Well, whattaya ya know? With only three installments left, Pan Am manages to pull itself out of its death spiral and comes up with an episode that's not half-bad. It's probably too little too late at this point, but if "New Frontiers" ends up being the last episode to air (ABC has two more in its hanger, but no airdates have been announced), at least it ends the series on a decent note.
As evidenced by the title, the theme of the week was self-discovery as the various character all explored new emotional and/or professional territory that forced them out of their comfort zones. Kate, for example, spent the episode brushing up on her pickpocketing skills to be of more use to her CIA handlers. Meanwhile, her sister Laura discovered that those "private" nude photos she had taken a few episodes back were being displayed at a Greenwich Village gallery to the approving (and not at all prurient!) gaze of art aficionados and Village Voice critics. (Based on its prominent role in Pan Am, you'd think the Voice was the only paper being published in New York during the '60s.) Initially horrified, the former Life cover girl comes to see the artistic value in her nudie shots. Next stop, Playboy! Or, y'know, MoMA. Whichever pays more.
Elsewhere, Colette recovered from her Dean-related broken heart by allowing herself to be wooed by a tall, dark stranger (more on that later) and Maggie and Amanda agreed to forget about last week's lip-lock. But Maggie couldn't resist tattling to Ted, who at first refuses to even consider the possibility that his fiancée isn't into dudes, before the two hash it out and agree to go their separate ways. And as the episode concludes, the entire country prepares to enter a new frontier as Walter Cronkite announces that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. (C'mon, you knew that was coming sooner or later.) Will Pan Am ever return to explore the brave new world that resulted from the events of this episode? Stand by for the boarding announcement...
In the '60s... The Favorite Movie Amongst European Royalty was Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn shot to stardom with 1953's William Wyler-directed romantic comedy, Roman Holiday, playing a European princess that ditches her royal entourage while in Rome to enjoy the city as an independent woman. Ten years later, Prince Omar the III of the Kingdom of Warana (it goes without saying this kingdom doesn't actually exist), impulsively hopping aboard the Clipper Majestic in New York and jetting off to the Italian capital under the guise of being an ordinary civilian. He takes advantage of his temporary freedom to strike up a flirtation with Colette that continues after they land. First, he escorts her to the famous Trevi Fountain and then acts as her date to an official function at an ambassador's residence. It's there that he's finally "captured" by the Italian police and Dean, who is convinced that Omar is the international smuggler responsible for hiding 100,000-lire worth of American cigarettes in the plane's cargo hold. (The actual smuggler turns out to be Sky God George Broyles, from last week's episode.) But a royal romance is not to be and, at the end of the hour, Colette and Omar are forced to return to their very different worlds.
In the '60s... Andy Warhol Trolled Greenwich Village Art Galleries Looking for New Subjects
When she first sets foot in the Van Annberg Gallery (where visitors can gaze at nude photos while listening to Bob Dylan croon "Just Like a Woman"), Laura demands that her revealing photos be taken down right away. But the gallery owner says that he purchased the prints and the original negatives from the photographer and can't just junk them. So he gives Laura the chance to buy them back for 500 smackers, which she secures from the exceedingly generous Amanda, no questions asked. When she's had a chance to cool off (and hears that Voice critic praising the shots) she changes her mind and decides to embrace her newfound notoriety as a "pioneer," agreeing to meet with a young artist named Andy... and we don't mean Griffith. Warhol had just founded his iconic studio The Factory a year earlier and we imagine Laura fitting in quite well amongst his menagerie of oddballs and Superstars.
In the '60s... Politicians Weren't the Only Ones that Could Propose an Open Marriage
Back in the news again thanks to the brouhaha over ABC's interview with Newt Gingrich's ex-wife, the topic of open marriage was broached by Amanda, who suggested it as a way for her and Ted to still tie the knot, since they made sense as a couple in so many other ways. "It'll be perfect," she insists. "You can see whoever you want and I can see who I want. But we'll still have us, our life, our family." (She also further tries to persuade him by suggesting he can "have" Laura, who may or may not be cool to that kind of arrangement.) While Ted likes to position himself as a forward thinker when it comes to sex and love, he doesn't seem entirely sold on the idea when it's presented to him as a viable option. But he doesn't have the time to give Amanda a definite answer as word about a certain situation in Dallas has just started to spread...
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