Everything they thought they knew about the Callings and how to survive the Death Date turns out to be dead wrong -- so what now?
In an effort to not run too deep into the summer, "Manifest" is doubling up this week and next week, which means we got all the way to the conclusion of the three "shadows" storyline, as the trio's Death Date arrived.
With it came even more questions, as it turns out everything we thought we knew about the Callings and what it takes to survive a Death Date was just tossed out the window in one terrifying moment.
Zeke overcoming his Death Date gave everyone hope that there was a path to doing so, but it turns out the passengers' situation is actually quite different from his, and so their path to survival may be a teensy-eensy bit more complicated than they thought.
And by teensy-eensy we mean that it might be downright impossible. It's certainly not as simple as following the Callings and doing your part to make the world a better place.
Is God truly behind these Callings? If so, is s/he a cruel God, or is there a deeper message in the extra challenge that appears to have just been created.
But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves by asking our questions before we're ready to ask our questions. Next week we get two more hours of "Manifest," and based on just that trailer alone, we've already got a dozen more questions. But we'd better get to this week's batch first!
Why Didn’t Zeke Fix Michaela’s Shoulder Before Climbing the Cliff?
The first one isn't plot driven as much as it is just pure logic. As much as we were annoyed by the pointlessly slo-mo fight sequence moments, we struggled even more to understand why Zeke and Michaela decided to have him fix her shoulder after Zeke yanked her back up the cliff. Wouldn't it have made sense to do so before?
At the same time, we wouldn't have gotten that massive Shimmer wave blasting out of them (Zeke?) that either actually knocked Cal's basketball loose or only did so in a Calling. Which raises another question (so now we are getting plot-related).
Are Zeke's Empathic Shimmers Calling Related?
Ben saw the basketball bounce across the road, as did Angelina. The Agent did not. But it was the blast from Zeke yanking Michaela up and empathically feeling her pain as he did so that sent that Shimmer blast out that loosed the ball. If the ball was subsequently seen in a Calling, does that mean that Zeke's apparent new power is still related to Callings?
Are you never free from them, even if you survive your Death Date? Do you just evolve into whatever the next stage of service is? Zeke's empathic abilities have helped in small ways, but they've not been nearly as obtrusive, nor have they forcibly directed him to do anything, so it's a much more subtle power.
Another minor point that's more interesting than anything else. Do we think Andrea believes the story Michaela just laid on her. She is right in that she knows the passengers all died, and she did make the comment that the trio was under the ice for three months, so she clearly knows that wackadoodle things are within the realm of possibility.
Perhaps she's ready to join the Calling Crew and be let in on all the secrets that more and more people seem to be learning about every day. We've grown to like the character, and now it's getting weird that she's just about the only one not in on the big secret.
How Do Jace, Kory and Pete Hear Cal?
This has been a question dating back to the beginning, because Cal seems to play a different role than any of the other Passengers. We've seen it consistently since the trio came back from the dead in the form of them hearing him say things. And yet, when he said "last chance" while playing basketball, they heard it in his voice, but it was also a "Calling" for them.
How does Cal have that kind of power, without even knowing it, to determine a Calling through a chance phrase. And why are they able to hear him in real-time, collectively? Is Cal something different than all the other returnees, perhaps something more than them. Maybe he's the one behind it all, and he's suppressed that memory even from himself. Is he even the real Cal?
We know there's a lot of crazy stuff that goes on in this show, but how was Cal's poem he recited to the baby enough to direct the trio to his hiding place? Are they able to actually hear his voice coming from the direction of where he is, or does it work like some kind of lure, and they're inexplicably drawn to him. If so, are they the only ones?
Why Did Jace Failing His Trial Doom Kory and Pete, Too?
The biggest shock moment of the episode came after Jace failed his trial -- as it turns out this was all about -- and died via drowning while standing in the forest. At this point, he'd killed Grace's brother and shown no remorse or willingness to even consider another path than death and destruction, so we weren't sad to see him go.
But Kory and Pete had turned away from him, and even tried to stop him on multiple occasions. Why did his failure cost them their lives, too, regardless of what they'd done individually?
How Did Pete and Kory Die?
And along those same lines, how did they die? We may never know what all the people present saw, but we're pretty sure the passengers saw the Shadow rise from Jace's body, split in two and pull Pete and Kory next to his body and effectively kill them.
So was that somehow Jace's spirit killing them, or something else? Neither of them died from drowning as Jace did, so it seems that they individually survived their Death Date, but then died anyway. Is this because of the Shadow that's been connected with them since even before they died? Were they somehow marked?
Is the Shadow itself symbolic, or does it exist in a more real way? Why has it only been associated with this trio, and then prove instrumental in killing the last two of them standing, no matter what kind of redemption they might have been working toward. If God is behind the Callings, how is that just?
Or does the Shadow represent some other force that brought them back? Are the rules for the trio and their Death Date survival different for everyone else? We've now seen three separate "groups" of returnees. Only Zeke has survived his Death Date thus far. But this trio is the first time we've had multiple people from the same group of returnees reach their Death Date.
Do All Passengers Have to Follow Callings or They All Die?
So does this mean that all of the Passengers have to follow the Callings and pass their trials or they'll all die? If one person emerges as the Jace of their group and blows it, does that doom them all the way his choices killed Kory and Pete? If so, how on earth can our heroes ensure that every single Passenger is doing their part?
Or maybe it's not that simple. After all, the trio seemed far more connected than our passengers have been. Even in the time we've spent with them, we've seen instances where one or just a few of them have shared Callings, or even shared different parts of Callings. The trio seemed to always have the exact same Callings at the same time.
Perhaps their connection was somehow different than the one shared by the Passengers, so their fates were inexplicably tied in a different way. Could that difference be the presence of the Shadow, which has always looked like it was both three entities and one. Perhaps they were always three parts of a hole.
Is Ben Really Going to Give Himself up for Dr. Gupta to Study?
This one's another plot piece that's smaller, but still interesting. Ben is all about getting himself into trouble and making things harder for himself and everyone else by having to run around and play here. This week, he got an agent shot and killed because he has to play hero all the time.
But in his desperation, he offered himself up to study as a replacement for Pete. Now Pete was within a day of his Death Date, and Ben has years yet to go, so it's not exactly a comparable trade. But will he go through with it?
We kind of agree that Dr. Gupta might be trouble. She definitely sees the science over the humanity of the returnees, which isn't a great look for the organization. But then, she was also under the Major, and we saw how callous she was about treating the Passengers as lab specimens first and human beings pretty much never.
At least Vance is showing some humanity, albeit reluctantly a lot of the time. He's a beautifully complex character that operates in a moral gray area. As long as he's in charge, that's good for the Passengers. If Gupta ever takes over, watch out!
It's back-to-back "Manifest" again next week, starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.