Manifest: What Really Happened to Zeke?

Manifest had its own unique brand of time travel, but no one felt the effects of causality loops and reset timelines quite like Zeke.

Zeke and Michaela smiling in Manifest season 4
Photo: Scott McDermott / Netflix

This article contains Manifest spoilers.

Based on the events in the final season of Manifest, it’s clear that there was a lot more time travel going on besides the five-year leap forward at the beginning of the series. Even the comparatively smaller jumps that armed robber James Griffin and cave dweller Zeke Landon experienced were mere kinks in the twisting timeline that, when all was said and done, was at the mercy of the divine consciousness. While we saw a certain logic to it all through Michaela’s eyes, the life of her late husband (now living taxi driver) Zeke was perhaps the most convoluted of all.

Never have we rooted for a MacGuffin more, and make no mistake, that’s what Zeke was, although Manifest would have us believe he served at the whim of the divine consciousness rather than the narrative the writers contrived. Either way, he was proof that the death date existed and further proof that it could be beaten. The fact that he went on to become a counselor/healer with empathic powers rather than being sent back to his start date is where he differs from the passengers of Flight 828. Without his sacrifice, Cal could not have saved the world; that much is clear.

How surprising then that Zeke still featured prominently in the final season as an omniscient visitor from the past! When Zeke was in the cave years before, he entered the bright light of the all-knowing, just as Flight 828 did, but apparently he spent part of this timeless time with the imprisoned Michaela of his future, comforting her about his necessary death despite not having met her yet from his perspective. While in the light, he knew everything the future held and was even able to glean facts about their past that he couldn’t have known without divine help: moments when their life paths nearly crossed.

Ad – content continues below

Without sharing these close calls with Michaela, she wouldn’t have known to go look for a cab once she returned to 2013. Of course she could have and likely would have searched for Zeke anyway, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as romantic with mentions of “never-ending stories” and the like. Just think of that twisted path, though! A freezing Zeke enters the light, sees what his life will be, visits Michaela in 2024, and then returns to the cave where he’s visited by a more enlightened Michaela, who inspires him to “find her” in the past. It’s a time pretzel!

At least we finally have a more logical reason why a page from a magazine would have been so critical to Zeke’s survival, an awkward detail that was mentioned in our review of Manifest season 1 episode 12, “Vanishing Point.” This causality loop is the only one of its kind in the final season, since all other forms of time travel are either one-way hops forward like the one that started the series or a giant reset, such as what happened in the finale.

Which brings up one of the biggest puzzles of all concerning Zeke: what actually happened to him? While certain Flight 828 passengers, including Cal, were resurrected with no memory, Zeke has regressed to a time several years before his encounter in the cave. No longer a super-powered therapist, he once again has all the damage and guilt from his sister’s death. While Michaela’s appearance in his life may have its own healing effect, he’ll have to discover new ways to stay sober and forgive himself.

We can only speculate on the aftermath of the Manifest season finale, whether for Zeke or any other characters in the show, but beyond his relationship with Michaela, it’s fun to think he might still bond with young Cal in a new way, both of them completely oblivious to the fact they’ve done all of it before, this time under much happier circumstances.