Television

All of Manifest’s Questions and Answers Revealed, Episode Two: Reentry

The comparisons with Lost just keep piling up as Manifest ups the ante with one bloody shot.

Manifest Episode 2 Reentry
Courtesy of NBC

 Lost was a ratings juggernaut for a number of reasons.  A compelling ensemble cast, redemption arches and emotional drama, cool sci-fi mysteries, and monsters, lots and lots of monsters.  Some were human, some corporate, some in the form of polar bears, and some as non-corporeal smoke wisps.  Manifest appears to be borrowing heavily from all the best of Lost sprinkled liberally with a whole boat load of John Locke…the Lost character, not the philosopher.  Spirituality has a new home on NBC’s character heavy sci-fi drama.  The show has been rewarded by its viewers.  Making it the most popular new show this season.  

This week we got more spiritual mysteries and a one very real threat.  Who is killing off Montego Air Flight 828 survivors and why are they shrouded in literal shadows at the moment? That didn’t stop our survivors from discovering more connections and new powers.  In two heartfelt episodes our flight 828 returnees have saved two young girls from the lecherous clutches of an erpy kidnapper and equalized the scales of justice to get an innocent young man out of jail.  All of that has been overshadowed(no pun intended) by a creepy shaded lurker showing up time and time again in Cal’s drawings. Just when we thought this would be some sort of cosmic A Million Little Things, Manifest takes a hard left and we are firmly in The Twilight Zone.

Is this another Bermuda Triangle incident?  As you can see from the map above it is entirely possible that Flight 828 flew through the north most tip of The Triangle.  Depending on flight patterns that could have been a brief little excursion into the Event Horizon or a prolonged trip to Never Never Land.  If it was a rip in the space/time continuum caused by the Triangle why don’t more flights and boats go missing each year?  To date over 1,000 lives have been claimed by the mysterious plot of water off the coast of North America between the Caribbean and Bermuda.  A decidedly less supernatural explanation has been posited lately that details rogue waves and sinking ships.  That does not explain the number of aircraft affected though.  Hurricanes, cyclones and other natural events could.  That would not be nearly as entertaining as a more paranormal explanation like Spielberg’s aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind or theoretical physics and alternate dimensions.  All signs are pointing to a tear in the dimensional fabric with a spectral stalker riding the coat tails of our unsuspecting returnees. 

Who killed our 15 minutes of fame person?  The obvious answer of course being the shadow creature.  Someone or something shot her and blew up the plane.  Are those one and the same person?  Is this just one more red herring that will turn out to be an evil government organization or rogue corporation with more money and smarts than scruples, or as the grabby woman on the street suggested a hellish hitchhiker from the great beyond?  It is very obvious that someone or something wants the twenty(now nineteen) survivors to keep it zipped, but why?  Surely if the intent was to save people and right wrongs they wouldn’t also cause massive explosions and shoot people, right?  Perhaps this “being” is more like Venom from the Spiderverse.  It sometimes likes the feeling of being a hero but at the end of the day is self-serving and not above getting its hands dirty to protect itself.

What is with the music in Ben and Radd’s head and why don’t the others hear it?  The powers of our survivors seem pretty varied and random.  Some hear noises and voices, Cal sees the entity because he’s a kid and open to that sort of thing presumably, some have pain, and not all at the same time unless it is to force them to witness the destruction of the plane.  If our heroes are being controlled by an outside force, said force is sure taking the most circuitous route to accomplish tasks.  It seems like a series of coincidental happenings all layered together.  If the power that controls our heroes is the same shadow beast blowing things up and killing our returnees than why not just make things easier on everyone instead of relying on kismet to achieve goals?  It’s likely these are two opposing forces and not one and the same.

Why are only twenty people affected by the powers?  There were 191 people on board the flight but only twenty are connected.  Surely this is not some super lazy writing that whittles down an insurmountable cast count from 191 to 20.  There seems to be an emphasis on symmetry with the flight number and our affected returnees.  191 is not an even number but 20 certainly is.  I would discount this theory completely if the show hadn’t been so intent with hitting us over the head with important numbers in the last episode.

Everything You Need To Know About Manifest and the Number 828

Is Cal’s frustration with the current lego kits a nod to the Mandela effect and possible time travel or a simple reminder of the passage of time?The Mandela effect is so unsettling it hurts my brain to think about.  The phenomenon coined from the uncanny incorrect belief that Nelson Mandela died in the 1980’s instead of 2013 explains that either group false memories or time traveling between dimensions create subtle changes that the traveler can not reconcile.  This Nelson Mandela dying twice.  In one dimension it happened twenty years ago and in this current dimension just five years ago.  Ask twenty people and invariably half of them will insist it happened in the 80’s.  Jif peanut butter versus Jiffy, geographic locations that won’t stay put, Mirror Mirror on the wall, and colors names that aren’t consistent are all examples.  I’m all in for a alt-dimension show.  I want it to be time travelers or alternate timelines.  I’m not going to lie the idea that two(or ten) different Cal’s and Ben’s and Radd’s and Michaela’s have converged into wrong timelines would be awesome.  It would also open up possibilities like evil time travelers who are trying to silence the survivors and saviors who are trying to prevent future wrongs.  There is an almost limitless amount of ground to explore with this option if done right.  If done wrong this could be a cheesy nightmare though so I hope the writers tread carefully.

Manifest needs to tread carefully

Who is Evie and why is she important?  This whole did Mick drive drunk and kill someone or is there some other explanation is wearing me out.  I don’t know Evie and she’s dead so why do we care at all about what happened.  Mick was found not guilty and is back at work so whatever happened it must not have been her fault.  This whole storyline feels contrived for no reason.  One too many balls in the air.  Just give us the goods and move on.  If it is setting up that the twenty involved all have major feelings of guilt over perceived personal actions than give us other examples.  Mick killed Evie, Radd left his kid to fly off to Jamaica, did Ben cheat on Grace?  Redemption is a powerful plot device and would help explain why only twenty of the passengers are affected.  Maybe only people with enormous guilt were transformed.

 What is in Saanvi blood she discovers in the next episode and do they others have it as well?  As this was just revealed in the trailer for episode three we have no details yet but I’m putting my money on this being one more piece of the dimensional puzzle.  Their blood is different because they are different.  They don’t belong there.  They are them but not the them they think they are.  Traveling between time zones gives you jet lag but traveling between parallel worlds can give you something extra.

Well folks there are all the mysteries laid out with more than a few kooky theories to tide us all over.  This series is shaping up to fill the void left behind by Lost’s departure.  If NBC allows it to develop and audiences give it a chance it might just be the Midnight Special they were hoping for.

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