My favorite scene in this week’s fourth episode of Manifest, “Unclaimed Baggage,” comes after Grace tells her husband, Ben, that she took a $500,000 settlement from the insurance company after her husband disappeared through a wormhole for five years and that, now that he’s reappeared, the insurance company wants its money back. I won’t get into how unlikely it is that an insurance company would call back in half a million dollars from the family after a passenger disappears for five years, but the point is, Grace is broke. She used the insurance money to open a new business, which is struggling, and she can’t pay back the $500,000.
So Ben goes downstairs, grabs a whiteboard, and he does some quick calculations!
I’m not entirely sure how, but Ben made their debt problems go away with math! “We’ll take out a small business loan, invest it, and use the interest to pay back the insurance company.” This sounds like the sort of thing that led to the 2008 recession. If you use the interest on that investment to pay off the insurance company, how do you have any money left over to pay back the small business loan and the interest on it?
You can’t make money materialize with math, but logic has never really been an impediment to Manifest, which has somehow only aired four episodes even though it feels like this show has been on since 2012 because Manifest clearly takes place in the Trump timeline. Nevertheless, after four episodes, here’s what we know so far about the mystery behind why Flight 828 disappeared for 5 years:
That’s not an exaggeration, either. We know that the disappearance had a profound psychic effect on the passengers, but we know nothing about the flight itself, except that it blew itself up (or someone else blew it up) a couple of days after landing.
Each week, they sort of tease us into thinking that the show is going to explore that central mystery, but that exploration never materializes. The Shadow Man in episode 2, for example, had nothing to do with the flight; the Shadow Man was a maid who killed a passenger out of jealousy. This week, we are introduced to a stewardess, who — in a flashback to the flight — does a lot of furtive things, hinting that maybe she knows something, or is behind the mysterious time jump.
Nope. She was just a stewardess trying to sneak a friend in from Jamaica as a stowaway because of the violence against gay people in Jamaica. The psychic hallucinations that Michaela and Saanvi have of the Angel of the Waters statue do eventually lead them to the stowaway who had escaped from a hospital, but only after Michaela botches an ATF investigation and gets her ex, Jared, in trouble. They decide to hide the fugitive. We will probably never see or hear from him again, because this show is not great about picking up on old storylines (see Kelly Taylor’s missing body).
But surely we will find out more about the mystery behind Flight 828 soon, won’t we? TV Guide spoke with the showrunner, Jeff Rake, and he said that next week’s episode will explore Grace’s life while Ben was gone; that episode 9 will find Grace/Ben and Michaela/Jared’s relationships at a crossroads and then, “Rake says Episodes 12 and 13 will include ‘a major card turn’ that will give the first huge reveal as to what happened. That could foreshadow what’s to come.”
Wait? We have to wait until episodes 12 and 13 — two months from now! — for the first huge reveal, one that will foreshadow what’s to come? Is that in the back nine episodes of the first season (if Manifest is extended) or the second season, if it is renewed? Are they really going to drag it out this long, without offering any huge reveals until sometime in December or January? The bland soap opera that this show has got going is not enough to keep viewers interested — I really don’t care about why the daughter stole the lipstick, nor about Grace’s old boyfriend, Danny.
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