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Manifest: Romeo

Zeke: “Where you going? Why is your shirt ironed?”
Cal: “Well, 'cause I'm following doctor's orders. I was told to do anything other than wait for bad news, so I'm going out.”
Zeke: “Look, I feel for you, sometimes literally, but your dad was pretty explicit.”
Cal: “Zeke, for once in my extremely shortened life, I'm gonna live.”

Ben bonds with Eden as he returns to following Callings, while Cal has a date.

What do you do when you’ve been doomed by someone else? This episode reminds us of the precariousness of the Lifeboat. I still like the idea of Manifest that it’s not just about saving your own soul, but that we bear responsibility for the actions of other humans as well. After all, we’re all sharing the same planet.

Two recent conversations emphasize finding another way for the passengers. In this episode, we have a conversation between Saanvi and her father. In the previous episode, we had one between Olive and Cal. Both Olive and Saanvi have figured out that sapphire is critical. Vance tut-tuts as Saanvi destroys a rented laser in order to retrieve a chunk of sapphire. Poor Vance is really not good at stopping the passengers from doing things he tells them not to do.

Zeke and Cal confide in each other. It makes sense that they are close; Cal was Zeke’s best man, and of course, it’s hard to hide things from an empath. Zeke takes Cal to a doctor, Alex Bates, Saanvi’s great love. Alex confirms that Cal’s cancer appears to have returned and advises him to live life while he can.

How old is Cal? Answering that question is hard. According to the time he has spent in our planet, he must be about fourteen or so. Olive must be nineteen. But he has the body of a nineteen-year-old. I love the fact that he rebels a little, insisting on doing something for himself. He’s not leaving the house in order to follow a Calling; he’s not staying home because that’s what his father wants. No, he’s going out to see a girl, because that’s what he wants to do, and his life has already been shortened repeatedly – what with leukemia and then completely missing high school and his father not wanting him to leave the house after he returned the same age as his sister.

Anyway, Cal’s meeting up with Violet is funny and sweet. He’s awkward, because he’s never asked out a girl. She suggests they get a drink – the poor guy has probably never had a drink. She also asks: “You’re a karaoke virgin?” He hesitates, too, when he has to sing the song with the words “Making love to you...” because we can assume that this is an experience he has never had.

Zeke is suffering. He is able to help Cal, but he has relapsed and he is tempted by more alcohol and drugs. He and Alex have a heart to heart – something that is possible because she’s a bit of an outsider. It helps them both, and we finally learn some of Alex’s back story. Zeke goes to a meeting, and confesses that he is one day sober. He doesn’t know how he’s going to tell his wife, though.

Ben follows a Calling – not his, but his young daughter’s – because Eden is too little to follow Callings. He finds his way to a nursing home, and explores it using the excuse he needs one for his father (even though Steve Stone is alive and well). At the nursing home, Ben discovers the missing passengers, the ones who were taken and rendered catatonic by the Major. Ben summons Saanvi, and they talk the nurse looking after them into letting them reach out to the passengers. Marko responds with a tear, while Saanvi looks at their medical files.

Eden takes Ben’s hand and calls him Daddy near the end of the episode. I guess Ben did what he did with respect to the Calling: going to the nursing home, and committing himself to everyone in the Lifeboat, to be in her good graces. Or maybe Eden is finally comfortable around him.

Michaela has been working with Jared to track down whoever is murdering 828ers. They learn that the murdered passengers are people who helped Angelina: Sam, Anna Ross, and at the end, Violet. The murderer can’t be Angelina, however, because the ME says the murderer must be bigger.

At the end of the episode Cal learns that he is a suspect in Violet’s murder, the woman with whom he just had his first date. And cancer. That is a really, really bad end to what had seemed like a wonderful day.

Title musings: “Romeo” is the title of the episode, and the only specific aeronautical meaning associated with it that I could find is that it’s what you say when you mean the letter R. There are a few flight schools that have the word Romeo in their names, but that was all I discovered. On the other hand, I did not look very hard or long, so if someone else out there knows an additional association of the word Romeo with aviation, please post it in the comments.

Romeo is of course associated with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and applies obviously to Cal, going on his first date, with Violet. We should remember that Romeo and Juliet ends badly, with both young lovers dead. At the end, Violet has been murdered, and we know that Cal’s cancer has come back. Moreover, he’s being arrested for killing the young woman he just dated. The title works, although it seems a departure from the focus on aviation.

Bits and pieces

Josh Dallas, who plays Ben Stone, directed this episode, apparently his directorial debut. Perhaps that is the reason Ben finally starts being a good guy instead of the jerk he has been in all the previous episodes of the season.

In this episode, Cal finds out Violet’s phone number in a logical manner, going through his dad’s passenger files, as opposed to how Angelina somehow managed to call Cal.

Saanvi pulls so many all-nighters! No wonder Alex doesn’t think she can keep up with her.

“Don’t leave the house so you’ll be safer,” seems like pretty bad advice for Cal, given that Sam and Anna were killed in their homes.

Some people have “shipped” Ben and Saanvi, but the way she pulls her hand away from him at the nursing home makes me think she is not interested. I hope Manifest does not put them together at the end.

I bet the actors who play Cal and Violet are better singers than they are on Manifest. Still, it’s fun to sing so badly.

Olive did not appear in this episode.


Zeke: Why don't we get your dad and have Saanvi run some tests?
Cal: I am not telling my family. And Saanvi's practically family. Besides, she has enough on her plate already.
Zeke: She'd make room.
Cal: I said no! They are just starting to pull themselves together again with Eden home. Last thing they need is for me to stress them out all over again, especially over something that could be nothing.
Zeke: Fine. What if I can get you to somebody who isn't family?

Vance: Saanvi, you are gonna burn out if you don't take some time for yourself.
Saanvi: Get this. Sapphire may be the antenna that tunes us in to divine consciousness.
Vance: Sapphire, like on the tailfin and the driftwood from Noah's Ark?
Saanvi: All I need is to get my hands on some sapphire.

Saanvi: There's no way to right the Lifeboat. Passengers keep doing awful things. Keep killing innocent people.
Saanvi's father: Maybe it's not about righting the Lifeboat. Maybe it's about finding another way.

Alex: Okay. Everything's been processed under your pseudonym. Even put "Gabriel" down on your lab work.
Cal: Thank you for that.
Zeke: And for seeing us on no notice.
Alex: Anything for friends of Dr. Bahl. So, Gabriel, the CBC test results will take a few more hours. From there, you may need to come in for a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to get the most accurate diagnosis.
Cal: Okay, but...
Alex: But your condition appears to be consistent with falling out of remission.
Cal: Meaning my cancer's back.

Nurse: I violate HIPAA, I get fired, and then my patients are really out of luck. I am the only one who cares for them. The facility doesn't even care that no one knows who these people are.
Ben: We know who they are. They're Flight 828 passengers.
Nurse: Okay. I see. You're some of the folks that are fascinated by the plane. Okay.
Saanvi: You're wrong. We're some of those folks that were on the plane.

Ben: It’s not good enough, to help myself. I have to help...
Saanvi: ...all of us.

Alex: I've written all this down for Cal, but it bears repeating. This is a powerful opioid for the pain. No more than two of these every 12 hours. Now, we aren't there yet, but if Cal does end up needing chemo, he has to stop taking those. They can mask high temperatures. His doctor will need to know if he has a fever.
Zeke: I can't hold on to these. I'm all of 18 hours sober.

Violet: Okay. Go on, then. Who are you really?
Cal: Uh, that's just it. I'm actually... Cal. Cal Stone.
Violet; Cal Stone, the runaway? But I thought he was...
Cal: Younger?

Noelle: How dare you! The only person Angelina needed saving from was herself. I bet she did kill those people. And if that is anyone's fault, that's yours. I tried to protect the world from my fallen angel, and I was doing a fine job of it until you took her away.

Overall rating

I loved this episode. Some of the shots were just terrific. We got progress on the Callings and the core message of Manifest, and the Cal/Violet story is both wonderful and heartbreaking. I adore Zeke, too, how he is such a good friend and uncle. Four out of four broken lasers.

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


  1. I think Romeo is R in the Alpha/Bravo/Charlie sequence, and that's the aviation connection.

    I don't see them putting Ben and Saanvi together at all.I actually wondered if they're going to get her back with Alex. By the way, what ever happened to Troy?

    1. Yes, that was the only Romeo/aviation connection that I could find.

  2. Perhaps that is the reason Ben finally starts being a good guy instead of the jerk he has been in all the previous episodes of the season. Lol. I thought the same thing. :)

    Poor Zeke.

    I think they left making Ben and Saanvi a couple behind awhile ago. I got that vibe in the first season, but it's gone away.

    1. Well, in a flashback, Saanvi hooks up with a female bartender. We have not had any real examples that she is bi instead of lesbian, although once she told the major she thought the lab tech (Troy) wanted to ask her out, and the major hinted that Saanvi was interested in Ben.


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