pan am ep3 abc 'Pan Am': Drifting off courseFor a show that started off with such promise, “Pan Am” is hitting a patch of turbulence.

In Sunday’s (Oct. 9) episode, the stewardesses travel to Berlin. As fate would have it, they will be there just in time for JFK’s famed “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

While in Berlin, Maggie (Christina Ricci) becomes obsessed with finding President Kennedy because she worked as a volunteer on his campaign. Colette (Karine Vanasse), easily the most complex and interesting character, struggles with her return to Germany because her parents were killed by Nazis.

As for the storyline with the most potential, Kate (Kelli Garner) offers little as she begins her work for the CIA. She’s simply a courier, which offers all the intrigue of watching a UPS delivery truck. Producers need to amp up her activity quickly and, more importantly, demonstrate something that makes her convincing as a spy.

Perhaps the most ludicrous moment of the episode, if not the young series, takes place as the girls crash a party at the U.S. Mission. They barge their way into an event full of foreign dignitaries and Kennedy himself by introducing themselves as Pan Am stewardesses. Security lets them through, no questions asked.

This exposes the real problem with Pan Am. It’s too much about placing these women in interesting times and places, almost like “Forrest Gump” with flight attendants. What it needs to do is focus on the characters and the conflicts between them. And it needs to start doing that soon or “Pan Am” might just be grounded.

Posted by:David Eckstein