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Manifest: Lift/Drag

Poster: Every Life is Worth Living.

Another month has passed and now we’re two days before the Death Date. Which makes it May 31, 2024, if you’re counting. As I am.

Despite the Calling Cal received at the end of the previous episode – the two sapphires working together – he has not reached out to Angelina. This really seems illogical and irresponsible. Instead, he has been going it alone, meditating and projecting his consciousness into the plane, and sitting in all the seats to receive the Callings of all the passengers. This has been wearing him out, and he’s only able to come back with fragments of Callings. Which means despite the groups going out to solve their Callings, not all of them are getting resolved.

He supplies enough details to Michaela so that she can answer her Calling. It involves going to her husband’s place of work, which is counseling, where she sees a poster with the words: “Every life is worth living.” This may seem like a side note, but I loved the idea of forgiving yourself. Now, forgiving yourself for doing something that led to another person’s death should take some time, so I have no problem with Michaela and Zeke each having needed years to make the journey (and it gives Matt Langdon the chance to play a part).

I also loved the return of Carlos – the kid with Evie’s heart – and how he proved to be a connection between Zeke and Michaela, an intern who was making things difficult for Zeke. Anyway, Michaela attaches her guilt to a balloon and lets it float away. It’s so inspirational.

There's tension in Angelina's group, mostly because Angelina has declared that only eight people will survive the Death Date, and that she gets to choose them. And, given her power, this does not seem like an empty threat. Eagan – it's always amusing to see Eagan! – hints to Autumn (as subtle as whacks with a hammer) that someone at Angelina’s switched Astrid’s anti-anxiety meds for something poisonous. We can assume it's Autumn.

Even if Astrid is gone (although not dead, thanks to Jared and Drea), Angelina's group still has too many. Now, Eagan has been with the Angelina group for nine months, something which has to be hard for him. He’s a con man, so he’s used to playing roles, but nine months is still a lot of time for him to repress his selfish, snarky instincts. We get the sense that he hasn’t been perfect about maintaining the devout facade (probably a reason he wasn’t in the prior episode). Eagan knows he’s in trouble, but he comes up with a perfect plan: he proposes to Angelina, using the same words that she used with respect to her beloved Pete.

A Calling leads Ben to Saanvi, who was kidnapped – along with Troy – to work on the problem for the last nine months. Saanvi and Troy have been monitoring the volcano that is below the NYC metropolitan area (although there's no mention of the red algae or the polluted water). And Saanvi says no point in trying to stop the volcano if the divine does not want the volcano to be stopped. Which leads to a very large question: What does the divine want?

Those with pass keys abandon the facility, but Saanvi and Troy prepare a pulse that will help them escape. At the same time they meet with Ben and Cal and Vance, who are answering a Calling. The real hero is Troy, who sacrifices himself by buying them time. Saanvi tries her smarts and her ULF jammer on the ALNI patients but it doesn’t work (or rather it doesn’t work immediately; I don’t know why she abandons the people so quickly. She should know recovery takes time. They do wake up later.

And, for those who have shipped Saanvi and Ben, well, they finally jump each other’s bones. I’ve never been enthusiastic, but I do see there’s a connection, and if the world is about to end, why not? Still, I’d prefer Alex, who is dearest to Saanvi. Or Troy, who has sacrificed so much.

Adrian is back at the end! Good!

Title musings: “Lift/Drag” is the title of the episode. In aviation, lift is what pulls airplanes up, by differences in air pressure, while drag is what slows airplanes down. Alas, you cannot have lift without drag.

Cal is the most obvious source of drag, as he becomes too exhausted to get the Callings. Michaela is the most obvious source of lift in the episode, as she releases a balloon and metaphorically, her guilt. I also think the Eagan/Angelina stuff lifts up the episode, but the Saanvi stuff is so illogical it cannot. I like the title.

Bits and pieces

I loved the metaphor of using a helium balloon in a ritual to forgive yourself by releasing your guilt. However, I must ask people not to do this in reality, as it just puts more plastic waste into the environment. Another ritual could be writing down your guilt on a paper and then burning it.

In previous episodes related to Evie or to Carlos, we heard her beating heart in the Calling. We didn’t get that here, but only Cal is getting Callings and he’s not getting complete versions of them. So that’s OK.

Although it’s hard to imagine Eagan and Angelina together in terms of their characters, they actually make a cute couple.

It’s such a horrible bit to have them use Karen Stone’s wedding veil in the ceremony, but I guess it meets the “something borrowed” criterion. Most of Angelina’s group have been stuck inside Michaela’s house for nine months, and they have probably explored every nook and cranny.

According to my calculations, unless Drea knew she was pregnant the moment it happened – which is possible; some people are sensitive – she should have already had her baby by now. However, first babies tend to run late. Still, I am not impressed with the math.

Suppose you only had two days to live. What would you do?


Michaela: She wrote down all her problems on a note. Anything from high school boyfriends to your mom. She'd read it out loud, and then she attached the note to the balloon. She let it go. Unburdening herself.

Jared: Hey, I am as committed to being a father to this child as I am a co-parent to you, and a partner to Mick, okay?

Angelina: And you, brother Eagan? Are you praying for salvation?
Eagan: I'm praying you'll say yes. When this world comes crashing down and you're standing there, you're not gonna want to be standing there alone. And the truth is, I don't wanna be alone either. We're both broken souls. But maybe, as crazy as it sounds, we could come together, comfort each other. So I'm asking you from one broken-hearted person to another. Be the other half of my heart?

Gupta: The Secretary of Defense created this lab for one reason.
Saanvi: Yeah, yeah. To imprison me.
Gupta: You're not a prisoner. You're an asset with valuable perspective.
Saanvi: An asset that can't go anywhere.

Saanvi: I'm serious. We have to get out of here.
Troy: I suppose it is borderline cray-cray to try and stop a volcano.
Saanvi: No, there is no point in trying to stop volcanoes if the divine doesn't want them to be stopped.

Overall rating

There were a couple of things I really liked about this episode: Eagan and his con job on Angelina to stay alive by marrying her, and how Michaela forgave herself and recognized her dear friend would want her to do that too. I’ve always respected the traditions that tell you to mourn for a while, but then the mourning period ends, and we should not be obliged to mourn permanently.

On the other hand, there are times of real penance for bad deeds. And there is trauma. And I am in no position to judge anyone who cannot forgive themselves or others.

As for the rest of the episode, I enjoyed the Eagan and Angelina stuff, but the science/divine gobbledygook coming out of Saanvi is so illogical that it makes me cringe, and I can’t understand why Cal did not discuss the Calling about Angelina with anyone. Two and a half out of four purloined wedding veils. Or three? I’m not sure.

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

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