What is the plan with Manifest? Sometimes with puzzle box series you can figure out a general trajectory and work out theories and concepts around that but with Manifest, the show feels like it’s throwing random items and ideas into a computer algorithm and letting it dictate the way the show is run.
While the character drama is still enjoyable to an extent, some of the motivations feel randomly thrown in and this episode only exacerbates the problems running through this one.
We begin episode 10 of Manifest with Adrian on the plane talking to a religious woman before cutting back to the present, where we find Michaela behind bars. Vasquez tells her to keep her mouth shut as Zeke is taken away.
29 weeks pregnant, Grace finds herself at home questioning what’s happening with Michaela until she has a Calling while running her hand under the tap. On the shoreside, someone screams out for help. It turns out that this is High Bridge at Harlem River and as she and Ben make it there, they realize Adrian has been watching them this whole time. As it happens, he had this exact same Calling too.
Michaela is released from prison but on the way out, Vasquez slips her a paper reading “Our Place”, which happens to be a bench where Vasquez proposed to her, as we flash back in time and see this play out. Vasquez soon shows up and he tells her he’s been working undercover, hence the bad attitude recently.
Back at the station, the Captain pretends to be annoyed with them, but brings files in secret when they enter her office. It turns out Simon White, the Professor, is at the top of the Exxer’s food chain and the current ring leader of this entire operation.
Midway through talking to Adrian, Grace starts to have pains in her stomach, leading Ben to bring her into hospital where the doctors tell her she has internal bleeding. Adrian meanwhile, saves someone from the water as we learn this is the meaning of the Calling.
Olive and Cal meanwhile start going through Cal’s drawings, leading them back to an original picture he drew; a sketch he never figured out including the family with a shadowy figure behind them.
As Grace’s blood pressure starts to rise, Ben tells the doctors that if it comes down to it, they need to save the baby rather than her. Not long after Ben changes his mind and tells her he doesn’t want her to die, as Olive and Cal both show up for support too.
Vasquez heads back to the bar where it turns out Billy has captured Zeke. Thankfully, Vasquez is wearing a wire and he uses his wits to tell Michaela indirectly what’s happening there. Simon then shows up and tells them this isn’t the plan.
Michaela races to the scene with the rest of the officers and arrests Billy, Simon and the rest of the group. In the aftermath of this, the Captain tells Vasquez he’s a good cop as Zeke thanks him for his help too.
Adrian confronts Ben and tells him the reason Grace was in hospital is because she slipped and fell at the river. He tells him the Callings are manipulating them all; using them to do ill rather than anything meaningful. “You’re deluded,” Ben dismisses, as Adrian hurries away. As he does, he’s chased by three shadows that materialize down an alleyway.
Baby Eden is born as Ben heads home and shares a drink with Michaela. He feels guilty surrounding the choice he almost had to make about Grace and they contemplate Adrian’s proposal that the Callings are manipulating them. As the episode closes out, Cal sees the three shadows in his room too.
With no mention of the Major, Saanji or the Book of Azura, instead Manifest introduces Simon as the leader of the Exxers, helping us to understand why he was so interested in Ben’s study last episode. The Calling in this episode feels inconsequential and the new development that these could be manipulating them contradicts a lot of what we’ve learnt before, meaning this is probably a red herring in the grand scheme of things.
We’re gearing up to the season finale of Manifest now and with less than a handful of episodes left, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get answers anytime soon. Instead, we’re graced with three shadows to add to this ever-convoluted mystery. Will we ever get answers to this drama? And just what is the end-game here? Ironically, these may just happen to be the biggest mysteries woven through this show right now.