And we thought the government cracking down on the rights of 828ers was the biggest challenge they were going to face in this season finale as the future of the show remains uncertain.
NBC hasn't made a decision on the future of "Manifest," the biggest new show of the season when it premiered three seasons ago, but the creators certainly made a strong case for the series continuing with a gripping final few moments.
If it does come back, either on NBC or perhaps even on Peacock, "Manifest" will look drastically different after a shocking death and an even more surprising development rocked Ben Stone's family in those final moments.
Wrapping its season with a two-hour extravaganza, we saw Ben going off the deep end more and more in his fanatical quest to save every one of the Passengers and apparently try to do absolutely everything all by himself.
He also proved that he doesn't really trust that anyone outside of his family has his back, except for Saanvi, being particularly nasty to Vance over and over again, despite all that Vance has done for him and the Passengers. Stop being such a jerk, Ben!
While we still have our issues with the writing and some of the acting -- more on that in a bit -- we have to give credit for a compelling finale that definitely left us hoping the network doesn't leave us hanging. With a serialized mystery show like this, it's better to pull the plug early if they're not going to at least be allowed to reach some sort of resolution.
If you pull the plug after three seasons and major cliffhangers like this one, fans will be less likely to tune into your next similar series for fear they'll never get answers on that one either. "Debris" only made one season, so at least fans weren't quite as invested.
While we wait to hear the final word on the future -- or lack thereof -- for "Manifest," we've got plenty of questions to ponder and mull over.
There has been an interesting evolution in Ben's character that has us wondering if he may actually be the biggest threat to the Passengers and their Life Boat. Certainly, he's bull-headed and reckless, even when he's wrong, which could jeopardize everyone. After this episode, we suspect he's going to go to an even darker place. Michaela might just be the real hero of this story in the end.
Will There Be Consequences to Ben Breaking House Arrest?
If you needed an example of his recklessness, Ben almost immediately broke house arrest to chase a Calling. For now, these misadventures work out in his favor, but he's always playing the hero, seemingly positioning himself above any and all laws of man simply because he has the arrogance to believe that only he can save everyone.
How Are People Who Share Callings Selected?
Bethany's inclusion on this week's big Calling brings back the question of how the people who share Callings are selected? Ben was not originally included in the plane Calling, but wound up there later? So why does it matter which Passengers are in these Callings? Why are the Stones in so many? Are other Passengers having their own shared Calling adventures outside of the Stones?
Why Did the Tailfin Need to be Returned to the Ocean?
As an example of how fanatically wrong Ben is, he thought the tailfin needed to be destroyed, but it just needed to go back to the ocean. The question, though, is why? And why just the tailfin? We know it disappeared once before, but what is making it more special than any other part of the plan? How does it have a special connection to Ben (glowing hand) and Cal?
Is Ben a Modern-Day Noah and Flight 828 a Modern-Day Ark?
The Ark piece indicates that the show may have a more direct connection to that particular Bible story than any other, despite its spiritual overtones. Olive adding the other take on Noah where he's seen as a harbinger of the apocalpyse, having asked God to flood the world, paints a possibly different picture of Ben, if he is the modern-day equivalent. Is he trying to save the passengers on his Ark? Is he doing it only for his family, though?
Why Did Touching the Tailfin Make Cal Disappear?
Cal has always been special and different than all the other Passengers, but that doesn't explain why touching the Tailfin made him disappear altogether, telling Grace he would see her soon. How much did Cal know at that point? When Ben touched the Tailfin, it blasted him back with a shock, but his handprint glowed on it later. Was that priming it for Cal, or was it always only meant to transport Cal ... wherever he went.
How Did Angelina Wind Up in Eagan's Group?
This might be explained simply by the fact that Micheala, Zeke and Andrea later found a contact sheet for all the passengers, but at the same time how would Eagan have had any idea where to find her. It's not a huge detail, but it did seem kind of random that after Eagan, Randall and Adrian got out of jail and assembled their resistance, she was suddenly right there.
Why Didn't Grace Just Call Olive to Look for the Sketches?
We get that Grace was frantic after Cal's disappearance, but that doesn't explain why she needed to rush home and find Cal's notebook all by herself. We already knew Olive was there, and she's proven fantastic at research. At the very least, Grace could have called home on her way and had Olive begin the search. This just felt like sloppy writing to us.
Why Doesn't Andrea Question Michaela About Saanvi?
Jared brought up some good questions about why Michaela had Saanvi in the precinct and then just suddenly resigned the same day. He was clearly on his way to uncovering Saanvi's role in the Major's death, so why did Michaela's former partner Andrew not follow up on that at all after Jared left? Isn't she a cop first? Michaela had already resigned at that point. She and Andrea must have really developed a tight bond during their short time together.
Did Zeke Pick Up on Jared's Residual Feelings for Michaela?
After Jared admitted to Michaela that he only stood by and watched her marry Zeke because he thought Zeke was dying, Zeke said that he and Michaela needed to talk. Did his empathic abilities pick up residual feelings from Michaela for Jared? Perhaps guilt because Michaela was thinking something similar? We get that Jared and Michaela were a couple first, but we liked that both had managed to move on. It felt more realistic.
Can Jared Really Let Saanvi Get Away with Murder?
In the heat of the moment, Jared said he has to dump Sarah now rather than lie to her forever that he knows Saanvi killed the Major. Is he really willing to do nothing about that now that he knows the truth? We know he's bent the rules for Michaela before, but letting someone get away with murder when he doesn't even know the story seems a bit much for a detective. Even if he dumps Sarah, he'll have to deal with knowing Saanvi is a murderer. What happens next time he sees her? How can he look at Michaela knowing she covered it up?
Where Did the Rest of Eagan's 828 Resistance Go?
After Erika's arrest and reveal of the resistance warehouse, where did everyone go? Eagan and Randall were alone when they broke into Vance's house and unexpectedly kidnapped his son Warren (they thought no one was home and they could just steal his files). Adrian and Angelina were alone later when Adrian told her to get away from him, blaming himself for the blood on his hands in the plane Calling. So where were all those other unknown faces lurking around. Is the resistance still organized with Eagan arrested, or did they scatter?
Saanvi killed someone and she scientifically stopped her Callings. And yet, by single-handedly getting the tailfin into the ocean, she apparently redeemed herself enough to have Callings again. It's as if she was put back on the path of possible survival of the Death Date by that act, but it doesn't mean she's safe altogether (as seen by the three meth-heads). So is that all she gets? Or is it that she turned her back on the science and finally went on faith that redeemed her? The murder of the Major must just be an acceptable loss to whoever is behind all of this.
Did Eden Have a Calling of Angelina with Fiery Wings?
The fire was real a few episodes back when the curtains caught on fire and Angelina thought Eden was going to save her. This week, when Angelina broke into the Stone house to get her "angel," we got a vantage that appeared to be from Eden's eyes as she looked at Angelina and the flames were back. Was Eden having a Calling? We know Grace had Callings when she was pregnant, so presumably Eden has them, too. But does that mean Eden -- a baby -- has to do something to follow this Calling? How could that possibly work?
Why Does Angelina Need Eden?
We get that she's unhinged, dangerous (way more than we thought after it's revealed she stabbed Grace) and crazy, but what exactly does she think she needs Eden for? Is she right to think that Eden is a guardian angel, or even perhaps her guardian angel? Cal had a calling that Angelina was supposed to be there, and that's turned out disastrous for the family. So was all of this meant to happen, including Eden's kidnapping and Grace's murder?
How Did Cal Come Back Older and Where Was He?
As Grace lay dying, Cal showed up in the house (how did he get there?), but he has a different face. Now looking the same age as his twin sister Olive, and recast with Ty Doran, he tells his mother he knows now what he needs to do. But where has he been? He told Ben in the Calling on the plane that this was what needed to be done, so he was presumably having a Calling wherever he was after disappearing. But did he age rapidly or go somewhere else and experience ... something for five-and-a-half years?
How Did Captain Daly Appear Back in the Plane and Where Did It Go?
We can add "why did it go?" and "was anyone else on it?" to this question, because this was perhaps the biggest shocker of the night. With Gupta watching at Eureka, Captain Daly suddenly appeared back in the cockpit of the plane he was flying in when it disappeared a few years ago. And then the plane disappeared. But if we were looking into the cockpit and he appeared, looking shocked, does that men the crew and passengers also appeared back int the plane and they all disappeared? Or was it just Daly? If so, why did he need to go with the plane? And where did it go? The tailfin disappeared as it sunk in the ocean, so is it reunited with the rest of the plane now?
What Will Happen to Eureka Now That the Plane Is Gone?
Of course, all the Passengers could well be gone, too, though we doubt it. But Eureka was all about investigating the plane and now they've lost the tailfin and the plane itself. Zimmer was already pretty peeved that anything would stop testing on the artifacts, so what would she do with this development? Hopefully, the equipment captured the plane's disappearance, or she might not even believe it vanished. But is there any reason for this base now with the plane gone?
Is "Manifest" Planning a Bigger Time Jump for Next Season?
We don't like to be harsh to kid actors, but Jack Messina has really not been giving the most believable acting performance this season. We could believe that this alone is why he was recast and aged up, but it could also be in anticipation of a bigger time jump before the next season. Messina was the only cast member young enough that it would be impossible to believe a time jump without recasting him.
A lot of other factors, though, make it seem possible that a time jump could be in the wings. Grace's death, in particular, would be very hard to write in the immediate aftermath, as the entire Stone family is going to need time to grieve. It would inevitably dominate their lives for quite some time.
The end of the Eureka storyline, the disappearance of the plane and even the tension and possible end of Michaela and Zeke's marriage are all things that could lend us to a jump as well, as they may also want to skip the dissolution of a marriage.
And then there's the show's ratings. It's been on the bubble for the past couple of seasons, so the writers may have ended things this way to give them some flexibility. If they can't get a vote of confidence from the network to complete their full six-season plan, this could be a backdoor that allows them to skip closer to the end.
That way if they only get a couple more seasons, or even just one, they'll still have the ability to actually end the story by simply jumping ahead that much closer to the Death Date of the Passengers and picking up the story there. It can end as planned, but just skip, condense or flashback to some of the other planned developments along the way.
Hopefully, if the network is considering pulling the plug, they'll at least see what the writers have offered in how this finale was structured and allow them the opportunity to finish the story one way or another (with one, two or three more seasons).