Manifest is the newest series from NBC to arrive as part of the fall season. Focusing on the story of the Stone family, it features members of three generation when viewers meet them. There's Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh), a cop on her way home from a beach vacation that included her parents, her brother Ben (Josh Dallas), his wife and their twin kids. When the flight is oversold, Michaela, Ben and the boy twin, Cal, volunteer to take the next one. What does 828 mean in Manifest? It's the flight they moved to, which jumped through a time warp in the middle of the sky. Warning: Spoilers for Manifest Season 1 follow.
To recap: Montego Air 828, Montego Bay to JFK, took off with 191 people on board on April 7, 2013. In the middle of the flight, they hit sudden, freakish, 1970s style disaster movie turbulence. When they land, it is Nov. 4, 2018. Everyone on board had been missing, presumed dead, for five years, six months, 28 days. Plane shows zero sign of any malfunction of having landed anywhere for that time period. It feels a little like "What if Lost, but Found?"
Within the lost time, Michaela and Ben find out their mom is dead. Michaela's fiance Jared Vasquez got married to her best friend, Lourdes. (Awkward!) Ben's wife, Grace, acts as if she's spent the last five years a grieving widow, but by the end of the episode is revealed to have begun an affair with someone else. Now-teenager twin Olive knows too.
There are bright spots: Jared got promoted to detective, now working on a kidnapping case involving two missing girls. Also, cancer treatments have advanced, and Cal, who has leukemia, is put forth from a program that will probably save him.
Meanwhile, the number 828 shows up again and again. Before Mom died, she cross-stitched a pillow "All things work together for good. Romans 828," the words of which start echoing in Michaela's head.
Ben is hearing voices too, but he's paranoid central about the government taking them away at a moment's weirdness after what happened. But both wind up at an address, 828, a junkyard, hearing the same command "Set them free." Looking down, they assume they must free the dogs standing there, and do so.
But it's not the dogs. Unused to cellphones recording everything Michaela is caught immediately. When Jared returns with her and the dogs to apologize, she starts hearing "set them free" again. Following the voice, she discovers the dog's owner has the kidnapped girls.
The show doesn't just focus on the Stones. Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur) was also on the plane. Her cancer research was tested in her absence, turning out to be a miracle cure. It's her work being used in the clinical trial Cal applied to. He should, by rights, be refused because the five-year gap of the flight made him "outside the parameters." She forces him in, despite her coworkers worrying it will screw up being bought out by Big Pharma.
Saanvi is also having premonitions. It turns out all the passengers are, all 191 of them. It draws them to the plane, sitting on the tarmac. As the episode ends, the plane blows up as they all draw towards it like zombies. So much for 828.