4 'Manifest' Theories That Could Explain The Red Door

by Ani Bundel

Manifest took the week off for Halloween, but this week the show returned with a bang. After weeks of Flight 828 mysteries resolved in a single hour, Ben, Michaela, and Saanvi came up against their first significant discovery of who might be hiding what happened to them, and the answers may lie behind a red door. What is the red door on Manifest? Warning: Spoilers for Manifest Season 1 follow.

The original manifest of Flight 828 listed 191 passengers on board. Some, like the Stones and Saanvi, had families to go home to. But others, like Anna, who viewers met this week, arrived back to discover their lives had collapsed. Former spouses rejected them, family members passed away, houses foreclosed on by the banks. In all, five buses worth of homeless passengers were spread out to shelters while they tried to restart their lives.

Four of those buses are accounted for. But the fifth disappeared. It was full of passengers like Lena Rasmussen and Marko Valeriev: Foreign nationals who supposedly were repatriated to their home countries. Prisoners back in jail. People with no next of kin who a shadowy entity could make disappear in a lab behind the red door and no one would notice. Was this is the point of Flight 828 the whole time?

Vance and the NSA Know Nothing

Perhaps the most interesting twist this week came when Ben confronted Vance and his NSA flunkies with evidence of a black site in upstate New York where Michaela caught a photo of one of the 11 missing passengers. Up until now, Vance has looked like the bad guy, including flipping Jared to be their "man on the inside."

But Vance has no idea what's going on. He's never seen the building with the red door. Michaela and Ben's detective work means they know more than he does. Instead of reporting on Michaela, maybe Jared could bring them all in as a team.

Unified Dynamic Systems Are Running The Show

Manifest finally unveiled the real bad guys behind the plane's flight. Unified Dynamic Systems, a government contractor, with hands in all sorts of agencies. It is the ones who hired the five buses and diverted one off with 11 passengers for experimentation. It is the one running the lab behind the red door.

More importantly, as Jared and Michaela discuss all the different things this multi-conglomerate does, they list off everything from microwaves... to plane engines.

Who wants to bet UDS built the engine in Flight 828? The question is, what is it doing? If UDS is responsible for what happened to the flight, why? What is the experiment conducted with the (perhaps accidental) side effect of a five-year time jump?

Homeland Security May Be Involved

Speaking of how little the NSA knows, note when Vance starts digging into the 11 passengers on Ben's list, he gets back a falsified report from DHS, accounting for all the names, claiming the foreign nationals were shipped home and the others ones without families have been tracked down. In fact, the report claims the passenger Michaela took a photo of, Lena, was seen just this morning in Norway.

Is DHS in league with UDS here? How much does the government know what its own contractor is doing? How much is it involved with the experiments behind the red door?

Cal's Cancer Is Giving Him ESP

Cal was the Miracle of The Flight 828 Miracle. He went from incurable cancer with six months to live to cancer-with-a-breakthrough-cure developed by another passenger on the plane. But his cancer may actually be his curse.

Marko reports back his mental link with Cal to his doctors at the end of the episode, suggesting this link is the point. Are the 11 passengers all connected to the visions and hallucinations? The adults have mild episodes, but Cal's immune system is compromised by his cancer treatments. What if the inability of his body to fight is causing his connection with Marko to be much stronger than everyone else, creating true ESP? Is that why he sees the red door?