Manifest Recap: My Two Dads

Manifest Recap Ben Danny

Did NBC’s Manifest just go an episode without raising any distinct, new questions or adding a fresh wrinkle to the main mystery?

I’m not saying that it isn’t allowed to hold pat for a week, or more. It’s just that I, for one, still await the drop of a big ol’ shoe, especially as November sweeps nears (starting Oct. 26).

Yes, this week’s episode did deliver a new “calling,” in the form of a statue that both Saanvi and Michaela saw. But that was just more of the same that we have gotten before — a peculiar voice/sound/vision that leads a hero down one path, only to reveal that it was in fact precipitating a different “save.” It is akin to the words of a seer on shows ranging from Vikings to Once Upon a Time. “Save him!” Vague pronouns can be a bitch.

While Saanvi and Michaela — with flight attendant Bethany in tow — were led by the statue to find and save 828 stowaway Thomas from U.S. government capture, Ben found himself destined to meet his “replacement,” Danny (played by Daniel Sunjata). Though the introduction was inevitable, you had to feel for Ben given the circumstances: Olive, after being pinched for pinching some make-up, decided that her other “dad” would be her Phone-a-Friend. Olive, though, would later confess to Ben the true reason behind her choice: Dad remembers her as a sweet 10-year-old, when the truth is that in the time he was “away,” she turned into a “total screw-up.”

If you caught the New York Comic Con panel I moderated for Manifest, you saw me josh Josh Dallas about his character’s particular set of skills — math! — and how that could possibly come into play. But this week Ben in fact used math to save the day, after learning from Grace that they needed to pay back his “death” benefit, to the tune of 500K. That was an interesting and presumably valid point Ben made, that life insurance small print probably doesn’t detail the payback plan for when your husband returns from the dead after skipping five-plus years in time along the way!

When not chasing a winged statue with wet feet, Michaela was partnered with Jared on a long stakeout, after his partner took a day off to deal with a “busted pipe.” Except Jared faked said crisis, because he is worried about Michaela and wants to keep close by and make sure she’s OK. (Or is he giving second thought to NSA Agent Vance’s request from last week?)

Whatever the case, Michaela only added to Jared’s concerns by acting on the latest voice in her head and cutting short the stakeout to instead storm the place. When that hastiness netted nothing and in fact burned months of ATF planning, Jared took the rap for the bad call and was suspended as a result. Later, we saw that Jared is in fact mapping out the sites of Michaela’s assorted “hunches,” from the found girls until now.

But again, no brand-new mysteries or questions raised, which I am not entirely sure this show can do too regularly and still keep people rapt.

Curious, what do you think Danny’s next move will be, given what showrunner Jeff Rake told me last week? I’m betting that he starts shadowing Ben and in doing so gleans that his rival is hiding things from Grace, meet-ups with Saanvi included.

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