The Netflix Series Manifest Gets Off to a Strong Start in Its Final Season
In a manner similar to the passengers of Montego Airways Flight 828, Manifest has (finally) risen from the grave. After three seasons on NBC, it looked like we were going to see another mystery box show get canceled without a proper conclusion. Netflix had purchased the rights to stream the
In a manner similar to the passengers of Montego Airways Flight 828, Manifest has (finally) risen from the grave.
After three seasons on NBC, it looked like we were going to see another mystery box show get canceled without a proper conclusion. Netflix had purchased the rights to stream the first two seasons, but at first decided not to renew the show. However, the show's success on a new platform led Netflix to renew it for a final fourth season. A bonus is that the final season will be the longest one yet, with 20 episodes split into two 10-part parts. Although creator and showrunner Jeff Rake had planned for six seasons, an extended fourth season is nothing to scoff at, especially with the promise of a conclusion in sight.
The best part about Manifest being so long-running is that the show has no longer proven its worth to anyone. Everyone who cares about the show has committed at this point, and they all know exactly what they're in for. As someone who has watched all three seasons of Manifest on television, I can say without reservation that it is the lovechild Lost and Riverdale never knew they had. A child was mysteriously aged up by five and a half years by a magical and divine entity, and this was all tied together with some ethereally glowing objects and brain scans. There were also missing planes, government conspiracies, and a possible supernatural being involved. We knew going in that this place would be ridiculous, and now the hilarity is in full effect.
Season 4 begins two years after Grace Stone's death and Angelina, the evangelical heretic from Season 3, kidnaps Eden Stone because she thinks the baby is her guardian angel. By putting the June 2, 2024 death date and the rest of Flight 828's passengers out of his mind, Ben is clearly living a nightmare version of his life as he tries to find Eden. He's out of options, the police have moved on, and 828ers everywhere are having it get that much tougher. Since the recovered front of the plane vanished with the pilot inside, not much has happened. This has forced Cal's family to publicly declare Cal missing while he pretends to be Olive's cousin Gabriel.
Cal is stuck pretending to be someone else and isn't allowed to have much of a life while Ben exhausts himself searching for Eden. Cal's clearly unhappy with the way his life has turned out, as evidenced by his name change and disappearance, and the fact that he has no friends or acquaintances outside of his immediate family. As if that wasn't bad enough, Cal feels even less wanted because of Ben's single-minded pursuit of Eden. The father and son may seem distant in the first few episodes, but they are both suffering greatly internally.
Now returning to the main plot, Mick receives a message that directs her to the passenger who has the black box from Flight 828. Once the box is in Saanvi and Vance's possession, the Stones and other passengers on Flight 828 begin receiving unexpected calls. Apart from the 828 crew, Zeke goes through his own struggles with his empath powers, and overall, what we get from Netflix is very solidly Manifest, with no egregious changes to the format of the series. Ben, Cal, Saani, and even Olive are all lost at the beginning of the season when there is almost no 828 activity to be found, but they eventually find their way back to themselves and it's nice to see some simple relationships develop between them. when there are so many other shows out there that demand all of your mental resources but don't have as much forward character development Not that there isn't plenty to ponder in Manifest; however, the show's mysteries and drama have always prioritized being entertaining over being intellectually challenging, and it's great to see that they still are.
A tweak to just one aspect of the show would have been fantastic, though. In spite of how skillfully the show has kept us on its very strange ride, every season of Manifest has featured at least one truly awful romantic subplot. Although romantic subplots are welcome in science fiction shows in general, they have never found a good home in this one. The romantic beats in stories always feel forced or undervalued, no matter how crucial they are to the character arc. Again, Mick is left to deal with the aftermath of her relationship with Jared, and another relationship is revealed that seems like it could lead to a betrayal plotline, but ultimately, neither of these strands develops into anything substantial. While that is likely for the best, it would be nice to see a romantic subplot thrive in this space for however brief a period it may be.
That said, the lackluster romantic subplot only serves to reassure us that Manifest is still the same show we've always known. But just because a show is saved by a streaming service doesn't mean it will maintain its integrity. Although Lucifer's time on Netflix was ultimately beneficial, neither Designated Survivor nor Arrested Development could say the same. Fans of Manifest can count themselves lucky that the show fits into the latter category; even though it won't air for as many seasons as desired, it's clear that the cast and crew are committed to giving the show a fitting conclusion.
On Friday, November 4th, all 10 episodes of Season 4 Part 1 of Manifest will be available on Netflix for the first time.
Whenever given the opportunity, Kathryn Porter, a freelance writer, will go on and on about anything entertaining. You can follow her on Twitter at @kaechops.
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