'Pan Am' recap: Wings of Desire

That is more like it! After last week's trip to Paris portended a descent by Pan Am into pleasant mediocrity, this week's voyage to West Berlin for President John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech felt like a show that was finally beginning to realize just what it was capable of pulling off. Kate's spy games crackled with a real sense of danger; Collette's poignant struggle to reconcile her Vichy France childhood with the new, friendly Germany carried real weight and resonance; and Maggie finally got to do something more than simply be The 1960s Liberated Woman (although just barely). The time-hopping story structure may not have been all that necessary, but it also gave the scenes a spark and tension that made the hour feel much more alive. By gum, if Pan Am can turn out more episodes like this one, then I'd say we may actually have ourselves a genuine television program on our hands.

The too-trusting Kate and the probably-helpless East German translator

We opened not on a Pan Am airliner, but in a New York City subway, with Kate reading a copy of the not-so-historic New York Examiner that nonetheless featured more-or-less era-appropriate typography. (There is little that gets this font geek more annoyed than fake periodicals in movies and TV that look like they were designed on Word using an anachronistic-in-any-time-period font like Palatino.) Her jaunty CIA contact had another courier job for her, but this one was more complicated -- she was to go to a small bookseller in West Berlin and ask for a copy of Friederich Nietzsche's Der Wille zur Macht in German. Read More...



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