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Manifest: Hard Landing

He's not dead.  He's getting better.
"Maybe not everyone deserves to be saved."

One of Manifest's overriding themes is that of the second chance.  It's the defining element of Michaela's character arc, and important to Zeke's as well.  As Grace said in the first episode, "The universe just gave all of us a do-over."

The baseline assumption is that the one who is given a second chance and a calling or two is supposed to use it all as an opportunity to atone for past mistakes, help others, and become a better person.  So what happens when that second chance is bestowed on someone who doesn't want to atone for past mistakes, help others, or become a better person?  Can a calling be used for personal gain... or for evil?

The episode opens with a flashback to the armored car robbery.  After Griffin and his two accomplices efficiently taser the guards and lift the $75 million, Griffin cold-bloodedly executes his two co-conspirators before driving off.

Coming out of the flashback, Michaela realizes something kind of 828-y is going on here and gets Griffin's ambulance diverted to the hospital where Saanvi works.  In the emergency room, a distressed, half-conscious Griffin describes a vivid vision of a terrorist bombing, which Michaela correctly realizes is a calling.

After Griffin is calmed down and oriented to reality, Michaela tells him that he's had a calling, and what a calling is, and asks him to give her more details.  Once Griffin fully comprehends what a calling is, he's more than willing to tell the authorities what he knows--in return for full immunity from prosecution for the robbery and for killing off his co-conspirators.

What follows is a duel of personalities: well-intentioned Michaela urging Griffin to do the right thing, and Griffin, being the selfish, cold-hearted bastard he is, resisting her appeals as he waits for the prosecutor to approve the immunity deal.  Ben, Grace, and Olive get to work learning as much as they can about Griffin, in the hopes that they can find something that Michaela can use to appeal to the better angels of Griffin's nature. It's a valiant effort, and Michaela hits a few nerves along the way, but Griffin is too far over the moral event horizon to have any better angels left in his nature.  Even his own (foster) mother considers him unsalvageable!

Griffin's calling, once revealed, allows the authorities to find and disarm a bomb hidden in a Times Square food cart, saving dozens of lives--but Michaela then has a vision of the Wolf of Uncanny Valley from the previous episode, stalking off through the crowd in search of its next prey.

In other news, Jared meets Zeke, and Jared really doesn't like him.  He doesn't know anything about Zeke, except that Zeke is awfully chummy with Michaela and appears, to Jared anyway, as a romantic rival. Zeke, for his part, is still having trouble adjusting to the world.

Saanvi is still feeling the effects of being taken hostage in the last episode.  Any sharp sound or sudden motion triggers a panic attack.  One of her colleagues notices the signs and encourages her to get help.

"828" Watch

When Griffith is brought to the hospital, Saanvi does some quick math and figures out that the van had been submerged for 82 hours and 8 minutes.

Also on the manifest....

How in the world did Cory Weber and the Believers all so quickly conclude that Griffin was a "returnee" in the same class as the 828 passengers?

All too often, a TV series will put a character through an intensely traumatic situation in one episode, only to have them showing no ill effects in the next.  Real life does not work that way; few people have the capability of bouncing back so quickly and completely.  Give the showrunners credit for allowing Saanvi's PTSD to play out over multiple episodes in realistic fashion, and give Parveen Kaur equal credit for playing a character with PTSD so realistically.

The crowd of onlookers was awfully close to where the bomb squad was disarming the bomb.  The perimeter should have been a couple hundred feet further out, at least.

Why was Griffin using a suppressed pistol to bump off his colleagues?  Suppressors--"silencer" is a misnomer--are "NFA items" required to be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act.  There is a mandatory filing and $200 tax imposed on any transfer of an NFA item.  A convicted felon like James Griffin would have a difficult time (and run a significant increased risk of getting caught) to obtain one, with no practical benefit for the extra effort.   If you're going to shoot people on a crowded street in broad daylight and leave the corpses there when you drive off, suppressing the gunshot (from an ear-destroying 150 dB or more down to "only" 120-130 dB) doesn't make the shooting any less obvious.


Dr. Matthews, to Saanvi: "I know I'm being intrusive, but what I saw wasn't allergies."

Olive: "I went to the Wayback Machine. It's a site that archives old websites that don't exist anymore.  There was this thing called MySpace, and it's hilarious."  Don't be so smug, Olive.  Someday, your children will look back on your Instagram and Snapchat archives with the same haughty disdain.


The scenes of Ben, Grace, Olive, and Michaela working together to try to coax Griffin away from the dark side were up to Manifest's usual standards--the strength of the show has always been its characters.  Jared's jealousy, while not a credit to the character, is a thoroughly believable development.  However, the speed with which both the Believers and the anti-828ers concluded that Griffin was a "returnee" like the 828 passengers is a bit of a plot hole.  That's a development that should have happened more slowly, if it should have happened at all.

Two and a half out of four archived MySpace pages.

Baby M never had a MySpace page.

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