Manifest – Season 4 Episode 20 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Final Boarding

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.

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You can read our full season review for Manifest season 4 here!

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11 thoughts on “Manifest – Season 4 Episode 20 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. It was a simple ending, for a not-great mystery. It’s all just a simplified End of Days story. Random passengers picked to decide the fate of the world. You can overthink why those particular people were chosen, but it really comes down to humans being tested to see if they are worthy of God’s favor.

    The writing was never great and at the get-go I really hoped it was an actual mystery and not some religious story. I only stuck it out to see how they ended it. I am not sure why the reviewer is so stuck on the 5.5 years being a waste: it wasn’t. The passengers were tested, those that passed got a do-over. To them, the lessons have been learned. Now the story could have addressed whether those people would come back and be evangelicals, but as we all know, the writing was not strong enough, or the show-runners just didn’t give a toss.

    The ending is just “meh” to me. There is no way I could conjure the outrage I had for the ending of GoT, this story never had that level of writing or character development. This story will soon fade into nothingness in my brain.

  2. I enjoyed the first two seasons of this show, but as I progressed into season 3, I noticed the scripts were worse and worse. There was a lot of nonsense that appeared to have been written by a child. The characters were making foolish decisions, and many events were inexplicably tied to God and divine explanations which I was unable to understand. Everything was too over complicated.

    Anyway, I watched all season 4 in one go, mainly because I wanted to see how everything would conclude. I must say that I’m not surprised about the ending but it’s still disappointing to completely erase the history of all the people that were not on the plane (Drea, Grace, Eden, Zeke…)

  3. I waded through season 4 because I enjoyed the first three. However, the writing and the acting were the stuff of high school plays. I decided to watch it all the way to the end, and by the time I got done, I had a massive headache from all the eye rolling that was required. Ben was so sappy. Everyone overacted. Scripts were trite. Geesh, what a waste

  4. Contrary to these posts, I think the finale was absolutely fabulous. I guess everyone always wants a bloody sad ending, but this one was awesome. They returned 4.5 years later without a lost second in time. The only lingering issues was CPT. Bailey. Awesome and unexpected ending.

  5. Well this show has actually been nice but has a terrible ending,like too much happiness,what of olive and tj,vance,ben and saanvi,eden and hope like what does flight 828 mean

  6. Very disappointing last 10 episodes! What a waste of time and energy! Did the Writer’s Strike have something to do with this?

  7. All I can say is, like the show character, enough hugging already. Too much hugging and crying and phoney sentimentality. What a wasted ending from what began with promise as a great mystery story.

  8. So, basically, they pulled out the old Newhart finale and decided the whole series was just a dream?

  9. This is in my opinion the worst ending any series could ever have, We were taken on a ride on connection between the gods and humans, and its special bond using the “Callings”. All of it was a waste at end, as we did not get to know why was it happening, all the science behind it, and what could have been the reason, why Angelina was chosen, A shit show to be honest.

  10. Definitely the worst, stupidest ending of all times! None of the numerous mysteries are solved, such as « why are the fates of the passengers linked to the end of the world? », why did this particular plane disappear, and so on.
    Only super cheesy and empty feel good drama, while I was expecting answers.

  11. As much I enjoyed the show over the years and rejoice when it was saved from cancellation. I have to say that the last 10 episode could have generate much more suspense and mystery but it was bogged down by too much feel good human drama . Even the Angelina character lost the spark of being a great villain The last episode was exciting to start off but the last 15 minutes felt like a cop out pretty much how it reminds me of the last episode of Lost when you felt you wasted many years of watching a good show then give you a unsatisfactory closure. Good point regarding Ben looking at Vance going to investigate the eleven missing passengers, he should be worried as this could reignite the fate of flight 828. Instead it was overlooked for a happy ending. The annoying thing is that the writers had the time to make this show worthy of a great sci-fi but decided to rush the whole thing because it was coming to a end. I think the period when they were in the midst of cancellation they gave up hope of make it a better show with a better ending.

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