Manifest: Season Ends With A Possible Expiration Date – Review, Ep. 116

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For all that Griffin was not, in the end he offered a water-logged little clue.

And thanks to Ben Stone’s nimble mind and Olive’s considerable skills, the pig that was Griffin (played with joyful self-interest by Marc Menchaca. Loved this character even as I loathed him) told us something about our Flight 828 passengers — the length of time they were gone could very well be the length of time they have to live now that they are back.

Whatever they went through, and the unique sets of skills they are encountering now, could all have an expiration date. Manifest’s season finale, “Estimated Time of Departure,” not only revealed that the clock on the passengers could be ticking down to an end on June 2, 2024, but dropped a few other tasty tidbits in our laps to ponder during the off-season.

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: Marc Menchaca as Griffin — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

It wasn’t a season finale that had a lot of shooting, exploding or general mayhem, but an episode that tossed us multiple clues to think on as we await the second season.

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the subtle reveals and all that it could mean moving forward. As a cliff-hanger, episode 116 worked just fine for me. There’s a lot to unwrap, so let’s get into it, shall we?

Now that Cal has been convinced that if he draws it, he won’t make it happen, he reveals a disturbing picture, but only to Zeke. On it, we see three grave markers for he, Ben and Michaela. That early reveal leads us down the path that eventually ties that mystery into an interesting little bow.

Griffin, our erstwhile killer-turned-calling receiver has not only leveraged his knowledge of a bomb plot (that was thwarted) to beat a murder rap, but has chosen to use “the callings” for his own personal gain. As he noted to Michaela, “the callings” don’t come with an instruction manual and true to his self-absorbed, damaged self, decides he’s gonna take his talents public — very public.

And reap the rewards financially for it. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit, Griffin.

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone, Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, Marc Menchaca as Griffin — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Oh Griffin, if only you knew what was to befall you. Michaela and Ben want to talk him down from his appearance on a daytime news show, while Zeke, who also sees the danger that would come with “the callings” becoming public knowledge, looks to resort to other means besides talk.

Zeke’s little foray into buying a gun is deliciously interesting given that Jared is hot on his trail and thinks Zeke is reverting back to his junkie roots.

Jared’s jealousy of Zeke and Michaela’s connection via “the callings” is an interesting study of a man who simply wants it so bad that he’s willing to talk himself into anything to make his narrative – “the narrative.” And it leads Jared on a fool’s errand; first to have Zeke followed, then to misinterpret what Zeke is doing, then to finally barge into Zeke’s place looking for drugs. And that’s where it all turns ugly.

Naturally, a brouhaha ensues and, as Michaela bursts into the room, a gun goes off. Cliffhanger No. 1 is who, if anyone, got shot? Was it Jared and will Michaela rush to his side as Zeke pleads self-defense. Or will it be Zeke? That should probably be enough for her to push Jared away once and for all. She and Zeke have a connection and she wasn’t having much of Jared’s protestations before.

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, Athena Karkanis as Grace Stone — (Photo by: Jeff Daly/NBC/Warner Brothers)

As an aside, I had to chuckle when Michaela got all over Jared for his protective bent, of being reactionary and letting his emotions get in the way. Let’s face it, Michaela Stone has run off, made poor decisions and been wonderfully reactionary on any number of occasions this season. Just kind of ironic to me. Poor Jared.

I’m thinking Jared’s drive to protect Michaela (with a dash of jealousy on top) may be what undoes a relationship that felt tenuous as it was. They don’t want to give up “on us,” but a bullet in Zeke’s skull may create the impetus to make it happen anyway.

So we got that little moment to contemplate while Manifest gears up for season 2. What else? Well, we’ve got the whole Griffin upchucks the East River gambit in front of the whole world (I’m assuming it was caught on video by someone). As Griffin essentially tells Mick and Ben to stuff their protestations and let him get on with making millions, he suddenly begins spewing water at an impressive and alarming rate.

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: Matt Long as Zeke — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/Warner Brothers)

When all is said and done, he’s dead. The autopsy shows Griffin drowned on dry land. MIchaela thinks it’s punishment for misusing “the callings,” while Ben discovers an interesting little twist — Griffin was submerged for 82 hours and 8 minutes, then lived for 82 hours and 8 minutes after he came out of the van. Uh oh, you know where this is going?

So does Ben once he sees the time of death on the autopsy report. He goes home, puts pencil to paper and through quick calculations, comes up with June 2, 2024. Which is confirmed by Olive who, through her piecing together of the clues, and a nifty little visual presentation (complete with reconstructed wood dinosaur), sees the picture come together just like her dad.

Could it be that the passengers of Flight 828 have until June 2, 2024 to live? That’s the message we were left with by the end of the episode, which is certainly plenty of time to film multiple seasons of Manifest, but doesn’t give the passengers a whole lot of time.

And how do ‘the callings” fit into this. Do they have this amount of time to change their destiny or right as many wrongs or help as many people as possible?

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Jenna Kurmemaj as Young Olive, Jack Messina as Cal Stone — (Photo by: Jeff Daly/NBC/Warner Brothers)

Remember Cal’s picture early on of the three grave stones? That’s where we tie it in. In the end, Cal essentially knew it as well. I’ve been more and more impressed by Cal’s growing maturity in this show.

At times it comes across to me as a bit of a distracted resignation to things, but I think there’s a lot going on in Cal’s noggin’ and he has to spend a lot of time trying to sort through things.

So, we’ve got a shot that may have killed either Zeke or Jared, a potential death date for Flight 828 passengers, and what else?

Glad you asked. Remember that special marker in the blood of the 828 passengers, as well as Zeke and then Griffin? Turns out an enterprising young blood technician, demonstrating incredibly annoying initiative, has found the marker. He’s excited to share his findings with  Dr. Saanvi for potential publication.

While the young doctor is a veritable bag of excitement, Saanvi recognizes the danger of it getting out and the reaction of the public. In a time when the passengers are trying to fly under the radar, and dealing with hate groups and religious cults to boot, the special blood marker getting out could prove problematic.

MANIFEST — “Estimated Time of Departure” Episode 116 — Pictured: (l-r) Jenna Kurmemaj as Young Olive, Athena Karkanis as Grace Stone — (Photo by: Jeff Daly/NBC/Warner Brothers)

And to make matters worse, Saanvi is still struggling with her recent run-in with “crazed gun-totting lady.” The PTSD keeps manifesting itself and a colleague of hers offers her a name that can provide therapy. I think it’s safe to say that’s a good call for Dr. Saanvi, who makes an appointment and then shows up for her session … wait for it … the door opens and “The Major” welcomes her in.

Yes, The Major is playing a psychiatrist and now has Dr. Saanvi in the chair. The goal is still to determine if Cal is the “holy grail,” but now we’ve got some sinister stuff going on that directly involves Dr. Saanvi. How wonderfully manipulative for The Major and her henchmen and women.

So as the door closes to her office, we’re left to wonder what will become of Dr. Saanvi and will she be the way in for The Major to make a play for Cal? Oh, Dr. Saanvi…say it ain’t so.

Even though the first season of Manifest lasted 16 episodes over two periods, I thought that even with a couple of lulls in the plots and character development, things finished with an interesting flourish. The characters are fleshed out at this point and with multiple plot questions that are begging for answers, the prospects of season 2 are really encouraging.

I thought it was a good start, folks. Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, Athena Karkanis, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Jared Vasquez, Parveen Kaur and their fellow players, along with the writers and show runner built us a fun little world that offered interesting and complex stories that, while sometimes played to trope, often had nice wrinkles to them.

For me, 16 episodes is a little long, but after struggling with the show for a bit, I found the homestretch delightfully interesting. And I’m ready for season 2.

Follow me on Twitter: @jbakeR2D2 and @threeifbyspace.

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John Baker