Manifest Season 1 Episode 8: Point of No Return Recap


The Point of No Return, this week’s episode title, refers to the point that’s THE point where there’s no turning back, where the decisions you make and the actions you take are irreversible. For the most part, this episode leaves the point of no return in each storyline mysterious, though it’s clear that life altering decisions are being made and confrontations are coming. For Harvey, the passenger of the week with a death wish, the point seems obvious, but is it? Was he doomed when he started telling stories in O’Ryan’s Tavern, or did he doom himself by overthinking the pattern?

We’re given very little information about Harvey, so we don’t know if he was getting callings that put the ideas of angels or death into his head. We don’t know what he ignored and what he followed. All we know for sure is that he gave up, in a way that he couldn’t turn back from.

This episode, each character commits to a course of action that could lead to a disaster or could help. Cal returns to school, where his friends are 5 years ahead of him and everyone else thinks of him as the 828 kid. He’s grateful to get some normalcy back in his life, but remains aware that it could all disappear in a moment when the experiments start again.

Grace and Ben return to their pre-828 routine of Friday night date nights, while Jared and Lourdes decide to stick to their plans to start a family. But both marriages are weakened by lies and deceptions. Jared and Ben each have a connection with someone other than their wives, and they both have ongoing involvements in the 828 case that they haven’t mentioned to them.

Michaela receives a verbal calling that’s as vague as the previous callings, but this one doesn’t clarify itself by the end of the episode. It comes with another angel reference and several deaths, leading her to question everything she thought she knew about the callings. They’ve been her lifeline since she returned home, and now she’s seeing their dark side. But she can’t ignore them and she doesn’t know who her latest calling is referring to. (I think it’s Cal.)

As part of the investigation into the missing passengers, Vance and Fiona take chances that might put them at risk with their employers. Either could be fired or locked up for the unauthorized surveillance they take part in. They seem to have gone straight past a point of no return in their dedication to the passengers’ cause.

Fiona is a passenger, but doesn’t seem to be affected the way the others are. UDS is trying to use her as the public face of their research project, while they decide whether they can trust her with knowledge of the experiments. Once The Singularity Project finds the bug, they’ll know she’s switched sides. Vance is supposed to be observing the passengers, but he’s realized that he’s being observed as well. By the end of the episode, he’s likely tipped his hand to the UDS mole, so that they know which side he’s really on.

Ben takes the biggest risks of all, in his determination to do whatever he can to save Cal and the others. He’s shaken by what he discovers about the other passengers, and his fear about what it means for Cal causes him to behave recklessly. Is he hurtling toward a rescue of Cal, Marko and the others, or toward arrest and jail time for corporate espionage? Either way, he’s in too deep to stop now.

The opening Flight 828 flashback extends the scene of the flight landing, when Ben and Michaela discovered they had no cell service. Ben turns to Cal and reassures him that there was no reason to be afraid of flying. Cal corrects his Dad, explaining that it wasn’t the flight he was afraid of.

He doesn’t want to be back in New York, with the return to reality that brings with it. In NY, he has cancer and can’t go to school anymore, or do much of anything else. His life is ending here, and he doesn’t want to die.

Ben and Michaela put on their concern faces, which segues into Ben sitting on Cal’s bed in the present day, watching him sleep and looking concerned. He goes to the kitchen for some comfort food, where Michaela is already having her preferred, Mom-approved comfort snack of Fig Newtons. Ben pulls out the Rocky Road ice cream, the comfort snack Mom kept for him.

I think we can tell which kid Mom liked better.

Ben tells Michaela that Cal wants to go back to school. Grace and Dr Williams are all for it, but he knows that the experiments on Marko will start up again and make Cal sick. Michaela advises Ben to let Cal act like a normal kid while he can, and to find a new normal for the rest of the family as well. Their 828 problems could go on for a long time, and they shouldn’t waste the good parts of their lives. Besides, she thinks it’s strategic to pretend that they aren’t working on figuring out what’s going on, so that they have the element of surprise when they find the missing passengers.

Meanwhile, the suit in charge of the experiments checks in with the lead scientist on how rebuilding the lab is going. The scientist expects to be ready in 48 hours, including creating a clean room. Suit is worried about what Vance is doing with the personal day he took today, so he wants the timeline accelerated and the lab operational in 18 hours.

Ben wakes Grace up in the morning with a cup of her favorite coffee and good news. He tells her that he wants Cal to go back to school and for them to reinstitute date night. Grace is thrilled.

They get Cal enrolled in school that morning with a phone call. Olive will walk him to school today and eat lunch with him. No parents necessary. At school she holds his hand, so he won’t be nervous.

Michaela complains that she has to ride patrol with Jared, even though she’s trying to keep her distance from him. The Captain is insisting on the assignment. Grace wonders if it’s Jared insisting.

Michaela has barely gotten to work when she’s told that she’s needed at the scene of a potential suicide. The man is from Flight 828 and is ready to jump off the roof of his synagogue.

When Ben gets to work, his boss Ronnie calls him over to look at a Flight 828 fan site filled with photos and stories about the passengers. Right then, a fire alarm goes off and they need to evacuate the building. Ben sees Vance outside, pretending to tie his shoe, so they go to a deserted corner to talk.

The first thing Vance does is throw Ben’s phone on the ground and stomp on it. After all, he knows for a fact that Ben’s phone is being watched. Then he answers the question Ben asked, telling him that pulling the fire alarm himself would be obvious and rudimentary. Instead, Vance “caused the fire alarm to happen.”

So Vance is a bit of a pyro. He’s become so much more interesting since he went rogue. And he’s realized that he and Ben need to work together.

Vance admits that he doesn’t understand the raw data, but thinks Ben might. They go back and forth for a minute, arguing over the past and what each has done because it was his job (Vance) or he felt he had to (Ben). Vance tells Ben that he doesn’t blame him for trying to protect his family. He wants Ben to understand that they had similar motivations. Vance is trying to protect his country.

He gives Ben a new air-gapped laptop with the raw data already loaded onto it, and a new encrypted, untraceable phone with Ben’s phone data and Vance’s number already transferred. Vance asks Ben to look at the data, then call him. Ben, not wanting Vance to think he’s easy, says he’ll think about it.


Patient 4 was getting slammed with a high voltage, but it didn’t increase their brainwave levels.

Ben goes back to work and looks at the Singularity Project data while Ronnie’s back is turned. He discovers that it’s medical data, including Alpha and Beta brainwave measurements, but it also includes voltage measurements, which measure electricity levels.

Confused, Ben calls Dr Clarke to ask if she can clarify why they’d be experimenting with electricity. Dr Clarke immediately understands what’s happening, and explains that the Singularity Project is trying to replicate experiments she did on rats.

Dr Clarke: “Oh my God, the callings. They’re trying to artificially replicate them. [Ben: How?] Electrico-cortical stimulation. I used it on rats, trying to connect the brainwaves of multiple subjects. Most of them died in the process. What Singularity’s doing is wildly theoretical and dangerous. We have to stop these people, no matter what!”

Ben: “We will.”

Ben gets off the phone and comes up with a fake excuse to ask Ronnie for USD property risk reports. Ronnie doesn’t have them, because USD is notoriously slow in updating their records, but Ronnie is also always so busy with client meetings that he can’t get to filing reports. Ben offers to create an algorithm that will run thousands of records at once as a batch file. Ronnie just has to share records with Ben that he’s legally not allowed to.

Ronnie hands over the data, with the caveat that it’s their little secret. He’s also late for a meeting and can’t find his company ID for the client. As he’s helping Ronnie find the ID, Ben notices that he keeps all of his corporate IDs in a pile on top of his desk.


Michaela is brought to the roof of the synagogue where Harvey is contemplating suicide. She starts talking to him as they fit her into a harness and rope, telling him that she understands what he’s going through because she’s a passenger too, and is going through the same things.

Harvey tries to tell Michaela that he’s not suicidal because of the natural responses to returning home after 5 years. Harvey says that, “People are dying. It has to stop. I’m gonna be next. That’s the only way.”

Michaela asks who’s dying, and continues to try to get Harvey to relate to her as another passenger who can relate to his experiences. He doesn’t believe her, and jumps, saying, “Then you can understand this!”

Mick calls Ben for support, since she thinks she failed the calling. She doesn’t understand why, or what it might mean. Ben wants to know what Harvey meant when he said “People are dying.”

Grace goes shopping for makeup for her date night with Ben. She consults with Olive on the phone about her choices, and has Olive give her every detail about bringing Cal to school. On the way to the cash register, Grace runs into Lourdes, who’s buying a fertility kit. Lourdes explains that she and Jared had planned to start trying for a baby after Lourdes finished her Masters degree. Lourdes’ thesis was just approved, so she’s ready to get started.

And ready to solidify her hold on Jared.

Jared and Michaela search Harvey’s apartment for clues. Michaela tells Jared that when she met Harvey right after the flight, he seemed strong and tough. But he came home to an empty life, with no one waiting for him. Jared comforts her, pointing out that when someone has decided to jump, there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

Michaela looks in Harvey’s bedroom, and finds “I am the Angel of Death” spray painted in blood red on Harvey’s wall. She’s reminded that he told her “People are dying.” Jared takes a closer look through the papers and photos on Harvey’s counter. He has photos and articles about several people, and a T-shirt from O’Ryan’s Tavern. Two of Harvey’s friends from the bar have died within the last few days.


Cal sits with Olive and their old friends at lunch, who go out of their way to make Cal feel welcome. It looked like everyone else in the cafeteria was staring at Cal, but he rebonded with his friends over a Dorito sandwich.

Ben meets with Vance and tells him that he’s found 700 potential properties where the missing passengers could have been moved so far, based on the list he got from Ronnie. He wants to send Dr Clarke in to talk to her contact at the Singularity Project again, and have her plant a bug while she’s there. It’s a dangerous move, but they might overhear a conversation that would help narrow down the location. Vance doesn’t like it, but he gives in.


He suggests that Ben gives Singularity a little nudge while Dr Clarke is there. She “accidentally’ drops a pen, giving her cover for putting the bug on the underside of the desk. Once he knows the bug is in place, Ben does a network-wide search for “experiments” and “Flight 828”.

The supervisor cuts short his meeting with Dr Clarke when he finds out about the search. He calls someone he refers to as “Major” to inform them. He tells Major that they’ve already successfully moved the test subjects to Brooklyn, so there’s no need to worry.

Ben and Vance now 3 have data points, so they can use cell phone data to triangulate a location. But they need to use NSA resources to obtain the cell phone data. Vance will have to tip his hand.

Jared and Michaela question the bartender at O’Ryan’s Tavern about Harvey. She tells them that he was a regular, and he liked to tell stories about Flight 828. He told the whole bar that he knew the plane was going to explode. His dead friends are two of the people he told. Michaela becomes afraid that something will happen to Jared and Grace because she and Ben told them about the callings.

Back at the station, Jared pulls the files on Susan and Rick, Harvey’ dead friends. Susan left the bar with a .23 blood alcohol level, a level so high she should have barely been able to walk, and stumbled in front of a bus. Rick was training for a marathon and dropped dead from a massive arterial blockage while out on a 5 mile run. Jared thinks these reports prove that both were going to die anyway, so Michaela should stop worrying.

Michaela asks, “How do we know it’s not the universe pulling the strings?” Jared doesn’t know what that even means, but Michaela is undeterred. If something happened to Jared because of her, she’d never forgive herself.

Grace gets all dressed up for her date, while Olive and Cal plan a TV party with Kevin. Ben is working late and meeting her at the restaurant. Michaela comes home and compliments Grace on her date look. Grace tells Mick that she saw Lourdes at the store with a fertility kit. She also says that she’s “not trying to stir the pot.”

Grace wants Michaela to be happy and have a full life, but she thinks that Jared is moving on. Michaela realizes that she needs to move on from Jared.

Grace does look really fantastic. Ben makes it to the restaurant on time. They start their date with a toast to each other, the future, and all good things. Grace is thrilled that she’s getting so much attention and their lives seem so normal.


Vance calls in an agent named Tabitha to run a triangulation of every cell phone that’s been in the three areas that they know Singularity operates within the last 48 hours. Tabitha asks which op it’s for so she can assign a file number, but Vance says he’ll take care of it. Tabitha looks at him like this is an unusual request.

Michaela goes over her case notes, then switches to looking at old photos from when she and Jared were together. When Grace and Ben get home, Ben thanks her for convincing him have a date night, because Grace really needed it, and he’s going to lose his job soon.

Michaela tells Ben about Harvey and his dead friends. Ben is just as worried about Grace and Jared as Michaela is. Michaela adds that she failed the calling, and she’s worried they’ll be punished.

She gets a call to go work a death scene, which turns out to be the bartender at O’Ryan’s. She was outside the bar having a cigarette when a power line fell onto the dumpster. She touched the dumpster and was electrocuted. Michaela tells Jared that he can’t deny that there’s now a pattern of deaths connected to Harvey.

I’ll add in that they’re all freak deaths, since Rick’s doctor should have caught his medical issue before it got so bad. And it would have been treatable if he’d gotten medical attention fast enough.

Jared still thinks it’s all a coincidence, because Harvey told half the people in the bar, and they can’t all die. He wants Michaela to go home and rest. They’re not going to worry about this.

Surely 4 people who were regulars at the same bar dying within about 4 days of each other ought to warrant an investigation, even without the 828 connection. Those were all the kinds of deaths you use when you want to make a murder look accidental, even Harvey’s. Then you use Harvey to make sure they put the detective on it who’ll assume supernatural causes for the connection, and you’ve gotten away with a serial killing.

Michaela decides she’s not going to risk Jared’s life any further, and tells him to stop trying to take care of her. She knows he and Lourdes are trying to have a baby. He’s surprised that Lourdes told Mick, so she lets him know that Lourdes told Grace, who told her. Then Mick tells him that she won’t get in the way of that, and walks away. As she leaves, she hears the calling again, whispering, “Don’t lose him.”

Grace is already asleep when Ben gets a text from Vance saying it’s “Go time”. He gets out of bed to go meet Vance and notices that Cal is lying wide awake in bed. He asks Cal what’s wrong. Cal says that he had fun at school and liked seeing his friends, but he’s afraid he’ll lose it all again. He’s scared that if he closes his eyes, when he opens them, it will all be gone. Ben promises repeatedly that he’ll make things okay, he won’t let anyone hurt Cal, and he’ll make the things Cal loves last. He tells Cal that he’s going to work this magic right now.

Vance explains that they’ve narrowed the potential phones which have been in all 3 locations down to 19, and 17 of those belong to service providers who have reasons for moving around. That leaves two burner phones that are pinging towers in Red Hook and using a high-level masking protocol which only four agencies in the world use, including the NSA.

But there aren’t any properties within the radius that belong to UDS. Vance and Ben figure out that recently acquired properties haven’t been logged into the system yet. Ben decides to borrow Ronnie’s UDS ID and search the paper records of recent property acquisitions in the UDS records room. Vance points out that there will be cameras everywhere, so he’ll eventually be spotted, fired and arrested, but Ben thinks it’s worth the risk to save Cal and the other passengers. Vance agrees to the plan, since he doesn’t know who he can trust at the NSA.

Ben makes his way to the UDS records room, searches the files, finds the right property, and photographs the file without any trouble. He leaves the building without anyone noticing him.

The next morning, Grace finds a note from Ben which says he’s running an errand. She smiles, then goes to look in on the kids, who are eating breakfast together, and her smile widens. She thinks her life has fallen into place again, but she’s very mistaken.

Ben and Michaela are with Vance, who’s researching the property Ben found. They feel certain that this is the right one, a chemical warehouse near the waterhouse, with no public access.

Michaela tells Ben that she heard the new calling a second time. They’re still worried about how the callings will affect Jared and Grace. Michaela wants to do something to protect them. Ben advises her that finding the passengers is doing something. They just need to get to them in time.

The medical suite in the warehouse is almost complete. There are spots for at least ten test subjects. The USD scientist tells the supervisor that they’re tesing the current, and it’ll be online soon. He sends a jolt of electricity into Markos, which Cal feels back on his couch at home. Marko and Cal both grimace in pain.

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I’m so glad that they’re not having Cal be a brave little soldier about his illness. It’s such a relief to see honesty about the loss and fear that come with serious illness, instead of just focussing on the physical pain and possibly death.

In his short life, Cal’s faced end stage cancer, a 5 1/2 year gap in his timeline during which his entire world changed, and now an unexplainable and unpredictable illness that’s connected to experiments being done on someone else. He’s acutely aware of how little control we ultimately have over our lives, and how easily it can all disappear.

He knows that Ben can’t actually fix it so easily, and it’s probably not really helpful for Ben to keep making promises that he can’t keep, instead of doing more listening and supporting. Being there and telling Cal that he’s trying are great, but promising to fix what might not be fixable isn’t.

Air gapped computer= a physically isolated computer that isn’t connected to the internet or any outside system, so it can’t be breached wirelessly. Used to keep computers secure from outside interference, since data can only be transferred using physical means, such as a flash drive or ethernet cable.

We get a vague theory of what Singularity is doing this week, based on Dr Clarke’s old work. In real life, most of the work that’s been done on mirror neurons has also been done through animal experimentation.

Still no in-universe scientific theories about the callings. Dr Clarke hasn’t even done a physical exam on any other passengers, or checked to see if there’s anything subtly unusual about their brainwaves. She might know to look for something that the NSA missed.

I’m having a hard time with the vagueness of the callings. It’s as easy to send “Don’t lose Jared”, or Cal, or Harvey, as it is to send “Don’t lose him”. Using non-specific callings as major plot devices is wearing thin with me. If it’s so important that the passengers get these callings right, then whoever’s sending them can use a code that they can understand.

The fact that they continue to be so vague makes me wonder if the callings are experiments and tests. Maybe whoever is sending them isn’t sure who the receiver will be, so they send something that almost anyone could interpret to apply to someone in their sphere. When the callings are specific, it may be a matter of the receiver being in the right place at the right time, such as with the Pyler sisters.

Cal is a special case, and seems to have something completely different going on. But I also haven’t ruled out that Fiona Clarke is knowingly working with Singularity, and is responsible for what happened to the flight and for the passengers’ callings. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover she’s luring more passengers to her talks and facilities so she can help disappear them into becoming test subjects. She believed Ben and Saanvi very quickly, with very little evidence.

No appearance by Saanvi this week. I wonder if they wanted to make it clear when Grace and Ben’s marriage implodes that it’s all their own doing and Saanvi isn’t the other woman who got in between them. They have serious communication issues, and had them before Flight 828. It seems like they want different things from a partner, with Ben wanting a true partner who shares everything, and Grace wanting a soft focus romance with the harsher truths hidden from each other.

I honestly don’t know whether to believe that Grace ran to tell Mick about Lourdes because she loves to cause drama and doesn’t like Mick much, or because she honestly wanted Mick to know the truth so she wouldn’t get in any deeper with Jared. But whenever someone says something like they’re not trying to stir the pot, they usually are.

I’m interested in Jared’s reaction to finding out that Michaela knows he and Lourdes are trying for a baby. I expected that he would be upset, and he seemed to be. I think that he and Lourdes might have agreed not to tell Mick just yet, because it would hurt Mick, and Jared thinks she’s still too fragile to handle it.

The unusual part is the way Lourdes made sure to wave the fertility kit in Grace’s face, so she couldn’t miss it. I think she knows Grace is a gossip who would run right to Mick, and who wouldn’t mind hurting Mick a little. So Lourdes gets to make sure Mick knows that Jared is still choosing her, while being able to say that telling Grace was an accident.

Wonder how long she stalked Grace, waiting for her to go into a store that sells the right products.



Images courtesy of NBC.