‘Manifest’: The heart of the matter (is that this show is dumb)

November 12, 2018

Back on Flight 828, that one lady who was murdered by her maid because … the maid enjoyed making dinner for the lady’s husband or something? I don’t even know, anyway, before she was murdered for no reason whatsoever except to create some conspiratorial intrigue that was completely dashed in the very next episode, she is shoving her suitcase into the overhead compartment and bitching about having been put on this flight. That’s when some other lady passes her in the aisle and says some smug bullshit about how the flight isn’t “happening to [her]” but instead “happening FOR [her.]” Somehow, Murdered Woman does not respond, “I’M SORRY, DID SOMEONE ASK YOU?” before “accidentally” swinging her suitcase into the back of her head. Not that I would have done anything like that.

In the present, Pre-Pubescent Son is released from the hospital, hooray.

As for Ben, he’s come up with A Plan: He’s going to get himself hired by the accounting agency that works on United Dynamic Systems’ account to “follow the money.” To somewhere. And he does. He just gets the one job that will allow him access to the company he’s interested in investigating. Without any effort whatsoever. The job was available and he waltzes in and lands it with no problem.

At the new job, Ben can’t access UDS’s files because he’s too low-level, but through shenanigans and dumb fellow employees and a lot of playing with his Smart Man glasses, he manages to access some of UDS’s files and discovers a project labeled S.P. which … GASP! … is connected somehow to Judgy Lady from the first scene.

Ben leaves his brand new job in the middle of the day to meet with Dr. Saanvi and discuss this development and Dr. Saanvi reveals that Judgy Lady is actually the “Naomi Clark” mentioned a couple of episodes back, a professor of clinical psychology. So that’s DR. Judgy Lady to you. She was blackballed by the scholastic community for her woo-hoo theories but then became a guru to spiritual whackadoos for her belief in syncing brains or something. SO JOKE’S ON YOU, ACADEMIC COMMUNITY, BECAUSE DR. JUDGY LADY CAN MAKE A LOT MORE MONEY SELLING CRYSTALS AND BULLSHIT TO THE GULLIBLE THAN SHE CAN CHASING FEDERAL GRANTS FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE. Fortunately for their purposes, Dr. Judgy Lady is giving a lecture tonight! In New York City! Where they are! How very convenient! Just like Ben’s new job!

So after lying to his wife about working late, Ben and Dr. Saanvi go on a date to this lecture where Dr. Judgy yammers about mirror neurons and interconnectivity and the collective unconscious. She then walks into the audience — you know, like how lecturers always do — where she spots Ben and Dr. Saanvi and tells them that she’s been waiting for them. OOH! HOW MYSTERIOUS!

Except not, as she explains after the lecture that participants of traumatic events tend to seek each other out. As for the missing eleven passengers, she has no idea what Ben and Dr. Saanvi are talking about. Sure, she took some research funding from UDS for her “Singularity Project,” but she’s sure she knows nothing about government conspiracies. Ben is all, “AH! SINGULARITY PROJECT IS S.P.!” See, because he’s a math professor and very smart.

And then Ben returns to the office for the company poker game? Which takes place in a conference room? And to which he’s invited on his first day at work?

yes that makes sense

At the poker game, he cozies up to the IT guy who invites him to come take a look at the raw data dumps their department gets from their clients because every single thing about this conversation makes perfect sense.

The next morning, Ben shows up to IT guy’s office with two cups of coffee which he promptly throws at the IT guy. IT Guy then leaves Ben — who has been at this job for TWO DAYS NOW — in his office with his computer unlocked while he changes clothes. BECAUSE SURE. TO ALL OF THIS. ABSOLUTELY. While IT guy is gone, Ben downloads the raw data from UDS on a thumb drive, and then texts someone, his sister? Dr. Saanvi? about HIS FEDERAL CRIME. But haha, jokes on him, his text messages are being monitored on a giant flat screen television by Beleaguered Federal Agent who later shows up at Ben’s office demanding he hand over the USB or be arrested. This is not much of a choice, and Ben, Criminal Mastermind, hands over the raw data. BUT HE’S NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT, MISTER.

Over in the B storyline, Michaela and Ex-Boyfriend are on the beat and talking about “the calling” and Ex-Boyfriend is like, “Oh by the way, the government enlisted me to spy on you. Also, my wife, your best friend, wanted me to invite you to come over for dinner tonight, does seven work?”

They then receive a call about a shooting at a barbershop. While Ex-Boyfriend chases down the perp, Michaela performs CPR on the shooting victim all the while hearing a loud heartbeat that doesn’t seem to correspond to the victim because he dead.

At the station, the only witness to the crime, the victim’s nephew, tells Michaela that his uncle took him in after his mother died, and helped him when he needed life-threatening surgery. Michaela shares some nonsense platitudes about grief and building a building. Or something.

Later, they take the kid into the lineup, but instead of identifying the obvious perp — the actor playing Junkie #1 who is twitching and scratching and rolling his eyes for the Emmy reel of a lifetime — Nephew runs out of the police station and everyone heaves a heavy sigh.

Whaddya gonna do, but go have dinner with your Nearly Fiance and the Woman Who Stole Him From You, right? And so Michaela goes over to Ex-Boyfriend and Best Friend’s house where they have dinner and laugh at inside jokes until Michaela jumps up and runs out of the house.

And in fact, she goes to Nephew’s house and confronts him: he took the gun that was used in the murder and refused to identify Junkie #1 because he intends to murder him himself. Nephew is all, “PROVE IT,” but Michaela can’t, so she goes home instead.

The next day at the station, Michaela explains her theory about Nephew and Ex-Boyfriend is all:

mocking spogebob calling manifest.jpg

Which is exactly when Nephew saunters into the station and promptly hands over the gun. But joke’s on him: Junkie #1 was released earlier that morning.

So Ex-Boyfriend and Michaela go aimlessly driving around, looking for Junkie #1 who, at that same moment, is stalking an old man with a broken bottle. Michaela begins hearing the heartbeat again and using it as her guide shouts driving instructions to Ex-Boyfriend. It leads her, obviously, to Junkie #1 in the act of mugging the old man and she saves the day.

Later, she is back at the barbershop chatting with Nephew when she hears the heartbeat again — and it draws her to a mirror where Nephew has a picture of the friend she killed in that car wreck. AND GUESS WHAT? Nephew has Dead Friend’s heart — THAT WAS THE SURGERY HE MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODE AND THAT’S WHY SHE KEPT HEARING A HEARTBEAT EVEN THOUGH NEPHEW WAS NOWHERE NEAR THE SCENE WHEN SHE FINALLY CAUGHT JUNKIE #1 BUT WHATEVER DON’T THINK ABOUT IT TOO HARD BECAUSE IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE AND IT WILL BREAK YOUR BRAIN AND MAKE YOU TYPE EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS.

Finally, at the end of the episode, Michaela and Ben are hanging out in the kitchen when Michaela notices a drawing of Nephew that Pre-Pubescent Son drew — with Evie’s heart and EVERYTHING.

Please note that this is the third time Pre-Pubescent Son’s fridge art has been used as a “WHOA DUDE” moment on this dumb show.

Also, there’s some dumb C story about Teenage Daughter going to a rock-climbing gym with Replacement Dad/Husband. But then she says she’s quitting going to the rock-climbing gym with Replacement Dad/Husband. But then she changes her mind and goes back to the rock-climbing gym with Replacement Dad/Husband. GREAT STORYTELLING, GUYS. A++++ WORK.

This show is very bad and I hate it.

Manifest airs on NBC on Mondays at 9 p.m.

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