Manifest started out as a story about a disappearing plane that then reappeared five years later. There were 191 people affected by this time jump, though most of them seem to feel no after effects. Of those who do so far, the show has introduced a handful, including the Stone family, Saanvi the Doctor, along with Bethany the flight attendant (and her son-in-law). This week the show included a dozen new faces, including one very significant character: Marko Valeriev. Who is Marko Valeriev? Warning: Spoilers for Manifest Season 1 follow.
Marko wasn't the only one introduced this week, but he is the most important to the current mystery. A Bulgarian foreign national, he was walking down the plane aisle just before landing, when he saw Cal and tousled the kid's hair. Something happened at this moment because now the two of them have some sort of mental connection. This might not be a terrible thing, except someone is experimenting on Mr. Valeriev, and it's directly affecting Cal.
Marko is one of 11 passengers Ben hasn't been able to track down so far, which is a problem since whatever is happening to Marko has put Cal in the hospital with a high fever and speaking Bulgarian. Michaela's detective work turns up Anna, who helped Marko and thought she'd made a connection with him.
But he never contacted her. It turns out it's because he and 10 other passengers were put on a bus that disappeared off the map after leaving the airplane hangar. The manifest lists four buses, poor Marko was assigned on an unlisted fifth bus, along with other foreign nationals, plus a couple who had no family. In short: people who wouldn't be missed.
Michaela has to track down the black site where these people are being stored, somewhere in upstate New York. In doing so, she finally breaks down and admits to Jared about the voices, the hallucinations, the "callings" as Ben terms them. Jared, to his credit, goes along with her and is stunned to discover she's not insane. There really is a black site out in the middle of nowhere where these passengers are being held.
But while Ben and Michaela are convinced the NSA goons who have been monitoring them, Vance and company, are in on this, Ben's visit to confront Vance with what Michaela found shocks the government agents as much as it does the audience. The NSA isn't involved in whatever is happening, and when Vance starts making inquiries, Marko and his fellow prisoners are shipped off somewhere else.
But whatever the organization is doing to Marko, it will start again soon. And worse, after a full episode of these experimenters not seeming to know their tests are affecting Cal, proof surfaces this might be the entire point of what they are doing. As Marko tells his doctor all about seeing Cal's experience in the hospital through the young boy's eyes, miles away.
What exactly is this experiment? And how much more will Cal suffer before Ben and Michaela can stop it?