‘Manifest’ Recap: The Callings Play With Fire in Season 3, Episode 8 “Destination Unknown”

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Peter Kramer/NBC

In part two of this week’s Manifest two-parter, “Destination Unknown,” another fiery Calling leads Michaela and Ben trying to save a passenger, or rather, someone close to her. And at Eureka, a surprising connection could mean something even bigger than 828 disappearing. Keep reading for a full recap of “Destination Unknown.”

Ben’s at Eureka, getting a full battery of tests. Saanvi tells Ben about the combination of iron, titanium, and multiple other components, but together, they crystalize to form sapphire. Ben wonders if that was what’s on his hand, like a fingerprint of what happened to him. “Or what caused it. What caused everything.” Is Saanvi saying sapphire triggered their disappearance and return? Dr. Gupta says these are hypotheses, far from being proven. They still have a lot more tests and diagnostics to run before they can be certain or even begin to hypothesize. As Dr. Gupta continues talking, Ben’s looking at the virtual passenger board, where one passenger’s photo is going up in flames, and soon more are doing the same.

Ben tells Saanvi he saw maybe 15 burst into flames. He’s worried it may have to do with the dark cloud hovering over Eureka. A bunch of 828ers saw it, too, Ben mentions. Saanvi tells Ben they received a shipment from the Vatican. A fossilized piece of driftwood. She’s not sure what it is, but Saanvi says it made Dr. Gupta smile. Ben tells Saanvi to take him to it, but Saanvi says it’s under lock and key. And they’re insisting that Ben has to go. She doubts that they’ll let him back in now that they have all the testing they needed. Before leaving, Ben tells Saanvi to find out everything she can about this driftwood and he’ll figure out what’s going on with these passengers.

Michaela finds Cal and Zeke in the garage. She sees tarot cards on the ground and is immediately drawn to the “World” one, with a volcano. The volcano almost comes to life, lava is glowing and when Michaela touches it, it burns her. “I’ve never experienced a Calling like that before.”

Peter Kramer/NBC

Later, Ben finds Michaela sitting in the garage, still looking at the tarot card. She wonders if she got the Calling of passengers bursting into flames and Michaela says not exactly. She shows him the World card from Al-Zuras’ tarot deck. Meanwhile, Ben saw about 15 passengers’ photos burst into flames in Vance’s office. He names off the passengers he saw, but it happened so fast, it was impossible to memorize it all, he says. Ben thinks the Callings could be related. “How are passengers connected to a volcano?” Based on what Ben saw that morning, he thinks this is all about their lifeboat. But which passenger is endangering it? Michaela looks at the tarot card again and suggests it’s not about the images, but rather the numbers. Roman numerals 21. The rows on the plane, Ben realizes. He starts looking at the passengers that were in the 21st row, and recognizes Rachel Hall in 21E. He saw her photo burst into flames in Vance’s office. “The question is – how is she endangering the Lifeboat?”

Ben and Michaela drive to Rachel’s house, but when they ring the doorbell, a different woman answers it. She tells them Rachel doesn’t live there anymore and that her name’s Hannah Hall. Hannah introduces her husband Jonas, who wonders how they can help. Ben asks if they can help them get in touch with his ex-wife, or perhaps her family. Hannah says she’s her only family, she’s her sister.

At Eureka, Vance, Saanvi and other scientists are gathered around a table with the driftwood, as Dr. Gupta stands at the head of it. She says it may not look like much to the naked eye, but this piece of wood potentially reframes 828 as no longer a mere bewildering one-off, “but as the next crucial piece in a metaphysical puzzle stemming back millennia.” It may be the key to unlocking not only why miracles happen, but how. Vance adds on that he and Dr. Gupta are counting on each of them, working with their respective teams, to run full diagnostics. “We need to understand what we have, inside and out.” All they need to know, Vance says, is it’s the only recovered specimen on the planet coated with the particular sapphire compound Saanvi identified.

Peter Kramer/NBC

After finding Rachel, Ben and Michaela ask to speak to her. Inside her house, Rachel says she was going crazy on top of everything else. “Yeah, we know the feeling.” It must have been very challenging. Her sister marries her husband and moves into her home while she’s on a plane, and she’s the one who’s in the wrong? Michaela asks Rachel what she was doing in Jamaica, and Rachel says she and Jonas needed a reset. So they decided to get away. “Got more than we bargained for.” They did travel together, but she’d been in a car accident a few weeks before, and all that sunshine triggered horrible migraines, so she decided to head home early. The hotel wouldn’t refund the rest of the week and Jonas didn’t want to waste the money, so he stayed. “Instead of three extra nights without me, he got 2,000.” Ben tells Rachel that the vision he saw, maybe the Calling wants her to try to accept what happened and reconcile with her sister before it’s too late. Michaela says they know Jonas and Hannah filed a restraining order. Rachel tells her it’s not what she thinks and she knows now she’ll never be able to break them apart. She’s moved on.

Troy tells Saanvi it looks like she was right. Saanvi comes over to him, and he tells her that the biological material they extracted, it looks like it was a bird. An extinct member of the Phasianidae family. It’s not just any bird, Saanvi says. It’s a peacock. Troy mentions that either this sequencer needs recalibrating, or both the peacock and the wood DNA samples are roughly 6,000 years old. That can’t be right, Saanvi says. “How is it possible that this peacock has the exact same DNA anomaly as every 828 passenger, as the Meth Heads, as Zeke?” Do they really think that 6,000 years ago, this peacock disappeared and returned, just like the plane? Saanvi says they haven’t found this genetic anomaly anywhere else in the world. She suggests that maybe it’s no accident seismic activity coughed up this driftwood. “Maybe we were actually meant to find it.”

Peter Kramer/NBC

Saanvi and Troy walk up to Dr. Patrick Cooper, Troy’s gaming buddy. Saanvi asks what can he tell them about the earthquake that unearthed the piece of driftwood they got from the Vatican. Patrick says the region where the driftwood was found has an abundance of fault lines. Odds are a series of quakes moved it inch by inch up to the surface overtime, not unlike the seismic activity that unearthed 828’s tailfin. Patrick says it’s just a theory that an earthquake brought the tailfin up from the ocean floor. “And yet, the quake in question is a ghost.” People claim to have felt it, but there’s no dip in separation, no shearing, nothing. If these tectonic plates could talk, they’d say that quake never happened, Patrick says. But it took something to shake the tailfin off the bottom of the ocean floor, just like how it took something to make the driftwood surface. “But if they don’t see it, no one believes it.” Saanvi mentions that Captain Daly, the 828 pilot, said that dark lightning hit the plane, and nobody believed him. Troy says that dark lightning is a bust of gamma radiation – invisible. Weather isn’t Patrick’s specialty, but if she wants to talk about a dormant volcano coughing up an ancient piece of driftwood, he’s her guy.

Ben and Michaela try to find a Ron Williams, Rachel’s former neighbor who saw her and Hannah recently, though Hannah didn’t press charges. Mr. Williams isn’t home but a worker there saw it and says there’s always drama going on over there. The worker reveals that Jonas has been shouting and throwing things when he’s home. Michaela tells Ben that paints a different picture. Ben wonders if that’s what Rachel meant when she said, “It’s not what you think.” Rachel left Jamaica to get away from Jonas, Michaela figures. She came back and found him married to her sister. Maybe Rachel’s Calling and theirs wasn’t about closure. It was about protecting Hannah. “Or protecting all of us.”

Saanvi finds Dr. Gupta and tells her she said the driftwood was found south of Armenia. Just how far south are they talking? 30, maybe 40 kilometers, Dr. Gupta says. That would put them in Eastern Turkey, to be exact. She never said anything about it being near a dormant volcano and there’s only one dormant volcano in that region – Mount Ararat. A seismic event on the day of their disappearance yielded a 6,000-year-old piece of extinct cypress, most likely a vessel transporting animals, laden with sapphire, found near Mount Ararat, which is historically known for one thing. “Mount Ararat is believed to be the final resting place of… Noah’s Ark.”

Peter Kramer/NBC

Ben follows Jonas to his work and he spots a cleaning truck from the same company Rachel works for. He breaks into the building, setting off a silent alarm. Ben finds Rachel and she aims a gun at him. She asks if Jonas sent him and Ben says he’s on her side. He knows she’s just trying to protect her sister. Rachel tells him to stop talking or she’ll shoot him. She never wanted Jonas back. She just wanted Hannah to get away from him. She wouldn’t listen, Rachel says. No one did. She knew because she’s been trying to get away from Jonas’ abuse, for a long time. The accident, Flight 828. “You wanted to escape.” Jonas wouldn’t let her, and it’s the same for Hannah. Ben tells Rachel to put the gun down and they can talk about how to help. But Rachel says there’s no other way and she runs off, Ben following after her. Rachel runs to Jonas’ office, pointing the gun at him. She tells him it’s over, he’s never going to hurt her again. Ben tells Rachel not to. He promises to protect both her and Hannah. He tells her she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life in prison, not because of him. “He’s taken enough from you.” Rachel reluctantly hands Ben the gun and a police officer comes in, telling Ben to drop his weapon.

Michaela wonders how her buttoned-up brother could rack up a rap sheet in a couple of hours. Ben prevented a murder, one that would’ve sunk their Lifeboat. Michaela wonders what if he had gotten hurt or better yet, what if he had died? What would she have told Grace or his children? Ben wonders what was he supposed to do. “Ignore the Calling?” Sit still while another passenger ruined their chances at survival? Michaela asks her brother who put him in charge of protecting the entire Lifeboat and Ben says the Calling did, when it showed him those burning passengers. It tasked him with keeping everyone safe. They have to do whatever it takes to make sure that they all survive. Michaela tells Ben to listen to himself. How does he know that he’s not the one sinking the Lifeboat making sure no one else does? Ben never said this was going to be easy. It’s impossible, Michaela angrily points out. There are 200 of them and the ones that went up in flames he doesn’t even remember who most of them are. That was the point, Ben says. “Every day, there are countless passengers out there ready to do something to ruin everyone’s chances!” Did Michaela think Ben was just going to cross his arms and do nothing? She knows her brother far too well to know that that would never happen, but she doesn’t want to lose him.

As Cal’s in his room, he looks at Tarik’s snow globe that Grace gave him, the volcano one. He shakes it, and the small volcano appears to be coming to life. Once again, Cal gets the Calling of the plane exploding, more specifically, he, his dad and his aunt, and all the other passengers, bursting into flames.

Peter Kramer/NBC

New episodes of Manifest air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC, streaming the next day on Hulu and Peacock!

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By Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.
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