Category Archives: Character Review

World on Fire Character Review: Nancy Campbell

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read 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.

The job of a journalist is to report the facts and let the public decide how to react. The problem is that in some countries and under some governments, the facts are dangerous.

On World on Fire, Nancy Campbell is an American journalist whose job is her life. In 1939, Nancy is in Warsaw when the Germans invade Poland. Returning to Berlin, she does her job as she has always done. But she also knows enough to know that war is coming. She tries to convince her closeted nephew, Webster O’ Connor (Brian J. Smith) to leave Europe while the borders are still open. But Webster decides to stay.

In Berlin, she is friendly with her neighbors and the army officers who she must interact with as part of her job. The journalist in her wants to report what she is seeing. But she is held back by her German supervisors who are towing the party line and need to make sure that only their version of the truth is released.

Nancy knows the risks she takes when she is determined reveal everything that she is seeing and experiencing. But in her eyes, it must be done, in spite of the personal costs she may have to pay.

To sum it up: Sometime doing the right thing requires going against everyone and everything around you. It is easy to be silent and pretend that everything is fine. It is harder to follow your own instincts. When Nancy makes the difficult and dangerous decision to speak the truth, she is standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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World on Fire Character Review: Lois Bennett

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read 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.

Love and loss often compels us to act in ways that we would otherwise act. On World on Fire, Lois Bennett (Julia Brown) is initially introduced to the audience as an idealistic young woman living in England at the start of World War II. Though she has a day job, her true passion is singing. At night, she performs at night clubs with her friend, Connie Wright (Yrsa Daley-Ward). She is also happily in love with Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King), in spite of his upper class mother Robina’s (Lesley Manville) misgivings.

But life is not all sunshine and roses. Lois lives with her hot-headed brother Tom (Ewan Mitchell) and their widowed father Douglas (Sean Bean). Douglas is a veteran of World War I. Still dealing with PTSD decades after returning home, he is against Britain getting involved in another war.

After she and Harry break up, Lois joins the ENSA and the war effort. When she finds out that he has returned to England with a young boy who is his brother-in-law, she is furious. When they meet, one thing leads to another and they sleep together.

Upon finding out that she is pregnant, Lois decides to keep the baby. But, she does not tell Harry and rejects financial help from Robina. At a local army base, Lois meets Vernon Hunter (Arthur Darvill). She initially rejects him but eventually agrees to marry him.

Starts at 3:43

To sum it up: There are two ways to deal with loss, especially loss that is associated with romantic love. We can wallow in self-pity. Or, we can find a way to move on from that loss, even if it is difficult. What I like about Lois is that she does not let the breakup with Harry stop her from living. That strength I find to be inspiring and powerful.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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World on Fire Character Review: Harry Chase

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

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire.  Read 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.

War has a way of making those who live through it grow up quickly. Youth and inexperience, simply due one’s experience, gives way to maturity brought on extraordinary circumstances. On World on Fire, Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King) is a young man at the beginning of World War II. He is idealistic, romantic, and eager to see the world. He is also dating Lois Bennett (Julia Brown). Their relationship ends when he is offered a job in Poland.

A talented translator, he takes a job in Warsaw and gets involved with Kasia Tomaszeski (Zofia Wichlacz). All seems well until the Germans invade. Harry knows that the only way to save Kasia’s life is to marry her and get her to England. The question is, how will he explain all of this not just to Lois, but to his mother, Robina (Lesley Manville)?

At the train station, Kasia does not get on the train with Harry. Instead, she shoves her baby brother into the train car and watches as the train leaves the station. Back home, Harry has to faces a brokenhearted Lois and his mother, who is shocked by the presence of the boy he is traveling with. After a one night stand with Lois, she gets pregnant. But she does not tell him that they are to become parents.

Returning Europe, he joins the battle at Dunkirk and then goes back to Poland to find his wife. Their joy at being united is all too brief when they are surrounded by German soldiers.

Starts at 3:04

To sum it up: Harry’s character arc is an interesting one. He is not completely naïve, but his perspective comes from the relatively comfortable left he has led up to this point. The war changes all of that. He still retains some of that idealism. However, he learns to fight for what he believes in and who he loves, and what it takes to lead.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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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.

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Manifest Character Review: Saanvi Bahl

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

*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.

Strictly speaking, science is neither bad nor good. It is merely a tool that can be molded to the needs whomever is using it. On Manifest, Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur) is one of the passengers on Flight 828. She is a medical researcher focusing on finding a cure for leukemia. Her laptop is destroyed when the plane is hit by turbulence.

When the plane finally lands five and a half years later, Saanvi discovers that the research she completed prior to getting on the flight has saved lives. She also learns that Cal Stone (Jack Messina) is also cancer free. Curious as to how and why the flight contributed to his sudden remission, Saanvi dives deep into further research with the help of Cal’s father, Ben (Josh Dallas). She also experiences “the callings”, similar to those of other passengers on the flight.

Her work does not go unnoticed. The Major (Elizabeth Marvel) has plans to use the information that Saanvi uncovered. She has the will and the means to obtain the data using less then honorable methods. Saanvi is also targeted by those who believe in conspiracy theories about the people on 828.

If that was not enough, her personal life is a mess. Saanvi was supposed to be traveling with her girlfriend, Alex Bates (Sydney Morton). But Alex never made it to the airport.

To sum it up: There are never one set of challenges in life. Most if not all of us are juggling issues from both our personal and professional lives. It is how we handle what is our plate that matters. What I like about Saanvi is that she forges ahead, regardless of who or what stands in her way. It would be easy to give up, but she doesn’t. Her determination is a lesson that I think we all could learn from.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Jared Vasquez

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

*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 a perfect world, romantic love would be a simple thing. But love, like life, is never simple. On Manifest, Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez) thought he had it all. His career as an NYC detective was thriving and he was in love with Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh). Though he had proposed, she had yet to give him an answer. Promising a response when she returned from a family vacation, he waited for her. Then the plane she was on disappeared and Michaela, like other passengers, were presumed to be dead.

For the first two years, his romantic life was static. Then Jared dated and married Lourdes (Victoria Cartagena), Michaela’s best friend. When the plane landed and he discovered that Michaela was still alive, he reveals that his feelings are unchanged.

But there are complications. The first is that Jared is still a married man. The second is Zeke Landon (Matt Long), a mysterious man with connections to the passengers and a checkered past. Letting his jealousy take over, their fight results in a gun going off. Michaela is hit.

Over the next few months, Jared simultaneously acts via his jealousy while protecting Michaela from those who questionable motives towards her and the other passengers. But in the end, he backs off, realizing that he needs to let her go.

To sum it up: Sometimes love means letting go. Watching Michaela walk into the sunset with another man is the hardest thing that Jared has done. But he knows that it is the only thing he can do.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Cal Stone

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

*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.

If we are lucky, our childhood is carefree and easy. Unfortunately, not every child is fortunate enough to have such an experience. On Manifest, Cal Stone (Jack Messina) is one of the children whose young life is marked by misfortune. At the age of nine, he is diagnosed with leukemia. He is given every treatment that the doctors can provide. But none seem to work. Facing the possibility that Cal may not live much longer, his parents, Ben and Grace (Josh Dallas and Athena Karkanis) arrange a family vacation.

That vacation forever changes their lives. Cal, Ben, and Ben’s sister’s Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) return home separately from the rest of the family due to an overbooked flight. That plane, according to the rest of the world, disappears for five and a half years. Those aboard, after a certain amount of time, are presumed to be dead.

When Cal, Ben, and Michaela finally land, they discover that the world they knew has is not the one they left. He and his twin sister Olive (Luna Blaise) look more like an older sister and a younger brother. His cancer is in remission thanks to the work of Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur), a medical researcher who was also on the flight. He also starts to develop a psychic connection to a man who was on the plane but has since disappeared. These visions open the door to questions of what really happened and why they happened.

If that was not enough, there is an element of danger. When Cal is kidnapped just after his aunt’s wedding to Zeke London (Matt Long), he becomes a useful target to those with ill intentions. Cal is rescued by Michaela and Zeke, but not before Zeke dies and then comes back to life. This opens the door to even more questions about the mystery that is Flight 828.

To sum it up: Cal wants to be a regular kid and do everything that he should be doing at the age of eleven. But fate other plans in mind for this young man. He learns to adjust to his new circumstances, a lesson that is important to learn, regardless of age.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Olive Stone

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

*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.

Being a teenager is hard enough. Add in the mysterious disappearance and then reappearance of family members only creates more stress and tension. On Manifest, Olive Stone (Luna Blaise) was living a completely normal life up until the age of eleven. Then her family returned from vacation and everything changed. Her father Ben (Josh Dallas), twin brother Cal (Jack Messina), and aunt Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) were apparently killed in a plane accident after the family took separate flights home. Five and a half years later, they have not only survived but have not aged a day.

During that five and a half years, Olive got used to being raised alone by her mother, Grace (Athena Karkanis). She also gets used to the idea that Grace has a new boyfriend, Danny (Daniel Sunjata). Then her father, brother, and aunt come back to the family fold, and everything changes.

Initially, Olive is happy to help her father and aunt figure out what happened to them. But then she becomes angry when her mother gets pregnant again and she is the only one who does not receive callings. Her anger soon subsides when she begins to accept her family for who they are. Olive also starts to date TJ Morrison (Garrett Wareing), another survivor of the flight.

To sum it up: In a sense, Olive Stone is your average teenage girl, with the ups and downs that come with that stage of life. But, in another sense, due to the uniqueness of her familial experience, she is not your average teenage girl. She may not have completely understood or accepted her circumstances, but in the end, Olive knows who loves and accepts her.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Grace Stone

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

*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.

When tragedy strikes, we have two choices. We can either let it hold us back or find a way to move on. On Manifest, Grace Stone (Athena Karkanis) went through what no one should go through: the early loss of family. After returning home from vacation, Grace was told that her husband Ben (Josh Dallas), son Cal (Jack Messina), and sister-in-law Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) were on a plane that went messing.

For five and a half years, Grace raised her daughter Olive (Luna Blaise) as a single mother. Doing the best she could to move on, she started seeing Danny (Daniel Sunjata). Then she heard the news that the plane had landed, everyone aboard was safe and alive. But the happy news of the reunification only complicated things.

Torn between the new life she had been building and the life she had before the flight, Grace has to make a choice. That choice leads her back to Ben, a new baby, and another chance for happiness.

To sum it up: No one goes through life without experiencing a few potholes The question is how we react to those potholes. After grieving, she responds with strength and grit, allowing her and the audience to find some sort of inner peace.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Michaela Stone

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

*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.

When times are tough, belief is sometimes all we have to get by. On Manifest, Michaela Stone has just survived a very strange plane ride. Arriving back in New York City with her brother Ben (Josh Dallas) and nephew Cal (Jack Messina) five and a half years after getting on a flight home from vacation, she finds that her world has changed. Her mother is dead and her now ex-boyfriend Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez) is married to Michaela’s best friend.

Things get complicated when Michaela has to go back to work as a police officer with Jared as her partner. Then the callings come, guiding her to do things that are not quite explainable. This leads her to Zeke Landon (Matt Long), bringing up Jared’s jealousy after they slept together. Eventually, Zeke and Michaela get married.

Through all of this, she follows the callings, believing in their message. While she goes on belief, her brother Ben goes on logic, looking for some sort of connection for what they have been through.

To sum it up: Some may think that believing is hokey or old fashioned. But it is has the power to give us hope when we have none. Michaela’s belief in following what she knows is right leads her to answer the questions in front of her and find the love of her life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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