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‘Manifest’: The Mystery of Flight 828’s Missing Passengers

Episode by episode of Manifest, the mystery of Flight 828 has continued to feature both a series of new characters and numerous twists that make it harder to figure out what exactly happened to everyone who was on the flight. In this week’s episode,”Off Radar,” the focus was on figuring out what happened to a large chunk of passengers who seemingly disappeared into thin air after returning five-and-a-half years later.

Here is everything you need to know about these missing passengers and how their disappearance related to the Stone family and Saanvi. 

Who are the missing passengers?

Over the course of the episode, it was revealed that 11 of the passengers on Flight 828 weren’t seen after leaving the Hangar. The two most important of these characters, at least in this week’s episode, were Marko Valeriev, a Bulgarian national, and Lena Rasmussen, a Norwegian national. Their nationalities are important because only foreign nationals and people without families went missing—in other words, only people who would not be missed. 

How did they go missing?

After the return of Flight 828, the government had to figure out what they should do with the many passengers who did not have people ready to take care of them. For example, one of the passengers, a translator who assisted Marko on the flight, was served with divorce papers the moment she came back, leaving her without a place to go. To take care of these passengers, the government arranged a series of five buses that would take the passengers to five different shelters they could stay at while they got their lives back in order. Only four buses showed up on the NYPD record list however—the fifth, carrying Marko and Lena, along with nine other passengers, disappeared. 

How does Cal fit into the picture?

Marko spent most of the episode being experimented on (or tortured, depending on your POV) by a mysterious group. In particular, they seem to be testing how much of an electric shock Marko’s body could take. For some unknown reason (the only contact Marko and Cal had was when Marko ruffled Cal’s hair on the plane), there is a bond between Marko and Cal that leads to Cal getting a fever and feeling all the pain Marko is going through. It also causes Cal to repeat the exact things Marko is saying, all of which happen to be in Bulgarian, a language Cal doesn’t know. 

What are Ben, Michaela and Saanvi doing to help these passengers and Cal?

Naturally, the main goal Ben, Michaela and Saanvi all have is to save Cal. The only way of doing this, however, seems to be to track down Marko and save him from whoever is torturing him. This leads both Ben and Michaela to make a huge sacrifice—they tell their partners (Grace and Jared, respectively) about the voices all the passengers have been hearing. Grace does not take it well. She thinks that Ben is just diving into another wormhole, leaving Grace to bear the emotional burdens of taking care of their sick child. This leads her to confront Saanvi and question her medical qualifications when dealing with Cal. Jared takes the news a little bit better, though it is unclear whether or not he is going to tell Director Vance about this update. 

Michaela helps find a cure for Cal by working out in the field, using her access to NYPD documents to track down Marko. She ropes Jared into her plans, leading them to take a drive around Upstate New York, where they discover a barn guarded by drones and security personnel armed with automatic rifles. They manage to escape by faking a flat tire, and Michaela captures a quick photo on the way out that shows Lena being taken in. 

All of this information is sent to Ben, who takes it to Director Vance, believing him to be behind it all. This leaves Grace alone, forcing her to decide what treatment plan Cal should receive. Luckily, Cal’s fever breaks before she has to make a choice, and Ben arrives to a healthier Cal, though it is clear he will need to make it up to Grace for leaving her alone. 

Who is responsible?

For most of the episode, Ben, Michaela and Saanvi are convinced Director Vance was behind the disappearance of these 11 passengers. After all, he has been the public face of the investigation and has routinely clashed with the main characters in his quest to find out what happened to Flight 828. In this episode, however, it turns out Director Vance is having trouble himself finding answers. None of the other government agencies want to work with him and even go to great lengths to thwart his attempts at figuring out what actually went down on Flight 828. 

By going to Director Vance, Ben was able to kickstart an investigation and prove that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), one of the agencies refusing to cooperate with Director Vance, was lying. According to the DHS, all the passengers were accounted for: five weren’t nationals and were repatriated to their countries of origin, three people were listed as being in a hospital supposedly receiving in-patient care, one was in the bureau prisons and the last two had no next-of-kin. In Lena’s dossier, the DHS claimed she was observed that day leaving a residence in Norway—yet Director Vance, due to Michaela’s initiative, had a picture of her in Upstate New York. 

The most important piece of information provided in this episode was the name of the shadow organization that seems to be the one involved in the cover-up of the missing passengers: Unified Dynamic Systems (UDS). A multi-billion dollar company, it has many government contracts and even provided the buses used by the government when sending passengers to shelters. In the episode’s last scene, it was revealed that the “scientists” torturing the missing passengers answer to a woman, but we have yet to find out how high up the chain of command goes. Is DHS working with this mystery woman? Why is Director Vance being kept out of the loop? Did UDS play any part in the mystery surrounding the plane’s disappearance? 

The episode ends after Director Vance travels to the barn but finds it empty, minus an electrode patch that proves Ben was telling him the truth. This is important, because it means UDS has gotten away and that at any point in the future, they may again torture Marko, leaving Cal in danger once again. This episode just created so many more questions about who caused the disappearance of Flight 828 and what they want from the passengers. 

Xandie Kuenning is the Career Editor at Her Campus and a graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelor's in International Affairs and minors in Journalism and Psychology. She is an avid traveler with a goal to join the Travelers' Century Club. When not gallivanting around the world, she can be found reading about fairytales or Eurasian politics, baking up a storm, or watching dangerous amounts of Netflix. Follow her on Instagram @AKing1917 and on Twitter @XKuenning.
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