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Why The Peacock In Manifest Could Mean More Than You Think

"Manifest" is a supernatural drama on NBC about a commercial airliner that goes missing for five years over the Atlantic Ocean, but it is also so much more than that. For the people on the plane that went missing, time passed as if everything was normal. Indeed, it's only when they land, that the plane's passengers are confronted with the rude awakening that everyone else in the world has not only been waiting for half a decade for the plane to land but also that many of their loved ones have moved on without them. To make matters even weirder, the passengers experience mysterious "callings" which compel them to do good deeds. Oh, and there's also a peacock.

The peacock appears sporadically throughout "Manifest" (most notably in one of Ben Stone's oddest callings) and always under mysterious, seemingly unexplained circumstances. However, there's actually a pretty good reason why this particular bird is haunting the passengers of Flight 828, and its presence has a much deeper meaning than you might think.

The peacock in Manifest is highly symbolic and has major religious connections

Let's just address the elephant in the room and get one thing out of the way first: "Manifest" may be an NBC original, but the peacock in the show is not a reference to its mother network. Instead, it's a reference to something entirely different.

Christianity has used the symbol of the peacock for thousands of years to represent the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the watchful eye of God, and eternal life. According to JesusWalk Bible Study, many basic biological elements of the peacock, including the fact that it sheds its tail feathers every year to grow new ones and that its unique feather markings resemble an eye of sorts, are just some of the reasons that it is the inspiration of so many religious allegories. Although we know that this isn't true today, it was even rumored at one point in history that the flesh of a peacock would never rot or decay, similar to the flesh of Jesus himself.

The show also goes to great lengths to connect the peacock to the passengers on Flight 828. When Saanvi (Parveen Kaur) discovers that some peacock DNA from a 6,000-year-old piece of driftwood contains the same genetic marker as everyone who experiences callings, she comes up with the hypothesis that not only was the wood from Noah's Ark but that the most famous boat in all of literature could have experienced the same time shift as their plane. Although there aren't any suggestions in the actual Bible that Noah's Ark did any supernatural time traveling, it's certainly an interesting twist on the ancient narrative. It also implies that the peacock seen in the show was likely a passenger on Noah's Ark, one that experienced the same phenomenon as the Flight 828 passengers, which may explain why it has occasionally appeared to them.

This isn't the first time Manifest has used Christian symbolism

This isn't the only connection to Christianity in "Manifest" either. There are several allusions to the religion in the NBC series, especially to the New Testament where Jesus is resurrected. The moment when Zeke (Matt Long) sacrifices himself at the frozen lake on his death day and gets miraculously resurrected for risking his own life to save the life of another is just one of several scenes in the series that has religious undertones.

Another symbol of Christianity in "Manifest" is the connection between the Bible verse 8:28 and the callings that the Flight 828 passengers experience. The Bible verse in question notably reads, "God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," and is even embroidered onto a pillow that belongs to Michaela's (Melissa Roxburgh) religious mother. The number also appears multiple times throughout "Manifest," usually at either important moments in the story or as a sign that the characters are moving in the right direction, just in case it wasn't already clear what the inspiration for the show's central callings might have been.