During Monday’s episode of Manifest, I couldn’t help but let out a yell at Michaela Stone (Sorry, Melissa Roxburgh, my devotion to you remains unshaken), as she essentially dropped the bomb of her tryst with Jared to Lourdes, then proceeded to kind of wiggle out of her inability to BS by saying Lourdes already knew.
That wasn’t exactly accurate, which leads me to believe that in her heart, Michaela wanted to spill the beans, wanted to see Jared and Lourdes move apart, and wants her man back. As she noted, it hasn’t been five-plus years for her, so her feelings still burn hot for Jared — and obviously he feels a “back atcha, baby” vibe.
But I wasn’t so much ticked off at Michaela for her terrible poker face, or the slight bending of the actual events. No, I have grown so weary of feeling bad for this character.
It seems that since she’s been back, Michaela has been the very definition of “one step forward, three steps back.” Happiness, contentment, satisfaction (except for that one night) seem to constantly elude her. Honestly, Michaela Stone must be exhausted as well – and I credit Roxburgh for putting in the kind of work that gives us a character we inherently like, but are also unwaveringly worried about episode after episode. That’s tiring, man.
And then, in the midst of all that relational turmoil, Cal seems to indicate “the wolf” will come after Michaela, followed by a guy coming back to life after having been submerged in a delivery truck for eight hours. And, did he essentially growl at Michaela when he came too (LOL, probably not, but a fun near tie-in)? Is he the wolf? Does his revival portend ill-intent toward our lovely Mick?
With two episodes to go, “Upgrade” provided some tantalizing clues for our gang as we head to the final two episodes. However, Michaela Stone, I ache for happiness to find you — but that’s probably not in the cards by the time season 1 ends. So, we’ll keep a good thought for you.
So, turns out Cal and our new friend Zeke have a shared dream experience — the big, bad wolf at the door. Now, what’s interesting here is that Cal must intuitively know that this is a bad, bad thing. He doesn’t want to talk about it, doesn’t want to go into it in any detail, forcing Grace and Zeke to pow wow (Ben is, of course, off on a rescue mission. More on that in a bit) to figure out how to get Cal comfy.
It’s fairly clear that Zeke and Cal are forming an interesting little bond of trust. Though they have come through the “dark lightning” effect in different places and times, the experience has kind of bound them together. Cal eventually relents after Zeke shows Cal he’s not the harbinger of doom just because he dreams and draws.
So when the negotiations are over, Cal draws a picture of “the wolf” in an attack posture towards Michaela. As noted before, our non-drowned guy in the delivery truck could be the wolf, but I have some doubts, particularly given the sneak peek at next week’s episode. Is it The Major, whom we get a bite of as she counsels patience to her underlings.
She’s far too confident and, as we suspected, hopes to harness Cal’s special abilities for military use. I believe the phrase she used was “weaponize?” Oh, what a perfectly shadowy government agency our Major must be part of, though I get the feeling that the climax of this quest is not going to go the way she hopes. There’s still a big shoe to drop, right? I mean, you feel it, too?
I think Cal’s got some skills up his sleeve that we haven’t seen yet. And Ben is certainly not going to go quietly into this good night of snatching his son. No, for all her confidence, The Major may have a few surprises come her way by season’s end.
And we have a cult on our hands. Let’s see, a few weeks ago we had the emergence of the 828 hate groups. A surly, snarly, ignorant lot that seemed to read dread consequences in the eyes of “the returned.” Now, led by one of Flight 828’s own passengers, we’ve got a religious movement on the march, something that nearly turned deadly.
While Ben scoffs at the formation of this religious sect as a scam, I think the leaders’ explanation wasn’t all that off the mark. Ben sees a problem that needs solving, while others see a miracle that needs remembering. Who’s to say who is right or wrong on that account? I’m not sure our would-be spiritual leader is on the up-and-up, but in a world where people need hope, who decides where, when and in whom they find it?
Not I, though the impressive cash pile in the “offering plate” was tantalizing.
Of course, religious fervor can go off the rails. We saw that when one of the religious sect’s patrons is convinced that the 828ers have the power to cure the cancer that’s ravaging her husband’s body. To that end, she lures Dr. Saanvi to her home to take a look at her man and, when it’s clear nothing can be done, the wife just kind of loses it – just loses is big-time. You know, irrational thought, threatening behavior and words, waving the gun around – all the good stuff.
It’s a great comment on the desperation someone in that situation has to deal with, and where normally rational people will go to find a spark of hope to make it all better. When all hope is lost, you’ll look for hope in the unlikeliest of places. In her case, the 828ers. Sad, but in some ways understandable.
Dr. Saanvi was in real danger in a situation that escalated past the point of no return. Fortunately, Ben was on the case (His sleuthing skills are really impressive, aren’t they?). He puts two-and-two together from a flyer dropped in Saanvi’s office and a prayer request on the bulletin board at this new church and before you can say “Hand me the gun,” he and Michaela are on the scene.
Ben is completely repulsed by the “holy 828” vibe, but uses it to gain access to the apartment and, with Michaela’s sneaky talents, save Saanvi. Again, desperation and hope are often close cousins. In this episode, we got a first-hand look at that relationship and how the 828ers are morphing into cogs in the bigger wheel – often pushed in directions they have no idea they’d end up in.
It’s kind of incredible and special, but as we’ve seen, also scary. The returners don’t have any idea where or when something new is going to come at them. The search for normalcy, even a “new normal,” continually seems to elude these folks (Yes Michaela, I’m looking at your – poor dear).
So here we are, two episodes to go in the inaugural season of Manifest. I think it has been a good ride with some interesting elements. I worry about Michaela turning into a soap opera-like tragic figure and Ben continually being the clue-solving do-gooder, but those are minor worries.
All-in-all, I think Manifest has been an interesting addition to the TV landscape and while the mystery burns about the flight, the interweaving of other mysteries within that story have been very interesting – and thought-provoking. The cast is stellar and delivers week after week. So, what’s not to like?
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