This Manifest article contains spoilers.
When Manifest wrapped up its second season, our reviews overwhelmingly marked it as a more successful overall story than the show’s first run, and the finale was certainly a big part of that. After it jettisoned unnecessary characters like Danny and Lourdes and the relationship drama they brought with them, the series went all in on its sci-fi mystery and ended up the better for it. But now that season 2 is in the books, let’s take a look back and go over what we learned this year as well as whatever questions we might still have leading into season 3.
Before we get into the details of the finale, let’s not neglect the Al-Zuras connection that’s still out there. TJ didn’t get to be a part of the final episode, but although it’s not clear if he has left for Egypt quite yet, it’s encouraging to think that he’s not going to let this strange juxtaposition fall by the wayside. There must be something to the fact that Flight 828 appeared in the skies above Al-Zuras’ ship, joining the two time periods. It’s almost as if the dark lightning isn’t occurring at different times; it’s showing up across all times in history at once!
This includes the dark lightning we just saw in the Manifest season 2 finale, the bolt that split the frozen lake and plunged Jace, Pete, and Kory into the icy waters from which Zeke rescued Cal. Since the recovery team was not able to find the criminals’ bodies, it’s easy to picture them floundering about in the stormy seas right alongside the ancient vessel of Al-Zuras, perhaps waiting to be rescued themselves. Or maybe they will pop back into the present after a proscribed amount of time, whether mere days later as Griffin from last season did or five years hence as with Flight 828.
And speaking of Griffin, a new theory has arisen now that we’ve seen Zeke miraculously recover from his frostbitten death date. Could it be that Griffin drowned in the middle of New York City 82 hours and 8 minutes after he reappeared in season one because he used his powers for evil? And did Zeke conquer his deadline specifically by complying so completely with the mission to save Cal despite the danger it posed to his health? Is blind faith in the callings the answer? Remember, Adrian’s theory about the passengers being “agents of the apocalypse” has been discarded by Ben, but we can’t discount the fact that Grace’s life was placed in danger just so that a calling could save her.
Perhaps Manifest viewers have already decided where along the “all things work together for good” spectrum their loyalties lie, but there are still plenty of unknowns remaining that we have to try and explain. What, for example, had the Major discovered that she had Saanvi’s medical license revoked to keep her from finding in her own research? Presumably her covert defense initiative is closer to exploiting the prophetic visions caused by the genetic anomaly even after the death of Major Kathryn Fitz (if she’s actually dead), but is it still important for Saanvi to continue her investigations now that Zeke has cured himself through more mystical means?
It’s more likely that Saanvi will turn towards her own self-preservation, and government operatives will be seeking her out to hold her accountable for murder while continuing the Major’s work. But meanwhile how do we explain the Montego Air wing found by the Cuban fishermen? Can the plane have crashed and returned five years later at the same time? Even if we guess that the passengers are dead and this is some type of purgatory, why would the fishermen mention the flight as being that famous one that returned?
We also can’t forget the Major’s interest in Cal and now young Eden as an offspring that has inherited the genetic anomaly without having been on the Flight or experiencing dark lightning. Eden is sure to be a part of season 3, and we’ll likely see her as a toddler with at least a year having past. And those with sharp memories of season one will remember that Manifest still hasn’t explained Fiona Clarke’s evolutionary theories, her lack of callings despite being on Flight 828, or her forced time jump with Captain Daly.
Now, it’s possible that Manifest has no intention of returning to those dangling threads from season one, but with the return of the dark lightning the parallels are undeniable. The good news for the show is that the best finales evoke the greatest amount of speculation, and the season 2 conclusion did just that. Whatever the theories are out there about what the callings mean, where they originate, and whether or not they’re for the greater good, it’s likely the fans will be itching for answers even after receiving plenty of closure in the season 2 finale, and that sort of pleasurable discomfort is exactly what the writers wanted.
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