‘Manifest’ Boss Says ‘Ben & Saanvi Really Break Apart’ After That Major Reveal
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 3 of Manifest, “False Horizon.”]
But to uncover her identity, Vance had Ben lie to Saanvi about a possible lead for her research, which may have done some serious damage to their friendship. Still, that didn’t stop Saanvi from setting her own trap to uncover the leak in her life and get them those important answers.
Also in the episode, Grace (Athena Karkanis) had a Calling informing her to open the eyes of a woman in her yoga class, and Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) took the stand coming to Zeke’s (Matt Long) defense to free him from prison and accusing Jared (J.R. Ramirez) of abusing NYPD resources and breaking into her apartment.
Here, executive producer Jeff Rake reveals what comes next after “False Horizon.”
Now that Ben, Saanvi, and Vance have identified the Major — and I loved Saanvi setting her own trap — what’s next?
Jeff Rake: That’s a big story turn for us when Ben and Saanvi discover the truth behind the Major, and there’s of course collateral damage as that plays out because this is when Ben and Saanvi really break apart. Ben reluctantly goes along with Vance and tries to keep Saanvi blissfully in the dark so she is not found out by the Major, but keeping that secret from Saanvi is perceived by her as a real sense of betrayal and so that’s going to have long-lasting implications on their friendship.
In terms of what plays out with the Major, the sense of utter betrayal that Saanvi feels having spent weeks and ultimately months pouring her heart out, opening her soul to this woman who she believed was a doctor who was trying to heal her, only to discover that Saanvi is being used, being played by a calculating government intelligence officer is just the ultimate act of shocking betrayal and Saanvi is going to stop at nothing to at least try to undo the damage.
That’s going to trigger a season-long journey of redemption and revenge for Saanvi, who after Episode 3 believes she may have compromised not only her own safety but the safety of all the passengers, and that’s going to carry with her all the way through to the end of the season. You can expect a really big pay-off for that by the time we get to the Season 2 finale.
Speaking of rough relationships, Jared and Michaela both blew their lives up for people they care deeply about, but he appears to be the only one who will regret doing so. Is this most recent divide too much for them to ever come back from?
I certainly don’t want to talk about anything as being too big a divide to come back from because all of these stories are centered around the idea of redemption. Thematically in all of these episodes, we attempt to push the characters to the edge and then watch them try to navigate their ways back. I would never say that either of the two of them have been pushed so far in their relationship that they can’t recover.
This series is intended to be a six-season, really six-year journey in real time, and it’s supposed to reflect the highs and lows of life. In real life we often find ourselves in a profoundly dark place and we ask ourselves the question, can we ever recover? And the answer is often and usually yes, if we set our hearts and minds to it.
Despite all of the sadness and the fear and the adversity that we pack into our episodes, we’re also trying to tell stories about hope and overcoming obstacles that are real and tangible, but also personal and emotional. As the story architect, I would tell the audience to have faith in our heroes and let’s hope that they can navigate their way back to a place of emotional fulfillment.
As Michaela pointed out, since Grace didn’t do what the Calling wanted her to do, it’s likely not over. And then we see just why she saw a gargoyle and the possible trap Ben’s now walking into with his job. How concerned should we be about the Stones, especially when it comes to new people in their lives?
Unfortunately for the Stone family, they are reluctant public figures. The world knows who they are, and they are increasingly discovering that many people out there in the world, either out of ignorance, out of conspiracy theories, out of bias, out of lore, out of spending too much time on the internet, have decided that the passengers are dangerous, are evil, are not human.
And so Ben and Grace and the rest of the family are understandably paranoid, and we see that right there in Episode 3. We meet two seemingly just regular people off the street who in fact seem to be insidious characters who have every intention of figuring out how to sabotage the passengers.
When that woman tells Grace, “I hope you lose that baby,” is there any worse that any person can say to a pregnant mother? There’s not. That was a controversial line in the writers room but it was important for me to include because I wanted the audience to be shocked by that and to really grasp the level of irrational hatred that is being thrown at these innocent people who are guilty of nothing other than being victims of circumstance. That is a not so thinly veiled metaphor to lots of things going on in the real world. I hope that shocks the audience and gives people pause because it’s supposed to.
It seems like multiple characters are heading towards breaking points or burnouts with everything going on. Which character should we be most concerned about?
Everyone who we’re tracking has their own share of jeopardy in front of them. The person with the greatest short-term jeopardy, however, is Zeke. We learned in the Season 1 finale that the passengers have this death date. However long you had been gone, it appears that’s how long you have back. For the passengers, it’s five and a half years, but Zeke had only been gone one year, so he, it seems, only has one year to live. And Zeke and Michaela start to discover this more and more in each passing episode in Season 2. The clock is ticking for all of our passengers, but in Season 2, it feels that it’s ticking the most swiftly for Zeke.
It really spreads across the board. Who’s torn the most? Ben, as self-appointed caretaker of all the passengers, as a father of a passenger, as a father of a non-passenger, as a father of an unborn child who may inherit all of the dangers that he is living with. You can make a strong case for Ben being the most undone by the all of the psychological damage.
One could also make a strong case for Michaela. Talk about someone whose mind is being messed with. She spent all of Season 1 trying to deal with the emotional ramifications of having lost Jared to Lourdes, watching that marriage become undone, Jared trying to get back together with her. She still has the albatross around her neck of residual guilt from her best friend Evie having died just before the flight had disappeared.
Now still saddled with all of that, she inherits the relationship with Zeke, and even as she starts to fall for him, she realizes he could be gone in the blink of an eye.
We could go down the call sheet from character to character and make a case for Saanvi, we could make a case for Cal, increasingly we could make a case for Oliver. There’s a lot of people who are really in bad shape.
Manifest, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC