'Manifest': Episode Two Amped Up the Horror Angle & I'm Shook

From the events that occurred in the premiere episode of Manifest, you could be forgiven for thinking this show was just another classic thriller based off of Lost. All the drama seemed to be related to the passengers and their family members adjusting to Flight 828's return after five-and-a-half years, and any of the weirdness that occurred, from Ben and Michaela hearing voices, to the number 828 showing up everywhere to the plane blowing up on its own, could be explained away as some supernatural force working for good—a plot point many shows have used over the years. In "Reentry," however, the show took a turn to the horrific, changing everything we thought we knew about what happened to all the passengers on Flight 828. 

The episode began right after the plane seemingly blew up all on its own, following the interrogation of the 20 passengers who were at the scene, including Ben and Michaela. After being released from government custody, the family drama kicked back up again, with Ben and Grace dealing with Cal's adjustment to home life and figuring out their own relationship, especially since Olive finally reveals that Grace had been seeing someone while Ben and Cal were away. At the same time, Michaela is trying to re-establish a relationship with her best friend Lourdes, eventually deciding to lie to her friend and claim that she never wanted to marry Jared, though a flashback proves this false. In addition to the family tensions, a new character and quick story arc is introduced that sees Ben hearing strands of music in his head and helping prove the innocence of another passenger's left-behind son.   

In between all of this drama, the strands of a horror show began weaving themselves into the plot, focused around a shadowy figure who is first seen in one of Cal's drawings. When Ben asks his son who everyone is in the picture, Cal claims they are his family. Ben presses further, but Cal claims he doesn't know who it is and begins to erase the mysterious figure. 

Screenshot from NBC's Manifest

A few scenes later, an actual shadow in the shape of a person is seen following one of the plane passengers—a woman who was shown on the news speaking out about what she thought might have happened. She is shown intermittently throughout the episode, but it's the last scene that really ups the creep factor. 

While Ben and Michaela are enjoying being with their friends and families again, the woman sits watching her interview on TV. As she watches, the shadowy figure moves across the walls behind her. The shot cuts to the TV, there is a sound similar to a gunshot and blood splatters all across the TV screen. 

This was a shock after all of the good feelings the show had produced relating to the importance of family and relationships. There's also the question of what this means for next week's episode and the season as a whole. And why was Cal the only one who seems aware of this shadow figure?

It can feel at times that Manifest is trying to be too many things at once. Hopefully this new focus on horror can center the show in one genre and allow them to truly explore what exactly the passengers from Flight 828 brought back with them.