Manifesters have been patiently waiting for this day to arrive, and rejoice we must because Manifest Season 3 Episode 1 is packed with action that will hopefully move the central mystery of Flight 828 swiftly along.
In the premiere, we're still trying to figure out the how behind the 828'ers return, but there are also several new mysteries taking shape throughout the hour, including a brand new passenger and the possibility that religion plays a much deeper role in the return than previously imagined.
Manifest has hinted at religious undertones before, so Ben's revelation isn't exactly new.
The series is filled with biblical references and parallels. All the characters have names with biblical origins: Grace, Ezekiel (Zeke), Michaela, and even newborn, Eden.
The 828'ers have been called false prophets; they've been seen as angels who have returned to the Earth, churches have been built around their miraculous existence -- the writing has always been there.
Mic: The Callings are a blessing in that they can save our lives, but hell if they are not a curse as well. And I can’t miss even one, not if I want to grow old with you.
Zeke: Oh, you’re going to grow ancient with me.
And it's not lost on anyone (especially because the episode calls it out) that the fisherman's ship responsible for finding the tailfin is named after Saint Anthony, the patron of lost things.
So again, Ben's "aha" moment that they've all been resurrected isn't exactly jaw-dropping. Though, admittedly, it does fit lend itself nicely to a premiere that kicks off Easter weekend.
The resurrection theme doesn't just apply to the 828'ers because, in those final moments, we see the trio of methheads, who kidnapped Cal and then mysteriously disappeared in the frigid lake on Manifest Season 2 Episode 13, also resurrect.
There's definitely some credibility to Ben's theory.
In addition to the "how," we're continuing to ask ourselves "why."
Why are they the chosen ones? Is their mission to help people on Earth? Are they still stuck in some kind of purgatory?
One of the biggest issues with the first two seasons of the series was that nothing was getting resolved as the questions began to mount.
Even with Ben's vague "we're about to find out" answer when Mic questioned why this is happening, it looks like this season will tackle actual plot development that aims to answer the questions surrounding the central mystery.
At least, that's what we're hoping happens. The random side plots are engaging, but I don't think the audience will hold out for much longer if no progress is made this season.
Ben and co are starting to form a working theory that's backed up by something tangible with the tailfin.
The episode kicked off in Cuba, where the tailfin was retrieved.
Ben arrived at the destination with Vance and another agent hoping to find some answers. And he immediately hit us with a dramatic removal of his glasses.
Wow, I've missed those.
While he wasn't certain about what he was looking for when he got there since he was going off Cal's drawings, he knew it had something to do with 828.
However, the tailfin revelation put him in a tailspin as it proved that something sinister likely happened to their flight.
After coming in contact with the tailfin, getting blasted across the room also quelled questions about the tailfin's authenticity.
The shared Calling between Ben, Mic, and Cal, who saw themselves burning up along with a brand-new passenger, helped.
Mic: So great being back on an airplane. I’m totally cool with it.
Ben: Yeah, not panicked at all. What year do you think it’ll be when we land?
This Calling doesn't seem all that subtle. Paired with Ben's previous vision of the flight exploding mid-air and his glowing hand after coming in contact with the plane debris, it seems pretty obvious that they likely didn't survive the initial flight.
Thanks to a kid with a TikTok, Ben's little supernatural experience was blasted all over the internet and alerted the Cuban police.
Vance and the other agent immediately came to Ben's aide and somehow managed to load up the tailfin onto a car to make their great escape.
Ben mentioned how improbable it was that a heavy tailfin would float up to the surface, and yet, we're supposed to believe that these three men somehow managed to pick it up?
You know what, logistics don't matter at this point.
Sadly, they weren't able to leave Cuba with it. The tailfin and Vance were left behind as Ben watched the possibility of getting answers slipping right through his fingers.
For now, at least.
We must have faith in Vance, who is known for making the impossible possible.
Ben's a man who follows his intuition, so he's convinced that this is an authentic piece of the puzzle, but Vance is a man of science who wants concrete proof. I don't doubt that he has a plan to get the tailfin back to the U.S. for further examination.
Michaela and Zeke's honeymoon in Costa Rica was cut short when a Calling tasked her with finding the latest 828 passenger: Angelina Meyer.
While Mic, Ben, and Cal all see Angelina in their Calling, she feels the strongest connection to the girl, and it's likely because she's being held captive somewhere in Costa Rica. What are the odds?
Mic and Zeke visit Angelina's parents and learn that upon her miraculous return, they struggled to connect with her or accept that she was no longer religious, so it wasn't shocking when they turned out to be the ones holding her captive.
As Zeke offered up a distraction, Mic was able to explore the house. As she got closer and closer to where Angelina was being held prisoner, her Calling's intensified, suggesting that she was on the right path.
Mic: I don’t get it. We were on that plane when it landed. We still have our fingers, we have our toes. So did that plane. So how does a piece of it end up at the bottom of an ocean?
Ben: I have no idea. But it did. And I think it could change everything.
The Callings wanted Mic and Angelina to find each other. But why?
While Angelina doesn't seem to know much since she's been struggling to understand the Callings herself, I'm intrigued to see how she fits into the overall mystery and what role she'll play in bringing us some much-needed clarity.
Back at home, Saanvi was running her own clinic in the Bronx that doubled as a secret lair for Vance and his small yet stealth team of agents.
On the outside, it seemed like Saanvi was doing just fine, but internally, she's was continuing to punish herself for The Major's death.
And don't think that the mystery of The Major ended with her death because her daughter tracked down Jared in hopes of getting to Mic so that she can find out what really happened to her mother.
She believes that her mother's disappearance is connected to Flight 828 (and she's right), and she's looking for answers that the DOD isn't giving her.
On the one hand, you feel bad for the girl who lost her mother, but on the other hand, you remember that her mother was a pretty terrible person.
With the DOD not saying much or giving The Major's daughter any closure, I'm inclined to believe that Kathryn Fitz may not be dead after all.
Ben: I think the Calling is trying to tell us that we died on that flight.
Mic: No, Ben. Look, we’re standing right here. Yes, something inexplicable is happening, but no, come on.
Manifest returned without missing a beat. Just when you thought the mystery couldn't get more intriguing, it adds even more layers that have us questioning everything we've known up until this point.
We're still just "going with it" and trusting Ben's hunches since there's nothing to ground his theories, but hopefully, the tailfin is the first piece of the puzzle.
But I can't get over that the tailfin looks nothing like the one from the plane that blew up when they landed.
Maybe the plane that they returned on wasn't actually Flight 828? Now, pieces of Flight 828 will bubble up to the surface to provide a full picture of what actually happened?
I want to know what you all think! Did you enjoy the season 3 premiere? Do you think we'll finally get answers?
Is Ben correct about the resurrection? Let us know in the comments, and as always, watch Manifest online to catch up!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..