This Manifest review contains spoilers.
Manifest Season 2 Episode 11
On the surface, this week’s Manifest episode appears to be all about mending relationships. Zeke reconciles with his dad, Michaela and Jared put their past behind them, and Ben renews his trust in the callings. Like the phoenix from TJ’s vision, their faith rises from the ashes of doubt and mistrust, and from that thematic standpoint, “Unaccompanied Minors” is successful. The counterpoint to that theme, however, lies in the increasing dread surrounding the three shadows and Saanvi’s loss of hospital privileges, and we’re no closer to a death date solution or a response to the Major’s scrutiny than we were before.
Adrian’s cynical view of the callings isn’t without merit. Yes, Ben’s train vision combined with TJ’s phoenix and Cal’s lullaby led them to Zeke’s dad in the Bowery Street subway station, but one could argue that when TJ drew attention to the music box that fell out of the man’s pocket, he exacerbated his suicidal thoughts. Likewise, although Michaela letting the shoplifter go led to she and Jared tracking down the larger operation, the “Let him go!” calling persisted even when they took down the real bad guys: the meth cook, the dealer, and the courier. “All things work together for good” more and more seems to apply to the humanity within the returnees rather than the callings themselves.
But of course as viewers we’re supposed to be skeptical in the lead-up to the Manifest season 2 finale. As much as we may have enjoyed seeing Zeke follow the advice of his addiction counselor in forgiving his father, like Michaela we’re not all that pleased that his sense of closure feels a bit like he’s giving up. His proposal of marriage was extremely heartwarming, but even though we might not agree with Saanvi’s persistence in pursuing a medical solution against Al-Zuras’ warning, Zeke’s decision to discontinue treatment leaves us to wonder where the solution to the death date is going to come from. Perhaps the Major will use her own cure as leverage to force cooperation?
Wanting to keep the Major in the mix is warranted mainly because she’s been the main villain since season 1 of Manifest whereas Cal’s mysterious shadows seem to be a conglomeration of a forgotten drawing and a Bible passage from Revelations, but that being said, it was interesting that the meth cook almost seemed to be aware that Michaela was supposed to let him go saying, “This is bigger than both of us,” and referring to holy vengeance. Jared is correct in asserting that Michaela often has to rationalize her own actions when it comes to the callings, but her act of defiance in arresting the three men is mostly intriguing because of what it says about Mick, not what it implies about the shadows which are now just another set of villains in a crowded field.
Michaela’s loss of faith also contrasts nicely with Ben’s renewed optimism from having seen what his train calling did for Zeke and the miracle of Eden’s birth. Probably also because it’s been a few days at least since Cal lost saw the dark specters, he’s feeling like he might not even have to obsess over the investigation board to “save the passengers.” Interestingly, even with all of the hope pervading this episode of Manifest, his decision to simply take a “follow and listen” approach to the callings actually is more foreboding than it should be precisely because of Cal’s final vision merging with the three men in prison and Michaela going against her calling.
Other fun elements of the episode included naming the dark web “taskrabbit” gig app employed by the meth ring “Jojo’s Delivery Service,” a nice nod to the Academy Award winning Taika Waititi film. It was also enjoyable to see Drea tease Michaela about working with Jared again; she continues to win huge points with the Manifest audience for her cooperative spirit and sharp intelligence despite not being in the loop with the callings. But even in light of Drea’s jest, our unwavering belief that Jared was on the side of good during the X’er operation was rewarded by his completely credible insistence that he just wants to be friends with his former fiancee.
It’s difficult to predict where Manifest might head in the final two episodes of season 2, and that’s both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, there might be a huge twist in store that will shock and amaze viewers with its ability to tie up its many loose ends. On the other, the show has led us down so many winding roads that it’s easy to anticipate an ending that only satisfies one or two of the unresolved conflicts. Will we see a solution to the death date problem, a metaphysical battle with the dark side of the callings, or a more grounded confrontation with the Major? Or all of that and more? Time is running out, and we’re hungry for answers: a sign that despite any misgivings, the writers have got us right where they want us.