‘Manifest’ Series Premiere Review
On Monday night, Manifest premiered on NBC. It’s a new TV series about a plane that mysteriously disappears and returns five and a half years later, as if nothing happened: everyone on that plane didn’t age a day and they come off the plane thinking that the only mysterious thing that happened was some extreme turbulence. But they come back to their families and loved ones who have all gone on thinking that they died on that flight years ago.
But the show primarily focuses on the Stone family. On the flight, there’s Michaela, Ben, and Cal. Michaela left a boyfriend and possible fiancé, Jared, back in New York, but comes back finding out that he’s now married. To one of her best friends, no less. Michaela’s older brother, Ben, goes on the flight with his son, Cal who has leukemia and a twin sister, Olive, who’s all grown up when they return. Near the end of the episode, we see that Ben’s wife, Grace, is clearly hiding something, most likely a boyfriend considering that we see a text message saying that someone misses her. And Olive clearly knows what she’s hiding, but we obviously don’t just yet. But fortunately for the Stone family, there’s a new and promising cancer treatment for Cal, which didn’t exist five years prior, giving him a better chance at survival.
The other character that they touch on a bit in this episode is Saanvi, who practically comes back as a hero. On the plane, she miraculously finishes her medical research and somehow submits it just in the nick of time, which is now in effect at a medical school, saving hundreds of lives. Coincidentally, that research and treatment she created is the same treatment that Cal needs. But since it’s been almost six years since Cal’s diagnosis, the medical board wants to deny Cal’s request to join the trial.
But Saanvi, rightly, disagrees because Cal’s been in the same medical state he was five years ago and it hasn’t been five years for Cal, meaning that he should be eligible. But, who I assume is the medical board’s director, doesn’t want to take the risk because their school or company is about to be bought out by a large pharmaceutical company, but Saanvi doesn’t care about the money, she cares about potentially saving Cal’s life. Which is the right set of mind given that the study is based on her research and it was created to save lives, not to be bought out by big pharmaceutical companies. And fortunately, Saanvi ends up in the end and Cal gets into the drug trial.
But other than adjusting back into their lives, Michaela and Ben are having strange side effects from the plane. And later, we learn the other passengers on the plane are having those same side effects: hearing their own voice in their head telling them to do something, which would later help someone or something. For example, Ben and Michaela keep hearing “set them free” during the majority of this episode and she sees this vision of breaking open a fence where there’s two dogs waiting (and I assume Ben saw something similar). So they end up going to that gate and unknowingly meeting each other there and letting the dogs go. But later, Michaela goes back with Jared, who FYI is an NYPD detective, to apologize to the dogs’ owner. But when she gets there, she hears the voices and she breaks open a door that reveals the two abducted girls that the NYPD has been looking for throughout the entire episode.
These voices and visions in these passengers’ heads almost seem like some kind of supernatural power that they have now, which they can use for good. But what I found really interesting about the show is that it somehow has a connection with religion, opposed to being scientific. They look at the flight number, which happens to be 828, and the bible passage 8:28. And at the end of the episode, all the passengers discover that they all have this mysterious side effect but they also see the plane blow up, which is telling them that whatever really happened isn’t something that wants to be discovered.
So what did you guys think about the series premiere of Manifest? Let me know in the comments! Manifest airs on Tuesdays at 10/9 c on NBC.
Samantha Nguyen covers entertainment news for MFST. You can follow her on Twitter @mzsnguyenthai and @mzsamnguyenthai. Also click here to read her personal blog.