Nov 28, 2018
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A peacock is a male peafowl, which has very long tail feathers that have eye-like markings and that can be erected and expanded in display like a fan.
In episode 109.17, after Ben regains consciousness after being thrown to the ground in an explosion, he sees a peacock spread its feathers. Before and after he sees this vision he mumbles Cal, Cal, Cal. The symbolism is clear.
Early Christians associated the peacock with eternal life because according to an ancient legend it’s flesh does not decay. Later the saw the peacock as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection because it sheds it old feathers to grow newer and brighter ones every year. Recall that in episode 102.8 a zealot woman grabs Cal and says, “He is risen. He is not here.” If Cal is Christ, that makes little sense in that Christians believe Christ is present everywhere. But that does not rule out Cal having risen, like the other passengers, in the sense of having entered eternal life. The reality that he is back from the dead is out of place. It almost suggests that his resurrection is not yet complete, or in process.
Whether all of this should be taken literally or figuratively remains to be seen. In the same episode that the writers make this cryptic association between Ben’s vision and Cal’s name, they also have Grace describing what it’s like to have her son die, and now that he’s back she does not want to lose him again (109.20).
Just as peacocks are no ordinary birds when they spread their feathers, Cal is no ordinary ten year old boy. He may look ordinary when playing video games and shooting baskets, yet hidden within him is a brilliance which only Ben and a few others have witnessed. I am sure viewers were just as surprised to see the peacock on Monday night, as Ben was surprised to see Cal and his drawing just before the explosion at Red Hook warehouse showing the exact location of the missing passengers (109.13). Other times when Cal shown similar brilliance occurred when he drew a picture of Carlos with Evie’s heart (107.26), and when he led Ben through NYC subway to Thomas (i.e. 105.14). Whenever Ben and Michaela have seen Cal do these incredible things, it is like a peacock who spreads its tail-feathers. There is a magnificence that shines forth.
Although hundreds of people saw Cal walk down the street (102.8), and from all external appearances, he was an ordinary boy carrying a box of Lego’s his mother bought for him. And yet, there is more here. The zealot woman saw it. Ben see’s it. And everyone who is watching the show can’t help but speculate what other hidden splendors might await for Cal in future episodes.
Although other passengers have received callings, there is still something unique about Cal. After all, he was the only person who looked out of the plane’s window and saw the light (105.28). Has he experienced a transformation that the other passengers have not received? Is there anything unique about Cal’s experience?