“Manifest” Keeps Flying High

“Manifest” Keeps Flying High

NBC’s Manifest is a strange show. It reminds a lot of people of Lost with how it creates a mystery with a plane and then doesn’t exactly explain everything. And a lot of people, who were burned by the ending of Lost, are sketchy about getting into a show about people on a plane who go missing. I get that. I do. I struggle with Manifest, even though I do actually watch it every week.

There’s a strange balance with the show, where it’s part crazy guy with string, part religion, part time-skip, and part cop-drama. It’s a lot of parts to keep in place, and a lot of places where you feel like a storyline is dropped or abandoned, only to find out later that it’s not.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for seasons 1 and 2, with mild spoilers for season 3.

What is the plot?

The bare gist of the story is Montego Air flight 828 from Jamaica to New York flew into a storm and shook everyone up. But when they landed, it was five and a half years later. In a way it’s like the Blip (or Snap) from the Avengers movies, except everyone who came back now has weird visions they call ‘callings’ and try to follow them to solve the mystery of what the heck happened to them.

It’s a slow burn show, which is a large reason why people get frustrated by it, but near the end of season two they started to make a jump to get our attention in a big way. The second season ended with a reveal that a fishing boat off the coast of Central America had found the tailfin from the airplane. And yes, that plane is in all one piece in a hanger in the hands of the NSA.

Where are the queers?

Initially we only knew that a female flight attendant (recurring) was married to a woman. It wasn’t until the middle of season two that we found out that Saanvi’s ex, Alex, was a woman. It was a delightful reveal since it was treated as a non-event. That is, no one had to have a coming out scene or a talk or a weird look. It simply was a fact that everyone went “Oh that is Alex.” and nothing more.

MANIFEST — “Tailfin” Episode 301 — Pictured in this screen grab: Parveen Kaur as Saanvi Bahl — (Photo by: NBC)

Of course, Saanvi’s story isn’t as nice as all that. She was a medical researcher before the flight happened, her work saved one of the other 828ers, and she’s been trying to use science to figure out what’s different. Saanvi actually found a genetic mutation that possibly explained that there was a difference, and began experimenting on herself, like you do. All this led her to accidentally killing The Major (a woman who was trying to weaponize the callings). Whoops.

Now What?

Season 3 picks up where 2 left off, a weird tailfin, a dead mystery military officer, and a lot of callings.

There’s a lot of drama for Saanvi, who’s struggling with the psychological ramifications of killing someone (primum non nocere and all that) but also the results of her science. Did she remove her mutation? Does that mean she’s cured or is it all going to be worse for her now? We don’t know (yet).

Manifest Returns April 1

The date may sound like a joke, but the show really is back tomorrow night. It’s not too late to jump on board and try to figure out the mystery of 828.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.

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