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"The problem, ladies and gentlemen, is your plane departed Montego Bay, Jamaica on April 7, 2013. Today is November 4, 2018. You've all been missing, presumed dead, for five and a half years."

Manifest is a supernatural drama TV series that began airing on September 24th, 2018 on NBC. It depicts an airline flight that vanished and was presumed crashed, only to reappear and land safely five and half years later. The authorities are faced with a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and the passengers and crew must now deal with the lives they unwittingly left behind.

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The first act can be viewed here.


This show provides examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Five years is a long time, so if your romantic partner wasn't on Flight 828 with you, odds are they've moved on.
    • Michaela's boyfriend grieved for two years but then moved on and ended up marrying her best friend. As of "Upgrade", Lourdes has walked out and it's uncertain whether he'll get back together with Michaela.
    • Grace started seeing someone but she and Olive had kept it secret from Ben at first. After he learns this, Ben understands and she gets back together with him.
    • One passenger relates how she thought she was coming back to her husband in the suburbs. Instead, as soon as she stepped out of the hanger, she was served with divorce papers.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Ben and Grace were facing the horrific possibility that their son would be dead of cancer in a few months and there was nothing they could do about it. When Flight 828 disappeared Grace had to deal with the possibility that she would never see her son and husband alive again.
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    • Ben and Michaela's parents had to deal with losing both their children and a grandchild at the same time.
    • Ben and Michaela have to deal with their mother being dead and them not being able to say goodbye.
    • When Cal runs away from him on the subway, Ben desperately chases after him scared that Cal might be hurt or killed before Ben can get to him.
  • Anachronistic Clue: Averted. The FBI spends days going over every item found on Flight 828 but find nothing that was made after April 7, 2013.
  • Arc Number: The number 828, or anything similar/related to it, is seen in every episode. To wit:
    • Michaela's apartment number is 414, which is half of 828.
    • The bible verse mentioned below.
    • The address where Michaela frees the dogs and later finds the lost girls is 828.
    • Jared and Lourdes's house number is 3528. 3+5=8, so again 828.
    • Ben and Grace's house number is 2414. Again, 2 times 414 is?
  • As the Good Book Says...: Michaela's mother quotes Romans 8:28. It was the last conversation they ever had.
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  • The Atoner: The passenger murdered in the second episode had been working with her husband to use immigrants in what amounted to slave labor for their mall. Losing five years caused her to realize her mistake and she was working to end this and give them regular paying jobs.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Michaela took Flight 828 so she could get away from her mother nagging her about making a decision about marriage. When she lands she finds out that her mother is dead and her boyfriend has married someone else.
    • Ben and Grace have been praying for a miracle that would save Cal's life. They get their miracle, but at a tremendous cost to their family.
    • Kelly, angst over being forced to take another flight home, tells the person she's calling that at least the flight is short. She says she never wants to fly Montego ever again, that she'd rather be dead.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: In the second episode, the people in charge of solving Flight 828's disappearance decide to keep an eye on the passengers, especially the ones who'd returned to the airfield to see the plane blow up. Later, one of the passengers, Kelly, gets shot in the head after being on the news talking about a possible government conspiracy.note  Ben and Michaela learn from her husband and housekeeper that there were black SUV vans outside the house.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Discussed. The characters quickly conclude that what is happening to them is too contrived to be just coincidence.
    • Openly lampshaded by Jared when he notes how Michaela just happened to be on the scene at the right time for two crimes.
    • Michaela even believes she's probably being punished for the car accident.
  • Cult: The passengers of Flight 828 apparently inspired people to think they've come to save them. By "Upgrade", one was formed, called the Church of the Returned.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In her narration, Michaela mentions she still has nightmares from a car accident. This turns out to be one in which her friend was killed.
    • On a similar note, in "Cleared for Approach" Zeke reveals how he unwittingly caused the death of his little sister.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Captain Daly is a minor example, judging by his reaction to the ATC and the cops. "We have 191 souls on board, all of whom would love to touch down on one of your runways."
    • In "Dark Lightning," while attempting to recreate the conditions leading to 828's disappearance, he mutters "See you in 2024."
  • Domestic Abuse: Helen, the ex-wife of one of the 828 passengers who was experimented on and now has amnesia, is initially untraceable when the passengers return. It turns out her husband was abusive and she states she was relieved when the flight went missing. When the husband learned about this, he was pretty distraught.
  • Dramatic Irony: Michaela was reluctant to marry Jared, and was gonna tell him "no" after Flight 828 lands. But, presumably shaken up the mysterious turbulence, she changed her mind and texted "yes", but her message didn't get through, and it was already too late.
  • Fair Cop: Jared is definitely this, courtesy of the handsome J.R. Ramirez.
    • For those who like women, Michaela isn't a pain to watch either.
  • Fantastic Racism: Calvin Webber, who believes the 828 passengers are a threat.
  • Flash Back: Each episode opens with a bit of one of the passengers on the plane either during the flight or just as it was landing.
    • The episode "Connecting Flights" is packed with flashbacks showing how Ben and Michaela's family dealt with the plane's vanishing and the 5-year period where they believed they were dead.
  • Forensic Accounting: Ben needs to find out what Unified Dynamic Systems is up to so he gets a job with the company that does UDS's accounting. He hopes to gain access to their financial records and thus track their activities.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: In "Crosswinds", Jared and Michaela finally sleep together, but given Lourdes' status as a Satellite Character, this counts as a "one true pairing" example of "good" adultery.
  • Gilligan Cut: Ben plans to join a company in hopes of finding clues to who's been setting up the mysterious farm. He assures Michaela he won't make waves and "I'll just blend in." Cut to Ben in the lobby as his young supervisor yells out "Flight 828 in the house!"
  • Happily Married: Before the flight, Ben and Grace were together for 15 years.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Michaela almost always is wearing her black leather jacket, even indoors, and is the only character on the show who wears one. She's never once worn it zipped up, oddly enough.
  • Hero Antagonist: Vance. When a plane magically reappears after 5 years with no one having aged a day and he's handed the job of investigating it, he is incredibly, and reasonably, suspicious of those involved. He's not a bad guy, just trying to do his job right and get to the bottom of something impossible.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Ben is briefly mentioned as being an atheist, but except for some snarky comments by Michaela, this isn't portrayed poorly.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Taylor's reason to speak out, according to her husband. He warned her not to, but she didn't care, she had a "calling" telling her it had to be done. Ben and Michaela believe it's the same calling they've both been having since they returned home, and possibly why she was killed.
    • In "Contrail", it's revealed that pilot Captain Daly used "unconventional" methods to fly through the strange storm. Because of this, everyone blames him for it.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: One of the passengers asks for a drink after the plane makes it out of the turbulence. The flight attendant admits she needs one, too.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Michaela tells her best friend, Lourdes, that she understands she is now married to Michael's former boyfriend. Michaela states that she had been about to break up with Jared and Lourdes "is no fraud replacement." In reality, when the plane landed, Michaela had been about to accept Jared's proposal but realises she has to accept he and Lourdes have moved on.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title (including 'Pilot') is about something that has to do with taking a flight.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss:
    • Used as a defense by Grace for not telling Ben she's been seeing someone else as he's so happy being back.
    • Michaela goes to see the parents of Evie, the woman she accidentally killed in a car crash. The mother is now suffering from dementia and calling out for her daughter. Her husband enters to "remind" her that "she's at the market." He tells Michaela that he stopped telling her their daughter was dead as he couldn't stand seeing the agony of his wife happen over and over again.
    • The reason the parents hated Michaela is because she was driving when drunk. What Michaela has never told them was that the reason was Evie was far more drunk and Michaela wanted to call a driver. Evie refused so Michaela drove despite being under the influence. She never told the parents as she didn't want them to know their daughter was such a mess in her last moments on Earth.
    • Played for laughs when Olive reveals she's been keeping a lot of Cal's stuff in storage. Cal is happy as he hangs up a poster of Derek Jeter.
    Grace: Jeter retired.
    Ben: We'll tell him next season.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: This all started when the family's scheduled flight was overbooked, and some of them decided to use the airline's offer and go home via Flight 828. It was supposed to be a few hours' delay, but it turned out to be much longer.
  • It's All My Fault: Captain Daly blames himself for the passengers missing five and a half years of their lives.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • The plane involved in the incident is repeatedly stated to be a Boeing 737-200. This model has a maximum capacity of 136 passengers, yet in the first episode Captain Daly states that he has "191 souls on board", which is a lot more than should be possible.
    • When asked for his aircraft's callsign, MA828, Captain Daly says it the way an ordinary person would: "Em Ay Eight Two Eight." A professional pilot would give it as, "Mike Alpha Eight Two Eight", especially if there was any suspected confusion.
  • Kick the Dog: Michaela is already dealing with losing five years of her life and her mother. Then, when she comes back to work on the police force, she finds that the man who, from her perspective, was her boyfriend just a week ago is now married. Then she finds out it's to her best friend.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Montego Air Flight 828 flew through some severe, unexpected turbulence en route to New York, which resulted in their time travel.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Cal is suffering from leukemia, before and after the time jump. However, five and a half years of advancements in medicine have led to a possible cure.
  • Loophole Abuse: With Ben and Cal turning up alive, the insurance company comes looking to take back the payout for their life insurance. Ben counters that since there was naturally no clause covering something like this particular incident, it's perfectly legal for them to pay it back in tiny installments over several years.
  • My Beloved Smother: In her narration in the first act, Michaela bemoans that her parents — especially her mother — are trying to control her life by encouraging her to get married to Jared. Her attitude changes once she reunites with her father, and finds out her mother died during the time skip.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In "Cleared for Approach", Ben threatens Calvin Webber to stay away from his family, which only convinces Webber that he's right about the 828 passengers being a threat. The confrontation went online, which gets him more followers.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: In "Dead Reckoning", the whole situation made Grace realize how much her family's changed.
  • One Degree of Separation:
    • Saanvi was working on a revolutionary new leukemia treatment, which five years later has been implemented and just so happens to perfectly fit fellow 828 passenger Cal. This understandably convinces her there was some deliberate purpose to the whole thing.
    • Ben tries to help Radd when Radd's son is arrested for robbery but there is not much he can do. He goes to retrieve some of Cal's stuff from a storage locker owned by his wife's new boyfriend and it turns out the real robber has a storage locker just a few feet away and is cataloging the loot just as Ben walks by.
    • Michaela investigates the murder of a passenger who had a necklace stolen. Later, Michaela stops the mother of a late friend from being hit by a car. The driver of the car turns out to be the killer and the necklace is in plain view as proof of guilt.
    • Michaela is investigating the murder of a shop owner and keeps hearing a strange heartbeat. She bonds with the owner's son as she talks him out of seeking revenge on the killer. At the episode's end, Michela discovers that the young man got a heart transplant from her late best friend, Evie, who died in an accident Michaela was responsible for.
  • Overnight Age-Up: From the perspective of the passengers, their families have all suddenly gotten older. This is first demonstrated with Olive and Cal, who are twins. Olive has grown into a teenager, while Cal hasn't aged at all.
    • Cal and Ben are thrown to find Cal's best friend, Kevin, is now a fully grown teenager. Cal is also jarred to realise Kevin is dating Olive.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Type 2. Olive is shown in flashbacks to have taken some time to warm up to Danny, but in the present, she directly tells her mother that she thinks of both Danny and Ben as being her father.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When the plane reappears near JFK, the ATC is initially suspicious, and diverts them to Stewart International Airport instead. The authorities don't let any of the passengers go home; everyone is kept in a nearby hangar and interviewed separately.
    • Not everyone takes reuniting with their families well. Cal tries to run away when he sees Olive, his twin sister grown up.
    • After being presumed dead for five years, Michaela is homeless and most of her possessions are gone. Her family could not keep paying rent on her apartment forever and had to donate or sell off most of her items beyond a few keepsakes. However, she is still apparently employed by the NYPD because no one bothered processing the paperwork. But she is told she has to re-certify herself on everything from physical to gun training to a psych evaluation.
    • In 2013, Radd was a legal immigrant pursuing a career as a concert pianist. When he returns in 2018, all his paperwork has expired so his legal status is uncertain and he has to support himself as a street musician.
    • Ben at first wants to check out his phones and room to see if the government has bugged them. He then admits that he has no idea what such devices would actually look like.
    • Ben is looking for a job but all his skills are five years out of date.
    • Ben and Cal, and presumably all other passengers who had life insurance, now have the insurance company wanting their payout back. On the other hand, the uniqueness of the situation makes the insurance companies unwilling to fight the matter in court and are more than willing to accept Ben's counteroffer of paying the money back in installments over multiple years.
    • One passenger complains on how in 2013, he was seen as a "wunderkind" who was starting his own tech company. Having been declared dead, he no longer has any say in his company's operations or earnings. Worse, rather than be ahead of the curve, he's now five years behind current technology, making his employment options limited.
    • When you become famous for being the captain of a plane that went missing for five years and your decision to fly into a mysterious storm may have contributed to it, it's only natural Captain Daly finds his pilot's license suspended.
  • Red Herring: Ben, Michaela, and Saanvi believe the NSA have kidnapped some of the passengers and are experimenting on them. Unbeknownst to them, the NSA discovers there's another group at play.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: When Michaela went to see the parents of her friend Evie, she finds that the mother has Alzheimer's. The dad stops reminding her about the accident since he can't bear to see her break down every 15 minutes, so she tells him she went out and will come back soon.
  • Science Marches On: An In-Universe example. In 2013, there was no treatment for Cal's cancer and he was given six months to live. A potential treatment is just a theory researchers are thinking about. Five years later, the theory has been successfully developed into a treatment and Cal has a good chance of surviving his cancer.
  • Secret Chaser: Robert Vance, the director of the NSA who leads the investigation on Flight 828, is determined to find out where it had disappeared to and whether or not the passengers are a threat to national security.
  • Secret Keeper: Michaela knows Grace is seeing someone, and tells Grace she should tell Ben before he finds out on his own.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: In her narration at the end of the first episode, Michaela believes something chose her and rest of the passengers of Flight 828, it gave them a supernatural ability, summoned them back to the airport to watch the plane suddenly explode, and doesn't want anyone else to know about the circumstances of the passengers' disappearance. It sent them five and a half years into the future for some other reason besides giving them a second chance in life. Michaela outright suggests that it was God, though Ben is skeptical, citing Clarke's Third Law regarding this.
  • Shipper on Deck: Michaela's parents are introduced via them trying to convince her to marry Jared.
    • It's shown Michaela's dad was never happy about Jared moving on to someone else. In the present, he encourages Michaela to go ahead and fight to get Jared back even it means hurting Lourdes.
  • Shout-Out: Probably unintentional, but the animated angel statue resembles a Weeping Angel.
  • Spanner in the Works: Flight attendant Bethany managed to smuggle Thomas onto the flight so he could avoid the persecution of gay people in Jamaica and find his boyfriend in New York. The plan was for him to be hidden on board and then leave with the other passengers when they landed. She never counted on the plane being diverted and scrutinized upon landing, or that five years will have passed.
  • Technology Marches On: The show pulls this off in spite of the short time span.
    • In-Universe example. The first sign to passengers that something is off when they land is that their cell phones have no service as they're completely outdated for the current service plans (five years is a long time for a smartphone).
    • When Ben tries to check out his place for bugs, he notes that given the way technology has advanced in the last five years, he has no idea what such devices would even look like.
    • A passenger was a "tech wunderkind" in 2013 only to find he's hopelessly behind the curve today.
  • There Are No Coincidences
  • They Would Cut You Up: Michaela tries to tell Ben about the voice she is hearing in her head but he tells her to not to talk about it because the government is just looking for an excuse to lock them all up and run experiments on them.
    • In "Off Radar", it's revealed that the NSA aren't responsible, but a corporation called UDS (Unified Dynamic Systems).
  • Time Travel: It somehow took five and a half years for Montego Air 828 to fly from Jamaica to New York.
    • Zeke's mountain day trip took a year for some reason.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: In the second episode, Kelly tells Michaela she should have "played the cop card 8 hours ago".
    Michaela: You're welcome!
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Michaela and Jared since she returned after five and a half years. She still loves Jared who has moved on and married her best friend. However in "Crosswinds", it's revealed the reason he didn't see her at the bunker when she returned is because he still loves her. But in the next episode, Michaela realize it was a mistake and doesn't want to ruin her friend's marriage.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: It's easy to see similarities between this and the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in 2014. Word of God confirms that MA 370 was the inspiration for the show's premise. The show even premiered 6 months before the fifth anniversary of the incident.
  • Wham Line: The page-top quote.
    • Also:
    Michaela: What year is it?
    Zeke: 2017.
  • Wham Shot: The pilot ends with some of the plane's passengers compelled to gather together at the airport... to watch as the plane suddenly explodes.
    • A literal example as the second episode ends with Kelly, the passenger who had been talking of a possible government conspiracy watching footage of herself on the news... just before she's shot in the head.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In "Dead Reckoning", Grace kicks Ben out for allowing Cal be near danger, as well as lying to her.
    • Jared also gives one to Ben in "Cleared for Approach" for threatening Calvin Webber.
  • Who Am I: In "Cleared for Approach", Cal briefly wonders if he's even really himself.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "Cleared for Approach", Calvin Webber asks Ben if his son bleeds.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: According to the crew and passengers, it took 3 hours and 19 minutes to fly from Montego to JFK. According to the outside world, it took five and half years.
  • You Are in Command Now: Captain Daly says this to Ben, saying that he must be the leader of the other passengers now, before he flies a plane into a thunderstorm with Fiona to try to recreate traveling in time and prove his innocence.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Ben and especially Cal say this a lot.

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