A return to Egyptian mythology and a new 828’er highlight an exciting Manifest Season 3 Episode 3 that sets up a season-long arc.
At its core, Manifest is a layered puzzle box with a huge tender heart. It’s a Russian Nesting Doll with the sweetest figurine inside. The Stones and those they love are good people. They want to help those around them and deeply care about each other. They need to solve the mystery of their return before it is too late for everyone involved. On paper, their return should be a great thing, but like many things that seem too good to be true, their return and the “callings” that came with them could be something much darker. It is like the song Grace taught Cal. Initially, it sounds like a child’s nursery rhyme but quickly turns into a twisted nightmare. Manifest Season 3 Episode 3 is just the beginning.
They are going on a treasure hunt. A very important treasure hunt. X marks the spot. A circle with a dot. Spiders crawling up your back. Blood gushing down.
Manifest Season 3 Episode 3 continues to employ some clever tactics to keep everyone COVID safe while juggling a huge cast and multiple storylines. It’s genius actually how the organic plot progression of characters like Grace and Tarik allowed for the greater mystery of Flight 828 to dovetail with the more concrete threat of Jace. Not only has the separation of the core family delivered more characters to chew on, but also interesting locations. Additionally, Grace finally feels relevant with the family drama she and Tarik bring.
Despite his letting her stay, Grace and Tarik butt heads. He thinks she abandoned him when he needed her most. Tarik cared for their ailing father, maintained the cabin, and worked to keep the family restaurant going alone. That is why he is so resentful. As a result of his estrangement with Grace, he doesn’t know about Cal’s leukemia or the “callings”. When Cal tells Grace about the peacock he saw, Tarik accuses him of lying. It shows just how out of touch he has become with Grace’s family. It also makes a growing problem obvious. Jack Messina(Cal) is growing up. He looks, sounds, and acts noticeably older. Tarik treating him like a dishonest child feels disingenuous and weird. By next season he will look like a full-fledged teenager. Manifest will need to accelerate the timeline to accommodate for his more mature look.
The addition of Warner Miller’s Tarik provides Athena Karkanis(Grace) with more material to work with. Grace has often been a series punching bag because she often felt annoyingly nonessential. Now she has both a purpose and a side plot that make her more relatable and give her gravity she has been sorely lacking. In typical Manifest fashion, her beef with Tarik is squashed by the end of Manist Season 3 Episode 3, but that doesn’t mean the drama is over.
Vance is back in the states and safe. His interrogation this week was a farce. With the hole that The Major left at the head of the task force, they need him. He has the clearance and the experience to lead the team moving forward. He wants to say no to being reinstated, but whatever is in the noisy room at the end of the episode gives him pause. From the limited view we get, it is crowded with busy people and full of equipment.
No doubt he will rejoin the government. If this will hinder or help the Stones, we will have to wait and see. He has been loyal to the group thus far, but he may learn things that could put him in direct conflict with the Stones. That tension should be interesting to watch moving forward. What this means for Saanvi, who shares a massive secret with Vance, should be closely watched.
The methheads factor into the story prominently. Pete is still in custody, and he isn’t talking to Michaela, but he and Angelina are beginning to bond. They both think the picture of her at King Kones is important. They want to help save each other. I’m not convinced Pete was ever really a bad guy, just a manipulated one. Devin Harjes plays Pete with a lot of soulful sensitivity. He genuinely seems to be remorseful. I wonder how far he is willing to go to atone when his brother is threatened? The kid that Ben and Eagan rescue turns out to be Kory’s brother. Kory isn’t turning himself in like Pete, but he’s not scratching out eyes like Jace. I’m curious which side of the scale he will land on?
Ben has another “calling” of a seemingly random bunch of trinkets, and a boy collapsed on a floor. The 828 wall led him to Eagan Tehrani, an ace chess player with sticky fingers and a photographic memory. Ali Lopez-Sohaili(Eagan) is curiously ambiguous. He helped Ben decipher his “calling” and save the kid; however, he also stole some pieces from the storage facility and Ben’s bag. Eagan seems to delight in riding the line while protecting his self-interest.
Ben doesn’t trust him, and he shouldn’t. Like Kory, I’m not sure he’s entirely bad, just questionably selfish. He understands the “callings” and his didactic memory makes him good at them, but his motives are murky at best. He also doesn’t seem to know what the Stones do about the death day and the judgment. The theft of the gold urn and Ben’s ID mean the missing piece of the Egyptian papyrus won’t be found for a while. Hopefully those police connections Ben has will find and return his bag with the piece intact.
Olive and Angelina go to Ben’s college to look at a papyrus TJ sent back from Egypt. On the tapestry is a depiction of the Egyptian Goddess Ma’at, who is the Judger of Souls. Similar to Archangel Michael, she determines your final resting place. Your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather in most pictures; however, in the one they are looking at, she weighs hearts against a peacock feather. Peacocks have been very important in all three seasons. They symbolize rebirth, wisdom, and protection.
Ma’at is known for her truth, justice, and adherence to order. This is another interesting melding of Christianity with Romans 828 and a more ancient religion. She wasn’t just a goddess; she was responsible for maintaining order in the universe. This is the reason she weighed hearts against her feather of truth. If the scales balanced, the person could continue to the Afterlife, but you went elsewhere if it failed.
Al Zuras is Olive’s key to the kingdom. Her knowledge of the subject opens the door literally for her and Angelina to examine the artifacts. The entirely fictional merchant who painted Tarot cards continues to be a big source of possibility. Just like the 828er’s, his disappearance and reemergence provide plenty of pivot points for the mystery to lead us.
Michaela and Zeke are adding caregivers to their already full lives. When Evie’s heart led her to Glenn and Beverly’s house, she found Glenn dead and Evie distraught. Glenn left a message leaving the house to her and indicating he had found a facility for Evie. Michaela couldn’t kick Evie out of the only home she has ever known so she and Zeke will live with Evie and care for her themselves. Most of this plot beat is unimportant except for Zeke’s emerging intuition. It isn’t just the 828er’s he can sense. He knew how to help Evie. If his talent continues to progress, I wonder if he will become clairvoyant? That could come in handy. The visualization of his ability was well done. It was a subtle but effective way of conveying his thoughts without using words or CGI.
All of the divergent plot beats all fit together so neatly I wonder if creator Jeff Rake has an 828 wall of his own to keep all the pieces in play and balanced. There are so many little surprises like Kory’s relationship with Caleb and Eagan’s fantastic memory. I can’t help but think there must be a war room with all of this setup. It’s a lot to handle, and the writers are doing a beautiful job so far managing the mysticism with morality. Manifest sets up an interesting question. Is it still heroic if you help someone because it also benefits you? Knowing that the returned are being judged, are the deeds still considered good if done partly out of self-preservation? Will Ma’at find them lacking in four years? Find all our Manifest coverage here.
- An ancient Egyptian papyrus would not survive out in the real world thrown into the trash in any other universe. I know I’m nitpicking, but it makes me nutty.
- Is TJ coming home?
- When does Ben find time to work? He galivants all over the globe for days on end, and now in his own city, he has reporters swarming him. That has to be disruptive to the campus.
- Anyone can learn to have a better memory by employing things like Memory Palaces, but only a special few have actual photographic recall.
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.