Inspiring Characters: Zeke Landon

Hey guys! This will be my last Manifest-themed post for the foreseeable future, since this show has been getting a lot of attention from me due to the release of Part 1 of the final season being released this month (and it’s my favorite show, haha!). In this post, I’ll be talking about what makes Zeke Landon an inspiring character! Before I settled on doing Zeke, I had seriously considered doing Michaela. Like, I even wrote down that I was doing her. But as I went through the series again when I was getting ready for season 4, I changed my mind to Zeke; that decision was even more final after all I saw in season 4 Part 1! Yes, Michaela is an inspiring character, and she might get her own post someday. But guys! We need to talk about Zeke! So let’s get to it! MAJOR Spoiler Warnings!

Zeke pleads guilty (Property of Netflix)

Long Story Short

We first meet Zeke in season 1. Michaela’s nephew, Cal, had gone missing, and they ended up finding him out in the middle of nowhere. He was insisting that they needed to help someone, and that “he” was coming. Sure enough, Zeke showed up, suffering from severe Hypothermia after being stuck in a blizzard. They quickly learned something frightening about him. Just like Flight 828 disappeared for five years and came back, Zeke had disappeared and came back in the same way, this time for only one year. Like Michaela, he believes he didn’t deserve to come back after all he’d done in life.

Michaela spends time with Zeke in an attempt to convince him to return to the city. She learns that Zeke feels responsible for the death of his little sister, and he has been battling a drug addiction. Michaela helps him face some of the guilt he feels about his sister, and eventually talks him into coming back to the city with her. Much to the annoyance of Michaela’s ex-fiancé, Jared, Zeke lives in her apartment, since he has nowhere else to go. Even more worrying to Jared, Michaela and Zeke grow closer.

He’s so worried, he’s convinced Zeke is going to hurt Michaela in some way. The two get into a fight one night in Michaela’s apartment, and a gun is involved. Michaela walks in at the wrong moment, just in time to be shot by one of them. It never outright says who pulled the trigger, but it’s heavily implied that Zeke was the one as the series moves on (though Michaela doesn’t have any hard feelings towards him, obviously). Michaela survives, but she tells Zeke to run in order to avoid being arrested. So he does.

He doesn’t run far, because as it turns out, he’s been hiding out at his mother’s house. Cal finds him, and insists that he belongs with Michaela, though Zeke isn’t so sure. Cal tells him that he doesn’t have much longer to live. Unfortunately, though they all got second chances, the amount of time they were missing is the amount of time they have left to live. That means Zeke only has a year left. With this in mind, he turns himself in to the police in order to own up to his mistakes, despite Michaela’s attempts to talk him out of it.

It takes some doing on Michaela’s part, but she manages to get Zeke out of jail and the charges against him are dropped. Just in time, too, because his Death Date is approaching. Even though he’s dying, he asks Michaela if she would marry him. She agrees, but begins to get second thoughts on their wedding day. After all, he only has a short amount of time left to live, and she thinks she might be making a mistake. Just before she calls off the wedding, though, she takes finding her mother’s missing wedding veil as a sign she should go through with it.

The two marry, but the happy moment doesn’t last long. Cal gets kidnapped by three criminals, and Zeke insists on helping even though he’s on death’s door. The chase ends with Cal and the criminals breaking through ice into a lake, and Zeke jumps in to save him, resulting in his apparent death…

It’s here we find that there is a way to beat the Death Date. So far, it is supposed that one could redeem themself of their past mistakes in order to beat it, though that is subject to change, I think. So Zeke ends up coming back a second time, this time with weird powers.

He doesn’t notice the powers right away, but he soon learns he can feel what others are feelings. At first, he can feel people’s emotions. Then later, he is able to feel their physical pain, too. By season 4, he can control his powers, and he can even take people’s emotions or pain away. This is an awesome ability, but there is a price to pay for it! There are some emotions Zeke can’t control, such as rage. In season 4, he ends up shooting someone multiple times because of that person’s rage, and he attacks one of his own patients. Worse, since he’s a counselor for drug addicts, he can feel their withdrawals, which leads him to fall back on old habits. He ends up losing his job after attacking the one patient, and this enables him to work on his returned addiction.

He’s not the only one fighting an old demon. Cal’s cancer, which he beat when he was a kid, returns, too. This comes at a terrible time, because it turns out Cal is the key to saving the passengers of Flight 828, and the rest of the world. Just when Cal is about to die, Zeke makes the decision to use his powers to take Cal’s cancer away. But, this means he has to take it on himself. Season 4 Part 1 ends with Zeke saving Cal by taking his cancer away, and dying from it.

Zeke and Michaela celebrate their wedding anniversary (Property of Netflix)

What Makes Zeke So Inspiring

In case you didn’t get the vibe that he was inspiring from his backstory, let’s talk about that a little more! As I said above, Zeke struggled with a drug addiction before he died and came back. He had been trying to get sober before he disappeared, and just because he died and came back doesn’t mean he was suddenly better. We get to see a lot of his growth in the first, and especially the second season.

He repairs his relationship with his parents, even though it was really difficult for him. His mother didn’t want to talk to him at first, and even turned him away. He wanted nothing to do with his father. But he didn’t give up, and by the end of season 2, things are getting better. He learns to combat his guilt over his sister’s death, though I don’t believe he ever lets go of it completely. He completely turns himself around. When his Death Date was near, he wasn’t afraid. He believed he had gotten everything he ever wanted in life, and he made peace with his demons.

When Zeke survived his Death Date and got new empathy powers as a result, he used them to help people. He became a counselor for drug addicts, and was constantly putting his own feelings aside for others. When his need to help people became unhealthy, he recognized this. He was falling back into old habits, and he recognized this, too. One of his shining moments is when he went to pick up the pain medicine for Cal, but gave it back to the doctor so he wouldn’t be tempted to take it himself.

Another moment that really made me proud of him was after he began drinking again, he didn’t keep it a secret. He went to counseling right away, and told Michaela, who was extremely helpful to him. Though he had spent so much time taking everyone’s burdens on himself without ever asking for help, he finally recognized that sometimes he needed someone to carry his burdens, too. This is something that I feel a lot of people struggle with, including myself. I get so caught up in helping other people, I take too much on myself until everything is too much to carry. I don’t like feeling like a burden to others when I ask for help, so it makes me not say anything. But it is important to realize that we can do everything on our own. Like Zeke, we need to seek help from others sometimes.

Zeke literally gave his life for his family, and the rest of the world. That is the ultimate sacrifice, and the ultimate act of love. But you don’t have to do these things to help others. Even just helping a friend or family member carry a burden, as we saw Zeke do more than once throughout the series, could be enough. So the next time someone is seeking help, or perhaps you hare taking too many burdens on yourself, think of Zeke!

Zeke decides to save Cal (Property of Netflix)

Greatest Moment –

Zeke has so many incredible moments, but for this section, I’ll go with when he sacrifices himself for Cal. You could tell it was a difficult decision for him to make, but he did it to save Cal, so he could in turn save everyone else. Also, his last words are KILLER, and though it is an incredibly crushing scene, it was beautiful at the same time because it was the perfect ending for his character.

Greatest Quote –

“… don’t be scared. I’m not.” – Zeke (Season 4, Episode 10)

Some Fast Facts About Zeke –

– Zeke’s full name is Ezekiel James Landon.

Zeke’s death bring his relationship with Cal to full circle. Ever since Zeke’s first appearance, it has been a constant cycle of Cal saving Zeke, and Zeke saving Cal. Finally, we end with Zeke making the ultimate sacrifice in order to save Cal.

Another thing that has come full circle is the fact that Zeke actually died on his Death Date (I think). In season 4 episode 9, Zeke and Michaela celebrated their third wedding anniversary, and Zeke died the next day in episode 10. This marks three years after his original Death Date.

That isn’t all! One thing that I thought really made his death scene (like, made it more painful, haha!) was the fact that he died in Michaela’s arms. In the final episodes of season 2, approaching Zeke’s Death Date, Zeke tells Michaela that the only thing he wants before he dies is a last night in Michaela’s arms. Looks like he got that after all…

I’m glad I finally got around to doing this Inspiring Character post! Zeke is my comfort character, and he’s such a great character! He deserved some time in the spotlight. I’m still getting over the fact that he’s gone (*cries*)! Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful week!

All media property of Netflix.

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