With any long-running show, especially one with the mysteries at the center of Manifest, there are many expectations for wrapping them up.
If you watch Manifest online, you know one of the biggest questions of the series has centered on the mystery surrounding the lifeboat in which Ben and Michaela were set to be the co-captains.
As a result, everyone understood these two would be the people to help usher in the end of the world or the start of something new.
It was a lofty task, especially considering their relationships with some of the other passengers, Angelina included.
Obviously, Cal using his dragon tattoo to become a part of the Glow, kickstarted the path to bringing Flight 828 back as the literal lifeboat to keep the people that had changed safe in their time of need.
Cal: It’s all connected.
Ben: Cal, what are you doing?
Cal: I have to go, Dad.
Ben: No, I’m not losing you again.
Cal: No. It’s all right. You said it yourself. We all have to do our part, and this is mine. My part to save the passengers, to… to help tip the scales.
Ben: There’s gotta be another way.
Cal: It’s okay, Dad. I know what we need to do now. Please have faith in me… in all of this. I love you. Thank you for being my dad.
Ben: I love you. My beautiful boy. Love you always.
Still, it was emotional witnessing Ben realize he had to let his son go. A large part of the show’s earlier seasons focused on Ben wanting to save his son from cancer.
Their relationship has gone through many different shapes and forms, and the father and son finally reached a resolution in which they mutually understood what they needed to do to save the world.
Cal’s sacrifice showing the blue light that brought all the passengers to the site of Noah’s Ark set us up for a climactic final act that would either kill or save many lives.
So, why do I feel short-changed by the resolution?
The series had been building toward a war with Angelina and the others, but her sudden realization that she wanted to die felt like a last-ditch effort to redeem her.
Dear Lord, I pray for your guidance. Please, please tell me what to do next.
Angelina has been the thorn in everyone’s side for too long, so if anyone was going to show up and try to derail the lifeboat, it was her.
Ben realizing that the only way forward was to carry the woman who played a part in destroying his life onto the aircraft wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it wasn’t quite as satisfying as the battle we were promised.
Ben showed grace at a difficult time for everyone, and that’s probably why he was one of the people who got the chance to do the do-over.
Judgment arriving in the form of everyone who continued to sin turning to ash on the plane was surprising, but it felt like something was missing.
Grace: I saw her upstairs. Who is that?
Ben: Her name is Dr. Saanvi Bahl. I’ll tell you everything, but, Grace, she’s gonna cure Cal.
Ben: I swear on the lives of our three kids.
Grace: Three kids?
Ben: We got some work to do.
Grace: And the two of us. Are we good?
Ben: Grace. We’re excellent.
Angelina turning to ash was expected, but it almost seemed too easy to allow her to get away like that.
After everything she did, there should have been a bigger battle. At least, that’s what Manifest Season 4 Episode 10 showcased when Angelina had all the power in the world.
The civilians going through the Glow and returning to the terminal from Manifest Season 1 Episode 1 as though no time had passed wasn’t a shocker either.
There was always that chance these people would get a do-over, but I didn’t expect them all to be aware of what happened when their lives went sideways due to supposedly being missing for years.
For Ben, this do-over meant he could take Cal to Saanvi, nurture the bond with his wife, and become the family he strived to return to when he returned after being MIA for years.
After everything he went through, who would have thought that would even be a possibility?
The show did a great job of showing the emotionally-charged feelings he and Saanvi had for each other while also recognizing they both love the people they loved when they got on that fateful plane.
Zeke: Hi, honey.
Michaela: Thanks for that.
Zeke: That usually work?
Michaela: Oh, I don’t know. I’ve never tried it.
Zeke: Where to?
Michaela: Um… Could you actually just drive? I kind of have nothing but time. Zeke: Any general direction?
Michaela: Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan? It’s all connected, right? How are we doing in the salty snacks department? As I suspected.
Zeke: Have we met before?
Michaela: Yeah, we kind of have. It’s all part of a… never-ending story.
Speaking of Saanvi, I was about to flip out when she started glowing as though she was going to combust like the other passengers.
Saanvi took a life, sure, but she also did a lot of good in helping people come to terms with the callings and looking at things from a scientific view.
Without her, the Death Date would have been for the entire world.
It’s interesting to think about what becomes of Saanvi because she’s bringing everything she learned in those five and a half years back with her to 2013, and she’s also getting a do-over with Alex.
Saanvi has longed for Alex since their relationship imploded, so there’s something satisfying about her getting her happy ending. She spent so much of her time appeasing others.
Speaking of appeasing others, Michaela realizing she needed to let Jared go was a tearjerking moment that showcased Michaela was aware her boyfriend had stronger feelings for Drea than she first thought.
Jared: Hey, rookie. What’s going on?
Drea: It’s a confidential investigation. Something about a plane that just landed.
Jared: Thank you.
Drea: Yeah, no problem. Also, I was a rookie three years ago, back when that haircut was still in style.
Drea: I’m a third-year too.
Jared: How did I possibly miss that charming wit back at the academy? Drea: Unlucky, I guess. You coming?
Jared: Yes, I am.
Michaela realizing they both wanted different things and that they shouldn’t have to compromise, was a well-written and acted scene that showcased the difficult side of being the bigger person.
You could tell Jared was worried about what it would do to Michaela to leave her, so Michaela letting him fly free was both courageous and touching.
Michaela being in the cockpit of the lifeboat was necessary because of her and Ben’s status as the co-captains of the lifeboat. Michaela offered assistance to make the plane fly, while Ben offered assistance to keep things inside the plane moving smoothly.
No one can explain what happened to us on April 7th, 2013. Some people called it impossible. Others called it a miracle. All I know is it was the day life changed forever.
Michaela getting a do-over and cutting Jared off at the airport only to allow her to get into Zeke’s car felt more like fan service than anything.
How many times have we witnessed Michaela say goodbye to Zeke? If they manage to carve out a relationship this time, how do we know it won’t change something in the universe that triggers the end of times again?
Vance appearing at the airport to investigate the 11 missing passengers was both a blessing and a curse.
It helped bring Vance’s arc full circle, but it also added a layer of unbelievability to the series’ endgame.
If 11 people are missing from a plane, why would everyone else be allowed to leave and return to their everyday lives?
They would all be pulled aside for questioning, smearing their names across the media, much like when they came off Flight 828 at the beginning of Manifest Season 1.
As a result, it seems like this do-over is more of another test of the resilience of the survivors.
They will face many of the hurdles they faced in their time away, leading me to believe that this is merely another reality.
Surely, the Drea, Jared, and Olive we met during the original timeline are still alive and kicking.
If anything, I don’t feel as much closure as I should from a show of this caliber. It feels more like we’re headed into another mystery, and the resolution will be on the back of that.
There is scope for future stories in the Manifest universe, but after feeling burned by some of the creative choices on Manifest Season 4, it’s hard to be excited about that.
What are your thoughts on the series finale?
Were you happy everyone got a do-over?
Do you think the mystery surrounding the 11 missing passengers will lead to more 828 hate?
Hit the comments.
Manifest is now streaming on Netflix.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.