“Estimated Time of Departure”
February 18, 2019
H’oh boy. This episode right here. This episode is 40 minutes of absolute crazy that offers answers to questions we didn’t ask; cliffhangers too lazy for your average soap opera; projectile vomiting; zero CGI wolves, dammit; and finding profound meaning in popsicle sticks. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from this terrible show, and perhaps in its own terrible way, the perfect way for it to end.
We begin the episode on a beach in Jamaica two hours before the Stone family is expected to get on an airport shuttle and return home. Ben doesn’t want to leave; Pre-Pubescent Son and Not Yet!Teenage Daughter invite Michaela to destroy their sand castle; Michaela and Ben’s mom admonishes Michaela to put on sunscreen, adding that you’re never too old to need your mother. Then they take a picture together. BYE, JAMAICA! BYE, NORMALCY!
In the present, Teenage Daughter is staring at the Carol board that she’s made of the symbols that have popped up over the course of the season, trying to make sense of a peacock and Gemini and whatever else she has on there:
… and Pre-Pubescent Boy has a tantrum in his room, destroying that popsicle stick dragon he made in the previous episode. When his parents are like, “The fuck?” Pre-Pubescent Boy explains he can’t tell them, he can only tell Hiker.
Speaking of Hiker, he’s busy loitering in hood liquor stores, buying pints of bourbon, because OH YEAH, he’s a former junkie/alcoholic, something they vaguely alluded to in earlier episodes but lean into REALLY HARD here because plot.
Meanwhile, Ex-Boyfriend, still jealous of Hiker, has — illegally — run his prints to discover that Hiker has a DUI, several drug possession charges and an assault on his record. Michaela is NOT IMPRESSED that Ex-Boyfriend continues to be such an asshole about Hiker.
Oh, and Wolf is released from jail because he turned out to be the big hero in the Times Square bombing that didn’t happen (and which shall never be discussed again). As he leaves the police station, Ben, Michaela, Dr. Saanvi and Hiker all have voices screaming “STOP HIM!” in their heads at once.
Ben, Michaela and Dr. Saanvi meet at the hospital to discuss this whole Wolf situation and express their concerns about what a sociopath like Wolf might do with the callings. Dr. Saanvi suggests that they just straight-up kill Wolf which is absolutely totally in character with what very little we know about Dr. Saanvi.
Michaela, ever the party-pooper, discourages this idea.
In the same conversation, Ben mentions to Michaela that Pre-Pubescent Son knows … something … but will only tell Hiker. But instead of just texting him, “Hey, go by Ben’s place, kid has something to tell you,” Michaela goes all the way back to her apartment to say this in person. There, Hiker tells Michaela that he went back to his mom’s place but she wasn’t interested in talking to him. He then explains the assault charge against him, something about a bar fight, who cares, and then they share a hug. ~A sexxxxxy hug.~ Then she sends him over to Ben’s house.
There, Pre-Pubescent Son swears Hiker to secrecy before showing him his latest drawing: tombstones for himself, his father and Aunt Michaela. When Hiker reports to Ben his findings, he just gives him the broad outlines: that Pre-Pubescent Son is worried that something is going to happen to them …
… and Ben decides that this must have to do with the whole, “STOP HIM!” business. Somehow, they agree this has to do with the Wolf appearing on “The
Today Morning Show” to be celebrated as a hero for preventing a bombing we never discuss again. They all convince themselves — BASED ON NOTHING AT ALL — that the Wolf will tell the world about the callings and then none of them will be safe! From someone! The public? Who knows?! I mean, there’s still a military-toothpaste company consortium out there that has been hunting them down and melting their brains; there’s a whole cult that is obsessed with them and occasionally kidnaps them; and then there’s Alex Jones and Qanon who are literally claiming the 828 passengers are space aliens that must be killed on sight or something, but yes! If this violent criminal goes on the teevees and says that he knew where the bomb was going to be because he has the ESPees, they will ALL SUDDENLY FOR THE FIRST TIME BE IN DANGER. STOP HIM!
To this end, Hiker finds one of New York City’s famous crime alleyways where he buys a gun from a crime person while Ex-Boyfriend spies on him.
As for Ben and Michaela, they decide that they will STOP HIM! by using more talk therapy on the Wolf. Because it worked so well the last time. They head to Rockefeller Center and intercept the Wolf just as he is arriving and making his way through the crowds who are holding up home-made posters celebrating him, because most definitely. There, Ben and Michaela try to warn Wolf that if he reveals the callings, he’ll put himself and all of the 828 passengers in danger and he’s like, “Cool,” before heading to the studio.
And then — you guys — then the single most amazing thing I think I have ever seen on a television show in my entire life happens. Here I thought nothing could be more astounding than CGI WOLF, but Manifest, this terrible terrible show, it somehow, miraculously, managed to outdo itself.
So, Wolf walks away, and then just as the group starts hearing, “STOP HIM!” screaming simultaneously in their heads again, Wolf begins vomiting water. But not just like a normal vomit amount of water. He vomits a firehose spray of water.
FOR 45 SECONDS STRAIGHT.
The vomiting, it goes on for so long, I couldn’t make a gif of the entire scene.
I mean, sure, it doesn’t go on for five minutes the way the Mr. Creosote scene in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life does (look it up, children), but Monty Python’s Meaning of Life is a comedy and … presumably … Manifest isn’t?
Oh my God, what if Manifest has been a comedy this entire time? IT WOULD EXPLAIN SO. MUCH.
I mean … it’s not impossible.
So he vomits enough water to flood Rockefeller Center Plaza before collapsing and dying because you can’t just vomit a literal geyser without some consequences.
WAIT, BEFORE WE GO ON, I HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT SOMEONE HAD TO WRITE THIS SCENE. ADULT PEOPLE — PROBABLY SEVERAL — CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS SCENE, THEY WROTE THIS SCENE, IT HAD TO BE APPROVED BY THE SHOWRUNNER AND THEN THE NBC EXECUTIVES, AND THEN MORE ADULTS AGREED TO FILM THIS SCENE AND ACT IT OUT AND THEN OTHER ADULTS WENT IN AND ADDED SPECIAL EFFECTS AND THEN — AGAIN, ADULT HUMAN PEOPLE — THEY WERE LIKE, “YEP! LET’S BROADCAST THIS!” ADULTS! ADULTS HAD TO APPROVE OF ALL OF THIS!
Anyway, he collapses and dies and Ben and Michaela spot Hiker in the crowd and everyone is like, “DAAAAAAAMN.”
Michaela sends Hiker back to the apartment, which is when Ex-Boyfriend confronts her and tells her that he saw Hiker buying drugs and that he’s using again. But when Michaela is NOT INTERESTED, Ex-Boyfriend promises to “stop” Hiker if she won’t.
Because we don’t have enough to deal with tombstone drawings and destroyed popsicle dragons and gallons and gallons of water vomit, Michaela decides that she is going to poke her nose in Hiker’s business. Because sure. This would be the most important thing on her plate right now. To this end, Michaela finds Hiker’s mother who explains that she turned him away because he fed her some bullshit story about being trapped in a cave for a year when she knows full well he was really using all of the drugs. Michaela assures her he was not using all of the drugs, but really trapped in a magic cave and then Mom is all, “OH NOES WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
While all of this was happening, back at the hospital, a lab tech mentions to Dr. Saanvi that he found the same blood marker in the Wolf’s blood that was in Pre-Pubescent’s Son’s blood and THEY’RE GONNA BE FAMOUS! or something. Dr. Saanvi is all, “Oh shit,” and proceeds to have a panic attack. Some guy butts into her business and gives her a card for a therapist.
When Wolf’s body is sent conveniently enough to Dr. Saanvi’s hospital for an insta-autopsy, she harasses the medical examiner for a copy of the autopsy report — which he literally turns around in less than a day, and which is absolutely a thing that happens — and she shares the findings with the Stone siblings. Wolf apparently died of drowning, and vomited more water than his body mass. Oh and also, someone found the 828 blood marker, so the medical community is probably going to want to do all sorts of experiments on Pre-Pubescent Son or whatever.
As Ben contemplates this and is murmuring about how he can’t allow Pre-Pubescent Son to be used as a guinea pig, Michaela hears another “STOP HIM!” But instead of jumping to the conclusion that the “HIM!” is referring to her brother who is three feet away from her and becoming increasingly agitated about … something? hypothetical medical experiments on his son? she decides that the “HIM!” the voice is referring to is Hiker who is about to use all the drugs again.
Micahela rushes out of the hospital and runs back to her apartment. For the second time in the episode.
Back at home, Ben is looking over the file on Wolf when our math genius here has an OHMYGOD moment: Wolf was in the river for 82 hours and 8 minutes and — HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS — he died 82 hours and 8 minutes later.
WHICH MEANS: THEY ARE GOING TO DIE FIVE AND A HALF YEARS AFTER COMING BACK. PROBABLY.
Ben — again, a math genius — scrambles to figure out what the exact date would be while Teenage Daughter suddenly has her own epiphany and announces that their death date is June 2, 2024. And how, you ask, did she come up with this? THE CAROL BOARD.
Peacock = Juno = June
Gemini = Two
Popsicle dragon = Chinese year of the wood dragon = 2024
IT’S SO OBVIOUS. BECAUSE WHAT AMERICAN 15-YEAR-OLD DOESN’T HAVE EVERY YEAR AND ELEMENT OF THE CHINESE CALENDAR MEMORIZED?
This God damned show.
Then they all agree to not tell Pre-Pubescent Son, but he pops up from behind the couch and is like, “Surprise, bitches, I already know!”
Ben suggests that they just move to Jamaica, because why the fuck not, and that’s when Grace is like, “Oh, by the way, I’m pregnant,” and Ben is all HOORAY! but then she’s like, “… and the baby is probably Replacement Husband/Father’s,” and Ben is all WELL, I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING BECAUSE DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AM A MATH GENIUS I AM NOT A LADY BODY GENIUS AND ALSO I HAVE NEVER WATCHED A SOAP OPERA IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Elsewhere, Ex-Boyfriend beats Michaela to her apartment and storms in demanding to know where Hiker’s drugs are — see because he thought he was buying all the drugs in the crime alley, not a harmless gun. Hiker protests that he doesn’t know what the hell Ex-Boyfriend is talking about, and then they fight and they fight and they are destroying all of Michaela’s things WHICH SHE JUST BOUGHT, YOU GUYS and they fight and all the while the voice is screaming at Michaela to “STOP HIM!” and she’s running up the stairs of her apartment building in slo-mo and she opens the door just as a gun goes off, but we don’t know who was shot because that’s how the episode ends, because this is a dumb show that is not worth our time.
Oh, and Dr. Saanvi’s therapist for her PTSD? It’s The Major.
And that’s how this shit show, this literal show of shit ends: on three lame ass cliffhangers, the revelation that the characters have an expiration date and deep in the hopes that this show will have an expiration date, too — and that it was February 18, 2019.
This show is bad and dumb but it ain’t my problem anymore.
Manifest aired on NBC on Mondays at 9 p.m. It has not yet been renewed for a second season (but it probably will be, if I’m being completely honest).