Hey guys! It took me a bit to get this review ready, but it’s finally here! I finished watching Manifest season 4 a couple weeks ago and…wow. It took me a few days to get my thoughts in order on the first half of this final season. For a while, I honestly didn’t know what to think of it. Now that I’ve had some time to process (heck, I’m STILL processing all of that), I wanted to share some thoughts on it. I’ll be dividing this up into three parts. The first part will be a short synopsis for the TV show. Then I’ll give my non-spoiler review for y’all who just want to see how I liked it with zero spoilers. The last part will be my spoiler review, so if you haven’t seen the show and you don’t want to be spoiled, stay away from this part! With that out of the way, let’s just get into it, because this might get a little long!
Manifest Synopsis –
I suppose I should give a little synopsis for those of you who might not have watched the show, but are curious about it. Manifest is about a family, the Stones, who went on vacation to Jamaica, but got more than the bargained for. When returning to New York, the family split up and took two different flights home, due to the original flight being too full. So three of the main characters, siblings Ben and Michaela Stone, and Ben’s son, Cal, took the second flight. The first flight, containing the other half of the family (Ben’s wife, Grace, his daughter, Olive, and his parents) arrived safely. The second flight, 828, arrived to find they had been missing for five years.
Things just got weirder from there. While the passengers are trying to put their lives back together, many of them begin to experience visions and voices in their head, which usually warn them of some future event. They are looked at as freaks of nature, and get a lot of hate because of what happened to them. With everything going on, the passengers have to learn to work together to solve what happened to them. And as season 4 showed, sometimes the truth is too much to handle.
Non-Spoiler Review –
If you have ever watched Manifest in the past, then be aware that season 4 is a lot different than the previous seasons. Season 4 is darker and more fast-paced. The last seasons were certainly on-the-edge-of-your-seat at times, but it felt like this season it was there constantly. There as never a dull moment. This was in no way a bad thing, but most of the stuff that was happening was all bad thing pretty much, so it took a toll on my emotions to see so much negativity.
For a little background information, Manifest was originally owned by NBC and was planned to run for six seasons. However, it was canceled after season 3. Netflix ended up taking on the show after the fandom blew up about it being canceled (did you really expect us to sit aside and not get our answers about what happened to Flight 828?). When Netflix took over, 6 seasons turned into 4, so the story that would have been in the next three seasons was crammed into twenty episodes. So that explains why it was so fast-paced! As I said, this wasn’t a bad thing, and it definitely kept me entertained.
I had a lot of expectations and predictions going into this season, but every single one of them were turned upside down. Plot twist after plot twist kept coming, most of which weren’t even on my radar (which I’ll explain more on in my Spoiler Review). At the end of each episode, I just sat there staring at the credits wondering what the heck I just watched, because things got pretty crazy. So much happened in this season that I honestly can’t even remember all of it!
This season was super heavy on emotions, and a couple of the actors even commented on this season being the saddest of all of them. I quickly found out they were correct just five minutes into the first episode! I mean, this season was just heavy in general. Death/loss is a major theme in this show, but season 4 took it to a whole new level. This season was all doom and gloom. There were the happy, funny moments that lasted all of five seconds before it would soon return to the scenes that made me gasp, cry, or whatever the case was.
I think what really made this season was the acting, because COME ON! These actors are incredibly talented! I saw them all in a new light, and some of them deserve awards for the scenes they did. It was raw, and it felt real. I will talk more about this in my Spoiler Review, but for now, just know that this group of people know how to put on a show. I know they are super proud of this season, and they certainly have a right to be. I can tell they put their all into each and every moment, and it was amazing to watch them.
As for my final thoughts, I’m mainly wondering when the second part will be released, because that rivaled the season 3 cliff hanger. I mean, we were left in a completely dismal situation! At the same time, I was glad it was over so I could take some time to process everything that happened. I need a break before getting the last ten episodes! Thinking about it, season 4 is not my favorite season so far (season 2 is the best, okay?), but I have a feeling if I watched it again it might take first place. The plot is creative and continuously gets better. It’s obvious the director has had this story in his mind for a long time, so I’m glad he was able to finish it. I look forward to the next part!
Season 3 left off with the murder of Grace Stone (Ben’s wife), and the abduction of her infant daughter, Eden. This pretty much established the murder, a fellow 828er by the name of Angelina, as a villain. Alongside this, we were also left with the mystery of why Cal disappeared for a bit and returned by the end of the episode five years older. So there was a lot going on!
Season 4 picks up two years later, though we do get a lot of what happened after Grace’s death through flashbacks. First off, Ben is a complete wreck and is still frantically searching for his daughter. He’s given up on solving the 828 mystery, and how to get rid of their impending doom (however long they disappeared is the time they have left to live, so they only had five and half years. Now they have eighteen months). Ben, Cal, and Olive are all living with Zeke and Michaela and trying to survive in a world that hates 828 passengers. There’s a new registry that forces the passengers to check in with the police every one in a while to supposedly keep them safe, but we all know that’s a lie. The government is keeping tabs on all the passengers, waiting to pounce the instance one of them shows themself as a threat.
Unfortunately, every little thing makes them suspicious. Even more unfortunate, some of them are bad people, so it makes the good ones look bad. Angelina, who, as I mentioned, murdered Grace and took Eden away, is a passenger herself. At first, she’s convinced Eden is her Guardian Angel, and gets frustrated when she finds out Eden has a strong connection with her father, who the three-year-old doesn’t even remember. For the first five episodes, Eden thinks Angelina is her mom, since that’s what she’s grown up to believe. I was afraid this would happen when I watched the end of season 3, but it was still frustrating to watch. Not only that, but Angelina keeps telling Eden that her father, Ben, is a bad man. So when Eden is finally brought home to her real family, she wants nothing to do with them. This gets resolved pretty quickly, but it was sad to watch.
With that going on, we also had Zeke struggling with the powers he received after surviving his Death Date back in season 2. He can feel what others are feeling, whether it be emotions or physical pain. In this season, he can control his powers, and he can actually take those feelings away. However, we find out pretty quickly that when he takes someone’s pain away he has to feel it for himself. As a counselor for drug addicts, this is a recipe for disaster, since he himself was once an addict. His powers start to become something he has trouble controlling in episode five (“Squawk”). In the end of this episode, there’s a lot of emotions going around, what with the big showdown between the passengers and Angelina. One passenger in particular was dead set on killing Michaela, but Zeke ended up channeling the passenger’s rage himself. For a split second I thought he took her end goal (killing Michaela or whoever else she wanted to kill) and do it himself, but that’s not quite what happened. Still, it was surprising to see Zeke, who is usually a gentle person, take a gun and shoot someone. Definitely an unforgettable moment in this season.
His powers are a blessing and a curse, because later, he begins to experience the withdrawals his patients are going through. He falls back into old habits, but I think he handled it really well. While he did end up losing his job after attacking a patient (again, he was channeling rage), this was probably for the best so he could work on his addictions.
But that’s not all that was going on with this show! Because, surprise! Cal’s cancer ends up coming back halfway through the season and it gets pretty rough. For a while, it doesn’t actually say what he has, but it’s kind of obvious. I knew what it was the instant he started getting sick, and y’all, I was NOT having that. This season really made me love Cal, especially now that Ty Doran is playing him. I do love Cal as a kid, and I liked how Jack Messina did, but I was super impressed by Doran. You can tell he did his research on how to be Cal, because he absolutely nailed it. So when the truth came out in episode eight (“Full Upright And Locked Position”) that his cancer was officially back, it was disappointing. But this isn’t the only thing Cal’s had to deal with in this season. He was blamed by his sister, Olive, and Ben for Grace’s death, so he’s still carrying the guilt. It took a good while for the relationship with Ben to be fixed, but it’s getting there, especially since he became so sick. Not only that, but he’s still trying to remember why he disappeared and came back older.
In line with this, another passenger who appears in the first episode of the season (“Touch-and-Go”), Henry, is determined to meet Cal in order to give him a mysterious package, which turns out to be Flight 828’s Blackbox. When they finally meet, Henry shows Cal the scar on his arm he got from being struck by lightning. Henry tells Cal that he (Cal) has the spirit of a dragon, and this becomes very important later. Not too long after this scene, the same scar ends up appearing on Cal’s arm.
All the while, Michaela has taken Ben’s place as the “captain” of the passengers, and is doing her best to find a way they can all survive the death date. I was excited to see Michaela step up and take on this role! With all the chaos going on, she handled it pretty well. Once Eden is brought back, Ben does end up helping to solve the Callings, and we get a little taste of old times. But they can’t catch a break to figure things out, because now there’s an 828 killer on the loose. They find pretty quickly that the killer is after passengers who helped Angelina hide after she murdered Grace, so it seemed that the obvious identity was her. That is ruled out pretty fast, and it isn’t long before we find out that it is actually her parents who are going around murdering the passengers. This comes to a head when Angelina’s father worms his way into Zeke and Michaela’s house, where Olive, Zeke, and Eden were at the time. This scene is one of my favorites in this season, because dang! Olive really got her shining moment here! Zeke tries to fight off the killer, but ends up getting shot. But when he goes up to take Eden, Olive shoves him out the window, which took care of the murderer problem. Obviously Zeke ended up being okay, but…not for long.
Cal gets sicker and sicker, but he refuses to tell any of his family what’s going on. Zeke finds out only because he stumbles upon an unconscious Cal, who had tried to run away from home. Zeke talks him into seeing a doctor, who tells Cal to pretty much live while he still can. Unfortunately, the killer was still on the loose at this point, so Ben was adamant that Cal stayed in the house. But did he listen? Nope! Cal, intending on enjoying life while he could, goes on a date with a girl he met in episode five (“Squawk”). Everything goes well, until later that night when the same girl is found dead, and the blame is pinned on Cal. He is arrested the following episode and taken to the registry.
In episode eight, (“Full Upright And Locked Position”), Ben finds out about Cal’s cancer coming back, and uses this information to get him out of the registry. They drop charges against Cal after the whole thing with the real murderer being Angelina’s parents. All’s well that ends well…for a while. In episode 9 (“Rendezvous”), Zeke and Michaela celebrate their three year wedding anniversary, but it is also the day that Ben and Cal receive the news that Cal’s cancer is not responding to treatment. He has days to live, but Ben is determined not to give up, even though they are told there’s nothing they can do for him anymore. Again, Cal makes Ben promise they won’t tell anyone, but that’s hard to do when he’s so obviously sick. They try to forget about the whole thing at the anniversary party, but the celebration is cut short when they all have a bizarre Calling about being back on Flight 828; only this time, non-passengers (such as Olive and Jared) are with them.
By the end of this episode multiple things happen. They find the Omega Sapphire, which might be their only hope at surviving the Death Date, but it is promptly stolen by another passenger, Eagan. The others find out that Cal only has days to live. And biggest of all, they realize the Death Date doesn’t only apply to the passengers, but the entire world. I saw this one coming, because I couldn’t help but think the end of the world was coming for them. Still, I have trouble imagining that this will be how this show ends. At the same time, I also have a hard time thinking it will have a happy ending, too. Who knows at this point! Moving onto the midseason finale, the day after the wedding anniversary (I think), Cal is apparently living his last day. Everyone is scrambling to find a way to save him, but they are running out of hope. That is, until Ben sees his dead wife, Grace. Something was definitely off about this scene, but I couldn’t have guessed what was actually going on. Grace tells Ben to bring Eden to her, and he assumes this means to the cemetery where she is buried. Lo and behold, this is actually Angelina tricking him. It turns out she stole the Omega Sapphire and is able to create her own Callings, so she tricked Ben into thinking he was seeing Grace in order to take Eden away from him. This doesn’t work out the way she intends, since when she gives Eden the option of staying with her or Ben, the three year old chooses her father. Now it was time for Angelina to go full-on villain mode.
Now she believes she is an Archangel sent by God to destroy sinners. Ben and Michaela go after her to take back the Omega Sapphire, which results in a big showdown between the three of them. Back at the house, Cal has a calling that he’s back on the plane with Angelina. She tries to trick him into seeing Grace, as she did Ben, and almost succeeds in making him give up. However, it turns out that Cal’s scar it tainted with sapphire; the dragon in him wakes up. He destroys the Omega Sapphire in the Calling, which destroys it in real life.
To briefly recap the rest of what happens, Angelina is thought to be dead after a stain glass window shatters onto her. Of course, this isn’t true, so she’s still on the loose- this time, with a piece of the Omega Sapphire burned into her hand. At the house, Olive and her boyfriend, TJ, find out that Cal is the key to saving all of them from the Death Date, and this prompts Zeke to sacrifice himself. He uses his powers to take Cal’s cancer away, and the episode ends with his death.
That’s pretty much the major stuff that happened, but there was SO MUCH chaos! I thought about doing a recap for each episode, but that would be a lot! I do want to watch through the season again since there is stuff I don’t remember, and I’m having a little trouble with the sequence of events, but I think I need a long break before I put myself through that again. This season was incredibly intense and fast-paced. Something was always going on, so there wasn’t ever a time to stop and process what was happening, even though I didn’t binge it. There were tons of surprises along the way, such as Jared and Drea being in some sort of relationship (I honestly thought I was the only person who thought they had chemistry together, but I guess not, haha!). Everything that happened with Zeke in regards to his addiction coming back I kind of saw coming, since his actor had teased as much. But all that stuff with Cal was such a curveball! I’m really excited to see where this show goes with him, because I have a feeling he’s going to be really powerful moving forward.
And, of course, the elephant in the room; Zeke’s death. Halfway through the season, I was spoiled that someone died, but I didn’t know who. All that time I was convinced Michaela was going to die. Literally the day before we watched the midseason finale, my sisters ended up purposefully spoiling themselves, so they knew he was going to die. Y’all know I’m a crier, so that last scene made me a wreck, haha! Zeke is my comfort character, so I was upset to see him go. And apparently the rest of the fandom is too, because there is no shortage of fans showing there love for Zeke out there. The director did confirm that the show is not done with Zeke’s character yet, but I’m not exactly sure what that means. Whatever the case may be, it will be interesting moving forward to see how the Stone family copes with his death, especially with the confirmation that Cal will suffer from survivor’s guilt.
Throughout the season, I felt a little lost because of the two year time jump. But by the end, many of the questions I had were answered, and there’s a lot less mystery. That doesn’t mean it didn’t make me ask any questions! Now I’m wondering if the only reason Zeke was able to survive his Death Date was because he was predestined to save Cal, so he in turn could save everyone else. Who knows! I’m hoping all loose ends will be tied up by the end of the show.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
That’s that! It took me longer than I would have liked to write this, but I wanted to give myself some time to process this first half of season 4. It was more than I could have asked for, and even though it’s sad that a fan-favorite character died, it was the perfect ending for him. If you haven’t seen Manifest yet, I highly recommend it! Just know that many of the scenes are a little more intense and mature, especially in this season, so it may not be for younger viewers.
What are your thoughts on this review? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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