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Pan Am Recap: Woman-Shaped Things

PAN AM - "Diplomatic Relations" - Dean is tapped to fly the first-ever commercial flight to Moscow, but the day of departure, a blowhard veteran pilot, Broyles, takes the controls and makes Dean co-pilot. While in Russia, Kate tries to pull off an important mission, but when Laura and another Pan Am stewardess are mistaken for spies, Kate tries to expedite their release with the help of an unlikely ally. Back at home, Congressman Rawlings and his staff work to track down whoever anonymously wrote the negative new story about him, and Maggie agrees to be his date at a fund-raiser. Can she keep her temper dealing with so many conservative political supporters and retain her cover as the article's author? Ted's relationship with Amanda gets serious, but Maggie learns something about her that may hinder this whirlwind romance., on "Pan Am," SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/ERIC LIEBOWITZ)
KELLI GARNER, DARREN PETTIE, KARINE VANASSE

I feel as though we’ve been here before: Dean, lounging half-naked, wondering whether he should feel guilty about the thing he just did and ultimately deciding that he probably shouldn’t. Dean slept with Bridget last night and, having gotten that over with, has renewed his mistrust of her. These are conflicts a normal person might wish to sort out before royally screwing over someone as lovely as Colette, but Dean is nothing if not an insane man-boy with a backbone as soft as his lily-white, hairless chest. Last night was a mistake, he tells Bridget. He’s awfully good at those.

Pan Am’s chairman wants Pan Am to be the first airliner to fly to the Soviet Union, and because pretty much nobody seems to realize what a dirtbag he is except for me, Dean is selected as the pilot for the first flight. This, at least, until the older Captain Broyles (hilariously nicknamed “Sky God,” I’m serious) shows up to lend some credentials to the crew, because a plane commanded by Dean alone would make the Russians laugh and Pan Am would be so embarrassed. Dean, surprisingly, does not react well to not getting everything exactly how he wants it and pouts for the entire flight over.

Maggie, who will not be going to Russia this time around, tries to make Chris Rawlings an omelet so good that he’ll never find out about her nasty article. He is smitten with her still, so he asks her to be his date to a donor cocktail party. He tells her to be herself, but obviously he doesn’t really mean it, because a donor party is the last place where you want your girlfriend to lambast your political ideals. Does he know her, really? Nobody pays attention to anybody else’s personality on this show.

Kate, meanwhile, is getting dressed when she finds Richard sitting quietly in her living room. (He used his CIA universal keys to get in.) He tells her that her mission in Russia is to locate a non-responding double agent, Anastasia, to make sure she’s still alive. Kate will know she’s okay because she’ll see sunflowers in Anastasia’s window. For once, this sounds like a mission that Kate just might be able to handle. She jots down in her spy notebook: “Look … for … flowers.”

On the airplane, Colette has a bit of girl-talk with Laura. Colette seems to have suffered mild amnesia since the last episode and wants to be with Dean again. Luckily for her, at the moment, he wants to be with her too, because she’s the last womany-shaped thing that stepped in front of his face. In an effort to make peace, and because she does not know about Dean and Bridget’s night in London, Colette graciously apologizes to Bridget for having hurt her in any way. Bridget replies that she’ll respect “whatever Dean decides to do,” which is her way of saying “bring it on, bitch.” These women need more dopey pilots to fight over. Or this show could find other, more meaningful ways of developing its supposed stars! Ha-ha, just kidding.

Mike shows up at Maggie’s apartment to warn her that Rawlings’s staff is pressing him for information on the article’s insider source. When Maggie protests, Mike guesses that she’s sleeping with Rawlings, which is the sort of accusation I’d normally resent but Mike does know Maggie pretty well by now. Even Maggie is like, “Wink, you got me.” That Maggie is furious that her own article is being taken at face value is a perfect example of how her character went so totally wrong.

The flight arrives in Russia to a welcoming committee and a few unfriendly-looking KGB. Their hospitality host, Olga, offers the flight attendants a tour of Moscow (as if they have a choice), but notices that Kate has gone missing. Kate’s first attempt out doesn’t go well: She runs into Captain Broyles running a basement cigarette bribery operation before she can escape. Her second try finds her sweet-talking Olga into taking the Double Agent Road route to Red Square. Kate spots the sunflowers in the window, but before she can act further, the KGB pull up to bust Laura for taking pictures. “Espionage!” they cry, and Kate goes “HA-HA shut up that is literally the craziest thing you could ever think. We’re innocent. Me especially.” Laura, and Bridget for some reason, are taken away, and I felt a bit worried. Just for Laura though.

As Laura suffers a panic attack in the KGB holding cell, Bridget tries to calm her down by talking about herself and about Dean. They’ll be all right, she says. She tells Laura that she and Dean had sex in London, and that she’d like if Laura could keep this “between us,” and that she feels awful. Oh damn, girl. You beautiful, lying creature. “Honestly, I feel just sooo terrible, darling. Colette mustn’t know, but maybe she should? I’m such a horse’s arse. Don’t tell her. But do. Pip pip.”

Congressman Rawlings is having the worst donor party ever. Maggie called one of his guests an “ignorant buffoon,” which goes a few steps beyond the adorable little wifey-teasing he had in mind. Somehow, he knows that she’s the leak. She tries to explain herself, but when he insists that his pillow talk cannot fairly be translated into his public political opinion, she criticizes him for having none of his own convictions. I bet even Maggie must be surprised by Maggie’s hypocrisy, sometimes. I bet some of her words try to climb back down her throat before they get out.

The congressman’s party goes better for other guests, however. Ted proposes to a seemingly elated Amanda, who accepts. She then pops over to the office where a tearful Maggie is lamenting the potential loss of her boyfriend. Amanda tells Maggie that she admires her for being brave and honest about who she is, which is how you know a same-sex kiss is coming if you haven’t seen previews. So, that happened. And as far as eleventh hour ratings-plea-driven lesbian kisses go, it wasn’t too bad. It was short and sweet, and it’s not impossible to believe that Amanda, in particular, could be queer. It’s just that it had to happen after Maggie implied that life would be, like, SO much easier if she were just a lesbian. Which: ugh.

Back in the USSR, Kate has somehow sneaked past dozens of KGB to escape the hotel. We don’t get to see how, but maybe that’s just because she’s so goddamn good at this job. She makes her way into Anastasia’s apartment building to beg for help. Anastasia agrees and gives Kate the phone number for her boyfriend, a high-level officer in the Kremlin. Kate passes the number along to Captain Broyles, telling him that Kremlin boyfriend will release Laura and Bridget for cash. Broyles asks Kate, “Who are you?” and Kate doesn’t even take that opportunity to throw down a smoke bomb and whisper “Your worst nightmare.” I don’t care if that wouldn’t have made complete sense. It would’ve been great.

Bridget and Laura are returned to the plane just in time, and Colette hugs Bridget for some reason. Perhaps she planted a poisonous reptile down the back of her uniform. We can only hope. For his brave (or idiotic?) willingness to threaten a gun-toting KGB officer, Captain Broyles allows Dean to take the big boy captain’s seat for the flight home.

When they’ve arrived, happy to be back in America, Dean thanks Colette for being patient with him. He thinks things are golden now: Captain Broyles thinks he’s super cool. He hasn’t gotten fired for sleeping with the VP’s mistress yet. He thinks he’s pretty close to being able to grow facial hair. Neither of his girlfriends is locked up in Soviet Russia. And Colette is here, on his plane, still willing to talk to him. But she is pissed, because she found his pin in Bridget’s suitcase. She asks him to tell her the truth, and he does, as a very smug Bridget looks on. Colette, thankfully, storms off. You’re almost there, Colette. Don’t look back. I mean it.

Photo: Eric Liebowitz/ABC