There's a religion around Flight 828 now, a terrible CGI wolf and a lead who can't stop charging into every situation like he knows best, even when he clearly doesn't.
Once again, "Manifest" is slowly expanding its universe without really answering any of our questions. Should we be sending them directly to NBC?
This week, we got a glimpse at yet another possible returnee who had nothing to do with Flight 828 and may have had the shortest vanishing yet. We also got a look at Zeke's first bona fide calling, proving that he is exactly like the survivors of Flight 828.
That makes 828 far less important -- nobody tell Adrian -- in the grand scheme of things. It's just perhaps the largest and most visible of the returnee situations, but as we saw with the utility vehicle storyline that lurked in the background as Lourdes and Jared's marriage fell apart, there may be more callings than we've ever imagined.
And while this isn't one of our big questions, it does make us wonder how many returns there may have been before Flight 828? If this latest incident with the truck is a return as well, that means we have two of them that involve exactly one person. There could be hundreds of thousands of these types of incidents going on all the time.
Maybe we'll find out more about that later. And if/when we do, it'll probably raise even more questions. Questions like the ones we have right now after this week's episode:
Olive was the one who stumbled on the idea that the petroglyph Zeke and Mick stumbled across last week was a drawing of the constellation Gemini. This could seem to indicate that Olive will have a more significant role down the road than we've even speculated.
At first, it seemed like just a fun narrative twist to have Cal's twin have aged five years while he was away, but there may be more to it than that. We've already seen evidence of that twin connection shared between the two of them, with Olive having an intuitive connection to her now little brother.
But does it go deeper than that? Can she tap into his callings somehow, or maybe share the more painful physical burden of them, since Cal feels them so viscerally. Maybe as a twin he's supposed to share that experience through their existing mental connection -- as opposed to the new one the returnees seem to have -- so no one person has to go through all of that.
What Is Adrian's End Game?
Is this really as simple as it seems? Is Adrian really just hustling his parishioners for money? He certainly wouldn't be the first shyster to do that, but this church is being set up so specifically in the narrative, it feels like there has to be more to it than that.
For one thing, he's riling them up into an almost mob mentality, which manifested (natch) in the deranged hostage situation when Alice Ciccone convinced Saanvi to come to her home to try and save her dying husband's life. It was through her impassioned belief that returnees could perform miracles and heal her husband that she even reached out to Saanvi.
This is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set for people who might be over-fixated on Flight 828, but Adrian didn't seem to care and deflected any responsibility for how people might be responding to his rhetoric. Is it his fault if his words get them so worked up they get violent? Okay, it could be just a hustle, but we've got as close an eye on him as the Major does, via Jansen.
After Jansen reported back to the Major that Ben Stone was at the Church with Adrian, we couldn't help but agree with him that they should go ahead and pick up Ben now. Not that we think the Major is in the right here, but if we put ourselves in her shoes, what is the wait?
She seems to basically already know that Cal is her "holy grail" of the returnees and that Ben is a loose cannon lunatic who will do anything to protect his family and get answers. What more could she possibly need to now before snatching one or both of them up?
Is she waiting for Cal to predict something specific that she needs him in the wild to do, or is she just waiting because there are still two episodes left and they want a dramatic cliffhanger at the end to convince NBC to give them a second season?
Unless there's a whole new facet to this thing that no one has seen yet -- and the teaser for next week certainly wants us to think there is -- it just feels like the Major should know everything she needs to know by now, or at least enough to make a strategic capture and go from there. All she's doing is risking Ben finding more about her and possibly exposing her operation publicly.
What's the Wolf Coming for Michaela?
Zeke was able to bond with Cal over his wolf calling. And aside from being the worst CGI of the entire series so far, it was apparently pretty scary, though we'd be scared too if a "Minecraft" wolf launched at us!
After a cute sequence where he had to convince Cal he was predicting things with his drawings and not causing them, we got the total picture. The wolf was lunging at Michaela. As it's Zeke's calling, does this mean it has any connection to their joint callings from last week?
Is it a literal wolf, and if so where is that going to come from? Or is it perhaps a more symbolic wolf, like maybe the name of a company or a man? Perhaps a man who just got fished out of the river?
Is "Manifest" hackneyed enough to make the driver's name Mr. Wolf? You bet your disappearing ass it is. On top of that, shortly after we finally got to see the drawing, we saw the driver lunge at Michaela when she opened the door of the truck.
And after 80 hours under the river, that dude should be dead, right? Well, for awhile they apparently couldn't find the truck, which tells us that this guy is another returnee with the shortest stint yet; not to mention the storms by the river. So what is the point of yet another returnee? What does he add to the story?
Zeke's appearance told us this was bigger than Flight 828, so Mr. Wolf (for lack of a better name) needs to tell us something new about the disappearances, returns or callings. Perhaps his short disappearance means he'll have a better recall of what happened while he was gone?
Again, teasers for next week put him at the center of this possible larger understanding of what's going on. Maybe it'll explain the Major's delays, the newest returnees and why Michaela overacted that moment when Lourdes finally walked away. We've seen better lip quivering from a two year old trying to guilt Mom into giving them another cookie.
Who Lied to Saanvi?
As for the minor side plots, we are creeping closer and close to an answer as to who didn't go to Jamaica with Saanvi. This time she was very specific to not use any gender terminology when discussing with Alice's husband about her own struggles with love.
All we know is this person -- can we now assume it's a woman because why else would they not just say it (networks are cluelessly old-fashioned that way still sometimes) -- didn't show up at the airport and so Saanvi went on her own. She also said that there was lying involved, she was told she was loved by this person, but it was complicated.
What does that mean? And where is this person now? Why wouldn't they come out of the woodwork now that Saanvi has returned after five years. Surely they know she's back, right? And the fact that this plot detail only surfaced last week and came up again this week makes us think this person could be significant.
Must mean it's the Major, right? She's a little older than Saanvi now, and maybe devoted her career to studying and obsessing over what happened on the Flight. Now she keeps her distance so her feelings about Saanvi won't sabotage the work she's doing to "weaponize" the returnees, as she said.
Is this a terrible idea? Most certainly. Will it be what's going on. Oh, it's quite possible.
This has nothing to do with anything, but don't you just want to slap Ben the way Alice slapped Saanvi sometimes. Maybe even knock him down. If ever there was someone who summed up that macho toxic masculinity, it's Ben Stone.
Detective Michaela Stone tells him not to go in. "I'm going in." There's a protocol in place for situations like this. "I'm Ben Stone. Do I have to explain to you all the ways I know what's best here?" Yes, please. "I can't. I'm too busy going in."
It happens every single episode and it's more than just a little stupid. Last week, he walked into the garage of an 828 hater and by all rights should have gotten his ass beat in. Tonight, he was just asking to be shot and or get a hostage killed. How would Mick have talked her way out of that one.
Well, I told him not to go in, but he decided he was going to. What could I do? He was so commanding and male. Lame.