Pan Am Review: Grace Under Pressure

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I don't know if "Unscheduled Departure" was the best title, because this installment of Pan Am featured more of an unscheduled landing that got the crew into trouble, but it was an interesting episode that showed the heart of all of our characters.

It's always fun to dig into the regulars and the guest stars in a tense situation, just to see what they're made of.

Aaron Diaz on Pan Am

Hurricane Ginny has nothing on Haitian society!
When sweet passenger Henry has a heart attack, the flight stops in Port-Au-Prince to try to find medical attention. The hurricane did a job on the runway, but it was guerrillas who were ripping the heart out of Haiti. Not much has changed. Ted and Colette paid off some locals for a jeep to get to a doctor, but all he could provide was one nitroglycerine pill.

Much to Ted's dismay, Colette has promised asylum to a local girl who's family was butchered. Ted has become the comic relief of the team. His rambling about what America should have done in Haiti and that pink flamingos bite were the perfect nervous responses to their situation. Michael Mosley can work a scene with any actor to perfection.

The hurricane made a mess of the runway, leaving it 500 feet short for a 707 to lift off. It would be pretty frightening, as a passenger, to know that every pound counted for the plane to take off from a war-ravaged country. Some of the passengers took it with sarcastic humor (Do you want us to push?), while others were nasty and undignified.

The handsome guest star playing Mr. Ortiz had grand bravado, but little Maggie cut him down to size when two armed gunmen came aboard and he almost lost it. Laura, speaking French, learned the men were just hungry. It's hard to tell who is who when you don't know the area, but it sure doesn't hurt to ask before jumping to conclusions.

It didn't help that Sanjeev was on vacation and the pilots were saddled with a smart aleck who wasn't interested in their MacGyver way of staying in the air. Or getting in the air. It was pretty tense as the guerrillas pulled up to the aircraft and they took off. But our trusty crew came through again. Dean and Ted made quite the team,. The former has clearly earned the latter's respect. 

Dog eat dog
Well, they didn't exactly start devouring their own, but when it came time to decide what stayed on the plane and what was left behind, Kate made a decision for the late Henry. His desire for his trip to Caracas was to help others. Kate knew if he could make it himself, her decision would stand. They would leave his body behind and take the Haitian girl in his place.

Kate finally had an opportunity to call in one of the many favors Richard owes her, and he promised to get a foster home and passport for the girl they rescued. Meanwhile, the stewardesses covered for each other and none of them were held accountable for the difficult choices made during their uncommon experience.

One question arose from this episode: What did that kiss between Colette and Dean mean to their future working relationship? All I know is we have to wait until December 4 to find out anything! Until then, keep your seat belt buckled.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (96 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Love the show so far! It just keeps getting better and better... :)
@Manuel - Such an ignorant thing to say! Im sure that "little mexican" can spell better than you can idiot!


@T123 They couldn't go to Puerto Rico because the hurricane was headed that way if I remember correctly. It had already passed over Haiti.


Whaddaya mean you don't know if "unscheduled departure" was the best title for this episode? You didn't get that Henry's "departure" was the unscheduled departure?


I am a fan of the show, but I agree with those who thought the premise of was unbelievable. This just would not have happened. Land a Pan Am jet in war-torn Haiti to save a passenger that had a heart attack. . .please! I guess it gave the writers the excuse to talk about Papa Doc. The 60's were an excititing time in our history, so much was happening like in last week's episode, and there are more believable plots the writers could explore. But still love the characters, especially Kate and Collette.


I like the show, but honestly, the writing gets more contrived and less credible every week. For example, this week it glossed over the sheer idiocy and criminal recklessness of a pilot risking his aircraft, passengers and crew in a war zone just for the slim chance of saving one sick passenger, who might have survived anyway. And the character who cast aspersions on this moronic decision is portrayed as a hysterical coward. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.


I seriously love this show, and this episode was no exception! Like a lot of you guys, I'm getting worried about renewal (or even a full season, for that matter). I don't watch ABC much, but does this show ever get promoted? I mean, you see previews for shows like Revenge and Desperate Housewives all week, but the only time I've seen Pan Am previews is right after the show. Come on ABC, remind people it's on - then maybe it will have higher viewer numbers so we can get more great story!


I know I said it last week already. But what the hell, the show keeps getting better and better. THE BEST EPISODE SO FAAAR!


OUTSTANDING new show. LOVE it!


Show is getting better! Feel like we are getting to know the characters as the season progresses. Guess I am a stickler for details though. Who moved the rampstand before takeoff? In one scene rear of 707 engines are absent of daisy pedals. On takeoff they appear. Still great fun to watch! Hoping for a second season renewal!


I'm already completely in love with this show, and it's only been eight episodes! It would be so sad if it didn't get renewed, since it has become my favourite new show this season.

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Pan Am Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Flamingos bite. They do. I mean, they're very pretty, and..and..and pink. But when they bite, they break the flesh.


She's waiting for Mr. Right. She's very patient.