This Manifest review contains spoilers.
Manifest Season 3 Episode 4
There are a few lines of dialogue in this week’s episode of Manifest that encapsulate how the audience must feel at this high point in the series. On the one hand, there’s Michaela being the voice of us all when witnessing Zeke’s cool new empathic powers: “That’s next level!” And as the mysteries pile up and threaten to overwhelm viewers, they might feel that Vance is speaking directly to them when he asks Ben, “How much are you willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?” With the resurrection concept becoming clearer (and cooler!) by the minute, the eagerness for more answers is palpable.
“Next level” might be more accurate than Mick realizes. Given what Olive and Angelina discovered this week about the tests Osiris placed before the souls of the dead, Zeke could indeed have reached a higher plane, perhaps in the same evolutionary sense that Fiona Clarke was always going on about in Manifest season 1. Whatever is happening, though, is quite a thrilling and enjoyable arc for the man who last season was suffering from such a strong sense of inferiority and guilt. It makes one wonder who might be next to ascend beyond their death date.
Maybe Pete? The Baylor brothers and Kory are a week away from their expiration, and if Angelina is successful in helping her new friend, Pete could survive as Zeke did. If nothing else, it would give the poor girl something new to do; Holly Taylor’s talents are being wasted on such a supporting role, even when pushing Olive to attend prom. That being said, it seems likely there’s more to that story ahead (something in the background of a photo again maybe?), so judgment will be withheld.
After all, Manifest isn’t shy about playing the long game with its plot elements. Viewers could be forgiven for forgetting about Kelly Taylor, the woman who was shot in the third episode of season 1 after “owning her truth” and sharing details with the media. By now, most people have discarded the theory that talking about the callings gets you killed, but perhaps Saanvi will finally get that tissue sample she wanted now that she’s on the Eureka team with her old pal Troy!
There’s always the question of how many mysteries we can handle, but it never seems to be too much somehow. The only thing we understand with regard to Ben’s glowing hand is his reluctance to be poked and prodded by Vance’s new task force. The disappearing tail fin is a giant question mark as well, both adding to Saanvi’s despondence and heightening the importance of Zeke’s jump to level 2. The strange thing is that the resurrection thing is starting to make sense as more ingredients are added.
What’s even more interesting is that the story of Coach Hannity, which normally would have been a center stage calling-of-the-week, feels much more a part of the overall story as a result. Kory is clearly scared about drowning on dry land and gives Mick the evidence she needs to put the abusive coach away — case closed. But seeing Jace’s warped interpretation of the calling and knowing that he’s still out there builds anticipation for the death date to mete out justice while wondering what form redemption might take for Pete and Kory.
Meanwhile Manifest is still injecting more and more tension into Jared’s investigation of the disappearance of Sarah Fitz’s mother, the Major, even though not much progress is made. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the off-duty garbage truck was part of a covert cleaning operation to remove Kathryn’s body from the scene of the crime, but perhaps there was a moment of shock for some viewers that the one being informed about Jared getting too close was Vance himself. This could get interesting!
And that’s been the success of Manifest season 3 beyond that of earlier seasons. It has banked on what makes the show great, the conspiracy and the mystery, and eliminated the bulk of the family drama, Tarik and Grace notwithstanding. Even the stuff with Beverly is more about Zeke’s new powers than it is about caring for an old friend’s ailing mother. “Tail Spin” might even be considered the best episode of Manifest to date, and the great thing is that it seems to be setting up more of the same.