The television show Manifest (2018- ) recently aired its final episode of a 16-episode first season on the National Broadcasting Company this past Monday, February 18th. The future looks promising for this supernatural drama series, which began its run last September, aims to capture an audience similar to the show Lost (2004-2010), a predecessor show featuring passengers of a plan wreck on the American Broadcasting Company to high ratings.
(Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone on Manifest).
Melissa Roxburgh stars the female lead of the Manifest in the role of Michaela Stone. Stone is a police detective in a complex relationship with a fellow police detective Jared Vasquez while feeling considerable guilt after a car crash that took the life of friend Evie. Michaela is passenger with her brother and nephew when their flight home from Jamaica disappears for five years. Roxburgh played Ensign Syl in the movie Star Trek Beyond (2016).
(Josh Dallas as Ben Stone on Manifest).
Many will recognize Josh Dallas, who plays Michaela Stone’s brother Ben Stone, from his role as Prince Charming in the ABC series Once Upon A Time (2011-2018). Ben traveled with Michaela on Flight 828, which disappeared in turbulence on a return flight from Jamaica for five years. The passengers of the flight didn’t age or consciously recognize the passage of time, whereas everyone else continued to age. Ben is married to Grace Stone, and both were parents to twin children Olive Stone and Cal Stone.
(Athena Karkanis as Grace Stone on Manifest).
Athena Karkanis portrays Grace Stone, the mother of twins separated in age by five years due to the supernatural case of a flight that halted aging her husband and son. Grace’s time before the disappearance of Flight 828 is as well defined as sister-in-law Michaela, though we come to learn through the course of season one that Grace and Ben did not always see eye-to-eye on the best course of treatment for their cancer stricken son, Cal. While the flight was gone, Danny helps fill a void specifically left by the disappearances of Ben and Cal. Much drama ensued for Grace in season one around reconciling the conflicting feelings of love and loyalty to Ben, Danny, Olive, and Cal regarding how to navigate ambivalent and conflicted feelings.
(Luna Blaise as Olive Stone, left, and Jack Messina as Cal Stone in Manifest).
Twins Olive and Cal Stone are played by Luna Blaise and Jack Messina, respectively. The two are portrayed as having the empathic connection of feelings commonly reported in twins while clearly being separated by five years in age after the lost time of the disappeared flight.
Olive’s story in first season first involved overcoming the confusing feelings of adolescence and loss of family members while feeling loyalty to her mother and Danny during the lost time. Interest in solving puzzles are incorporated into her narrative later in the season.
Cal is granted an insight and connection to people impacted by an ill-defined enigma of a calling that gives him visions into events that are about to happen. Cal has the ability to draw and mold images of scenes that he sees while simultaneously bearing an immense initiative for helping people based on how he interprets his visions. The larger story has placed a magnifying glass on Cal’s abilities, and his suffering through connection to other passengers who are also sensitive to the calling and have been experimented on by a mysterious government cover-up led by a mysterious government figure known as The Major. Cal, Olive, and Michaela all seem to be in a position to support the unknowable intentions that support the underlying agenda of the Major and the supernatural expressions of the calling.
(Parveen Kaur as Dr. Saanvi Bahl in Manifest).
Parveen Kaur plays Dr. Saanvi Bahl in Manifest, a doctor also on-board Flight 828 and subject to complicated personal relationships from before the lost time on her return flight from Jamaica. Bahl is first critical to getting Cal Stone into an important cancer treatment protocol that was close to being developed before the lost time, but which had been enacted by fellow doctors during the lost time. Much of the depth of Bahl’s story did not come alive until later in the season, yet seems certain to be significant as far as the calling into the second season. Bahl has been important to identifying blood markers that confirm if members have experienced lost time like those on Flight 828.
(J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vazquez in Manifest).
J.R. Ramirez plays detective Jared Vazquez in Manifest. Vazquez had proposed marriage to Michaela Stone just before the trip Michaela took with family to Jamaica, and had been waiting for an answer when the flight disappeared for five years. During the lost time, Vazquez had married Michaela’s best friend Lourdes, as portrayed by Victoria Cartagena. The conflicting feelings for Lourdes, Michaela, and Jared were expressed at multiple points through the first season of Manifest. Like any good drama, the revelation was slowly played with depth within their narratives. The effect was appreciated and mature. Jared Vazquez also was subjected to pressure to report on the comings and goings of Michaela as part of the scheme that leads back to the Major.
(Jake Rake, left top, Robert Zemeckis, left bottom, and Jack Rapke are executive producers to Manifest).
Jake Rake is the creator of Manifest, which includes executive producing credits for Rake along with Robert Zemeckis and Jake Rapke. Zemeckis and Rapke are the better known producers by reputation, though the mixture of the three is promising for the further development of the stories that hopefully will result in a second and subsequent seasons.
The first season of Manifest has offered some depth of emotional relationships. Mysteries aplenty are standard fair from one episode to another, with the introduction of new callings and the mixture of separate events with lost time opening new questions for the larger enigma. That the final episode of season one offered some intriguing changes for the stories, that has me wanting resolutions heading into a second season of the show.
Skip to the next paragraph if you would like to avoid the spoilers of the cliffhanger questions: the biggest cliffhanger questions for me include how much the enigma can defend itself; what is the notion for when shared callings across characters occurs; what will the exposure of the blood markers beyond the inner circle of characters mean for the larger safety of those with the calling; why is Dr. Bahl interacting with the Major; can the Stone family, Zeke, and others survive what was revealed as a predictable timeline for when members are predicted to die; will Grace, Ben, and Danny survive the questions surrounding Grace’s morning sickness and the lack of clarity around Ben or Danny being the parent; where are the relationships among Jared, Michaela, Lourdes, and Zeke headed; did Jared shoot Zeke or Zeke shoot Jared to end the first season?
Before the last episode, my questions were more focused around learning more about the line of stories including the Major, the nature of Zeke’s relationship to the enigma, and the notion of interacting with the enigma for positive or negative reasons. There seems to be an implied explanation for some of this with the nature of where the final episode left us with the first season. With that all said. my initial take on the first season of Manifest offers a rating of 4.0-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.
Matt – Wednesday, February 20, 2019