The sound of music replaces voices speaking in Ben's head, leading to another mystery in need of solving as a shadowy danger looms over all of the passengers.
It turns out being a passenger on Flight 828 could turn out to be a deadly situation, based on the latest episode of the season's top-rated new series so far, "Manifest."
The NBC drama left us scratching our heads after a passenger plane disappeared for five-and-a-half years and then mysteriously blew up in front of 20 of them last week, and this week the mysteries continue. And for brother and sister survivors Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), the hits keep coming.
The show is certainly trying to be the next "Lost," though we're not sure that's going to work if this episode is an indication of how the show is going to fill a full season. Rather than compelling flashbacks that flesh out the myriad characters, as "Lost" did, "Manifest" threw in a procedural element, with Ben helping another passenger (Curtiss Cook) clear his son's name.
Hopefully, this isn't a one-and-done with Radd (Cook), as we found ourselves drawn to the character. Plus, his story is just as rife with tragedy as Michaela and Ben. He left his son with others at 13-years old when he got on that plane and then disappeared, and the boy struggled without his guidance.
This week, we've got a whole new batch of questions about this show, as well as some suggestions on what it needs to do to keep our interest as high as when we finished watching that premiere.
If the show wants to be as successful as "Lost," expand this cast and give us more people to root for, because the core duo so far doesn't really seem to be enough. And right now, we're more interested in the other passengers and the larger story than the ongoing saga of Ben and Michaela. We get it, their significant others moved on. It sucks.
There are a ton of passengers scattered around the globe at this point and presumably they are all involved with whatever's going on. Maybe they're all hearing voices and helping people, like back when "Heroes" was loved by everyone. "Manifest" carries that same potential if it would widen its scope and start to explore its bigger story. We may have gotten another step in that direction with our first passenger death.
At first, it seemed obvious that the shadowy figure in Ben's picture of his family was the mysterious man Grace (Athena Karkanis) started hooking up with while Ben and Cal (Jack Messina) were gone all those years. But now, after seeing a shadowy figure stalk and murder a woman in cold blood, we're not quite so sure. Suddenly, it looks quite sinister looming over Grace like that.
We already know Cal has some insights that the others don't seem to be experiencing, or at least we think we do. He opened his eyes from a dead sleep when the plan blew up. Of course, 20 others went to that plane, including Radd and the woman who died.
After the 20 passengers were released by the FBI, they were warned not to speak to the media, but one of them did just that. We then got various shots of a shadowy figure following her until it ultimately blew off her head in the closing moments of the episode.
We get it, she looked a little too self-satisfied as she was watching herself tout a government conspiracy theory about what happened to the flight, but that doesn't mean the government took her out. It does mean, however, that the forces behind the plane's disappearance might not be as Godly as Michaela and some others might want.
Sure, the FBI and the U.S. government is an obvious suspect in the woman's death, but it would have to be a rogue agent or agency. Director Vance (Daryl Edwards), who is heading up the overall investigation, was pretty clear that these people still have rights. But this death is certainly going to shake things up and scare people. So was she killed just for speaking out, or is there a larger objective?
On a show with a lot of cryptic and bizarre moments happening in each scene, this one has us still scratching our heads. A woman confronted Cal on the street and repeated this mantra at him: "He is risen. He is not here."
That first part certainly has some Biblical overtones, but we've no idea what the second part means. If "He" is Jesus, then is Jesus not here? And if not, then who is? Or let's remove Jesus completely and who is risen? Cal? In a way, all the passengers are back from the dead.
We suspect this one will make a lot more sense in future episodes, but if it connects in any way to the shadowy executioner, we're scared for every one of those survivors!
Ben and Radd connected over a very specific tune that both were hearing in their head. And it was that tune that would ultimately exonerate Radd's son, Adio (Curtiss Cook Jr.). But what a convoluted process to get there. It makes sense for Radd to hear the music as it was his son in need of help, but he needed Ben to actually solve the case.
And Ben was only able to do that through first meeting Radd and learning the details of the case so he would recognize the stolen jewelry store merchandise when he next heard the tune as the ring tone of the jewelry store owner's son at the storage unite. And Ben was only there because Olive (Luna Blaise) took him there.
Olive's reasons were twofold; to help Cal with his struggles readjusting to life back home by getting his old stuff out of storage, and to help Ben realize that Grace moved on without him. But it took her deciding to do that to get Ben in the right place to hear the ringtone, find the real culprit and facilitate Adio's release. That's a hell of a lot of coincidences. Whatever is behind all of this is working hard.
So last week it was voices. Now its music. Hmmmm. #Manifest
This week, we learned that the accident that killed Evie happened five months before the flight with Michaela driving. But then Michaela told her former best friend Lourdes (Victoria Cartagena) -- who is now married to her former fiance Jared (J.R. Ramirez) -- that Evie's death was all too intertwined with Jared and she was going to return the ring.
Now, this was a lie to make Lourdes feel better about marrying Michaela's fiance, as we saw in a flashback when Michaela tried to text Jared that she would totally marry him, only her cell phone's service plan was five years out of date so it never went through.
So who was Evie to Jared? Was it his sister, another family member? Jared was still wanting to marry Michaela when the plane took off, so it wasn't something so awful he couldn't get past it. In what way was Evie intertwined with their relationship, and how much longer are we going to have to wait to find out who she was and what the hell happened?
We still don't know who the mystery man in Grace's life is, but we know he (or she) is getting impatient with how long it is taking Grace to tell Ben, and so is Olive. But apparently, it's not quite that simple for Grace. She doesn't seem to know what she wants to do.
Ben, of course, is coming on strong that he sees this as a second chance for them as a couple. Even after he finds out that there was someone else, he doesn't hold it against Grace. But he also doesn't give her the option of choosing that person, at least not overtly. He tells her instead to "please remember" how she used to love him at one point.
And so she takes off her clothes, presumably to make love to him. This is a pretty compromising decision considering she appears to be in a pretty serious relationship with someone else. Is she now going to start lying to that person about where things are with Ben? And how will that go over? Plus, why aren't we able to know who this dude is, other than that Ben and Michaela don't know him? Is it someone we know?
I think Grace's secret is that she is re-married and has a new baby. That's who she has been texting and covered her breasts in front of Ben, because she's lactating. (Breast Feeding). She thought her husband was dead so it's ok, but complicated now. #ManifestNBC #Manifest
You saw it and we saw it. That look when Ben was asking her if she heard the music. Saanvi (Parvee Kaur) isn't hearing music, but she is having some unusual experiences. They concluded that it's nice to know neither of them is going crazy alone.
But that wasn't all they shared. That look was smoldering from both sides. At that moment, we were sure Grace was going to finally come clean and be with her other person, leaving Ben free to get to know the good doctor a little better. If there is no plan to bring these two together, something needs to be done about their chemistry then, because it is too good!