The new season, which kicks off Thursday, April 21, finds Kaley Cuoco's Cassie Bowden well into her sobriety journey. Now in Alcoholics Anonymous and moonlighting as a civilian asset for the CIA, Cassie has relocated to sunny California and begun dating a new guy she met in AA, Marco (Santiago Cabrera). As Cassie promises she's making the right moves to ensure she won't be on the edge of a relapse (or mental/emotional collapse), she quickly learns that there may be a larger conspiracy at play.
"It’s insane. We are bigger and better than we were season 1," Cuoco told ET's Cassie DiLaura of the new season. "I was very nervous to do season 2 to be honest because season 1 was so good. I was like, 'Guys we got away with it. Let’s go leave it, let's just move on with our lives but we came back swinging. It is a bigger scope. We have world travel. I play five Cassies. Guess who I never want to work with again? Myself! I’m ready to move on to other people."
The 35-year-old actress and executive producer finds herself, following a key event her character witnesses, transported back to the mind palace where she comes face to face with "party girl Cassie."
"I can’t stand working with myself. I learned that and I have a lot of empathy for the people working with me daily," Cuoco said. "That’s been eye-opening. It was wild not only as an actor. Technically it was extremely difficult and the reason why, as an actor I’m very in the moment. I’m reactive. I’m not a preparer. I’ve never even admitted to being that way, I like to be in the moment. I like to do different things and I improv a lot. This process is the exact opposite. There is no improv. I have to be exact in my motions. I have to mimic what I did in the previous takes and I had doubles, different girls who were playing me. I would come in with one Cassie and I would shoot her for however many hours and then we'd lock it, and I'd go change into a different Cassie, and I would came back and I'd be able to watch it in video village."
Cuoco opened up a bout Cassie's journey to maintain her sobriety, following the season 1 finale where she made assurances to herself and her loved ones that she was committed to staying on the straight and narrow.
"We open up the season with her living in California. She's really painting a pretty picture. She’s healthy, she’s very happy. She’s miss AA. She got the CIA asset job, which she takes very seriously. She took the alcohol away, which is her high, and now this new job kind of takes that place -- that excitement that she lost by becoming sober, even though she’s pretending she's happy," she previews. "But we find out very quickly that she’s not only lying to everybody else, but I think the saddest part about this show, is that she's truly lying to herself. She just cannot face herself and she’s been running away from her problems from the beginning."
While the majority of the cast is back for season 2, there will also be a handful of new faces joining the Flight Attendant family, from Cheryl Hines to Margaret Cho to Shohreh Aghdashloo. One of Cassie's new flight crew members is played by Feel Good's Mae Martin, who plays Grace.
"We were casting Grace and we were watching tapes of all these different actresses sending in their videos. I had just got done watching Feel Good on Netflix and if you haven’t seen, you all have to see it. I woke up the next morning, I was like, 'Mae Martin is Grace.' That was it and I called the team and they were like, 'Woah that's really interesting,' and I was like, 'That's who needs to play this,' so we tracked Mae down," Cuoco recalled. "I had really gone on out on a limb here and I was like, 'I hope they're as good as I think they're gonna be.' They were brilliant. We hired Mae, it was the best decision. They have scene-stealing moments in this show and I'm just so proud of it and they've become a great friend and it made me very happy."
"Gorgeous," Cuoco said of Stone playing her TV mom. "I’ve never seen anyone more beautiful in person. At moments I was like, 'Is it weird that your daughter is staring at you?' I would find myself... looking at her face. It was phenomenal."
But Cuoco acknowledged that season 2 had its hardships, and she turned to her trusted team on set and behind the scenes for support.
"These last few months have been tumultuous for everyone for different reasons... and mine was definitely no different. I was playing these characters that were very intense and [had] a lot of self-hatred and a lot of emotion and then going home and dealing with my own emotion," she explained. I never really had an escape, which as an actor, that’s why we love to go be someone else for the day. Early on, I was very honest with my team -- my producers and my crew -- and I pretty much made an announcement to everyone. I said, 'I need help,' and I said it very early on because in season 1 my hand was in everything. They called me the octopus.
"That was not the case for me this year and I was aware of that from the beginning. I wasn’t going to go out there and pretend that I could hold everything together," she said. "And saying the words, 'I need help,' is the hardest thing for someone like us. We help others. We take care of others, so, saying that out loud almost broke me, and then I realized how many people wanted to help me and how much help I got from all different walks."
The Flight Attendantreturns Thursday, April 21 with the first two episodes on HBO Max. Subsequent episodes drop weekly.