‘Manifest’ Boss on the Plane Calling, Grace’s Pregnancy & More

Manifest - Season 2
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 2 of Manifest, “Grounded.”]

Manifest answers one of the biggest questions from its first season —who’s the father of Grace’s (Athena Karkanis) baby? — in the second episode, “Grounded.”

And it does so in quite the unusual way: Grace has a Calling (!!) telling her to stop before a nurse can take her blood for the paternity test. That can only mean one thing for one of the Stone family members who wasn’t on the plane: Ben’s (Josh Dallas) the father.

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Elsewhere, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) gets a new partner at work, Drea, and faces questions from her new boss about those “anonymous tips” that help her solve cases. And what’s going on with Zeke (Matt Long) being on the plane in those Callings?

Here, executive producer Jeff Rake teases what’s to come after the revelations of Episode 2.

How will the family and others like Saanvi deal with the upcoming 828 baby?

Jeff Rake: The idea of an 828 baby and the potential of a next generation of people with Callings is of huge concern to all parties, both in terms of the power that could unleash on the world, but also the burden and the danger of a next generation inheriting this DNA anomaly as Saanvi is going to acknowledge early in Season 2.

(Peter Kramer/NBC)

The fact that they are ultimately able to figure out that this baby may have the anomaly comes with both potential good and potential bad. This could be a miracle baby on the one hand. On the other hand, is this baby now saddled with the same death date? Grace asks Saanvi the question, does this mean that my baby will only have five and a half years to live?

It’s an open question that remains throughout the season, but it raises the stakes because now we come to realize that it’s not only the Stone family, it’s not only the characters whom we’ve gotten to know, but there may even be unborn children who would suffer the same fate of the passengers if they can’t solve the death date. The stakes really raise once we discover the Calling might be spreading.

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Michaela’s dealing with a new partner and a new boss at work. How is that going to throw a wrench into her investigations and attempts to help people this season?

In Season 1, Michaela was fortunate in that her boss at the precinct was quite compassionate and didn’t ask too many questions. It became increasingly clear to him that she possessed some type of ability that was allowing her to solve crimes in ways that others couldn’t, and he basically kept his mouth shut and let her do her thing.

Now she has a new boss in Captain Bowers and this is a much more stern figure, much more of a by-the-book character, and she’s going to be calling Michaela out on some of Michaela’s secrets. So the workplace becomes less of a sanctuary for Michaela and by extension, Michaela and Jared.

(Peter Kramer/NBC)

Michaela also has a new partner, Drea, and that poses real complications for Michaela as well because Michaela, in baby steps, shared her secrets with Jared in Season 1. By halfway through the first season, Michaela had a real confidant in Jared and was able to conduct a lot of subversive detective work to a good end because she was always trying to do the right thing but often in non-traditional ways and extra-judicial and some would say illegal ways.

Now she has to start over again with a stranger who doesn’t know any of these secrets, so it’s a question of trust. Michaela has to decide throughout Season 2 how much can she trust this woman and how much is that going to compromise her police work, and we’ll see that it does significantly.

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Who – if anyone – got shot? And whose baby is Grace truly carrying?

Olive’s going on quite the journey figuring out things about herself. What problems are going to arise from this journey of hers?

This is a really powerful season for Olive — a lot of meaty questions for her. She is on a journey of discovery. She becomes entrenched with the church of the Believers and she sees the church and its community as a tonic for the fear and the cynicism that she is experiencing at home. Her father, her mom, they understandably have such a fearful attitude towards the Callings, such paranoia within the household that there are people out to get them. She finds herself suffocating metaphorically at home so she reaches out to the church of the Believers for community, for optimism, for a way to make sense of everything that is so confusing in her life.

But what she’s going to come to discover, as we make our way through the halfway point of the season, is that there are dark elements within the church that she does not perceive and her allegiance to this new group is going to have profoundly negative consequences that she will ultimately regret. That’s going to be an interesting dark spiral for the audience to pay close attention to.

(Peter Kramer/NBC)

Zeke’s on the plane with them in the last Calling of the episode. How is the plane going to continue to play a role in the Callings?

As early as the opening frames of Season 2, Episode 1, we see that the plane is still in play. Michaela and Cal have a Calling right off the top. By the end of the episode, we see Zeke on the plane, and on the one hand, it makes no sense. They all know that Zeke had not been on the plane with them, so why is he on the plane now?

Michaela, Cal, and Zeke, and ultimately Ben as well and others will come to interpret these Callings as a metaphor, that the plane Callings represent some type of existential threat to them all. And when I say them, not just the passengers, but anyone who is blessed or burdened by the Callings, so that of course includes Zeke as well.

However, what at first seems a metaphorical existential threat will start to seem increasingly real and tangible as we get again to the halfway point in the season, and that plane Calling will continue to evolve from Episode 1 and onward. It’s sort of a puzzle piece that Michaela, Ben, Zeke, Cal, and others are all trying to figure out and by the time we get halfway through the season, they’ll have a much clearer understanding of what that plane Calling is about. It takes us to perhaps the darkest place we’ve been since the series began.

Manifest, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC