Manifest: Why Angelina is the Ultimate Villain
Plenty of Manifest villains have tormented the survivors of Flight 828, but Angelina could be the series' big bad.
This article contains spoilers for Manifest season 4.
Manifest has never been short of villains. Since Flight 828 landed, it’s been a constant battle to figure out who genuinely are the good guys, committed to figuring out the mystery of the plane and their callings, and who are those sinking the lifeboat. The likes of fellow 828 passengers Eagan (Ali Sohaili) and former cult leader Adrian (Jared Grimes) have both been considered to be more villainous than most at one point or another in the show but season four has really brought the true villain to the forefront. Someone who shows no signs of backing down especially now that she has the last remaining piece of the Omega Sapphire. Yes, you guessed it, that villain is Angelina Meyer.
So how did Manifest create the show’s ultimate villain in Angelina (Holly Taylor)?
Angelina’s backstory weakened our defenses
For many viewers, they were only made aware of Angelina’s villainous side when she killed Grace Stone (Athena Karkanis) and kidnapped the Stone’s youngest member, baby Eden in the season 3 finale. But there’s an argument to be made that Manifest has been slowly showing us the darkness in Angelina all along.
Angelina’s whole backstory sets her up to be the perfect villain. When we first meet Angelina in season three, we bear witness to the trauma inflicted on her by her religious extremist parents. Imprisoning your child because you deem her callings to communication with the devil is a big no, no, and it causes us, like the Stones, to feel nothing but sympathy for her. Thus, our weakened defenses blind us to any wrongdoing she initially does as we write it off as a product of her trauma. However, while we can acknowledge her trauma made her unstable and led her down a misguided path with God, how this led to her planning to take down the whole world with the last remaining shard of the omega sapphire is a mesmerizing exploration. Her inability to be rationalized with makes her the biggest threat in the show yet. Arguably more so than the mystery of the plane and the death date.
Angelina’s connection to the Stones
Angelina’s trauma and upbringing understandably make it hard for her to connect with people as she’s never felt the unconditional love she should have received from her parents. But as we see Cal and the rest of the Stone’s kindness visibly affect her, Angelina’s attempt to find her purpose in life only leads her further down the road of insanity. Her relationship with meth head Pete Baylor (Devin Harjes) seemed to mark a repair going on in Angelina’s life, but when he dies, that rips back open, and we see her reach a complete breaking point. It leaves her with the one thing she has left and what her parents taught her, God’s word and scripture.
Angelina’s initial close connection to the Stones thus becomes something we didn’t see as a threat but should have. Her innocent persona caused Ben (Josh Dallas) and Grace’s kindness to blind them in, noticing that Angelina was someone desperate to fit in no matter the cost. But beyond that, Angelina spent her time assessing the Stones because to her, they illustrated a perfect family and people who fit in. Something she wanted more than anything.
So, when her turning into Olive (Luna Blaise) – dying her hair, dressing like Olive and then acting like Eden’s big sister – doesn’t cause her to fit in and instead causes Grace and Olive to reject her, this only causes Angelina to take a further step down her path of insanity and find a new fixation in the form of baby Eden. Someone who can’t judge nor reject her. Her vision of Eden as her guardian angel leads to the death of Grace, where season four picks up.
Why the other Manifest villains cannot compete with Angelina
Season four shows us Angelina, no longer cares about being accepted, she fully believes in what she’s doing, and that’s all that matters. We bear witness to the fact Angelina is genuinely clever and not just psychotic. Despite being on the run for two years and people knowing she kidnapped Eden and killed Grace, she still convinces people to help her hide out. Her sole focus is on manipulating Eden’s powers and keeping her guardian angel safe. So after Eden rejects her and decides to be with Ben, she convinces herself that she’s the archangel sent to spread vengeance on the world. She uses the omega sapphire to manipulate Ben and Cal with fake callings trying to get them to give up.
Any morals she once had are gone because she knows what she wants and killing people in the process doesn’t phase her. Her parents also become serial killers to kill off the people who helped Angelina hide Eden. Doesn’t phase her a bit. Her sole focus is now on being the world’s biggest nightmare and making everyone else suffer. The final moment of the finale, where we see Angelina opening up lava-filled fissures around her seems like Angelina’s unstable nature will see her be a villain to the end and despite her being an absolute menace, it makes for fantastic TV.
But why does all of this make her better than all the other villains we’ve had in Manifest so far? Well, the only serious competition Angelina has was the likes of the Major (Elizabeth Marvel), but despite the Major causing anger and a little fear, as she abducted passengers and conducted experiments on them in order to understand the callings. She was unable to create the global impact Angelina is currently making by planning to destroy the earth. Angelina thinks on a much bigger scale and doesn’t hide behind scientists and soldiers to do her bidding like the Major does.
While Angelina might just be a very lost and traumatized soul, she is the most terrifying villain because her initial sweet and innocent persona makes her someone you don’t see coming. Even if you hate her, it cannot be denied that Angelina is the ultimate villain on Manifest and her journey is nothing but a thrill to watch.
All 10 episodes of Manifest season 4 part one are available to stream on Netflix now.