‘Manifest’: This is why I am fundamentally opposed to hiking

“Vanishing Points”
January 21, 2019

Last we left the Stone family, Pre-Pubescent Son had been kidnapped. Ben races home to discover that his wife, being a responsible adult, has called the police, but Ben is all, “NOOOOOOOOO THE BAD GUYS, THEY’LL … DO … SOMETHING! WE CAN’T HAVE PROFESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS LOOKING INTO OUR SON’S MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE!”

Meanwhile, Michaela has arrested Autumn for reasons, before racing over to Ben and Grace’s home. There, Ben explains to Grace that they, including her son — maybe especially her son — are being hunted by someone called “The Major” because Pre-Pubescent Son is psychic because of the plane. To demonstrate this, Ben shows Grace and Michaela Pre-Pubescent Son’s sketchbook which — HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS — includes a picture of them looking at Pre-Pubescent Son’s sketchbook.

They also find a picture of Pre-Pubescent Son in a cabin, looking super cold, and a bunch of pictures of trees. They determine that a page has been torn out, and Michaela is all, “AUTUMN! SHE HAS IT!” based on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL. There is also a picture of a town square that Grace recognizes as some dipshit town upstate so these geniuses decide they need to call off the cops and go find their kid all by themselves.

To this end, Michaela calls Ex-Boyfriend who arrives at the house and is all, “Whoopsie! Pre-Pubescent Son is at his grandfather’s house and here’s a picture of the two of them together to prove it, just take my word for it that this was taken moments ago and not weeks ago, and please just trust me despite the fact that I do not have Pre-Pubescent Son with me and also too there’s no need to confirm any of this by going over to Grandad’s house, it’s all good!” And all the idiot cops are like, “Yep, sounds legit,” and leave.

To the show’s credit, this is the single most ridiculous thing in the episode and they manage to get it out of the way in the first act. So kudos? I guess?

Or maybe the most ridiculous thing in the episode is the part where Ben and Grace, terrified that a shadowy organization is coming for their family, LEAVE THEIR 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER HOME ALONE while they drive upstate looking for their Pre-Pubescent Son. I mean, OK, fine, technically they leave her with Grandad. But it’s not like he’s going to be able to protect her if some Men in Black decide to abduct her to perform twin studies or some shit. ANYWAY, the point is, Teenage Daughter finds a note from Pre-Pubescent Son that reads “I LEFT” and she sends it to Ben and Grace who realize he hasn’t been kidnapped but took off on his own. Again. They need to install locks on this kid’s windows and doors.

(Oh, and on the drive upstate, Ben and Grace hear a news report about a double homicide and an armored truck heist and Ben is all, “Well, at least it’s not about 828!” so expect that to totally be about 828 somewhere down the line.)

Meanwhile, Michaela somehow figures out that Autumn has a daughter that The Major is promising to reunite her with, so Michaela promises that instead she’ll reunite Autumn and her daughter if Autumn helps them find Pre-Pubescent Son. And Autumn is all, “NO!” before being all, “OH, ALRIGHT,” and hands over the drawing that she stole from Pre-Pubescent Son’s sketchbook: it was of her daughter. And on the back is a drawing of the cabin where Pre-Pubescent Son is.

Back in upstate New York, Ben and Grace are followed around by the baddies until Autumn calls the baddies and gives them bad information about where Pre-Pubescent Son is. Michaela sends the drawing of the cabin to Ben and Grace. Ben then figures out that the “I LEFT” note is actually a secret map which just happens to lead them to Pre-Pubescent’s cabin.

okay sarcastic snl ariana grande annoyed

There, Pre-Pubescent Son explains that they can’t leave because “he’s coming” and “almost there” at which point a man stumbles through the front door before collapsing on the floor. Fortunately, Pre-Pubescent Son had packed for this eventuality, and Ben and Grace are able to wrap the unconscious man in a sleeping bag and bandage his hand while they wait for him to wake the hell up and tell them who he is, because he’s not from 828.

At some point, Michaela joins them at the cabin instead of, oh, I don’t know, hanging out with Teenage Daughter who must really be feeling abandoned right about now. Upon arriving, Michaela recognizes the man’s jacket from her vision a couple of episodes ago — the one with the blizzard and the “FIND HER” business. And, by the way, none of these grown-ass adults think to take this unconscious man who has clearly been exposed to the cold for some time and might very well be hyperthermic, TO A HOSPITAL, instead insisting that they called Dr. Saanvi and she said it’d be alright, despite having no real idea what condition this man is in on account of her NOT BEING THERE, but I digress.

The point is, man wakes up and is all, “ZOMG IT’S YOU, MICHAELA.”

Turns out, man, whose name is Zeke (not that it matters because I’m going to call him “Hiker”) had been out hiking when a blizzard hit. He got trapped in a cave with only his copy of the Us Weekly that memorialized the passengers of 828 — you know, like glossy magazines always do years after airplane crashes — which he burned to keep warm. But for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to burn Michaela’s page. Her face gave her strength or some shit and he kept hearing this weird voice in his head urging him to “FIND HER.”

He wonders how it’s possible that she’s here, since, you know, she died in an airplane crash, and they’re all, “UH DUR, WE CAME BACK. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.” Ben and Michaela then ask how long, exactly, he had been out hiking. He claims he was out for two weeks, but when he shows them Michaela’s magazine page it’s … FROM 2017. Which means HE’S BEEN MISSING SINCE 2017!

Even though it means nothing of the sort, and it could just be that he went hiking in 2018 with a magazine from 2017 and, silly me, I was expecting the big reveal to be that the magazine was from 2024 because apparently I suffered some sort of head injury or maybe had a mini-stroke while I was watching this episode and I completely forgot that this show is completely stupid.

Oh, and The Major buys a New York City apartment which cannot be cheap.

So, to recap: the first 45 minutes of this show in which we thought Pre-Pubescent Son was kidnapped was all some bullshit misdirection; a bunch of cops will just accept some random cop’s word that a missing kid had been found based on a cell phone photo and nothing more; and the events of just the SAME DAY, when the pilot of a plane that went missing for five-and-a-half years, STOLE A PLANE AND WENT MISSING is not the story consuming the entire country somehow? We’ve just apparently completely forgotten about that whole plot thread? Like, when the cops were at the house looking for Pre-Pubescent Son, not one of them, not a single trained investigator in the bunch was like, “Wait, so, you’re telling me that a kid that was on the plane that went missing for five-and-a-half years (and who didn’t age in that time) went missing again on the same day that the pilot of that same plane stole a different plane and went missing? WHAT ARE THE FUCKING ODDS? So no, maybe until we actually see the child in person, we’re not going to just dismiss this investigation until we figure what the actual fuck is going on up in here.” DOES THIS SHOW EVEN HAVE WRITERS?

I hate this show and it is dumb.

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

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