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Manifest - Squawk - Review

After four episodes, it's finally time to go and rescue Eden! Strap in, because there's plenty of turbulence and lots of things for this reviewer to discuss!

Parents and children

Upon Ben's disappearance, Vance immediately enlists the remaining Stones to try and find him. They go to search his computer, and while this isn't hugely important, I liked the detail of Olive being the one to guess Ben's password. It shows just how far the two of them have come over the years, after how estranged they were at the start of the show. Similarly, Cal's inability to guess it shows how fractured his relationship with Ben still is. It's simple but effective writing. 

Through a Calling, Eden is lead to the cellar in which Ben is being held. The moment Ben sees Eden for the first time in two years is incredibly emotional, and beautifully acted by Josh Dallas. But it doesn't last long, as Angelina comes in and takes Eden with her. But not before reminding both Eden and Ben that she's her mother now. Later, Ben is alone as we flash back to a scene from 2x10, where Grace made Ben promise to protect Eden. Even after all this time, he's still keeping that promise. It's a heartbreaking moment, but I do love how the writers tied this current storyline into that past episode. Even when it comes to the emotional beats of this show, it's all connected.

We get another glimpse of Angelina's parenting method with Eden as she reminds Eden that Ben is a bad person. Angelina tells her that Ben wants to hurt "mommy," so if Eden wants to avoid that, she needs to stay away from him. And she also tells Eden that she's the only person Eden can trust. It's a very isolating way of parenting, and I wouldn't be surprised if Angelina is subconsciously mirroring her own abusive parents here. While I don't think she has bad intentions towards Eden, her lack of a good parental figure gave her no basis for a healthy parenting style and it shows. 

Back in the cellar, Ben manages to somewhat get through to another fellow passenger named Donovan, but Adrian calls him away before Ben can convince him to free him. However, he leaves a plate. Ben cleverly uses shards of it to break his ties, and ends up writing a message on the window for any potential rescuers.

In a flashback, Angelina reunites with her mother, Noelle, who isn't happy to see her. This is when Angelina learns that Grace died, and we learn that Angelina didn't mean to kill her. It's a crucial difference that instantly makes Angelina more sympathetic, even if she remains very misguided. Noelle is having none of it, though, and kicks Angelina out. Once again, Angelina feels completely abandoned.

Bring the honey

Jared shows up at Adrian's compound looking for Erika. Erika and Adrian manage to convince him they're just producing honey, but after Jared leaves, it becomes clear there's plenty of tension and distrust at the compound. While Adrian is doing a good thing by creating a safe haven for the passengers, where they can be self sufficient and independent from the government, he's also holding Ben in his cellar. He may not be willing to go down the road Erika seems to be taking him, but he remains hypocritical in his morals. 

Back at Drea's apartment, Jared and her share an intimate moment after he fills her in on his investigation. Once again, we see a lighter, flirty side to Jared that we've never seen before with his other love interests. It's a very welcome change for him, and one that has me rooting for this pairing all the more. Their lightness and banter feels different from all the other romantic pairings on the show, which is a good choice on the writers' end. It makes them stand out in a good way.

When a Calling of a bee leads Michaela to Erika's picture on Ben's walls, she enlists Drea's help to get answers. It turns out that Jared's trip to Adrian's compound was more useful than they thought. Michaela, Zeke, and Jared all take off to go and save Ben. Once there, Jared asks the married couple who wants a gun. This moment may seem pretty insignificant, but it actually shows how much Jared has grown over the years. Since the shooting in which Michaela accidentally got shot by Zeke, Jared hasn't trusted Zeke with a gun. He gave Zeke and Michaela a disapproving look in 3x06 when Zeke told him that he already had a gun, given to him by Mick. So Jared offering to give the gun to either Zeke or Mick shows that he's let go of that incident and the resentment he felt related to it. It's definitely subtle, but still effective.

God frequency

Saanvi is still studying ultra low frequencies and has enlisted the help of Troy in her research. If there's any criticism I have about this first half of season 4, it's that there's not enough Troy in it. It's always a joy to see him, and he brings a welcome levity to scenes. He pitches the name God frequency for the ULF through which the divine consciousness may be communicating with the passengers, and Saanvi immediately adopts the phrase. But initially, her tests seem to be a failure. 

Then Cal and Olive show up at her workplace, determined to be there when Vance gets news about Ben's whereabouts. They all notice Cal's cough, but he brushes it off, and they all quickly get distracted by Cal's scar. The twins fill Saanvi and Troy in what they discovered in the last episode, and Troy suggests that they put Cal in the machine. 

As soon as Cal is in the machine, he has a Calling that leads him to Ben's location. On Saanvi's end, she sees an immediate difference in the test results. As they analyse these results, they come to the conclusion that Callings must be memories. This, to me, is one of the biggest revelations in the show to date. It explains so much, like why they hear their own voices. The implications of this are fascinating. Does this mean the passengers have some sort of agency in these Callings? Do they remember seeing other timelines or potential timelines during their time in the Glow, and are their Callings based on their memories of the best outcomes? Are they, in a way, guiding themselves to the right path? And what does this all mean for shared Callings? I for one can't wait to find out!


Things start to get tense when Donovan confronts Adrian and asks him if Angelina is at the compound. Adrian, confronted with his own hypocrisy, is forced to tell the truth, and in doing so makes Angelina feel like she's once again being abandoned. Then, the passengers turn on Adrian too. That's when both Erika and Angelina step in. Angelina reveals to the group that there's a bomb at the compound and that she has the detonation device in hand.

It turns out that she has interpreted hers and Eden's Callings to mean that the passengers are being tested. She believes that the righteous will be protected, while the deceivers will perish. In her mind, she's following the divine consciousness' will. She truly believes she's doing the right thing and that Eden is an angel who will protect those who are worthy. After all, Eden saved her in her darkest moment, when she wanted to jump off a bridge with her. Or rather, that's how she views it. It's her need for a genuine connection that truly saved Angelina and Eden in that moment, as Eden calling her "mama" is what changed Angelina's mind. 

Adrian tries to make Angelina see that she's read the signs wrong and relates this to his own similar mistakes. But as he takes responsibility for one mistake, Angelina rightfully points out that he refuses to do so for another, as he shifted the blame for Grace's death solely onto her. This is when Angelina really gets to the core of her issues: everyone she's ever loved has abandoned her. And that hurts. Most viewers may not agree with me, but I find her extremely sympathetic in that moment. It doesn't take away from how misguided she is and how wrong her actions are, but I can see how she got to this breaking point and feel compassion for her. Which is all thanks to some great writing on the writers' part and incredible acting from Holly Taylor.

As Donovan goes to free Ben, Erika knocks him out and points a rifle at Ben. That moment showed us that Donovan is still on the right path and just trying to do the right thing, while Erika seems like a lost cause. Outside, everyone else is coming together to try and save Ben. Cal informs them that he has to go inside, because "this is how it has to be." That's the same thing he said shortly before Grace was killed, and feels like an indicator that he remembers, at least to some degree, the greater plan that's unfolding. 

Cal comes into the room and uses his past connection to Angelina to talk to her privately. Since she's desperate for that sort of connection, she goes with him. Meanwhile, Mick, Zeke, and Jared free Ben. Ben and Mick go to save Eden and the passengers, while Jared and Zeke take Donovan to safety. Upstairs, Angelina expresses her faith in Cal, who's still uncertain about his purpose. To her, their connection is still a pure one. In the other room, Michaela frees all the passengers. And upstairs, at long last, Ben has a very emotional reunion with Eden. 

But, of course, Eden calls for her mommy. This results in a standoff between Angelina and Ben, Cal, and Eden, in which Angelina realises that even Cal has abandoned her. In a move very reminiscent of TJ's sacrifice in 2x07, Cal takes on Angelina and tells Ben and Eden to go. He tells Ben that it'll be okay because he "remembers it." Ben makes it outside, but before he can go back in, the bomb goes off. Again, very reminiscent of 2x07. But after a moment of uncertainty, Cal walks out, unscathed. Ben, who just experienced the pain of losing his son, finally hugs Cal. After all the pain and strain on their relationship in the previous episodes, I can't help but get emotional every time I watch this scene. It's a beautiful pay-off to this painful story.  

Just as the dust seems to have settled, Erika stumbles out of the compound, rifle in hand. She aims it at Michaela. But Zeke, who picked up on her emotions and sees where she's aiming, immediately grabs Jared's gun and shoots her multiple times. While Zeke's protectiveness of Michaela is completely in character, especially when it comes to his fear of her getting shot again, his anger in this moment feels jarring. Which, of course, is on purpose. He's not just feeling his own fear for Michaela's life, he's also feeling Erika's negative emotions. And he's likely also still being influenced by all the pain he's absorbed ever since he discovered that power. All of that combined leads him to make the horrible choice to kill Erika. He doesn't just stop after the first shot, which already would've disabled her. He shoots her multiple times. It's clear he's not being himself, and at home, he's left to deal with the pain of that choice. Luckily, he has Michaela to support him, even if he's still not ready to open up to her.

The moment all of the Stones are reunited is one of the most emotional ones of the season. It makes all the pain leading up to it worth it, and I especially loved the touch of having Ben look up, as a way of letting Grace know that he's fulfilled his promise to her. Later, Ben asks Cal what he meant when he said he remembered. Cal answers that he knew the detonator wasn't gonna go off. Like it happened before. Which, again, raises many interesting questions. Have they all been through these events before? Are there other timelines? The second half of season 4 can't come soon enough!

But all can't stay well for the Stones for long. The next scene reveals that Cal's cough isn't as harmless as it seemed, as Cal starts coughing up blood. And that's not all. Adrian finds Angelina on the road. She has clearly given up, but he hasn't, as he's realised that she was right about him. So he takes her with him, and they drive off into the night together, leaving us on a patented Manifest cliffhanger.

What did you think of Squawk? Did the Stones' reunion with Eden make you as emotional as it did me? Let us know in the comments!

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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