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Recap: We've Seen The Worst TV Has to Offer, and Its Name is 'Manifest'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 15, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 15, 2019 |


I’ve been running this site for 15 years now, and I’ve been doing it long enough that I don’t feel as bad when someone else other than me has to, say, review The Dog’s Way Home (sorry, Tori!), because I have reviewed hundreds of The Dog’s Way Homes over the years, and goddamnit, I’ve earned the right to write about … Donald Trump serving “hamberders” to college kids.

OK, that’s a bad example, but you get the picture. And yet, I continue to recap Manifest on a weekly basis, because it’s humbling. More importantly, I think we all understand that suffering and pain is at the root of all art, and it’s important to be reminded of that. And yet, in this era of peak television — with so many great shows from which to choose — it would be so easy to focus only on the quality shows, or those with potential, or those that express important messages, or those that touch us, or inspire us, or that don’t make us want to weep with boredom.

There are so many movies and television shows that are worthy of discussion, that merit 900-word explications. And yet, I choose to devote two-to-three hours to Manifest each week to remind me of what it means to suffer. I don’t have access to hair shirts, because I do not live in a medieval colony, but by watching Manifest, I can relive the experiences of clergymen during the middle ages. It’s preemptive karmic balancing: My life is good. I have a great job and a loving family, so I have to tip the scales the other way before the universe does it for me. I need this pain to feel alive! I watch Manifest so that I can better appreciate the good shows. And now, whenever I feel myself growing frustrated with the latest Netflix binge, I can remind myself of this one very important fact: At least it’s not Manifest.

It’s given me a whole new perspective on life. Once a week, it’s good to remind myself how truly horrible television can be. I have seen the worst, and I know its name: Manifest.

And so we begin: Remember last week, about how important “The Major” and “The Holy Grail,” were? So important, that 18 belabored references were made to “The Major”? And how “The Holy Grail” holds all the secrets to unlocking the mysteries of Manifest?

Yeah, well. Forget about The Major and The Holy Grail. Those aren’t important in this week’s episode, because the important thing for this week’s episode — and this week’s episode, only — is “dark lightning.” Dark lightning is a real thing! I looked it up! Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone on the show did, because that would have required five minutes of research, and it might have given viewers the impression that the writers actually care what goes into the story.

In any respect, this week’s episode was about the pilot of Flight 828. We discover that, during the original flight, the pilot could not avoid a sudden and oncoming storm, so he endeavored to fly through it, and in the process, somehow the combination of dark lightning plus having a passenger on board who has studied collective telepathy caused the plane to time travel five and a half years.

So, Captain Daly — who apparently the entire world blames for the five-year disappearance of Flight 828 — decides he would like to … prove that the disappearance wasn’t his fault by … kidnapping a scientist and flying through dark lightning to see if he can replicate the time travel. In other words, he wants to prove he wasn’t responsible for one flight disappearing by actively making another flight disappear?

This entails talking to a meteorologist, who at one point was set to testify in front of Congress about the weather conditions during the original flight’s disappearance, although after they speak to the meteorologist, he dies under mysterious conditions (don’t worry! The show will never refer to his death again!) And then Captain Daly kidnaps a scientist, steals a plane, and flies into another storm he knows will contain dark lightning. Unfortunately for Captain Daly and the scientist, the Air Forces shoots down their plane before it travels in time … or does it? Maybe Captain Daly’s flight traveled into the future before it was shot down?

I guess we’ll just have to wait another five years to find out. In the meantime, I wouldn’t expect anything that happened in this episode to have any effect on future episodes, because that would require writers of future episodes to have seen past episodes, and that’s not a thing that happens on Manifest.