Warning: This post contains spoilers from the season 2 finale of The Flight Attendant.
Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) has done it again. Somehow, she's not only solved an international mystery, but she's survived it. And it seems, along the way, she learned an important lesson about self acceptance and perhaps even ... found happiness? But that's not to say it wasn't a very bumpy ride to get there.
EW spoke with The Flight Attendant showrunners Steve Yockey and Natalie Chaidez about the season 2 finale, Cassie's ending, and what might come next should the show get renewed.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I came out of this season, like Cassie, smiling. What would you say your goal was with this ending?
STEVE YOCKEY: I love that you felt good at the end. I think in season 1, the goal of the finale was to make it feel satisfying. In the second season, we've given you a 7-episode panic attack, so episode 8, we get to give you some happy stuff and then go away. And so we figured we would do that again with season 2 on a larger scale. And I feel like it's good that you feel that way. That was the goal.
Because we don't know if there will be a season 3 at this point, were you all writing this as a potential series finale?
YOCKEY: Our plan has always been that each season would be its own standalone Cassie Bowden-as-the-flight-attendant adventure. Emotional stories would continue, but it would be a case with a beginning, middle, and an end. So I feel like the season finale of season 1 could have been a series finale. I feel like this could also serve as a series finale. We feel like Cassie's in a good place. Things are moving forward. She's taking better care of herself. Annie [Zosia Mamet] and Max [Deniz Akdeniz] are okay. Megan's [Rosie Perez] finally maybe got her feet back on the ground. But also, we left enough threads that we can launch a season 3 if we need to, and Natalie's got big ideas.
NATALIE CHAIDEZ: Big ideas.
YOCKEY: Nuclear submarine big ideas.
Lara Solanki/ HBOMax Kaley Cuoco on 'The Flight Attendant'
What can you say about those ideas and what you'd like to do in a potential third season?
CHAIDEZ: The thing that Steve and I talk about is that recovery isn't a one or two season journey, so there's always a place to go. Season 1 was about her admitting that. Season 2 was just like, "What do I do with that other piece?" And if we were to move forward, it would be coming from an examination of: Where do we leave her and what is the continuation of that recovery journey for her?
YOCKEY: And I think that what season 2 really validated for both Natalie and I is this idea that as long as we have a really grounded emotional story for Cassie and Megan and Annie, then the show can go wild. That's really the thing that roots us, so that would be where we would be digging in the hardest.
She had such a great moment in the finale of accepting all of the parts of herself she's been fighting all season. What was the message you all wanted to send with this finale?
YOCKEY: Season 1 was about honesty. What happens when you lie to yourself? What happens when you have to start telling the truth? And that was in all the characters. This year was self-acceptance for us. That's where we started from. Natalie came up with this double idea that was built around: Once you know you have that darker part of yourself, how do you interact with it? And then that double theme ended up taking over the entire season, literally. So, for us, I think it's just that the journey of sobriety and the journey to self acceptance can be a really f--king rocky road, but you can get there. And we loved showing that it isn't just, "I got my white chip. I've got one day under my belt." It's also everything that comes after that.
That phone call was incredible. What was it like for you all to see Sharon Stone in this role?
CHAIDEZ: First of all, we could not believe that Sharon wanted to play Lisa and actually approached the show as a fan. She has many friends, family, loved ones in the recovery community. And we said, "Oh my goodness, could she be Cassie's mom? Could she be Lisa?" She signed on and it was a movie star arrival on set. Her and Kaley were just electric. What you see in that episode is the camera just rolled. She blew up that part in a way that we could not have imagined. And the chemistry between them and the emotion and the love and the slap and the reconcile is just all magic.
You have the conclusion of the big mystery in the finale, but then you guys also throw this Feliks-Jenny twist in there, where did that come from? What was the inspiration for that whole story?
YOCKEY: We had mapped out the double story, and Kaley was looking at the story documents before anything went to script and she said, "I feel like we need one more thing. I don't know what it is. I just want one more of those oh sh-- moments." We put it to the entire writers' room. And when Ian Weinreich, one of our writers, came in and he's like, "Well, we've got this character, Jenny." Originally her intention was to be the character that Cassie becomes meaner and meaner to, and it's a lesson of, "Oh, you're not really doing the sobriety thing well, because you're really hurting this person.'" And we realized she could be so much more. And Ian's like, "What if she's like a Manson chick and she's in love with Feliks?" And we were like, "We have to do that." And then we went hard in that direction.
Jennifer Rose Clasen/HBO Max Kaley Cuoco and Cheryl Hines on 'The Flight Attendant'
I also want to talk about Megan because she had such a wonderful conclusion. And I know this is such a hypothetical, but if there were third season, would she be part of it, or does it feel like her story was wrapped up?
CHAIDEZ: Each season has been designed as a self-contained story, so we are not really sure about a season 3 yet, but I think Megan would definitely be a part of anything in the future. And how we get there, not exactly sure. We love Rosie. We love that character and her journey of hiding secrets. It's not over yet.
The last thing I just want to touch on is the actual final shot and why you all wanted to end on this image of Cassie just being happy?
CHAIDEZ: We wanted to leave her in this great place. She's accepted all of these pieces with herself. She's made it through the season. She's survived. Her friendship with Annie and Max has stayed intact, and she's alone and it's enough. She's dancing by herself, and it's just this moment of happiness. And it took this battle of season 2 to get to that shot. And as soon as we saw that shot on set actually, it was just magic. Cassie does the twirl, and you just feel her sense of contentment. That really was the cap on our season that said exactly what we wanted to say.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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