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Manifest: Carry On

Ben: “My laying into her about Adrian and following the Believers, I just created this giant void between us.”
Grace: “But you were right, Ben. Everything you said to her.”
Ben: “Yeah, but it doesn't make it any better. I told myself I was gonna make up for lost time, but I just pushed her further and further away from me since I came back, Grace.”

After the nightclub fire, Ben and Olive try to put their lives back together, while Michaela discovers that Jared has been hanging out with Xers.

Ben is having nightmares about the fire – or are they Callings? We don't know, but we see him start up awake. The scene is good, because it reminds us of what has been going on. It also shows what the Stones do: they take their traumatized kids into their bed, with one parent on either side. Right now Olive is suffering desperately, so she sleeps between her parents.

And Olive is right to be upset. We see a charred body being carried out of the nightclub ruins. In the blackened hand is the bracelet Olive gave to TJ. Michaela identifies the bracelet and takes it with her.

Simon White, Ben’s colleague and the secret leader of the Xers, has called on the Stones to condole and console. He’s not very good at it. When he utters a platitude, Olive snaps at him. Sometimes Olive is really intuitive about people. White isn’t sincere (and of course his wife Erika who wants Grace to lose her baby can’t come at all, as Grace would recognize Erika). White is at the Stones to take glee in their misfortune and to snoop around Ben’s stuff. Always be suspicious in Manifest when someone needs to pee! They’re not peeing, they’re poking around.

Michaela shows up at her brother’s house to deliver the bad news. She tries to take Ben aside, but Olive insists (I love it when people insist) on being told. Luna Blaise is spot-on perfect in her grief.

At this point Olive, who had been actually kind of pro-828 Callings, is angry with them for having not saved TJ as well. Despite her denials, she has kind of felt left out, as she has been the only member of the Stone family (except for the mostly-absent Grandpa Steve) not to receive Callings. But now Ben, after studying that picture in the Al-Zuras journal, thinks she is involved. Olive is not persuaded by the Callings, but she does like the idea of honoring TJ through a Buddhist service.

I have never done a Buddhist memorial service, but I thought how Ben suggested they do a DIY ceremony was lovely. I like how Manifest approaches different religions, running the gamut.

Apparently the Callings decided Ben and Olive needed to work on their relationship while mourning for the not-dead-but-suffering-a-lot TJ down below. Because the chanting stops in the Zen center while they do their DIY memorial service. Only when they are finished and Olive apologizes to her father for having been so difficult (to be fair Ben’s disappearance and then his return were major disruptions in her life, but this is the real moment of healing between them) does the chanting resume. They follow the chanting and find TJ, still alive, although barely. Apparently it was Isaiah who died in the fire, which is OK, because he was trying to die.

The episode has a few other storylines. Michaela and Drea suspect that Jared is getting tight with the Xers, and their detective work in the matter lets both of them shine. Drea does a great job talking up the bartender and it’s nice to see the actor, Ellen Tamaki, get a substantial scene. Michaela has a good scene with Tamara as well. Tamara assumes Michaela has arrived with the usual “stay away from my boyfriend” warning, but Michaela is there to warn Tamara. And also to bug her bar.

The other important storyline involves Zeke, who learns that he is suffering from frostbite and not burned fingers. His Death Date is approaching. However, there’s a ray of hope as Saanvi may have found a cure.

Title musings: “Carry On” is the title of the episode, and everyone knows what this means in the airline world: the luggage you’re allowed to bring on a plane. However, in this episode it has several other meanings. First, there’s the idea that Ben is helping to carry Olive through her grief, something that we know they thought about because Ben and Grace actually speak about it. There’s also the idea that after a tragedy, you simply have to carry on. And then there’s Zeke, who is going to have to carry on despite only having six months to live.

Bits and pieces

The nightclub fire took place on a Saturday; Michaela and Drea discuss that it is now Thursday. TJ has been lost for a while. No wonder he is at death’s door.

When I go almost anywhere, I have a bottle of water with me. I think Ben and Olive should have done that.

Zeke says he’s got six months to live. He was in the cave for about a year, so this episode should be in the middle of 2019.

I think the Callings cannot be omnipotent. That’s why they’re not responsible for everything.

The Callings seem to pay homage to various different religions, which makes me wonder if the Callings are internally consistent.

I think we've seen the tunnel in another episode. They changed the lighting, though.

In the open of the last episode we had TJ pointing out to his mom only had carry-on luggage for his trip to Jamaica. That scene would have been nice to include here, because it goes along so well with the title, but it didn’t fit the rest of the story.

The drawing in the journal shows the young woman being carried through the fire in a position that no one would have unless they were unconscious. I don’t know why, but that bothers me.

Annie Leibovitz is a famous photographer; Drea wants Michaela to take pictures.


Saanvi: There could be side effects, and it could backfire. It could make me worse.
Zeke: Worse than dying?

Olive: I'm not a part of the Callings.
Ben: I think now you are. I think we're supposed to do something together.
Olive: Well, it's a little late now, isn't it? If some random, old drawing suddenly makes me a part of the Callings, then why didn't the drawings show you carrying me and TJ out of the fire? Why didn't the Callings stop this?
Grace: The Callings didn't do this to TJ, Olive.
Olive: Well, it sure didn't save him, either.

Michaela: This isn't exactly how I pictured spending my Thursday afternoon.
Drea: Yeah, I wouldn't want to watch my ex kissing someone else, either.

Drea: I'm getting a major "passengers not allowed" vibe from this place. You're the last person who could walk in here incognito.
Michaela: Okay, fine. You want to go in?
Drea: I thought you'd never ask. Get your Annie Leibovitz on.

Olive: When I first saw you in my dad's office, I could... I could barely breathe. I was too embarrassed to admit that I remembered you from Jamaica and that I had... the biggest crush on you ever since. Your kindness and your sweet smile and your heart, it... it stayed with me for five and a half years.

Michaela: Mom was right. All things do work together for good.
Ben: TJ surviving, us following the Callings, it's... it's teaching us something.
Michaela: When you figure out what that is, why don't you send me the Cliff Notes?
We would all like to see the Cliff notes, please.

Overall rating

I really liked this episode. Very rich, the feelings were real. Luna Blaise was brilliant and Ellen Tamaki was excellent too. Four out of four recovered bracelets.

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

1 comment:

  1. I may have to take back my hatred of Jared. I can’t see the PD Captain, a firm strong Black Woman, hampering other women of color in her field by being a dirty cop. Now I think she and Jared are up to something.

    Drea is fast becoming my favorite character, tho. She, and the actress, are great.

    No mention of Saanvi’s lost memories? And why haven’t we seen neither the Major and Vance in a while?


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