'Manifest': Fans continue to blame Grace after Episode 6 but does she deserve it?
From being a traitor to someone who does not accept her husband, fans seem to be perceiving Grace, played by Athena Karkanis, in a completely wrong light
The sixth episode of NBC's recording-breaking Jeff Rake-directed show, 'Manifest', is being called out by fans to be the best so far but it has certainly done some damage for Athena Karkanis' character, Grace Stone. As the wife of Ben Stone (played by Josh Dallas), Grace was told that her husband and son were presumed dead since they did not return from Montego Air Flight 828 that disappeared for five years. In order to move on with her life, Grace has to resort to a new partner although she did leave him when Ben and Cal (played by Jack Messina) returned.
Fans have already been pretty critical about Grace and what she did after Ben was declared dead. While most called her a traitor, in the sixth episode she seems to have easily become one of the most hated characters.
A Reddit user, who goes by the name misspriss91 stated, "Ok grace your sister in law, husband and kid come back 5 years later looking the same not aged a second and this is crazy. It’s like they make her even more unlikable every episode." Grace was already baffled by her son and husband's sudden return five years later, and in the sixth episode, she was not ready to understand the mythical explanations that Ben was throwing her way.
All that mattered to her was for Cal to get better. However, fans are claiming that Grace is not being perceptive about the situation. Reddit user @cmgriffith stated, "She’s not very smart, kinda like her choices which have led her to this point over the past 5 years between the disappearance and return." However, if taken a closer look into the episode it can be understood that Grace seems to have reached her breaking point.
As a mother, it is fair if she is not ready to understand any mythical explanation for her son's illness, which is now taking a dangerous turn, and her anger at Ben leaving the hospital to meet Vance is justified.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Karkanis tried justifying her character's actions. She explained, "I think it's a really hard episode for Grace, and it does bring her to a bit of a breaking point, because, like for any parent, of course, that's horrible when your child is sick and let alone extremely sick and dangerously sick. And you know this is a child who has already been sick all the time and she's already dealt with the fear of losing her son and then lost her son in the most unexpected way. You know in a way that she was preparing herself to lose him, and then miraculously gets him back and has this gift of being re-given her child. And then here she is about to lose him again, so that's horrible like you can imagine."
Like any other mother, Grace's only concern is her two kids. She was engaged to Danny for the only reason that he could fill up the vacant space in Olive's life which was left by her father, Ben. However, when she gets to know that Ben is returning, she breaks her relationship with Danny to welcome her husband back, in spite of the full three years that they have spent together as a family. Grace has also been quite worried about Ben's continuous research on the passengers, and at the hospital, she finally reaches a point where she can no longer stand him pursuing the missing passengers by herself. She also warns Ben to never leave her alone when she needs him the most.
Karkanis mentioned, "She doesn't feel supported, not by the hospital staff, not by Cal's doctor, not by Saanvi and most importantly not by her husband, who is, you know, operating around not sharing with her what he's doing. And, of course, he's doing it for the good of the family, but she doesn't know that. And telling her to not trust her instincts and that it's some other supernatural thing." Quite understandably, Grace will not understand the callings that Ben is talking about, and thinking it all to be an impossible thing, she finds herself cooped up in a corner where no one is giving her the answers that she is looking for.
However, fans are still of the opinion that Grace is not being supportive enough of Ben. A fan commented, "I'm going to need a healing factor because I feel like I'm going to hurt myself too much with the amount of head banging I'm going to do every time I have to endure any more of Grace's BS."
But can Grace really be blamed for not understanding what is happening? Probably not, because she wasn't on that plane and all she knew was that one day half her family disappeared, and five years later it was again put together. It can actually be said that Grace is the most vulnerable victim in all of what has been happening.
Karkanis explains that it is only Grace's common sense that is halting her from completely wrapping her head around what Ben is saying about the callings. "I mean it's hard, she also doesn't know what to believe because of what's just happened in her life — her husband and child coming back from the dead — of course that's going to throw everything off. Like, how do you know what to believe is real anymore? Like your common sense, you can't trust any of your instincts anymore, and then being left alone to make these huge decisions, which could end up being fatal. That's really hard. So it's a really hard episode for Grace."
Grace is the most misunderstood character in the entire series. At first, she lost a husband and a son, after which she was almost on the verge of giving up on her life. Then she welcomes a new man in her life for the sake of her daughter, but it all comes crashing down when she once again has to go back to her old life and pick up from where they left. While the situation seems to be romantic in the most cliched sense, it actually is disturbing for Grace's psyche. She is clearly a loving mother and a caring wife, but in the end, she is a woman who has to overcome a lot of things in a very short span of time. Give her a break, guys!
'Manifest' airs on NBC every Monday at 10 pm.