Amidst the Sunday night hubbub generated by the Golden Globes and the Giants/Packers game and Episode 2 of Downton Abbey's second season, it's understandable if you forgot that ABC had scheduled another new episode of Pan Am.
"Diplomatic Relations" picked up the morning after the events of last week's outing, "Secrets and Lies," with Dean and Bridget experiencing vastly different reactions to their impulsive hook-up. (She's happy and he's... not.) Fortunately for Dean, a surprise summons from Pan Am's head honcho Juan Trippe gets him out of this uncomfortable situation and back to New York, where he's scheduled to be the first American pilot to fly a commercial aircraft into Moscow. Since she's headed into enemy territory, the CIA tasks Kate with checking in on one of their double agents who has recently fallen silent. During their stay behind the Iron Curtain, Laura and Bridget are locked up under suspicion of committing acts of espionage -- in this case, photographing a building that houses a number of high-ranking Party members -- forcing Kate to risk her own cover by contacting that double agent to secure their release. (That was the Cold War for ya. Photographing ordinary apartment buildings could cause international incidents.) Meanwhile, two young romances are nipped in the bud as Colette rightly rejects Dean after he admits his indiscretion with Bridget, and Maggie and her politician beau discover that their respective Blue State/Red State values just won't mix. At least Ted and Amanda seem to be in it for the long haul; despite only dating for a month, she readily accepts his marriage proposal. But then a little while later, Amanda attempts to cheer up a weeping Maggie... with a little lip therapy. As a certain pop star would later sing, Maggie kissed a girl and it seems she liked it.
In the '60s... Being Scolded by The Village Voice Actually Meant Something
As if it wasn't clear enough already, the recent firing of longtime Voice film critic J. Hoberman confirmed that the alt-weekly is now a mere shadow of its formerly iconic self. At least he joins some great company by exiting out the door -- the roll call of dismissed Voice staffers includes such high-profile political scribes as Wayne Barrett, Tom Robbins and Nat Hentoff. Those were the kinds of established, serious scribes who could make or break a politician, like Maggie's new right-wing boyfriend, Congressman Rawlings, who got the classic Voice treatment on last night's episode. Though he tries to dismiss the exposé as a "worthless piece of yellow journalism," it's clear that he's rattled by the paper's charges that he's a hypocrite -- denouncing Communism and praising the bomb in public, but expressing different feelings in private around Maggie (the "anonymous source" quoted in the piece). These days, a rising political star wouldn't even think to read the Voice, let alone care what they had to say. They're too busy following Politico.com and watching all three cable news networks at once.
In the '60s... a Sky God Wasn't Just a Great Name For a Final Boss in a Video Game
Back in New York, Dean is mildly perturbed to discover that he's been demoted to the second chair on the Clipper Majestic's historic flight into Soviet airspace. Taking over the captain's chair is George Broyles, a big-talking "Sky God" a.k.a. World War II pilots who segued from military to commercial service. According to Kate, Broyles himself ran "a dozen bomber runs over Berlin," which has won him and his fellow Gods the right to "use the airline whenever they like, however they like." Hey Dean, if you're looking for a good cheat code to defeat this new Sky God in your midst, we always had good luck with A B A B Up Down A B Left Right A B Start.
In the '60s... Not Enough People Thought Like James Bond
Fed up with waiting around to see if and when Laura and Bridget will be released from KGB custody, Dean decides to take action, saying "I'm gonna go out and deal with this." His determination just makes Broyles laugh and reply, "Great idea. You two take out the KGB agents, I'll steal a tank and we'll blast their way out." He's trying to be funny, but as 007 would prove three decades later in Goldeneye stealing a Russian tank ain't all that hard. Try and think outside the box a little more in the future, Dean.
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