Manifest’s biggest problem has always been the way its awkwardly blended sci-fi with soap opera drama. So far this season there appears to be a much better balance, with a lot more of the Callings and mysteries brought to the foreground. How long we’ll have to wait for some definitive answers to this plane mystery however, remains to be seen.
Episode 2 of Manifest begins with Vance apologizing to the duo before filling them in on a black ops operation he’s found and has been tracking. Something is on the verge of going down but in order to find out what it is, he needs them to track down the rest of the passengers. Ben hurries off and visits a boy called TJ on his college campus. It turns out he’s been having the Callings too and after some gentle persuasion, he reveals to Ben that he’s been seeing his death date.
While Ben and Grace head to hospital to check on the baby, mid-examination Grace experiences her own voice telling her to stop. She’s just had a calling. As she wasn’t on the plane but Ben was, they deduce that this means the child is his.
Michaela returns to work after speaking to Cal who implores her to save the passengers, a repeated message he’s been saying since last season. Michaela is assigned a new partner at work but she’s not particularly keen on her, brushing aside her questions and instead heading off to visit Zeke as he takes the stand at court and pleads guilty to all charges.
Ben meets up with a worried TJ again and he shows Ben a dig site that holds a dead body. They call the police and immediately get Jared up to scratch on what’s happening. Although TJ tells them it’s the Callings, he’s has his suspicions. After the Captain tells Michaela to drop the Zeke case given it’s been resolved, outside her office she learns that TJ’s fingerprints were found at the crime scene. As TJ is taken away in handcuffs, the different passengers start seizing at this plot development.
As this subsides, Cal asks Olivia to take him to see Michaela. “It’s a Calling thing” He says, which subsequently upsets his sister as she feels like the odd one out now. While she goes to her room and contemplates visiting a counseling session for the flight victims, Michaela and her partner investigate TJ’s stuff at the college campus, which eventually leads them to a shifty security guard and his subsequent arrest.
Back at the station, the Captain expresses her suspicions over the quick turn-around time for solving the case and going forward, tells them both they need to work separately. Meanwhile, Saanvi continues working on her DNA sequencer, unfortunately spilling the details of this to the Major, who continues to pose as her therapist.
After a hard day, visits Vance again while Olivia goes to the counseling session. As the episode closes out, Michaela begins writing a note for Zeke but as she does, the room shakes and shudders, bringing her back to the plane again. As she calls out for Zeke while sat in her seat, he eventually spots her. He awakens abruptly where he happens to be cuffed to a hospital bed, mumbling Michaela’s name. The doctors there give him an injection to put him to sleep. “I’m sorry” he whispers as he falls back to sleep again.
What is Zeke sorry for? Does he have something to do with the plane crash? And is Grace’s baby really Ben’s or is there a deeper psychic link here? There’s plenty of questions still hanging over this one though but just like LOST, this layering of mystery upon mystery serves as a perilous tightrope; the threat of falling into the void of disappointment hangs over this one every week.
Hopefully we do get some answers to the big questions this season as after 18 episodes we’re still none the wiser to exactly what’s going on. So far though Manifest has injected some much-needed urgency into its plot but whether it can back this up with some substantial and satisfying answers is another question altogether.