Eventually we’re going to learn who killed Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman) on HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. The mystery is following Chris Bohjalian's Flight Attendant book to the letter so far, which means the mystery will unravel, and then that's the end of the series, right? Well, considering how the twisty-turny story of a boozy flight attendant, Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) has hooked us all and the fact that Cuoco has flat-out admitted she has plans for a second season, our final destination may not be all that final. Luckily, the way the book wraps up the Alex mystery gives us a few clues as to where the show could go next.
While The Flight Attendant's big mystery, on the page and the screen, is about Alex’s death, there’s another major question in both: Why wasn’t Cassie killed, too? In the book, perhaps to the surprise of no one, Russian operative Miranda (Michelle Gomez, on the series) is behind Alex’s murder. The reasons why involved a lot of money-laundering jargon, but the main nugget to hang onto here is that Miranda is sent to kill Alex and chooses not to kill Cassie, because she doesn't want to off an innocent bystander (and a black-out drunk bystander at that). There's also another reason for Miranda's mercy though: She is actually working as a double-agent for the CIA and doesn’t want to kill an American citizen.
Things get even more complicated from there. Miranda’s Russian bosses aren’t thrilled that she left a witness, and are nervous that Alex might have told Cassie the same secrets he was killed for. So, they order Miranda to tie up the loose end that is Cassie. And in yet another twist, the Russians aren’t confident in Miranda to carry this out because she was such a softie the first time, so they dispatch another assassin named Buckley (starting to sound like the HBO Max show yet?). In the novel, Buckley is someone Cassie has been casually seeing in NYC, unaware that he’s been tailing her all along.
Fearing she’s getting in too deep, Miranda’s CIA handlers order her back to D.C. and instruct her to bring Cassie in, too. However, Buckley’s plan to kill Cassie is already in motion and he’s followed her to Rome. Buckley encounters Miranda first, kills her, and then tries to kill Cassie, but (in yet another twist) his weapon malfunctions. He's backed into a corner and wants to be rid of the Russians once and for all, so he fakes his own death and disappears, allowing Cassie to live in the process.
At the end of the novel, the story jumps forward one year. Cassie is now in the witness protection program, still working as a flight attendant and a casual informant for the CIA. She’s also now got a daughter and — you betcha another twist is coming — Alex is the father.
So far, it looks like the series is going to follow this route down to a T, but it’s also taking the time to sprinkle in reasons for Cassie's story to continue past eight episodes. For one, the supporting players in Cassie’s story all seem to be getting themselves into trouble, too. Take Megan's (Rosie Perez) espionage storyline, for starters. In the novel, she’s already a spy and feeding information to the Russians, but in the show, she's on a slightly different path. The show is clearly setting up some sort of bigger entanglement or fallout regarding her adventures in the spy world. An easy flight path for season 2 would be sending Cassie on a mission to unravel what's really going on with her flight attendant best friend.
Another newly likely season 2 issue is Annie (Zosia Mamet), who is struggling after going out on a limb for Cassie. After calling in a favor for Cassie, Annie is forced to reluctantly agree to a “debt” (slipping information to an inmate for a client), and this could easily land her in legal trouble herself — the kind that would be tough to wrap up in that December 10 finale.
And since the show is following the book, and we can probably expect Buckley (Colin Woodell) to suddenly reveal himself as a bad guy, but it's possible that he's not entirely bad. If he fakes his death like he does in the novel, The Flight Attendant could turn him into an ally for Cassie going forward. He could be the only spy left standing at the end of the season, which means it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to come back — people who fake their own deaths always come back.
Finally, if you’re reluctant to watch another season of this show without Alex and Cassie’s mind-meetings once his murder is solved, there’s a way he could stick around, too. If the show takes every detail from the book, then Cassie is pregnant with his child, which opens the door for them to continue these imagined meetings — we just hope they will be able to finally leave that cursed, posh hotel room once and for all.