‘Manifest’ Boss on the Love Triangle in Season 3: ‘True Love Never Dies’
Just because Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh) and Zeke Landon (Matt Long) are married doesn’t mean that the love triangle with her ex, Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez), is anywhere near over on Manifest.
Like Michaela and the rest of Flight 828’s passengers who mysteriously returned after being missing for five years without aging, Zeke came back from possible death. As they’d learned, they all have a “death date” — they’ll die as they should have after being back for the same amount of time they were gone. Zeke survived his but was left with a newfound ability that may make things for the love triangle much, much more awkward.
Showrunner Jeff Rake teases why.
Zeke has this new supernatural empathy power as a result of surviving his death date. Why? How will that help the others this season?
Jeff Rake: Viewers should pay close attention to the slow-burn evolution of Zeke’s new abilities. When we open Season 3, we find Zeke in a place of relief, joy, but also complacency, a little bit of confusion, and a little bit of anxiety. He’s asking himself, “Why did I survive? What’s the purpose of my survival and how can I be useful?” Not only to Michaela, his soulmate, but to the greater passenger community. It’s going to take him a while to understand the answer to that question. At first, he’s not even aware that there’s anything special going on with him. When you watch Episode 301, we the audience who are paying close attention are only vaguely aware that maybe something is up with Zeke.
As we watch Zeke’s journey evolve in the early episodes, he starts to become subtly aware that he has the empathic ability, but to what end? He’ll be unpacking that all season. And it won’t really be until the end of Season 3 when we have platformed the significance of Zeke’s abilities relative to the rest of the passengers. While Zeke’s abilities seem to be a small grace note to his survival and seem to pale in comparison to the abilities of Michaela and other passengers who get Callings, we’ll come to discover that his abilities are equal, if not more important than the passengers’ as we get to the end of Season 3 and platform his role in Season 4 and beyond.
We haven’t seen anything really from the Jared-Michaela-Zeke love triangle yet. What is coming up there this season?
We’re at that point in the sine curve of the triangle, right? There’s always dips and peaks, valleys and peaks in a good relationship triangle. We come into Season 3 with everyone on their best behavior with the best of intentions trying to just get along. Jared is trying to make peace with the fact that Michaela is married now. No, he couldn’t ultimately stand there and watch them get married, but he also didn’t break up that wedding. He’s trying to be a big guy, do the right thing, let her live her life. And he’s trying to move on.
Similarly, Jared and Zeke at times extend the olive branch to each other. They are trying to be friends. They’re trying to each support and champion Michaela in their own way. And Michaela and Jared are trying to be friends again. They’re going to do a really good job of that for a while. But at the same time, true love never dies, and it’ll only be so long before Jared can continue to just hold down what he feels so strongly in his heart. Given Zeke’s growing empathic abilities, once Jared starts to feel what he’s feeling, it’s only going to be a matter of time before Zeke becomes aware of it as well.
How long can Michaela continue to keep the Callings and 828 stuff a secret from the others at work besides Jared?
It’s incredibly challenging for Michaela to keep these secrets. Obviously, she has Jared in her camp, but the first question is how long is Jared willing and able to kind of maintain that conspiracy to keep this information private. We’re going to see a slow burn between Michaela and Jared over the course of the season, when we may reach a tipping point where he realizes he’s being asked for too much by keeping this all to himself.
In the meantime, we have other people like Captain Bowers [Andrene Ward-Hammond] and Michaela’s partner Drea [Ellen Tamaki] who stands so close to Michaela every day at work that she too is going to get to a point where she can’t help but ask those probing questions. That will reach its boiling point very soon.
Manifest, Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC