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Manifest: Mayday, Part 1

Saanvi: “These wounds are really severe, Cal. You said that they just appeared?”
Cal: “Yeah, but they were much smaller at first.”
Ben: “The Callings are shifting. They have been since the tailfin surfaced.”
Saanvi: “So... what? This is their way of telling us to stop testing on the tailfin?”
Cal: “That's what I've been saying this whole time!”
Saanvi: “Except we already knew that.”
Ben: “And when we didn't listen, they sent us something we can't ignore.”

Olive, after having stayed away for several episodes, comes home, only to discover that Cal has gone to Eureka on his own. Ben and Grace go to bring him home, but Cal refuses. In the meantime, Michaela tracks down a terrible Calling while Jared is angry at her for quitting the force.

In Michaela’s Calling, she’s back in the plane, which is dripping with blood. Ben and Cal don’t respond to her, a sign that they are not receiving the Calling, but Bethany the flight attendant does. Dripping blood is a clear sign something dreadful is about to happen. They first interpret it as danger to the passengers but then wonder if it could be a crime about to be committed by a passenger. In the Calling we see Eagan trying to open the door of the airplane (which I understand is virtually impossible to do because of the way air pressure works).

Eagan is currently being held in jail and is sure Ben Stone is behind the NSA crackdown. His fury knows no bounds. His photographic memory means he knows that Adrian is out of his seat, too. I must say that Eagan, who is intelligent, is almost too erratic at this point, not listening at all. He, with Adrian, organizes the other passengers against the Stones.

Jared is upset that Michaela resigned and shows up at her house in the middle of the night. Zeke kicks him out. I’m pretty sure Jared doesn’t sleep that night, and takes a run to burn off his feelings. He hides them from Sarah, however, who has just received the contents of her mother’s safety deposit box. When they open it (later) they discover a few mementos, but also a flash drive labeled S. Bahl.

This episode is full of serious stuff, but there are a few comic moments, such as when Olive does an internet search to find out how to remove a home ankle bracelet. Having her back means that she can wear the ankle bracelet and move around the house, simulating her father’s movements. It means she can’t go out, however. She needs to be home, pretending to be her father and taking care of the baby, while her parents rush to Eureka to fetch Cal.

Cal – who got there with Angelina’s assistance, although he doesn’t rat her out – is at Eureka, and his presence gets Ben and Grace inside as well. Grace tries to take Cal home, but Cal refuses to go, and then finally reveals the burns on his torso. Grace demands that Saanvi (who was fired) also be brought in, because she won’t allow the Eureka doctors to touch Cal. That means Ben and Saanvi, who were wondering how to sneak into Eureka in the previous episode, have gotten in (Michaela is busy with other stuff).

We finally have a good connection between Noah’s Ark and the 828 plane. The flood was an apocalypse, and 828 may be the harbinger of another apocalypse (Adrian is convinced it is). Was Noah the savior or the destroyer? Are the Callings good or evil? Are they different for every person? What they mean comes up, too, in a conversation between Vance and Ben: "How can you be sure now?" I’m glad Manifest is owning up to the confusion and uncertainty. I like that, but I will only be satisfied if we get a resolution in season four. Anyway, to stay with the flood theme, Ben and Cal are convinced the tailfin needs to be returned to the ocean.

Cal can’t persuade the people at Eureka to stop the testing on the tailfin, so he takes a more drastic step. Then he says good-bye to his mother – he seems to know what will happen – and goes to touch the tailfin while it’s being affected by simulated dark lightning. When his father touched it, Ben was catapulted backwards. Cal, however, vanishes, in the same way that the whole plane disappeared a while ago. Of course, the parents are totally freaked out. The expression on Grace’s face at the end is amazing.

Title musings: “MayDay (1)” is the title of the episode. In the world of airlines it means “help me,” coming from the French “m’aidez!” – used at the time when French was the lingua franca. More generically, Mayday means that a plane or a ship is in serious, existential trouble.

The existential trouble is true for Michaela, who’s receiving a terrifying Calling, from the prisoners, who fear what is true in this episode, especially for Cal, who is literally suffering from painful burns. Then, of course, Cal disappears.

Bits and pieces

“The lady who doesn’t smile” – how Cal calls her – this isn’t the first time that a character has complained about how Dr. Gupta never smiles. But the actor, Mahira Kakkar is so adorable and cute when she smiles, that they may have instructed her not to, because it would be impossible to believe her as a baddie if she did.

The Calling in which Michaela finds herself back on 828 must involve old footage, as Josh Dallas and Jack Messina look like younger versions of themselves. That could be one reason they did not receive the Calling.

I checked: the internet is full of information, even videos, on how to remove ankle monitors. Information I hope I never need to use.

I also checked about opening safety deposit boxes. If you have the key, all well and good, although normally you would do this in person. A bit strange that the Major’s box was sent to her daughter via delivery (although convenient for the show, because we get to see it get opened while Jared is there). If you don’t have a key, and you inherit after someone, the bank can sometimes order a new key, or it can physically drill into the box.

The episode does not take place in May, which would be nice for the title, but if we’re following the timeline that was set up, we should still be in August 2020. With respect to filming, most of it is indoors or in the dark, so the season is ambiguous.


Olive: I'm sorry. I can't believe what happened with Angelina. I should've been here for you.
Ben: You don't have to apologize.
Grace: I can't believe I didn't see what was going on under my own roof. I feel terrible for not trusting you.
Olive: We’re good, Mom.

Cal: What are you waiting for?
Vance: Hold on. Does anyone know you're here?
Cal: No. I didn't tell anybody I was coming because they'd tell me I couldn't. And this is important. Like I told that lady who doesn't smile, this Tailfin cannot be here anymore!
Vance: You're growing up to be a lot like your dad.
Cal: Thank you.
Vance: Wasn't a compliment.

Michaela: I don't like not telling him the truth about Saanvi, but he can't ever know, 'cause otherwise, Saanvi's not the only one going to jail.
Zeke: You owe him no apologies.
Michaela: I've just never kept secrets from him before.
Zeke: And he doesn't like not being the hero in your life anymore.
Michaela: No, he's just upset.
Zeke: Come on. It doesn't take an empath to know he still has feelings for you.

Eagan: This is how it starts. No-fly list, fingerprints. They've got our DNA, too. Next thing you know, they'll have us on a registry.
Randall: How's that even legal?
Eagan: We're talking about the same country that's keeping migrants in cages as we speak. Legal means nothing when National Security's invoked.
Adrian: All of this is beyond our control.
Eagan: Like hell it is.
Adrian: We're passengers in a journey far larger than ourselves. The end of times is nearing.

Ben: Cal's drawing that led us to Cuba was for us to return the Tailfin to where those fishermen found it. The Calling still wants that.
Vance: I risked my life to get that Tailfin because of you.
Ben: I know. And I'm sorry. I was wrong.
Vance: What makes you so sure you're not wrong now?

Vance: It's not about me believing you. It's about them believing me. I so much as suggest tossing that Tailfin in the ocean, I get tossed out of here. I'll never be able to help you or any of the passengers again.

Overall rating

I really enjoyed this. My absolutely final opinion depends on how Manifest resolves everything. Nevertheless, I’m hooked: three and a half out of four ankle bracelets.

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


  1. I'm sure this is not where the show will go, but I actually think Adrian's interpretation of the Callings is at least as persuasive as Michaela's. Maybe it's because my belief in divine providence isn't any stronger than Voltaire's. Even without the alternate interpretation of Noah (though as far as I can tell Noah was viewed as a hero in the Epic of Gilgamesh too), I have a hard time viewing God as portrayed in the flood story as good.

  2. I think Eagan has a point, to a degree. All Ben cares abt is saving Cal. Yes, he’s said he needs to save “all of us”, but that’s so Cal can be saved. I understand his obession, since he almost lost Cal to cancer, but it’s become all encompassing to the point that Ben is almost as unhinged as Eagan and the X’ers.

    That Calling was scary. Maybe Mick is right abt it meaning a passenger is going to hurt/kill someone. But who? Eagan, Adrian, Bethany, or one of their other followers?

    And why did Cal disappear, but not the tail fin? I thought that was the whole point, to return it to the ocean.

    We’re watching the S3 Finale tomorrow, so I can’t wait to see if any of these get explained or resolved. At least we only have to wait a week for S4.


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