Manifest is one of those shows that sleepwalks its way through episodes and then all of a sudden jolts into life. Admittedly, the show has felt like it’s spinning wheels this year, with too many moving parts and inevitably leaving bits of the plot to buckle under the weight of impatience and unanswered questions. While the soap opera drama is still here, this week’s episode does a great job anchoring the plot to one cohesive vision as the nightclub fire produces some really exciting and dramatic segments.
Episode 7 of Manifest begins with Ben trying to figure out the Callings while Michaela confronts Zeke surrounding the pills she found in his razor. Meanwhile, Olive berates her family for being broken and she storms out the house, telling them she’d rather believe Adrian’s hopeful message than their doomsday prophecy. It’s enough for Ben to march up to the Church Of The Believers and confront Adrian again, telling him his beliefs are endangering passenger lives. When he mentions the Callings, Adrian remains poker-faced and doesn’t let on that he’s experiencing them too.
Meanwhile a mysterious figure injects something into champagne bottles. Is this The Major finally making a return? Before we can find out, Isaiah phones Michaela at the station and tells her he has information that could be useful. Vasquez however, tries to hack into Michaela’s computer, blackmailing one of the other officers to break into the case files and show him what Michaela’s been up to.
Zeke, Cal and Grace have a Calling of a nightclub on fire, prompting Zeke to race there while Grace hangs back. Michaela also shows up and finds Isaiah behind the bar handing out free champagne, dismissing Michaela and telling her they can talk later. At the same time, TJ and Olive happen to be dancing at the club, snapping photos after he tells her he believes in miracles – that miracle being Olive.
As Michaela and Ben look around, they sense something seriously wrong when all the passengers from Flight 828 happen to be at the club. This certainly is not a coincidence. Vasquez receives a call from Grace informing him about the Calling and he too races to the club. With everyone joined together in one place, they learn it’s a trap and the champagne contains some form of tranquilizer, designed to knock them all out. As bodies fall around them, the shattered champagne bottles happened to be in last week’s Calling. Was that really ash rather than snow we saw?
It turns out the fire-starter is Isaiah and as fire spreads across the building, the doors are opened and the crowd scramble out into the street. Unfortunately some of our passengers are stil trapped inside. Olive is held up at knifepoint by Isaiah but TJ tackles him to the ground. While fire continues to rage around them, Ben and the others manage to get out but with TJ and Isaiah still inside, a fireball erupts from the doorway, presumably killing them both. Adrian sees this and walks away in disdain.
Meanwhile, Dr Lee awakens and realizes she’s got rid of the Callings with her latest experiment. As she leaves her office, she sees the devastation from the fire first-hand before examining Zeke. Only… he’s not actually burnt, he’s got visible frostbites on his fingers. What does this mean?
Back home Zeke tells Michaela he loves her while Ben investigates the book TJ sent to his office, one with a picture of him carrying Olive. Is this Calling written down and foretold?
Although we’re no closer to any definitive answers, and The Major is once again missing from action, this episode featuring the Church Of The Believers and the fire feels like a crucial moment in the show. It’s one that sees Adrian face the music regarding the Callings and the rest of our cast band together to try and stop Isaiah from his murderous rampage, clearing warped from Adrian’s teachings.
Ultimately though, the more interesting element of this show comes from Olive. She’s clearly part of the “save her” prophecy, backed up by Ben presumably being her savior. TJ’s death will inevitably hit her hard and I’d imagine she’ll become a much more prominent part of this mystery going forward. While it’s still frustrating that we’re so many episodes in without any decent answers to any of the mysteries, at least the show can still put on an exciting episode every now and then.
Whether next week will return to business as usual and more soap opera shenanigans remains to be seen but for now, Manifest remains that one show you can’t help but return to no matter how bad it gets. For now, this week bows out with a decent episode and big questions that remain agonizingly unanswered. Perhaps the biggest one of all is whether we’ll get any answers this season or not.