Episode 20 of Manifest season 4 begins with all of our main characters waking up, clutching at their memories of Cal, who suddenly disappeared in front of them. Everyone is in a state of shock and trying to explain this to Eden is not easy. However, judgment day is upon them as the ground starts to shake and the tremors get worse.
Out in the woods though, Olive and TJ notice a carving on the rock of a mountain with weighing scales either side. It’s the World card from the tarot deck. She brings in the rest of the group to check this and the meaning seems to show that the whole world is hanging in the balance. The inscriptions are difficult to decipher so the group decide that a few of them need to siphon through the old photo albums back home.
While half the group splits to sort this, the others (Saanvi, Michaela and Ben) go over their dream and how they woke up struggling to breathe. It seems like this might actually be a preview of how they die in the plane crash, rather than a remembrance toward Cal.
How are the passengers reunited?
TJ and Henry show up too, pointing out the giant beacon in the sky and they’re then joined by all the other passengers, who have all shown up to the spot. Hey, remember they’re supposed to be kept locked up and not allowed out? Anyway, let’s ignore that for now as it’s picture time!
Drea and Jared show at the Stone residence, but find the place empty given Angelina is gone. However, news starts to come in that the volcano has finally shown up and reports are spread across the globe. Jared and Drea double down their efforts to find the photos.
Drea and Jared search through the archives and finally find shots from the campsite. It shows the stone pretty clearly, with the inscription reading “Forgiveness lightens the heart.” It seems lightening the heart is as important as doing good deeds. This could be further linked to the judgment. Now, while these guys are looking through the pictures, we learn that Angelina has packed up with her flock and are en-route to the fissure.
When they stop for snacks at a rest stop, Eagan sabotages their truck and takes off before they can be followed. It buys the group precious time, as Eagan shows up and explains what he’s done with Ben and the others. There’s a big reunion with everyone, including plenty of callbacks to the past. The only ones missing from this big group are Angelina and her remaining seven passengers… and the deceased Captain of course.
What is the ark? What happens to Angelina?
In the middle of the night Ben gives a rousing speech telling them they’re at the end of everything and that Cal gathered everyone together for a divine reason and it was worth sacrificing himself for. He doesn’t get to finish his sentence though, as the ground suddenly opens up and the volcano springs forth. But not just any volcano, it’s the actual Flight 828 plane. It seems like Cal’s sapphire combined with a piece of Noah’s Ark after all, just like the two sapphire prophecy we heard before. It seems like this plane is the arc and they need to scramble onboard to save themselves.
Ben and Michaela believe they need to get on the plane, which is their only way to survive. As everyone stats bundling onboard Angelina and her followers arrive. There’s a stand-off outside as Angelina believes that the Lord needs to give her strength. and it comes from her losing her powers completely. Angelina is enraged and grabs a gun, shooting blindly and hitting Saanvi in the arm.
Ben picks up the gun himself and points it at Angelina. While he does, Olive realizes that the old drawing of Ben carrying her through the fire wasn’t actually her, it was Angelina. Ben realizes this himself too without picking his phone up and scoops her up, bringing her onboard, and placing her in her seat.
Who survives their judgment?
Amuta serves as the captain, given the real one is dead, and they manage to take off. In doing so, they manage to escape the hellscape that’s gripped the world and fly into the air. Multiple volcanoes begin to rise up and one by one, all the individual passengers begin to struggle breathing. They’re experiencing what our main ensemble did that very morning and chaos begins to grip everyone. In fact, one of the passengers suddenly shatters and turns into ash.
It seems like this is the moment of judgment and those who aren’t worthy are killed. Among those who are judged include Autumn and Paul who both turn to ash. As for Eagan, he believes he deserves to die and actually sacrifices himself to save Adrian. This moment of self sacrifices saves not only Aiden but also Eagan too. He’s judged to be worthy as a result of his selflessness.
Saanvi survives her judgment, but Angelina most certainly does not, as she shatters and turns to ash. In total, they lose 11 passengers. And then suddenly, we get a cameo from the Lost smoke monster. It materializes as the Angel of Death and the Stone family shout at the creature and manage to get it to disappear,. Through the power of shouting. And then, everything on the plane is silent. There’s no volcanic activity and it seems they’ve saved the world.
Everyone breathes a sign of relief and begin hugging and cheering. At the front though, Amuta finds the glow of a sapphire. Michaela believes they need to go right in the middle of this and fly into it. In doing so, the group find themselves in the middle of what seems to be purgatory. They all open the door and head out. The scene then shifts back in time to the fateful day the plane was supposed to land. Everyone is there, including Grace and a young Cal.
All the people they lost along the way are also back and this is their “gift”. Cal gets his childhood back and they get to repeat everything all over again. They’re all on this Lifeboat together and get a second chance. Although they all still have their memories, this time they can choose to do better. But… what of those people left behind? Is that reality completely erased? What about Eden and little Hope? Are they erased for good?
How does Manifest season 4 end?
Anyway, the deceased passengers are just shrugged off as a consequence of this I guess, as evidenced by Angelina’s dad who wants to know where his daughter is. And she’s obviously missing. As for Jared, he tells Michaela she has a choice to make and although she admits she does love him, Michaela wants different things and believes there’s someone better for Jared, breaking things off and returning his ring.
Michaela’s real love is Zeke, who’s still alive and he’s actually in the taxi outside. This is obviously their first meeting and she decides he should just drive. She calls this a “never0ending story” for them and off they go.
At the airport, police race to the scene after receiving word about the plane that’s just landed. It’s a confidential investigation, rookie Drea tells Jared, and they’re looking to find out more. With 11 people missing from the plane, Vance shows up and decides to look into this. Ben notices and chuckles to himself, as the rest of the passengers head out into the wider world.
The Episode Review
I’m not saying Manifest is the worst ending in TV show history, but it’s certainly close. I’m not sure if anything can match Game of Thrones season 8 dropping the ball quite so badly, and in a way, Manifest has always had this element of poor writing and cheap mystery box gimmicks hovering over it.
On paper, the ending is one of the most simplified and ridiculously inconsequential final chapters one could write. “And then he woke up and lived happily ever after, the end” is essentially the theme here. But yet, the irony is when you dive deeper into what’s happening, nothing has been resolved.
Are we in an alternate timeline? Is the whole hellscape Earth just gone and we’ve jumped back in time? And if we have, then what of Vance’s new investigation into the 11 missing passengers? Should Vance and the Director continue this line of questioning, this basically brings us right back to where we started from, as he’s going to start looking into all the passengers and realize there are things amiss and potentially detain everyone again.
It’s a crazy oversight, and the fact that Ben just shrugs off and smiles at Vance about to open an investigation, despite the elation at being reunited with Grace, only typifies the poor writing. There’s no way Ben would be happy about that.
And what of this lifeboat shenanigans? I thought (and please correct me if I’m wrong) the idea was that everyone survived and would be judged accordingly based on what they’ve done. Would it not have made more sense for the writers to let everyone survive but the passengers judged as “unworthy” to lose their memories of these 5 years and be none the wiser to change their ways, stuck back in their 5-years-back frame of mind. Thus, we don’t get an investigation and a potential repetition of the timeline. It’s such a simple way to at least try to wrap things up, if they’re going to go this cliched and rather insulting way to pay off us, the viewers.
When you cut through the fanservice reunions and the callbacks and member berries, you realize that erasing the last 5 years essentially negates almost everything we’ve seen over the last few seasons. Ben and Saanvi’s ties result in nothing. Any character development for pretty much everyone has gone, and even those moments that caused Grace and Ben to grow closer together are lost. And what of all those individual Callings? Just busywork to keep you watching. Especially those eventually judged “unworthy” on the plane at the end!
There will be some who like this ending and that’s absolutely fine but in terms of wrapping up 4 seasons of drama and giving fans a great deal of closure and answering all the questions raised, with real stakes and consequences, this one doesn’t just drop the ball, it hoofs it out the stadium and into the stratosphere. What a waste.