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Here Is the Very Stupid Ending to the Very Stupid 'Manifest'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 5, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 5, 2023 |

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Here is an overview of four seasons — and 62 episodes — of Manifest boiled down to the only plot elements that mattered in the end. There were countless aborted arcs early on, and I reluctantly give the series credit for revisiting most of those arcs. Did they make sense? Absolutely not. Did they have any significance in the end? Hardly. Here, in a four-season nutshell, is what actually mattered:

On April 7th, 2013, while traveling from Jamaica to New York City, Flight 828 endured a brief period of severe turbulence. Upon landing in New York, the plane’s 191 passengers and crew were shocked to discover that over five and a half years had passed during their flight, and they were presumed dead. Their loved ones had moved on without them, leaving the passengers to adjust to their new reality. Additionally, they started experiencing “callings” — visions that compelled them to take action, usually resulting in saving someone’s life.

The majority of the series focuses on the Stone family. Throughout the show, they realize that they exist within “the divine consciousness” and have a “death date.” The flight was missing for five-and-a-half years, and they learn that their death date is precisely five-and-a-half years after their arrival, specifically on June 2nd, 2024. On their death date, they also discover (thanks to some unsavory meth dealers) that the passengers will be judged. Those deemed virtuous will survive, while those deemed wicked will perish.

Numerous events unfold over the course of four seasons, but crucially the passengers learn about the omega sapphire — a pure form of the gemstone — which plays a pivotal role in the storyline. Two characters, Cal Stone and Angelina Meyer, become infused with the sapphire and gain endless callings and other inexplicable powers. Cal comes to understand that to save the passengers and the world, they must unite two omega sapphires. However, Angelina, driven by a desire to bring upon a worldwide day of reckoning, adamantly refuses. Cal manages to find a workaround by discovering a piece of driftwood from the actual Noah’s Ark, which has also been infused with sapphire. Unfortunately, another character named Saanvi threw that piece of driftwood into a spontaneous volcano years ago, so they had to dig it up. The picks and shovels do not work. However, after a melancholy The Head and the Heart song plays, Cal’s sapphire arm lights up, connecting with the Noah’s Ark driftwood (“it’s all connected”). “I love you,” Cal tells Ben. “Thank you for being my dad.”

Cal disappears into a blue light.

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The blue light acts as a beacon, calling all the passengers to the light. Shortly after, volcanoes erupt in what can only be described as an apocalyptic event. One of these volcanoes oddly vomits out Flight 828. “It’s time for our judgment,” Ben says.

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As the passengers — who had gathered around Cal’s blue light — board the plane, Angelina, who believes the world must perish for judgment to occur, futilely tries to prevent their departure but is injured by volcanic debris. Ben Stone, despite Angelina having murdered his wife Grace and abducted their child in the previous season, remarkably saves her and forgives her. This act of forgiveness inexplicably becomes a critical factor in the endgame, supposedly foretold by a 16th-century Egyptian scholar named Yusuz Al-Zuras (don’t ask; Al-Zuras’ visions are a nonsensical and convenient plot device within the Manifest mythology).

Once all the passengers are on board, the lava in front of the plane solidifies, transforming into a makeshift runway, allowing Flight 828 to take off. Everyone essentially reverts to their original positions on the initial flight. However, random individuals begin to glow, burn up, and turn to ash as they undergo judgment. Eleven passengers, including Angelina, meet this fate. A couple of others, namely former cult leader Adrian and scam artist (and Angelina’s husband) Eagan, perform selfless acts, and their lives are spared.

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Unexpectedly, the Grim Reaper/Angel of Death manifests on the flight. All the passengers rally behind Ben and Michaela Stone, pleading with the Grim Reaper and highlighting the numerous benevolent acts they have performed. Their impassioned plea manages to convince the Angel of Death to vanish. The volcanic activity abruptly ceases, prompting Ben Stone to declare in his halting monotone, “The apocalypse. It’s over.”

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Suddenly, a burning blue glow inexplicably appears in the sky. The flight heads toward it, and upon crossing into it, the plane materializes at a New York airport. As the passengers disembark, they realize they have returned to the moment when their original flight was meant to land on April 7th, 2013. However, this time, they possess knowledge of the past 10 years.

Ben spots his wife Grace, who miraculously is no longer deceased. Cal, in a perplexing turn of events, does not remember anything but is joyfully reunited with his twin sister. All the passengers reunite with their families, including those who perished during their time in the divine consciousness. However, the 11 passengers deemed unworthy and transformed into dust do not reappear. That’s a mystery left to NSA Director Robert Vance.

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Michaela reunites with Jared, her previous boyfriend who had proposed to her initially. During their time in the divine consciousness, Michaela and Jared had separated: Michaela married Zeke, while Jared married Drea, and they even had a child. In 2013, Michaela informed Jared that they couldn’t wed because he was destined to be with someone else. Michaela left and hailed a cab, which happened to be driven by Zeke, who had no recollection of her. However, they form a connection. Jared, on the other hand, eventually reunites with a rookie police officer named Drea. Saanvi also rekindles her relationship with her former partner, who had ended things during the divine consciousness timeline.

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“No one can explain what happened to us on April 7th, 2013,” Michaela concludes. “Some people called it impossible. Others called it a miracle.”

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I told folks three years ago to stop watching Manifest, that it was nonsensical and that the ending would not be worth the 47 hours viewers devoted to it. Unfortunately, too many people refused to listen and had to learn the hard way.

So long, Manifest. You were terrible, but we made some good friends (Hi, O!) along the way.