Zeke finally comes to terms with his Death Date and prepares for the end with a shocking reveal for Michaela and a reconciliation with his estranged father.
There was a lot to unpack in this week's "Manifest," but it seemed to create a shifting tone for the series even as it revealed perhaps the most sinister new villainous faces we've ever seen.
Seriously, we thought the Major and Simon and Erika were spooky, those three have nothing on tonight's incredibly freaky and confusing reveal of three figures who clearly are going to play a major role in whatever comes next for Michaela and the other returnees.
It was also a week that saw Zeke come to a final decision about ongoing treatments to try and slow his frostbite while Saanvi continues to work on a cure -- yes, she's still at it despite how it affected her before. In fact, this was a big week for Zeke, who we followed into group, where he got good advice about seeking closure and acceptance if his death really is fast approaching.
We also saw the new dynamic at the precinct now that the Xers have been taken down (or are they just laying low like the Major for the time being?) and it was downright pleasant. We love seeing Jared and Michaela trying to give genuine friendship a try, and it looks like neither of them have hidden agendas or motives. It's so nice we kind of don't trust it.
On the other side, after the elaborate series of Callings that led Ben and TJ to find and save the man who turned out to be Zeke's father at a train station, Ben finally decided to throw aside Adrian's theory that the Callings are calling them toward doing evil by laying false positives. In fact, he vowed to set aside all his research and simply focus on family, and following and listening to the Callings.
Will this prove a good idea? Can he possibly stay out of that garage? We don't know because there was no "next time on" segment, which has us wondering if the show is reaching an unexpected COVID-19 hiatus, like "Supernatural" is this week. Or did they just forget to air it?
Also side question, does Grace still have Callings? She didn't this week, but we'd still like a definitive answer because that one's still in our unanswered questions pile.
Regardless, whether the show returns next week or sometime later, we've got plenty of questions to tide us over in the meantime:
TJ's Calling of a phoenix mosaic helped him and Ben to find Zeke's father at the right subway station (though how it knew it would take them exactly that long to figure it out and make their way there to be in time to save the man is too much to think about). But was it just about saving Zeke's father, or is there a rebirth in the works?
That rebirth could be for Zeke's dad, or perhaps it's for Zeke himself. Him being able to shed his anger, come to peace with his fate and find both forgiveness and closure is a cleansing of his mind and spirit he's not felt since his sister's death. He also abandoned Saanvi's treatment, ready to accept whatever fate was in store.
Sometimes surrendering to what you can't control is the path to salvation and rebirth. Could that be the phoenix? By the end of the hour, a much more at peace Zeke even went so far as to propose to Michaela (of course she said yes). He's got a whole new lease on life. Could that be what gives him new life? Griffin gave into his darkest demons and his Death Date hit him hard. Zeke is choosing a path of lightness, so we'll have to see if that makes a difference. Light defeats shadow, after all.
Why Did It Take All Those Callings to Identify Zeke's Dad?
We get that the Callings are sometimes pretty involved, and can involve multiple people, but why on earth did it take so many people and so many convoluted things happening for this one to come together. If the Callings are sentient, could they have predicted everything (we already covered timing things to save him) so specifically?
First, Cal had to sing that song to the baby enough so that Grace learned it so she could sing it to Ben so he could recognize it when TJ played the tune on the music box. Ben had the train Calling which had to be paired with TJ's phoenix calling to identify that they needed to go to the station.
And then, Grace had to be singing the tune again to the baby while visiting Zeke for him to be able to identify it as a song his father made up and sang to him and his sister. It took that revelation for Ben to make the connection to the man they saved as Zeke's father. So it took five people, three Callings and perfect timing multiple times to reunite Zeke and his father. That's just crazy!
Another short-term question, but one that is definitely bugging us. Who shut Saanvi down? Is the Major back in action after getting exposed several weeks ago? But she seemed interested in Saanvi's research, encouraging her to move forward, so it wouldn't make a lot of sense for her to shut Saanvi down, unless something has changed.
The Xers could still be active, even with Simon behind bars for the time being. Either through him still or another leader, perhaps they decided to shut her down, though to what end we're not sure. Maybe they fully grasp the idea of the Death Date and because they believe the Passengers are dangerous, they're all about letting them die.
Did Michaela Defy or Misunderstand the Calling?
Michaela is worried that she could be in trouble for not letting the meth cookers go, despite a Calling repeatedly repeating the phrase, "Let him go." It was the same phrase that convinced her to let the kid go, which led to this bust in the first place. So is there a bigger bust?
It certainly seems like there was something more going on here, because the man seemed to not only recognize Michaela as a Passenger, but even seemed aware of what her Calling was telling her, urging much the same and threatening that if she doesn't, there will be hell to pay. Literally?
Also, if she did disobey the Calling, could their be repercussions? Or could it be that she just misunderstood it and it wasn't literally saying to let them go. As we covered above, some of these Callings are confusing as hell, and they're super vague at best. It has to be easy to "defy" them simply by misunderstanding them and doing the wrong thing. Is this Old Testament or New Testament retribution we're talking about here?
The bus driver and the two meth cook brothers look like they're going to be pretty damned important moving forward, and these are three seriously creepy looking dudes. Kudos to the casting department, as well as the lighting and makeup teams in making them look sinister and dangerous even while standing in a cell.
But who are they? They apparently are the shadows originally from Cal's first Calling drawing, so they've been lurking in the background all this time? Have they always been a threesome, or is the bus driver new to the trio? Hell, are they even human? We could go on for days with questions about these guys. Here's one...
Why Were They Cooking Meth?
Seriously, if these guys are involved in the Callings and the Passengers in some way, as it certainly seemed with the way they were talking to Michaela, why on earth are they involved in cooking meth? Did they watch "Breaking Bad" or something? If it's a cover for some other end goal, it's a pretty aggressive and illegal cover.
By the same token, why didn't the bus driver seem all that bothered when he clearly must have known that Michaela and Jared were asking about the kid who delivered the cough medicine via his bus. He even pointed them to where they could find his security footage, knowing the video was there and would help lead them to the kid. And yet, no action was taken to hinder the investigation.
Did they perhaps want to be caught, but had to put on a show that they didn't? Perhaps it was all an anti-Calling to put Michaela to the test and see if she would "let him go," though we would really like to no why that would be a good idea.
Also unclear is why Cal's shadow started as one figure and only recently split into three. If these three men are represented by the shadows, then why did there used to only be one. Was the bus driver, perhaps, working alone at one time and the shadow was him? Was it one of the brothers?
Also, what are the shadows representing as Callings, appearing to and looming over both Cal and Adrian at different points. Are they the ones who will be able to take down these three? Are they just people who need taking down, or do they have answers about the Callings? Adrian is certainly questioning them, while we know Cal is getting more and more frustrated with them as the continue to expand in intensity.
On Cal's wall, though, the shadows still started as one before expanding into three, suggesting that the three are somehow parts of a singular whole, whether by focus or vision, or perhaps something more literal. With hints of Revelations, is "Manifest" looking at exploring the end times? Is that what the Passengers are for, to set the stage for the end to come?
"Manifest" continues to offer some answers and lots of questions, every Monday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.