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Manifest: The 8 Best Characters (& The 7 Worst)

While some have compared NBC series Manifest to LOST,  it’s actually a very different show. In the supernatural drama, passengers who seemingly died on a plane more than five years earlier suddenly turn up very much alive, the same age as they were when the plane disappeared.

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As the families try to cope with the news, the passengers of flight 828 are desperate to understand what happened to them and to deal with these strange visions they keep getting that connect them to one another and, in some cases, seemingly predict the future.  The series, now airing its second season, has had some outlandish storylines and odd character developments. So, who are the best characters and who are the worst?

Updated on September 2oth, 2021 by Matthew Rudoy: As Manifest continued, the show continued to introduce new characters and to develop its established characters as well. Some of these characters resonated well with fans and aligned with the show’s exploration of faith vs. science and other themes. Other characters didn’t gel with the show as well or were just too unlikable. As fans look forward to the show being saved by Netflix and the upcoming 20-episode ending, it’s the perfect time to look at the show’s best and worst characters. 

15 Eagan Tehrani: Worst

Eagan from Manifest looking at someone, angrily.

Season 3 introduced Eagan Tehrani, an 828 passenger with an eidetic memory. This is an interesting concept to play with as Eagan is able to perfectly recall every little detail from the Callings.

However, Eagan is often selfish and a loose cannon who does no favors for the way the public perceives the 828 passengers, like when he broke into Vance’s home and took his son hostage, which is among the worst things the main characters of Manifest have done.

14 Robert Vance: Best

NSA Director Robert Vance was only meant to be a short-term character in season 1, but his character was so well-received that he was brought back as a significant character in seasons 2 and 3 and has been upped to a series regular for season 4. In his quest to learn the truth and with his suspicions about the passengers, Vance could’ve easily become a standard government antagonist. Instead, the show turned him into an unlikely ally.

While he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Ben, Saanvi, or the passengers, Vance has grown to care for them and sacrificed a great deal to protect them and get to the bottom of the truth. His character is authoritative, yet compassionate as he balances his responsibilities as a government official, family man, and 828 ally.

13 Angelina Meyer: Worst

Angelina from Manifest, staring, wide-eyed.

After showing the power of faith and how good things come to those who follow the Callings, Manifest makes its questions about faith more complicated through the character of Angelina. Her religious extremism has caused her to take things too far, from intentionally setting fire to the room baby Eden was in, to murdering Grace and kidnapping Eden.

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Angelina’s character does an effective job of challenging the show’s complex exploration of faith, but the character is sometimes unnecessarily creepy and over-the-top to be the well-meaning extremist that the show wants her to be.

12 Dr. Aria Gupta: Best

Dr. Aria Gupta looking angrily at a blurred out Ben in the foreground on Manifest

Dr. Gupta’s character perfectly embodies Manifest‘s clash and the balancing act between faith and science. Due to experiences she had as a child, Dr. Gupta has lost all sense of faith and only believes in science. It isn’t until she sees Cal’s drawings in the season 3 finale–drawings that connect to her past and serve as a message to her–that Dr. Gupta admits that “Perhaps faith has a seat at the table after all.”

Opening her mind to the possibilities of faith again while still operating in the realm of science shows great character development and more importantly that faith and science can coexist and don’t have to be mutually exclusive, likely hinting at the show’s endgame.

11 Jace Baylor: Worst

Jace Baylor is a despicable character with no redeeming qualities. He is a drug dealer who kidnaps Cal Stone as revenge for Michaela arresting him. He goes on to murder Grace’s step-brother Tarik and hurt many others.

Even when his younger brother Pete and their friend Kory try to forge a different path and seek redemption, Jace’s actions doom them as they are caught in the same “lifeboat” and Jace sinks it through his horrible deeds.

10 Michaela Stone: Best

Michaela is one of the best characters, with lots of complex layers. Trying to decide whether she should marry Jared, her long-time partner in both life and with the NYPD, she suddenly disappeared on the plane, not to be seen again for another five years.

Upon returning, she had to deal with her fiancé and best friend had gotten married to one another, strange visions, and easing back into detective work as if the last five years hadn’t happened. Juggling work, family life, relationships, guilt, and visions, she makes it all look easy.

9 Ben Stone: Worst

Ben is an associate professor and a self-professed math nerd who is hellbent on discovering the meaning of everything that is going on and what happened to them. But his constant shocked stare and raised eyebrow at every weird discovery get old after a while. It’s a bit tiring to see him be the only one to figure things out.

Seeing him deep in thought with his glasses on becomes something of an irritation after a while, due to repetition. He’s compassionate and loving, but sometimes he can also be annoying.

8 Olive Stone: Best

Olive is the daughter of Ben and Grace and the twin sister of Cal, who is now a teenager and five years older than her brother. She’s the typical brooding teenager looking for meaning in her life.

But ultimately, she’s just a teenage girl like any other trying to find her place in the world and with her family, especially given the unusual circumstances. Even though she at one point joined a cult, out of jealousy and a feeling of not belonging, the audience can relate to what she was going through.

7 Jared Vasquez: Worst

Jared did a complete 180 from the sweet cop who was madly in love with Michaela (and then Lourdes) to a vengeful member of a hate group. And even though it was revealed that it was all an act and he was working deep undercover to take the group down, he still seems like a changed man.

RELATED: 10 Questions Fans Have After Season 3 Of Manifest

Maybe he’s just great at his job. Nonetheless, from his crewcut haircut to his new permanent frown and the arrogant swagger in his step, fans can only hope the old Jared comes back.

6 Saanvi Bahl: Best

One of the flight 828 passengers, Saanvi is a brilliant graduate student and medical researcher. She has teamed up with Ben, Michaela, and others to try and discover the meaning behind the passengers’ callings and put a stop to the anticipated death date, exactly five years from the date of their return.

She is career-minded and so determined that she is even willing to experiment on herself. While she buries herself in her work, the character is compelling and interesting to watch, especially as she suffers the puzzling side effects of taking her own experimental treatment.

5 Adrian: Worst

Adrian started out like the other 828 passengers who were just trying to make sense of his life. But clearly troubled by the visions and taken aback by the people who thought he was some type of god, he became a cult leader and started a cult of 828 supporters that he called the Church of the Returned.

The “church” has caused a lot of trouble for the group, and it seems Adrian is either willingly taking advantage of people or unable to believe that the callings are meant to be good, not evil.

4 TJ Morrison: Best

There’s something endearing about TJ, a young man who was also on flight 828. His callings are connected to the others and he formed a special bond with Ben.

He has also started a relationship with Olive who adorably had a crush on him five years ago when they first crossed paths at the airport (though she was just a little kid at the time). He is sweet and kind-hearted, so it’s no surprise many viewers were upset when they thought he had died.

3 Grace Stone: Best

Grace deserves the wife and mother of the year award for dealing with the return of her husband and her young son with, well, grace. Not only was she put in a very difficult position, having to both reintegrate back into her life and explain the situation to her now-teenage daughter. But she was also in a relationship with a very nice man named Danny who had become like a father to Olive.

She made the difficult decision to break things off with Danny and stay true to her marriage vows and has been a rock for Ben and all of the 828ers ever since.

2 Cal Stone: Worst

Cal seems to be at the center of whatever the meaning is behind everything, first declaring that it’s “all connected.” A young boy at the time he was on the flight that presumably went down, he was also very sick and likely didn’t have long to live.

Yet after the return, he seemed to be healed. But beyond that, his constant decisions to walk off on his own, terrifying his family, or frantically trying to build or draw or hide something relating to a vision makes him more annoying than interesting.

1 Zeke Landon: Best

When Zeke was first introduced, fans were unsure of what to make of the mysterious character. He has since become one of the show’s most endearing and well-developed characters. He has struggled with the grief and trauma of feeling responsible for his younger sister’s death, battled drug addiction, and nearly died for good when he reached his Death Date.

Along the way, Zeke has confronted his past, faced his demons, and learned the power of acceptance and compassion, which has helped him form meaningful and profound relationships with other characters like Michaela and Cal.

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