Manifest Character Review: Zeke Landon

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*I apologize about missing a week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In times of hardship, it is sometimes hard to see that good things are coming to us. But, as cliché as it sounds, a curse can turn into a blessing.

On Manifest, Zeke Landon (Matt Long) has had a hard life. When he is fifteen, his younger sister dies when the family is on a camping trip in Upstate New York. Unable to properly grieve for his sister, Zeke numbs his pain via drugs and alcohol. Then his father leaves the family and he gets involved into a relationship that is mutually destructive.

Eleven years later, Zeke has returned to the town where his sister lost her life. While chatting with a local shop owner about flight 828, his eye is drawn to the picture of Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh), one of the missing passengers on the flight. After leaving the shop, his plan for an easy hike is derailed by a blizzard. To stay warm, he burns everything he can. But he saves her picture just an earthquake strikes. Instead of trying to escape, he travels to the future.

When he is finally able to leave the cave, the callings tell him to find Michaela. What Zeke does not know that the callings are driving Michaela and her nephew Cal (Jack Messina) to find him as well. When they finally meet, they discover that the callings are bringing them together. But before their relationship can begin in earnest, he must contend with his past, the mysterious force that has brought them together, and Michaela’s jealous ex Jared Vazquez (J.R. Ramirez).

But in the end, all of that was worth it when Zeke and Michaela walk down the aisle as husband and wife.

To sum it up: The truth is that it is sometimes darkest before the dawn. But no matter how hopeless it seems, the light is still there no matter how faint. In following Zeke’s character arc, the audience can see that he is struggling with multiple issues that would easily kill someone else with a weaker emotional constitution. But there is just enough hope to keep Zeke alive and to lead him to a hopefully bright future.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

This will be the last character review post for Manifest. Come back next week for the next set of characters I will be reviewing.


Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda Book Review

Fans of Broadway musicals and students of Jewish history know the final scene of Fiddler on the Roof all too well. The Jewish residents of the fictional shtetl of Anatevka have been forced out of their homes by the local authorities. As they scatter to four winds, their fate is unknown. Presidential advisor Stephen Miller comes from this world. As do I and millions of Jews of Eastern European descent. But for any number of reasons, Miller has forgotten this history.

Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda, written by journalist Jean Guerrero, was published in August. Miller grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in California. As a young man, his political beliefs began to swing to the extreme right, especially when it came to immigration. He was not shy about sharing his opinions, and like many with that perspective, couched his words in a way that would not immediately come off as racist.

After college, he went into politics, which ultimately led him to his current position working for you know who as a speechwriter and policymaker.

In my world, Miller would be described as a shanda (disgrace). As an American and a Jew, he has forgotten the traditions and the history that we carry with us. Without the United States, Miller’s family, like my family would have been part of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

There is nothing wrong with regulating who can come into this country. But as I see it, his policies are a bridge too far. There were moments while reading this book that I was both outraged and disgusted. While it was a good book, it was a smack in the face that hate, prejudice, and xenophobia is still alive and well in America in 2020.

I absolutely recommend it.

Flashback Friday: Law & Order: UK (2009-2014)

Television viewers have been taken with police procedurals since the beginning of television.

For thirty years, Law & Order has been a staple of our television schedule. Between 2009 & 2014, the British spinoff, Law & Order: UK was on the air. The plot of every episode is standard for the genre. The inciting incident is a crime being committed. The police investigate and then hand their findings over to the attorneys. Their job is to convince the jury that the accused is guilty.

I only watched a few episodes of the series, but I can say that I enjoyed it. The show had the same hook and energy as it’s American’s counterparts. The language and terms are slightly different because it is obviously set in another country, but that does not negate the program’s ability to entertain.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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