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Manifest: Deadhead

Grace: “Our family split up like this before, seven years ago in an airport in Jamaica.”
Ben: “And it ended up saving Cal's life.”

The meth heads who kidnapped Cal emerge from the lake where they drowned, sending waves of panic through the Stone family.

We get a pleasant open at the Stones, showing Angelina recovering from being locked away by her parents. Grace brings her caffeine (we don’t know if it’s coffee, tea, or cocoa) and introduces her to baby Eden. Then Grace goes downstairs to talk to Ben – and in the most wifely moment ever, finds his glasses for him – and tries to talk him out of mounting a rescue for Vance. After the secret mission to Cuba, he’s sure he has what it takes, but before he can do anything, government officials from the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency appear at the door to question him. In another moment where Grace shines, she rescues her husband by asking the inquisitors if they are planning to stay for lunch and by kicking them out.

Michaela goes back to work, where she is welcomed by Jared, Drea and Captain Bowers – despite the sense the passengers have that everyone is out to get them, that is not always the case – and she promises to follow Captain Bowers’ rules. Mick and Drea watch a video of the lake where the meth heads drowned – in which the three guys emerge from the no-longer-frozen lake. It’s a really chilling moment, and ratchets up the tension in the episode. Mick warns her brother and she and Drea drive up to search for the kidnappers.

Ben and Grace decide they need to hide Cal, at least for 84 days as that’s the next death date for the meth heads. They decide to hide Cal and they will go to Grace’s stepbrother. Grace wants to take everyone, but in the end, only Cal and the baby go with her, because Ben has promised to help Vance and Olive is helping Angelina with a Calling. The separation of the family is really uncomfortable for Grace, who recalls what happened after Jamaica. She feels it more than Ben, because he doesn’t remember those five and a half years.

Michaela and Drea chase an RV stolen by the meth heads. A police car can go much faster but the meth heads toss a canister of propane. It's fun to see the air bags bursting; I wonder how often they had to film that.

Jace has an almost human moment of remembering time working at King Kone. At one point in his life he did nice things for Pete and Kory. He takes them to King Kone but he plans to rob the place because he recalls the passwords.

Angelina and Olive are following Angelina’s Calling, which, like most Callings, is confusing at first. They follow the Calling to Angelina’s old school where she digs up a time capsule with a few old items she buried. Included in this is an old photo showing her having a slushie. They decide to go get slushies, also at King Kone.

Zeke goes to Saanvi for a physical; of course he wants to be examined after coming back to life. We see a quality in Zeke that has existed before, but which is stronger now: he quietly steps into the breach and supports others when they need it. The clinic phone is ringing off the hook; no one is sitting at the front desk; he just helps. He also realizes that Saanvi is pushing herself really hard. He believes she’s trying to save herself from the death date through good works as Callings are not available to her. Of course, we know her manic drive is really due to the guilt she feels about murdering the Major.

The meth heads get a Calling – they all hear “Go to Her” – but they don’t know what it means. Pete interprets it as meaning he should go to Angelina. What is weird is that all of them hear it, even though it only applies to one of them. Usually when several people get a Calling, that's a sign that they are supposed to work together. Anyway, this means Pete sticks around to get arrested by Michaela and Drea.

Grace’s stepbrother Tariq was the only false step in the episode for me; he’s full of resentment because she wasn’t there for them when their father was sick. This felt like trumped-up conflict for the sake of conflict in the episode. Besides, Tariq didn’t come to her when she lost her husband and her son. Of course, some people are unreasonable; perhaps Tariq is one of them. Besides, Manifest needed to give us some explanation as to why Grace’s stepbrother was not mentioned in the past two seasons; I guess estrangement will do it.

Ben calls on Vance’s “widow” Estelle, gets a real scolding, and decides that Vance's wife is scarier than Vance. Ben gets Vance released by going to the government and telling the truth. But the tailfin's discovery means renewed interest in passengers, and Ben cannot go up to be with his wife and kids, because the media will track him down.

Title musings: “Deadhead” is the title of the episode. First, let’s review what “deadhead” means in aviation: when a certificate holder (someone who works on an airplane) is transported by another plane between airports. The deadhead crew may be transported in any cabin, including a coach with the passengers on the flight, or on a jump seat in the cockpit or galleys of the plane. (Information from Paramount business jets). I’ve been having trouble applying this meaning to the stories in this episode. Perhaps the thread that Grace, Cal and Eden are hiding in a home that is not their own? Mostly the title appears to be a play on the word as it refers to the meth heads who just climbed out of a lake. It's an OK title.

Bits and pieces

The title implies more than ever that the passengers and the meth heads were dead when they were gone. The meth heads assume it themselves.

I’m surprised that Manifest chose 84 days instead of 82 days for the time for the meth heads to be in the lake.

It has to be spring, 2020.

The photo of young Angelina with young Pete in the background is pretty good.

There’s a lot of basketball in Manifest.


Bowers: This is the case that led to your suspension, and you want to open it back up?
Michaela: Well, the bodies were never recovered, so technically, it is still open – I'm asking permission to take Lieutenant Vasquez up there to check it out.
Bowers: Vasquez isn't your partner. Mikami is. Also, it isn't 1973 – no one has to drive anywhere to see footage.

Grace: Uh, excuse me. Sorry to interrupt. Are you all planning to stay for lunch?
Zimmer: No, we...
Grace: Because this is either a situation where we're going to need lawyers...
Ben: And warrants.
Grace: ...or you're rolling up your sleeves and helping me with the calzone.

Grace: Why do they get to come back after everything they've done to us, to Cal?
Ben: I don't know. The universe doesn't seem to have a moral barometer. I mean, Griffin came back, and he was a cold-blooded killer.

Saanvi: This is unbelievable.
Zeke: What? Something wrong with me?
Saanvi: No, not a single thing. I see no trace of the frostbite or the gangrenous tissue that was consuming you three and a half months ago.
Zeke: So... so surviving the Death Date gave me a do-over? Not just on my life, but on my health?
Saanvi: There's more. I see no trace of the ischemic blood marker that all returnees have, that you had. So I'm guessing that...
Zeke: Yeah. No more Callings. I'm a Muggle again.

Pete: I mean, this is a miracle, and you know it! And I don't think that we should be beating people up and fire-bombing the cops!
Jace: I don't give a rat's ass about any of those people.
Pete: You used to be the guy that took care of everyone. You remember when you spent all the money from your... your after-school job to pay for the high-tops for me and Kory?
Kory: We had the best kicks on the block.
Jace: I hadn't thought about that job in years.
Pete: Hey, maybe that's why we came back. To do things differently.
Jace: Maybe you're right.

Olive: My Aunt Mick, she... told me a little bit about what happened to you. And how your parents reacted to, um... well, we say "Callings."
Angelina: They thought my visions were a sign that I was gonna bring about the End of Days. It won't stop. It keeps coming back.
Olive: That just means you haven't solved it yet.

Olive: You know, I keep trying to find the right thing to say, to tell you how sorry I am for... all that you've been through. But the only thing I can think of is, "That sucks."

Zeke: Are you doing all this... putting everything into overdrive... to be sure you survive the Death Date? I have to tell you, my take on it is that as long as you follow Callings, then...
Saanvi: Look, I haven't had any Callings since I medicated myself! So, if solving the Callings is the only way to survive the Death Date, what do I do?
Zeke: You just keep doing what you're doing. Helping people. Making the world better one patient at a time.

Overall rating

Excellent episode. The emotional notes were good; there was lots of tension; and most of it was logical; the supporting characters, Grace and Zeke, shine especially. Four out of four slushies.

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

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