NBC’s Manifest this Monday one-upped any confetti-filled balloon gender reveal party by finding a most unexpected way to ID Grace’s baby daddy.
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Having decided that they shouldn’t wait months to determine if the child Grace is carrying is possibly Danny’s, this week Mr. and Mrs. Stone went to the hospital for a proper paternity test. But before the nurse could draw blood, Grace heard her own voice inside her head, beckoning her to “Stop!” And thus the DNA test screeched to a halt, as Grace and Ben realized that the “calling” she just had was patched through Ben’s offspring.
Breaking down the reason for this wild twist, Manifest showrunner Jeff Rake tells TVLine, “I always knew that we’d have to take some extra pains to find ways to integrate the non-passengers into the story.” And though the pregnancy storyline has been on the books since Day 1 of the NBC series, “We got very excited in the writers room when we started riffing on what it could mean if the DNA anomaly [carried by the 828ers] could be passed along. That set us off on a real tangent in the writers room, in a very positive way. We realized that was a story worth pursuing.”
It’s also a story that “introduces new questions,” Rake acknowledges. Such as: “Is Grace herself having the callings, or is it the unborn baby inside of her? That gets answered by the end of the season.”
Also, as Grace herself was quick to wonder, does this mean the baby has a death date of its own, just as its father seems fated to die in June 2024?
“I’m not going to answer that right now, but that’s a compelling situation in Season 2,” Rake hedges. “Are there other unborn kids out there [carrying the marker]? Are there other ways the DNA anomaly could be passed from person to person, and therefore is a potential epidemic of people with depleting life spans?”
On a far lighter note, the plot twist offered a fun, unexpected and frankly sweet way for the Stones to realize that Grace’s baby is indeed Ben’s. “That’s exactly right. It allowed us to reveal the paternity in a way that was uniquely Manifest,” Rake smiles. “We’re always looking for ways to answers questions in a way that only this show could do, and that was one of them!”
COMING SOON ON TVLINE: Manifest‘s Luna Blaise previews how Olive feeling “left out” of the callings might steer her toward some very bad people.