Olive helps Angelina finally follow her first Calling only to have it connect -- in the creepiest way possible -- directly with the three returned meth-heads who'd kidnapped Cal.
And just like that, "Manifest" pulled the rug out from under every returned passenger from Flight 828, changing their worlds as irrevocably as returning after five-and-a-half years.
But before Ben made the call that would upend the lives of every single passenger that was on that fateful flight with him, he and his family came face to faces with the reality that the three man who so often appeared as looming shadows in Cal's visions were back.
84 days after they fell into that lake (in last season's finale) and seemingly vanished, they showed up again and crawled out to safety. Unless they can hold their breath for a really long time thanks to the power of meth, that would make them our newest returnees.
Their return sent shockwaves through the entire Stone family and kicked off a series of seemingly random events that came together in the creepiest way for the newest member of the extended family, and cast, Angelina.
The rescued girl from the premiere suddenly found herself free and able to follow a Calling, with a lot of help from Olive, which put her on an unexpected collision course with not only the three Shadows, but with Michaela, who was also on their tail, as well.
All three parties overlapped their experiences at a slushy restaurant, of all places, where the connections got even creepier.
It's nice to see that "Manifest" just keeps coming up with more mysteries for us to ponder and questions to keep us up at night even as we move into its third season.
At least we got the good news that Vance was safely rescued and brought home from Cuba, thanks to a timely assist from his former deputy. But that freedom came at a very, very high cost for a lot of other people! And none of them were given a choice if they wanted to pay it or not.
Very low on the scale of life-altering questions this show usually deals with, but we are at least mildly curious what went down between Grace and this brother we (conveniently) have never heard about until right now, when he was, yes, needed. He came to her a decade ago when he was in need, and she turned him away. He also suggested that she looks down on him, expecting him to not only be home but also just expecting him to open up his door to her and Cal in their time of need. It's a good thing Cal can shoot some hoops or they might have had to sleep in the car!
Why Would Shadows Get to Return?
So why were they at some remote house barely connected to the Stone family in the first place? Because of the surveillance video Michaela got at the precinct clearly showing that the three Shadowy men had returned to life. The last time they were around, after all, they kidnapped Cal and caused all sorts of terror and mayhem for the Stone family. And based on our first experiences with them, they're no different now than they were before they drowned. That's to be expected, but it begs the question again (as with Griffin) as to how it's determined who gets to come back? Do they now serve some larger purpose, or is it all random and the world is just lucky Flight 828 wasn't a prison transport plane or worse?
Will They Die in 84 Days? Get Callings?
As they were gone for 84 days, does that mean the Shadows have 84 days before their Death Dates? Based on Zeke's story, that would seem to be the case. It would also suggest that they would start to get Callings at some point, though we've a hard time imagining Jace, in particular, wanting to follow them if they're asking him to do altruistic things for other people. That's kind of not his thing, though the writers did continue humanizing the trio, suggesting Jace used to be the provider for Pete and Kory when they were younger. It's clear the trio (brothers?) fell on hard times and into drugs, but is it too late for them? Is this a chance at redemption? Is that what Griffin had, too, but he blew it and that's why he ultimately died?
We've seen returnees with some variations on traditional Callings, but it is absolutely inexplicable that all three so clearly heard Cal when he was telling Tarik to "go to her." Cal was talking about Grace, trying to reconcile brother and sister, but the brothers wondered if the voice didn't mean go to Michaela, who was trying to capture them. It was even stranger for Pete, because he thought perhaps the voice was about the photograph he found lying on the ground, that perhaps he was meant to go to the girl in the photograph. But that story gets a whole lot creepier in a second. Still, did they hear Cal as just a manifestation of some ability, or does this indicate a more intimate Calling-related connection between them and Cal? If so, that's absolutely horrible for Cal, who's trying to hide from them.
Did Pete Have a Calling?
Pete was obsessed with that photograph for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the surprising fact that he's in it. They'd returned to the slushy stand because that's where Jace used to work (he's also in the picture). But his reaction certainly seemed more visceral and overwhelming for him than just recognizing himself in a picture. He felt drawn to the picture and then certain that he was meant to go to the girl in the picture, even though he had no idea who she was. Neither Kory or Jace -- who also heard "go to her" -- had a reaction nearly as compelling, so was Pete having a Calling of his own? Was Cal's message part of it? Was it perhaps for him primarily, and the other two were just hearing it peripherally?
Was Angelina’s Calling About the Photograph?
Earlier in the episode, we got to see Angelina's creepy Calling about a faceless archangel exploding in shards of colored glass. Olive followed the clues back to her old school and a specific day, which led to them digging out a time capsule she'd buried before disappearing on Flight 828. Inside of it was the same picture that Pete later found. As the picture had been taken at the slushy stand, the girls went their and enjoyed a snack where Angelina dropped (not coincidentally) the photo. They later circled back for it, only to find it now a piece of evidence as Michaela showed up with Pete gaping at the photo and his brothers(?) having already fled the scene. As we said, he was almost in a stupor, and that continued when he learned that Angelina was the girl in the picture. He's definitely being drawn to her in some strange and unsettling way.
What Is the Connection Between Angelina and Shadows?
So is there a connection between her and the Shadows? Was it pure happenstance that two of them were in the background of her picture, or did she perhaps know them back then? And whether or not she did, what possible connection could they have with her now? If Pete is having a Calling about her through having seen that photograph, and her Calling had her dig up a photograph that just happened to have Pete and Jace in it, is Angelina perhaps supposed to help them on a redemption arc? Pete is probably pretty amenable to it, as well as Kory. Jace is going to be a much harder sell.
Can Saanvi Survive Death Date Without Callings?
As we question if the Shadows can survive their Death Date, which will come this season, we have to consider how Zeke survived his -- fulfilling that final Calling by saving Cal in the lake -- and what that means for Saanvi. She revealed to him that after she self-medicated as part of her experiments, she's stopped having Callings. Is it possible to survive the Death Date if she's suppressed her Callings? Is she perhaps still having them, but not longer able to perceive them? If so, what are the ramifications of her missing them? Or if she is no longer having them, is it possible to turn them back on? Does she need to, or does she even still have a Death Date now that she's altered herself in this way?
How Could Zeke See Saanvi’s Suffering?
Saanvi also pointed out that no one else has called her out for being overwhelmed and freaking out internally, but Zeke saw it almost immediately. Her reaction suggested it might be more than just him being empathic or observant. Even he said he had no idea, but when he looked at her, he was just able to perceive what was going on on this deeper level within her? Is this something he can now do for anyone? For returnees only? And is this a hint of what's to come after the Death Date? Is the journey to the Death Date just the first phase of whatever is in store for Returnees, and Zeke is in the next phase? Is he developing or does he have a new set of abilities as a post-Death Date Returnee?
Look, we were already creeped out by Ben's glowing hand, but then it lit up again at the close of this episode in an almost blinding fashion. Imagine if that starts happening out in public. It's one thing to hide Callings, but glowing limbs are going to be much harder to explain. And we've had not even the slightest hints as to what it means. Saanvi took a sample of the residual blisters earlier in the episode, but the glow's return seems significant. On top of that, a quick shot of the tailfin showed his handprint on it, and again we've no context to even begin to speculate what that might mean. It's the most physical manifestation of supernatural powers at play that we've seen yet on this show. Presumably any Returnee could have a similar experience by touching it, but is the tailfin marking Ben or vice-versa, or neither? And if so, for what purpose? Why would they both glow at the same time? Did he turn something on within the tailfin by touching him or, again, vice-versa?
Are Passengers Safe Anywhere Now?
It's definitely not the best time to start glowing, as the deal Ben made to get the aid of the U.S Government in freeing Vance was a trade-off. Vance gets rescued in exchange for the return of the tailfin. Vance's deputy told Ben he'd try to keep it secret, but either he didn't try very hard or he failed very hard. Either way, as soon as Ben got word that Vance was clear, news of the tailfin hit the media. The newscaster floated the notion this could mean there are two planes, and then threw out the question of what this means about the returnees, asking "who or what" they are. That's the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that could make very dangerous in a hurry for returnees, as it's just been suggested they're not even really human anymore. The media swarmed the Stone house at the end, trapping Ben, Olive and Angelina away from the rest of the family at Tarik's. We don't see them swarming other public returnees yet, but we can only imagine it's coming. How can they follow Callings or do anything under that kind of scrutiny? Will Ben start having to wear a glove?
"Manifest" is sure to raise even more dangers and more questions next Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.