This week’s episode of Manifest, Unclaimed Baggage, drew together Saanvi, Michaela and Flight Attendant Bethany to solve the mystery/case of the week: What happened to Bethany’s stowaway friend after the plane landed? They were an effective and appealing dream team, who I hope we get to see continue working together. Ben’s role in this case was to act as skeptic and briefly as driver.
What’s up with him being left out of the callings since the first episode?
Instead, Ben carried the family drama again, which this week centered around Olive’s adventures with shoplifting. Olive drew Danny back into the family mix, precipitating the overdue meeting between him and Ben. Or maybe it was just overdue that we met Danny. You can’t cast Daniel Sunjata, then keep him off my screen. At any rate, Grace is now officially a sketchy Femme Fatale in my book, and the Stones have gone from being a typical suburban family in the opening of the pilot to being a truly messed up suburban family.
Why is Grace a Femme Fatale? Not just because of the unexplained, secret strife that’s drawn her, Danny and Olive close enough together that they act like they’ve been through a war together. The other Stone family thread this week concerned Ben’s life insurance pay out of $500k, which the insurance company wants back, since he’s actually alive and all. Grace goes through a vague set of circumstances, most of them expected, and somehow comes up with having spent the entire half a million dollars already, in 5 years, on her and Olive. Plus all of the equity in their house.
While she was running a successful business. And Danny was living with them. And there were otherwise only two of them to support. I’ve said it before, but I’m sure now. Something weird happened with the money. She mentioned Cal’s medical bills, but Ben expected her to have money left after paying off the mortgage and the medical bills, so they couldn’t have been that huge.
She’d surely earned a break after everything she’d been through. If she took a fabulous vacation or did something else frivolous with the money, why not just say so?
There’s this desperation about Grace that says to me that something went terribly wrong while Ben was away, and it was because of the way she handled/didn’t handle things. She’s made references to that happening, but I think she’s underplayed it. I think Grace became an addict of some sort.
Possibly a gambling addict, since that would explain the financial losses most easily, especially why she almost lost the house. She probably met Danny in Gamblers Anonymous, and that’s why they grew so close, so fast, and why he’s so protective. It would explain why she feels like Ben can’t understand her the way Danny can, and why Olive is such a mess.
Or she could have been a drug addict who spent everything, then started to sell everything else, to pay for her habit. Or an alcoholic who made bad decisions and got swindled out of her money. She could have turned to prostitution at some point, as I speculated last week.
The way both Grace and Olive naturally turn to secrets and lies to cope with information that might be even a little bit disruptive, says to me that there was an addict or otherwise unstable mentally ill person in the house that was being tiptoed around, so as not to set them off, and someone who was hiding activities they knew the rest of the family would disapprove of, the way Olive tried to hide her shoplifting.
Going through something like that would make the way Danny hovers very understandable. If he’s already pulled Grace and Olive up out of a long-term crisis situation once, he’s going to be hyper in tune with the signs that they’re getting stressed and going down that road again. Having put so much energy into them, he considers them his family, and can’t bring himself to stand back and let them backslide while Ben has no idea what’s happening or how to help. Grace and Olive would naturally turn to Danny, since he’s their support system already.
Plus, it seems like Grace and Olive harbor an unreasonable amount of resentment toward Ben for leaving them and coming back unchanged, and for taking Cal away from them. They try to rationally accept that it wasn’t his fault, but those are the types of feelings that you can’t rationalize away easily. Both of them tell him they want him there, but push him away at the same time. I don’t think that’s come to a head yet, but Ben definitely started to get it this week.
Meanwhile, Jared appears to have forgotten that he has a wife. Has he even mentioned Lourdes since episode 2? He’s quickly becoming obsessed with the mystery of Michaela and what she’s up to. It won’t be long before he starts following her during his off hours. He’s already on his way to becoming a member of the Scooby gang, since he’s had the idea of marking the miracle sites on a map to look for a pattern. A circle is already emerging. Does it surround the Angel of the Waters fountain?
The gang gets a new lair this week as well, thanks to Kelly Taylor’s slumlord husband. Her properties are in probate for the foreseeable future, so Michaela decides the forgotten basement boiler room, where she chased one of the tenants last week, will make a good hide out. The mall is probably shut down, since the businesses were owned by illegal aliens.
The episode opens on Vance swiping his finger across the view screen showing the twenty Flight 828 passengers of interest, removing Kelly Taylor’s photo from the line up. He tells his flunkies to remove surveillance from her home and commercial properties, but to keep investigating the other 19.
The camera moves in to focus on Flight Attendant Bethany, our passenger of the week. Flashback to Bethany on the plane, not long before landing. The Captain informs her about the diversion to another airport, and that law enforcement will be meeting them. Bethany answers a question from Saanvi, then goes to her station and nervously begins gathering supplies.
In the present day, Saanvi gets off an elevator at work, distracted by her pad, and sees a living female statue, dressed in robes, who leaves puddled footprints behind.
If you are a Dr Who fan, you know how disturbing this development is. I usually think Ben is being too cautious, but I frakkin’ hate the Weeping Angels and now a certain fountain will probably give me nightmares. What was showrunner Jeff Rake thinking? Ben is definitely right later in the episode when he tries to slow the ladies down. Never trust a statuary angel without good, hard evidence that they’re on your side.
Okay, let’s try to concentrate here. There’s more disturbing news to come. Saanvi doesn’t take seeing live statues lightly, and immediately asks a friend the way to the nearest head of the neurology department. He’s an old buddy of hers, so he gets her right in.
Meanwhile, superhusband Ben makes breakfast and tries to figure out teenage fashion. Cal has decided to stay at the lake house with Grandpa Steve for an extra day, so Olive, who is wearing a romper, GEEZ DAD, can’t practice her driving with him or use his car.
Thank goodness we’ve finally been given an explanation as to the whereabouts of Grandpa Steve. He walked in the front door when the family came home from the airport in the pilot, went toward the stairs, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. I was trying to figure out if he’d moved to Florida and was in the middle of various hurricanes, or if he was taking the longest nap ever. I guess he hasn’t cared about spending much time with his newly returned kids. But Cal’s always loved the lake house, so yay for bonding time with Grandpa.
Olive, who’s used to being the only grandchild, doesn’t take this turn of events so well. Newly returned from the dead/deadbeat who abandoned her for five years daddy just won’t cut it as a driving instructor. Olive has become a teenager who can’t handle any form of change or deviation from routine, unless she initiates it herself. Original flavor daddy and newly reconstituted twin brother are not part of her routine. She is not amused, and the household will suffer.
Michaela’s precinct is teamed up with ATF for a major bust, based on the work of an undercover agent, that’s expected to go down later today. Everyone will be on stake out duty all day, waiting for the signal. Michaela’s usual partner, Harrington, had to take the day off to deal with a plumbing issue, so she’s assigned to work with Jared.
Saanvi shows the neurologist, Dr Feldman, a brain scan from a “female patient” who has an unusual blood marker and who is now having hallucinations. Asking for a friend, really. Dr Feldman notes activation in the insular cortex, an area associated with hallucinations, that isn’t well understood. He shows her the scan of another patient with similar activation, the homeless man in room 810 who was just brought in and has an initial diagnosis of schizophrenia. Saanvi hears that she might be in the early stages of schizophrenia, and gets out of there, quick.
She sees more puddled footprints, and follows them to one of the rooms in the psych ward. A man with a Jamaican accent rushes out of the room, frantically repeating that it was Bethany, Flight Attendant Bethany. He’s injected with medication before he can say anything more, and dragged back to his room. Looks like Saanvi’s found her calling for the week.
Saanvi and Ben meet to discuss the latest developments. Saanvi tells Ben about her vision and the patient she was led to. She needs to talk to Bethany, but has no idea how to get in touch with her. Ben agrees they should talk, because Bethany would have had access to all sorts of useful information about the plane. He texts Saanvi Bethany’s contact info, explaining that he’s started a
stalker database on the entire passenger list, to help him see connections.
Ben and Saanvi agree that they both feel like they’re going crazy, but they don’t need to explain that to each other, or the lengths they’ll go to in order to feel sane again. There was a whole lot of leaning close to each other and hovering in each other’s space during that scene.
Grace receives a special delivery letter from the life insurance company, which has her concerned. She asks Ben to come right home.
Michaela and Jared are stuck waiting in a car for the next 6-7 hours, until the ATF agents decide it’s time to go in and make arrests. Their undercover agent is out of contact until he calls in by phone, so they have no way of knowing how things are going.
They promptly start debating what they’ll eat and remembering their favorite restaurants. Jared doesn’t mention going out to eat with Lourdes once. When Mick mentions that they could never seem to make to dessert at their favorite Italian restaurant, Jared looks at her like he’d like to “not make it to dessert” right now. Michaela sends him out for a coffee.
While he’s gone, Jared gets a text from Harrington, thanking him for game tickets. Mick realizes that Jared planned for the two of them to be partnered up on this stake out.
Ben finds Grace in the garage with financial files spread out around her. She tells him that she’ll have to sell her catering kitchen because of their money issues. Ben reassures her that he’s talked to the head of the Math department at SUNY and there should be a job for him for the spring semester. In the meantime, he’s looking for guest lecturer gigs. As far as he can tell, they’re fine.
Grace: “This is… It’s a lot bigger than that. I shut down when you disappeared. But, the rest of the world kept moving, and the bills kept rolling in, and I almost lost our house. And then the insurance money came in.”
Ben: “They paid out the death benefit and now they want it back.”
Grace gives Ben the letter. “It’s half a million dollars.”
Ben: “How much do we have left?”
Grace: “There’s nothing left. I’m so sorry, Ben. I paid off the mortgage, and then with Cal’s old medical bills, and with property taxes and the car…”
Ben: “Hey, hey, hey. It’s okay. We’ll use the equity in the house to pay back the…”
Grace: “No, there isn’t any! I took out a HELOC to start my business. I don’t see any way out of this.”
Ben: “Grace, I’m back and you are everything to me, everything. You’ve had to do it all for so long. We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to figure this out.”
Olive and a friend, Avery, get makeovers at the store. Avery is chatty and tells the makeup artist that Olive is famous because her dad and brother were on Flight 828. Olive says that she’s famous because things happen to her, not because of her, and is not terribly enthusiastic about her dad and brother being back.
Avery suggests she buy the products used on her for the makeover, but they cost $120, so Olive can’t afford them. Olive’s allowance is discussed, because Grace hasn’t paid it this week. Was Olive getting $100+ a week as an allowance? That sounds incredibly high to me, though it would help explain where the $500k went. It sounds like a kid who needs a job.
Avery sows a few more seeds of discontent, then leaves. Before Olive follows, she swipes the lipstick that’s still sitting on the counter. A security guard stops her before she’s taken 3 steps.
Jared returns to the car, and Mick demands an explanation. Turns out he has a calling to take care of her and keep her safe. He’s tried talking to her, but she keeps lying to him, so he’s resorted to this.
Aaahh, it’s the scary angel, outside the car!
She’s aggressive, flapping her wings and telling Michaela to “save him.” Michaela’s already worked up, as is Jared. She frantically tells Jared that they need to save the undercover agent, now. She’s distraught, insisting that he has to trust her. Jared overrules the ATF agents, and calls for his NYPD teams to go in.
But the undercover agent is fine, and the entire operation is blown. Jared accepts the blame for making the call to go in. Michaela feels terrible, guilty and confused.
Could whoever’s sending the messages maybe be less cryptic? Maybe send a name, an address, some identifying characteristics? Email a mission briefing each morning, like normal folks?
Saanvi visits Bethany’s brownstone and tells her about the patient in room 810. Bethany is happy Saanvi found “him”.
The Feds have found him as well. He was fingerprinted when he was picked up by the police, and his prints matched a fresh set found in the cargo hold of the plane. Vance figures out that he was a stowaway on the flight.
Flashback to Bethany giving the man, Thomas, who’s dressed as a flight attendant, the supplies she’s gathered, and instructing him to climb down into the cargo hold before they land. Once they land, she tells him to climb down through the landing gear and run away. He and Leo can find each other at their rendezvous point.
Bethany explains to Saanvi that Thomas is her cousin Leo’s boyfriend. Gay men are persecuted in Jamaica, and when Thomas and Leo tried to defend a friend, they became targets, too. Leo had a plane ticket and a passport to get out, but Thomas couldn’t get a passport. Thomas’ life was in danger, so Bethany helped. Leo disappeared a few years after their plane went missing.
Thomas was all alone, in a strange country, when he discovered that they’d been missing five years. He must not have known how to handle it. Saanvi promises that they’ll find a way to help him.
Ben gets out his magical mathematical whiteboard, and works the life insurance problem. He totally lives for this sort of thing. He finds a solution and is riding high, but comes crashing down to earth when he’s putting boxes back on the shelves.
There’s a box of photos of Danny on one of the shelves. Ben briefly looks, then hides it behind other things. Grace comes back in, so Ben explains that they can take out a small business loan, invest it, and use the interest to pay off the life insurance a little at a time. Personally, I think they should hire a lawyer.
Ben lavishes Grace with unwarranted praise for her financial sense for a bit, then they get hot and heavy. But Grace’s phone interrupts them. Olive wants Grace to pick her up at the store, Blue Mercury. Ben says he’ll take Olive duty, so sexy times are put on hold.
Grace and Ben appear to have a love theme now, which sounds like an 80-90s style garage band loop.
Michaela calls Ben to freak out over the way she just ruined Jared’s career because of what an aggressive angel statue told her to do. He
talks yells her down, telling her that Saanvi’s been having the same vision, so they need to communicate. And he reminds her that they keep lying to the NSA. Anyone they share information with will be a party to those lies. They are keeping secrets to protect the people they love. What happened with Jared was unfortunate, but she just has to live with it.
I would say that they need a phone tree and an email or Facebook group, but obviously that isn’t good spy practice. Somebody needs to get out their secret decoder ring and come up with a system of communication so that they can stop running in circles around each other. Orphan Black’s Clone Club had color coded burner phones that they switched out every week or two. It was both fun and practical, and it would appeal to the kids.
Saanvi asks Dr Feldman about Thomas and discovers he’s about to be transferred. She and Bethany have to come up with a plan, fast.
Ben looks for Olive at the store and is told that she shoplifted and is in the back with her other dad?? Olive and Danny come out from the back room. Danny and Ben make eye contact. Sirens wail in the background. Danny introduces himself. Ben says “hi”, then dismissively tells Danny he’s got it, thanks. Danny graciously leaves.
But Danny was very comfortable and confident in that situation, like he’s sure that he doesn’t have anything to worry about. And he probably doesn’t. Let’s review so far: Olive blew off her dad this morning, and hates to see her parents acting like a married couple. She blatantly shoplifted this afternoon, without so much as a glance around the store to see if she’d be noticed. In other words, she wanted to get caught. Who does she call first? Daddy Danny. Who does she call second? Mommy. Oh look, Danny and Mommy get to see each other, and have a problem to work through and reconnect over, while Ben is at home completely shut out of the family situation.
On the drive home, Ben remembers back to a time when Olive was a little girl and they made a toy airplane. A bike ran over it and broke it on its maiden test flight. Olive was discouraged that it would never fly, but Ben showed her that it could still be a cool boat.
Ben is the master of turning lemons into lemonade. With his mom passing away and Ben, Michaela and Cal missing, the entire positive, optimistic side of the Stone family was gone. That left Steve, Grace and Olive without the people who would normally push them out of a depression. Hence, things got really, really dark around here.
Jared makes it out of his session with the captain alive, but suspended. ATF is doing a full investigation. Mick tells him he doesn’t have to take the fall for her but he says, “Yes, I do. Okay? I can’t help it.” Just in case anyone had any doubts as to his feelings about her. Jared has a calling, too. He tells her that if she really feels guilty, she should tell him the truth about what’s going on with her.
He was looking right at her from 2 feet away when she saw the scary angel. He knows something happened. She says she heard a gunshot, but, since he was next to her and didn’t hear it, he doesn’t believe her. He knows she wasn’t truthful about the abducted girls and Kelly Taylor’s murderer, too. He tells her if she can’t talk to him, she should talk to someone. Mick remembers what Ben said about Saanvi, and says she’ll get right on it.
Jared’s going to have some free time on his hands. Odds that he takes up following Michaela and Ben as a hobby, and maybe doing more intense research on the flight? Very, very good.
Ben and Olive return home. Olive tries to go to her room, but Ben keeps talking. He asks if she’s shoplifted before, and she swears she hasn’t. Ben tells her the story of the boomerang he stole when he was 15. He felt like his life was out of control, and that was something he could take charge of. His mother told him everyone deserved one free pass, so she didn’t punish him. Olive doesn’t think she deserves a free pass, but Ben tells her she does.
Olive apologizes for calling Danny, but he knows what a screwed up person she is already, and Ben still sees her as the cute ten year old she was. Ben says that he wants to know the person she is now, and he loves what he’s seen so far. Olives asks to keep the shoplifting just between the two of them, their little secret, so as not to upset Grace after everything she’s been through. Ben reluctantly agrees.
Learning to speak Olive is going to have to include watching out for manipulation. Olive knows very well that Danny is going to talk to Grace about this incident. She asked for this favor to create more discord between Grace and Ben.
Saanvi and Bethany have created fake discharge papers for Thomas which say that Bethany is his mother. Before they can get him, he escapes. Vance is also on the way into the psych ward with his goon squad to collect Thomas, and alarms are blaring, so Saanvi and Bethany get out via a stairwell to the sidewalk. Michaela pulls up practically in front of them. They hop into their angel-provided getaway car and search for Thomas.
Saanvi and Bethany explain the situation to Mick, telling her that they can’t let Vance find Thomas. Since Thomas doesn’t have papers or a visa, he doesn’t legally exist in this country and the government could just disappear him to study him however they want. He’d make the perfect guinea pig.
Bethany isn’t sure where Thomas would go. Her plans with him were changed when they rerouted the plane. Saanvi and Mick describe the angel statue they both saw until Bethany realizes they’re describing the Angel of the Waters statue that sits atop the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. Leo and Thomas knew it from Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America. She thinks that must be where the two men planned to meet.
Grace gets home from somewhere unspecified, which probably means meeting up with Danny. When she asks Ben about Olive, he says their daughter is fine. Grace gets angry because he tried to hide Olive’s shoplifting from her. Ben explains that Olive asked him not to tell her mom and he’s trying to gain her trust.
Then he asks how Grace found out about the shoplifting.
Grace: “That’s not the point, Ben.”
Uh huh. It’s absolutely, totally, completely the point, because she was with Danny and wants to avoid telling Ben/lie to him about it. After she just had a fit about him keeping secrets from her.
She doesn’t want to tell Ben everything that really happened while he was away, so that he can be an effective husband and parent, because she’s afraid he wouldn’t look at her like she’s shiny and perfect anymore, just like Olive thinks. But she also wants to blame him for every mistake that he makes out of ignorance or inexperience, because Danny would make a better choice.
Ben: “I thought you ended it with him.”
Grace: “I did. He only called me to tell me what happened with Olive. He felt awful. Ben, you can’t keep secrets from me about my own daughter!”
Ben: “Our daughter.”
Grace: “Of course, that’s what I meant. I want you to be half of this parenting team. I cannot do it alone. But neither can you. Trust me, you have no idea what we’ve been through with her.”
Ben: “We? Meaning you and Danny?”
Grace: “Ben, you weren’t here.”
Ben: “I am now! And neither one of you seem to be able to let this guy go. But maybe it’s not fair for me to ask you to.”
Ben: “It’s okay. I’m gonna get some air.”
What Ben didn’t completely verbalize was the realization that he really doesn’t belong in his own home anymore; that now he’s the interloper imposing himself into their family unit. And that the best thing for Grace and Olive might be for him to leave that family unit intact and find a new place for himself (and Cal).
Bethany, Saanvi and Michaela find Thomas at the Bethesda Fountain, where he’s waiting for Leo, his boyfriend. He’s been given massive doses of unnecessary psychotropic drugs, plus no one has coherently explained what happened to the plane to him, so he’s very confused.
The three women confirm that they’ve all lost the last five years. Bethany tells Thomas that Leo went missing a few years ago. Michaela explains that she’s a cop and she’ll do everything she can to help him find out what happened to Leo. But right now, they need to get inside somewhere, before the Feds find them, arrest both Bethany and Thomas, and put Thomas away somewhere for good to use as a science experiment.
Michaela takes them to the old boiler room in the basement of Kelly Taylor’s strip mall. Even when the mall was open, very few people knew the room was there. Now that the mall is in legal purgatory, no one is likely to pay attention to its basement.
Ben texts Michaela just as she’s leaving to get supplies for Thomas. He picks her up and she fills him in on the end of this calling. Ben probably wanted to talk to his sister about his family troubles, but he takes on this instead. He’s worried about who is sending these messages, and what their intention is. And he’s concerned that now Michaela and friends are harboring a fugitive, besides the effect this had on Jared’s career.
Ben warns Michaela not to follow the callings blindly, but she doesn’t think she has a choice.
Grace gets a text from Danny, asking about Olive. She replies, “Still Olive.”
Jared gets out his map of locations where Michaela did strange things, and marks the stake out site. A pattern could be forming.
Mick and Bethany get Thomas settled in on his cot. Ben watches, probably figuring out where he’ll put his cot.
Saanvi examines the brain scans, probably contemplating if the changes are permanent and if they really correspond to a mental illness like schizophrenia.
Vance adds Thomas’ mug shot to the screen with the other 19 passengers of interest, bringing the cool kids club back up to 20.
Michaela goes back to the fountain and asks the angel what it wants from her.
The angel doesn’t answer Michaela, but it doesn’t do anything scary either, so we’ll call it even.
HELOC= Home Equity Line of Credit Grace has been using their house as the collateral for a line of credit to support her business and whatever other costs she decided to use it for. A HELOC functions like a credit card, but if you can’t make the payments, you lose your house. Since there’s no equity left in the house, Grace’s HELOC was for the entire value of the house, and she’s spent it all. She hasn’t paid any of it back yet, even though it’s been years. So if they sold the house now, all of the proceeds would go to paying back that loan.
They haven’t mentioned retirement savings yet as a source to either borrow against or make withdrawals from. I’m surprised Ben didn’t bring it up, but maybe he was saving it for a last resort, or he already knows that Grace spent it.
Ben was gone 5 years, and she ruined them financially. He’s being really nice about it, because he’s a decent guy, but she went through a ridiculous amount of money and has almost nothing to show for it. I’m waiting for him to look up her credit and financial history and figure out what really happened. Then please tell us.
Just for kicks, I played around a little with the idea of Thomas as a biblical name (the disciple Doubting Thomas?) and his psych ward room number 810 referring to bible verse numbers. The most intriguing idea I came up with was to connect Thomas, the lost passenger, to the Lost Gospel of Thomas, one of the Gnostic Gospels, which is a list of 114 “sayings” of Jesus. Many of the “sayings” actually consist of several sayings. Some make up a parable.
Sayings 8-10 could apply to Flight 828, since they speak of catching many fish (8), but keeping only the best, and sowing many seeds, but only a few grow into healthy plants (9). This could relate to having 192 people on the plane, but only some can hear the call, and only some of those will answer it and be effective when they do. Whoever is sending out the call is searching for the best of the group to use as their vehicles.
Saying 10 is a little more chilling: “I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes.” The calling has been sent out, and the receivers are being groomed for something. It sounds as though they will spread something to the entire world, if this entity has its way. But what? A message? A takeover? A disease? A plan to help humanity in some way?
I think the angels were the first visual callings. They were definitely the first shared visual calling. And the brain scan is very interesting information. Whatever this is, it actually makes the receiver do something like hallucinate, and is having a neurochemical effect on their brains. The auditory callings would presumably show up like auditory hallucinations on a scan. Are the people picking up the call the ones who are more susceptible to hallucinations or schizophrenia? But why did Thomas’ brain look like he was having a calling? He wasn’t as far as we know. Is this something separate from the callings that’s happening to the passengers?
Ben is right, their current actions could be a trick to fool the passengers into thinking the angels, or whatever, are good. Or they could actually be good, and be speaking in a language the receivers will understand. Michaela is religious, so she receives religious language. But Radd is musical, so he received a musical calling. Saanvi and Ben are scientific and will examine anything unusual, so they’ve received a variety of modalities.
It seems like there are an awful lot of coincidences amongst the peripheral players on this show, too, which makes me wonder if the angels (they’re the angels in America, right?), for lack of a better word, are speaking more subtly to others as well. Evie’s mom Bev wandered to just right spot in the road at the right time to catch Kelly’s murderer. Jared has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Dr Feldman showed Saanvi Thomas’ brain scan so she’d be sure to pay attention to him. Tami led Michaela and Ben to the room they’re now using as a clubhouse. Small actions that nudge the major players that way keep happening.
Even the mistakes seem like they could be on purpose at times. Most callings have had multiple effects. In episode 3, Michaela found Bev when she wandered from home and found Kelly’s murderer. Could the angel have meant that Michaela should save the undercover agent and save Thomas? It could be that something would have gone terribly wrong, had that bust played out as planned, but Michaela’s intervention saved him. The NYPD and ATF might never know, or evidence could turn up that will exonerate Jared when they do their investigation. Maybe they’ll find a bomb in the building, or evidence the agent’s cover had already been blown.
For those wondering about the origins of Manifest’s story, it comes solely from the brain of creator/showrunner Jeff Rake. Rake came up with the concept ten years ago and has worked to refine it off and on in the intervening years. He shopped the idea around during the intervening time, and eventually got NBC to bite on it. He recently did an informative interview with Collider.com and said this about developing ideas for the series:
Collider: You’ve talked about how you came up with this idea 10 years ago, and that you also had a six-year plan for it. Did you have all of that, at the time that you first came up with it, or have you been developing it in your head, over all this time?
JEFF RAKE: A little of both. That is the true origin story. I landed this idea over a decade ago and, at that time, I always knew the end game. When I originally hit on the concept, I knew the beginning. I knew that I wanted this to be about a separated family and throwing at them the most tantalizing, impossible obstacle conceivable, in order to tear them apart and bring them back together again. Thus, the missing airplane. In my first incarnation, I did basically have a sense of the ultimate end game, but as anyone who watches or writes television knows, there’s a long way from the beginning to the end. Over the course of the years after I was unsuccessful in getting anyone to bite at the concept, it spent a few years on the shelf. And then, I would noodle with it, and give it more shelf time. And then, I would try to get a producer interested, and noodle with it. Ultimately, I was lucky enough to get Warner Brothers and NBC excited about it last summer. Over the years, I certainly iterated on it throughout. I found some important middle plateaus. And then, it came to me in one fell swoop. The many layers that I intend to bring to the show have been the result of my own contemplating, over the years. Now that I’m working with eight incredibly talented writers in the room with me, I have the benefit of collaborating with all of them to fill in all the gaps in between.
Manifest is still holding up well in the ratings. It’s easily winning its time slot, with more than 7 million total same day viewers. Last week, it was #16 amongst all broadcast shows in the 18-49 year old demographic for Live+ Same Day viewers. It was #22 amongst all aged viewers in Live+ Same Day ratings. That makes it one of the top rated hour long dramas of the year. Manifest also doubled its total viewers in the Live +7 ratings for the second week in a row. If you’re still on the fence about watching because you’re worried about renewal, these ratings are as close as you’re going to get to a guaranteed 2nd season, at this stage of the game.
Images courtesy of NBC.