Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Manifest: High Flight

Jared: “NYPD. Your phone was stolen, ma'am?”
Librarian: “I thought it would be days before I heard back, if ever.”
Drea: “Do these folks look familiar to you?”
Librarian: “Well, that's the woman I saw. And this looks like the little girl. Missing for two years? But her mother–”
Ben: “That's not her mother!”

Michaela keeps piloting the Lifeboat while Ben is drawing on his attic ceiling and Saanvi hears voices. Also, poetry!

Ben is understandably frustrated that the Callings led him close to Eden but not to her completely. Why is it that the Callings are never easy? Is that just to give Manifest more dramatic tension or is there an actual reason? I hope, I hope, there’s a reason for it.

The twins recite their childhood poem with the spiders. It seems that doing this is kind of dangerous, because when Cal did it before, it alerted the Meth Heads to Cal’s whereabouts. On the other hand, the Meth Heads seem to have been dead for the last two-plus years. More importantly at the moment, this is a poem that Cal recited to Baby Eden.

Saanvi works with the black box, in particular, the 6.2 seconds with overlapping recordings of the Callings. Manifest lets us hear some Callings we heard before, including the very first, “Slower! Slower!” in Michaela’s voice, when she was on the bus and prevented the bus from hitting a small child. Now, Manifest does not go into this, but the fact that only 6.2 seconds are available could help explain the frustrating nature of the Callings. If they only have a few seconds in which to send a voice message, that could explain why the Callings are so limited.

Some Callings are obviously visual, manifesting as images. Now, in our world, transmitting visual information requires many more bytes than transmitting voices, but hey, maybe the physics of the Callings are different.

Angelina and Eden are now staying with Adrian, who has a large place in the country where he’s taking in passengers and helping them. Angelina wants to share Callings with Eden, but Eden and Angelina are not on the same wavelength. I must say I loathe Angelina, but we are supposed to, so that’s OK. I felt a thrill when Eden received the Calling “DAD” and drew it in her bowl of oatmeal and started giggling.

Co-pilot Amuta is convinced they died. That seems to be the consensus; these days we’re not being offered alternative explanations. Interestingly, Amuta says it was wonderful. Stuff like that makes me wonder why humans – at least those in stories where a pleasant afterlife is assured – struggle so hard to stay alive and mourn when other humans die. Now, for me personally, I don’t know what happens after death, so I’m ready to fight against its happening for as long as I can. But that’s real life and not fiction.

In a scene with Olive and Ben, a flashback, we learn that Ben was rejecting his older daughter as well as his only son, even when Olive was trying to help find Eden. Ben has really failed his family these last two years.

Eagan is in prison, because at the end of season three, he went to Director Vance’s house and threatened his teenaged son. Eagan is having a bad time of it, getting beaten up regularly. Then Adrian appears and asks Eagan for advice. This bothers me. Why would Adrian trust Eagan? Yes, Eagan is pretty bright, but Adrian should know Eagan is not trustworthy. Anyway, Adrian decides not to notify Ben about his daughter – and at least he was considering it – while Eagan looks at this information as his get-out-jail-free card. Anyway, Eagan is always amusing. I love whoever is managing the way this character speaks: “manic pixie murder girl” is a perfect description of Angelina.

Younger Cal, on the plane with Pilot Daly and Fiona Clarke, says he needs to go back. Daly is against it, but Fiona encourages him. She tells him that he already has the answer. Well, I hope that’s confirmation that there is an answer to all this.

Title musings: “High Flight” is the title of the episode. In aviation you’d think this is referring to flying high up (or while high, not recommended, although they sometimes have an experience of euphoria). There’s also an academy called High Flight, where you can learn to fly. But this title was chosen because of the poem, “High Flight,” by John G. Magee, a fighter pilot who died at age 19 in World War II. Amuta, the co-pilot, even quotes a line from it. In fact, the poem is so apt, that I wonder if the poem was part of the original inspiration for Manifest. Anyway, although there is little in the episode that seems to be literally flying high – unless you count the time that Cal spends with Daly and Fiona in the 828 plane – it’s a wonderful title.

Bits and pieces

In the outdoor scenes, it’s clearly winter, which lines up with the story. Only a day or two should have passed since the previous episode, when we were in December 2022. By the way, Manifest is mostly filmed in New York city and state.

I like the idea that Amuta was hired because he was a co-pilot on 828 instead of its being a strike against him. Makes sense that a private jet owner would like the bragging rights that come with this.

Saanvi mentions only a dozen or so Callings as having been captured on the 6.2 seconds of the black box. It seems to me there should be many more, unless they are usually visual and not verbal.

The spiders in Eden’s drawing seem to have only six legs each.

Many people know at least a few lines of the poem by John G. Magee. Here’s the poem in full:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,–and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of–wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew–
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Note that as more than 70 years have passed since the poet died, and as the poem was published in 1941, it is in the public domain.

The poem about the treasure hunt is cute, but I can’t understand why it is important. It’s interesting that they got that poem and the snow globe with the volcano from Tarik. So, even though he is dead, and he was never on 828, he seems to be connected somehow to the Callings.

As I said above, the poem "High Flight" seems to have inspired Manifest. Another source of inspiration may have been the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014. In fact, Netflix keeps recommending its documentary on the subject to me.

We finally have name for where Saanvi and Vance are working: the Bird Nest.

Maybe Eden is able to reach Ben now because she’s a little older and can actually draw for herself.


Olive: You know, that scar looks pretty badass. Kinda like a tough guy, you know? Makes you look streetwise.
Cal: It really doesn't. Henry told me that I was a dragon before this transferred to me.
Olive: I think you'd make a cool dragon.
Cal: Well, I'm a guy who disappeared and then came back five years older with no memory of where I was or why I was there. Doesn't sound too dragon-y to me.
Olive: Well, maybe the scar's supposed to help you figure that out.
Cal: I don't know. Just feels like I'm treasure hunting without a map.

Jared: We gotta bypass the precinct. Meet me at the Registry in an hour.
Michaela: The Registry? No, they are not gonna help us.
Ben: Eden's not even a passenger, and her case is with missing persons.
Jared: There's no law enforcement agency that'd be more aggressive in tracking down a passenger wanted for murder.

Michaela: Uh, Captain. Michaela Stone.
Amuta: Stone. Right, the detective.
Michaela: Not anymore, but it looks like you're still flying.
Amuta: Private jets now. Boss brags he's got an 828 pilot and puts up with the fact that I have to get rubber-stamped here every time I touch down in New York.

Drea: Stop staring. They barely let you in here.
Jared: Gotta be hard working in a place like this, watching how they treat people.
Drea: It's not my favorite, but you've been undercover before.
Jared: That was a band of wing nuts. This is a whole different ball game.
Drea: Yeah, it's the same kind of ball game that had my grandmother being forced to sleep in a horse stall at the Santa Anita racetrack during World War II. I'm just doing for 828ers what I wish someone on the inside had done for her before it came to all that.

Amuta: That’s not how storms work. They don't catch up to you while you're going 500 miles an hour. Unless...
Michaela: Unless it was chasing us.
Saanvi: Oh my God.
Michaela: You didn't fly into the storm. It flew into us. It chose us.
Cal: Two years ago, I touched the tailfin and disappeared again. I think I went back there, back into that light we saw. I need to remember what happened. Please...
Amuta: I don't know how to help you.
Cal: Well, you said you and Daly talked about it. What did you discuss?
Amuta: The calm, the confusion after the... the brightness. We had a phrase for it. A line from a poem about flying. We called it the long, delirious, burning blue.

Adrian: There's someone I'm helping, and I don't know if I should be helping her.
Eagan: I thought you helped everyone. She must've done something pretty bad for you to question. It's Angelina? Oh, damn! You're hiding manic pixie murder girl?

Cal: Something's happened to her. She's hurt.
Daly: You can't save her. You know that.
Cal: I need to go back for my family.
Daly: But if you go, you'll forget everything you see, everything you now know.
Fiona: Let him go. It's okay to go back, Cal. You already have the answer.

Michaela: See, this is why you were so much better at leading the Lifeboat because if someone were to ask you that, you would have said something inspiring or reassuring there, and I...
Ben: I was a different person back then.
Michaela: No. No, you're the same person. You're just buried under a lot of grief.

Overall rating

There are bits of logic that bother me – how can anyone trust Eagan? – but also bits that I love. The DAD in the oatmeal. The poem. Also, Manifest finally seem to be making some progress with understanding what this is all about. Three and a half out of four bowls of oatmeal.

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


  1. Well, Adrian has shown spectacularly bad judgement (Darwin-award level bad judgement) in who to trust and keep close to him throughout the show, so at least trusting Eagan is consistent for him. Also, I don't know how much of Eagan he has seen.

    I was confused as to why Eagan thought Ben could break him out of prison until I remembered that he still sees Vance as the mastermind behind the government response to 828...so very out of date. But the characters don't have all the information we do.

  2. Are we going to have to wait the entire season until that *itch gets arrested? Adrian, being a man of faith and peace seems conflicted by the need to keep his 828ers safe, and the fear of being lumped in as an accessory to Angelina’s crimes. She claims he told her to get her ‘Angel’. He also seems to want to protect Eden, so I can understand keeping them close. Esp since he suspects she’s going off the rails.

    Fiona, Finally! So where are they in space/time? Does Cal know? Will that ever be answered? And the ashes that Ben & Eden are seeing; that wasn’t explained, right?


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.