How one of Cal’s Drawings in Se 1 Ep 12 Reveals Manifest’s Twists and Turns

by Don Kincaid |
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Jan 24, 2019


Cal’s precognitive powers

Episode 112 of Manifest was an artistic masterpiece, and it wasn’t just the drawings in Cal’s notebook that stood out. As Michael Ahr points out, “The drawing of Grace, Ben, and Michaela holding the sketchbook was particularly eerie and effective in communicating the necessary message about Cal’s precognitive powers.”


A twist

But equally compelling is Cal’s drawing of Autumn sitting on the couch. This was the page that Autumn had ripped out (111.18), and how particularly satisfying and effective it was in communicating Jeff Rake’s vision for the series. Up until Michaela sees it, most viewers expected the drawing to be the one they saw Cal drawing when Autumn was visiting with Michaela (111.9).


But what we saw earlier, was only half the picture. Her daughter (which we didn’t even know she had until  episode 112) is standing next to her. Thus, all the twists we experienced with Autumn the last several episodes, really paid off when that drawing was revealed.

A turn

However, what makes it so compelling is not just what Cal drew, but what we see when Michaela turns it over: an outside view of the cabin where Cal is (112.14).


Autumn’s drawing not only has a twist but it has a turn.

Up until then, the only images of the cabin we saw were from the inside (just the right details to help us make the connections that the cabin Jansen’s men found was not the right one (e.g. no window on the door, no couch nor red kerosene lamp). The timing was perfect (112.16).

From drawing to scripting

The series creator Jeff Rake and other writers seem to be using a similar technique in the way they are presenting the episodes. Presumably, viewers are given just enough details so we can make connections later on.

Despite all the storyline arcs we have followed this season, we have not been given the entire vision that creator Jeff Rake has created. Unfortunately, some viewers are wrongly making assumptions that the storylines are simplistic or riddled with red herrings.

Not only are there other events which coincide with what we have seen so far this season, e.g. who and where did they take Kelly’s body (103.27), but there are also ramifications (i.e. aftershocks) from what has happened, that we are only beginning to learn about (e.g. unbounded time travel—not just the passengers of Flight 828, but even people on the ground like Zeke). As a result, we may soon find that future episodes will revisit everything that we have seen this season from a different vantage point.

This does not sit well, of course, with fans who prefer a more procedural show. As it stands, all we have seen so far is only half, a third, or maybe even a fourth of the final delineation. But when all the twists and turns are finished, everything will be revealed. We will not only see portions of what we already know or think we know (i.e. the “Autumn” in the picture), but we will see other events that were occurring at the same time, or possibly even in a different parallel time (i.e. “The child” standing next to Autumn).

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One thought on “How one of Cal’s Drawings in Se 1 Ep 12 Reveals Manifest’s Twists and Turns

  1. “Unfortunately, some viewers are wrongly making assumptions that the storylines are simplistic or riddled with red herrings.”

    It doesn’t help viewers assume otherwise when showrunner Jeff Rake has admitted in interviews that he uses heavy doses of “shades of gray” writing to define characters. For example, storyline arcs involving Kelly’s missing body, the wolf, the peacock, and the mystery figure in Cal’s drawing are reasons why viewers, rightly or wrongly, continue to make assumptions.

    It’s not a matter of viewers wrongly making assumptions; It’s a matter of “disconnected” storytelling and “disjointed” continuity in the storyline arcs themselves.

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