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Manifest: Coordinated Flight

TJ: The timing and distribution of the attacks is too precise to be a coincidence.
Olive: So, Mom's accident and everything that happened at the church, it's connected?

The 828ers are being attacked, but only the passengers seem to care. Zeke works towards his recovery.

This episode’s Calling is “Save her,” with the usual annoyance of a pronoun with an indeterminate antecedent. Which her are we talking about, Callings? Is it Grace, who is in an accident? Or the baby, who we learn is a girl! What about Michaela? What about Olive? Not only do our heroes not know who the her is, but they don’t understand what is meant by save.

The reason Olive could need saving is because she has been going to Adrian’s church, spending a lot of time there, and Ben and Grace think the church is dangerous in its thinking and even more dangerous in the attention it is attracting. They are proven right when a bunch of guys show up with baseball bats to attack the church. Isaiah gets beaten up. Olive tries to call Adrian, but reaches voice mail, so instead she pulls the fire alarm and runs away.

Only a short while later, Grace and Cal are driven off the road. Ben, who was talking to Grace at the time, goes to find her and then they realize something is wrong with the baby. Ben gets Grace to the hospital, and the medical practitioner lets loose the fact that the baby is a girl. It’s a really sweet moment, and when the baby goes from being a fetus to being a person.

Zeke is now staying with Michaela (I guess he was living with his mom before). Michaela tosses the pills she had from her injuries. He doesn’t have a job, but with a death date in about eight months, there is little point in starting a career. That’s been my main problem with Zeke; besides getting high in the past and now making things right, his life hasn’t had any purpose. Although pleasant enough – he seems to have a good heart – Zeke has had few qualities to give him any personality, except hiking and a penchant for pork rinds (I wonder which writer came up with that).

However, with less than a year remaining, Zeke dedicates himself to completing his recovery, and one step is making amends. Zeke contacts Courtney, a former lover. The meeting is awkward, not just because he’s trying to make amends, but because she wants to know why he ghosted her for more than a year. He does not explain that he may have spent that year as an actual ghost, but just apologizes. The meeting does not go well – she leaves, offended – but at the end of the episode she appears at the door of Michaela’s apartment and says she needs help. And, oh, by the way, she announces that she’s Zeke’s wife.

Michaela has a lot to do in the episode. She’s tracking the 828 attackers, and with Ben’s help, determines these are not random. She figures out where the headquarters are, arranges a raid, only to have someone in the police leak it so the guilty parties get away. No wonder she’s feeling paranoid.

Olive confesses to her parents that she has been attending Adrian’s church. She has to do this because she has come forward as a witness. Ben, as he didn’t do anything to help Grace or the unborn daughter, now thinking “save her” applies to Olive, goes and threatens Adrian. Ben, despite being a math guy, has an unpleasant violent streak, a consequence of his intensity. We have seen him go after several guys already: Cody, the Xer; the guy he found in his house getting Olive’s shin guards; almost attacking Danny when Ben found him in his house after Grace kicked him out; even running after the white van containing Robert Vance. Ben only reins it in with difficulty.

This is a time when Ben crosses the line with what is acceptable. And he knows it; otherwise he would not have come in a hoodie to threaten Adrian. Adrian is, in many ways, an easygoing guy; Ben could have made his point without the threats.

Near the end of the episode Jared meets Simon White, the head of the Xers. Early in the episode Simon alerted Ben and TJ to the attack on Adrian’s church: he was almost gleeful in their dismay. We now know Jared is the one who leaked the planned police raid on the Xers. Is Jared really a bad guy? What about Captain Bowers?

Title musings: “Coordinated flight” is the title of the episode, and, according to Wikipedia, in aviation it refers to a flight without sideslip. I did not know what sideslip meant either, but it means that you’re slipping to the side instead of moving only in a forward direction. A coordinated flight means that passengers don’t feel as if they’re moving from side to side. It’s better for everyone, as it’s more aerodynamic, and even less risky.

And, how does that apply to the episode? As I believe that most people out there don’t know the aviation definition of coordinated flight (I usually assume people have the same level of ignorance that I do), I think that the expression “Coordinated Flight” evokes the idea that the attacks on 828ers were coordinated to happen at the same time, perhaps going along with the idea of coordinated fight. Possibly, the Manifest title deciders have a list of aviation-related expressions to choose from and they decided this was the best fit. However, for those who are aware of the sideslip possibility, there are a couple of other possibilities. The blue truck is trying to making Grace’s car slip to the side. Zeke is trying not to slip back into drugs. Ben and Grace are trying to keep Olive from slipping into a cult. But, as I believe most people won’t know this sideslip interpretation, I have mixed feelings about the title.

Bits and pieces

This episode seems to take place the morning after the previous episode. Grace is about 16 weeks pregnant, which means it's about 15 weeks since 828 returned.

I can’t help but remember Erika White’s nasty words to Grace in an earlier episode: “I hope you lose that baby.” That may have been the purpose of the blue truck sideswiping Grace’s car.

I like how Manifest treats addicts – at least addicts who are struggling against addiction – as worthy people. Not every show does; an addict can be labeled as a junkie and nothing else.

Jared’s pointing out that Michaela doesn’t know enough about Zeke seems especially true when Courtney comes forward as his wife. On the other hand, if Zeke really did die, then the marriage – till death do us part – is no longer valid. Of course, that would invalidate Ben and Grace’s marriage, too.

Manifest owes us a really good explanation – not yet, but eventually – for why the Callings are so vague.

Here are some other questions I want answered. Is the government involved? If not, why did they suppress the weather report the day after 828 disappeared?

TJ is going with Olive to Adrian’s church, but I am not sure he believes in the message. Of course, a message of hope has to be appealing. And he gets to hold Olive’s hand.

I wonder if there will be any follow-up on Grace’s damaged car, whose front we saw crushed by a tree. They have actually been pretty good about following injuries on the characters, but props are a different matter. After all, someone restored Michaela’s apartment when she was in the hospital.


Michaela: Um, I should have gotten rid of these.
Zeke: You're not the addict. It's not your problem.
Michaela: I know, but I can make it easier for you.
Zeke: It doesn't get any easier. It just... At least now I have a reason to be strong.

TJ: So, first, you tell me I have a Death Date, and now some magic compass your sister found in a safe-deposit box is gonna be the way we avoid it.
Ben: Can we not use the word "magic," please? It's a built-in excuse not to look for an explanation.
TJ: Well, as long as it can save us, I don't care what we call it.
At least TJ is not suicidal like his mother was.

Meeting moderator: How can we start something new with the past hanging over our heads? When you're ready, the next step is to make amends.
Zeke: I don't know if the people I hurt will ever forgive me. I don't know if they should.
Meeting moderator: It's not about them. It's about you. And moving on. Taking stock of how far you've come and seeing yourself as someone worthy of being loved.

Michaela: So this is a PR campaign?
Adrian: This is about instilling hope.
Michaela: To what end? People are getting hurt.
Adrian: To a world that understands and embraces us as a miracle.
Michaela: Embraces you. Donates to you. That’s what you’re all about, isn’t it?

Jared: Your brother's a real prince.
Tamara: He's not a bad kid. He just... fell in with the wrong crowd.
Jared: Kids who fall into the wrong crowd tend to become bad kids.
Tamara: What about guys who hang out with sassy bartenders? What do they end up as?
Jared: I don't know. Regulars?

Jared: Michaela, the Xers are a bunch of angry mouth breathers. Don't you think you're giving them way too much credit?
Michaela: I am telling you if someone doesn't start taking this seriously and shut them down, the next 828 victim is gonna end up dead. It might be me. It might be Ben. It might be Cal. But, no, yeah, you're right. It's... It's probably all in my head.

Grace: Olive, the Believers are a cult.
Olive: Why? Because they think that a plane that came back five and a half years later is a miracle? Millions of people believe stuff that they have never seen, but we all saw 828, and it was a miracle.
Ben: Yeah, maybe it was. Or maybe it was an extraterrestrial encounter. Or maybe we got stuck in a time loop that stopped the aging process and expanded our brain capacity so we could predict the future. We have no idea, Olive. And Adrian... Adrian doesn't, either.

Overall rating

Reviewing this episode, I can see how much is packed into it, and I'm even leaving out stuff. I'm enjoying the many different reactions to the return of the 828ers, from worship to hatred. Only Olive’s character seems uneven, but maybe that makes sense for a teenager suffering under so much stress. Three and a half out of four pronouns without antecedents.

Victoria Grossack loves math, birds, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. I have to stick up for Olive a bit here. Cult is a highly loaded term and though there's been an implication of opportunism in Adrian's choice to start the chance, I've not seen any evidence that it fits the description of a destructive cult. He isn't shown asking his followers to transfer all their life savings to him or harm anyone. I haven't seen him using coercive psychological techniques to break down personalities or isolate his followers.

    It may be misguided and certainly his followers may do bad things but the actual content of what he teaches is not especially radical...it's pretty banal stuff. It probably only appeals to people because he has a real miracle to point to. Of course, the people who are most likely to embrace a new religion are troubled in some manner so they might do unpredictable, dangerous things, but that's not really Adrian's fault.

  2. I agree that Olive's position seems much more reasonable during a rewatch. The plane's return is much more attestably miraculous than miracles in earlier times, and, as she says, what church doesn't raise money? Also, Adrian is trying to inluence his followers, but not to the point where he's harming them. Alas, some of them are harming others.

  3. I disagree that Adrian’s church is a cult. He’s a scammer, yes. He may not realize that the more attention he draws to the church (so he can get more $) is what’s scaring people like the X’ers, but that’s on them, not him.

    So now Mikaela has slept with two married men since she’s come back. Maybe she needs to back off pursuing any romantic relationship with anyone for now. Esp with Jared now actively against her and her family. I hope the partner discovers Jared’s perfidy and turns him in. And no, Jared, it’s not Mikaela’s fault that YOU are labeled an obsessive cop. YOU did that all on your own. She warned you to correct the official report of her shooting and lay off Zeke, but you didn’t listen.

    I hate Jared now. More than the Major.


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