Jan 19, 2019
In Manifest’s Season 1 Episode 11 fans of the show got another easter egg which offers clues to the shows mythology: The Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider” (first recorded on their second album, Idlwild South, in 1970).
“Midnight Rider” is about a man who rides a horse while running from the law in a journey that goes on forever.1 In episode 11 Captain Daily says to his co-pilot, that he thinks himself to be like “a cowboy”. He then adds, “The plane’s my horse, and the sky an open desert”(111.1).
Moments later, Flight 828 experiences turbulence and the plane is transported 5 1/2 years into the future. After the passengers land, Captain Daly is interrogated by NSA Director Robert Vance who tells him the government’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) blames him for the incident saying he “made a series of unconventional maneuvers” (111.1).
Therefore, when viewers see Daly and Ben blazing down the road as “Midnight Rider” plays on the car’s radio, the song’s lyrics offer a fitting backdrop to Daly’s lines of dialogue in the scene which wreak of desperation and determination. He tells Ben how the government and media have put him through hell for something he had no control of, and how he has even lost his son and wife who won’t even to talk to him (111.15).
As the music in the background gets louder, we hear…
🎵 No, I’m not gonna let them catch me, 🎵
🎵 no not gonna let them catch… 🎵
These lyrics underscore that Daly is a man on the run. Nothing proves this more than when two Air National Guard jets go after him near the end of the episode (111.19). Moreover, hearing these get-me-out-of-here lyrics just as a plane lands on a runway and seeing Daly’s car pass by, underscores Daly’s metaphor that his “horse” is a plane, and suggests that the only way out will indeed be “the sky.”
Just as “Midnight Rider” repeats a line about “holding on to a silver dollar” which is a sign of hope, in this episode Captain Daly’s “pilot’s wings” serve a similar purpose, albeit, exploring hope from a different angle (i.e. the framework of the series mythology).
Early in the episode, when Cal asks Daly if he has any wings to give him, he says, “Sorry, kiddo. Uh, they just got clipped.” (111.1) Then, near the end of the episode after Daly seems to have gone into the future (or past, or different dimension, etc), Ben finds a package at the door. Daly mailed Cal a set of wings with a note, “Better late than never.” (111.21)
What Happens Next?
What changed? When Daly broke through the time barrier, he found hope again. But what does that mean or what that looks like remains to be seen? Does Daly sacrifice himself? Is that how he earns his wings back? Does the plane crash or blow up in another time period with only Fiona surviving? Will she reemerge as a darker Fiona 2.0?
Even if Daly’s horse (plane) ride doesn’t last forever, as the iconic line of “Midnight Rider” suggests, now that his Pilot’s Wings have been passed on to Cal, and Daly has passed on his role of Captain to Ben, fans of the series hope that the series will continue, if not forever, for at least another 3-5 seasons.