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'Manifest' Recap: Who is The Major? What Is The Holy Grail? Who Cares?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 8, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 8, 2019 |


For those joining us for the first time in our weekly recaps of literally the worst show on network television, Manifest, let me catch you up: Flight 828 took off and landed five and a half years later, though for the passengers, no extra time passed. The people on that flight have had difficulties readjusting to life. They have cheesy visions. We also know that all (or most) of the passengers are telepathically linked. People have been experimenting on some of these people using tortuous techniques.

That’s basically all you need to know through the first nine episodes. And if you didn’t already know that, Michaela Stone reiterated it all in the beginning of the episode in a conversation with her mother’s grave in an exposition dump. Talk about tortuous!

Do you remember that woman who was killed by her maid and her body secreted away? Do you remember the huge corporate conglomerate doing studies on the passengers? Or the secret labs? Do you remember that guy that kept having visions of people who were about to die? What about the refugee stowaway? Or the woman that was arrested trying to stow him away?

IT DOESN’T MATTER. None of that matters, because even though it’s a serialized show, Manifest essentially resets the mythology every other episode. This show cannot stick with a storyline to save its damn life. They make it up as they go along, and I’m not even certain that the writers putting together existing episodes have access to previous episodes. It’s like they’re putting together a puzzle, but they have pieces from five different puzzles, and every other week, they burn the puzzle to the ground and start on a new one.

But here’s how you know that something is important: The characters repeat it over and over and over again. Hey! Did you know that The Major is an important character on Manifest? I do. Because “The Major” is repeated at least EIGHTEEN (18) times in this single episode. “Why did the chopper drop off The Major?” “Did you come across someone called The Major?” “The Major said.” “The Major wants that bad.” “Are you positive The Major was a woman?” “The Major on that chopper was a woman.” “This mystery Major is a woman.” “The Major, whoever she is.” “I didn’t get him killed, The Major did.” “The Major is coming.” “Gotta be the Major.” “Find the Major.” “The Major would like a word.”

In case you didn’t catch it, The Major is also a woman. This is treated in Manifest as a mindblowing revelation. WOAH! The Major has a vagina! And guess what “The Major” wants? “The Holy Grail.”

“The money isn’t the problem. The Major said that Holy Grail is priceless.” “The Senator said ‘The Holy Grail.’” “The Holy Grail? Is that was the Major is looking for?” “Two sources tell me The Major is looking for The Holy Grail?” “The Major, the Holy Grail. Where to begin?” “She was looking for something she calls ‘The Holy Grail.’”

So, after 42 f**king minutes, plus commercials, we learned exactly three things from this episode. The Major is coming. And she’s looking for the Holy Grail. Who is The Major? Dunno. What is the Holy Grail? Dunno. The episode needed to spend nearly its entire runtime establishing their existence, and then in the next episode, we’ll find out who The Major is, and what The Holy Grail is, and in the episode after that, the show will never mention The Major or The Holy Grail again. Welcome to Manifest.

The third thing we learned? That Michaela had someone else’s vision, and in that cheesy vision, she kept hearing, “Find the woman.” But the woman isn’t The Major. The woman is … (wait for it) (wait for it) (wait for it) … Michaela! Michaela is having a vision of someone else who is looking for Michaela. And Michaela’s nephew, Cal, is having the same vision.


There were some relationship developments, too, but who could possibly care about these characters enough to give a damn about their love lives? But, for posterity’s sake, Michaela had sex with her ex-fiance, Jared, who is now married to Michaela’s best friend. Complicated! Meanwhile, Ben punched his wife’s ex-boyfriend, Danny, and then this exchange happened:

Grace (to Ben): “From the moment that plane landed, you wanted to walk into this family like no time had passed. (Turns to Danny) And you wanted the family that we had built.

Ben: I’m sorry I never really understood until now.

I swear to God, this show is written by mixing up Journey lyrics, and I’m surprised Grace didn’t respond with this witty retort: “Some will win. Some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues.”

Anyway, welcome back Manifest, TV’s #1 New Show!

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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