The Bank Robbery
As we get into the swing of Manifest’s second season, one thing’s clear even this early on – we’re not going to get any definitive answers to the big mysteries any time soon. With another stand-alone passenger case entombed by the overarching mystery of the death day countdown, Manifest continues to build layers of mystery, ending with another cliffhanger and plenty of unanswered questions.
We begin with Olive at the airport given a book suggestion from a boy called TJ, who happens to be browsing the same area of the shop. We then skip back to present day to find Olive at the Believer’s cult. She talks to the leader of the cult, Adrian, about the death date and talks to him about the callings. Meanwhile, Dr Lee continues to experiment on rats in secret at home, desperate to isolate the virus and find something to help the 828 passengers.
Ben records a message on his laptop for Olive but Grace interjects and tells him to delete it. It’s been month now and with no clues to go on, he’s starting to give up hope. Michaela receives a calling soon after with an ominous message – “Bring him back”. As she heads into the bank she believes it’s referring to, Zeke happens to be there and he also had the same message. As they talk, a masked man arrives with a gun and holds them all up in a tense hostage situation.
The man certainly isn’t a professional though and Zeke takes advantage of this, charging at him and knocking him to the ground. Although Zeke is overpowered, he does manage to take his mask off. It turns out the man was on Flight 828 and had a calling about his death day, which is why he has them at gun point. The police arrive and surround the place as the robber turns his gun (and attention) to the bank manager, whom he requests open the vault. As police phone to begin negotiations, Michaela convinces the man to let her talk to the police and in doing so, gets them to open the vault for him.
Ben meanwhile speaks to TJ, the boy from the airport at the start of the episode. Olive arrives and gives Ben some pointers around what they’re working on. Rearranging the four animal symbols gives Ben a burst of inspiration and the duo head to the Grammercy Club, where the symbols match their crest. Vasques phones and updates Ben on the situation at the bank which helps add a sense of urgency to his investigation. It turns out the man inside the bank is Logan Strickland and the safety deposit box he’s after is for his brother, Frank.
Unfortunately as they don’t have both keys, the bank manager winds up shot from Logan’s ricocheted bullet he fires at the box in frustration. Ben tells Frank about the June 24th date and he hands over the key. As Frank arrives at the bank to try and diffuse the situation, he helps Logan into the box which holds a memorabilia item with a picture of a peacock on the back. Nope, it’s not the NBC logo but it is something Michaela has seen before.
Meanwhile Vance and Saanvi put together a plan to trick The Major. Unfortunately this back-fires when Saanvi returns home to find her lab completely emptied out. Vance arrives to figure out what’s happened and together they find a single red apple sitting on the side. Saanvi figures out it was The Major and admits that she kept up her research at home and despite stumbling upon a solution – it was all kept very secret. Not anymore though – now The Major knows her secrets it seems the tables have turned for our characters where the episode ends.
Manifest feels caught at a cross-roads and it’s one that could make or break the show. On the one hand, there’s been a solid dose of mystery build-up over the past season and a half that’ll keep the attrition rate for viewers on this one relatively high. At the same time, if the season goes through another 10+ episodes with no answers this will inevitably turn people away in large droves later on down the line. Manifest feels in danger of careering down the same path the first season did but hopefully I’m completely wrong and we get some answers to this one sooner rather than later.
For now though, the mystery deepens and with an injection of pace this week thanks to the hostage situation, there’s plenty of scope for Manifest to build on that and deliver a compelling and memorable second half to this season. Let’s hope it delivers some answers soon though.