Manifest Season 2 Episode 13 Review: Icing Conditions

The Manifest season 2 finale provides an emotional conclusion to the death date dilemma while leaving plenty open for future storytelling.

Ben Stone in Manifest
Photo: Heidi Gutman / NBC

This Manifest review contains spoilers.

Manifest Season 2 Episode 13

Amongst all the hostage maneuverings in the Manifest finale, which were until the final moments quite secondary, a critical possibility surrounding the death date suddenly arose. What if Griffin, the criminal who drowned on dry land in last season’s finale, only had a death date because he abused his callings? Zeke’s sudden recovery after saving Cal would appear to indicate that the deadline is surmountable by following the visions, which is what makes Saanvi’s distress over her lost-cause cure so upsetting, but despite a lot of giant question marks remaining, the journey itself was a fitting conclusion to a sophomore season that outdid its predecessor.

That journey included the somewhat rocky attempt to rescue Cal, and as usual, Michaela is not a fan of involving her police colleagues even when callings or the danger of being called crazy or an insider aren’t involved. This recurring attitude towards justified deception in Manifest can be a bit tiresome, but it was enjoyable to see both Jared and Drea join in on the conspiracy this time. The most frustrating aspect of the subterfuge in this episode was that they went behind Captain Bowers’ back twice to get the job done even though it’s doubtful it would have made a difference once the trio that had Cal was in the cabin far from civilization. Plus the captain has proven herself reliable in the past!

The attempted exchange in public held much more tension, no matter what Manifest viewers may have thought about the questionable way in which Jared and Michaela were able to get a bag full of meth out of evidence lockup. It seemed at first like the exchange would be made without issue until the good samaritan showed up to tell Michaela she left her bag under the bench. This scenario is very believable in today’s New York City, especially when combined with the skepticism of the beat cop. Adding the tour group crossing the bridge to prevent Ben from getting to Cal was a nice touch, too, as it felt like one of those nightmares where the sleeper is walking through thickened air.

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It wasn’t quite as fun to see Ben and Grace so angry with Michaela for not heeding the calling’s insistence that she let the criminals go. Surely they could see how difficult it would be to let a murderous meth cook go free just because of a voice in her head no matter how reliable it’s been in the past, especially since the callings’ innate goodness was recently called into question. It’s like Michaela said: “If we have zero control then what’s the point of us coming back in the first place?” Thankfully, we could see that Pete, Jace’s younger brother, was sympathetic to Cal in giving him a blanket and that circumstances would arise that could be taken advantage of.

For instance, Pete also allowed Cal to send the crucial text using the name “Doug,” which Olive was able to interpret as a reference to The Dugout diner in the Catskills. Combined with Zeke’s vision of Cal in the woods, a picture began to form that went beyond our initial interpretation that Zeke was reliving his final moments from when he almost died a year ago. The persistence with which Zeke followed his calling was inspirational even in the face of Michaela’s heartbreaking sobs, and his miraculous recovery speaks volumes about how the others might avoid their death dates.

But there’s plenty left to speculate about by the end of the episode, and the disappearance of Jace, Pete, and Kory shortly after a bolt of dark lightning breaks through the frozen lake is only the beginning of it. The fact that their bodies weren’t found beneath the ice probably indicates another time jump for them, but for what purpose we can only guess. The glow as Zeke came back from the dead is also something we’ve seen before, most recently with the Al-Zuras journal, and there’s plenty of material there for a season 3 story arc should Manifest get renewed.

And then there’s Saanvi — poor Saanvi! In last season’s finale, the good doctor was suffering from PTSD and was taken in by the Major. Now this year, she tries to pressure the hard-edged military leader into sharing information about a cure for the genetic anomaly, and she’s way out of her league. The Major has always been the most effective villain in Manifest because of her ability to anticipate what others would do and play her cards close to the vest, which is why it was strange that she let slip that Zeke’s blood held the key to weaponizing the mutation. Doubly surprising was the fact that Saanvi was able to track her down a second time and carry out her misguided threat using anaphylaxis to get information, leading to the Major’s death.

The desperation of Saanvi and Vance is actually the best setup we could have hoped for leading into the hiatus. Manifest has managed to give us closure on the season-long death date arc through the miraculous recovery of Zeke while still leaving things wide open for the government conspiracy angle, which has always been the strongest conflict in the show. While the disappearance of the drug dealers is now filed away with the disappearance of Flight 828 pilot, Captain Daly, and Fiona Clarke, the neural psychologist last season, we can now follow Ben’s example and build our own investigation board to lead us through our speculation until the next season arrives.

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Rating:

4 out of 5