Dec 3, 2018
In the promo video of episode 10, we hear Michaela say, “What the hell is going on?” That is a question many viewers are asking, too. Are the writers using “hell” simply to express discontent or displeasure, disregard for conventional procedure and precautions, or is there something more significant going on here?
References to the word “hell”
The writers may be using “hell” in a very creative way of depicting the character’s turbulent state of mind and being (i.e. “Turbulence” , the episode 3 title.) Although the common Christian concept of hell does not involve redemption, the writers might just be using a broader (i.e, a purgatorial) view.
In the first 9 episodes, one or more characters in 23 different scenes use the word “hell” at least once. In fact, in 106.14 Jared uses it four times to underscore that something not right is going on:
- After Michaela pokes a hole in one of the front tires of the police car, he says, ‘Mick, what the hell?”
- Then, after replacing the tire and they drive away from the security guard, he says, “Mich, what the hell? That guy had an automatic weapon.”
- Then while Michaela is pointing her camera and taking pictures of a woman and a man approaching a red door to a barn, he says, “Mich, what the hell is going on?”
- And then when a man comes out of the red door, he says for a final time, “Michaela, what the hell’s happening?”
This appears to be more than a cliché. The writers would not have used it four times in a scene unless they were trying to make a strong impact on the viewer that what was going on behind the red door was significant.
References to the Color Red
A similar connection also exists with the writer’s use of the color red. Is there something going on here which is similar to the way the movie The Sixth Sense uses red to symbolize “anything in the real world that has been tainted by the other world” (director M. Night Shyamalan), and is used “to connote really explosively emotional moments and situations” (producer Barry Mendel)?
The two biggest ones, of course, are the “red door” of the dairy farm where the missing passengers were taken (episode 106), and the name of the warehouse—”Red Hook”— (episodes 108 and 109). In episode 108, Michaela makes a comment on Grace’s use of “Le Rouge” saying that it “goes with her smokin’ hot eyes (108.19).
Whether the writers intentionally put these instances of red into the story or whether they are just coincidental, remains to be seen. But here are some other examples where the color red shows up in the series:
- the red jacket worn by the boy on the tarmac (101.3),
- the red jacket worn by the man sitting in front of the building in the background when Fiona is talking to Ben on her cell phone (108.11),
- the red plant pot in the drive way when Grace tells Ben to stay away after he brings Cal home from the Red Hook warehouse explosion (109.18),
- the red spray paint on the wall of Harvey’s bedroom (108.15),
- the red shirt Grace wears in bed making plans for date night with Ben (108.4),
- the red jacket of the shooter that killed Carlos’ uncle (107.11, 107.22),
- the red rocks higher up on the wall that Olive is climbing (107.8),
- the red vase behind Michaela while she is sitting with her dad on his front porch couch (105.17),
- the red “See Agent” box on the airport screen (105.1),
- the red-orange uniform of Bethany’s flight attendant uniform (104.12),
- The red lipstick Olive puts on before being caught for shoplifting at the cosmetic store (104.9),
- the red areas on the brain scans in Dr. Feldman’s office (104.5),
- the red exit signs and red digital clock that reads 8:28 while Ben and Michaela are chasing Tammi in Mr. Taylor’s mall (103.16),
- the red stop sign behind Isaiah when he is standing next to the police car (103.6),
- the maroon blouse Kelly wears while watching herself on the news just before she is shot in the head (102.24),
- the red glow from the police car lights when Blake is apprehended by the police (102.20),
- the red bull’s eye in the target that Michaela used for shooting practice (102.11),
- the red letters of Mr. Valero’s “Going Out of Business” sign on the window’s of the jewelry store (102.9),
- the red super hero action figure on a box Cal is carrying home from the store when a zealot woman approaches him (102.8),
- the red ball being chased by a small boy that rolls out into the street in front of a bus (101.11).
Some of these instances may not be significant. After all, red as a primary color is found everywhere, and the producers do not go out of their way to limit the color red like they did in Sixth Sense. But it will be interesting to see if and which scenes are significant.
References to the word “fall”
One of the background songs used in episode 3 is “Hurt Fall” by Twisted Box. It is the lead song on their album “Goddess” (2013) which also contains songs titled, “Supernova”, “The Fallen Will Rise”, “Our Last Stand”, “Fight for Life”, and others.
These songs all seem to have connections with Manifest. In episode 105.17, after Michaela visits her dad and opens up to him about missing her mom and seeing the life she could’ve had with Jared. Her dad tells her to go for it, saying, “I mean, if I’d been on your plane and come home and found your mother with some other man? I’d have fought like hell to get her back.” Is Michaela and the others on Flight 828 involved in a “fight for their lives”? Is this their “last stand”? Having fallen will they “rise”? Even “supernova” seems connected to the bright light that Cal sees looking out the window of the airplane (105.28).