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Manifest Season 2 Episode 8: Carry On-Review and Recap- Buddhist Prayer Beads And Prohibition Tunnels

A preparatory Manifest Season 2 Episode 8 that laid the groundwork for the remainder of the season, defined rules and exposed new threats.

The ebbs and flow of Manifest continue to impress me. Every episode can’t be full of mystery or action. Sometimes we need an expository heavy episode or a good procedural plotline to keep fatigue at bay. Episode 7 gave us a ton of action with the night club fire and Saanvi’s Dr. Jeckyl impersonation. Manifest Season 2 Episode 8 was all about the build-up. More concerned with anticipation than a resolution Carry On still brought plenty of both.

Ben is now having nightmares about not saving TJ. It stands to reason our favorite character with a hero complex would feel immense guilt for not saving young TJ. His night visions have bled into the daytime and a Buddhist chant is guiding him somewhere. The trouble is, he has no idea where he is going or what he is to find. He originally thinks it’s about helping Olive process her grief, but as the episode concludes its obvious something more important was at the end of the rainbow.

Before he can go searching though he inadvertently lets the enemy into his home to spy on all his intel. Simon, his boss at the university is a foe as dangerous as The Major who we haven’t heard much of in the past weeks. Both enemies are against the 828er’s but for different reasons. I will be curious to see if eventually, the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend. The Major needs the Returned alive, Simon wants them dead. That’s a conflict. Now that he has all of Ben’s research he has only to give the nod to the Xer goons like Billy just waiting to knock some heads(or worse). He seems to have a grander plan than simple assault. Ben needs to shed his naivete before it is too late.

Humanity First, Simon’s group capitalizes on the otherness of the 828er’s. The Returned have done nothing to warrant that distrust but that doesn’t stop him and those like him from hating them. The parallels to immigration tension seen in our country now and the exact kind of fear-mongering seen in the classic X-Men are not one of the more effective plot beats. This particular concept has been done before and some could argue much better. Without it, Jared would have no through lines to branch from so it is necessary from a storyboard standpoint. It gives him something to do, but it feels all together to familiar.

Jared has aligned himself with his girlfriend who appears only bad by proxy and her brother Billy who is Bad News! Fortunately, Jared has tipped his hand to Mich and her partner. Michaela’s new partner Drea is proving to be quite an ally(unless she’s a double spy). Ellen Tamaki(Drea) is a likable character that gives Mich a tent pole to rely on while bringing humor to her scenes. Tamaki has been underutilized thus far but in Manifest Season 2 Episode 8 she was allowed to shine. She is s real scene-stealer.

I like a good heist as much as the next guy, and Mich’s gambit at the Xer bar although far fetched was fun to watch. Drea was amusing and cheeky, and Mich was strong and stoic. It’s too bad the Police Chief seems sympathetic to Jared and let him listen to Mich’s recording. We will have to wait to find out why she did that. It could be simple sympathy for Jared, or it could be something more sinister.

Ben and Olive follow their inner chanting voices and hearts straight to an injured TJ. He managed to escape the explosion by following the chanting in his own head. Once photos of TJ on crutches with the Stone’s started surfacing on the web last week it was not a surprise he was found alive. Garrett Wareing(TJ) has become an integral part of the cast and it would have been a waste of talent to lose him.

Ben and Olive’s tender memorial to TJ earlier in the zen center only served to bond the two together. It also set up nicely the question of the Buddhist angle. Was TJ’s Mom from beyond the grave helping them? The bible verse which factored so prominently in season one and then was unceremoniously dropped, says all things work together for the greater good. There would be a nice symmetry to TJ’s character arch if his mother’s death served some high purpose.

Manifest Season 2 Episode 8
MANIFEST — “Carry On” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Matt Long as Zeke Landon, Parveen Kaur as Saanvi Bahl — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)

Zeke and Saanvi continued their team-up from the last episode. Zeke asks her for help because he is freezing to death. They are an interesting duo as Saanvi tends to bury her emotions and Zeke leads with them. Matt Long(Zeke) is an emotive actor that makes the most of his limited time this week. He is becoming desperate and is willing to try Saanvi’s cure even though she doesn’t know the side effects. By the end of the episode we know one of them. It seems to strip inhibitions and entice people to act on their greatest wish. Shy of saving herself and everyone else she wants Alex.

Saanvi tracked down Alex in the park and laid one passionate kiss on her. For her part, Alex didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she seemed more than a little willing. Later, Alex returned to the hospital and reiterated it could never happen again. It was then that Saanvi realized her serum may have given her episodic amnesia. I wonder what else the serum did that we don’t know about yet? Zeke will not take no for an answer with something as pedestrian as memory loss. He will push for the serum and I wonder if Saanvi will tell him about her concerns. Will Zeke tell Michaela?

There are more than a few loose threads and mysteries left unexplained. Several characters have been very quiet for weeks while others have been totally absent. Zeke is running out of time. Whether Saanvi’s serum is ready or not is irrelevant. If they don’t get a better option soon they may have to take that risk.

Catch up on all our Manifest coverage here.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Once again I am forced to raise the red flag on Mich. Police officers can’t just call up judges and ask for favors. There is a little thing called the right to privacy and due process. It isn’t enough to just have a hunch and get a warrant based on that “feeling”.
  • As Ben was forcing the door open in the basement of the Bushwick meditation center I couldn’t help but think it was lucky he was pumping iron in the previous episode. It’s important to keep that body strong. You never know when you will need some brawn.
  • Buddhist prayer beads or Japamalas or mala are used to bring greater clarity and peace to meditation. Typically there are 108 beads with a larger 109th bead and a tassel included in the chain.
  • There is actually a number of abandoned underground prohibition routes in America. These tunnels were used to move hooch safely from one speakeasy or private home to another. Pretty much every major and minor city had an underground system designed to keep the good stuff flowing. Los Angeles, in particular, was known for its secret tunnels.
  • Why has Cal been so curiously absent in season two? He seems to always be with Grandpa conveniently. Why does he have so little to do with this season when he was so important last year?
  • Zeke’s frostbite fascinates me. Freezing to death is supposed to be one of the least hideous ways to die, but no one has ever had to do it over the course of six months. How will Jeff Rake save him in a year while simultaneously allow the Death Day tension to continue?