Manifest Season 2 Episode 2: Grounded-Review and Recap Is Ben The Baby’s Father?
New faces join the cast and old ones resurface as fate decides who should be “called” on Manifest season two episode two.
This week opened with the explanation for Agent Vance’s surprise reveal last week. Manifest season two brings back this powerful ally to rejoin the Stones in their quest to thwart The Major and unravel the secrets of Flight 828. He knew he needed to die to continue his investigation. The shadow organization The Major helms couldn’t be watched unless they didn’t know that they were being watched. He has been quietly biding his time and following the information. Ben’s overzealous bird-dogging meant Vance had to come out of hiding earlier than expected.
Vance has been tracking the organization and its money. In the last week, The Major’s funding has dramatically increased. Ben who isn’t afraid of a little spying offers to help, but Vance makes it clear his group is better equipped. What is unfortunate is none of them know Saanvi has been comprised and is telling everything to The Major. They aren’t aware for now that the group’s funding increased just as Saanvi began divulging secrets. The Major and her group are pay to play and Saanvi is unwittingly playing.
Interesting set pieces are used effectively in the additional locations season two has brought. Vance’s group operating out of the Plan and Go Travel Agency and the Church of the Believers are both visually interesting places for different reasons. Vance’s office is dirty and old in its outward appearance but high-tech on the inside. The tech inside allows Vance to have plausible effectiveness against the seemingly all power Major. The Church is a mixture of industrial and reclaimed materials which makes it seem both old and new at the same time. It also has grown substantially since we last saw it. This is one group that is growing quickly in size and power. Now that Olive has been lured in, it will be curious to see how much influence they have and what their end game is.
Olive’s plotline was thoroughly secondary to Cal last season. She was his research assistant and sidekick. This season she is taking a more active role in the story. She feels isolated from the group now that everyone else is having “callings”. What should have been reassuring news about the new baby’s paternity just concerns her further? The very real possibility she could be the only Stone left by her college graduation is reasonable. It is an understandable fear and that vulnerability can easily be exploited by the Church.
Ben’s and Michaela’s life took precedence again this week with the lion share of the plot development involving them. Manifest continues to double down on the Stone siblings. He found the college student TJ, and his magical 828 baby is giving Grace “callings”. Grace’s “callings” have convinced them the baby is Bens. In order for The Major’s storyline to continue the baby pretty much has to be Ben’s. Saanvi’s research will confirm it of course, but it is a foregone conclusion. The only questions that remain are smartly brought up by Olive. Do Grace and the baby share the same death day as the others now?
Is the baby really Ben’s though? There’s a massive neon sign pointing at him but is that too obvious? Are there other explanations for Grace’s “calling”? Is it possible the “callings” are contagious in some way? Or is it possible Danny has a secret or two related to the reappearance of some people? Only time will tell and a magical baby would open continued harassment from The Major and additional forking points for the Death Day theories and side groups like the Church.
New series regular TJ(Garrett Wareing)reaches out to Ben for help with his own visions. During the time he was missing, his mother took her own life and subsequently all of their possessions were thrown out including family photos. This meant he didn’t even have a picture of her to remember. He reaches out to Ben because he is having disturbing visions of a grave. When Michaela and her new partner Drea Mikami portrayed by Ellen Tamaki, whom you saw last in season one of the Charmed reboot, begins to think TJ is behind the murder their new partnership is tested.
Mich’s new boss is not thrilled with Michaela and Jared’s detective style. Michaela will not be able to get away with things in the way she has before. Using an anonymous tipster will not be an option any longer. She thinks it is suspect and puts the department at risk. Jared isn’t able to run interference anymore. As difficult as he is, he always had her back. Detective Mikami may become an ally without strings attached which would be a welcome addition.
Mich was able to clear TJ and through a stroke of luck did so by finding his mother’s pictures. The Universe wants to balance itself and is using the “callings” to do so. TJ is slated to appear in the remainder of the season so his adorable smile will continue to grace the screen and provide Ben something else to nurture.
Josh Dallas(Ben) is an easily likable actor. His Ben is a golden retriever of a Dad who is all earnest altruism. It is the reason that his storyline with Grace and her affair is not a deal-breaker. Their relationship is odd. Flashbacks to the Jamaica trip show a marriage in crisis. Grace had a loving relationship with Danny in the five years they were missing. In any other actor’s hands, Ben’s acceptance of all of this would be irritating and unbelievable.
Ben’s new potential job as Astoria University opens up all kinds of opportunities. A new boss and potential love interest in Dean Suzanne Martin(Yashas Jackson) is described as a former girlfriend and a number theorist. In addition, TJ attends school there putting him in close proximity to Ben daily. There is so much number mythology and theory Dean Martin will bring a practical element to this fascinating concept. It might also complicate Ben’s overcrowded romantic life.
Manifest season two is bringing more depth to the shared visions between Cal, Zeke, and Mich. With Zeke currently in prison having pled guilty to all charges he is beyond Michaela’s physical reach, but not beyond her mental one. These three are connected in a way that is far stronger than the others. We still don’t know why. Their shared “callings” both feel different and affect them differently. They feel like flight turbulence and are extremely urgent. Zeke has the shortest amount of time left of all the returnees. Cal has indicated Mich must save him to save them all. What if he can’t be saved? What if he doesn’t want to be saved?
Showrunner Jeff Rake has been walking the line for a while now between formulaic procedural and science fiction twister. Manifest season two so far has been almost solely devoted to the “find them and save them” blueprint. The first two episodes have been devoted to the idea that each person saved is worthy, rather than the question of what is happening to Mich, Cal, and Zeke. Almost entirely neglected has been the exploration of what caused Flight 828 to go missing for five and a half years, to begin with.
Now that Vance and Company know The Major knows about the DNA sequencing they may finally be a step ahead. This is one cat and mouse game that is just heating up. Hopefully, they will be able to convince Saanvi she is trusting the wrong people. Moving forward the mythos that made Manifest so great in the first season needs to be reintroduced. If season one was an indication, the next episode should be heavy into the theories and supernatural. I’m more than ready for that. Catch up on all our coverage and theories here.
As the Television Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.