Fool Me Twice
After 13 episodes of soap opera drama, a breadcrumb trail of little clues along the way and plenty of unanswered questions, Manifest attempts to deliver a thrilling finale which unfortunately turns hollow and underwhelming by season’s end, with no definitive answers and plenty of contradictory material to chew over. All of this builds up to yet another cliffhanger ending and the hopes that people tune in for season 3. Only, do you really want to put yourself through another 13 episodes of a mystery box that remains firmly shut?
The season 2 finale of Manifest essentially revolves around Cal’s kidnapping. Michaela promises Ben and Grace she’ll get Cal back while Zeke’s condition worsens upstairs in bed, especially given his death is prophesied to be less than a day away. Michaela meanwhile, heads to the police station and gets the entire box of meth out the evidence locker. With Vasquez by her side, they return to Ben’s house and phone the dealers, eager to sort out an exchange.
Saanvi and Vance scout out The Major as she heads on the boat across the New York river. Saanvi sneaks on-board and waits until she’s alone before trying to negotiate with her. Only, she’s one step ahead and reveals she’s been monitoring the entire family all this time.
The exchange goes ahead but unfortunately things go sideways thanks to Michaela’s poorly thought out plan. Back home they’re forced to phone the police as Ben and the others try to do things above board after Michaela apologises to Ben.
Cal manages to convince one of the dealers to send a message to his family reading “Tell Mom and Doug I’m okay”. Olive manages to decipher the message and realize this links to an abandoned diner he may be held at. Instead of going through the police, they head out together alone, along with a deteriorating Zeke.
The Captain arrives at Grace’s house but, realizing what’s happening, attempts to phone through for back-up. Grace manages to stop her though, convincing the Captain that it’s going to endanger Cal.
Saanvi sees The Major again and tries to convince her to save Zeke. Only, it turns out there’s no cure and the government intended to use this as a viral weapon. After inadvertently killing her in a playground, Saanvi runs away.
While the 3 dealers are distracted, Cal sneaks out the back door of the cabin he’s being held in while Michaela and Ben head in through the front. A chase ensues, as the dealers rush after Cal while Michaela and Ben hurry after them all.
All of this crescendos into a stand-off on a frozen lake as Zeke arrives. A lightning blast suddenly knocks Cal and the dealers into the water as Zeke hurries in to save him. Although Cal is rescued, Zeke is not so lucky. Only, suddenly out of nowhere a blast of light saves him and everyone heads home to celebrate.
While Saanvi wallows in her grief after murdering The Major, Ben decides that saving people is the way to beat the Death Date while Michaela chalks it up to a good old fashioned miracle. As the episode closes out, Ben has another Calling of the plane blowing up as we cut to the middle of the ocean where a group of fishermen see a chunk of the plane dug up from underground where the episode ends.
The Episode Review
Where did the lightning come from? What was the blast of light that saved Zeke? What is the point of the Death Date if it can be stopped by saving people? And wouldn’t this make Ben immune to it given he saved TJ from the fire? There’s a lot of questions being raised here and the season 2 finale of Manifest does absolutely nothing to answer any of these.
Given the miraculous fake-out deaths this season, I’d like to think this is all a nightmare and the passengers are really in a coma after the real plane crashed in the ocean, blowing up in the air. The passenger Death Dates relate to being brought back to the real world and out of this comatose state while Zeke just happens to be a casualty that was out on the open sea and close to freezing to death until the plane crash-landed around him.
It’s admittedly a bit of a stretch but then when it comes to Manifest, anything could happen and it looks like all our characters have a thick layer of plot armour to prevent any of them dying, losing that crucial element of tension the show so desperately needs.
With the three drug dealers potentially still being alive, The Major’s underwhelming demise and no answers to the big mysteries in the show, Manifest is a mystery box that’s almost certainly going to remain shut for the foreseeable future. The longer the show goes on for, the harder it’s going to be to satisfy people.
“What was the point in us coming back in the first place?” Michaela mentions earlier in the episode and this, more than anything else this season, is the most meaningful thing any character has said in this show. And she’s right. What was the point in us coming back in the first place for season 2? Will this show be renewed for a third season? It’s the biggest question mark of all but given the lack of answers, I’m not convinced we’ll get any next time either.