Manifest— The Flight that Came Back to Life

What are you doing Monday nights at 10 pm?  I’m watching Manifest— NBC’s new hit drama.

The show opens with a plane experiencing a turbulent flight. After a few hours, the passengers and crew land safely. All appears to be well until their loved ones come racing into the terminal. It seems that the plane had actually been missing for five and a half years. While it had only been a few hours for the passengers on board, friends and family had given up hope and moved on. Many passengers returned home and found their children have grown up and their spouses remarried. The main characters, Mikayla and her brother Ben, are no exceptions.  


Many of the characters have to deal with the fact that the people they were closest to moved on while they were gone. Mikayla discovers her fiancé has married her best friend, while Ben comes home to find his wife married to another man, a man who has been raising Ben’s daughter for the past five and a half years. To complicate things further, Ben’s daughter, Olive, is now five and a half years older than her twin brother, Cal, who was on the flight and has not aged a day since.


Manifest’s main plot is the intense mystery regarding where the plane had been for the five and a half years it was missing. The FBI and every news outlet try to interview the passengers, but they still do not have any answers. Even more curiously, many of the passengers are beginning to hear voices or see visions as a result of the flight. These voices and visions not only connect the passengers to each other but also allow them to help people who were not even on the flight.


Although the question of the whereabouts of the plane is intriguing, what I find most interesting is the interpersonal relationships. This show brings up real-life questions about people who have been missing for years and suddenly return home. What should the families do? Their loved one has finally returned, life should go back to the way it was. Their family has been given a second chance; this should a more than sufficient cause to celebrate. But is Ben’s wife supposed to abruptly leave her new husband that has been a father to her child for the past five years?


Although a TV show or movie can never provide answers to these tough questions, it can provide a general awareness to them. There are many movies that deal with marital status after a spouse has been missing for an extended period of time, such as Cast Away featuring Tom Hanks or The Lost Valentine featuring Betty White. However, Manifest is unique because it combines this emotional situation with a nail-biting mystery that keeps you guessing every step of the way.


Watch Manifest on Monday nights at 10pm or anytime on the NBC app to find out how the characters grapple with these intense issues and more!

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