There are only three episodes left of this second season of “Manifest,” and as the questions continue piling up, this week’s incredibly tense hour actually provided a ton of answers to months worth of uncertainty.
This week’s episode saw some really sharp writing and acting from J.R. Ramirez as his dark descent into the Xer world reaches a dramatic climax that there’s no coming back from. Everything changes by the close of the hour as Zeke’s life hangs in the balance.
And he wasn’t the only one in danger as a Calling brought Ben, Grace and Adrian — not seen since the nightclub fire — together only to push Grace into early labor. At the hospital, she discovered that she has a rare medical condition that means she’s at serious risk of losing either her life or the baby’s, leaving the Stones with an impossible choice.
Before we get to our questions, kudos to the “Manifest” team for having us doubt both Jared and Captain Bowers for weeks now. Andrene Ward-Hammond as Kate Bowers played the antagonist to the hilt, leading us to despise her as much as Michaela did. We were absolutely so certain that she was an Xer and found ourselves starting to question Ramirez’ Jared as well.
Luckily, the good guys stayed good, as it was finally revealed this week that Jared had been working undercover with the Xers ever since he stumbled into Tamara’s bar and discovered her idiot brother was one of them. And he had to keep Michaela in the dark about it to help sell his conversion.
The only dangling thread this week was how Jared was able to smooth things over with Simon after messing up Michaela’s death by the union rep, but things started moving pretty quickly at that point and it was all so cleverly done, we’ll allow it for now.
Plus, we’ve got plenty of other questions to consider for the moment. One of our questions, that we think we figured out on our own, was why they made such a big deal out of the nurse recognizing Adrian, who’s on the run, after he brought in the drowning kayaker … but it was the kayaker she recognized as the doctor needed for Grade.
Okay, on with our remaining unanswered questions:
Why Did Grace Share Adrian’s Calling?
It was clear that Adrian had the “help me” Calling to position him at the bridge to save the doctor, but why did Grace share the Calling? Adrian took him to the hospital she was at regardless, so it seems unnecessary that she was there. All that happened was that her water broke and she left. Was it solely to connect her and Ben with Adrian again, to challenge Adrian’s views on the Callings? Or was it her Calling at all?
Will Grace Continue to Have Callings?
By the end of the episode, the fortuitous arrival of the surgeon at the hospital who could perform the needed surgery on Grace to save both her and the baby puts her in a unique situation. Now that she’s given birth to Eden, will she continue to have Callings? The connection is still there, in some ways, but if the Callings have been Eden’s all along, then Grace was perhaps acting as an interpreter.
Of course, there wouldn’t be much point in an infant having a Calling — they certainly wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anymore — so what will happen there? Could Grace continue to manifest Eden’s Callings, or will Eden just scream and cry as she gets freaked out by a Calling and no one will know what’s going on. Otherwise, she simply has to stop having them.
Is Adrian Right About the Callings?
One other aspect of Adrian and Grace sharing the Calling was that it allowed Adrian to share his take on them, and he doesn’t see them as a force for good. He sees them as manipulating the Passengers slowly over time until they start following them blindly. “We are returned from the dead to be agents of the apocalypse,” he told Ben. Is he right?
The way Adrian sees it, Grace wouldn’t have been in that medical situation had she not gone to the bridge site of the Calling, because she stumbled on the rocks. Did that trigger her water breaking prematurely? If so, the Calling sent her and Adrian there to both create a problem (her early delivery) and the solution (the doctor needed to save her life). Are the Callings playing games with them? We’ve questioned their inherent goodness for awhile. Al-Zuras says there is a balance to the Callings. Is he right? Is Adrian? Or are the Stones?
What Does Cal’s First Draw-lling Mean?
Out of nowhere this week we learned that Cal had actually had a Calling drawing — see how we created our own word with “Draw-lling”? — before we’d ever seen any. In it, there was a shadow that appeared to be looming over Ben and/or Grace (we thought it was Grace at first look). As the episode progressed, additional shadows formed behind Ben and/or Grace (rendering our theory moot) and Olive.
But what do they mean? Why doesn’t Cal have one, other than the fact it could be absorbed by his parents’ shadows based on their positioning in the drawing. Are they indicative of some growing and looming threat? Could it be the Death Date, though that’s a ways away. Plus, how was he able to ignore the Calling for this long; in the past we’ve seen Callings relentlessly dog Passengers until they address them. This one is surprisingly passive and patient.
Why Did Adrian See the Shadows?
Perhaps the most startling and sinister development of the night, though, came after Adrian stole out of the hospital only to uncover the shadows in an alleyway. Like Cal’s drawing, they started as just one shadow and then quickly loomed into three that grew up the walls of the building and then seemed to lean toward him.
The shadows let him run from them, so it’s clearly just supposed to be showing him something. By the end of the episode, Cal had seen them again as well on his bedroom wall, meaning the shadows that scare him are only appearing to him and Adrian right now. What connects these two? Adrian has been connected to Stone family Callings before the one with Grace (he shared the plane crash before the fire Calling with them), making him one of the few Passengers to do so.
What is the value of having him — with such a negative view of the Callings — drawn to the Stone family again and again? Is he supposed to challenge their belief in the inherent goodness of the Callings, or are they supposed to challenge him? Perhaps both, even.
Why Are the Shadows Appearing Now?
After all this time, considering they were Cal’s first Draw-lling, why are the Shadows just now looming? It can’t be because he and Olive looked at them together for the first time, could it? Or does it have anything to do with Jared and Michaela and the Captain masterfully taking down Simon and his wife and Billy and his two goons in that brilliant sting at the bar, thus at least temporarily neutralizing the Xer threat?
We’ve never heard of a Calling being predicted by Cal and then waiting so long to manifest in real life. They seem to clearly represent a danger of some sort, but is it a threat coming for Cal and Adrian? And if so, why now? Is the Major going to circle around again, and they’re perhaps a warning of sorts? Or do they represent something new? And why three? And why surrounding everyone in the Stone family except Cal?
Will the Xers Continue?
Less related to Callings and more about practical domestic terrorism, but did the sting effectively put a bullet in the Xers? It shouldn’t be that hard to round up the other people involved, with Jared able to identify so many of them from Xer meetings like Michaela’s union rep, but will that be enough to shut down the movement?
Perhaps Simon and his wife will be considered martrys? Or, which seems pretty likely, they’ll have other agents in high places that will have them sprung before any charges can stick. If they can have people in law enforcement, they might also have people in the judicial system or government.
Also, we’re probably not done with all the intel that Simon had gathered from Ben — and how’s he going to take finding out his colleague was the mastermind behind the whole movement (or at least a local chapter)? With or without Simon, it feels like a movement that has a lot of supporters as there is mistrust about the 828ers. Hell, he may have put contingency plans in place to release information should he ever be arrested. Time will tell.
We’ll have to wait until next Monday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC to see if seven days is enough time to get at least some of these answers.
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