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Pan Am Recap: Affairs to Remember

This week’s episode made me realize what I’ve felt has been missing all along: sex. Not seeing it, necessarily, but just knowing that it’s there, creating personal conflicts and giving the characters something to talk about besides whatever sixties social figure the show would like us to remember fondly that week.

Sometime in the recent past, Laura is in Harlem attempting to retrieve her engagement ring, which she pawned a few months earlier. Because she does not understand that pawnshops are not places that pay you for your things and then promptly hand your things back to you when you’re ready for them, Laura is shocked to hear that her ring is no longer there. Before their next flight, some undetermined time later (flashbacks!), Kate asks Laura whether she’s returned the ring yet and she gets so flustered that she steps in gum and exclaims, “Oh, cookies!” Laura continues to be more of a My Little Pony than a person.

In first class, Maggie is chatting up a handsome man, as she is wont to do. This one’s called Niko Lonza, a suave Yugoslavian gentleman. At the same time, a lady wearing an enormous fur coat just waltzes into the open cockpit to join the pilots in a discussion about cars. They’re sort of like, “ … What … is happening,” but also not super concerned because she’s hot and they never do their work. Kate, with her investigatory radar, notices a lurker in the cockpit and asks Jinny if she can help her, but the lady wants Jujubees and that is not a featured Pan Am snack, so she returns to her seat.

So it turns out that Ted keeps a stash of Jujubees in his first officer’s glove compartment — for the ladies. He tells Dean to go back and give them to Jinny. He’s like, “Dean, I think she likes you. LIKE-likes you. You’re 17 — give her a box of candy.” Dean’s like, “Yeah, nothing better to do!” Jinny has all the trappings of a maniac, so naturally Dean would pick her over the clearly superior-in-every-way Colette, who looks at him sadly through her beautiful eyelashes whenever she gets a chance. The music became weirdly grandiose when Dean handed the candy over to Jinny and I thought something more exciting might happen but nope, just Jujubees!

After landing in London and just prior to meeting her friends (and Mr. Lonza) at a bar, Kate spots Mr. Anderson sitting on a bench outside the hotel and he gives her her next mission: look for a Mr. Lonza in Monte Carlo, and snatch the fingerprints off of Lonza’s friend’s girlfriend, a Soviet agent. Kate’s like, “Hold the phone! I met him already, but Maggie called dibs.” Mr. Anderson tells her she had better get her game together and work it, girl, and get Mr. Lonza to ask her to the VIP room of the casino instead of Maggie.

At the bar, Kate takes to her job with a zeal unlike any I’ve seen from her thus far. I guess what it takes for her to succeed in the spy world are missions with dark sexy gentlemen. Mr. Lonza asks Maggie to play pool and when she coquettishly insists that he’d have to teach her, Kate swoops in like a hawk and tells him that not only does she know how to play, but she’ll win, too. Though some of her shots are mysteriously slow, she does, as an increasingly irritated Maggie looks on. There are few things I love more than scenes where a lady beats a man at his own game and he falls in love with her for it. So much like how that goes down in real life!

Dean finds lunatic Jinny waiting in the backseat of a car outside his hotel (Run!!! Dean, RUN.) and decides to make out with her through the car window. But just as things are getting truly and mindlessly enjoyable, the show thrashes us in the face with another two-second flashback to the day before, when Ted found Laura about to head out to Harlem to retrieve her ring and insisted that he go along for her safety. Ted! The lengths he’ll go to in order to woo a simple blonde with whom he has hardly spoken.

In the present and on the flight to Monte Carlo, Dean discovers that Jinny, whom he “jujubeed,” as Ted puts it, is none other than the secretary/probably-mistress of Pan Am’s vice-president, Everett Henson. After he retreats to the cockpit, Dean appears understandably shaken. He realizes that he could get in big trouble over this, and seems to promptly forget any of those concerns about ten minutes from now.

While Kate attempts to seal the deal with her hunky Yugoslavian, Maggie pops in to send her to Economy class, which is Pan Am stewardess speak for “Bitch, step off.” As she makes her way back, the plane shakes with a patch of turbulence, and the shaking clumsily transitions into the shaking subway from the flashback arc, ugh. We’re on the subway now, a day earlier. Remember? Ted and Laura are going to Harlem and Laura explains that she needs the ring back and that Greg was really a sweet guy, and Ted says something about romantics being overrated because of Anthony and Cleopatra. These two kids are a match made in heaven. I hate both of them.

The crew arrives in Monte Carlo and set about their various errands: Dean hops in a red convertible with Jinny, in the middle of the day, in front of the hotel where Mr. Henson is staying too. Colette, underutilized in this episode yet again, ogles a gorgeous green dress in the lobby. Kate hunts down Maggie and attempts to broker a deal: breakfast serving duty in exchange for giving up her date with Niko. Maggie agrees, but it turns out her date was with the charming young Irish boy she met the other night. Maggie, you conniving little minx. I 70 percent love you, 30 percent hate you. Maybe 60/40.

Dean and Jinny park the convertible in a field to giggle and blow bubbles and lie on a picnic blanket and tell each other what the clouds look like to them. They take pictures of themselves (DEAN!) and after firmly establishing that Jinny is indeed Mr. Henson’s mistress, Dean starts to make out with her yet again. Forget about Ted. I’m actually going to go ahead and ship Dean and Laura. They’ll always be blond and lost and confused together. It’ll be great.

Taken back in time yet again (mercifully, for the last time), Laura and Ted wander into the home of a man who calls himself “Shoot Man” and who isn’t eager to give up Laura’s ring for nothing. She offers him more money, but Ted warns that he’s trying to rip her off, and Shoot Man doesn’t like that, so he calls the deal off. Ted fails to understand that Laura legitimately needs the ring back, because he doesn’t have a heart. Laura doesn’t understand how to get it, because she doesn’t have a brain.

Back at the hotel, Dean realizes he’s missing his hotel key (after running into Ted in a truly bewildering striped shirt and shorts getup) and runs to ransack Mr. Henson’s car to find it. Mr. Henson finds him and gets mad that Dean’s touching his precious child, and Dean is forced to run back inside. There he finds Jinny, who got the key from the car before Everett could find it. Close call. Something tells me that it wasn’t quite close enough to make Dean learn anything, though.

Kate buys that green lobby dress and looks like a total knockout in it, so it’s no wonder that Mr. Lonza isn’t weirded out when she’s standing on the stoop conveniently right when his car arrives. He whisks her off to the casino, where she meets the Soviet spy lady, precious fingerprints obscured by elbow-length gloves. It’s nice to see Kate use her head here, as she orders red wine, spills it on Nina’s gloves, and gets her to grasp a glass of soda water. I’ll leave aside the questions about the prints’ transportation because it is really just a great step up from previous missions.

Laura stands outside the party throwing coin wishes into the fountain (“Knowledge.”) and wearing one trillion pearl necklaces. Ted wanders up and hands her the engagement ring, which he insists he’s been trying to tell her about. He reveals that he gave Shoot Man his Rolex in exchange for the ring, which is truly a very nice gesture indeed. At home, Laura brings it back to Greg and hopes to move on, probably down a few levels to whatever rung Ted hangs out on.

Niko’s impressed with Kate because he didn’t like Nina for his buddy anyway, and after getting weirdly turned on while talking about pool, they decide to go have sex. The whole thing just made me really happy for Kate. Back in New York, Richard is impressed, too — it’s not just any Pan Am stewardess that could score an invite to the Monte Carlo VIP section (is he sure about that?). Kate bounces off, overjoyed at having finally completed a somewhat logical spy mission, on her way to eat a hot dog with her hot new boyfriend, whom she definitely isn't supposed to be dating anymore. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Photo: ABC/ERIC LIEBOWITZ