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Pan Am Recap: Robbery and Royalty

PAN AM - "New Frontiers" - Maggie tells Ted why she has reservations about Amanda, and Dean pines for Colette, who reveals she's asked for a transfer to the Hong Kong hub. On a flight to Rome, Colette befriends a handsome, mysterious man, Omar, and agrees to show him the city. Meanwhile, Dean is accosted by the local customs officials, who are looking for a smuggler; Kate needs to learn a new talent as a pickpocket; and Laura is shocked to discover that the Life Magazine photographer, Graham, sold the nude photos he took of her to a gallery, where they are on display, on "Pan Am," SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/ERIC LIEBOWITZ)
MIKE VOGEL

Kate Cameron, in her esteemed new position as CIA agent, is perfecting the art of pick pocketing: first with her spy friends, later on with her Pan Am co-workers, and finally on an Italian in possession of American rocket plans he hopes to pass over to the Soviets. She is pretty much incredible at it right away, thanks to Richard’s suggestion that she use her sexuality as a distraction.

Sexuality, in fact, causes problems all over this episode. Amanda stops by Maggie’s apartment to explain that their kiss meant nothing: just a gesture of affection in an evening filled with celebration. Maggie agrees and says she must be sending off some kind of lesbian bat signal. They hug, and it’s pretty obvious that Amanda doesn’t want to let Maggie go. Maggie devastates equally among sexes. Though Maggie promises Amanda that she won’t tell Ted about the kiss, she does so at the first opportunity she gets. Though he hates to believe it, Ted starts lashing out at Maggie because he knows she’s telling the truth.  Maggie takes back her confession at once, but even Maggie wouldn’t lie like that just for the hell of it. Presumably.

Maggie gets a few more surprises thrown her way before the flight to Rome. She steps in on Captain Broyles going through her things, at which point he asks her to have lunch with him in Rome for reasons he refuses to explain. Then, confused enough as is, Maggie gets hit on by Kate (practicing robbery tactics) and asks if she’s giving off the signal again. It was funny and cute. Was that maybe the first time that this show has tied two scenes together in one episode? I enjoyed that.

Dean is not ready to let Colette go, which I can only assume is because Bridget is nowhere to be seen in this episode, and Dean has that thing babies have where if they can’t see something they think it’s gone forever. He tells Colette he’s fallen in love with her and wants “a chance,” which is the most hilarious thing he’s ever said in his whole life. What do you call that literal roll in the hay, Dean? All you’ve had are chances. Colette tells Dean she’s put in a transfer to the Hong Kong base (noooo!) and commences flirting with Omar, a handsome and mysterious passenger who came aboard without luggage, on a whim, just to see Rome.

Laura, who seems to be on Pan Am PTO, is taking pictures in a park when a stranger stops her to ask, “Hey, aren’t you that naked lady from the art gallery?” Laura freaks out because she didn’t think those nude pictures she took way back would ever surface again, and I was beginning to agree with her. But no, they are in a gallery in the Village, where Laura stops to beg for their removal. The curator tells her he’ll accept $500 for the prints and the negatives. (Laura let the photographer keep the negatives??)

Omar is beginning to seem a bit suspicious — he didn’t bring any money for his trip to Rome, and he asks Colette to meet him at a fountain at sunset. I sort of worried that he was going try to drown Colette in the fountain so he could rob her, so I couldn’t entirely blame Dean for jumping to similarly fantastic conclusions about Omar’s backstory. When the Italian customs officer tells Dean that his plane has 4000 Lira’s worth of cigarettes hidden in cargo, Dean assumes that the smuggler must be Omar. What can I say? Caring about Colette makes people think crazy things.

A distraught Laura stops by Ted’s place to borrow money, though she first gets suckered into helping Amanda pick out her wedding dinnerware — men don’t understand these things, she says. Amanda generously offers to help Laura with a check, calling it “an investment in friendship,” which is not how healthy friendships begin usually. She then gives Laura an intimate looking hug. Amanda is in love with anyone who isn’t Ted, just so long as they are female. Ted takes note, adding one more bullet point to the “My Fiancée: Straight or Gay?” list he probably made a few days earlier.

Captain Broyles’s lunch date with Maggie is neither romantic nor friendly, beginning with Broyles insinuating that Maggie has little opportunity left at Pan Am and even less in the world of politics. He tells her he’s a smuggler, and he needs her help because she’s an insider with experience. He picked her because of her extensive pursing résumé, I suppose, and because she cannot be trusted. Maggie says she’ll think about it, but Broyles says he knows she’ll do it because she cares about herself. “There are two Maggie Ryans,” he tells her. That’s all? In the end, though, Maggie turns him down. Perhaps she saw too much of herself in Broyles and didn’t like it. It’s just as well, because two double agent flight attendants might have meant bad things for passenger safety at Pan Am.

Outside their hotel in Rome, Colette, in her favorite Jessica Simpson–brand clip-on ponytail, has just taken a motorcycle ride around town with Omar. He asks her to dinner, but she declines due to the crew’s party at the ambassador’s residence that evening. Dean spots the two flirting and starts harassing Omar, because he should be the one driving Colette around town on a motorcycle, goddammit. Colette, outraged at Dean’s behavior, revenge-asks Omar to the party as her date. It was the perfect move.

In America, as usual, things are less romantic. Amanda is literally still talking about plates when Ted realizes that he doesn’t know his bride-to-be that well after all. He wants her to tell him more about herself (“Specifically, the gay parts.”), but she’s would rather avoid that conversation, so she shuts him up with sex — sex that turns out to be kind of bad, to be honest. Ted says it’s his fault, and Amanda flees like a bat out of hell, or a closeted lesbian out of Ted’s bed.

At the ambassador’s party, Kate throws herself onto Alessandro, the rocket plan stealer, and starts some serious, hard-core flirting. Pick pocket attempt No. 1 leaves her only with his lighter, while attempt No. 2 lands her a pen and, more importantly, a coat check slip. Later, Kate waits for Alessandro outside the coat check, where she helps him put on his coat and grabs the secret canister out of its pocket. It didn’t even bother me (much) that this guy was keeping top-secret Soviet-bound information in coat check. Kate’s exasperated pick pocketing and over-the-top seduction tactics were fun, charming, and just believable enough to make the whole CIA agent thing tolerable again. The Cold War should be fun, you know? 

As Colette and Omar twirl around the ballroom floor, it becomes clear pretty quickly that he is either a genie (he “can’t enjoy freedom”) or some kind of royalty (“friends in Rome”). Everything’s fine until Dean bursts in to accuse Omar of being a smuggler, but the Italian official he’s brought with him recognizes Omar as Prince Omar III, from a kingdom I haven’t heard of but which I’m sure is real. Upon hearing this news, Colette’s face explodes in sheer joy. Oh my God, she is going to be an actual princess. With a castle and a unicorn and talking furniture and everything. As he’s being taken back to his family and his royal responsibilities, Omar asks Colette out for next Friday. He’ll be going to the White House, and he needs a date.

On the other side of the party, Dean just strolls right up to Captain Broyles and punches him in the face, because the suggestion that the smuggler might be inside the organization leads him to leap to the conclusion that it must be Broyles. Dean’s right, but I mean, come on. Somebody send that guy to his room for a time-out.

Laura returns to the art gallery to buy her prints but instead finds art critics there who tell her that her photographs are “transcendent” and “empowering,” which makes her look at her pictures a bit differently. The curator tells Laura that the buyer wants to meet with her because he might be looking for a new model — his name’s Andy Warhol. Has she heard of him?

Ted and Amanda meet in the park to discuss their awful sex, and though Amanda says she knows it will get better, Ted doesn’t think so. He needs her to be honest, so she is. Amanda is gay, but she still loves Ted. Likes him a lot, anyway. And she thinks they could have a very nice … arrangement, together. She’s even okay with him “having” Laura. Ted only gets a moment or two to process this news before the doomed pair — and everyone else — get a much bigger shock: There’s been an assassination attempt on President Kennedy. Maggie says he’ll be fine, but she’s been wrong before.

Photo: Eric Liebowitz/ABC