This Manifest review contains spoilers.
Manifest Season 2 Episode 10
Let it be known that although Manifest clearly has a predictability problem, that doesn’t necessarily make the fulfillment of those expected outcomes any less enjoyable. Such was the case with Jared showing his true colors in this week’s episode, “Course Deviation,” and even though many of us guessed the identity of the man Adrian saved well before the reveal, the sudden worry that the calling both caused Grace’s trauma and saved her from it redeemed that storyline by upending expectations — a nice balance in the end. It didn’t hurt that we reached a possible end to the X’er plot either since that arc was becoming played out.
And Simon was so close to some big secrets, too, especially about Zeke, who wasn’t even a passenger on Flight 828. Good money was on Billy messing up the operation at some point anyway, and Jared did a good job of exploiting that weakness. It was especially effective having the meeting place for Jared’s confession to Michaela be the park where he proposed, and it felt very nice to have our confidence in Jared restored alongside Mick, even though she bought his duplicity and we didn’t. The best part of learning the truth was, in fact, Captain Bowers pretending to yell at them just before reading Mick in on the operation.
Make no mistake: Jared deserves praise for using Michaela’s under-the-bar bug to communicate with headquarters after Billy smashed his mobile phone, even though he inadvertently broke Tamara the bartender’s heart. Although it seems a bit misguided for Simon to meet Billy at the bar without an idea of what he was walking into, at least we got to see Simon’s wife Erika for the true Lady Macbeth that she is. As a result of her suggestion that they kill Zeke and blame Michaela, Jared was able to get the incriminating evidence the police needed to take down the X’er operation. Now we’re just left to wonder what he’ll do with his lieutenant exam study guide!
As for the calling side of things, Grace’s vision of High Bridge and the meeting with the fugitive Adrian had a well executed progression. It may have seemed a huge leap for the leader of the Believers to go from having faith in miracles to attributing ill intent and manipulation to the callings, but the brief flashback of Adrian on Flight 828 displaying the religious disillusionment inspired by his preacher father gave us just enough perspective and context. The same could be said of Adrian’s confession that he described the plane crash vision to Isaiah, allowing the madman to recreate his own warped interpretation of the champagne and flames.
Adrian being on the run was supposed to make us believe, however, that the nurse who exclaimed, “I can’t believe I found you!” was referring to her sighting of the fugitive cult leader, but most viewers probably guessed that the man Adrian rescued was the doctor mentioned off-handedly earlier who could perform Grace’s surgery. But it was Ben’s internal conflict that really made this story arc pop, and only part of it centered around whether he should honor his wife’s wishes to save the baby or ensure that Olive and Cal weren’t left without a mother by sacrificing the unborn child.
Most people probably forgot about Cal’s drawing from the second episode of Manifest, and its reappearance here fit nicely with the introduction of suspicion into the motivation behind the callings. In addition, whatever shadowy figures are behind the drawing and Adrian’s vision in the alley, they might tie in with the Al-Zuras “trials” TJ mentioned last week that balance out the good that the callings do. Whatever the case may be, Grace clearly fell on the rocks under the bridge, and she wouldn’t have been there if not for the calling that pulled her to that location. Ben’s faith has been shaken on many levels in this episode as a result, and therefore so has ours.
It’s a neat trick! Just when we think we know what’s going on in Manifest, a new twist is introduced. Some might say there are too many wrinkles without a definitive direction for the mystery, but with the end of the X’er plot, hopes are high that we’re headed towards a climactic finale that focuses on what fans really want to know. Are we dealing with “signs and wonders” as Adrian fears, or will the designation of false prophet fall either to the trio of shadowy spirits or to the equally shady Defense Department operation headed by Major Kathryn Fitz? The fact that we’re eagerly anticipating the answers to that question show that this series has succesfully done its job.