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Manifest: Icing Conditions

Ben: “You... You didn't listen.”
Michaela: “Listen to what, Ben? Let him go? I am sick to my stomach, but it didn't make sense.”
Ben: “You didn't want it to make sense!”
Michaela: “How could I, Ben? That is a voice in my head, telling me to let Zeke die or to let three scumbag drŐ˝g dealers go. That's not a voice I want to listen to.”
Ben: “We don't have a choice!”
Michaela: “If we have zero control over what we do, then what was the point of us coming back in the first place?”

Cal has been kidnapped by the meth ring, and Zeke is facing down his death date. In the season finale, there’s lots of excitement, and we make some progress in understanding all of what is going on.

After Cal is kidnapped, Ben and Grace are angry, terrified and desperate. So is Michaela, who blames herself, because the kidnappers are trying to punish her by taking her nephew. The meth heads want their meth back, and Michaela goes to get it from the precinct. Because she's supposed to be on her honeymoon, she’s not allowed to sign it out, but Jared proves once more that he always has Michaela’s back, even risking his career. Realizing they will need more backup, he ropes in Drea.

The attempt to get Cal back doesn’t work, because a well-meaning bystander wants to know why Michaela is leaving a large package behind. I thought this was a good touch, and understandable, given the nervousness of New Yorkers ever since 9/11. In fact, I don’t know why they didn’t have Kory actually meet with Michaela; I guess the meth heads were afraid she would take him down. At any rate, after the failed exchange, both sides are frustrated.

After the failure, the real police are brought in. I love the behavior of Captain Bowers in this. She scolds Michaela, refuses Michaela’s resignation, and gets discreet assistance organized. The Stones don’t trust her completely, but they are allies, even after Grace chews her out (Grace and Ben are chewing out everyone).

Olive has a role again! Twin power! It’s almost too clever of Cal to send a text about Mom and Doug – but, lying there, he’s had nothing to do but think – and Olive figures it out. The twins were crazy about the smiley-face pancakes at a place called the Dugout. Olive puts two and two together and knows where Cal was taken. Zeke has also been getting Callings about this, so he insists on going with Michaela and Ben.

The meth heads are unhappy the trade did not work, and they don’t know what to do with Cal. Jace wants to kill him. Both Kory and Pete object, and Pete secretly sets Cal free. This shows that Jace may be one-note evil, but the other two are not.

Zeke has more than Michaela’s back. The progress he made in earlier episodes has prepared him to accept his death. He had planned to die in his wife’s arms, but now he’s going for a heroic finish. He tells Jared he’s glad Jared will be there for Michaela afterwards, insists on lying in the back of the car to go to where Cal was taken, and he staggers off to find Cal at the end. As he’s freezing already, I guess it’s not that hard for him to jump into the lake, which has been cracked open by dark lightning.

Ben’s priorities, like Grace’s, put his kids before everyone else. Although he tries to save Zeke, when Zeke has died in Michaela’s arms, he tries to comfort his sister by saying it was his time to go.

But then, Zeke comes back to life (Jared is disappointed). Zeke is the complete opposite of Griffin, so it gives a glimmer of hope for the passengers.

It was a great plot twist to have Saanvi go to confront the Major not once, but twice, and to kill her in the second encounter. The Major would not have died had she not struggled for the antidote, breaking it in the process, but it was completely in line with her personality. Lovely, too, to have Saanvi turn to Robert Vance at the end and confess and to witness her distress at having killed someone. As the Major said, Saanvi is not a killer. Still, we’re not upset that the Major is dead, are we?

We end this season with some real happiness. Cal has been recovered, and Zeke has made it past his death date. The Major is dead and so are the meth heads. There’s nothing to indicate that the Major will come back, but she was pretty important in the government and Saanvi is upset at what she did. We can expect some consequences. The bodies of the meth heads, however, cannot be found in the frozen lake, and they went missing at the same time as dark lightning / Zeke’s revival. Hence, I don’t think their arc is done.

And, from Zeke's beating his Death Date, we have some answers. His doing that appears to show the way for the other passengers. That explains why Cal didn’t get a Calling warning him not to go outside at night and not get kidnapped. It also means that Michaela was supposed to ignore the Calling warning her to “let him go” – at least the time when she was arresting Jace. Did that Calling just refer to letting Zeke go, which is what she did at the end?

Title musings: “Icing Conditions” is the title of the episode. In aviation, the term refers to the conditions that can lead to ice forming on an aircraft, which can be dangerous. In this episode, Zeke is freezing to death; in a previous episode we saw him crack ice off his own body. The term also works well for the scene at the end, when the meth heads, as well as Cal and Zeke, fall beneath the ice.

The word “icing” has several other meanings. Of course, there’s the sugary paste on cakes, but the episode showed none of that, even though it would have been possible to include leftover slices of wedding cake. A missed opportunity. But to ice someone also means to kill that person, and that’s what Saanvi does to the Major. I like this title.

Bits and pieces

I have heard more than once that the best way to get a hostage back is to pay the ransom. The criminals are often in the business of hostage taking, so they will deliver the hostage if the ransom is paid.

If the Major has been watching Saanvi and the Stones – even to the point of remarking that the wedding was beautiful – then she should know that Cal was kidnapped. As the passengers are worth more dead than alive, and Cal seems to be especially central to the Callings, why hasn’t she mobilized forces to rescue him?

We have seen Ben and Cal use American Sign Language before. This time they use the arms crossed over the heart to tell each other that they love each other.

Zeke has now been revived not once but twice. How will that change him?

I think we can be confident that Dark Lightning, also known as a terrestrial gamma-ray flash, plays a key role in Manifest and the Callings. Here’s the Wikipedia definition: A terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), also known as dark lightning, is a burst of gamma rays produced in Earth's atmosphere. TGFs have been recorded to last 0.2 to 3.5 milliseconds, and have energies of up to 20 million electronvolts. It is speculated that TGFs are caused by intense electric fields produced above or inside thunderstorms. Scientists have also detected energetic positrons and electrons produced by terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.

I think the Major and I may be using the exact same purse. Mine was purchased for me by my husband at an estate sale (he adores estate sales). It’s attractive enough, and works for the stuff I need to schlepp around, but extremely uncomfortable.


Michaela: Grace, I swear to you, I will fix this.
Grace: Do not... Do not swear anything to me, 'cause you don't know.

Michaela: Sorry. It was not supposed to go that way.
Jared: Yeah, I didn't think it was. What are we up to?
Michaela: No, don't worry about it. Just go back to your desk. Don't get involved.
Jared: Mick, I just signed out an industrial-size box of methamphetamine. I'd say I'm involved. Hey. Hey. What are you up to?

Saanvi: I need to find a cure. You stole my work.
The Major: Your country thanks you for your contribution to its defense.
Saanvi: What if I have more to offer? If you tell me how to get rid of the genetic mutation, I can give you a complete medical profile on a man with an identical mutation who wasn't on Flight 828.
The Major: You mean Zeke Landon? You don't think I have you and the Stone family monitored? It was a beautiful wedding, by the way.

Michaela: No, Zeke. If your body temperature drops too low, you will die.
Jared: I told him. He won't listen.
Michaela: Saanvi's still working on a cure. She needs you here, close by.
Zeke: No. I got the Calling. I'm supposed to help. If today's the day I die, I'm not going to my grave knowing Cal was in trouble but I just stayed home, trying to save myself.

Saanvi: Are you having trouble breathing? It's early stage anaphylaxis. Not so early. You have 90 seconds to tell me how to save Zeke, or it will be too late to save yourself.

Bowers: Hopefully, they can create a perimeter before it's too late.
Grace: Uh, too late to what, exactly?
Bowers: Intercept the kidnappers, overwhelm them, negotiate with them. We have established procedures, tactics.
Grace: Can you just hold on... just stop for one second? These tactics sound like the kind of thing that could endanger a hostage.
Bowers: We're professionals, ma'am. You need to let us do our job.
Grace: Captain, with all due respect, this is my son. If you do anything to jeopardize him coming home to me safely, I swear to God, you'll wish you didn't wake up this morning.

Ben: Listen. I said a lot of things.
Michaela: So did I.
Ben: Obviously, you would never do anything to hurt Cal. You were as scared as I was, and you didn't need me turning on you.
Michaela: For the record, we both turned on me. I was sure that I'd made the biggest mistake of my life.
Ben: This was meant to happen, Mick, so we could see for ourselves. Zeke following the Calling, saving Cal, that's... that's how he beat the death date.

Saanvi: I killed her. What do we do?

Police Diver: We've been down there for hours, searched every inch of this lake. There are no bodies.
Jared: Okay, That's not possible. No one's come out of that lake. I mean, they have to be in there.
Police Diver: Don't know what to tell you. They're not.

Overall rating

Lots of action and not too many inconsistencies. It was pleasant to have Michaela and Ben be happy at the end of the season (but Saanvi is now a murderer). We may have progressed in our understanding of the Callings. Four out of four smiley-face pancakes from the Dugout.

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


  1. I've been only so-so about Zeke as a character for much of this season, but this episode, the way he was so determined to save Cal while meeting his own particularly horrible death, won me over. Four out of four pancakes for me, too.

    Congratulations on finishing season two, Victoria!

  2. I think the Black Lightening took the three methheads 5 yrs in the future (ala 828 and the Pilot maybe). But I agree Victoria, their arc isn’t done.

    I’m getting suspicious abt Drea. She’s hugging all the Stones like they were her long time friends. She’s almost TOO helpful and empathetic to Michaela all the time. I’m wondering if she’s the Major’s mole.

    I think the Major was no longer interested in Cal because she said Zeke was the key. Are we positive she’s dead? Maybe someone found her right away and called an ambulance.

    Can’t wait for your reviews in S3 Victoria!


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