‘Pan Am’ Recap: Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Pan Am Berlin JFKS1E3: In our third journey with the Pan Am stewardesses, we find ourselves travelling to Berlin, where Kate has a new assignment. Of course, Laura is still wide-eyed and excited about seeing yet another place she’s never been. While all the girls are a-twitter, Collette is distracted, but she’s determined to prove that the distraction has nothing to do with her romantic Parisian dance with Dean.

It seems the prep/flight/new country formula is going to stick with us, but this time the timeline gets to shift around a bit. While this ups the intrigue a bit, it only seems to be as a result of the confusion the back and forth creates. Kate’s new CIA job finally reaches the level of danger you’d expect from the super-spy side story, and Maggie’s political dreams, while relevant to the time period, are about as entertaining as nails on a chalkboard. I miss the dark Christina Ricci, this bubbly version is just a little outside my comfort zone.

“What if I bring a few girls with me, like getting into a nightclub in the city?” –Maggie

As we try to forget the idiocy of Maggie’s narrow-minded request to get into JFK’s party in Berlin, let’s move on to the action at hand: we encounter a variety of journalists packing the Pan Am jet to Berlin on their way to cover President Kennedy’s speech in the German city. While the stewardesses scramble to keep the pesky writers happy, Maggie’s trying to angle her way to a press badge so she can meet JFK after missing the opportunity when she worked on his campaign — of course the free-spirited girl who lives in the village wants to get a front row seat to see JFK speak. And of course her best shot is an attractive young reporter from — of course — The Village Voice.

“What did he say?” –German Girl

“He’s working on it.” –Kate

Kate is more worried about picking up a Nietzsche book as part of her mission, but when she’s picked up by a young German girl, she gets roped into another intrigue. The young girl is spotted and marked – and Kate tries to help her even though her CIA commander tells her to leave it alone. She has to go to see the president speak in order to avoid suspicion. An older German man grabs them and says he loves Americans so they go up to his apartment to watch the speech – it’s a little strange but it allows them to play promising music until Collette begins acting strangely. Running up the stairs with the crowds brings back memories of the German invasion which Collette endured when she was just three years old. While the others are moved to tears by Kennedy’s words, Collette is in tears for a very different reason.

“We’re Pan Am, and who can turn down Pan Am?” –Kate

Maggie still hasn’t met the president, but she continues to try at his party later that night. Kate, as a ploy to continue her mission, suggests they all go in uniform and try to get in that way. It’s here that Kate tries to help her blonde German counterpart by dressing her up as a Pan Am stewardess. The Pan Am uniform doesn’t serve as as much of a ticket in as they thought. As they stand outside waiting awkwardly, Collette brazenly asks Kate’s German friend if she delivered bread to the Nazis when the poor girl tries to talk about her past life. Luckily, Dean vouches for them and they get in. Kate tries to connect the German girl with someone who can help, but hears from her boss that she’s made a grave mistake. Is she already making the same mistakes as the woman she’s replaced?

Pan Am Berlin JFK“It was a terrible mistake.” -Collette

“The party or the singing?” -Dean

“Coming to Berlin…at all.” –Collette

Collette is still plagued by her past, but she finds an outlet: she gets drunk and sings the German national anthem. The grand finale is an emotional drunken display. She can’t manage to shake the past, and regrets even coming to Berlin. Even sharing her tale with Kate at the end of their return flight after everyone else disembarks – she still hates the Germans and she doesn’t know how to stop.

Finally, Maggie completely misses the president at the party but finds out where Air Force One is and takes Ted’s Cuban cigars to give to the president. She makes it in time (but misses her flight) and her reward is a grateful wave, which seems to be more than enough for her.

Ted doesn’t seem to miss them much because he’s more interested in asking Laura out for breakfast. “She’s different from other girls” – oh, likely story.

I enjoyed that the series attempted to bring up a few bigger questions, like the fact that some informants or spies are considered to be expendable or the idea that Collette still experiences flashbacks to her traumatic childhood, but the overly enthusiastic tones from the Maggie portion of the story were just a little too campy to be genuine. Then again, all we’re expecting from this series is a bit of Sunday night fun. Not ever series can play with history as successfully as Mad Men.