‘Manifest’: Major Nonsense

January 7, 2019

TL;DR version: The rescued passengers are holed up at a fancy beach house where Michaela picks up a calling from one of them urging her to “FIND HER.” She thinks it’s about the wife of one of the passengers, but the passenger in question turns out to be an abusive asshole. Meanwhile, Ben meets a podcaster obsessed with 828 and who confirms there is a “Major” behind all of this — whatever this is — who is looking for the “Holy Grail.” They somehow decide that the Major is a woman; the Holy Grail is Pre-Pubescent Son; and the Major is in New York looking for them. Also, Michaela and Ex-Boyfriend make the sex.

We begin the episode with Michaela doing a “Last time on Manifest” at her mother’s grave, and whining that she wants her life back. YEAH, WELL I WANT THE LIFE THAT I’VE LOST THINKING ABOUT THIS DUMB SHOW BACK, SO I GUESS WE’RE EVEN, LADY.

Apparently, Dr. Judgy Lady brought all the missing passengers (which number 10 + Autumn, if I’m not mistaken) to a multi-million dollar beach house out on Long Island that she just had access to …


… where the passengers spend their time staring blankly at the water, and receive the occasional simultaneous aftershock. Dr. Saanvi and Dr. Judgy Lady decide they should bring all the passengers of 828 together … for some reason. But when the producers remind the writers that there is only so much budget and they ain’t hiring some 200 extras, Dr. Saanvi and Dr. Judgy Lady decide that maybe only the passengers who came to watch the plane explode need to be contacted. BUT OK BUT WHAT IF SOME PASSENGERS ARE RECEIVING THE CALLING BUT DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY OR ABILITY TO COME WATCH THE PLANE BLOW UP? AFTER ALL, PRE-PUBESCENT BOY SENSED IT HAPPENING AND HE DIDN’T GO WATCH THE PLANE BLOW UP AND HE APPEARS TO BE CENTRAL TO IT ALL AND ALL I AM SAYING IS THAT WE SEEM TO BE ENTIRELY WRITING OFF THE EXPERIENCES OF SOME 170 PEOPLE WHO ALSO FLEW THROUGH A TIME TUNNEL OR WHATEVER.

This show is dumb.

Per my irritation with the previous episode, Ben, Michaela and Ben’s conspiracy board have all moved into an apartment together.

There, they foreshadow that they haven’t received a calling in some 10 days, so I’m sure it’s all over now. Also, Ben announces that he’s going to go to Beleaguered Federal Agent’s funeral because he is very totally dead for sure, and even though Michaela thinks it’s a Bad Idea, Ben doesn’t care because reasons.

Ben goes to the funeral where he gets yelled at by one of Beleaguered Federal Agent’s minions for getting Beleaguered Federal Agent killed, and then approached by ~ugh~ a podcaster who’s podcast is called “828-Gate.” Clever. Podcast Guy tells Ben that he knows all about him, and the “Major” and how the “Major” arrived in Red Hook via helicopter right before everything went down and anyway, Ben should come be on the podcast. But Ben is like, “podcast, ew,” and leaves.

Back at the beach house, Michaela touches one of the passengers and receives a message: “FIND HER,” along with a vision of a blizzard. At the same time, the passenger wakes up from his drug daze. Passenger has no memory not only of the plane but of even having a wife — although somehow Michaela knows he does, and that she didn’t come to the airport to meet him. Because this reminds Michaela of her own relationship with Ex-Boyfriend, she decides she is going to find Wife.

And then they have the passenger meeting with the non-abducted and non-brain-damaged passengers — but only the ones who the show could afford — who bitch about being followed around by the 828 cultists which is a whole plotline that has been completely abandoned. Also, the captain of the plane is all, “THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT AND YOU SHOULDN’T TRUST DR. JUDGY LADY.”


After the meeting, Ben asks Autumn Cox if she remembers hearing anything about a “Major” when she was at the farm, and Autumn reveals that she overheard the Baddie talking to someone he called “Major” and that SHE was saying that the “Holy Grail” is “priceless.”

Ben is all, “THE MAJOR IS A WOMAN?!?”

I bet Ben never recovered from the first time he heard that riddle where the man and his son are brought to the hospital after being involved in a terrible car accident, but the surgeon declares they can’t perform the surgery to save the boy’s life because “he’s my son.”

After Ben leaves, Autumn hurls her secret betrayal phone into the ocean because she’s Team Good Guys now. But then later in the show, Baddie is all, “NOT SO FAST,” and gives her a new secret betrayal phone.

Later, Ben listens to that guy’s podcast where he promises the next episode will explore the search for the “Holy Grail” and Ben is all, “WHAT?”

Ben goes to the podcaster’s studio where they compare notes — something about the Black Hawk helicopter and congressional earmarks and qanon and BLAH BLAH IMPORTANT SOUNDING CONSPIRACY STUFF BLAH — and he decides that he needs to talk to Beleaguered Federal Agent’s Minion.

To that end, Ben interrupts Minion’s lunch where he shouts a bunch of crazy things at him about a Black Hawk helicopter and a military operation and the safety of his family and WWBFAD?: WHAT WOULD BELEAGUERED FEDERAL AGENT DO?

Predictably enough, Minion later calls Ben and gives him the heads up that a Black Hawk helicopter is “wheels up” at Langley and headed to New York, so LOOK OUT, BEN AND BEN’S FAMILY. But then Minion is abducted by thugs in an SUV, lol.

So then, Ben tapes an interview with the podcast kid in the event something happens to him, “BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW HOW HIGH UP THIS GOES,” which is a dumb clichéd thing that they have to say in a conspiracy series like this, but come on, you think this stupid-ass administration is capable of conducting some sort of shadowy alien project, much less keep it secret? The minute flight 828 touched down, Jared would have been leaking all the details to the Washington Post in exchange for coverage that made him look like the brains behind the whole operation.

In the other storyline: over at Ex-Boyfriend’s place, Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife wants to make the babies, but Ex-Boyfriend is like, “Ouch, my fake coma still hurts, maybe later?”

Meanwhile, Michaela’s search for Wife takes her back to the station where she runs into Ex-Boyfriend who is well enough to come to work, but not well enough to make the babies. The two of them first go to Wife’s apartment which appears to have been abandoned in a hurry, before finding her hiding out in a seedy motel, terrified for her life. It turns out in their previous life, Passenger was an abusive husband, and when Wife learned he came back from the “dead” she chose not to greet him at the airport, lest she get a fat lip for her troubles.

Michaela returns to the beach house where she tells Passenger that they found Wife but he’s NEVER GOING TO SEE HER AGAIN BECAUSE HE’S AN ABUSIVE PIECE OF SHIT, and Passenger is like, “Uhhhhhh…. what?” And in conclusion, the whole Wife thing was yet one more meaningless red herring.


And then Ex-Boyfriend shows up at Michaela’s apartment (Number 414, which is half of 828, and I hate too hate this show) and they make the sexytimes despite minutes earlier Michaela giving a whole impassioned speech about how she’s not going to ruin his life or whatever. WHOOPS. Oh and Ben calls her and warns her that the Major is coming. DUN!

So they meet at the beach house, where Dr. Saanvi suggests that she’s figured out that the Holy Grail is a person, and Ben is all, “PRE-PUBESCENT SON!” At that same moment, Pre-Pubescent Son has the same vision/calling that Michaela had earlier in the episode with the blizzard and the “FIND HER,” except he sees someone holding a page from a magazine? that features a picture of Michaela? BECAUSE THE “HER” IS MICHAELA.

This show is stupid.

OH! And there is a teeny mini subplot where one of the passengers who was at the meeting and who had been complaining about the cult members following them around is approached by some cult members who want to touch him, and he’s like “Sure, why not. Maybe ‘cult messiah’ wouldn’t be such a bad gig after all.

Also, there was this whole annoying plot where five seconds after Ben moves out of the house, Teenage Daughter calls Replacement Husband/Dad to come date her mom again, because her mom was burning the waffles or something. I don’t know, the whole point is Replacement Husband/Dad shows up at the house at the same time as Ben does and there’s a confrontation but it is diffused within about two seconds after Grace is all, “YOU CAN’T JUST WALK BACK INTO OUR LIVES, BEN, EVEN THOUGH I AM YOUR WIFE AND THESE ARE YOUR KIDS,” And Ben is like, “I never thought of it that way, I guess this is your family now, Replacement Husband/Dad,” and leaves in tears. This whole thing is dumb and Teenage Daughter is a shitty daughter.

I have been sitting on this recap for days because I could not quite get my hands all the way around all of the stupid and I worried about overthinking plot points that the writers clearly gave NO thoughts to like who is paying to take care of these 10 comatosed passengers? Because that is not a cheap prospect. And who is changing out all their bed pans, surely it’s not just Dr. Saanvi on that duty, right? And explain to me again where this beach house came from? I know Dr. Judgy Lady had a friend or something but that is AWFULLY vague. And then there are the MANY MANY MANY questions about last episode’s raid where a bunch of federal agents were brought to an active hostage scene and some of the agents were killed but they allowed all of the witnesses and hostages to just … leave? Without being further questioned? Even though EVERYONE INVOLVED WAS ON A FLIGHT THAT WENT MISSING FOR FIVE AND A HALF YEARS AND THE MAN WHO ORDERED THE RAID WAS IN CHARGE OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE MISSING PLANE? BUT NOW THAT AGENCY AND THE LOCAL POLICE — WHO ALSO HAD ONE OFFICER INJURED IN THE RAID AND ANOTHER WHO WAS ON THE MISSING FLIGHT — SUDDENLY ALL OF THESE AGENCIES JUST HAVE A SUDDEN ONSET CASE OF NO CURIOSITY?

This show is bad and we are all wasting our time.

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

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