Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Pan Am” SnapCap (1.08)


Jeepers H. Christmas, that was an intense hour of Sunday night television. I’m so used to Pan Am being froofy escapism — which I love, by the way — I wasn’t ready to see this crew make an emergency landing in an unfriendly third world country to try to save that guy from Up from his heart attack. And I also wasn’t expecting him to die. And I also wasn’t expecting some rebels to try to take a whole plane of passengers hostage. I was, however, expecting my darling Collete’s return to be triumphant, — and oh, it was!


Let’s talk about Collette for a second, shall we? Which part was best: When she offered to fly the plane? When she barked at the Port Au Prince airport to turn on their damn landing lights? When she bucked up against some dudes with machine guns and then volunteered to take that Jeep into the jungle by herself to find a doctor? Or when she rescued the refuge? I mean, even Captain Dean glows in sweet Collette’s presence. She’s such a tenderhearted badass I can hardly handle it. Is she AfterEllen bait? I don’t know, but she’s sure as hell Heather Hogan bait.


I was literally gripping my chair all the way through the first two commercial breaks. I feel like this is the show Pan Am wants to be: exciting, unpredictable, romantic, and full of heroism. Yeah, things got a little overwrought and cheese-tastic there at the end — it’s Sunday night on ABC, man — but overall, “Unscheduled Departure” had me in its soapy grasp. Also, that show of female solidarity at the end when Maggie, Kate, Laura and Collette all took responsibility for bringing a stowaway on board? Grrrl power solidarity forever!


I loved how Maggie and Laura were all giggles and flirtatiousness until the time came to get serious, and then both of them were ready to toss their Venezuelan playboy buddy from the plane for being a twat. It’s all fun and games until Carl Fredrickson’s in trouble, and then these stewardesses morph into superheroes. Now that I’m thinking about it, this episode felt sort of like a B-movie, like a comic book, and I love that kind of thing, so no wonder I’m gushing.


Not much to say this week, other than the writers painted a pretty unflattering picture of Haiti in the ’60s, and while Haiti’s relationship with the Kennedy administration was certainly tempestuous, I’m not sure the whole one-note-band-of-hooligans thing was very fair. But then again, most of Pan Am‘s guest characters are one-note, so I suppose they weren’t singling out Haitians.

What did you think of “Unscheduled Departure”? How great was it to see Collete back in full force this week?

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