get arrested there since the country has “byzantine” laws.

That conversation sends Cassie into further hysterics, so she does probably the worst things she could do. She cleans up the crime scene and leaves without contacting the authorities and telling them what happened. She doesn’t scrub the entire scene, but she gets rid of a broken wine glass, which could have been the murder weapon, and tries to remove all traces of evidence that she was ever in the hotel room. Then she puts on a pair of sunglasses and wraps her head in a scarf while racing back to the airport to try and leave Bangkok as quickly as possible. If there are security cameras and footage is pulled, she’s going to look mighty suspicious.

It’s immediately obvious to Megan that Cassie is acting weird on their flight to Seoul. She panics over an arbitrary delay and mistakenly serves the air marshall onboard vodka instead of soda, in addition to being paranoid that he’s been watching her the entire flight.

By the time they land, Alex’s body has been discovered after a mysterious woman makes a phone call to the hotel and asks that they send housekeeping to check on him. When Cassie and the others land in Seoul, the news is already out there that Alex Solokov was murdered. They wonder how Cassie feels about it since it was obviously the man in 3C. She pretends not to know what they’re talking about and tries to make them all believe that she never saw Alex after their flight landed.

That night, Cassie is more interested in taking refuge in her hotel room than hanging out with her friends. Alone, she tries to pull herself together and embrace the fact that she’s out of Bangkok and moving on. But then she realizes that her ID card is missing, and she has Alex’s copy of the book Crime and Punishment in her purse. If she left her ID card in Alex’s room, she’s screwed.

Her foibles start catching up with her when FBI agents Kim Hammond (Merle Dandridge) and Van White (Nolan Gerard Funk) ask Megan, Jada, Shane and Cassie to stay behind after their next flight for questioning since they were the flight attendants working Alex’s section on his final flight. Cassie, stupidly, decides it would be a good idea to try and evade the interview altogether by feeling the area. The airport security catches up to her, and she immediately gets off to a weird start in her own interview with the FBI agents.

They want to know if Cassie saw Alex after his flight landed if she can give them more intel on what he was doing in Bangkok.

The Flight Attendant Episode 1
Michiel Huisman in The Flight Attendant Episode 1, “In Case of Emergency” — Photograph by Phil Caruso /

The Flight Attendant Episode 1 recap: Cassie is haunted by hallucinations of Alex.

Throughout The Flight Attendant Episode 1, Cassie enters a hallucinatory state inside of her mind that composes the hotel room where she and Alex spent the night together and where she later found his body. The purpose of these interludes is to give the audience some insight into Cassie’s mindset on that fateful night as the vision of Alex in Cassie’s head tries to help her remember what happened despite the fact she was nearly blackout drunk. (And, let’s be honest, these scenes were likely crafted, so we could all benefit from seeing more of Huisman on our screens after killing him off so soon.)

During the hour we get brief flashes of her night with Alex as they traipsed through Bangkok together. In the final moments of the episode, the Alex in her head suggests that she might remember more from that night than she thinks she does. She recalls a dinner where Alex fed her squid ink pasta and said that one of his business associates would be meeting up with them later. “There was someone else there.” Seated at the table is the blurry silhouette of a woman, possibly the same one who called the hotel and toppled the first domino.

Next. 8 best Apple TV Plus shows currently streaming. dark

What did you think about The Flight Attendant Episode 1? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

The first five episodes of The Flight Attendant are now streaming on HBO Max. New episodes release on Thursdays.