Tarot cards, terrorists, and dangers from the past come together in an intriguing setup hour. Manifest Season 2 Episode 5 forecasted huge things to come.
Fate had a plan even before the 828’ers returned. Tonight the cosmic balance of the universe was put on display as Olive’s faithful streak showed itself even before her family came back. Olive is becoming an integral part of the plotline. Last season she was an also-ran. Just an extra that only existed for Cal and the others to play off of. In season two of Manifest, she is given more heavy lifting to do, and the series is better for it. Similar to The Magicians Season 4 Episode 7 The Side Effect, the secondary players are becoming just as important as the primary group.
Luna Blaise, while first presented as the typical sulky teen, is now the spiritual touchstone of the group. With the typical wonder of youth, she was interested in fortune-telling and fate as a young child. Her interest in Adrian and his Church of the Believers shows she never lost that need for faith and hope. Her focus has just shifted from keeping the faith to using that faith.
In a flashback to two years after Flight 828 disappeared, Grace and Olive have their fortune told via Tarot cards. The first card turned is The Hermit. The Hermit represents the beginning of a time of soul searching and reflection. It obviously also refers to a time of isolation and withdrawal. Traditionally, it means the person needs to take time to heal themselves and focus on personal strife.
It is important to note that the cards could be read as reversed or upright depending on the reader and how they place the cards. The fortune-teller appeared to place the cards facing themselves and thus The Hermit would be upright and not reversed. If it were reversed it would mean you were in a period of exile destined to be sad and lonely.
Olive is having a conflict of faith. She is finding solace in Adrian’s group. Adrian’s overt and very public message is putting his group at risk from the X’ers. However, he hasn’t really shown any dangerous behavior aside from a possibly shady money grab. When four X’ers trash the Church and beat up Isaiah it forces Olive to reveal her allegiance to the church to her family.
Ben is a man of science despite all the mysticism around him. He believes in all the juju weirdness of the Death Day and magical “callings”. Ben also thinks he can justify that magic with science. It’s a problem because not every answer has been quantifiable. He fears Adrian because he is actively bringing the 828’ers into the forefront. He might also be trying a mega-church of believers who could make him very wealthy.
It’s impossible to say for sure right now but Ben’s “calling” is telling him to “save her”. That her being Olive. For Adrian’s part, he is refusing to help Michaela and instructing his followers to do the same. For someone who wants to raise awareness about the Returned, it is odd he chooses to remain quiet and not press charges. His logic that by helping the police he endangers his group further is suspect.
The X’er plot point is bringing all the main groups together. Olive, Cal, and Grace are in danger because of their attacks. Mich and her new partner are investigating the attack at the Church at the same time that Grace and Cal are run off the road. The baby is fine but it does illustrate the need to be wary. There are people everywhere who are scared of the Returned. They are organized and full of hate.
An odd bit of victim-blaming makes Ben a bad guy this week. At the very least it makes him short-sighted. Manifest normally takes a much lighter touch when it comes to social implications and questions of morality. This plot beat feels very out of character for Ben as an individual and the show as a whole. His hooded shakedown of Adrian feels less desperate than angry. I hope it does not have reproductions moving forward.
It’s odd to see our all American Dad, Prince Charming act so aggressively. Yes, Adrian has questionable motives and tactics but violence against others is always the fault of those perpetrating it. If Adrian’s Church was teaching hate that would be one thing but they are teaching faith. Maybe it isn’t faith in the right things exactly, but it sure as hell doesn’t warrant an attack.
Michaela’s course of action is much more relatable. She is using her resources to study the X’ers and their attacks. We have no idea what she was like before the flight, now she operates on both sides of the line. Partly that is due to her “callings” which can’t be explained. It is also due to the fact that she thinks her brother can do detective work as well as the police force. Her new partner Drea Mikami(Ellen Tamaki) has proven to be quite reliable and loyal. That is something Jared has not shown. To be fair, Michaela all but destroyed his life and career so a guy might be feeling a little salty.
He’s not that different from Ben who just wants to keep those he loves safe. His connection with the X’er group although putting him firmly in Camp Bad Guy, also allows him to do something other than pout. J. R. Ramirez’s Jared was an annoyance last season. This season he is a compelling nemesis who is putting his needs first. Ramirez has been given a storyline that brought his two-dimensional character into living color. He’s hurt and caught between the person he was and a person who feels slighted.
Jared leaked the raid to his girlfriend to help her little brother. That single decision may prove to be his undoing. The X’er leader, Ben’s new boss is smart, tactical and capable of brutality. It will be interesting to see how Jared responds to this new wrinkle. He is very angry with Mich(for good reason), but he won’t want her hurt. His new girlfriend is important to him, but is it important enough to destroy the person and family who was a part of his life for so long?
Zeke who was instrumental in Jared and Mich’s breakup is working the NA program. He is an addict who has been through this before but now he has something and someone to be strong for. Matt Long(Zeke) was a standout this week. His naked vulnerability is so believable you can’t help but root for him. That sensitivity makes Zeke all the more likable and makes the ticking clock more palpable. This gifted actor is no stranger to genre series with a turn in Syfy’s creepy Helix as Dr. Kyle Sommer.
As more of his story is revealed he becomes even more compelling. Zeke has made mistakes and hurt a lot of people. Those mistakes are coming back to haunt him. The man Mich thought she knew is not who he was back then. He was married(and still may be) to a deeply damaged soul. What her agenda is remains to be seen, but for a recovering addict like Zeke, her kind of toxicity could be deadly. Danielle Burgess(Courtney) is a talented actress who did a great job playing fragile Maddie in season two of The Sinner. Courtney is brittle edgy. She will be fun and scary to watch.
Manifest Season 2 Episode 5 played out more like a light procedural than the mystery box sci-fit hit it was last week. These drama heavy situational episodes are needed in a series as complex as this. They aren’t always as exciting as some episodes but they always provide needed context for huge twists and turns. When Manifest gives us these preparatory episodes we normally are in for a stunner the next. The trailer for episode six indicates it will be Zeke-centric. We are in for an emotional hour. Click here to get caught up on all our Manifest coverage.
- Where was Saanvi and Agent Vance this week? As important as last week’s events were it seems odd that these two were completely AWOL.
- How protective will the police force be towards Jared and anyone NOT an 828er? I refuse to believe the entire force will look a blind eye at terrorism. Is the Chief part of the X’er group or is she just a rigid, by the book authoritarian?
- TJ and Olive are adorable but I’m very worried about these two naive kids. Garrett Wareing(TJ) is a great addition to the cast and I’m thrilled he has been taken under Ben’s wing. That being said, Team Stone can be a dangerous place to be.
- There is an unknown artist who engraved what is described as the mystical quest for science. The artwork is referred to as the Flammarion Engraving. Even more interesting is the tradition of tarot began as gold leaf engraving similar to embossing called tarrochi. With all the tarot card and engraving talk this week this feels very relevant.
- Everything has a meaning and the compass engraving matches that of another tarot card The Star. It is called both The Peacock and The Star depending on the deck. When the card is reversed it means a loss of faith. A crisis of conscience is plaguing the person being read. If it is placed upright the person is gifted with special insight. We did not see the card being selected so we have no way of knowing what the meaning is now. Curiously peacocks in tarot symbolize immortality and clairvoyance which are things many of the Returned have experienced. All signs point to Olive being the spirit guide our group needs.
- Zeke’s wife clearly still has substance issues and an unhealthy amount of anger. If I were Mich and Zeke I would be very worried. How did she find Jared at Michaela’s place? IS she stalking them?
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.