Manifest: Hate Group Rising, Stone Family Healing – Review, EP. 113

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New information, new players, and the lovely reunion of the Stone family highlighted episode 113 of “Manifest.” In truth it was not one of my favorite episodes of the first season, but it moved the story along and included some interesting twists and turns, including the unveiling of an 828 hate group.

Interesting how people’s imagination and biases, in lieu of thoughtful discernment, lead them down destructive paths. Well, the big red “X” marks the spot of a group that is now targeting the 828 survivors. I’m with you, I see no good coming off this.

And in episode 113, “Cleared for Approach,” we got a tremendous example of that when Ben Stone gives in to his impulsive angels and confronts the leader of this particular group. Now, I’m with Ben in terms of my inner rage at a brick through my window and a red “X” painted on my door, particularly given the general ignorance of something like this. This Cody Webber guy (played with smug pugnacity by Patrick Murney) needs to be dealt with.

MANIFEST — “Cleared for Approach” Episode 113 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, Patrick Murney as Cody Webber — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

But Ben admitted that he’s at a loss to do anything to help his family, or protect them from the strange machinations that keep coming, so when he sees an opportunity to make the dumb play — he makes it. With gusto. On a live stream.

Ben, Ben, Ben, you need to get a tighter grip on your emotions, my fine fellow. You have made poor decisions at just about every important turn so far this season, alienating your family under the guise of “protecting them,” and now putting a mean-spirited face to this hate group that has popped up. Instead of letting the authorities do their job, you used Jared, went to the leader’s place of business, and gave them exactly what they lusted after — attention.

I love how Josh Dallas plays Ben Stone, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I find Ben a little frustrating at times. I get it, he’s a puzzle solver and desperately wants to protect his family, but in the course of 13 episodes of the inaugural season, he’s had some victories but on the whole has made poor decisions that cost him far more than he’s won.

MANIFEST — “Cleared for Approach” Episode 113 — Pictured: (l-r) Luna Blaise as Olive Stone, Jack Messina as Cal Stone — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

It was great to see the Stones reconcile, but let’s note that it was Grace’s persistent digging at her husband to be honest, and then Olive’s little bomb that she was aware of “the callings,” that really cemented this family back together. The secrets were simply killing trust and relational stability and Ben, for all his good intentions, was the catalyst for that. In the end, his family pulled the strings that forced his hand.

Good for the Stone family. And dad, that’s your tipping point. Be honest, be constructive and for the love of Thor’s hammer, control that impulsiveness. “The Major” could make good use of that to lure you into something very unpleasant. Just fair warning.

I love the neurosis and paranoia of the 828 hate group. It’s so wonderfully “now” and reality based for the times we live in today. All the 828ers want is to pick up the pieces of the life they’d left and, of course, that’s simply impossible given that the world around them has moved on nearly six years into the future.

Now with anti-828 groups popping up, the stress and agitation will only grow. Ignorance, it’s what’s for dinner for some people.

MANIFEST — “Cleared for Approach” Episode 113 — Pictured: (l-r) Joe Lisi as Clerk, Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Should be interesting to see where this all goes. Could “The Major” be orchestrating this little venture? Just to keep Ben Stone’s attention elsewhere as other plans are put in place? Worth thinking on. Unfortunately, we also know that ignorant people are frightened people and they react rather than discern. The 828 hate groups are an example of that process playing out.

Or maybe the passengers truly are alien plants meant to raze humanity in prep for a colonization by another species? Naaaah. Aagggh, it’s an invasion, an invasion, I tell you! That nut job on the website is right!!! Nope, not likely.

So while the Stones are dealing with this new irritation in their lives, as well as reconciling in a cocoon of honesty (at last), Michaela and new pal Zeke heed their own dual calling to revisit the cave Zeke had been trapped in.

An interesting twist in that this calling came about when the pair touched, and set them under a backdrop of a nighttime starry sky. Definitely different and at first I wasn’t a fan, but as it appeared several more times, I got the vibe and the subtle meaning.

MANIFEST — “Cleared for Approach” Episode 113 — Pictured: Josh Dallas as Ben Stone — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

And as Zeke and Michaela pursued their interpretation of the calling, we find out more about Zeke, his responsibility in his younger sister’s death on the mountain, and the calling’s push for him to stand before his sister’s memory and make amends. This whole storyline was touching as Zeke and Michaela find they both feel responsible for the death of a loved one. Common ground – a good place for healing to begin.

Matt Long does a really good job of showing us the conflict and struggle that Zeke has in facing the past. The mountain has a lot of meaning for him and it’s not all good. It’s painful to be there and he’s never stood over the marker his parents set near the ravine his sister fell into. But with Michaela’s help, and shared experiences, he’s finally able to do that – and build a little marker of his own.

As Michaela tells him, it’s not about healing, it’s about a little of the weight getting lifted off. An interesting storyline that I enjoyed, particularly with two people who finally found someone they could share with. It’s an important development for both as we’re moving forward. These two connect, don’t they?

MANIFEST — “Cleared for Approach” Episode 113 — Pictured: (l-r) Matt Long as Zeke, Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC/Warner Brothers)

How much? Well, in the midst of an “out of nowhere” lightning storm, at petroglyph of sorts reveals itself on a rock. The two on the rock are holding hands, just as Michaela and Zeke are at that moment. Creepy interesting, right. Looks like Zeke’s in this thing now, in it big-time, so I’m looking forward to seeing the part he plays in all this.

So through all of this, and thanks once again to Ben’s nibble hands (nice lifting of the blooding bandage, sir), we find through Dr. Saanvi’s analysis that Zeke has the same unique marker in his blood that the 828 passengers possess. Was the plane the instigator of this time distortion and Zeke got caught in the residual wash? An interesting theory. Are there others like Zeke out there?

We’ve got three episodes left to figure out where this is all going as we look toward a second season. The Major is lurking, the hate group is organizing and mischievous, the Stones are back together, Michaela has found a friend, Jared pines for Michaela, and Dr. Saanvi continues to find interesting clues. I did not like that big red “X” on her door, though. If the 828 haters strike at the lovely doctor, all the gloves are off. I”m turning Ben Stone loose on those guys.

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John Baker