Television

Manifest Season 1 Episode 13 Review: The Peacock,Star Mythology, and Aftershock Theory

Symbolism marks the day as Zeke joins the Stones on their quest to solve the puzzle of their lost time.

Courtesy of NBC

Things are beginning to gel on Manifest where new friends and enemies start circling the truth.  Themes of atonement and reformation combine with the greater spiritual enigma that is Flight 828’s lost time.  Now that Zeke has been discovered, the survivors know it is not just the passengers and crew who have experienced this rift in space or time.  Saanvi refers to the events as aftershocks.  She claims the flight was the earthquake and smaller events such as the freak snowstorm are the after effects.  If that is true, then all that has happened since is connected.  All of the original biblical passages about fate from the first episode come full circle.

The manifest writers love their symbols.  Series creator and writer Jeff Rake understands that these nuggets of the mystical are what sets this show apart from every other genre show right now.  It is the key to its success so far.  These breadcrumbs are everywhere, from the number of the flight, the animals identified, and the very stars themselves.  This complexity litters the landscape of the inner story.  When done unnecessarily it can create a story that is overly confusing and reductive.  When done correctly, it propels the plot forward while establishing the underlining rebus of the world of Manifest.  There is just enough information meted out each week to maintain the integrity of the original story.  Speculation for shows like this is a must.  If the viewers cease to care about solving the riddle or the characters, in general, the series is doomed.  Thus far Manifest has provided characters who are deeply flawed, and more interesting and sympathetic as a result.

Stars have long held a place in religions and spirituality.  They symbolize the fight between light and dark, good and evil, and can mythologically can represent rebirth.  The prominent inclusion of Bright and Dark Lightning paired with a starry sky makes it clear someone or something is talking to the 828’ers.  Since ancient times stars were associated with creativity, inspiration and divine guidance.  Whoever is sending the “callings” to our survivors, they have been guided to places and people who need help or need their attention.  This calling has helped those escape the clutches of The Major’s experiments and young children avoid being kidnapped.  It has helped Zeke get rescued and come to terms with his sister’s death and even helped Mich address her guilt over her friend’s death.  Continuing with the symbolism in the newest episode we glimpse that Zeke is wearing his sisters cross necklace as a reminder of her love and a literal albatross around his neck.  He believes he should be punished by the memory of her for his role in her death. 

Mariners looked to the stars to steer their ships true, Disney asks us, “To Wish Upon A Star.” and we have all been told, “To reach for the stars.”.  The Greeks believed there was power in the formation of star pictures or constellations, and that certainly seems to be true for ManifestMost of the popular constellations known today were discovered and named by Greek Astronomer Ptolemy in the second century AD.  The pictograph discovered by Michaela and Zeke appears to be consistent with Gemini.  The story of the Gemini twins Pollux and Castor is like so many of the Greeks tragic myths.  The twins were born from different fathers but to the same mother.  Castor was the son of Leda and her husband and thus a mortal, where Pollux was the son of Leda and Zeus and a Demi-God.  The boys grew very close but tragically upon Castor’s death at the Olympic Games, Pollox asked Zeus to die as well, to be with his brother for all eternity.  Zeke and Michaela could very well be the dual warriors of a cosmic war.  They both are influenced by crippling shame and have their “callings” amplified by being near each other.  What this means for the greater mythos of Manifest is still unclear, but spirituality will play a significant role.

Another symbol, the peacock was observed by Ben.  He is the only person who has had this vision to date, but with his story arch and the unfortunate live streamed incident with the Truther, his trajectory is undeniable.  It is interesting to note the male peacock is the only one with the colorful feathers.  As Ben is the only one to have seen this vision it may foretell his greater job as protector.  This bird has mythical roots in nearly every religion.  It is commonly related to insight, protection, and awakening.  Hinduism associates the bird with the God Lakshmi the Goddess of patience and luck, the Romans believed the tail showed the “eyes” to the stars.  In Christianity, the peacock symbolizes renewal and immortality.  Buddism teaches the peacock is representative of the Goddess Kuan Yin.  She teaches compassion and mindfulness.  She provides protection to her disciples from the ten types of danger including poison, water, and fire. 

If peacocks are your spirit animal or totem that portends integrity and clear-mindedness that can come from a deep respect for the past and present and how that affects the future.  All the time-shifting and year loss for our survivors require a preternatural amount of this wisdom.  The modern peacock has been linked to the Phoenix of ancient times furthering the concept of transition.  Whether the truthers painting X’s all over town are aware of it or not they aren’t entirely wrong about their assertions that the survivors are different.  Perhaps the 828er’s time in another dimension has altered their DNA, or they are their other selves from another time and place?  Saanvi has proof that each of the survivors and Zeke contain the mysterious marker in their blood.  It is doubtful the 828er’s have been resurrected but with all the themes of forgiveness and beginning anew the peacock fits in neatly.  It is far more likely the survivors have been changed in some fundamental way.

Aftershock Theory is a fairly straightforward concept.  A large event will create ripples much like skipping a stone on a pond.  These ripples are typically smaller in size to the original factor but sometimes just as powerful if not more so.  The theory of aftershock is not something confined to earthquake science.  It also applies to things as varied as Chaos Theory and tsunamis.  The French philosopher Rene Descartes postulated in the 17th century that earthquakes could be caused by explosions of subterranean gas.  At the time he was laughed out of the room, we now know that can be the cause of an earthquake.  The initial explosion is the event, and the earthquake then becomes an aftershock.  In this way, we have one more example of things all being connected.  One event leads to another which effects a third and so on.  It is Chaos Theory or The Butterfly Effect simplified.

 With only three episodes left it is safe to say the answers will start coming fast and furious.  If we know anything about Manifest, it is that with each answer we get more questions will follow.  Damn aftershocks…..

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