"Manifest" wraps its first season on a stunning revelation with staggering implications for every returnee, including those not on Flight 828.
After a season of wild twists and turns, "Manifest" just dropped a bombshell that no one saw coming for its finale. It also dropped a body in an incredibly disturbing manner.
To say this episode was unsettling and frustrating at the same time would be an incredible understatement. The story arc begun two weeks ago with new returnee, and practicing sociopath, Griffin took the most unexpected turn this week and blew the whole saga wide open.
Until now, the freakiest things we've seen have been the creepy visions of the returnees in their callings. What happened with Griffin happened on national television defies all explanation and by itself will turn how returnees are handled on its ear.
Already connections between Griffin -- who was underwater for 82 hours and 8 minutes -- and Flight 828 are being tossed around, but the shocking manner of his sudden death only brought even more questions. And that wasn't the only question we had.
Cal freaked out and would only tell Zeke what his latest prophetic vision was, and then we saw Jared spiral down a path of insane jealousy that culminated in that fateful season-ending gunshot trop that so many shows like to lean on. Considering "Manifest" is a bunch of grand ideas wrapped in supbar writing and character work, this is not a great surprise.
Nevertheless, we are intrigued and hopeful that we will get a second season, even though it hasn't been announced yet, because we have so many questions. Like these:
The callings are vague at best, but this is the first time we've seen every returnee have the same calling. "Stop him!" was felt at the same time between Saanvi, Ben, Zeke and Michaela. Can we assume others had the same calling at the same time, or was it just those four? It's not like their a superhero team who runs around and does things together.
Hell, Saanvi barely comes out of her lab, and Zeke is busy failing to reconnect with the life he left a year ago (thanks, mom!). On top of that, we don't even know if they interpreted the calling right. After Griffin's death, it seems that everyone else stopped having this particular one, but it kept going for Michaela.
Was the calling to stop the fisticuffs between Jared and Zeke a new calling using the same call sign as the last one, or was it always about them? This is a new level of vague and frustrating no matter the answer to that question. Maybe the callings are just an omnipotent psychic pre-teen just tormenting the returnees out of boredom and in the finale omnipotent psychic mom and dad are going to ground her for being so awful to her toys.
This appears to be the key question of the finale. Griffin died by drowning, as he should have in the truck, on the sidewalk seconds before stepping into a studio where he was going to expose the callings to the world. So did he die as punishment for abusing the callings? He survived making a deal to get away with murder, so that actually seems unlikely.
More likely is the fact that he died 82 hours and 8 minutes after he was pulled from the water and returned, meaning he lived as long as he was gone. Sure the number has showed up coincidentally over and over again this season, but in this case it seems to have some significance.
If so, what was the point of bringing Griffin back at all? Did he come back to prevent that one bombing? Or was he a plot device by that pesky psychic pre-teen to help the other returnees figure out their own expiration dates? And how did he expel more water than could have possibly been in his body? Where did that all come from? Even drowning, he wouldn't have had that much water in his body. Overkill a little bit?
If Griffin died as long after his return as he was gone, the Flight 828 passengers are set to die on June 2, 2024. If "Manifest" has a good healthy run, it could certainly still be on the air then, maybe even wrapping its sixth season.
But there's another wrinkle to this theory. Griffin drowned because that's what should have happened when his truck landed in the bottom of the river. It apparently disappeared while down there for those 82 hours. But Flight 828 never crashed or exploded or anything. It disappeared while in midflight and returned in midflight.
So another argument could be that the returnees are returned to the state they were when they disappeared. In Griffin's case, that was at the bottom of the river drowning. In the case of Flight 828, that was experiencing some serious turbulence, but otherwise still airborne. So ... nothing happens?
But then there's the matter of Cal's drawing, where he predicted their deaths down to the date. Plus, it matched up with Olive's more mythological investigation as well. So they do die? Or maybe Cal's drawings are not to be taken liter and something changes for them, but it isn't death.
They'll have another chance to test their theory in about a year. And if the show does a standard time jump before Season 2, we'll be almost there immediately. That's because Zeke disappeared for a year in his cave, and he was on the verge of freezing to death when he did.
His situation would seem to be more cut-and-dry than the 828 passengers. Next year, he should die of hypothermia all of a sudden, maybe spewing out 300 pounds of ice just for kicks. If they can figure out how to prevent that, maybe there's a chance for the rest of them.
While the Stones are all worried about themselves and their families, just wait until they tell Michaela and she tells Zeke (assuming he makes it that far ... but we'll get to that in a minute). That could make for a very compelling arc to kick off Season 2 as Zeke stands in as the guinea pig for the grand "Are We All Gonna Die?" experiment.
So all along we've been dealing with this theory that the callings are some force for good. But if we take Griffin's death as a natural phenomenon related to his disappearance and return, then his abuse of the callings is irrelevant. That would mean the callings could be exploited for personal gain with no consequences.
If that is the case, there are a lot of other passengers and we know at least some of them are having callings, too. Surely they're not all as noble and self-sacrificing and heroic as our intrepid heroes. There have already been opportunistic returnees founding churches and going on television to exploit their fame.
Here's one more thing they could exploit for personal gain. And if they're sitting on an expiration date -- should that detail get out -- what's to stop them just going balls to the wall for themselves. Hedonistic abandon for the win!
We know the Major is obsessed with finding out all she can about Cal, even going so far as to not care about Griffin's death, so is that her only reason for infiltrating the returnees as Saanvi's new therapist. We knew that caring doctor was too good to be true!
Poor Saanvi, who's already been through so much, is about to be abused some more by whatever it is the Major is going to do to her. Will she actually act as a therapist? Will she simply abduct Saanvi and conduct experiments on her as she did the castoff returnees earlier in the season? Whatever happened to those guys?
Saanvi has said she'll keep the Stone family secrets to herself, but surely that's what the Major will be digging on. Can Saanvi keep her secrets? Will they be drug out of her one way or the other? Will this character ever get to be the hero of her own storyline, or will she always be a pawn in someone else's?
Maybe not relevant to the overarching plot, but there is obviously the question of paternity with Grace's baby. Is it Danny's? Is it Ben's? Dramatically, we suspect it's probably Danny's because that makes things even more complicated for the family. At the same time, it might be interesting if it were Ben's.
Do returnees make babies with superpowers? Would the baby come out having callings? Would it do that sci-fi trope of growing up within a season into a surly teenager to rival Olive on her worst days? Or would it perhaps disappear in Grace's womb for an unspecified period of time.
Probably none of those things, because we really think it's Danny's baby. For one thing, that storyline is unfinished and yet the Stones seem to have contentedly moved on. We suspect, though, that Danny will not simply agree to step away from any involvement with his biological kid, considering his ongoing love and attachment to Olive.
Obviously, this is the biggest question of the night and the answer is either Jared or Zeke. Michaela was there, but she didn't seem to be reacting as if it were her, but we suppose she has to be considered a possibility, too. We suspect that whoever gets shot will survive the ordeal.
If it's Jared, perhaps it will snap him out of this downward spiral of jealously and pettiness that has clouded his earlier good judgment. If it's Zeke, well he needs to survive so we can see if he dies in a year. Yeah, we can go dark, too.
And if it's Michaela, well both guys are going to just feel awful, but she's the hero of the show so there's no way she's going to die. So in the end, it probably won't really matter and it was just a cheap stunt to get viewers talking and convince NBC to renew the show. But hey, here we are. Talking about it. So good job?