‘Manifest’s Athena Karkanis Teases What’s Next for Grace & Ben This Season

Pictured: Athena Karkanis as Grace Stone
Virginia Sherwood/NBC/Warner Brothers

NBC’s mysterious drama Manifest seems to have more questions than answers, but that doesn’t stop fans from forming their own theories about the mysteries.

We talked to Athena Karkanis, who plays matriarch Grace, about those mysteries and what the fans can look forward to in the second half of the season and the finale.

What can fans expect next? In the episode before the break, Grace and Ben’s relationship fell apart and seems to be over.

Athena Karkanis: Oh, there was drama! Yes, there’s a lot of exciting things coming up. Grace and Ben will continue to try and find their way through the turmoil. I don’t know, I never know how much I’m allowed to say, how much it teases it and how much ruins it. There’s a lot of good juicy drama coming up.

Danny [played by Daniel Sunjata] will make a reappearance, but not because Grace goes running back to him — that’s not how it happens. Grace and Ben are trying to work it out and trying to figure out the separation thing and how that all works and how to be good parents while that’s happening. Eventually Grace will not be so in the dark, which will then ease up on the stress between Grace and Ben a little bit, because she understands why he’s doing all these incredibly dangerous things and endangering her son’s life.

I don’t know, what else can I say? There’s some road-tripping that’s going to happen. More mystery unfolding, and a new interesting character.

Do you know the big mystery, or is it a surprise every time you get a script?

Sometimes we do [know] and sometimes we don’t. Jeff Rake, our wonderful creator, who is in L.A. most of the time in the writer’s room, comes to the set very often. He’s not great at keeping secrets. So all you have to say is, “Jeff, what’s going to happen?” and he’ll say, “Do you really want to know?” Then he’ll tell us. So, I do sometimes know that things are going to happen. I knew about the big fight between Grace and Ben before those scripts came out. The last script has not come out yet, at least for the actors — I think the department heads get it before us — but I know what’s going to happen, because Jeff told us when he was here before the break. It’s very exciting. It gave me goosebumps when he told me.

So there’s some really good stuff coming in the finale. There’s a thing that’s going to happen in the last episode that is kind of going to open it up. It doesn’t tell the whole story, because then the show would be over, but it opens it up quite a bit that you’re like, “Oh, OK, so here we go.” I wouldn’t call it resolution, but it definitely opens up a whole new window of understanding.

But I don’t know what happened to the plane. Jeff apparently does and has had it figured out since he wrote the pilot. He knows but he won’t tell us. That’s one thing that he is tight-lipped about.

According to your press bio, you speak seven languages! Which ones?

I don’t speak seven languages fluently! I speak three fluently and a fourth almost there. Five, six and seven, I can make my way if I need to. I grew up in Canada speaking English and French. Then I was out of both of those countries for a while because my parents were working in international development, so we lived in India for a while. I went to international school there. My best friend at that school was from Colombia, so she started to teach me Spanish, and I picked that up really quickly.

Then, once you speak French and Spanish, you basically speak Italian, so I learned that really easily. Then just bits and stuff from my family from all over the place, and I traveled a lot. Then also, once you start learning languages, it’s easier to learn more languages. It’s like people who play 12 instruments. You have the basics and then you can [go from there].

Manifest, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC