‘Manifest’ Season 1 Episode 11 Recap: “Contrails”

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Manifest Season 1 Episode 11 Recap

Josh Dallas as Ben Stone and Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone in ‘Manifest’ season 1 episode 11 (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/ Warner Brothers)

“Dark lightning may be the source of what’s happening to us. This is huge,” says Ben (Josh Dallas) to Captain Bill Daly (Frank Deal) as the two try to clear Daly from being blamed for Flight 828 going missing in season one episode 11 of NBC’s new hit mystery thriller series, Manifest.

The episode begins with Flight 828 in the air and Captain Daly in the cockpit flying the plane. The turbulence starts and seemingly out of nowhere a big storm hits. Daly increases the speed and flies into the storm believing it to be the best option for survival. Then, suddenly, the storm and turbulence are over.

Down on the ground, Daly tries to explain to Vance (Daryl Edwards) about his actions but it soon becomes clear that he’s mostly likely going to be the scapegoat. Later, Cal (Jack Messina) sees Daly and asks for wings. Daly apologizes and tells Cal that his wings have been clipped. Cal thanks him for bringing everyone home.

Back to present day, Ben brings Cal home and Grace (Athena Karkanis) asks if he can take him again tomorrow because she has a work thing. Ben starts to say yes but Cal says he can’t because Ben has to help the man from the plane. Ben assures Grace he’ll get Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) to watch Cal.

Michaela is still experiencing someone else’s calling. A man’s voice says to “find her” accompanied by a vision of someone walking in the snow. Jared (J.R. Ramirez) walks up and asks Michaela why she changed shifts and she says she needed to. Jared believes she’s avoiding him and she confesses she won’t be the other woman, adding that what they did the other night was wrong. “I won’t do this to Lourdes,” says Michaela. Their conversation ends as Michaela gets a message on her phone and leaves.


Ben’s checking over the timeline of 828 and tells Michaela what Cal said about helping a man from the flight. Michaela thinks maybe they should back off, but Ben reminds her that whoever the Major is she thinks Cal is the holy grail and he has to protect him. Captain Daly calls Ben and asks if they can meet tomorrow. Daly has concluded he knows what happened wasn’t his fault.

Ben and Daly drive to an airfield and Daly shows Ben all the official documents about Flight 828. Daly thinks it’s a cover up. Daly takes Ben into a flight simulator and tries to recreate what happened with Flight 828 but when he plugs in the information from the documents, it’s clear the simulation storm is not even close to the storm they flew into. Daly also shows Ben that one document indicates the government started covering up what happened to Flight 828 on the day they disappeared.

Later, Ben calls the co-pilot of 828 and the co-pilot backs Daly’s version of what happened in the cockpit and the storm. Michaela’s nervous for Ben, suggesting he stop working with Daly because she’s not sure if they can trust him. Ben reminds Mic that Cal said Ben is supposed to help Daly. Ben looks over the investigation and hearings documents about 828’s disappearance and notices the meteorologist who was supposed to testify didn’t show and the next day resigned from his position.

Ben and Daly locate the meteorologist whose first name is Roger. At first Roger doesn’t want to help them, saying, “They made me swear not to talk about it.” Ben and Daly ask who made him swear and Roger sighs and asks them to come in. Roger tells Ben and Daly about Dark Lightning and that he believes they flew through it in the storm. It might be responsible for their time-travel. He was supposed to destroy everything he had on the flight and the weather but he didn’t. Roger gives the info to Daly.

Michaela takes Cal back to her place and tells him to do homework. There’is a knock on the door and Autumn (Shirley Rumierk) apologizes for just showing up but says she needs Mic’s help. Autumn tells Michaela she’s a victim of identity theft and wants her help to find a person named Clarisa to prove she’s innocent of all the charges.

Ben and Daly go back to the flight simulator with the new info and try again to recreate the conditions of the day Flight 828 disappeared. Daly repeats what he did with the new simulation and it shows the flight crash. Daly, extremely frustrated, vents but Ben tells him that a simulator cannot time travel the way they did. Daly believes there’s more to it and that somehow Professor Fiona Clarke (Francesca Faridany) is in on it and may be behind the whole thing. Ben doesn’t believe it and reminds him she’s been helping them since almost the beginning. Ben agrees to talk to her.

Michaela gets a call from Ben and while she’s on the phone she mentions Roger and the new info and Daly. Autumn overhears. Ben asks her to grab the flight info and she does.

A little later Grace shows up to pick up Cal and she and Michaela speak briefly. Michaela reminds Grace that Ben really loves her and that she’s rooting for them. Grace looks at Michaela and confesses she doesn’t know if love is going to be enough.

Ben talks to Professor Clarke about the black lightning and Daly’s theories. Clarke tells Ben she believes they’ve moved toward a new evolutionary step.

Michaela’s at the precinct and discovers Roger, the meteorologist who spoke to Ben and Daly, just died in a weird boat accident. Mic leaves in a hurry to talk to Ben. They go to Daly’s apartment and discover he’s not there. Ben notices one of Daly’s walls is covered with information about Flight 828 and Professor Clarke, similar to the timeline of events he has at home.

Ben worries about how he seems to Grace and Michaela tries to reassure him that he always has been extremely thorough and Grace knows that. Ben checks Daly’s computer and realizes he’s going to try to fly into black lightning again.

Daly visits Clarke and chloroforms her, knocking her out. Daly kidnaps Clarke and drives to the airfield.

Autumn sneaks back into Michaela’s apartment and finds the documents regarding Flight 828. She takes pictures of some of them and then finds Cal’s drawing book. She looks through it and finds one drawing which she doesn’t seem to like. She rips it out of the book.

Michaela and Ben reach the airfield but have trouble getting past the guard at the gate. Michaela tells him that they’re worried Daly will steal a plane. The guard doesn’t believe her until Ben points out that Daly isn’t parked over by the simulator room but by the airfield.

Daly’s in the cockpit of a plane with Clarke tied up in the co-pilot’s seat. Ben grabs the walkie talkie from the guard and tries to tell Daly to stop. Daly hears Ben but tells him he has to see this all the way through.

Daly takes off while Clarke keeps insisting she doesn’t know anything. Two National Guard jets show up and demand Daly set down the plane. Daly tells them he has no intention of hurting anyone and that he’s not a threat.

Ben begs Daly to land, reminding him they need him and that everyone on the flight needs him to help uncover the truth. Daly tells Ben that he’s their Captain from now on. Daly flies into a storm similar to the one before with lightning all around and increases the speed to 300 just as he did before. Clarke says she doesn’t want to die and Daly replies, “I’ll see you in 2024.” Daly, Clarke, and the plane disappear. It’s believed they’ve crashed.

Ben and Michaela return to her apartment and find a package from Daly waiting for them. Ben opens it and finds Captain’s wings inside. Michaela’s worried Ben might follow in Daly’s footsteps and become obsessed. Michaela and Ben talk and Michaela realizes that Autumn was in the room when she talked to Ben about Roger and that’s how whoever killed him found them.

In the episode’s final scene, Grace is looking for Cal to put him to bed and tell him Ben’s coming over to say goodnight but she can’t find him. As she starts to panic and runs around the house calling his name, the camera focuses on an open window in Cal’s room. He’s been taken.

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Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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