Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this review are solely those of Marlon Wallace and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WBOC.
I wrote a review about the first season of this series. I had only watched the initial, three episodes and based on those episodes, I wasn’t that impressed. I thought it felt derivative of ABC’s Lost (2004) or USA’s The 4400 (2004), and it still is, but when I heard that NBC had renewed the series for a third season, I figured that the show must be doing well. Lost and The 4400 were two of my favorite TV shows, so I decided to check back into this show to see what the hype was all about. I started watching the first season from where I had left off and became hooked. I binge-watched the remaining episodes in the first and second season. I then became excited to dive into this third season. The series is about a plane that went missing but then reappears after some time with the people on board the same but different. It leans more into the kind of fantasy or science-fiction that I enjoy, the kind with a heart and with a message of helping people like Quantum Leap (1989) for example.
Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time) stars as Ben Stone, a professor in New York who was a passenger on Flight 828. Flight 828 made headlines in 2013 when it disappeared and was missing for five years. Then, all of a sudden, the plane re-appears. Everyone on board, including Ben and two members of his family, didn’t age at all while they were gone. Since their return, Ben and other passengers from 828 have been experiencing psychic visions or sounds. Those psychic experiences have mainly been premonitions, warning them about bad things that have or are about to happen. Ben calls these psychic experiences “callings.” He’s compelled to figure out what the callings mean because usually they represent someone who is in trouble or in need. He believes that these callings are to help people.
The main thrust or the mystery box of this series is where the callings came from and what their greater purpose are. Within that, there are several, smaller mysteries. In the first season, there was a government conspiracy that had to be exposed and untangled. That conspiracy involved experiments on the 828 passengers to try to understand and perhaps weaponize their psychic abilities. That first season ended with a revelation that led into the second season’s mystery and a continuing mystery. That first season ended with the revelation that each of the 828 passengers has what’s called a “death date.” This means that because they were gone for five years, they now only have five years left before they die.
Melissa Roxburgh (Valor) co-stars as Michaela Stone, a detective with the NYPD. She was also a 828 passenger. She assists her brother, Ben, in figuring out what the callings mean and helping whomever the callings point toward. Her being a police officer has obviously been a benefit in Ben’s investigations, which often put him in danger. At the same time, Michaela has things that she’s been juggling, regarding people in her life that were highly affected by her disappearance. One of which is a fellow detective named Jared Vasquez, played by J.R. Ramirez (Jessica Jones and Power) whom she wanted to marry. Yet, through a series of crazy circumstances, she ended up marrying a different guy named Zeke, played by Matt Long (Mad Men and Jack & Bobby).
The drama involving her love triangle drew my interest because it was surprisingly well done. The performances are top notch. In fact, the interpersonal drama between Michaela, as well as for Ben who had his own domestic issues, has all been very well done. The week-to-week mysteries involving a new passenger who needs either Ben or Michaela’s help has been thoroughly engaging, but the interpersonal drama and how the series, created by Jeff Rake, has managed to get me to care about the characters has been the most effective thing about it.
This season, however, adds a new wrinkle to what the guess has been about what happened to the 828 passengers. That new wrinkle came when a piece of the plane, the tail fin, was found in the waters off the coast of Havana, Cuba. Flight 828 was traveling from Jamaica to New York. The plane would have to cross or fly over Cuba to get to the United States, so there’s a theory that the plane exploded mid-air and all the passengers died. It’ll be interesting to see where the show’s breadcrumbs eventually lead.
Jack Messina plays Cal Stone, the son and youngest child of Ben. He was also a 828 passenger. He was 10 in 2013 when the plane disappeared. When the plane reappeared in 2018, he was still 10. When it comes to the psychic experiences or the callings, Cal’s visions are the most powerful and intense. He’s been like an oracle. If this were The 4400, Cal would be the equivalent of Maia, the 8-year-old girl who could see the future. Cal is basically clairvoyant in the same way. Last season, Cal had a vision about three shadows that ended up being three criminals who supposedly died but then magically reappeared like the passengers on 828. Figuring out why those criminals came back and what their connection is to Cal is another minor mystery threaded into this series, but the way the show is developing them and building them out is intriguing and I’m further hooked.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Thursdays at 8 PM on NBC.