The problem with Grace Stone: A 'Manifest' fan shares why it's easy to loathe one of TV's most controversial characters
From episode one of 'Manifest', Grace Stone is set up as a character to hate, and only gets easier to hate as the season progresses. Now, only nine episodes into season one and she is easily the most hated character on the show.
"I've spent every day of the last five years blaming you, not only for taking that later flight, but for making Cal so desperate for your attention that he wanted to stay with you." This one line in the pilot was the moment I knew I was not going to like Grace Stone.
Ben Stone had just recently found out that he’d gotten on a plane and didn’t get off until five and a half years later. He finds out his mother is dead, his 10-year-old daughter is now a teenager, and he no longer has a job. Now he has to hear that his own wife did not grieve him.
Not only did she not grieve him, but she spent the entire time of his absence blaming him for taking their son Cal away as if he knew the plane would go missing and as if he didn’t deserve to be mourned as well. Fifteen years together and not a single tear was spilled for him.
We quickly learn that Grace didn’t spend those five years of Ben’s absence alone. I maintain the belief that Grace had a right to move on during the five years the plane went missing. As far as she knew, Ben was dead and she did have to rebuild her life for Olive’s sake.
The problem lies in the fact that she was not upfront about it. She never came clean about the fact that she was seeing another man, even though she’d been called out about it by their daughter, Olive, and Ben’s sister Michaela.
She even went as far as to imply to Michaela that she was holding off on telling Ben until she could decide which of the two she wanted to be with. If she truly loved Ben there would have been no decision to make. No hesitation. It appears she never planned on telling him about Danny. Ben had to find out from Olive. The contrast between how she handled revealing moving on and how Jared, Michaela’s ex-fiance, handled it is stark. Jared immediately let Michaela know he was married and to who, which gave them the chance to have a clean slate.
Grace keeping her new man, Danny, a secret was bad enough, but she roped Olive into keeping quiet as well. The pressure of maintaining her mother’s secret put strain on Olive's and Ben’s already fragile attempts at forming a new bond.
She also undermines Ben as a parent when it comes to Olive. In episode four she referred to her as ‘my daughter’ instead of 'our daughter’ as if Ben’s input doesn’t really matter when it comes to her.
It is understandable that Grace has been through a lot and makes decisions not knowing everything the audience knows, so her ignorance could be forgiven to a degree. However, in episode six Ben tried to fill her in on everything that is going on and she easily dismissed him as sounding crazy, even though she promised to keep an open mind and nothing about the current situation was normal.
Her ignorance is also not as easily forgivable when that leads to her son almost getting killed. She almost got Cal kicked out of a life-saving cancer treatment just because she refused to believe that the problems in his health had more to them than what could be cured by basic science.
I don’t count the time Grace and Danny shared together when the plane was missing as cheating, but she definitely has carried on an emotional affair since Ben has returned. She never stopped texting Danny and even allowed him back into the house she shares with Ben when the latter wasn’t home. We’ve also seen her pine for Danny and look lovingly at him when he returned Olive home from rock climbing.
She just can’t seem to let Danny go. The most clear example of her wanting Danny back came in the fall finale when she kicked Ben out of the house and blamed him for Cal going missing on her watch. It seems she was looking for an out, a guilt-free way for her to go back to Danny, and she found it.
Grace is also incredibly whiny and self-centered. Many times now, we’ve seen her complain about how tough the plane going missing was for her, but not once has she asked Ben or Cal how they’re adjusting to the new lives they’ve stepped into. She’s also complained about missing five years with Cal, even though he’s back now, with no time having passed for him.
In comparison, Ben actually did miss five years of Olive’s life, and not once has he complained about it. He’s even been gracious enough to share Olive’s time with Danny and encouraged the continuation of that relationship.
Grace has also not considered the fact that kicking Ben out of the house limits the short amount of time he has with the kids. She seems to want a perfect little family with her, Danny, Olive, and Cal, and hasn’t stopped to think that Cal may not welcome Danny with open arms.
I can’t think of one redeeming quality to Grace. Ben Stone deserves better. The better option is already right in front of him.
Ben and Saanvi have been partners in trying to solve the mystery of the plane pretty much since the moment they met. They are both science-minded characters, but they acknowledge that they are going through something that can’t be explained.
When Ben came to Saanvi about the strange circumstances he’s been going through, instead of dismissing him as crazy like Grace did, she let him know that she knew exactly how he felt, because she was experiencing something similar. They get each other in a way he and Grace never will.
Saanvi has also shown affection for Cal and fought hard for him to be a part of the life-saving cancer treatment she developed. As of now Ben and Saanvi are only friends, but there is potential there for them to be in a relationship. A relationship that already has a solid foundation of trust, friendship, and mutual understanding.
The writer is a Manifest fan