Manifest is one of those shows where the setup quickly grabs your attention and fires your curiosity until you’ve found all the answers. However, the problem with most network shows is that each episode follows a generic screenplay palette and the answers we are looking for often get lost amidst the melodrama. And I feel that a similar thing happened here. The main plot of the series, which deals with the mysterious disappearance of an airplane, could have been resolved in one or two seasons, but we have to go through five seasons of approximately 13 episodes each to arrive at a conclusion. For the general audience, either it becomes a patience check, or we tend to leave it midway, uninterested in finding the answers anymore. But if you’ve made it this far and you’re still eagerly waiting for the Manifest finale, then here is a detailed recap that might help you catch up.
‘Manifest’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
The lives of some 191 passengers were turned upside-down when they boarded the flight named Montego Air 828 on April 7, 2013, from Jamaica, to travel to the USA. They suffered mild turbulence midway, and when they safely reached America, an alarming news was waiting for them. Robert Vance, the director of the American National Security Agency, arrived at the airport to inform the passengers that their flight had been missing for approximately five and a half years. However, for these passengers, only a short amount of time had passed, because of which they didn’t age at all, while in the real world, most of their friends, relatives, and family had grown 5 years older.
After introducing the central conflict, Manifest primarily focuses on an American family called the Stones. A professor named Ben Stone had boarded the 828 flight with his preteen son, Calvin “Cal,” and Ben’s sister, Michaela “Mick,” who worked for the NYPD. As Ben and Mick struggle to adjust to the new world, they start hearing voices in their heads that help them solve crimes. Soon, these voices become stronger and transform into visions, which are later termed as the “callings”. Almost all the 828 passengers start having these callings, which makes them realize that they are connected to each other and that the only way to survive in this new reality is to trust their fellow passengers and stay close.
Ben Stone and a New Life
Ben and his wife, Grace, were struggling to arrange money for their son’s treatment for leukemia. When Ben found out that the airport authorities were offering a travel voucher worth $400 for a change of flight, he couldn’t stop himself and took the second flight to America to save some money, unaware of the fact that a small decision was going to change his life forever. When Ben came home to the 2018 timeline, he found out that his wife had aged and his daughter, Olive, was not a child anymore. Ben tried his best to adjust to his new life, but misunderstandings crept in as he found out that his wife had started dating another man named Danny after his disappearance. However, soon after Ben’s return, Grace stopped seeing Danny, and they were a happy family again, though Ben and Cal’s frequent callings added a much-needed conflict to the storyline.
Michaela Stone and Her New Challenges
Mick had boarded the second flight because she was unsure about her relationship with co-worker Jared Vasquez, who had proposed to her for marriage. She knew that Jared would be waiting for her at the airport, so she tried to delay her confrontation with him. However, when she finally reached home in 2018, she found that Jared had been married to her best friend, Lourdes, and had been promoted to NYPD detective. As soon as Mick started getting strange callings in the future world, she solved these mysteries and was soon promoted to detective. She used her new position to help the 828 passengers, who were constantly being targeted by the government and the general public, who believed that the 828 passengers were dangerous anomalies and should be locked away.
Zeke and His Resurrection
During the final episodes of Manifest Season 1, Mick came across a man named Ezekiel James Landon, who had disappeared in December 2017 and come back in 2018, unaware of the fact that a year had passed since his disappearance. Ben and Mick concluded that it wasn’t only the 828-ers who had experienced a time jump; there were many more like them who went through a similar phenomenon. Zeke’s experience and several similar cases pushed them to look for answers and get to the bottom of these inexplicable disappearances and time shifts.
Later, in Manifest Season 2, Mick started dating Zeke, and they got married. At this point in the series, we were introduced to a new term called the “Death Date,” which meant the person who had experienced the disappearance phenomenon was granted only a limited amount of time in the real world. For example, Zeke, who had disappeared for a year, had only one year left in the normal world, while the 828-ers, who had disappeared for five and a half years, had the same amount of time left to survive.
Cal was abducted by some goons, and Zeke sacrificed the remaining few hours of his life while trying to save Cal. However, he was later resurrected for some unexplained reasons. He eventually became the first person in the Manifest Universe to survive his death date. As Zeke came back to life for the second time, he developed a new power of understanding people’s pain and suffering, which further helped him solve the upcoming mysteries in the series.
An Unlikely Bond Between Vance and Saanvi
Other than the Stone family, the character of Saanvi Bahl has been extensively explored in the Manifest series. She was working on a revolutionary treatment for cancer patients before the plane disappeared. When she finally came back, she found that her research had saved thousands of lives. Her curiosity led her to undertake another research project to find out the truth about the mysterious disappearance of 828, and that’s how she met her partner-in-crime, Robert Vance. Initially, Vance was loyal to the government, but when he found out about the government’s inhumane research experiments involving 828-ers, he decided to use his authority to help the passengers, who were being treated as lab rats.
Angelina and the Murder of Grace Margaret Stone
At the beginning of Manifest Season 3, Mick saved a passenger named Angelina Meyer in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, where she was locked in a basement bunker by her religious parents. Angelina’s parents believed that her callings were the result of a demonic possession, and therefore, she needed some religious cleansing. Apparently, they harbored a similar feeling about all the 828-ers, and they brutally murdered some of the passengers who tried to help Angelina later in the series.
Angelina, on the other hand, was severely traumatized and was going through an existential crisis, yet she chose not to consult a psychiatrist for her mental illness. She was brought back to America by Mick and Zeke, where Ben Stone decided to provide her shelter until she was relocated. Having been deprived of any love and care from her own family, Angelina got too attached to the Stones, and started trying to become a permanent member of the family. She started receiving callings about a dark angel, which made her believe that Ben’s newly born daughter, Eden, was her guardian angel. Grace got worried as she witnessed Angelina’s toxic obsession with her daughter and thus asked Angelina to leave the house, but Angelina wasn’t ready to give up on her calling so easily. She entered the Stones’ house using the secret key that Cal had told her about and stabbed Grace to death in order to abduct Eden and raise her as her own.
The Return of Adult Cal Stone
Cal had a vision about the lost tailfin of Flight 828 that brought Ben to Havana, Cuba, to investigate further. Vance helped Ben locate the tailfin and bring it back to America, where the authorities caught wind of their secret operation. Vance had earlier faked his own death to protect the 828-ers, but after his secret mission was exposed to the government, he convinced them to reinstate him as the operation head. Basically, it was Vance’s junior who convinced him to make a comeback. The important point was that Vance got a new facility called Eureka, where a team of scientists rebuilt the 828 airplane, which had earlier blown into pieces in Manifest Season 1. With the tailfin, Vance and his team were able to complete the restructuring, but they were still missing an important piece of the puzzle.
Basically, the mysterious discovery of the tailfin established the fact that the airplane did indeed, explode midair, during the violent thunderstorm, because of which its pieces fell into the ocean, from where the tailfin was recovered. This means that all 191 passengers onboard died during the storm, and their reappearance means only one thing: some supernatural phenomenon resurrected them and brought them back to the real world. It was the reason why Saanvi found a similar marker or protein in all the 828-ers’ blood. As she plunged deeper into the rabbit hole, she figured out that all the passengers shared a similar marker and were connected to each other through some divine consciousness. In short, if any of the passengers failed the test of the death date, then it would lead to death of all the passengers. Hence, they all had to work together as a team, as the mistake of one could sink the lifeboat.
Nevertheless, the tailfin was Cal’s calling, and he believed that he needed to touch it once to find the truth. However, as soon as he touched the missing part, he disappeared from the face of the earth and went back to the realm of the divine consciousness, only to return at the end of Season 3. However, this time, Cal was back to his original age; that is, he was the same age as Olive, as the two were twins. Cal had decided to return to the human world because he had foreseen the murder of his mother and believed that he would be able to save her. When he returned, Grace was already dead. But the series of tragedies didn’t end there. When Cal returned for the second time, he realized that his cancer was back, and his days were numbered.
Zeke’s Ultimate Sacrifice to Give Cal Another Chance
Zeke had resorted to substance abuse after the death of his younger sister. He even had a conflicted relationship with his mother and was aimless for a long period of time, but ultimately found a sense of belonging in Mick. However, as Mick struggled with her own feelings toward Jared, Zeke felt lonely and started drinking again.
Though the couple was able to resolve their differences momentarily, Zeke’s newfound powers took a further mental toll on him. Additionally, he had to pick up arms and shoot an 828er to save Mick’s life, and this murder pushed him over the edge. He started drinking heavily, and Mick was so busy solving the callings that she failed to recognize his pain. Probably, at some point, Zeke realized that he was given a second life (or, more appropriately, a third) to fulfill some higher purpose, and when he saw Cal battling cancer, he couldn’t stop himself from helping the teenager who had his whole life ahead of him. During the first part of Manifest Season 4, Zeke absorbed Cal’s ailment through the powers that were given to him. In short, he sacrificed his own life to save Cal. But what does this third resurrection really mean? Perhaps Cal has a larger role to play in the finale of Manifest, along with the potential antagonist of the series, Angelina Meyer.
Angelina Meyer and the Omega Sapphire
After Angelina murdered Ben’s wife and abducted his child, she disappeared for two long years. During this time, passengers from the 828 had been helping her hide from the police and the Stone family. The first part of Manifest Season 4 primarily focuses on the hunt for Angelina Meyer, along with a shocking mystery centered around sapphires.
Ben Stone made a deal with the devil (not literally) to find out the whereabouts of his missing daughter. A fellow passenger and the most wicked of the lot, Eagan Tehrani, told Ben that another passenger, Adrian, had been sheltering Angelina along with his daughter. In exchange for this piece of information, Eagan wanted Ben to get his prison sentence shortened, and Ben had no other option but to help the devil. Nevertheless, Ben was finally able to locate Eden and bring her back home, while Angelina, once again, managed to escape from the authorities and swore to take revenge on Ben Stone.
Meanwhile, Saanvi, with the help of the research conducted by Kathryn Fitz, found out that a special kind of sapphire called the Omega Sapphire could generate callings. Saanvi believed that the use of Omega Sapphire could be a breakthrough in her research and would probably reveal the answers they needed to survive the death date and save the lifeboat. However, before she could get her hands on the priceless stone, it was stolen by Angelina, who used her new powers to manipulate Ben into bringing Eden to her. But when Eden refused to go with her, Angelina finally realized that she was an archangel. Basically, she was severely delusional and needed therapy, but no one around her bothered to tell her that.
Cal used his abilities to generate a calling and summon Angelina inside the plane. She again tried to manipulate Cal, but this time he didn’t fall into the trap and used his powers to break the Omega Sapphire into pieces. In the real world, Ben and Mick ran out of the church while trying to save some lives, while Angelina was left behind in the molten lava that she had created with the stone. However, Angelina got hold of a broken piece of Omega Sapphire that had fallen into the lava, and she burned her hand in order to save it. The stone got fixated in her hands, which gave her the power to generate the calls at will. This further causes a disastrous event when the lava seeps through the fissures in the ground. Basically, the entire mystery related to the disappearance of 828 is somehow connected to Mount Ararat, which is a dormant volcano in Turkey. Most probably, Angelina, through her powers, had brought the volcano to New York City, which would surely lead to death and destruction if not stopped in time. Saanvi had at some point theorized that the death date couldn’t just be the end of the passengers but could be the end of humanity as a whole, thus hinting towards an upcoming apocalypse. Now, there is only one person alive who can stop Angelina, and that is our dragon, Cal Stone.
Cal and the Mysterious Dragon Imprints
Throughout the series, Cal Stone has been denoted as the Holy Grail, which evidently signifies that he is going to play the most important part in solving the mystery and saving the lifeboat. At the beginning of Manifest Season 4, a Chinese man named Henry escaped from a secret lab in Shanghai and arrived in America. Mick received a calling about the same and was able to rescue the Chinese man, who was in possession of a black box that belonged to the destroyed flight No. 828. Upon further investigation, it was revealed to us that the black box had recordings of all the callings that the passengers had received so far, but what was most peculiar at this point was that Henry knew Cal Stone and wanted to meet him soon.
Henry had a strange scar on his wrist that resembled a dragon. According to him, he was struck by lightning (probably the same dark lightning that was experienced by 828 midair) when he was young. We can speculate that Henry had the same divine consciousness as the other passengers, but in his case, the scar on his wrist acted as a catalyst, because of which he was able to summon his powers and callings at will. Upon finally meeting Cal, Henry transferred his strange dragon scar to Cal and told him that he had a long way to go.
Saanvi had taken a sample of Cal’s dragon scar, which started glowing later in the series. We had witnessed the same glow effect on Ben Stone’s hand after he touched the missing tailfin of 828. Though the reason for such a phenomenon was explicitly explained in the first part of Manifest Season 4, Olive theorized that if Cal the dragon was in possession of the Omega Sapphire, he could save the passengers of the lifeboat along with everyone else in the world whose lives were threatened by Angelina’s act of vengeance. That was probably the reason why Henry had transferred his scar to Cal. Henry knew that Cal had a larger part to play, and Zeke understood it too, which was why he sacrificed his life to save Cal as he was the key to saving the world. As per the trailer for the Manifest finale, we can speculate a face-off between Angelina and Cal, who are probably the two most important characters in the series. Angelina is in possession of the last remaining piece of the Omega Sapphire, which Cal needs to enlighten his dragon and save the world, and therefore the Stone family needs to stop Angelina if they want to save the world. Let’s see what the season finale of the most awaited series of 2023 has in store for all of us.