'Manifest': Ben and Grace are the couple defining how millennials perceive love
They did not speak about the important things but took charge of everything that was outside their relationship and that decayed their love
NBC's Jeff Rake-created show, 'Manifest', has been taking a cliched look into couple dynamics but, at the same time, it has subtly managed to define how millennials perceive love, especially when love comes to a sudden halt.
Starring Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, Athena Karkanis as Grace, Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone, and J.R. Ramirez as Jared, 'Manifest' has not only looked into the aftermath of the sudden re-appearance of Montego Air Flight 828 but has also given a considerable amount of attention to how relationship dynamics falter when there is an unexpected turn in the characters' lives.
Before they got on the plane, Ben and Grace were a team who were fighting together to heal Cal of leukemia but their 10-year-old son was not responding to any of his treatments. Both Grace and Ben were on the lookout for some better treatment which might help their son but they were both aware that they were probably fighting a war that was already lost.
When the flight disappeared for almost five and a half years, Grace had to come to terms with the fact that her husband, Ben, and son, Cal were dead. However, when they finally returned Grace and Ben found themselves in an odd situation where they were happy to see each other but were not very sure how to work around their marriage.
Their relationship is the harbinger for millennials who do not perceive love as an end-all factor. To millennials, love is an emotion that we feel every now and then, and it is never intended to be felt towards a single person.
Grace had loved Ben for as long as he was there but two years after his disappearance, she realized she had to move on, and find someone else in order to forget Ben. With Danny stepping into the picture Grace was soon perceived by fans of the show as a betrayer but she was not. She moved on, and now even when Ben is back, she is finding it difficult to turn her life around and start from the beginning.
As for Ben, who was on that plane, and like all the other passengers who hadn't aged a day, those five years never happened and, in his head, he was away from Grace for barely a few hours. Hence, it probably never occurred to Ben that he would have to move on but when he saw his wife going out with another man, he found it difficult to understand the need for Grace to start a new life.
Ben and Grace tip-toed around their frustration for too long and the relationship finally collapsed towards the end of the ninth episode before 'Manifest' went for its long fall break. While it was heartbreaking, it sort of felt like a relief for both of them as they clearly weren't spending much time together.
According to Grace, their family was returning to normal and there was no need for Ben to run around hunting for answers as to what happened on the plane. However, Ben, who was on the plane and had experienced the "Callings", had to go about looking for pieces of evidence.
The two, in a way never spoke about their internal conflicts, and certainly remained shut about the problems that each was facing in their lives. Grace did speak about Danny but she never disclosed how difficult it was getting for her to come back to the old life. As for Ben, he only chose to express his sympathy to Grace and not his anger. That is exactly what we millennials always do with people we love, all fights and quarrels seem to be preserved for the end moment when the fire is lit and everything burns down.
What Ben and Grace lacked the most in their relationship was communication. They would speak about everything - their children, the plane, Cal's treatment, and Danny - but they never spoke how they felt towards each other. Especially Grace should have spoken out since five years without any contact with a person is just the same as the person not existing.
Ben went missing from her life for five years, and she had in a way buried his memories. Digging them out was not something she had planned to do, and when the time came Grace decided to let her turmoil be and accepted Ben, as though nothing had happened. It probably would have been a good idea had Grace faced herself and confronted the fact that she no more was in love with Ben.
'Manifest' returns to NBC January 7, and we can hope that the couple will find some redemption. Our guess is they will part their ways for good and remain friends since they clearly still like each other but, maybe, not love each other.