This Manifest review contains spoilers.
Manifest Season 2 Episode 7
The culmination of weeks of buildup surrounding the mystery of the altered Flight 828 vision didn’t exactly pay off the way we expected, but the surprises elsewhere in this week’s episode of Manifest added to the overall hype. The question becomes: were the big reveals worth the wait? Because of some hanging threads around the periphery, the cohesiveness of this storyline is shaky, and the more exciting moments are like shiny objects distracting us from the confusion. These plot holes aren’t flaws exactly; they’re just puzzle pieces that got dropped under the table temporarily providing a fleeting moment of frustration.
We sure were on the edge of our seats before we paused for that moment of reflection, though! It took quite a bit of coordination to get all of those Flight 828 passengers together in one place, and Isaiah was nothing if not resourceful. Manifest did a nice job of laying the groundwork for this disciple to suddenly feel the need to prove, in his own warped way, that the Returnees were immune to death, and as each passenger showed up, it became clear that the “save the passengers” vision portended this very moment. The slow realization definitely produced a palpable fear for the audience, especially once the fire started.
The attempt at a misdirect to place blame on the X’ers was perhaps less successful, even if the intent was to keep viewers on the hook with Jared’s supposed involvement with the group. The same suspicion would have been raised if Billy had remained off screen without checking in with his man on the inside, but since Jared did end up sniffing around Michaela’s case files, the result was merely confusion as to what the X’ers were really after. This will probably have a later payoff, especially since Mick now knows that Jared is spying on her, but looping all of this in with Isaiah’s misguided ploy muddied the waters a bit.
There was also a lack of clarity, perhaps more intentional, surrounding Zeke’s ongoing attempt at sobriety. As we suspected at the end of last week’s episode, the blame for hiding pills inside the barrel of the razor is placed squarely at the feet of Courtney, who is conveniently absent and unable to defend herself. But once Zeke finds more pills inside another razor in his gym bag, we’re left to wonder: did Courtney plant drugs there, too, or is Zeke truly guilty of hiding a stash? Given his defensiveness with Michaela’s mild confrontation and Michaela’s propensity to push people away when they get too close, we want to believe our doubt is unfounded, but the possible bluff makes our heads spin. Nicely done, Manifest!
But although the kiss between Zeke and Michaela lit up the screen, the chemistry between TJ and Olive once again stole the show. What a wonderful moment it was when TJ confessed that he didn’t really think much of Adrian’s message of hope despite knowing it might alienate Olive to say so. With Olive frankly going overboard with her talk of emancipation and getting a GED, it was nice to hear reason from someone she’d be more likely to listen to than her parents. All of this served to make TJ’s sacrifice that much more painful — except that Agent Vance already taught us that deaths that happen off screen in Manifest are far from final.
So while some outcomes might be predictable and others confusing, the appearance of Saanvi’s missing Flight 828 companion, Alex, was a much better reveal. Even though the pain of rejection was evident on both doctors’ faces, the desire for reconciliation was just as recognizable. Their personal drama went nicely with Saanvi’s reckless pursuit of a serum to remove the blood anomaly, and her lack of a calling was both enlightening and disheartening. Both the other passengers and the audience would likely ask her if they could: is this the way we want to avoid the death date? Will it even work?
Her revelation wasn’t quite as game-changing as the drawing Ben found inside the Al-Zuras journal, but viewers could be forgiven for wondering what the Major’s role in all this will be since she’s been out of the picture for a few episodes now. Because the multi-episode vision of the falling plane seems to exploded in this episode and in some ways fizzled at the same time, this new historical direction for Manifest’s central mystery may end up giving us more answers, but with the upheaval this week, many pending conflicts remain in a bit of a jumble, tempering our enjoyment of the overall story.