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Manifest: Tailfin

Ben: “It's the tailfin, Vance. The literal tailfin from 828.”
Vance: “Damn. Tell me about it.”
Ben: “I don't know what just happened, but I'm okay. I'm fine. I got this.”
Vance: “For the record, you got a crayon drawing from a 12-year-old boy. I got us datamining and signals intelligence capabilities verifying a suspicious extraction from the ocean, and... well, not to pile on, but I also got us an airplane.”
Ben: “Your point being?”
Vance: “That I'm running this operation, so if you feel in over your head, I need to know.”

Ben is down in Cuba with Vance, because the 828 tailfin has been pulled out of the sea by some fishermen. Michaela and Zeke are on an extended honeymoon down in Costa Rica.

Ben, as we noted, is down in Cuba looking for some fishermen. How nice, that Josh Dallas can speak Spanish! I love it when we get a few words in other languages, instead of pretending the only people on the planet who matter are those who speak English.

Ben finds his way to the fishermen who pulled something out of the sea. It turns out to be the 828 tailfin, which is a shock, because the 828 airplane was in New York when it exploded. Then we have an extra shock when Ben touches it and is repelled backwards and even rendered unconscious for a bit. It’s a great, startling visual. The fisherman are concerned and wary. Alas for Ben, the tailfin’s flinging him was recorded by a young boy with a cell phone, and that video is discovered by a member of the Cuban police.

The excursion to Cuba was made on the basis of a Calling, evidently by Cal who supplied a crayon drawing, which we don’t see. However, it was organized by Vance, who believes he is in charge.

In the meantime, Michaela and Zeke are enjoying lounging on the beach. Zeke is happy to be alive, and it’s pleasant to see the actor without all bandages and the severe frostbite makeup. Michaela gets a Calling that she shares with Ben and Cal, and we learn that Zeke has stopped getting Callings. Some exposition reminds the viewers how Callings work. Then, as Callings cannot be ignored, our honeymooners set about doing the research they need to do to identify the mystery woman in the Calling. Look at that! Her name is Angelina Meyer, and she is also in Costa Rica. Apparently the Callings know where people are.

The other Stones are in New York. I love how Grace acknowledges that Olive has had a hard year. She has: teenage years are hard enough without the craziness of all the Callings in her family and with TJ leaving for Egypt. Grace’s words indicate that Olive may have matured from the rebellion she was going through in season two. I hope so. Teenage rebellion is a real thing, but it can get old and render a character less likable. I want to like Olive (actually, I like her quite a bit).

Olive and Grace learn about the Calling from Cal. “We were about to die,” he announces. It gets rather old, always being about to die, but apparently we have had several quiet months in which death wasn’t threatening. After Olive and Cal work on the Calling (and send the information to Aunt Mick) Grace takes Cal and Eden to the doctor, Saanvi, with the hope that Saanvi can tell her something about Ben.

Saanvi is now working as a doctor at a clinic. She’s in the same building that used to serve as Vance’s “travel agency”. A clinic is a better cover, because Saanvi is a real doctor (presumably Vance got her reinstated, although she still doesn’t have hospital privileges, or maybe all she lost before were hospital privileges). Who uses a travel agency these days? Either you go in-house for business travel or you use the internet for most arrangements. But I guess that was the point. The travel agency business was a front and they did not want business. Still, I think it’s better for it to be a clinic, doing actual good, and keeping Saanvi busy, rather than dwelling on the fact that in the last episode of season two, she murdered the Major.

I love how Saanvi fetches a lollipop for her young patient. However, the good doctor knows that grown-ups also like lollipops, and she brings one to the back room to the guy (Alonzo) monitoring the situation in Cuba, hoping for information. He doesn’t have any. But it’s a way to introduce us to Vance’s back room.

Drea and Jared are working at the precinct without Michaela. A young woman comes, asking for assistance in locating her mother, who has been missing for several months. The missing woman is Kathryn Fitz, aka the Major. Drea does not want to assist, but Jared steps forward. This indicates that Saanvi may be in more trouble.

Michaela and Zeke rescue Angelina Meyer from the people who have locked her in the basement: her parents. Nicole and Ken are pretty fundamental in their religious beliefs. Our heroes get her out and Michaela organizes her escape from Costa Rica.

Ben also escapes from Cuba while leaving Vance behind. The same airplane picks up Angelina, and Michaela has her first airplane flight since returning on 828. They are all welcomed by the Stones. Cal seems to have a connection with Angelina, even prepping his room for her.

We’re still trying to figure out what it all means (and it had better mean something). Ben thinks the tailfin being back in Cuban waters means they were dead, and that they were brought back for some reason. He’s not so much of an atheist now. But why were they brought back?

At the close of the episode, we see the meth heads who died at the end emerge from the little lake in which they died. At the end of season two, we learned their bodies were not to be found. Having the meth heads come out of the water makes me wonder if the tailfin coming out is a good thing or not.

Title musings: “Tailfin” is the title of the episode, and in this case, I think it only refers to the tailfin pulled out of the water. A tailfin in aviation provides the plane with direction and stability; we have to wait to see if this tailfin will do this for the 828ers. However, the title is fine, as the episode gives us a new direction for the season.

Bits and pieces

Eden is sitting up and eating solid foods so that’s more confirmation that several months have passed since the end of season two. We also learn that Cal is now twelve and in puberty.

I am always amazed at good everyone in Manifest is at keeping their cell phones charged, especially considering how much data they are using.

For anyone who needs help with their geography, Jamaica is just south of Cuba. Flight 828 would have flown over the island of Cuba on its way to New York. Which seems to indicate their plane blew up there.

Apparently Angelina has been kept by her parents in the basement for a while now, but the Callings were kind enough to let Mick and Zeke have a couple of months of honeymooning before sending them to rescue her. I don’t understand the priorities of the Callings.

Let’s consider the name Angelina, which means little angel. Many of the names of the passengers evoke the divine. Michaela is a variation of Michael, who was one of the most powerful archangels. Benjamin means son of the right hand (of God). Saanvi believed to be another name for the goddess Lakshmi. Ezekiel is an important prophet. There are more comments to make about the names of characters in Manifest, but I will save them for later reviews.

As this is Michaela’s first airplane journey since the return of 828, she and Zeke must have traveled to Costa Rica either by land or by sea.


Jared: Hey. What was that about?
Drea: Missing person. She can't get a hold of her mom, and she wants to talk to Michaela. I feel for her, but it's not our area.
Jared: Why's she asking for Michaela?
Drea: Oh, she thinks the 828 cop can help.

Emmett: Remind me not to play poker with you.
Robert Vance: What'd you expect me to tell them? "Ben's facing down three Cuban cops at the moment, please hold"?

Ben: You and Cal had fractured pieces of the Calling, but I think I had the whole thing, and what I saw... all of us screaming... it ties back to my Calling from months ago, of the plane exploding in mid-air. Mick... I think the Calling is trying to tell us that we died on that flight.

Zeke: Uh, I don't want to rain on the parade here, but we don't have any paperwork for Angelina. No passport, no license... and you're already handling it, aren't you?

Overall rating

An exciting beginning, keeping us informed while sending the story in several interesting directions. Four out of four lollipops.

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

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