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Manifest: Course Deviation

Adrian: “The Calling was responsible for that fire.”
Grace: “What? How exactly?”
Adrian: “I got a vision of a burned-out airplane with dead passengers everywhere, and it freaked me out. So I went to my right-hand, Isaiah, told him what I had seen, right down to the champagne glasses, and then he made it all come true.”
Ben: “No, this is on you. You created a monster by making Isaiah think we're all immortal.”
Grace: “The Calling was warning you to stop.”
Adrian: “You don't know that! You follow the Callings blindly. Have you even considered the possibility that they create more bad than good?”

That’s better! This episode we finally get a few things done, and Manifest ends some storylines, takes us in a few new directions, and at least acknowledges there are some pretty important questions.

We see Adrian on the plane as it’s taking off, an indication he’s going to have a larger role in this episode. The woman in his row says a little prayer as the plane takes off, giving Adrian the chance to describe his own beliefs. Adrian, due to the actions of his preacher dad, has a very cynical attitude toward religion.

We all know Michaela’s interpretation of the Callings is based on Romans 8:28, in which all things work together for good. But Adrian’s version is based on Matthew 24:24. And he thinks that they are being manipulated to become agents of the apocalypse. He blames the Callings for the fire, and for good reason. If he hadn’t received the Calling, he would not have told Isaiah about them. He blames the Callings for Grace’s water breaking when it does, also for good reason.

Still, Adrian is not completely evil. After he gets the doctor to the hospital, he sticks around to find out what happens to Grace. Storywise, this is so we can have a conversation between him and Ben (without Ben threatening him) but Adrian does care. Adrian is convinced they have returned from the dead and that the Callings are trying to get them to bring about the apocalypse. Ben, in a wonderful mood because his wife and new baby are still alive, initially rejects Adrian’s interpretation – but the words stick with him.

We get the back story of some of the romance of Jared and Michaela, in which Jared proposes at “our place,” which happens to be a park bench. It’s cute to have her family there – not just the inexplicably often absent Grandpa Steve, but also Grandma Karen. We also hear “their song,” on a boom box carried by Cal and Young Olive. The song isn't just there for show; it will be important later. Michaela and Jared, when they meet, finally have a conversation they have needed to have for a while.

I think Manifest was weak that they didn’t tell Michaela in advance that Jared was undercover with the Xers. Still, I enjoyed Captain Bowers, although I must point out that Manifest is repeating itself a bit with Bowers turning out to be similar to Robert Vance (trope of black person in authority turns out to be on the side of the passengers). I loved how she yelled about paperwork.

Not only do we get the sassy Captain Bowers, we see how well Jared and Michaela work together and what good detectives they are. He knows she bugged the bar. She knows that when Jared is told 60 minutes, he means 60 minutes. She knows, too, how to interpret the song – their song – when he turns it on.

Jared proves himself by some amazing improvisation. When Billy destroys his phone, he gets the bug. He lets Michaela and Bowers know the number of people and guns and the fact that Zeke has been taken hostage. He gets Simon White over there and he gets him and his wife to confess. Jared even disarms Billy and prevents Zeke from being killed. Wow! No wonder Captain Bowers calls him the best police officer she has ever met.

The most emotional storyline is the birth of Eden. Grace has already lost a baby – and she lost Cal as well, for five and a half years – I can understand her wanting to put her child’s life before her own. Ben agrees, but changes his mind when his other kids arrive, because he cannot let their mother die. He apologizes to both Grace and the baby, and he begs the baby to fight for her life.

The storyline with Cal and Olive preparing a guidebook for their baby sister is cute but not remarkable. I don’t see how they managed to finish it, but apparently Ben is reading it when Michaela comes over. As Ben hasn't changed clothes yet, it seems to still be the same day. The guidebook storyline is also used to warn us of a coming danger: a shadow Cal drew in his very first Calling, without knowing what it was. Adrian has the same Calling himself, but in his case the shadow separates into three. The same thing happens at the end for Cal.

Title musings: “Course Deviation” is the title of the episode. something that doesn’t need explanation with respect to aviation. Anyway, there are several ways this phrase applies in the episode. Michaela discovers that Jared was on her side all along, and she now has a new relationship with Captain Bowers. The head of the Xers has been arrested, changing his course. Ben and Grace thought they had another two months until the baby would be born; that course was changed. Adrian doesn’t want to follow the Callings but he does - and his attitude towards the Callings deviates completely from the Stones' interpretation. And a course often refers to a river, and one of the settings in the episode is the Harlem River.

Bits and pieces

The fact that Adrian’s father was a preacher explains why he was so adept at setting up his own church.

We learn that Grace’s pregnancy is at 29 weeks. As Ben and Grace had their first romantic encounter about a week after the plane returned, that means we should be about 28 weeks after the plane returned (pregnancy weeks are counted as starting from the beginning of the pregnant person’s last period). Anyway, that puts us at the end of May, 2019, assuming the creators of Manifest calculate accurately. The weather outside seems to confirm this.

I don’t understand why that doctor needed rescuing. If he couldn’t swim, kayaking by himself was insane. If he could swim, he should not have needed rescuing, not unless there was some other injury – but none seem to have been mentioned, except swallowing some water. At least he’s a better surgeon than kayaker.

Adrian and Ben think the doctor was only saved to save Grace and Eden. But presumably the doctor will go on to save other pregnant people and their babies in the future.

Engaged or not engaged? In the first few episodes, Michaela had not given her answer to Jared’s proposal. But in other episodes they are referred to as being engaged.

Jared has now lost two women - Lourdes and now Tamara - because of Michaela.

Sometimes, in a version I hope Manifest won’t do, I imagine that Karen Stone, the mother of Ben and Michaela, is behind the Callings.

KJV of Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

KJV of Matthew 24:24: For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

We don’t know if the Callings are good. Maybe some are good, and some are not. We seem to have gotten some clarity in the previous episode, but things are murky once more. That’s OK at this point in the series, but I really hope Manifest presents coherence before they finish.


Adrian: A Calling. Tried to ignore it, but it got louder. Finally gave in. Walked all the way here from Queens, dodging cop cars and traffic cams the whole way.
Grace: We can't turn him in.
Ben: Are you kidding? The Calling helped us find him, and he's got to be held accountable.
Grace: Ben, why would the Calling bring us together all the way out here only for us to bring him all the way back?

Olive: You found Zeke with this drawing. And, um, this one, you helped save those people under the warehouse.
Cal: I guess there were a lot of happy endings.
Olive: What's this one?
Cal: It was the first one I ever drew, and I actually never figured out what it meant. It still kind of creeps me out.

Jared: Because the best way to destroy a hate group is to blow it up from the inside.
Michaela: Oh, my God.
Jared: You said you'd never feel safe with them out there.
Michaela: You've been undercover? Why didn't you tell me?
Jared: Because I needed you to believe I was in so deep that they'd believe. It took a lot to gain their trust, Mick.

Michaela: I, um, have to tell you something. I bugged her bar.
Jared: And I have to tell you something. I know.

Captain Bowers: There she is. It's about time, Stone. You can hide behind your lawyer to avoid questions about the crime, but you're damn well gonna answer questions about your job. My office, now! You, too, Vasquez. And I want to make sure you're both comfortable, 'cause you're gonna be spending a lot of time with me. Welcome to the team, Stone.

Captain Bowers: Damn it if you two aren't Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Ben: Ineed you to know I'm doing this for Cal and Olive. They can't lose you. Neither can I. I love you too damn much. Or maybe I don't love you enough, not enough to put what you'd want ahead of what I want. Because I want you, Grace. And I know you'd give your life to protect this baby. But you're not here, so... I need you to please... please forgive me. You sweet... sweet baby girl. I'm so sorry. I'm stacking the deck against you, and you're not even born yet. I know the odds are slim, but... I have faith. I have faith you're gonna make it somehow. I just... I just do. And if you do make it, you'll be the luckiest baby girl in the world, because you have the world's best mom. I need to do this. I'm sorry. I need you to fight.

Jared: You okay?
Zeke: Thanks to you. You saved me.
Michaela You, uh, seem to be doing a lot of that lately.
Zeke: I don't know how you kept your cool through all that.
Jared: Well, I may not be hearing voices in my head, but I've learned a thing or two in my years on the job. Glad it still counts for something.
Michaela: It counts for a lot.

Adrian: My dad used to quote it. "False prophets will arise from the dead to perform signs and wonders".
Ben: We're not false prophets.
Adrian: You keep assuming we're on the side of good, Ben, but I know now we are returned from the dead to be agents of the apocalypse.

Overall rating

There were some aspects I really liked about this, especially Adrian's attitude toward the Callings, in which he points out that they don't always seem benevolent. Glad the writers realize this; at some point they had better explain why! But at least they acknowledge there's a problem. I also liked the birth of baby Eden and Jared's stunning rescue of Zeke. Four out of four boom boxes.

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

1 comment:

  1. This was a good recap, Victoria. I esp like he way you showed us the ‘course deviations’, when I didn’t even think of that.

    I, too, originally thought of the shadow Cal had drawn right at the beginning of the series, when I saw the new shadows. I had forgotten abt that.

    Thank goodness Simon & his wife are implicated in Zeke’s attempted murder. I hope this whole X’ers plot line is gone. And I’m sorry for ranting against Jared a few episodes ago.

    But where are Vance and the Major?


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