There’s a moment in the pilot episode of Manifest when it goes from a fairly straightforward sci-fi pilot to a straight up supernatural fantasy. It’s this moment, more than any other in the episode, that hooked me for at least the entirety of the first season. Before we get there though, let’s do a quick rundown of the rest of the episode!
As I’m sure everyone who’s seen the trailers for Manifest already knows, this show is about an airline flight that experiences some turbulence in flight and when they land it turns out five and a half years have passed. For a sci-fi pilot that’s a pretty solid premise. Right up there with Lost for compelling pilots that heavily feature a commercial airline! And it totally delivers on the premise because it’s populated by interesting characters that you want to care about. While the show does come across like an ensemble, the arguable co-leads are Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh) and her brother Ben Stone (Josh Dallas).
For several years now I’ve been convinced Josh Dallas deserved something MUCH better than Once Upon a Time and this pilot makes me feel like he probably found it! Rounding out the cast is Ben’s wife Grace (Athena Karkanis), Michaela’s fiance Jared (J.R. Ramirez), Ben and Grace’s twin children Olive and Cal (Luna Blaise and Jack Messina), and Saanvi (Parveen Kuar), a doctor who’s research breakthrough might be able to cure Cal’s cancer. I’m sure we’ll meet a few more people of import who were on the plane with Ben, Cal, Michaela and Saanvi but for now that’s our cast.
It’s clear from the outset that Michaela is the screw up of the family, based on the fact that every single one of her family members insists she marry Jared the minute they get back to New York from their vacation. I’d argue that if you’re not sure you should marry someone, then you definitely shouldn’t marry them, but that’s just me. Luckily for Michaela their flight is oversold so she, Ben and Cal decide to take vouchers for a later flight and the rest of the family head home without them. Aside from the turbulence the first indication something is wrong is when the pilot tries to hail air traffic control and they are very confused.
Once the plane has landed there’s almost no time at all before some shady government worker is telling them exactly how much time has passed. This feels like the kind of move that would incite a panic but who am I to say? Luckily everyone is reunited pretty quickly. Unluckily, the matriarch of the Stone family died in the ensuing five and a half years so it’s clear there’s going to be quite an extended adjustment period.
It’s not until Michaela reconnects with Jared (and finds out he’s married to her former best friend Lourdes) that we get the aforementioned supernatural fantasy twist that pushed this show into the spectacular for me. Jared is a detective working on a kidnapping case but he’s running out of leads. Michaela starts hearing a voice in her head telling her to “free them” as she runs past a pair of junkyard guard dogs. It turns out Ben is hearing the same voice and so, together, they both release the dogs. Unfortunately, someone catches them in the act and Jared makes Michaela go with him to return the dogs. As soon as Michaela is back at the junkyard though she starts hearing the voice again. It gets louder and louder until she finds a container and breaks the padlock off. Wouldn’t you know? Those missing kids are inside!
So for the moment it seems like Michaela is a hero, but she and Ben are still pretty worried about what might happen if anyone finds out they’re hearing voices. In addition to that, it turns out Grace has been dating someone. I am certain this is going to get super tedious super fast. Five and a half years after your husband’s plane WENT MISSING is definitely long enough to move on and find someone else so you’re not lonely.
The last scene of the episode sees Ben and Michaela along with several of the other passengers of flight 828 show up to the hangar. They all mill around for a little while, not totally sure what they’re doing when all of a sudden the plane explodes in front of them with seemingly no cause. This is sure to be a huge bummer to the shady government guy who wanted to take the plane apart piece by piece to find out “what really happened.” I am more curious about why those specific people were drawn to the plane and what it’s going to mean for the future of this series!
How did you like Manifest?
Do you think five and a half years is long enough to move on from a spouse?
What would you do if five and a half years passed by without you?
Now that the official Manifest review is out of the way, follow my stream of consciousness bullet points below!
- This chick’s eyebrows are LEGIT
- The kid’s cancer is most certainly going to be cured by the plane disappearance.
- DO NOT get married just to have a wedding and a honeymoon!
- These are some of the most stylish stewardess uniforms I’ve ever seen. The color blocking!
- Making a public statement in front of everyone like that seems like the perfect way to incite a panic, but maybe that’s just me.
- Five and a half years later feels like enough time for this wife to have remarried…that’s going to be one of the issues right?
- Oh man…the mom died? That blows.
- TBH this sounds so nice. Just get on a plane and land five years later? I’m for it.
- OMG it’s the hot downstairs neighbor guy from Jessica Jones!
- Ok so not a full cure on the cancer but new treatment!
- Ok so Michaela is just definitely going to find these abducted kids right?
- Ooooh! Premonitions! I’m so for whatever supernatural shit is going to go down on this show!
- Yeah, Ben! Your daughter needs therapy because you and her brother and her aunt all disappeared and her grandma died! That should not be shocking at all!
- Something kind of tells me the missing kids are maybe in that junkyard?
- Oh shit! Jared married her best friend?! What the fuck?
- Michaela has quite a lot of baggage – I mean they all do but hers is exponentially more
- How long do we think before Ben and Grace are separated?
- I think Saanvi might be my favorite character and I can’t wait for her to own this other doctor’s job before the end of this season.
- THE ADDRESS OF THE PLACE WHERE THEY FREED THE DOGS IS 828!!!
- The missing kids are totes in there!
- HAH! I knew it!
- PLEASE don’t pit Michaela against her best friend Lourdes over a man. PLEASE!
- Yeah of course the wife was seeing someone! This has to be forgivable. It’s been five and a half years!
- I am legit so pumped for whatever this show is going for. That final scene gave me goosebumps!