'Manifest' Episode 4 review: The show's subjective nature makes the Jeff Rake thriller a multi-dimensional story
With the 'angel' calling and the family turmoil, 'Manifest' has taken the high road to marvelous storytelling in Episode 4
Creator Jeff Rake's mythological sci-fi 'Manifest', starring Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas, seems to be gradually tilting to a more family-driven drama than a mystery thriller. However, it has managed to retain its religious undertones. Episode Four, which aired on October 15, Monday at 10 pm, other than portraying the Stone family in their worst states of dilemma, has revealed that Saanvi and Michaela (Roxburgh) are seeing the same things in different places and (probably) at different times.
After Saanvi (Parveen Kaur) found the mark on Cal's (Jack Messina) head in the third episode, she did not waste time in finding out if she has a similar mark on her head. Turns out, she does and the consequences of that discovery took center stage in the fourth episode.
When she was on her way to consult the head-doctor of the department regarding the mark, Saanvi gets the vision of a woman in bronze looking at her intently. She soon begins to notice a trail of wet footprints which lead her to the psychiatric ward. As soon as she approaches Room 810, a young boy barges out and claims that the flight attendant, Bethany (Mugga) knew something.
This incident soon leads to a series of events that not only help unfold the secret behind the visions but brings into perspective the wrath of the government authorities. The occupant of Room 810, Thomas, was a gay Jamaican boy whom Bethany had smuggled into the United States to help him reunite with his lover, Bethany's nephew Leo.
In a flashback, we see Bethany asking him to flee once the plane lands but unfortunately once Thomas tries to escape he is taken under custody as an "emotionally, disturbed person". Thomas was the only one in the plane who wasn't aware that the passengers had gone missing for more than five years and that resulted in his disturbed state since he does not even know about the whereabouts of Leo.
The events following happen quickly. Episode director Craig Zisk seems to have laid out 'Unclaimed Baggage' extremely neatly as Bethany, Thomas and Saanvi make some extremely narrow escapes until they bump into Michaela, who has just been rescued by Jared (J.R. Ramirez) from getting suspended. Michaela sees the same woman as Saanvi did but instead of seeing wet footprints, she sees the bronze woman in wings, who keeps whispering to her, "Save him".
Michaela takes a hasty, wrong guess and puts an entire underground operation under threat but once she meets Saanvi and Bethany (who were on the run) she realizes that the angel meant to say something else.
When the three discussed in the car about their individual visions, Bethany notes that the bronze woman whom the two had seen could easily be the 'Angel of Water' seen as the statue of Bethesda located in Central Park. The three immediately make the route to the fountain and discover Thomas sitting in front of the angel. This points towards the religious undertone in this episode becoming impossible to ignore. The number 810, which was the number of the room in the psychic ward where Thomas was held, itself signifies the Comforter and the Friend who reunites the "Brethren". Being a multiple of the third cube, it also stands for the name of the Third Person of The Holy Trinity, The Holy Spirit.
Thomas could be the representer of the Comforter and Friend. Of course, he is both to Leo but he also plays the part significantly, although involuntarily, when it comes to Saanvi, Michaela and Bethany. The pursuit to find him brought the three together and put the women's instinct to test. At the same time, the number 810 also stands for The Holy Spirit which was depicted by the Angel of Waters. According to the Bible, God had given the angels control over the four elements and Gabriel, God's messenger, was in possession of the element water which is why he appears in front of Mary from the water well.
As a receptive energy, it is believed that messages transfer quicker through water, and Rake seems to have arranged the sequences in the episode in such a way that the belief becomes a reality. Immediately after Saanvi notices the wet footprints she discovers Thomas which leads her to contact Bethany. As the two unite, they suddenly bump into Michaela and the three are eventually led to their destination, to find the "unclaimed baggage". Not only did Episode Four bring in these very religious undertones to help reveal some unexpected secrets, but it also drew attention to the fact that 'Manifest' is, after all, a subjective show.
We do not know what is happening with the lives of the rest of the passengers and crew on the plane until they are brought into the context of the Stone family, who now seem to be suffering from a moral dilemma.
While Ben (Dallas) was busy figuring out a way to pay insurance bills, Olive (Luna Blaise) falls into the hands of the cops for shoplifting. However, that is the least shock that Ben gets from his daughter. When he visits the store to get her, he finds out that Danny (who appears for the first time in this episode) was already their rescuing his daughter. The fact that both Grace (Athena Karkanis) and Olive are finding it so hard to let go of the man seems disturbing to Ben.
Grace has already been in a muddled state ever since Ben returned, and probably her confusion is justified since she and Danny have literally seen Olive grow up from a 10-year-old to a 15-year-old. Olive too explains to Ben that today when he looks at her, he still sees the same small girl which she is not anymore, and Ben on his part like a devoted father tries to assure his daughter that age won't be able to keep them apart.
Probably the saddest point here is that every single one of them is trying to accommodate each other, but the fight gets tougher for Olive and Grace who knew for more than five years that both Ben and Cal were dead. As for Ben, he is not able to come to terms with the fact that another man could be capable of replacing him.
Episode 4 was probably the most emotionally charging episode until now, but at the same time, it has clearly stated that 'Manifest' isn't a single-dimensional show. Other than taking the concept of time-lapse as its chief subject, it also focuses on human behavior in context with changes. It has subtly placed the religious undertone as a catalyst to the tormenting authoritarian rule which gradually is coming under focus as the show approaches.