In episode 2, Reentry, the passengers continue to settle in at home after their 5 year absence, and begin to make connections with each other. Connections with the people they left behind are further tested and explored, sometimes with supernatural help. Potential enemies begin to reveal themselves, with deadly consequences.
The episode opens on reporters describing the destruction of the plane that carried Flight 828 home from Jamaica. The plane’s sudden explosion ended episode 1, with 20 passengers having felt an inner call to witness the incident, and Cal jolting awake in bed at the moment of the explosion.
The reporters stand in front of what’s barely even a smoldering shell of an aircraft. The explosion and subsequent fires burned up everything but a few pieces of the plane’s exterior, and those are charred beyond recognition. Whatever someone was trying to hide, mission accomplished.
We also learned that it’s been 4 days since the plane’s return, the plane exploded shortly after midnight, and the 20 passengers were recorded on surveillance cameras.
In the morning, the remains of the plane are being examined for evidence and the 20 passengers are being detained and questioned, again. When Michaela comes out of her interview, Ben tells her to stick to the party line that they don’t know anything and haven’t seen anything. He’s trying to keep them off of the government’s radar.
Pretty sure that ship sailed 5 years ago, then landed 4 days ago, then exploded last night. Fireworks couldn’t put them more on the radar. But Ben is going to fight for anonymity and normalcy to his very last breath, Goddess love ‘im.
The pilot, Bill Daly, is sitting behind them, and turns around to confirm that they’re hearing voices and seeing things, just like him. He says that the investigators think it’s his fault, because they always blame the pilot. Ben shakes his head “no” at Michaela, telling her not to commiserate with the captain.
That was cold. Poor guy had the worst of it during the flight, and is getting the worst of it now. He needs a strong savior ally. But there’s no voice compelling Ben to support Bill, so he won’t do the right thing.
One passenger, Radd Campbell, a violinist, argues with an NSA agent because his son is in trouble and needs his help immediately. He can’t wait around while they hold him for no reason.
Inside the interrogation chamber, Vance and an assistant are questioning #17, a sporting goods salesman who had an urge to visit the plane last night. He nearly becomes belligerent when questioned further. Protesting too much? Vance wants to know why all 20 of them got the same urge at the same time.
Interesting that the thought of thinking the same thoughts as the other passengers is what’s upsetting #17. Not, for example, that the plane he apparently spent 5.5 years on spontaneously combusted a few days after he got off. That’s a bit of a random close call. If you believe it’s random.
Dr Saanvi Bahl finally gets a last name and introduces herself to Ben and Michaela. They had no idea that she was on the plane and did the research that led to Cal’s treatment protocol.
Vance’s assistant emerges to call #18 in for questioning, so Michaela asks what their status is. The goon says they’re being detained, but Michaela, as a police officer, knows the law and calls him on his bluff. Once they’ve been questioned, the police have to either charge them or let them go. Goon gets Vance, who announces they can leave, but they are to maintain his personal gag order: They can’t talk to the media, their families, anyone, because this is a matter of National Security.
As they prepare to leave, one woman, Kelly, snaps at Michaela for waiting hours to mention that she’s a cop. So much for gratitude.
I know it’s a bit cheesy, but I love the A in Manifest made by the plane flying through it.
On their way out, Ben orders Michaela to follow his own personal gag order. He’d better turn out to have some reason for being so paranoid. He tells her that the passengers are being scapegoated, and he doesn’t want to give the world any fuel.
Radd Campbell tries to talk to Ben about his son as they’re leaving the airport, but Ben ignores him. Getting involved with other passengers goes against his “stay under the radar” policy.
Grace picks out an outfit for the day and flashes her bra at the audience. It covers more than a bathing suit top, so no worries. But when Ben comes into the room, she startles and pulls her robe closed around herself.
Ben’s confused, being her husband and all. She explains that she’s self-conscious, because she’s gotten older and flabbier, and he hasn’t. Well, that’s a real warm welcome home. “Sorry honey, I know you’ve been gone for 5 years, but there won’t be any fun until I lose 10 lbs. I really, really missed you, though! Air kisses!!”
Yet, somehow, Ben can’t figure out that there’s something going on with her. Maybe he will when she moves her male “roommate” back in.
Ben brought her the scones he used to get for her every week. She hasn’t had them since he disappeared.
Down in the kitchen, Ben is surprised to discover that 16 year olds drink coffee. Olive still isn’t ready for alone time with him, probably because of the giant secret her mother is forcing her to keep. Everytime Olive has a moment alone with her mother, she pushes Grace to tell Ben the truth.
Ben hears a snippet of music before he leaves the kitchen. Olive assumes Alexa is acting up, which leaves Ben even more confused.
When Michaela gets to the station, she finds her fiancée-stealing former best friend, Lourdes, lying in ambush. Unbelievable. Maybe the happy couple could give the undead woman they accidentally betrayed some time to get over it, instead of acting like she has to move on right this second, for their sakes? Maybe, since the last 5 years have been about them, right now could be about Michaela’s needs and not theirs?
No, I know, that’s crazy talk.
Michaela runs from Lourdes as fast as she can, and heads for the captain’s office. He’s surprised to see her, but ready for her to come back to work. She just has to jump through various administrative hoops- psych eval, physical, firearms recertification.
While Cal’s at chemo, he asks for more art supplies, which Grace agrees to buy. Ben watches a report about Flight 828 on the news. Saanvi introduces herself to Grace before she takes Cal into the treatment room. Grace’s phone rings every 2 minutes. She blames it on her busy work schedule, saying she’s catering a big event. She’s obviously lying about her phone.
Ben says that he’ll give her some space during the treatment. He goes for a walk and looks through job ads for college lecturers on his phone. The ads don’t list what subject he’d be teaching. He doesn’t seem excited about any of them.
As he’s walking through Times Square, Ben hears the strange music again. It leads him to Radd, who’s playing violin next to the stairs to nowhere. That has to be an ironic statement.
Radd has been hearing the same melody all day. He pleads with Ben to help him this time. Radd tells Ben that since the plane he’s had a vision and has had this shared musical sign with Ben. He considers music to be a higher power, so it makes sense for messages to come to him that way.
Radd went to Jamaica for one day to play with the Philharmonic. He left his 13 year old son overnight with a neighbor. His son, Adio, is now 18 and in prison. Adio is accused of robbery, but Radd doesn’t believe it. His son was a good boy.
He needs to see his son and find out what really happened, but the jail says that he needs to be on a list to visit. Radd is a resident alien and his visa expired, so he can’t get on the list. They say that renewing his visa could take a month, but Adio’s trial is next week.
Radd asks Ben for help, again, since Ben knows the police and is a father himself. He says, “Can you imagine not being able to save your own child?” Ben doesn’t even have to imagine that.
Michaela visits a therapist for the psych eval. The therapist is very perceptive, and figures out that Michaela’s life was already a mess before the plane disappeared. Five months earlier, she and her friend Evie were in a car accident which left Evie dead. Michaela was the driver, and she’d been drinking. The accident was investigated, and Michaela was exonerated, so she must not have been drinking too much. But she was still on desk duty when she disappeared, because she was (is) afraid to drive.
Michaela gets defensive and says that she’s fine. She’s not going to break down, even though she’s had some dramatic changes in her life, which happened very quickly in her time. The one thing she still has is her job, so she wants to get back to it. The therapist lets Michaela’s return to desk work, but wants her to make another appointment.
Ben calls Michaela and asks her to have Adio’s file pulled. He gets Radd and himself a pass to visit Adio at Rikers. When they bring Adio out for the visit, he’s been beaten. Radd loses the thread for a minute, and worries about the jailhouse beating instead of listening to the story of Adio’s arrest.
Adio says that he didn’t do it. He’s always tried to follow his father’s advice and stay out of trouble. He was working at a jewelry store and would close up sometimes. A month ago, when he was closing up, he was jumped in the back room. When he woke up, everything in the store was gone. He was blamed for the robbery.
Grace and Cal walk home through busy streets after treatment, arms full of Cal’s new Lego sets. A woman spots Cal and holds onto him, getting in his face and chanting, “He is risen. He is not here. He is risen. He is not here.” Grace grabs Cal and practically runs away.
Ben and Radd visit the jewelry store. The owner thinks they’re detectives at first, then refuses to speak to them when he finds out the truth. The owner’s son speaks to them instead, telling them that Adio used a fake ID and references to get the job. The alarm wasn’t tripped and Adio was the only one there. The owners don’t know what else to think.
Adio’s visa must have run out when Radd’s visa ran out, and he couldn’t renew it without his father. He became an illegal alien and couldn’t legally get a job to support himself, so he used fake papers that allowed him to work.
Back at home, Grace is worried that more religious nuts and others obsessed with Flight #828 will find them and harass them. She’s worried about them finding the house or following them. Ben, Mr Denial and Normalcy, assures her that it will all blow over, and Michaela will take care of it if it doesn’t.
For Cal and Olivia’s sake, I hope he’s not too wrong. He thinks he can force the world to realign itself into his concept of normal through sheer willpower. I doubt that stalkers and kidnappers will pay much attention to his willpower.
Michaela stops at the firing range before she goes back to the station. Jared sees her used targets and notices that she’s still a good shot. She notes that she’s only been away from the range for a few days, in her time.
And now it’s time for the Jared & Lourdes guilt machine to fire up again. Jared is pretty sure, still, that everything is all about him, and doesn’t want Michaela to take her anger at him out on his sweet, innocent wife, Lourdes. But he can’t stand it if Michaela is mad at him either.
Michaela tells him that she feels like puking when she looks at the two of them, which ought to make it clear that he should back off, but instead he retaliates by reminding her that she not only took herself away from his beloved Lourdes, she’d also taken their friend Evie away a few months before that.
And we’re done hoping for a potential Jared/Michaela reunion. As far as I’m concerned, he and Lourdes can keep each other. We’ll keep an eye out for a cute plane passenger or sympathizer for Michaela.
Bringing up the dead friend like that was an incredibly low blow under any circumstances, but given the amount of guilt and trauma Michaela’s suffered over the car accident, I’d say it was unforgivable.
But I, of course, don’t write these shows, so it gets worse. Jared continues on, whining that Lourdes couldn’t replace Michaela, and he couldn’t replace her either.
EXCEPT THOSE GOLD BANDS ON THEIR FINGERS SAY DIFFERENT.
So, what are Lourdes and Jared looking for here? That almost sounded like an invitation to a threesome. Or to be the pathetic sad friend who watches their kids and gets blamed for their problems, but who they can always feel superior to when they feel down.
Are they so guilty because they were actually into each other before Michaela died?
Director Vance and other officials meet to discuss the status of the investigation into Flight #828. Vance begins by saying that there’s no evidence that the crew or passengers were involved with the explosion. He’s interrupted by a superior officer, who says the explosion doesn’t matter as much as what happened to the plane while it was missing. Another staff member lists a couple of theories, including a wormhole and alien abduction, almost guaranteeing that those aren’t the causes.
The superior asks if the country is in danger, if the plane was targeted by a weapon, or is the weapon. Another official, Director Hughes, asks if the passengers and crew are even the same people who were on the plane in 2013. The staff member reports that all of their test results show that they are who they say they are. Director Hughes believes the passengers should be locked up indefinitely, but Vance reminds him that this is America and they have rights.
Vance says that the most likely place to find answers is with the people who watched the plane explode. That’s 20 passengers.
That evening, Ben cooks dinner, which he apparently didn’t do much before the disappearance and wasn’t very good at. So, during their missing 5 years, Cal became good at word games, and Ben learned how to cook. Inserted skills or incompletely wiped memories, what do we think?
He asks Michaela to look into Adio’s files to see if there were any police or DA improprieties or irregularities with his case. She bristles at the idea that the police might have made a mistake, but Ben explains that he’s just exploring every option. Then he becomes testy, because he just wants to solve this case and try to understand what these voices and visions mean. Michaela wants to pretend they don’t exist, now that she’s not hearing them, and not bother trying to figure it out.
Cal is opening up his new Lego sets with Grace, but they aren’t exactly like his old ones, so he’s becoming more and more upset. Grace is desperately trying to make things perfect for him so that she can be the mom he remembers, instead of the person she’s become.
Reality is sinking in for everyone and the stresses are adding up. They’re reaching the point where pretending things are fine isn’t working any more. All of them have tried to act like everything is normal and jump straight into a routine, not just Ben. There are some major meltdowns coming, as the fact that they’ll never go home again really hits the passengers, and as the loved ones stop trying to pretend that everything is the way it was 5 years ago, or that they wish things could be.
Ben makes another attempt at spending time with Olive, but she turns him down again. As he’s getting ready for bed, he looks longingly at an old family photo and remembers back to the days when the twins were little and they all loved to spend time together.
Once he and Grace are settled into bed, Ben notices a new scar on her shoulder. She tells him that she got it scuba diving. He can’t believe what he’s hearing, because she would never go diving when he wanted them to. She says she tried it, and it leaves a mark. Ben decides that she can use her experience to teach him when they go together. Grace looks sad and conflicted.
The next day, she’s on the phone telling her new significant other that it’s so hard, and it hasn’t even been a week. Michaela overhears the end of the conversation, and realizes that Grace has moved on with a new partner, too. Grace says that she, Jared and Lourdes didn’t do anything wrong.
Which is true. While the plane was missing, their actions were reasonable and understandable. Michaela says that she and Ben didn’t do anything wrong either. Everyone always seems to forget that part. Grace acknowledges that Michaela’s right.
But then Grace drops her bombshell. She plans to continue lying to Cal and Ben, and forcing Olive and now Michaela to lie for her, until she decides which man she wants. Not okay. At the very least, Ben has the right to know that he’s living a lie. It’s not fair to either Cal or Ben to let them think the big changes are over, then decide to throw Daddy out of the house and move NewDaddy back in.
The whole idea that she thinks that she can cheat, even if it’s only emotionally, while her husband and child unknowingly audition for their roles in her life, is gross. She should at least be honest. Ben’s looking at her with rose-colored glasses right now, he’s so desperate for normalcy. But the whole house is tied up in knots because of her secrets.
Michaela is disgusted by what Grace is doing. She feels strongly that Ben is Grace’s husband and should come first. He doesn’t deserve this after all that he’s been through. Grace makes more noises about how awful it is for her to have 2 men that she’s keeping on the string.
The writers are doing a great job of making the “cheating” characters sound real when then try to justify their actions. No one will just take responsibility for themselves and apologize where needed. They all shift blame and create elaborate rationalizations, until they can’t even remember what the truth was any more.
Jared and Lourdes are close to blaming Michaela for leaving them, and then accusing her of trying to wreck their marriage by coming back, or trying to wreck it by not forgiving them. It’s surprising how people will twist things, no matter what you say. Grace has already said that she blamed Ben for everything, for years. He’s the man who ruined her life, and when he came back she discovered she actually kinda liked and wanted him.
I hope they don’t drag this story out. I don’t want Grace to become the cheating, lying wife/ex-wife character, with little more to her. Lourdes is such a self-absorbed, manipulative, life-sucking character that I’d like to see her realize that Jared’s still in love with Michaela, ASAP and leave town, but that’ll drag on for at least a season. And then she’ll probably turn evil. She looks like she’s just waiting for someone to give her a supervillain costume so that she can really bust out her true self.
While Ben waits with Cal for his next chemo treatment to start, one of the passengers, Kelly, is on TV, discussing her theory about what happened to them. She thinks that they were drugged using food and drinks provided by the government. We’ve seen her face on the news in the background all day. She must have sold her story for a lot of money.
When Saanvi arrives to get Cal, Ben stops her and asks if she’s heard strange music or heard compelling voices. Her answer is vague, but they understand each other and know that they mean the same thing. They agree that at least they aren’t alone with this. They tilt their heads and look deep into each other’s eyes as they talk.
Somebody get a fire extinguisher.
Saanvi says hi to Cal and notices that he’s drawing a family portrait. It shows him, cancer-free, with Ben, Grace, Olive, and a shadowy person standing close to Grace. Ben is in the center of the grouping. Olive is off by herself at the edge of the grouping, while Cal put himself at the center of the parents. Olive and Cal are the same size. The shadowy figure is between Grace and Ben, and looks like they could have long curly hair. Or a strong aura.
I assume that Cal can’t fully see the person in his mind’s eye yet; he can just sense their presence nearby.
Someone watches Kelly walk to her car and drive away.
Michaela brings more of Adio’s records to Ben at the hospital, but she tells him that no mistakes were made on the case by the authorities. Plus, Adio had $12k in cash stashed in his apartment, and a record of committing petty crimes, which will look bad to a jury.
Ben grows frustrated. Adio’s life is in danger in Rikers, and it’ll be in more danger once he’s sent upstate. He knows that he must have been called to do something that would help.
They get into an argument over whether the voices are coming from God or something that may or may not be explainable using science. Michaela starts tossing out her mother’s favorite sayings, like “God works in mysterious ways.”
Just as I’m starting to wonder if their mother spoke in anything but clichés, Ben asks if it was God who wanted Michaela’s best friend and her fiancée to get married. Oooohh. Another low blow. Ben immediately apologizes, which is why we’re keeping him and approving of him and Saanvi.
Now that they’ve broken the ice, Ben admits to Michaela that his life isn’t so great either. He feels like a stranger in his own home.
Ben and Radd visit Adio again, but there’s nothing new that he can tell them. He’s dragged out of the visitor’s booth by an unfriendly guard.
Michaela decides she hasn’t suffered enough yet, and visits Lourdes’ “Remembering Michaela Stone” Facebook page, where Lourdes dutifully posted messages of love and friendship to her dead friend for 5 years, including lovely selfies and videos of Lourdes. It makes Lourdes look really special and amazing. Lourdes was a faithful friend to the memory of her dead friend, and made sure that everyone could see it for themselves. We aren’t shown a single photo of Michaela on the website that supposedly honors her. Just lots of Lourdes congratulating herself for remembering her dead friend, and impressing Jared with her supposed kindness.
At her next therapy visit, Michaela goes into more depth about how she’s feeling. She’s lost almost everyone, and she feels alone. The therapist recommends her conditional reinstatement to the force, because she can see that Michaela has accepted what’s happened. But she’ll need to keep seeing Michaela.
Back at the station, Michaela already has her detective’s badge on. She was posthumously promoted, but she still gets to keep it.
Cal and Ben return from chemo to find that Grace has done even more guilt shopping. Cal says that he misses his own stuff, like his rock collection and his stuffed dragon. Olive decides that it time for her and Ben to do something together.
Olive brings Ben to a storage facility. She tells him that 2 years after the plane disappeared, their therapist told them they needed to get rid of Cal and Ben’s stuff, but Olive knew that Cal wasn’t dead. She doesn’t know if it was a twin thing or what, but she could feel that he was alive. So she cancelled the Salvation Army pick up after Grace went to work, and kept the boxes in a friend’s storage unit.
The storage unit belongs to a man and has diving equipment stored in it, along with other sports equipment. Olive says the unit belongs to a “friend” of Grace. Ben finally understands what’s been going on. He and Olive hug and he tells her she did the right thing.
Then he gets a temporary migraine and has to go save the world. Or just Adio. He follows the music to another unit, where he finds all of the missing jewelry store stock, and the store owner’s son. The son’s ringtone is the melody that Ben and Radd have been hearing. He’s making a deal to hand off the jewelry quickly. When he sees Ben, he offers to split the take.
Ben punches the kid and knocks him out. The police arrest him and find everything Adio was accused of stealing, and more. Michaela asks if he believes in miracles yet. Ben tells her that God isn’t the only explanation for unusual happenings. Neither is magic. He says that magic is just technology we don’t fully understand yet. He doesn’t know what’s happening, but he’s a long way from saying that it’s unexplainable.
They bring the box back to Cal, who’s thrilled to find his stuffed dinosaur. Olive tells Grace that she knew she was right to keep Cal’s stuff. And she’s right this time too. But this time, Grace needs to let go of Ben, for good.
Michaela visits Lourdes, but stays on the front stoop. She thanks Lourdes for the Facebook posts. Lourdes hopes they can still be best friends. Michaela says they’ll have to play it by ear. Then Michaela has to make Lourdes feel better about marrying Michaela’s boyfriend. She gives Lourdes her blessing, and says that Lourdes is the one he loves and is married to. But Lourdes needs more. She still feels like a fraud, because Jared had a girlfriend before her. He was supposed to marry Michaela, so her marriage doesn’t feel real.
Even though Michaela actually was going to say yes to Jared, she tells Lourdes that she was going to say no, so Lourdes shouldn’t feel like a fraud. We flashback to the plane landing. Michaela’s hand is wearing Jared’s ring, and holding her phone with his proposal on it. She types “yes” in answer to him, but then can’t send her text because her phone is out of service.
Once Grace and Ben are alone in their bedroom, she apologizes to him, saying that it wasn’t Olive’s secret to tell. Ben tells her that it’s okay. Olive is amazing, and Grace somehow got them both through a dark, lonely time. He doesn’t care where Grace found the strength, or with who. He has to visibly pause and make himself okay with the “with who” part though. I think he assumes that she’s broken up with her lover, since he hasn’t met them.
Grace looks at him almost feverishly, and says that she missed him and Cal so much, and wanted them back so badly, for so long, that it was destroying her. She had to let them go. Ben says that he never had to do that and still loves her passionately. He knows she’s forgotten what it’s like to love him, but he hopes she’ll remember. He looks her deep in the eyes, like a faith healer, and commands her to “Please remember.” Grace takes off her clothes. So does Ben. The remembering commences.
Adio is released from prison. Radd is waiting for him.
Michaela returns Jared’s ring.
The camera focuses on Cal’s family portrait, especially the shadowy person. It moves from one shadowy form to another, this one in the home of the passenger from the news, Kelly. She’s drinking wine and watching herself on the news as someone sneaks up behind her. All we can see is their shadow.
On TV, Kelly says that she thinks the government had something to do with this, and that they’re watching her. She calls on them to tell the truth. At home, she gets a little smirk on her face when she says that.
We switch back to the TV screen, just in time to hear a gunshot and see blood splatter all over the screen. Presumably, her 15 minutes of fame are up.
2 episodes in, and 2 outspoken women have died: One a woman of color and one a post-menopausal woman. Not a great track record.
Michaela appears to be #16 out of 20 passengers. Will they keep these numbers as the investigation and surveillance continue?
Michaela complains to the therapist that she’s lost access to everyone she’d normally talk to, so she’s left without an outlet for her pain. But we’ve seen her and Ben have some productive heart-to-hearts in these two episodes.
Are Cal’s shadowy family member and Kelly’s shadowy murderer the same person? The editing strongly implies that they are.
Between the destruction of the plane and the murder of Kelly, it appears that a message is being sent telling the passengers to focus on missions rather than dwelling on why they went missing or where they were.
You may think I’m being too harsh with “poor” Lourdes, who lost her two best friends, but I know a ruthless, insecure narcissist when I see one. Lourdes was already into Jared before Michaela died, and may well have been encouraging Mick to feel guilty and unworthy of him. She’s already forcing herself onto Michaela in order to establish her claim on Jared, and make Michaela vocalize that Lourdes is the better choice.
Or the writers don’t know how to write a healthy, equal friendship between women, and think that this toxic mess is what one looks like. They could think that what Jared and Lourdes did in this episode showed how much they cared about Michaela, instead of intending it to be the self-absorbed emotional beat down that it was.
What we’ve learned in these 2 episodes is that Michaela is lacking in self-confidence outside of her work, and lets everyone in her life browbeat her, scapegoat her and undermine her. She’s like an emotionally abused woman who believes that everything is her fault, her situation can’t be changed, and she’s lucky that anyone cares about her because she’s not worth caring about.
I don’t think her mother was a great as Michaela thinks she was, and undermined Michaela frequently enough to set her up for this situation, but I doubt that’s where the show is going. Or maybe it is. They showed Mom’s bible quote right before they showed Lourdes self-congratulatory Facebook page. That quote can be conveniently and dangerously used to justify anything as being approved by God.
Grace acts so guilty toward Cal, like she’s replaced him, too. Maybe she’s pregnant or adopted a child with her new partner? I don’t think she’s given birth to another child of her own. It wouldn’t make sense for her to leave a small child behind after she’s suffered so much loss already.
Like Jared and Lourdes, Grace moved on from Ben after 2 years. Weird that it was the same amount of time for all three significant others. That suggests some outside influence. I think that Grace and Ben will break up, leaving Ben a free agent who’ll gradually be drawn to Saanvi, even though she’s a lot younger than him. They have chemistry, Cal, and the plane in common, and her closeness to her parents shows that she has good family values.
Despite the fact that I hate TV’s tendency to make the female halves of couples at least 10 years younger than the males halves, I really like the two of them together so far. They have better chemistry than Ben and Grace do. They’re both scientists, or at least science-oriented, and have an instinctive understanding of each other.
I’d also like to see Grace with her new partner soon and get a sense of how happy she is. The fact that they’re dragging out this reveal means that they’re hiding something important. Either it’s a woman, or it’s someone who got close to Grace specifically because her husband and son were on the missing plane. Possibly Grace is remarried and her new spouse had to leave home when the plane returned.
Actually, that one is probable. There’s a reason both Cal and Ben feel like strangers in their own home.
Cal and Olive are sensitive not just to each other, but to people in general. Unlike his father, Mr Normalcy and Denial at All Costs!, Cal sees the truth and puts the clues together. He’s more of a feeling-artistic type, so he has trouble putting things in words, but he knows what’s going on. Olive is the articulate twin.
I look forward to watching the twins repair their relationship and learn to work around the age difference. The difference will only matter for the next few years. It’s the difference in experiences they need to figure out, especially as Cal discovers whatever changes are happening within him, as we continue to get clues that the passengers were affected in unpredictable ways.
Current Theories. Which Will Change within Moments. They Changed While I Was Writing Them:
This feels like a science experiment gone wrong, like the plane was supposed to make a time jump, but only a barely noticeable 5 minutes instead of 5 years. Vance is right, there were operatives/observers on the plane, but in deep cover. While the plane was missing, the group that created the experiment split off into 2 factions, probably an evil group who want to keep things secret and exploit the findings, and a group who mean well, but also want to keep things secret, for the public’s own good. They want to cautiously use the data they have but have suspended further experiments.
I can’t guess whether the experiment was publicly or privately funded. I’m not sure there’s a difference between government and corporate funding of scientific research in the US anymore. Assume there was a shadowy organization involved that included government officials, tech oligarchs, and other interested parties who run the world, or want to.
Maybe the organization was alien, but I hope not. It feels like a cop out, when there’s so much potential intrigue and conspiracy to explore on our own world. I want the experiences to be real, the return home to be real, and for it all to be masterminded by humans with an agenda. The humans can have supernatural powers, or strange religious beliefs or be preparing for doomsday. A fanatical cult is always a fun motivation for change.
#17, the sporting goods salesman, for sure knows more than he’s letting on. If there’s one passenger that they’re hinting could be an operative, it’s him. Besides Kelly. And Ben.
It might turn out that Ben was connected to the experiment, but had his memory wiped before he went to Jamaica, or after the experiment went wrong. He’s suspiciously dedicated to normalcy and staying under the radar, to the point where he didn’t want Mick to stand up for their rights.
He might have been a researcher who worked on the software for whatever this was, and volunteered to try it with Cal and Mick because jumping 5 years would give Cal a better chance at survival and would move Mick further away from the events that were ruining her life and warping her perspective. His marriage was in trouble, and this was a way of testing it without having to live through a long, drawn out divorce. Either Grace would wait for him or she wouldn’t.
Or he thought the experiment would be something completely different. The two family members who went with him, Michaela and Cal, are cheating death, in a sense. Michaela must have nearly died in the accident that killed Evie, and Cal should have died from his leukemia. Maybe the experiment wasn’t about time travel. Maybe it was about tethering humans to life, or some other exploration of life and death.
But not about a plane that crashes and goes through a years long, elaborate fantasy of purgatory based on Judeo-Christian ideology. A scientific study of possibilities that are currently considered paranormal because they aren’t well understood, but which science is coming closer to figuring out. The magic that’s really technology (or natural processes) we don’t understand, like Ben mentioned.
Ben gave us that definition for a reason.
That could be interesting, would be something the government would want to keep secret, and would want to get its hands on.
It would also have themes in common with recent popular shows like Sense8, Orphan Black, The Expanse and The Man in the High Castle.
Images courtesy of NBC.