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Manifest: Wingman

Interrogator: “The Attorney General is contemplating charging you with faking your own death.”
Vance: “Technically not a crime. Done yet? Wife's expecting me for supper.”

Vance comes home; TJ sends papyrus fragments from Egypt; Michaela and Zeke get a house, and Ben meets with a chess-playing passenger to rescue a young man sheltering in the basement of a museum.

This episode introduces Eagan Tehrani, someone who is neutral with respect to morality code. He’s very smart, but with a big chip on his shoulder. He’s been living off the grid by beating people at chess. He is apparently really good at the game, because when he needs to go do something else, he instantly checkmates his three opponents. Presumably he could have checkmated them before but did not, in order to make them feel better during the game. Eagan makes a point of answering the Callings, because they’re so annoying when you don’t.

There ought to be a bond between Eagan and Ben, but they don’t trust each other. Interesting that in their shared Calling, Eagan only sees the art and is blinded by light, while Ben sees a young man in distress. They figure out which building is meant by the Calling and break in through what I guess is a sewer. There’s some gas problem, with shaking of the building and apparently a fire. Ben sets about rescuing the young man, while Eagan steals some of the art and sells it later. I enjoyed Eagan; it’s fun to have a character who speaks in a flippant and selfish way. For example, when returning on 828, the thing Eagan misses most is his rent-controlled apartment, rather than his girlfriend. I hope we see more of him.

Ben is hoping to get answers from a papyrus sent by TJ from Egypt (I miss TJ). Olive takes Angelina to inspect it at her father’s university, where they meet the condescending Levi, who is restoring it, a delicate process. It makes sense that he wouldn’t trust a couple of randos with precious artifacts, but eventually they wear him down and Levi allows them to assist. Olive makes two significant discoveries. First, the representation of Ma’at is unusual because she’s using a peacock feather rather than an ostrich feather to weigh hearts, which is a sign that TJ was on the right track. Second, a portion of the papyrus is missing.

The conflict that still feels least natural is the tension between Grace and her stepbrother, Tarik. Cal reports seeing a peacock; Tarik says that’s impossible. Well, peacocks in upstate New York are pretty rare, so he has a point. Instead of explaining about the Callings and everything, Grace and Tarik just fight.

The Callings also seem to want to get Pete of the Meth Heads and Angelina to get together. She’s interested in him and he’s interested in her. I guess the Callings sometimes play Cupid; remember, they brought Michaela and Zeke together. Anyway, even though Pete won’t say anything useful to Michaela, she arranges for Angelina to visit the jail.

Jared is pursuing leads regarding the missing Major Fitz, and he goes to talk to Saanvi. Saanvi is devastated to learn Major Fitz had a daughter. Major Fitz was right when she said Saanvi didn’t have what it takes to be a killer; this has to be weighing on her terribly.

Michaela hears Evie’s beating heart, which makes her go check on Evie’s parents. It’s a good thing she does, because Glen has had a heart attack – another reason for the heartbeat! – and is dead on the floor. Not only does Michaela comfort Beverly and take care of Glen’s body, Michaela discovers that Glen has arranged for Beverly to go into an assisted living facility and for Michaela to inherit the house. What a turn around this is! In an earlier episode we saw Bev and Glen turn Michaela away from their door because they blamed her for Evie’s death. Of course, dementia erased Bev’s memory of Evie’s death, and Michaela has been attentive since her return (in part because she misses her own mother). Sometimes good deeds get rewarded.

Michaela may have inherited the house, but she does not feel she can accept it. And then Mick and Zeke decide to stay, because only they are willing and able to take care of Beverly in her own home. This happens with the full support of Zeke, who is proving to be more and more the person who steps in and assists in the difficult situations.

Ben gives the young man he rescued a lift home. Caleb turns out to be the younger brother of Kory, one of the Meth Heads. Kory is currently hiding out at his mother’s house.

Vance is under bright lights at the beginning of the episode, angry and unrepentant and never admitting anything despite the many accusations of the government. By the end he’s officially alive again, able to go home, and even in charge of the new version of the 828 project. Despite his warning Ben not to help, it turns out Ben’s interference in the last episode worked out well for Vance.

Title musings: “Wingman” is the title of the episode. A wingman is a pilot or UAV who supports another pilot in a potentially dangerous flying environment. Wingman was originally the plane flying beside and slightly behind the lead plane in an aircraft formation.

In this episode, we have several characters who are playing strong supporting roles: Eagan supporting Ben in the Calling; Zeke supporting Saanvi, Michaela and Beverly; Olive supporting Levi in the papyrus restoration; Tarik supporting his stepsister and nephew; Michaela supporting Pete and Angelina. Alas, as far as I could tell, there are no actual wings in the episode. The iconic peacock feathers come from the tail. I liked the episode, but I’m not sure about the title.

Bits and pieces

We learned in the previous episode that Zeke and Michaela were looking for a new apartment, but they did not say why Michaela’s old apartment was not good enough. Because too many people (Courtney, Meth Heads, 828 haters) knew where she lived? Because Zeke expects to remain alive now and they need more space? Perhaps they want to be in a place where Zeke never shot Michaela? I don’t think we get a reason but I would have liked one. I think it’s just so moving into another house is easy for them.

Several characters manage to live off the grid, which is really hard to do, but I guess the choices make sense. Vance has the resources and the connections to do so. Eagan is paranoid, very bright, and has a photographic memory.

Zeke and Eagan are complete opposites. Zeke is ready to give Michaela’s inheritance away. Eagan steals art from a museum.

How did that scrap of papyrus get into that urn? It wasn’t sent over from Egypt by TJ. No, it must have been there all along, and so maybe the Callings really did want Eagan to steal the art from the museum. After all, in the Calling Eagan shared with Ben, he never saw the kid; he only saw the falling art. Besides, someone probably plundered that art originally, so is it stealing if you steal something that was already stolen?

Can wills be recorded in a video or do you need a piece of paper? Of course, a video makes for much better TV and gives employment to the actor.


Ben: TJ sent some artifacts from Egypt. Maybe we'll find a mythological clue that can help.
Michaela: Yeah, I think that's a long shot, Ben.
Ben: Well, right now I need any shot. Eden's not even gonna remember who I am in three months.

Michaela: I'm really sorry that I didn't call you first. It just... When I saw Glen's body, everything happened...
Zeke: Hey, hey, hey, there's nothing to apologize for. I'm here to help. I saw my mom struggle with my grandad's dementia. Let me know what I can do and I'll do it. Just you being here is enough.

Olive: Did you ever figure out if that peacock you saw was real?
Cal: Kind of a sore subject right now.
Olive: What do you mean?
Cal: Mom and Tarik got in a huge fight.
Olive: Over a peacock?
Cal: At first, but then they just started screaming at each other.

Angelina: This looks just like Archangel Michael.
Levi: Couple of centuries and a few thousand miles off. This is Ma'at, Egyptian goddess of justice and the afterlife.

Eagan (sirens wailing): That's my cue. Nice working with you.
Ben: Wait, that's it?
Eagan: Kid's alive. We're in one piece. Calling stopped. Win-win-win. And I, for one, don't have to explain all this to New York's finest.

Overall rating

I really enjoyed this, especially the time with Eagan. Three and a half out of four peacock feathers.

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

1 comment:

  1. I liked how Vance was totally unintimidated. Eagan is a very interesting character; he sort of jumps off the screen, and he could go in any direction and be believable. And I agree that the Grace/Tarik relationship could have been better written.

    Taking on someone with dementia is no small thing, as we all know. I liked that Michaela and Zeke decided to essentially care for Beverly in exchange for taking the house. It felt right.


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