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Manifest - High Flight - Review

High Flight is another emotional episode that heals relationships, explores other messy ones, and gives us some answers about the central mystery of the show while at the same time giving us new and fascinating questions, as this show is known to do. Let's dive in!

 

A very important treasure hunt

After finally getting confirmation that Eden is still alive, Ben wastes no time in recruiting his family and Jared to help him get the search for her started again. Jared, in turn, suggests that the Registry is their best bet, as their hostility and distrust towards the passengers can work in their advantage when it comes to catching Angelina. This gives them the added benefit of working with Drea, who, as we learned last episode, is sleeping with Jared. When Michaela meets up with her and teases her about having spent the night at Jared's, we realise that Mick has known about this the whole time and is totally fine with it. Jared has been romantically involved with Mick's best friend before, but while Lourdes didn't come to the hangar to tell Mick about it to her face, Drea is doing everything right by being upfront with her. It's like Mick has been granted a do-over of what happened in season 1. And she's now far enough removed from her relationship with Jared (and very happily married) that it no longer affects her to see him with someone else. In fact, she seems quite happy for her friend and her ex.

When a Calling takes Mick in a new direction, Ben is left to investigate with Jared and Drea. They visit the library at which Angelina and Eden were last spotted. There, Ben gets a very ominous Calling that (unbeknownst to him) connects him with Eagan, who is still in prison for holding Vance's son hostage. Despite how much of a menace Eagan can be, it's always a joy for me to see him, given how much I enjoy his lines. "You're hiding manic pixie murder girl" has quickly become one of my favourites. 

This episode also gives us a few reminders of how much of a hole Grace's death has left in Ben's life. It's heartbreaking to see him remind the woman at the library that Angelina isn't Eden's mother, but the scene in which Ben talks to a photo of Grace is even more of a gut punch. He's doing all of this not just for Eden, but for Grace too. He promised her, after all. And just as he's emotionally connecting with Grace by talking to her photo, the Callings connect him to Eden. Showing her drawings on Ben's walls is one of the most creative Callings so far, and I love how this show constantly find new ways to reinvent and visualise these Callings.

In a heartbreaking flashback, we see how Ben isolated himself from Olive and how he rejected any help from her. He went as far as to yell at her, which was very painful to watch. Luna Blaise really nailed Olive's hurt feelings in that moment, as well as her hesitation to reach out to help Ben again in the present. But it's her insight into Eden's drawings that actually helps Ben solve his Calling, despite him having yelled at her again. I admire how the writers handled this incredibly messy and heavy moment for both characters. It's heartbreaking from Olive's point of view, because her father, whom she'd finally reconnected with and gotten close to again, is still so withdrawn from her and so single-mindedly focused on only one of his children, while neglecting her and Cal. And it's heartbreaking for Ben, who feels like no one really believes him and supports his search for Eden. He's in the same position in which Olive was when Ben and Cal were gone. She knew Cal was still alive, but no one believed her either. Which is why the moment when Olive realises what Ben is drawing is so meaningful. Not only does it connect the two of them again, it also allows Olive to feel close to Eden, like she always feels with Cal. And it was all through a rhyme that has been passed down to all three Stone children by Grace, who in turn learned it from her step-father. I love when small things from earlier seasons come back in bigger ways in stories, and Manifest is exceptionally good at that.

When Jared comes to give Ben the news that their new lead was a dead end, for a moment it seems like Ben may retreat into his isolation again. But instead, he motions for Olive to come upstairs with him and opens up to her about how he's starting to regain his faith in the Callings. It's a beautiful and emotional scene that does great justice to Ben and Olive's relationship and their healing after losing Grace. Ben still has a long way to go, but he's taking the right steps now.


Desperate for a connection

While Ben spends this episode getting closer to his family, Angelina and Eden are hiding at Adrian's new place. He's willing to give them shelter, but it's clear he's not exactly on her side or willing to protect her were she to be discovered. It puts Adrian in an interesting grew place, as he seems to mostly be doing this to give Eden a roof over her head. He even suggests that they should reunite Eden with her family. He's always been a fascinating character who mostly operates in the grey, with his actions often being neither wholly good or wholly bad. As is the case now: he's hiding Angelina, but he's also offering shelter to his fellow passengers.

Angelina, in her desperate search for some sort of connection, only further doubles down on her dark path. She refuses to give up Eden and claims they're so connected that they're even starting to share the same Callings. She tests her theory by telling Eden to draw the same thing she did. Of course, this fails. The Calling instead connects Eden with Ben. This infuriates Angelina, to the point where she smashes Eden's plate against the wall. She feels so abandoned by all the people she loved that this form of rejection from Eden seems to be too much to bear. If even a young child whom she has done her best to love and care for, in her own messed up way, won't connect with her, who will? 

Adrian, at a loss of what to do with Angelina, goes to visit Eagan in prison. Eagan quickly figures out that Adrian is hiding "manic pixie murder girl," and he wouldn't be Eagan if he didn't find a way to use that information to his advantage. He convinces Adrian to let Angelina stay, but later calls Ben to let him know that he has information on Eden's location. As always, Eagan is always ten steps ahead of everyone and knows exactly how to use every piece of information he gains for his own benefit. Poor Adrian, though. It's a sad day when you can't even trust your fellow co-conspirators anymore.

Angelina, Adrian, and Eagan have been connected for a while in their grey morality and selfishness, and at times seem to be the three agents of the apocalypse that Adrian fears so much. But despite that connection, they're clearly not on the same page in their goals. This episode has all three working against each other, mostly only caring about their own wellbeing. It's Adrian who comes out of this episode looking best, out of the three of them, as he at least seems to care about the well-being of the passengers he's helping and Eden. It's quite a fascinating dynamic that the show has managed to create between these three, and I'm always a fan of episodes that delve deeper into it.


Co-pilot

A Calling leads Mick to Amuta, who was Daly's co-pilot on Flight 828. The last time we saw him was in a flashback in 1x11, so it's nice to catch up with him and see what his life has been like since Flight 828 landed. He's still a pilot, but he only flies private jets, as the only job he could find was one where his boss could parade him as his very own 828 pilot. I really like how the writers use all these different ways to show how Othered the 828 passengers have become in their world, simply because they're different in a way the world can't quite put their fingers on. It's a very fascinating and hard hitting commentary on our own world.

The second treasure hunt in this episode features Saanvi and Cal, who are trying to figure out how the Callings ended up being recorded on the black box. Mick manages to trick Amuta into having to come and listen to the recording. Later, she and Amuta talk about the guilt they feel about Evie and Daly. The way Manifest has dealt with Mick's guilt has always been one of my favourite long running arcs on the show, and I love that they made room in this episode for her to relate to Amuta in that way. It's a powerful way to connect these two passengers, who hadn't really spoken before. Amuta tells Mick that he still misses Daly, despite what he has done, and that Mick can't imagine what it's like to fly without your pilot. This clearly hits home for her, as that's what she's been doing since Ben lost Grace and Eden. 

This episode solves another mystery that I, at least, have been wondering about, which was the timeline of when Cal saw the Glow and when Daly and Amuta flew into it. As it turns out, that light could be seen out of Cal's window a while before the turbulence hit. Which means that it followed and chose them. When Amuta reveals that he and Daly called the Glow the "long, delirious, burning blue," Cal suddenly remembers being in the Glow. And he's not alone: Daly and Fiona are there too! As someone who's really liked Fiona since we met her in season 1, it was so rewarding to finally see her again. And what a great way to bring Jack Messina back too!

Daly wants Cal to stay in the Glow, while Fiona agrees that Cal should go back. It feels very fitting with their characterization: Daly longed for that peace, given how turbulent his life had become, and can't understand why Cal would give that up. Fiona, on the other hand, has always been able to see the bigger picture more clearly, so she understands that Cal still has more to do outside of the Glow. Cal leaves, but not before Daly tries to stop him. Cal, Saanvi, and Mick speculate on whether that's why Daly reappeared on Flight 828 and took the plane from Eureka, but for the time being they have no concrete answers. Still, the confirmation that the passengers were chosen by the divine consciousness already feels like a big enough breakthrough.

Back at her house, Michaela checks in on Ben. He confides in her about the awful Calling he had, which showed ash and destruction. It's reminiscent of the Calling Ben, Mick, Saanvi, and Adrian had before the nightclub fire in season 2, so it can't lead to anything good. But what is good is how Ben lets Mick in after so long. It gives Mick the space to tell Ben that she needs him back as her co-pilot once he's found Eden. It's a beautiful moment between these two siblings, who have been through so much together, and I'm glad the writers allowed space for them both to talk about how they feel and to express that to each other in a healthy way. That's always been one of the biggest strengths of this show, and I can't applaud the writers enough for it. 

Just like the first two episodes of season 4, High Flight continues the story of the passengers in an emotional and exciting way. It gives us a few answers to the main mystery while also making room for the more emotional and grounded moments with these characters, and it develops several dynamics in interesting ways. As a long time fan of this show, I couldn't be happier with the direction the story is heading in!


Additional points:

- I really liked the scene in which Drea opens up to Jared about her family's history. It's gave us some insight into both of their moral compasses and Drea's reasons for working at the Registry, but it also helped to give their relationship with each other some depth. And it does a good job of reminding the audience that this Othering of the 828 passengers is something that has happened to many different groups in our history, and unfortunately keeps happening over and over. 

- Was anyone going to tell me that peacocks emit low-frequency sounds, or was I just supposed to find out about that at the end of a Manifest episode?

About the Author - Anouk S
Anouk is a video editor who loves watching television shows. When she's not writing her thoughts down in words, she spends her time analysing her favourite shows by making fanvids. She loves all kinds of genres, but fantasy and sci-fi have a special place in her heart.
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