In a major flashback episode, we get to see what the last five years were like for the Stone family, and it’s heartbreaking. Our recap of this week’s Manifest, “Connecting Flights”!
Since the Manifest pilot, when 5 years went by in literally the blink of an eye, the most compelling part of the series has been watching these characters, who believe they’ve only been separated from their families for the length of a flight, find their place in a world that has moved on without them. However this week’s episode, “Connecting Flights” shows us that, on the other side of the coin, there has been quite a bit of suffering and trauma as well.
The episode begins with a flashback to April 7, 2013, this time to the other flight with the rest of the Stone Family. While Papa Stone reassures Olive that she will be reunited with her brother before long, Mama Stone similarly encourages Grace to continue to make the time to focus on her marriage with Ben. When they land in NYC, Olive wants to stay at the airport and wait for Cal, Ben, and Michaela. It’s while they’re looking at the screens for updates on when MA 828 will land, that they learn that the plane has gone missing. Similarly, Jared and Lourdes are together when they find out about the plane’s disappearance, too.
It’s such a blip from the perspective of being on MA 828, but the five years from the perspective of the family is heartbreakingly painful and intense to watch.
Grace is understandably catatonic with grief, in Cal’s bed, for the first six months. But when Olive burns herself trying to make her mom grilled cheese and encourage her to eat, Grace realizes she needs to snap out of it. Grace starts to put her village together, beginning with a support group. It’s in this group that she meets Danny, someone who actually makes her laugh. Eventually, Grace invites Danny home to meet Olive, who isn’t at all interested. While I don’t blame Olive for being resistant to Danny, I also don’t blame Grace for being a little firm in keeping this dinner date. For example, in conversation with Danny, Olive admits that she doesn’t correct her mother about meatloaf being her favorite food, because it was actually Cal’s favorite. Olive feels in her bones that Cal is alive… and lo and behold, she was right.
Meanwhile, Lourdes and Jared support one another through their grief of Michaela. Lourdes is also there to celebrate key moments in Jared’s life, including when he’s promoted to detective. It’s actually this night out that they share their first kiss… Interestingly, Lourdes and Jared also keep close ties to Mama Stone. At first, they’re concerned about dishonoring Michaela’s memory, but Mama Stone, ever the optimist tells them “Love is never something to feel guilty about…” She’s confident that Michaela would want her two best friends to be taken care of, especially by one another. However, Papa Stone doesn’t seem very happy with the development. Unfortunately, other things take precedent, like the fact that Mama Stone is dying from cancer. The tough lesson is that life continues in spite of the pain, and we as human beings learn to carry our pain so we can move along with it.
And in the end, Grace and Olive are with Danny when they learn MA 828 has reappeared, just as Jared is with Lourdes. And they all realize that their lives are about to shaken up again.
In the present, Michaela brings Ben to where she’s hiding Bethany and Thomas. However, Ben is very worried that getting involved in this could being Vance and the NSA to his door. And Ben has a family to protect. I understand all of this, but I still wanted him to be a little sympathetic? When Bethany suggests leaving town with Thomas to a cabin outside of the city, he has to know it isn’t safe at all. As Ben turns to leave, he hears a voice “It’s all connected…” Ben is still too deep in his denial to see that Michaela is right–they can’t walk away.
Ben spends the rest of the day ignoring his instincts and using the flip of a coin to be a “master of your own destiny.” Ben involves Cal and they go on an adventure to Coney Island, and have a lot of fun with games, prizes, and junk food. It’s awesome. But again, it’s more about Ben being in denial about the voices and not about Cal… But when Cal tells his dad “It’s all connected” and then takes off running through the subway, things get a little reckless. However, Cal leads Ben straight to where Thomas is hiding! It’s more than coincidence because, elsewhere, while Bethany is getting ready to head out of town, she’s arrested by the NSA! Ben starts to realize that he can’t continue to ignore this situation. Soon, Georgia, Bethany’s wife, brings news that she’s been arrested by the NSA. Georgia, ride-or-die like she is, will make sure Thomas is taken care of.
Meanwhile, Jared is dealing with the fallout of taking the blame for Michaela botching an undercover op. In my opinion, at least Jared is loyal. Taking the blame to help Michaela is admirable. He meets with Internal Affairs and sticks to the story of hearing gunshots from inside the warehouse (there were NO gunshots!). But when Jared learns his punishments, it’s only being docked 10 days pay! Suspect? Yep, that sounds like a set-up from the NSA, and Vance shows his face to let Jared know that he expects Jared to follow through with intel about Michaela. Watch yourself Jared…
This also feeds into more dissension between Jared and Lourdes. Jared doesn’t tell her about taking the rap for Michaela… and actually, Lourdes hears this from Michaela when she comes to ask for Lourdes’ help in convincing Jared to admit Michaela was in the wrong. Lourdes is kind to Michaela and seems to support Jared’s effort to protect her. However, when Jared gets home, she expresses being concerned that he’s keeping secret. And the way I see it, Jared is lying to Lourdes and he’s lying to himself.
Michaela is still trying to deal with this pseudo-love triangle and actually goes to Papa Stone for some advice. He says that Michaela just needs to tell Jared that she still loves him, but…. WTF?! That’s only adding more fuel to the fire, if you ask me.
We also see in the present that Grace is still in communication with Danny. In fact, Danny gets fed up with Grace putting him off and actually rolls up on the house to talk about Olive. That’s right, DANNY IS HERE FOR OLIVE. He realizes he can heal from losing Grace, but having Olive as a daughter is too big a loss to cope with. And, as for Olive, she also perceives Danny as her dad, even though she thoroughly loves Ben, too. UGH. Heartbreak all around!
Finally, Ben, sexy glasses and all, decides that he’s the one to figure out the mystery of MA 828:
“I can’t walk away now.”
P.S. I choose to believe Cal knows more than he’s letting on, too. The episode ends with a flashback to him looking right into the mysterious light in the plane window… Also, HE IS DRAWING SHADOW PEOPLE.
Manifest airs Mondays at 10p/9c on NBC.