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Pan Am Recap: Social Climbing Is a Dirty Business

It was only a matter of time before a Pan Am lady ended up in a Pan Am pilot’s outfit after a romantic night together, and it’s not too surprising that that lady turned out to be Crazy Ginny. Dean apparently spent the night at her place and wakes up to a picture of her and his boss on the nightstand. He’s like, “OOPS, I did it again. Got lost in the game.”

Aside from those two nutty lovebirds, this week’s episode is largely about Maggie, who starts it off in trouble. She’s placed on suspension for mouthing off to Miss Havemeyer, but manages to talk her way out of being booted from her flight to Rio de Janeiro by reminding everyone that she speaks Portuguese. On her way out of her scolding, Laura stops her from stepping into this little tray of paint sitting on the floor for no reason. “You almost stepped in it,” Laura says. Get it?! The paint symbolizes the problems that Maggie STEPS into.

Maggie gets to go to Rio, but Kate does not, as her smallpox vaccine records are missing. It’s just as well, because her “plumber” called in about her “leaky” “pipe.” (Hint: The plumber is Richard, from the CIA! I know, you did not see that coming.) Before heading out, Kate takes a couple of minutes to rag on her little sister, who’s being photographed for LIFE magazine yet again. Maggie notices, too, and thinks a few good pictures would be good for her relations with Pan Am. It’s hard not to notice that Maggie, as the presumed “feminist stewardess” of the show, sure likes to cash in all her favors with influential men. But are there reasons? From her past, maybe? (Sort of.)

In 1959, Maggie was just a waitress with bangs in Tacoma, Washington. She just wants to get out of this town, and she makes that fact known to anyone who can hear her, including a truck driver customer who leaves her a three-cent tip. When she runs outside to yell at him, he tells her that the shitty tip was meant to be her motivation to get out of Tacoma. (… Thanks?) Maggie has an epiphany and runs after the truck driver, literally leaping onto his semi screaming “I’M GOING WITH YOU.” Ugh, I hope he only took her so far as Montana.

Back in the present, Richard explains to Kate that her boyfriend is more than just a hot Yugoslav: He’s a hot Yugoslavian with connections. He serves as a diplomat under Tito’s Communist regime and has a trip to the motherland planned for the upcoming week. Richard wants to know more and so he asks Kate to get the information at an amusement park. Even Kate’s like, “Seriously, I could’ve just asked him in bed later, ha-ha,” but Richard is like, “Your code word is ‘cotton candy.’ Say it three times if you’re in danger.”

On the flight to Rio, Maggie tries to sweet-talk the photographer into following her and Laura around Rio for some pictures, while probably planning to push Laura out of every single one of them. While she tries to talk a reluctant Laura into just modeling for the poor guy, Ginny pops out of the restroom like a very scary maniac covered in animal furs. She strolls right into the cockpit (they really need to get a lock for that thing) to hang out, and reveals that she’s meeting her “boss,” VP Henson, down in Rio. Dean finds this terrifying, all of a sudden. Dean, come here for a second. I want to talk to you about your reactions, and why it takes you so long to have them.

At the amusement park, Kate tries to get Niko to spill the goods by pretending to read his palm and telling him that she can see he has “a secret.” She’s like, “Anything to do with Communism? Your palm looks a little Communist-y.” Niko does have a secret, but get this: It’s that he totally loves Kate. “My mind is full of you,” he says. “You follow me like a ghost.” Creeeepy! Kate likes it, though. They make out, accompanied by some extremely sickening orchestra music. It’s too much. Really.

After landing in Rio, Dean finds that Ginny the maniac is staying right next door to him. He’s a little pissed, but he also insists on unlocking her door for her, because he’s not a goddamn Neanderthal. Dean is mad at Ginny for not telling him that Henson would be in Rio and insists that they keep their affair confined to American territory. Ginny does not seem totally onboard with this plan, but Dean does not notice the glimmer of evil in her eyes, or that dead animals are always around her neck.

Laura and Maggie take to the markets to find an alligator bag for Kate, as Maggie tries to placate the photographer. She harasses a stand owner into giving Kate a real alligator bag for “plastic prices,” because she’s Pan Am and she can tell her passengers not to go to his specific stand ever if he doesn’t help them out. Sometimes I think Maggie confuses name-dropping Pan Am with name-dropping the FBI. In any case, we flash back to her years as an employee of the Berkeley registrar’s office, where on the very first day a Pan Am stewardess sauntered into the office to explain to Maggie why she should want to be one, too. Maggie also decides to take on the young woman’s dropped literature class, along with many, many others. There is something to be said for that kind of determination, I suppose, but mostly it just seems like Maggie is really terrible at rules.

After buying her sister’s bag, Laura is shocked to find that it wasn’t lovingly hand-stitched by the stand owner but was likely stolen. Right then, the cops show up, and the ladies are whisked away to jail. Laura freaks out and asks Maggie the Portuguese Expert to fix everything, and that’s when Maggie is forced to confess the most shameful secret of all the shameful secrets that a Pan Am stewardess hath ever kept: She doesn’t really know Portuguese. Laura is so disgusted that she practically throws up. This makes Maggie remember a time back in “college,” when one of her professors realized that she’d been sitting in on classes without paying and encouraged her to use her ability to be a filthy liar for something good someday. So far, she’s not doing great. But that was only like, two years ago. These things take time, or else completely different personalities.

On the other end of town, Dean and Colette have sat down to a super-uncomfortable dinner with Ginny and Everett Henson. Ginny comes as close to banging Dean with words as any woman has ever come, and Everett may or may not have noticed — when Ginny steps away to the restroom and Colette follows (hopefully to tell her to cool it), he tells Dean that he loves Ginny and guesses Dean can understand why. Dean takes a moment to take a guilty gulp of his drink.

Kate and Niko are in a bar watching Martin Luther King Jr. deliver a speech on TV. Niko tells her that he admires King, and that he doesn’t find hope in Yugoslavia’s future like he does in America’s. They get up to play the jukebox, and Niko’s suggestion to play “Walk Like a Man” makes him get all teary-eyed thinking of … other brave men, or something. So they make out again, but it’s sad making out. Later he learns that his cousin is being put on a show trial back in Yugoslavia and that he needs to fly to Belgrade to help him, and Kate tells him that her mind is full of him, too. Gross! But also nice, I guess.

Back in the clink, Ted shows up to rescue Laura and Maggie. Ted bribes the officers into letting the women go, and as Maggie starts to fear what this arrest will do for her job with Pan Am, she looks back on the way she talked herself into it in the first place. Maggie showed up late for her interview with an absurd story about single-handedly saving the lives of lumberjacks, and the interviewers ate it up. Other people must hear Maggie differently than I do.

On their flight back to New York, Laura is still furious at Maggie for the Portuguese Incident and demands an apology. Maggie explains that she’s a pathological liar/manipulator because nobody ever had any expectations of her … so she wants to make sure no one ever does, I guess? She knows, though, that Pan Am is it for her, and so she’s desperate to stay. Desperate enough to turn in her pal Dean for sleeping with the vice-president’s mistress? Yes, actually. She overhears Ginny confess to Dean that she’s fallen in love (say WHAT!) and runs off to tell Everett, saving her own ass and handing everyone else’s to them in the process. Just like she always does.

Meanwhile, Kate tells Richard that her boyfriend’s no Communist, and Richard tells her that maybe she oughta think about getting him over to the good side (the American side) by continuing to “build trust.” This seems like it could get complicated! Or else maybe it won’t, and they’ll take on the Communists together, armed only with love.

Photo: Eric Liebowitz/ABC