Despite all the twists and turns, Manifest ends on an anticlimactic note. It’s hard to tell exactly where Manifest Season 1 Episode 16, “Estimated Time of Departure,” was going, especially after the introduction of Griffin, and his threat to expose the callings.
Rather than dig deeper into the mysteries and the many plotlines, this episode leans heavily on the dynamic between Jared, Zeke, and Michaela. A dynamic that is tired, and not needed.
I’ve mentioned in my last two reviews that we were headed for a love triangle, and honestly, this didn’t feel like a story that needed one. In fact, it almost feels manufactured to position Michaela as the central character again.
When Manifest began, Michaela was the way in. She was the one investigating and trying to unravel the callings despite everyone trying to dissuade her. She was also something of a lone wolf who didn’t have any attachments or allegiances other than the NYPD and the 828-ers.
The focus shifted to Ben about halfway through the season, and it seemed like a natural choice given that Cal becomes the Major’s focus. Plus, his relationship with Olive and Grace also made that angle more interesting as opposed to Michaela distancing herself from Jared.
Michaela has mostly been on her own and serving as a driving function for the cases of the week. Zeke’s introduction and the fact that he had a photo of her gave her another character to play off of. It worked for a while, but the collision is hard to digest.
But it’s a hard choice to get behind, especially since the set-up is quickly becoming problematic.
Jared’s concern over Zeke’s intentions is warranted. I’ve been somewhat suspicious of how quickly Zeke has folded himself into the main cast of characters, and if anyone is far enough from away from the main action to uncover what’s going on it would be Jared.
However, Jared is also in a position of power and he’s abusing it.
We have to remember that he was approached by the FBI to feed them information on Michaela earlier this season. It’s hard not to imagine how this can quickly go from him protecting Michaela to potentially turning on her.
It’s even more concerning given where the “Estimated Time of Departure” ends, with a cliffhanger and a gunshot.
It’s a high-tension ending, tied to the callings, and will keep viewers engaged in the as yet unordered Season 2, but depending on the outcome it could just be an easy way out of a potential triangle.
The only thing going for “Estimated Time of Departure” is the final act, which rests heavily on the revelation that the passengers have an expiration date and upheaval that brings to Ben and his family.
Realizing that Griffin died 86 hours after he returned from the dead is an intriguing revelation if a somber one. Ben and Cal face their own mortality, and Grace and Olive, now face that they’ll have to say goodbye again.
That’s not an easy revelation to live with and it will be interesting to see what the passengers do with this new information in Season 2.
- The scene in Jamaica feels obsolete. It’s significant only because of Michaela’s work with Zeke, but Karen Stone doesn’t really have a presence beyond the first half of the season. I think it would have been more effective had we seen a little more of their time in Jamaica and what conversations and events too place there.
- But in the middle of it all, I still have questions. Like, where did Captain end up in Manifest Season 1 Episode 11, “KXTA,” after he took off. He said, “I’ll see you in 2024.” Are we to assume that he’s likely dead now? If it worked at all?”
- Grace’s pregnancy feels like an unnecessary plot point to stir up more drama between her and Ben. I am very glad that they acknowledge that the baby might not be Ben’s out of the gate, but this does feel like an unnecessary plot twist. I do wonder if the Major is going to be interested in this baby should Ben be the father.
- The Major is underused since her reveal. For a character that was built up so much I really expected her to start making moves, and while the final scene with Elizabeth Marvel greeting Saanvi for her therapy appointment has me worried, I am not seeing her end game either. Another question for Season 2.
What did you think of this episode of Manifest? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
You can catch all of Manifest Season 1 on Hulu.
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