Episode 9 “Dead Reckoning” reveals major clue on the color red as a special marker
Dec 9, 2018
In the first half season finale, Cal showed up unexpectedly at the Red Hook warehouse after Ben, Vance, and the others came up short looking for the missing passengers. Pointing to a red spot on his drawing, he surprised everyone as it marked the exact location of the entrance to the tunnels where the experiments were taking place. The red spot, however, was not made by any crayon. Earlier that afternoon, when Cal was in his room, he was able to feel Mr. Valeriev’s pain. As Cal experienced first hand this “living hell” blood dripped from his nose which landed on his drawing (109.9). At the time, hardly compelling (other than demonstrating to the viewers how serious the experiments at Red Hook were affecting Cal’s health), it later proved very significant. Just as when young Olive cuts herself while making a sandwich for her mom and “blood got on the bread” (105.7) was a sign for Grace to get help, the blood from Cal’s nose dripping on his drawing became a sign for Ben and Vance to find a way into the tunnels to help the passengers. And what about us? What might this mean for the viewer?
In this scene, the writers may have given us a clue for what to look for in the episodes. They may be using the color red in a way similar to the way the movie The Sixth Sense used it. In that movie, according to director M. Night Shyamalan, the color red indicated the scenes in the real world that were tainted by the other world. The color red, says the films producer Barry Mendel, “connote[s] really explosively emotional moments and situations”?
We have seen a lot of explosively emotional moments in Manifest already. In the fall season finale we literally saw explosions as Ben and Vance go underground to rescue the missing passengers. But there are also other moments equally explosive and emotional that occur on a different level. Here, having exploding oxygen tanks will not work. And yet Michaela, Ben and the others are just as in much danger when dealing with their own unresolved emotions and psychological pain, as any passenger hooked up to machines. Instead of explosions and fire, however, the writers seem to be using the color red to help focus our attention.
Just as Saanvi uncovered the unusual blood marker in Cal and her’s blood which more than likely exists in all the passengers (c.f. 103.13, 103.27, 104.5), unusual “red markers” have showed up in every episode so far. They are usually found when the main characters come face to face with the “living hell” of their circumstances.
Red Objects in Scene 101.19
As Michaela tries to bust the lock with a metal pipe, Mr. Garrison says “What the hell are you doing?” Just as he says these words on his right (the viewer’s left) a red object appears on screen. Jared yells, “Michaela, stop! Michaela!” After she opens the door and discovers the kidnap girls, Jared is able to put Mr. Garrison on the ground after the metalworker takes a swipe at Jared’s with a metal rod. Once again, the red object appears on screen behind Jared.
Inside the locker Michaela holds on to the Pyler girls, and tries to comfort them saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re going home. It’s okay. It’s done. It’s all over. Are you guys okay? Are you okay? Okay.” In the foreground is a red barrel.
Red Light in Scene 101.20
When the police arrive to take Mr. Garrison away, in a scene where Captain Riojas is congratulating Michaela, again we have a subtle reminder (101.20). If you click on 101.20, notice that the scene’s feature image on top of the page how the writers use red again, this time in the form of a flashing lights of the police car. The red light not only floods the background, but is seen reflecting off Michaela’s hair in the foreground. In this scene, when Michaela later talks to Jared the same lighting technique is used. Notice the red glow around Michaela’s head and the reflection off the side of Jared’s head. Granted, this is a screen shot of a frame that lasts less than a second, but this frame and others like it are noticeable at normal viewing speed, no matter how brief.
Other examples of “red markers”
In scenes inside the 129 police precinct the red stripes on the flag are conveniently used as a red marker. The flag shows up all the time in significant scenes. The first time we see it is when Michaela enters the police station for the first time and unexpectedly finds Lourdes (101.8). Notice, too, the single red rose in the background when Michaela and Lourdes are talking later (101.22). This occurs just before Michaela makes a figurative reference acknowledging that Lourdes had no way of knowing that she would “come back from the dead.” Michaela then goes on to say that she is the one “out of place”, not Lourdes (102.22). Red hearts appear as graffiti in the background during the stake out scene just before Michaela learns that Jared had specifically arranged for them to spend the day together (104.7), and then again when she confronts him about it (104.10). Other subtle uses of the color red include stop signs, exit signs, and reward poster signs hanging on the walls of the police station.