The penultimate episode of Manifest Season 1 is surprisingly lackluster. On Manifest Season 1 Episode 15, “Hard Landing,” everything we knew about the callings is called into question, but it’s hard to wonder why this didn’t happen sooner?
First, I have to praise the tight and very intimate storytelling on this episode. Melissa Roxburgh really gets to show off Michaela’s detective skills in the scenes with Griffin in the interrogation room.
We haven’t really dug into Michaela at work much–makes sense because it can’t exactly be a huge operation with lots of police resources–but it’s refreshing to see her in her element and invested in the outcome of this interrogation. Especially now that lives are in question and Griffin is using the callings as a bargaining chip.
Griffin’s intentions were also introduced really well, easing the characters into the realization that maybe not everyone is a good person. This is the kind of counterpoint that Manifest can, and has, benefit from, but it also feels like it’s been introduced too late in the season.
The callings have been a very nebulous source of information. They’re relentless in their desire to get the recipient to do what is being asked, but free will was always a factor here, and I am starting to find it difficult to believe that with a plane full of people someone hasn’t exploited a calling in the past.
If you’re looking for a stark contrast between light and dark then yes, Griffin’s attempt at stealing an armored car provide that. Yet, there are other ways to have clouded morals and it feels like Ben’s definition of good is trying to be morally absolute when it’s already clear that things aren’t as cut and dry.
On Manifest Season 1 Episode 14, “Upgrade,” we saw Adrien, one of the passengers, using his status as an 828-er to form a church. One of those members led to a hostage situation, and he doesn’t feel guilty about that. He’s content to continue preaching and let the sheep flock to him.
We also had Autumn’s storyline where she was in the thick of the Major’s plot. Granted, we never saw Autumn experience a calling, but it’s clear that her intentions weren’t benevolent. (Granted, Autumn wasn’t experiencing callings.)
On some level, Griffin’s introduction feels like an extension of that underbelly, with the addition of the callings. On the other hand, it feels like an unnecessary twist to get the audience to some much-needed answers.
When Ben finally arrives at the conclusion that the callings aren’t inherently good, it feels like the kind of revelation where you just have to think: “Yea, of course, they aren’t.” People are the biggest variables there is in any scenario.
There is one episode left to this season and to satisfy viewers, Manifest is going to have to answer at least one question. We may not get an answer to where the plane was, but we have to get an answer to at least one of the mysteries.
After this episode, I want to know what’s determining who is receiving the callings. There’s been a lot of speculation, but we haven’t landed on the reason why some passengers experience them and others don’t. We’ve met several passengers but only a few are actively working on the callings that we know of.
The Major also feels like a dangling thread at this point, when I would think we’d have seen a little more of Elizabeth Marvel ahead of the finale. While this slow burn works for a story, it feels like the show doesn’t know which thread it wants to follow at this point, and therefore, I don’t know what to expect.
And the cliffhanger at the end of this episode, with the wolf growling at Michaela, feels like we may not be in for something we’ve already seen in the finale.
- Still waiting for the Saanvi storyline. Her reaction to being held hostage was a strong thread in this episode, but I feel like before we get answers we really need to dive into Saanvi’s background just a little bit more.
- I am 99.9% sure that we are in for a Jared, Michaela, Zeke love triangle, and I am not here for that. And I think it’s because of the pacing. The quickly put Michaela and Jared into a, “no we can’t do this,” box, and then didn’t touch it and steered into Ben’s family with a vengeance. At this point in the story, I am not as invested in Michaela’s love life as the writers probably want me to be.
What did you think of this episode of Manifest? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Manifest airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
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