Signal Horizon

See Beyond

Manifest Season 2 Episode 12: Call Sign- Review And Recap-Race Car Dreams And Egyptian Studies

A highly charged penultimate episode of Manifest Season 2 pulled on our heartstrings as it paved the way for an explosive finale.

All things work together for good. Call it cosmic karma, fate, or simple justice but Manifest likes to eventually right wrongs. Jeff Rake loves symmetry and it was never as obvious as it was in Manifest Season 2 Episode 12. The trio of drug dealers mirrors the trio of policemen. Each bad guy had a counterpart good guy. Drea interviewed the youngest brother, Jared took Corey the bus driver, and Mich got the leader, Jace. A scene-stealing turn by James McMenamin was all that came from the interrogation when all three men clammed up.

The shadows have closed in and the three meth kingpins are not giving anything away. Jace played by James McMenamin(Orange is the New Black) is doing his level best to slime his way through every scene. If greasy bad guy had a picture next to it in the dictionary it would feature Jace’s face. McMenamin oozes menace as he slinks and skulks through every encounter. The other two appear to be loyal followers content to let him call the shots. We don’t know how or why these three are connected to the Returned. Are they the three beasts from Revelation, or are they just garden variety criminals with an uncanny knack for being creepy?

Manifest Season 2 Episode 12
MANIFEST — “Call Sign” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) JR Ramirez as Jared Vasquez, Ellen Tamaki as Drea — (Photo by: Giovanni Ruffino/NBC)

Later when Jared takes another poke at Jace unsuccessfully the trio’s plans emerge. They are out for Michaela and don’t care if it’s her wedding day. After faking a seizure while being transported to prison they easily overtake the guards and escape. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, especially after last episode’s reveal but it did give context to just how lockstep these three are. The only real questions worth answering are who or what blew the house up and were they supposed to die in it too?

The house should not have exploded having been swept of chemicals. Is Michaela right, and the “callings” wanted her to let them go so they would have died? If that is the case, the “callings” stem from a seriously harsh place. An eye for an eye, fire and brimstone kind of retribution. Regardless, after the three kidnap Cal from the front yard casting a growing shadow exactly as Cal has been seeing all this time The Stone’s and the cops will be out for blood.

Zeke and Mich are going ahead with the wedding. He is literally freezing to death and only has 2 days left before his Death Date claims him. A somewhat clunky special effect showed just how close to frozen he is. Assuming all of him is as frozen as his core he is not long for this world. What does that mean for the honeymoon? I hope not everything is covered in ice? All those Jared haters out there should be changing their minds. He isn’t a terrorist or prejudice and he may just be the best person in the world. He ultimately wasn’t able to stay and watch Mich walk down the aisle but he tried, and that speaks volumes to the type of character he possesses.

Mich is struggling to let Zeke go. It feels like giving up and she isn’t one to give up without a fight. She has lost so much. So much has changed in the last year she doesn’t feel like anything she does will be right. Zeke has resigned himself to his fate and while he isn’t ready to die he wants to at least be happy. He can’t do that hooked up to machines.

He has reconciled with his parents. Zeke was even able to get his parents to forgive if not forget each other’s transgressions for the wedding. Finally, I have seen several partnerships this season with TJ and Ben and Cal and Olive. The cutest by far is Zeke and Cal. A poignant bachelor party gives Cal the chance to remind Zeke he is uniquely equipped to understand having survived cancer. Yet another parallel could be drawn between TJ who has survived the fire and Cal who survived cancer and now both are hoping to survive the Death Date.

Manifest Season 2 Episode 12
MANIFEST — “Call Sign” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone, Matt Long as Zeke Landon, Maryann Plunkett as Priscilla — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

Michaela finds solace in her mother’s found veil. Ben’s “callings” may have led him to the veil but what else is it trying to say with the explosion of Flight 828? Is a fiery death coming? Will they have their lives blown up? Mich gets the sign she needs though with the discovery of her mother’s veil. She even sees her Mom in the audience during the ceremony. Plot beats like that although exploitive are what keep audiences coming back. We care about the characters.

Manifest Season 2 Episode 12 took full advantage of the emotional bond we have built with the group. That brief glimpse of the Stone’s Mom may be indicative of a greater truth about the “callings”. Maybe they aren’t all good or all bad? It’s possible they are neutral and depending on the receiver they can be used either way. Taking this a step further they could be forces working from beyond to both help and hurt the 828’ers. It could all just be a red herring and we are in Purgatory seeking redemption as in Lost. That would be very unfortunate.

Ben is having strong “callings” that are painful reminders of where they came from. Another symmetrical bookending, this time, between the initial mysterious plane explosion of season 1 and a “re-calling” of sorts of the same event in season 2 has Ben questioning what is next for the Returned. He keeps seeing flight 828 explode like it did clear back at the beginning of season 1. When he goes to the airport to find clues he runs into another 828’er he has been looking for, Ward Atwood. Ward blames himself for what happened to the flight. Guilt has consumed his life since he returned. He is absolved when the records show he missed nothing. Ben, however, is more confused than ever. That changes when another strong vision leads him to the shop where he finds his mother’s veil.

Thank God it looks like I was wrong about TJ last week. I’m thrilled to be dead wrong. He is not the false prophet and isn’t pulling away from Olive but moving to Egypt to study Yusuv Al-Zuraz. The part-time prophet, sailor, and tarot card artist is the key to everything. Al-Zuras who everyone knows by now is an anagram for Lazarus returned from his sea voyage in a similar way as the 828er’s. The biblical story of Lazarus details how Jesus loved him and brought him back to life after four days. Weirdly there is not one single account of his personal thoughts on resurrection just other’s thoughts on his resurrection. Known as a great listener, he listened to Jesus just as the Returned listen to the “callings”.

TJ is trying to find answers and a way to stay with Olive. TJ loves her and wants to be with her beyond the next four years. Olive and TJ are easily a younger version of Grace and Ben. TJ and Ben even have some of the same mannerisms. Both men are loveable gold retriever puppies who are enthusiastic and sweet. TJ asks Olive to go with him but she refuses because her family is important to her. She wants her baby sister to know her. This is another parallel to Cal and Olive’s relationship. She doesn’t want to lose time with Eden just like she did with Cal.

Saanvi’s plot points are again secondary to the Stones. She is an after-thought. Her entire storyline has been in relationship to others. She is only as important as who she is impacting. It seems like a waste of an intelligent, gorgeous, interesting woman who should have a story all her own. This week her contribution should feel more urgent but doesn’t. It is the one rare misstep in an otherwise tight episode. Saanvi’s reveal should be a shocker. The Major is back and got her fired.

Agent Vance who was off galavanting in another country dropped the bomb that The Major may have cracked Saanvi’s research. Why does she want to eradicate the anomaly? She has done a ton of super shady things. It would be hard to believe she is somehow on the side of good. More likely, she is a government figurehead and paternalist similar to the agency that caged ET or tried to control Drew Barrymore’s character in Firestarter. The Major could be honing the gene to resurrect soldiers. There would be a huge market for immortal super soldiers.

The sci-fi thriller series has always had one foot in the spiritual pond and the other firmly planted in concrete science. It is what has made it so successful. Leaning hard into emotional waters, Manifest Season 2 Episode 12 relied on actor’s performances and drama to drive the episode before the final showdown and at least a few questions are answered next week. Catch up on all our coverage here while we wait to find out Cal’s fate.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Music continues to play a huge role with Autumn Town Leaves by Iron and Wine, Truly Deeply Madly originally by Savage Garden but covered beautifully by Yoke Lore, and Show Your Love by Sarah Proctor.
  • I am curious if the van the meth trio is in at the end is theirs or stolen? The tag on the window indicates something is up to date through 2020 which seems very off-brand for a group of drug dealers. A stolen van is more likely.
  • The van’s license plate number is XPQ1476. The year 1476 was a leap year but beyond that nothing else really ties into the plot at all.
  • Will the racecar Monopoly piece Cal gave to Zeke come into play next week? Oddly, race cars in dreams symbolize moving towards a goal or defeating obstacles. It can also mean you are moving too fast. For the Stones and Zeke, it could mean a little of both as we prepare for the next chapter. Whether that will include Zeke or not we don’t know yet. I have said many times I suspect he will have to die in order for things to continue into future seasons. Please tell me there will be some kind of car chase.
  • The shop that Ben found the veil in was called Sam’s Knitwear numbered 93.