There’s something so interesting about the way Manifest balances the case of the week style storytelling with the overarching mystery of Flight 828. Generally I have not found shows like this as compelling as I find Manifest because they always seem to sacrifice one aspect of the story for the other. Either the weekly cases are given more importance or they’re abandoned to double down on the mystery. Luckily, Manifest is managing a deft balancing act and I think it’s completely up to the fact that each weekly case is somehow tied up in Flight 828.
This week we get the story of the flight attendant, Bethany, and her awesome color-blocked dress! Turns out she was trying to smuggle in her gay cousin’s boyfriend Thomas. I guess being gay in Jamaica is pretty bad so he was trying to escape with her to America where he would then meet up with his boyfriend once he also made it to America also. Obviously the five years that passed put a damper on that plan and Thomas ended up escaping the plane and getting himself committed to a psych ward.
Luckily that psych ward happens to be in Saanvi’s hospital! Unluckily, Saanvi is having problems of her own including hallucinating rejects from the weeping angel episodes of Doctor Who. Naturally, she decides to give herself a brain scan so she can ask the head of the neurology department to examine it under the guise of it being a patient. She finds out her brain scan is similar to that of someone with schizophrenia in the psych ward (Thomas). The good news is Michaela is also seeing the weeping angel and she and Saanvi team up to find out what’s going on with Thomas.
Which is when Bethany comes in. Together the three of them have to find Thomas and get him somewhere safe before NSA agent Vance finds out there was someone else on the plane. We also get some reassurance that Saanvi is not actually schizophrenic. The issue is that Thomas only appears schizophrenic because he was not told as a group about the five years that passed. He was told alone in such a way that made him feel crazy and so his brain was working overtime to help him out. It’s all very sad, especially when he finds out his boyfriend, Leo, did arrive in America five years ago but he’s been missing for at least two of those years. We also do get the explanation for the weeping angels. Apparently Thomas and Leo agreed to meet at Bethesda Fountain because it’s a major setting from Angels in America which was one of their favorite plays.
While everything with Thomas and Bethany is the main plot we’ve also got a few others going on in the background. Grace finds some paperwork from their insurance company looking for Ben’s death benefits back (rude.) It turns out Grace spent all $500k of the money to pay off the house and get her catering business started so they have nothing to pay it back. Luckily Ben is some kind of math genius (is that what he teaches? I’m lost on that front) and he figures out how to pay them back a little bit at a time monthly while still operating as usual.
In addition to all that, Olive is going through a bit of a rebellion and still acting super weird around Ben for reasons that aren’t clear until the end of the episode. First though, she has to get detained for shoplifting the orangest lipstick shade I’ve ever seen. It does not look good on her. Unfortunately, instead of calling Ben, she first calls Danny (Daniel Sunjata) to come pick her up so Ben finally meets him even though he never wanted to. It’s pretty awkward for all involved but I’m glad it’s finally done. Ben goes pretty easy on Olive because there’s been a lot of shit going on at home. Also, most kids shoplift at some point. You really only need to come down hard if they keep doing it and I’m pretty sure Olive is all set. She basically admits that she’s been a screw up for a little while and she didn’t want to disappoint Ben so she called Danny instead. Ben agrees that it’s fine and that he won’t tell Grace, but she finds out anyway because Danny calls her. Look…at this point I really just need Ben, Grace and Danny to have dinner together and hash this out. It’s a shitty situation but ignoring it is not going to make it go away.
Over with Michaela she’s still doing things at work that can’t be explained. While on a stakeout with Jared she insists she’s heard a gunshot because a voice is telling her to “save him” and they go into a drug sting guns blazing which blows the undercover cop’s whole operation. Jared backs her up and gets pretty immediately suspended but Michaela still can’t get herself to tell him what’s really going on. I mean if anyone was going to understand it feels like it would be Jared, but I do still understand the instinct to keep it all secret.
We end the episode with Michaela, Saanvi and Bethany installing Thomas (the him that needed saving) in a room in the abandoned strip mall that Kelly owned. It looks like it’s going to be a new hangout for the 828 survivors which is great because they all need friends. It has the added bonus of not being under surveillance by NSA agent Vance so they can keep Thomas a secret and meet up to find out what’s going on with their brains without him knowing. Unfortunately it looks like Ben is going to keep insisting everything can be explained by logic next week so we’ll have to deal with that.
How fast would you drop your new boyfriend if your old husband came back into the picture?
How many times did you shoplift as a kid?
If you were hallucinating a weeping angel at what decibel would you scream?
NOW THAT THE OFFICIAL MANIFEST REVIEW IS OUT OF THE WAY, FOLLOW MY STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS BULLET POINTS BELOW!
- LOL Ben is a really cute dad
- I guess I’m not sure why Olive is still mad?
- So Saanvi gave herself a brain scan so she could get an opinion from the head of the neurology department?
- OMG Grace is still getting life insurance…Girl, don’t say anything!
- This show is such a good gimmick – Every different passenger has a piece of the puzzle maybe? So good!
- Jared and Michaela – I also want you guys to get together, but WHAT ABOUT LOURDES?!
- That is not the life insurance thing I thought was going to happen – bummer
- Olive…don’t steal lipstick that doesn’t even look good on you!
- Who is Bethany’s weirdo friend and what is she doing with him?!
- Thomas – cousin Leo’s bf
- Aw man…poor gay Thomas!
- On the one hand, yes, it would be terrifying to wake up 5 years later as though no time had passed for myself. ON the other hand the last 5 years haven’t made so many changes that the world would be unrecognizable
- Hey look, a secret box of photos of Grace and Danny!
- So on a scale of 1-10 how mad is Ben going to be at Olive for getting Mall arrested?
- Oh like an 11 because Olive called Danny – SHIT
- Are Bethany and Saanvi the new dream team on this show?
- Jared’s suspended? He needs this Michaela – DEFINITELY tell him!
- Sometimes kids shoplift…it’s not the end of the world until they’re ALWAYS shoplifting
- Finally some closure in the Olive/Ben relationship!
- But secrets from mom are not a good idea!
- Yes! A wonderful trio – Bethany, Saanvi and Michaela are on the case!
- Vance! The NSA guy’s name is Vance – I’ll remember that (Maybe)
- Grace…you gotta stay away from Danny…
- Though this is a hella tough situation
- Thomas is so sad!
- Oooh!! A fun hideout for all the 828 survivors!!
- Ugh that really simple shorthand Grace has with Danny that she doesn’t have with Ben anymore…
- Ben’s logical attitude is about to get on my nerves next week.