The heart is a muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation (i.e. heartbeats).
The word heart appears many times in season one.
- In the church, when Michaela asks the priest, “How do we know if we are called,” he answers, “We know in our heart” (101.24).
- At Evie’s wake, after Evie’s parents open the door (only to say to Michaela that she is not welcome), a woman is heard in the background saying, “Heartbreaking. Evie was an amazing human being” (102.14).
- When Cal is in the hospital, his heart rate was elevated (106.15), and at one point began to spike going from 100 to 122 beats per minute (106.21).
- In her “Mirror Factor” lecture, Dr. Fiona Clarke states, “Your beating heart. My beating heart. We’re all one” (107.12).
- As a calling, in episode 107, Michaela hears a heartbeat as a calling while
- trying to resuscitate Enrique (107.10),
- having dinner with Lourdes and Jared (107.13),
- searching for the shooting suspect (107.22),
- visiting Carlos in the barber shop where she finds a photo of Evie (107.24), and
- finding Carl’s drawing of Carlos on the refrigerator door with Evie’s heart on his chest (107.26).
The heart is regarded as the center of a person’s thoughts and emotions, especially love and compassion. It often represents the whole person in all human activity (i.e. thinking, planning, willing, feeling, interacting socially with others, etc). When Michaela hears a heartbeat, this suggests that she needs to recognize her feelings (i.e. about Evie’s death). In episode 107, she is able to do this, in part, by helping Carlos confront the pain of his father’s death (107.11 and 107.14).
Whatever or whoever is responsible for the callings is using the heart (figuratively speaking) to achieve its end. How open the passengers of Flight 828 are to receiving the callings, is determined by how receptive a person’s heart (emotions and intelligence) is to receiving them. The interplay which occurs as a result, between balancing the work they do for the good of others and meeting their own needs, helps move the plot along. In each episode, Ben and Michaela must make hard choices while trying to make sense out of what is happening.
In the faith vs. science debate between Michaela and Ben, moreover, one could argue that both are seeking understanding in there own ways. Just as Michaela uses faith and emotions, Ben uses science and his intelligence to make sense out of what is happening. There is no right or wrong path, just different ways to come to the same understanding.
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