So is it going to be an odds/evens thing with Pan Am, or what? After last week’s awkward Asian shrug of an episode, which followed a solid sojourn to West Berlin, Pan Am‘s fifth hour trip to Monte Carlo was full of zippy romance, snazzy spy intrigue, and even a twinge of zesty wit. Granted, the two most compelling characters — Colette and Maggie — remained frustratingly on the fringes, and there was still entirely too much energy spent trying to get us to root for Laura and Ted. But with two guest stars launching respective multi-week story arcs, Pan Am finally felt like a show that has a full sense of what it is and where it wants to take us. So let’s hop on board, shall we?
Laura, Ted, and some “Tasty Pudding”
It’s summer in New York, and Laura’s trying to get her engagement ring back. She’d hocked it when she first moved in with her sister, but in order to get a clean break with her ex-fiancé Greg, she was determined to buy it back. Alas, the pawn shop had already sold it. Cut to the soaring Pan Am opening title, and the expectation that Laura had simply given up.
We were certainly led to believe that at first. Laura told her sister Kate that she canceled her rendezvous with Greg due to some “sniffles,” and her demeanor for the rest of the main storyline in London and Monte Carlo remained wanly dejected. Meanwhile, Ted — who wants to be clear that he’s a hard-and-sweet gumdrop, not a limp stick of chewing gum that loses its flavor — kept approaching Laura, seemingly trying to worm his way back to her heart after bonding last week over space travel. “Am I avoiding you or are you avoiding me?” he asked her at one point, adding yet another gem to Ted’s List of Boneheaded Pick-up Lines. But if you intuited that there was more to this story before the first flashback — in which Ted invited himself along Laura’s subway jaunt to Harlem to retrieve her ring — you’re a more astute viewer that I am. Or maybe you just actually care about whether these two crazy-dull kids will ever get together. Me? I was jut aghast at Ted’s hilariously misguided sense of off-hours fashion.
Because just when this storyline showed a glimmer of the unexpected, we were hit over the head with the moment back in the “present” when Ted revealed he didn’t have his Rolex watch anymore. Hmmmmmm. What could have possibly happened to it? But just in case you were fast asleep during that scene, we sat through Ted and Laura’s ride on the cleanest subway car in the history of Manhattan as Ted poured on his usual anti-charm with remarks like this about poor Greg: “What a wuss. You never let the bride bolt on you. You bolt on the bride.” When they finally met the jazzy gentleman who’d bought the ring, and insisted he be called Shoot Man, Ted torpedoed Laura’s negotiation by scoffing at his highball price. But hey, at least she walked away with the Chet Baker record featuring the song “Tasty Pudding.” As Shoot Man said, “White boy blows so smooth, you got to dig it.” You do indeed.
Back in Monte Carlo, Ted waited until the end of the
episode trip to reveal he had — shocker! — given up his Rolex for the ring. Although annoyed it took him this long to give it to her, Laura was grateful enough — and distracted enough by the giant string of pearls attacking her neck — that she barely noticed when Ted laid a pearl of his own on her: “The suspense is over. You’re not perfect.” Does this guy know how to woo a girl, or what?
NEXT: Dean and the thrill of banging the boss’s mistress