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Manifest: Final Descent

Ben: “That's incredibly generous of you. Thank you.”
Priscilla: “Zeke and Chloe read together a lot, and I kept all their old books. I suppose that seems silly.”
Michaela: “I found this inside.”

Eight months have passed since the end of the last episode. Ben and Michaela (and most of the other passengers) are in a detention center for passengers, while Olive, Cal and Eden do their best to survive on the outside.

After letting us know that eight months have passed since Angelina caused the planet to break open – killing 700 people – the episode shows an unpleasant but confusing scene. A man, who has called for help, is gunned down by guys in uniforms. Why? I did not recognize any of them and I did not recognize the countryside.

After that, Manifest updates us on our heroes. The free Stones – Olive, Cal and Eden – are doing their best to survive. They don’t have much money: Olive is worrying about the cheese lasting until payday. They’ve sold the car. Grandpa Steve cashed in his pension to get a lawyer and has also gone back to work in order to bring in some money. However, not all is bad. Cal is healthy, apparently recovered, and his dragon scar is glowing again.

At the end of the previous episode, I wondered why the passenger Stones had not yet been taken in as dangerous 828ers. Well, now they have, and they’re in the 828 detention center, which is an unpleasant place, made of concrete, chicken wire and many loops of barbed wire. Michaela is lying on a cot, so depressed that she can barely move. Of course, there’s really not anywhere to go, but her main problem is that she’s still mourning Zeke.

Ben, however, is stepping up. He’s helped by the fact that his two daughters are coming in for a visit. He reproaches Michaela for her inability to move at all beyond her grief, but given how he behaved after Grace died and Eden was kidnapped, he’s not exactly a shining example. At least he admits it.

Saanvi, at least, has plenty to do. She’s helping to take care of passengers, monitoring them when they have Callings. Although this isn’t a happy situation, it keeps her from anything like Michaela’s deep depression. (Note to everyone: keeping busy sometimes helps when you're down.)

Though Zeke died in the previous episode, Matt Langdon still has a job! Michaela starts meeting Zeke in the glow. I rather resent this as I tire of the trope of characters who die not staying dead in so many series. However, in this case, Zeke does not return to life, and he actually still seems to be dead. Somehow he is sort of back in 2018, dressed in the same clothes he was wearing when he died in the cave. Time is all messed up, but we have already seen time being messed up when Al-Zuras on the ship saw flight 828 in the sky.

Bethany has a Calling and sets off a series of events which allow Ben and Michaela – the captains of the Lifeboat – to get out of the main detention area. Vance is also around and he helps them escape. Ben and Michaela go to Olive and Cal first, but then work to solve the Calling.

As the kids have no car, Ben and Michaela go to Zeke’s mom for help. I’m glad to see she’s doing something. She offers money for the kids, which is really welcome. She ought to go over in person: she needs company and they need an adult. Priscilla lets Ben and Michaela borrow her car, but there is a really touching moment when Michaela discovers a never-opened Mother’s Day card in a copy of The Neverending Story, a book that once belonged to Chloe.

The car lets Ben and Michaela go to the house of Bethany’s wife (actually, it’s kind of amazing how many places they are able to go without a car and presumably without any money). They aren't alone in calling on Georgia. Zimmer, the detention center director, does not care much about the welfare of the passengers, but she does want to know what’s going on with Callings. And although we tend to view Director Zimmer as the enemy or at least as part of the opposition, I understand her point of view. The passengers are a national security threat, especially if they did open up cracks in the planet. So she has put bounties on the heads of missing passengers, dead or alive. Also, Jared and Drea go to check on Georgia, where they run into a bad registry cop, called Wicks. They then go to the Stone house, where they question Cal and Olive. As Wicks is present, Drea and Jared can’t assist the kids.

Ben and Michaela end up in the country, where they encounter someone planning to shoot up a whole bunch of passengers. The perp is a blast from the past – sociopath Billy, hunting 828ers, hoping to collect bounties on the missing 13 passengers. It turns out that saying dead or alive is more likely to lead to dead.

Ben and Michaela save the world from Billy, and then they discover a large, airplane-sized hole in the ground. Hmm. And then Ben decides that, as a captain of the Lifeboat, he has to go back to the detention center where all the passengers are. This is really hard on Olive, who has shouldered most of the responsibilities for the past eight months, but there’s no way that Ben can be with his kids without getting discovered. This way he doesn’t end up in prison.

Michaela doesn’t want to go back, but she does, although we don’t observe her decision process. There’s no way she can stay on the outside (at least not without sacrificing her hair and maybe plucking her eyebrows). She and Ben are in adjoining cells, so they can exchange knocks – and words – though the walls.

We learn the government has recovered the 828 pilot, Daly, who disappeared when he stole a plane and kidnapped Fiona and flew into dark lightning. His returning plane must be what made that hole in the ground.

And I have the belief that I now understand the first scene, where a guy called 911 and asked for help only to be murdered by a sniper dressed in an official uniform. I think the government was trying to get rid of someone who was simply unlucky enough to watch a plane crash. That’s unsettling.

And if Daly is back, where is Fiona?

Title musings: “Final Descent” is the title of the episode. And, the final descent in aviation could mean before landing – or it could refer to before crashing. Obviously refers to the fact that this is the open of the last ten episodes of the series. We’re in the final stretch. The title also seems to refer to Daly’s crash into the ground.

Bits and pieces

As eight months have passed, that puts us in September of 2023. Also, they say nine months remain until the death date.

Eden is being played by a new actor, Paisley Day Herrera.

Instead of quoting Wrinkle in Time, we seem to now be doing The Neverending Story.

Shortly after my mother died, I found a letter she wrote to me but never sent. I know how Priscilla feels.

We see a pregnant passenger at the end of the episode; she’s not someone I recognize.


Georgia: Happy anniversary.
Bethany: I promised you Paris, not prison.

Michaela: Sorry, I'm just – just tired today.
Ben: Today? Try every day.
Michaela: I get up. I eat. Shower, sleep, rinse, repeat. Ben, what do you want from me?
Ben: You never talk about Zeke. You're holding on to your grief so tight, it's... I don't know. It's taking a toll, Mick.

Ben: It’s now or never.
Michaela: I guess it’s now.

Vance: I just cleared the mess hall. Service entrance is still open.
Ben: Thank you. We owe you one.
Vance: I stopped counting how many you owe me. Remember, you never saw me.

Billy: Oh, yeah? You gonna shoot me, cop?
Michaela: It's Billy, right? Listen, Billy. Just to refresh your memory, that was my husband that you kidnapped and nearly killed at the Xer bar all those years ago, which is why I would love nothing more than the tiniest justifiable reason to rid the world of a scumbag like you. I'm not the bitch you want holding a gun to the back of your head right now.

The Neverending Story: Never give up, and good luck will find you.

Ben: Do you ever ask yourself why we're the captains of the Lifeboat? Why God chose you first? Maybe because there's no better cop. Maybe because you needed shaking out of your shame spiral the most. Why me? Maybe because I was so... myopic. Didn't care about anything but saving Cal, just like I spent two years not caring about anything but finding Eden.
Mick: Guess it's no accident that half the Callings led us too. It's all connected.
Ben: Mick, you've sacrificed so much. I don't blame you in the slightest for wanting to be free. But I can't abandon the passengers, not again. I know more about the Callings and the passengers than anyone, and if there's any 828er that needs to be back in that detention center, acting as a strategist to surviving the Death Date... it's me.

Overall rating

This is an exciting episode, with scenes meant to show us what’s going on now. I feel as if my review was plot heavy but that’s how I felt, just really in the story. Three out of four discovered letters from the dead.

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


  1. I guess the Detention Center was inevitable, but really -- how concentration camp of them. And I was also surprised that Zeke was still hanging around, even if it's just "in the glow."

    Eden has TV baby syndrome, big time. :)

    1. The timeline for this show has always been wonky, Eden would be like 4 years old at best so while I like that little actress in the role, it was jarring to see her so big. Zeke showing up was not really surprising, but at the same time I wonder if his death would have more of an impact if he wasn't lingering around.

      The Detention Center feels like a massive civil rights case leveled against the government in the making. These people have done nothing criminal (for the most part), are just trying to live their lives after something impossible, and are met with hatred and fear instead of understanding and compassion. It is frustrating, but it does provide some good narrative conflict.

  2. I agree with Samantha above, the detention of otherwise innocent people is a MASSIVE civil rights problem, and who is this new bitch running the Center that she says she doesn’t care abt the passengers welfare? If you ask me, the Major was far less of a threat than this woman.

    If any of the missing, like Adrian, get killed by an Xer like Billy, or anyone else, the government is setting themselves up for a huge lawsuit. Of course if Angelina gets killed, I’d be okay with that.

    I was worried aft Zeke’s death that Mick might go running back to Jared, and I’m glad to see that it doesn’t appear to be the case.

    Speaking of, how does the 828 Detention Group keep trusting Jared and Vance and Saanvi?

    And having Callings must age Eden a la Cal.


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