A deterministic Manifest Season 2 finale that left us both hopeful and resigned as one life came to an end and a new mystery began.
One story arch was completed while another two got jump-starts in a jam-packed episode heavy on all the things that make Manifest so good. Equal parts drama and science fiction puzzle box are the sweet spot for viewers. A mix of procedural episodes, mythology laden thinkers, and tear-jerking moments is where Jeff Rake and company shine. Season 2 expanded on the success of season one without falling victim to the trap that many sophomore seasons succumb too. They did not stray from the path, and they didn’t believe their own hype. If everyone tells you how clever you are, you start believing it and stop trying. Manifest Season 2 Episode 13 proved they weren’t done trying.
The three meth goons have stirred up a hornet’s nest of activity. The trio of Jayce, Kory, and Pete has done just about everything they could to attract all the wrong attention. After ignoring the “callings,” Michaela locked them up, and they aren’t having it. They kidnapped Cal last week right from his front yard in a mostly ridiculous plot to get a box full of meth back or get even depending on who you ask. Those of us who religiously watched Breaking Bad know the amount of meth in question while nothing to sneeze at was hardly life-changing. This was all a giant middle finger to Mich and her crew.
While fleshing out the trio’s personalities and group dynamic, Devin Harjes(Pete), James McMenamin(Jayce), and Dazmann Still(Kory) were given something to do other than lurk, sneer, and menace. Both the actors and Manifest were better for it. All three bring something fresh to the series that was lacking. With the absence of The Major most of the season, there was a bad guy void. There were some evil dude du jours but nothing that stuck. Of course, there are varying degrees of dangerousness among the group. The younger brother Pete appears to be the weak link. He is the kindest to Cal, even going so far as letting him send a text to his family(rookie movie). Kory is more an opportunist that evil, while Jayce is the barely in control leader. He thinks his rage at Mich gives him power, but it just makes him and the others vulnerable.
In the end, the group falls victim to its own folly and crashes through the ice. Unfortunately for everyone but the viewers, they were not found below the ice. These three will make a reappearance in Season 3 guaranteed. For as intelligent a show as Manifest to hinge this much on three drug dealers feels cheap unless they have more in store. Giving them more backstory gives order to their chaos, and that is intriguing. If they were also treated with the same golden power of regeneration Zeke got, does that mean their kidnapping plot was part of the grand scheme? If that’s the case, what does that say about who is pulling the strings that they would allow a child to be endangered in such an elaborate scheme?
The Stones are splintered in their collective fear and guilt. Ben and Grace are terrified for their son and lashing out at Michaela. Michaela feels tremendous guilt and yet can’t reconcile doing something so bad for the right reason. In their emotional states, neither party can see this was likely always the outcome. In typical fashion, they do reconcile and forgive each other. As Ben and Mich discuss, what good does coming back do if we have no control? If they are mere puppets to fate, nothing has any meaning. Perhaps the whole point is what you do with the eventuality you are presented. Zeke knew he would die but chose to use his last moments to save Cal. What will Mich, Ben, and the others do when their time comes?
Zeke continued to freeze to death and have visions. Those visions now include Cal. His visions, along with Olive’s deciphering of Cal’s text, ultimately led to his rescue. All three meth guys and Cal fell into the lake in the process. As mentioned before, Zeke chooses to save Cal while condemning himself. Cal’s rescue, followed by Zeke’s was one of the most exciting parts of the episode. Ben’s fear for Zeke was believable. That tension was palpable and helped drive the tension in the final moments.
Manifest Season 2 Episode 13 presented many characters with a pivotal moral question. How far would Jared go to help Mich? What would Mich give up to save Cal? Would Zeke die to save another’s life? Was Saanvi capable of terrible things for the right reasons? All of those questions got answers and some of them weren’t pretty. The bond Jared and Mich share is special. Despite losing her romantically to Zeke he has stuck by her side. He would risk anything for her and by proxy Zeke.
Zeke has had a rough life. His sister’s death and addiction issues were very private, selfish endeavors for him. He kept his emotions bottled up literally. With Mich and the Stones, he has found something worth coming to life for again. Luckily for all parties involved, something or someone rewarded him for his heroism by bringing him back from the dead. It was a clever way to extend Zeke’s life while keeping the threat of a countdown alive. More than anyone else Manifest Season 2 Episode 13 was Zeke’s story to tell.
Finally, misguided Saanvi, who is braver than she is smart, sometimes has charted a course to destruction. She and The Major have been toying with each other since the beginning. Elizabeth Marvel, who delivered another outstanding performance as the chilling Major, has almost everything going for her. She has the might of the US government and a shady military organization. She also possesses enough condescension for the whole planet. What she doesn’t have is Saanvi’s complete lack of predictability and care.
When Saanvi confronts The Major a second time, she has a plan. She elicits anaphylaxic shock and dangles a shot of epinephrine in front of her. The life-saving injection for information. When the vial break in a struggle, Saanvi becomes a killer. She leaves The Major dying or dead after finding out the gene mutation was being weaponized. The mutation was going to be utilized by engaging the “callings” or murdering people remotely or maybe both. The Major intended to give people the mutation. How many and specifically who we don’t know. The Major was a worthy adversary and knew Vance was alive. Those two things probably mean she is not dead and will be back in season 3 to terrorize our group some more. The more significant concern is what will Saanvi’s actions do to her? Will she follow that destructive rabbit hole farther down?
Manifest Season 2 Episode 13 gave us a lot to ponder while also tying up some loose ends with a tidy bow. Cal was saved, and Zeke no longer has a Death Date hanging over his head. What that means since he glowed and rose from an icy grave like a Phonenix, we still don’t know. There has undoubtedly been a lot of Phoenix imagery leading up to this. Nothing is ever simple in Manifest, and the emergence of a lost part of a wing from Flight 828 in the ocean means there is still plenty to learn in season 3. One thing is sure; all things work together for good when it comes to the masterful web of Manifest. To bone up on Determinism, click here. Catch up on all the clues here while we wait patiently for the next season.
- There is a Bowery Dugout in Kingston, New York, which is diner serving typical Americana. They also evidently have the best fried clams ever.
- The ship that finds the Flight 828 wing is flying a Cuban flag. Its name is the Tesoro de San Antonio. It translates to the Treasure or Darling of San Antonio. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things. What else will the saint find that is lost?
- The gorgeous song towards the end of the episode is Heart Beat Here by Dashboard Confession.
- With T.J. gone, Olive is back to being the puzzle solver. T.J. needs to study fast and be back in time for Manifest Season 3.
- Exons are parts of genes that encode information for amino acids.
- The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York is a really cool place.
- The Bermuda Triangle- Cuba is near the Bermuda Triangle. Assuming the ship came from there, the boat may be in the Bermuda Triangle, and we should prepare ourselves for a whole new mystery.
- Drea, the Captain, TJ, Adrian, and the goons must be back next season. All of the secondary players earned their place in the developing plot. I predict Jared will finally find a love interest that works. It wouldn’t be the first time he fell for a fellow cop.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.