'Manifest' episode 3 review: The characters follow their own true calling but where are they headed?
Each character has his/her own task to complete and yet there is an impending fear of death hovering.
No one should seriously end an episode like that! Creator Jeff Rake's NBC drama 'Manifest', starring Josh Dallas and Melissa Roxburgh, has reached a point where we literally wish that the show was released at a go. Unfortunately, that is not the case and with what we saw at the end of episode 3, 'Turbulence', we can barely wait to find out what happens to Kelly Taylor's (Julienne Hanzelka Kim) body.
'Turbulence' has left us with several answers to our previously asked questions. We now know that Kelly was not killed by any mysterious shadow figure, but by the very woman who had vouched to protect her and her husband. Grace (Athena Karkanis) has confessed to Ben (Josh Dallas) that she no more requires Danny (who is to be played by Daniel Sunjata) in her life since her husband is back. Cal (Jack Messina) finds out that it is not just his twin sister, Olive who has surpassed his age but also his friend, Kevin, who is now dating, Olive (Luna Blaise). However, probably the most remarkable discovery in this particular episode was made by Dr. Saanvi (Parveen Kaur).
Following the revelation of Kelly's apparent murderer, Ben, and his sister, Michaela (Roxburgh) go to visit Saanvi who tells them about her latest discovery. As a practicing doctor, Saanvi has been involved in finding out the proper treatment to cancer, and immediately after returning from the fateful flight, she puts her head down to work with the moral compulsion of curing Cal's leukemia. However, her research takes a different turn when she discovers a certain kind of mark in Cal's blood which was not present before the plane journey. She soon finds out that it is not just Cal who has the mark in his blood, she too has it in her body.
Saanvi's explanation that Cal and all the other passengers had supposedly suffered a mild ischemic stroke which has left that mark in her blood could be the reason why all passengers have been hearing different things. However, it still does not explain why they are hearing the things that they are. Michaela has been on a continuous spree to save lives ever since she got off the Montego Air Flight 828. She tends to reach at the exact same place at the exact same time and solves the crime even before the cops arrive in the scene. While her restless spree has made her the chief suspect for the other officers in the department, Michaela cannot deny that it was all a voice in her head which has been pushing her to do things.
Even when Cal asks her to arrange the letters on the fridge for him, she involuntarily writes: "own your truth". Rake cleverly placed the scene in such a way that immediately after Michaela puts up the message, it is Grace who sees it. The phrase "own your truth" continues to resonate throughout the episode. While the phrase might seem like a persuasion for the characters to own up to the fact that they were actually dead for almost five years, it might also indicate that eventually, they have to accept the truth that death will come for everyone.
The line which has been taken from Luke 8:17 indicates pretty clearly that none of their secrets will remain theirs for long, be it Michaela and Ben's paranormal experiences, Grace's alleged affair, or Kelly's records disappearing completely. Regarding the disappearance of Kelly's body, Rake had said, "When they figure out that this body is missing, it just fuels the fires of their suspicion, that the government is at the least going to be incredibly intrusive in their lives going forward, but at the most that there is greater government involvement." That is the subtle touch of realism which Rake provides in the show.
Although most of the show is heavily grounded in fantasy and picks up bits and pieces from religious believes, Rake has put his characters on a threshold where danger awaits them on either side. In her statement on television, Kelly affirmed that the government was up to no good, and they were trying to extract information from them through detention. While she was partially right, Kelly had made the mistake of stepping out when an order of media blackout was imposed. In that regard, the government's strict actions are justified but what will they do with her body? Probably run their own set of tests to find out what exactly happened in the plane?
Episode three was the apotheosis in the first half of the first season, and it has established the fact that things are heading downhill for the chief characters. However, probably the one thing that it lacked was the screen time dedicated to the diverse cast. 'Manifest' celebrates diversity both off-screen and on-screen, and that is one of the greatest strengths of the show, other than the amazing plot twists. However, in episode 3 where Saanvi deserved a longer screentime as compared to either Michaela or Ben, the diversity seems to have stumbled a little.
Also when it comes to diversity, we do not see any other religion other than Christianity taking shape to form the basic mythical pattern in the show. Saanvi's own religion (which we are assuming to be Hinduism) is not revealed, and instead, there is a greater focus on the goods and bads of the religion. Maybe, it is supposed to chiefly rely on the Bible because that is probably what the script demands, however, that is certainly not how a show can term itself to be "diverse". Nevertheless, coming back to the plot, it shouldn't be long before we find out what is causing the voices, probably we will get to know it by the next episode.