An airplane takes off from Jamaica in April 2013 and lands in New York State in November 2018. The passengers have not aged a day, and have no idea that any time has passed. Now they have to re-adjust to their new lives.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) tries to bond with his widow and daughter. Their son was on the plane with him, which turns out to be a minor miracle. The boy has leukemia, but in his five-year absence there has been a massive leap in treatment.
By incredible coincidence, one of the other passengers was the woman responsible for the new treatment. In the missing five years her science project has progressed and is now at the stage of human testing. She might actually become a legend in her own lifetime. She is also in a position to make sure Ben's son is on the test list.
Ben's sister Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) is a police detective. She starts to hear a voice in her head that instructs her to do good deeds. She also discovers that everything is somehow connected, possibly as a supernatural act of Jehovah.
The premise of the show may sound familiar. A group of people mysteriously disappear, and then reappear years later with superpowers? This is basically a mainstream version of The 4400 , produced by NBC instead of SyFy.
The FBI are mystified about the plane's explosion. They cannot pin it on the abductees, so everyone is released.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) hears a tune in his head. It leads him to a fellow abductee, a Jamaican man whose son is in Rikers Island jail awaiting trial. Our hero must solve the crime and find the real crook.
There is a subplot about romantic relationships. The Stone siblings were away for five years, and it would be unrealistic for their partners not to have moved on. The cop girl's fiance went on to marry her best friend, but the man with the rocky marriage assumes everything is solid.
One of the passengers has been murdered. Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) and his sister Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) go along to investigate. After all, she is a police detective. However, the NSA move in and take jurisdiction.
Michaela is unwilling to drive a car, because of her guilt about being the driver during a car crash that killed her best friend. She has flashbacks while attending the passenger's funeral. As always in this kind of show, this storyline and the murder investigation colide.
The teenage girl has been sneaking out to meet a boyfriend. This leads to yet more domestic drama.
The scientist tests the young boy's blood, and discovers an unusual protein marker. This is reminiscent of what gave The 4400 their super-powers. However, this is not an outwardly speculative-fiction show. The blood results indicate the passengers were held in suspended animation for years, although none of the characters actually work this out for themselves.
The doctor has visions, similar to schizophrenic halucinations. Her brain-scan is similar to that of a newly admitted patient. As always, there are no coincidences. He is a Jamaican citizen who became a refugee in the USA because of homophobic persecution in his home country. This certainly ticks a couple of boxes.
Detective Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) goes along on a BATF investigation. She has the visions too, and the operation ends badly. Should she confess everything to her boss?
The teenage daughter gets caught shoplifting. This leads to yet more family conflict. The father meets the step-father. Yet more domestic drama ensues.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) ignores the voice that tells him to help the gay Jamaican refugee. Instead he takes his young son on a day-trip. His mistake is to leave everything up to chance, because he has yet to realise that it is all connected.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) tries to sort out the NYPD/BATF mess she started in the previous episode. She goes to her old friend, who is now her ex-partner's wife. However, the ex-partner has everything under control. Thanks to the NSA, who want him to spy on Michaela for them.
In between the main story scenes are flashbacks to the missing five years, as experienced by the relatives of the people left behind. They moved on, and the return was traumatic for them.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) finally meets his widow's rebound man. It turns out that his teenage daughter is still friends with the guy, since she needed a father figure while her old man was MIA.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) discovers that a military contractor firm, UDS, has abducted a group of passengers and is performing medical experiments on them. They may even have been responsible for the abduction.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) goes undercover at an accountancy firm that services UDS. He has a plan to steal their data. Of course, he forgets he is under NSA surveillance.
The lady doctor has discovered a scientist whose work may be related to the abductions. The scientist's speciality is networking human brains.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) is drawn to investigate a robbery that turned into a murder. The witness claims he is unable to identify the perp. However, Melissa hears a heartbeat instead of a voice this week. If her brain is networked, it is not with the other passengers - it is with someone who died before the plane even took off.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) is still undercover. The NSA Director is helping him.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) gets a message Don't lose him. This seems to refer to a fellow passenger who is suicidal because of a series of recent deaths. It seems that every time he tells someone about The Calling, that person is doomed to die.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) has been so busy with his day job and his conspiracy hobby that he has not been spending enough time with his kids. Now he is busy helping a fellow passenger, one who was abducted by UDS.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) has done her research on the target location. She and her police partner (and ex-boyfriend) join the NSA raid.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) attends Vance's memorial service. Yes, the poor guy was killed off-screen. Luckily his role in the story as exposition delivery system is replaced by a young journalist.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) gets a Calling - Find Her. This awakens one of the comatose patients, but unfortunately the man has amnesia.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) is still friendly with the plane's pilot. Unfortunately the pilot does not trust the lady scientist. After all, the villains' agenda is inspired by her theory. She has more to gain than anyone from the experiments.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) tries to hunt down the mole who is leaking things to UDS.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) is summoned home because his son is mysteriously missing. His wife has called the cops, and because of the family separation situation they assume the father is responsible. The family then have to un-call the cops and find the boy themselves.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) also jumps the gun, and arrests the person she suspects of being the UDS mole. She then proceeds to hold the woman on a trumped-up charge. It turns out that the villains have hefty leverage on the mole - access to her pre-teen child. Can the NYPD get the adoption records before the Feds can?
The son had a calling of his own. He is stuck in a Cabin in the Woods , and the parents must race to find him. The villains have a bunch of field agents in the area, also searching for the kid.
As a side note, there is a radio news broadcast which mentioned a security van robbery that went wrong. The van is at the bottom of the river, but the driver will play a major role in future episodes.
The Stone siblings have rescued a hiker who got trapped in a cave. Although Zeke the hiker was stuck there for a year, time has not passed for him. Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) stays with the hiker to keep him company in The Cabin in the Woods . Ironically, all he had for company in the cave was her photo in a magazine. Anyway, they have a genuine psychic connection because they share a calling - a full-on shared vision rather than just a voice in their heads.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) does not trust the hiker, but he trusts his sister she is a police detective, after all. He goes home to protect his wife and kids, who are now being harassed by a hate movement which promotes the belief that the passengers are not human. As in they are alien invaders rather than superhuman saviours.
The hate mob have a web-site with nine hundred subscribers. They threaten to doxx the plane passengers, but their real plan is to live-stream one of the passengers making violent threats. Ben refuses to let the police do their job, so he intervenes and does exactly what the hate mob want him to do.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) investigates a new side-effect of the Returned phenomenon. The previous episode covered a hate group which spread the idea that the Returned passengers were alien invaders. This time, Ben uncovers the Church of the Returned - an organisation which teaches that the returned are saints. The problem is that this creates unrealistically high expectations, and the Returned are expected to cure patients with incurable diseases.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) has to do swing shifts with her latino partner. A couple of episodes ago there was a radio news broadcast which mentioned a security van robbery that went wrong. The van is at the bottom of the river, and the police need a detective to stand guard over the site. It turns out there are 75 million dollars sitting inside it.
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) recovers the sunken security van. Despite being underwater for over three days, Griffin the driver is somehow alive. It turns out that he did not want to split the seventyfive million with his partners in crime, so he shot them all dead in the street in broad daylight. Now he is the key to the next Calling. It concerns an explosion which might kill a lot of people. But can the good guys trust a mass murderer?
The Asian doctor lady has PTSD after the events of the previous episode. After all, she took a slap in the face - the worst thing a millennial like her could ever have endured. She refuses to ask for help.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) gets his wife and daughter to research the driver's background online. They want some kind of blackmail material to prevent him from making a deal with the District Attorney. Apparently it is wrong to exploit the Calling, although the man cannot be blamed because he does not want to die in prison. Unfortunately, everyone wants to play god and decide who deserves a second chance. They want him to make things right, but they do not want him to get a quid-pro-quo redemption. If he was given the superpower for a reason, there is no point in him wasting it by going to prison. After all, how can he save lives if he is buried alive in a concrete cell?
Meanwhile, Zeke the hiker gets busted by some uniformed cops on suspicion of burglary. The latino detective is happy to show up his new love rival, and points out that he may have a lot in common with the bank robber. How long will it take to test the hiker's prints or DNA?
Michaela Stone ( Melissa Roxburgh ) confronts Griffin while he is on his way out of the police station. She accuses him of using the Calling for personal gain. Of course, she fails to acknowledge that her own status as Police Detective is due at least in part to her supernatural ability to solve crimes. Yes, being a cop and superhero at the same time mean she is using her superpower for personal gain herself.
Ben Stone (Josh Dallas - Once Upon A Time ) and all the others, including Zeke the Hiker, get a new Calling. It says Stop him! They assume this means Griffin, and that he might need to be killed.
Griffin's plan is to go on a TV talk show. He is now a celebrity, having prevented a terrorist attack, so he has every right to make money without committing crime. However, he apparently intends to tell the world about his new superpower. Of course, the Returned will therefore be put under more scrutiny as well - which will remove their ability to answer the Calling in future. Unless Griffin dies in mysterious circumstances, that is.
Zeke decides to take things into his own hands, using his underworld contacts to obtain a gun. The Latino detective has put a tail on Zeke, with the intent of outing him as a drug addict. This will probably lead to a violent confrontation. Which would be the perfect cliffhanger ending.