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Manifest: Unaccompanied Minors

Michaela: “Maybe that's why the Calling told me to let him go, so that we could catch the bigger fish.”
Jared: “That's a terrible plan. More helpful would have been to bring him in so we could interrogate him. Mick, why does it feel like you're always trying to justify the Callings?”
Michaela: “Because I gotta believe they're good, Jared.”

There’s a new arc, that I found a little harder to get into, but which will make sense in the end. Zeke, whose death date is drawing closer, finds closure with someone important.

At the end of the last episode, Ben, after Grace’s safe delivery of baby Eden, was completely optimistic about the Callings. Several months have passed, and now he has doubts, mostly because Cal has been having a terrifying Calling consisting of three ominous shadows (which Adrian also had). Ben’s turning to the Bible, of all books, for answers, and sharing his doubt with Michaela.

Baby Eden is home and the parents are really enjoying her. It’s nice to have a sweet moment. Grace even points out that life has been good since Eden’s birth.

Ben has a Calling – his first in several months – and TJ has the other pieces. Although they have a sense of doom and gloom in their shared Calling, they rescue a man who turns out to be Zeke's father. It's a positive Calling in the end.

I really like this story arc: Zeke getting his life, or at least his approach to death, in order. He’s told that instead of seeking forgiveness, he needs to forgive, in order to find closure. He does it with the one person needs to – his father. It turns out that this forgiveness is what Zeke needs to accept his end. After the reconciliation, he skips out on Saanvi’s treatments, which have been unpleasant and are not successful, and goes with his father to commemorate Chloe at her favorite beach. When he comes home, he asks Michaela to marry him; she says yes.

Note how Zeke was not immediately ready to forgive his father. Manifest uses a technique we could all apply. Even when you’re convinced you're right about something, it can be really hard to persuade someone with an opposing view. Well, what helps is when the argument is given more than once, by different people. The moderator of Zeke’s meeting tells him he needs to find who needs to forgive, for his own sake. Then, in the hospital, Ben says something similar. Zeke’s father hears from TJ (perfect for this situation) about how devastating a suicide can be, and that softens him up for the actual arrival of Zeke.

Often when things are going well for Ben, they are going badly for Michaela (at least one character has to suffer, or else there’s not enough tension). She’s worried about Zeke, whose death date is quickly approaching. “Let him go” is Michaela’s Calling, and it seems to apply several different ways. There’s the student she’s chasing. There’s the interpretation of letting Zeke die. And then, there’s the moment when she is about to capture one of the leaders of the meth ring. For once, Michaela does not obey, and she arrests Jace. She might not have done this, except for the doubts that Ben and Jared both expressed to her about the intentions or the appropriateness of the Callings.

Michaela is different from the other passengers. The others obey or disobey the Callings, try to investigate them, try to trick them. Michaela actually talks to them, and in this case she asks for them to save the man she loves. In the first season she asked them to save Jared. This time she asks them to save Zeke.

Jake and Michaela are finally acting like friends again, which is nice for everyone. Jake finally learns about Zeke’s death date – and also, Michaela’s. Now he finally has more insight into why the passengers are a little nuts.

Title musings: “Unaccompanied Minors” is the title of the episode. The phrase in the airline industry refers to kids who are traveling on their own, often from one parent to the other. There are all sorts of protocols depending on the age of the kid. How well does the phrase apply to the episode? The only unaccompanied minor I could see was the kid who stole the meth. Now, if the music in the little music box was in a minor key, I would give applause for the title, but the music sounded to me as if it were in a major key. I don’t think the title works. If anyone out there has more insight, please share.

Bits and pieces

The timing of this episode is four months from Eden’s birth, because she is going in for her check-up. Eden is home, and they refer to its being several months after that. The birth, according to my calculation, should have been the end of May 2019, which puts us at the end of September. On the other hand, if the four-month check-up is based on when she should have been born, instead of when she was actually born, then it works with the idea that Zeke’s death date is approaching, because we’re at some point in December.

The squishiness with the dates is not reassuring with respect to Manifest nailing down all the open questions. Sigh.

I think Michaela has to do more real running than any of the other characters on the show. Well, it appears Melissa Roxburgh is up for it.

TJ is assumed to be a member of the Stone family twice in this episode. The first time is by Cal (who wants more people to partake of dim sum because the selection is better). The second time is by Zeke’s father, who assumes TJ is Ben’s son (it helps that TJ and Ben both have fair complexions). This is very important for TJ, as his mother was dead when he returned on 828.

Saanvi was able to “cure” herself with a few injections. I don’t understand how she is having so little success with Zeke. Saanvi might have been waiting for one last minute trial but that appears to be impossible as the hospital kicks her out of her lab.

The Callings sometimes offer emotional support. TJ finds pictures of himself with his mother. Olive and Ben got over their problems. Now, Zeke reconnects with his father. We are all wondering how the Callings set priorities.

No Luna Blaise (Olive) in this episode, but TJ is at the Stones’ house anyway.


Michaela: Ben, you've gone off the deep end.
Ben: Just hear me out.
Michaela: What, that we're false prophets coming back from the dead? I thought you got off this theory months ago when the Calling saved Grace and the baby.
Ben: Yeah, but pretty much every single night since then, Cal's been terrorized by these three looming shadows.
Michaela: Still? You must really be desperate for answers. Science guy looking in the Bible.

Meeting moderator: Good news is, you're in recovery now. How's that going?
Zeke: If I'm being honest, working the steps has been feeling a little pointless lately.
Meeting moderator: Just take it one day at a time.
Zeke: That's the thing. I may not have many days left. Look, I don't want sympathy. I mean, it is what it is. But it's hard to work towards something when you know you're dying.
Meeting moderator: It might be about closure now. Making peace with others and yourself. You've been so focused on seeking forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive?

Michaela: Okay, I still don't know who or what you are exactly, other than a voice in my head. But enough is enough. Since the plane came back, you have called on me relentlessly, and I've listened. I've literally done everything that you wanted because I believe that what you're asking us to do is for a purpose. I mean, it has to be. So why, after all that I've done, am I watching the man I love freeze to death?

Zeke: Al-Zuras's journal didn't warn you off? It said the Callings were the only way around the Death Date, that everything else was a path to disaster.
Saanvi: Medicine has come a long way since bleeding and leeches. There's so many illnesses that were a death sentence and now have a cure. Why is this any different?

Drea: So, how was your little walk down memory lane?
Michaela: It's good to be friends again. Thank you for asking.
Drea: I don't have many friends who would infiltrate a hate group for me.
Michaela: No, he's a cop. He's just doing his job.
Drea: Yeah, well, that maybe explains the undercover part, but that awful haircut... That's true love.
That haircut was truly awful.

Ben: What if this is your chance to let go of all of that hurt and anger?
Zeke: I'm not gonna spend the little time I have left on that man.
Ben: But you're not doing this for him. You're doing this for you. Maybe it's time that you forgive so you can find some closure.

TJ: Maybe you got a chance to try again.
Zeke’s dad: What makes you think I deserve one?
TJ: Everyone does.
Zeke’s dad: What is it to you, anyway?
TJ: A lot, actually. My mother killed herself. And I would do anything to be able to see her again.

Michaela: He's not being treated for burns, Jared. He's dying. Being back has a cost, and, however long we were gone is... That's how long we have left to live.
Jared: Wait, you have this, too?
Michaela: Yeah. The Callings made that pretty clear.
Jared: How... How can you even be sure that...
Michaela: We are, Jared. It happened to Griffin. It's happening to Zeke.

Overall rating

I like the questions the characters have about the Callings and Zeke’s arc preparing for his death date. The conversation between TJ and Zeke’s dad was inspiring, and the conversation between Michaela and Jared was key. However, I didn’t enjoy the interaction with the meth guys – which is partly because it always takes me time to warm up to new characters and a new arc. I'm disappointed in the title, and I'm worried about Manifest’s consistency. Three out of four stolen candybars.

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

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