Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Manifest: Final Boarding

Olive: “Dad. I don't know how to reach you right now, but I think I just figured this out. The picture of you carrying me through the fire, it wasn't me. It was Angelina. ... Dad, the only way for you to survive your Death Date is to forgive Angelina. And I don't know – I don't know if you can do that.”

All the remaining passengers board the resuscitated plane to await judgment in a finale that is emotionally, if not always intellectually, satisfying.

When the passengers at the campsite wake up, they are gasping and clutching their hearts: symptoms of the deaths they may expect. Later, when they emerge from their assortment of tents, they discuss Cal and how he is gone, or rather, has joined with the sapphire. Olive uses her connection with her twin; it reassures Ben.

After discussion and running around and the discovery of a mysterious carving, the non-passengers are sent off to do some research to look through the slides of Karen Stone. The group includes Olive, Eden, Jared and Drea. It’s got some good sources of tension: not knowing if they’re going to find Angelina and her cult; Drea going into labor. I guess, as the world may end, it makes sense that no one suggests going to the hospital. Manifest also makes the interesting choice of not showing us an actual baby, maybe because it would be too cruel as that timeline gets wiped out?

But what Olive discovers, with her research linking Grandma Stone’s slides to the Al-Zuras journal, is the episode’s main message: a huge step to lightening your heart is forgiveness. Not just of yourself, as we learned when Michaela released a balloon with a note about her guilt in the death of Evie, but also in forgiving those who have wronged you. Ben has passionately and reasonably hated Angelina since she killed Grace and kidnapped Eden. Now we know why the image of Ben carrying Olive did not quite match the picture, something I noted at the time. It’s because it’s actually Ben carrying Angelina.

The lesson is both beautiful and difficult. For the world to truly heal, not only must the guilty make amends, but those who are wronged must forgive. Olive has this epiphany, but she can’t reach her father. She then has to help Jared and Drea and to take care of Eden.

In the meantime, passengers have been arriving at the fissure. After the sun sets, but on what is still June 2, 2024, the airplane comes out of the fissure. The door opens, and the lava/asphalt reforms itself to be a sort of ramp leading up to the open door.

They are being told to go inside. For judgment. That's terrifying.

Eagan and Adrian were able to delay Angelina and her group from coming. She arrives with a shotgun and tells everyone to get off “her” plane. Her ark. It’s interesting that she interprets it as what God brought back for her, while Ben sees it as something his son brought back for all of them.

It also gives me another perspective on the story about the Ark story in the Bible. Perhaps Noah was a selfish, puritanical dude who should have allowed many more people on his boat.

Angelina – not entirely on purpose – shoots and wounds Saanvi, reminding us that she murdered Grace. Saanvi’s injury, however, is painful but not dangerous. The relative harm done to Grace and to Saanvi by Angelina seems to reflect how close they are to Ben; the more Ben feels for each woman, the worse the injury.

Ben, standing with the shotgun Angelina dropped, hears her say that she never meant to kill Grace, and that she always feels guilty about this. We saw this guilt once before: she was surprised in an earlier episode when her mother told her that Grace had died. Still, Angelina stabbed Grace – just a light stabbing? Knife wounds are often more dangerous than bullet wounds because of blood loss. Angelina certainly meant to kidnap Eden; Angelina also murdered pilot Bill Daly and Fiona Clarke, the pair who returned from the glow.

Ben does not shoot. He throws down the gun and picks up Angelina. I don’t know whether it’s complete forgiveness, but at least he puts the well-being of all the passengers above his own anger. And we get the image that was in the Al-Zuras journal, with the woman being in the correct position and wearing a dress instead of how Olive was dressed during the nightclub fire.

It’s time for judgment. Including my judgment on the series. I am mixed on the idea that we judge ourselves. There’s plenty of merit in the notion. I mostly prefer the idea that we’re responsible for our own codes of ethics; I sure don’t care for most organized religions these days.

On the other hand, if we judge ourselves, we may be able to talk ourselves out of guilt we need to feel. Angelina has maintained throughout much of Manifest that she was the one who was wronged, betrayed, etc. Despite the two occasions (that I remember) when she acknowledged some guilt, she has spent most of the time convicted throughout so much of the series that she was in the right. Was she doubting herself all along? Could she have ever forgiven herself? Even though watching her turn to ash is satisfying emotionally, it just doesn’t seem right.

Also, is this why Michaela had a Calling in Costa Rica to liberate Angelina? So that she would murder Grace so that Ben would learn forgiveness?

Adrian and Eagan, however, are able to talk themselves out of feeling guilty and manage to survive. They need each other to do that. Saanvi, who has an extremely sensitive conscience, is also about to go up in smoke when Ben talks her out of it. It appears that, in order to forgive ourselves, we often need the assistance of others. Ben does not help Angelina through this.

Then, as in what happened with the meth heads, black smoke appears, this times as the angel of death, I guess, ready to take the remaining passengers. However, this time Ben and Michaela fight it back. How come they’re able to fight it off this time? It’s not like they didn’t all fight when Kory and Pete were being taken down by the dark spirit of Jace. Why do the passengers survive this time?

But survive they do – most of them – and land back on April 7, 2013. In this timeline, Grace, young Olive, Steve and Karen Stone decide to wait for 828. When Grace asks, where's Cal?, Ben's face falls, only to be replaced with great relief when Cal, the younger version, reappears with all the others who died in the alternate timeline, except for the eleven passengers who imploded.

TJ sees his mother again – she had killed herself when 828 disappeared – but he is disappointed to discover that the love of the past timeline is back to being a kid (but young Olive still thinks he’s cute). We don’t know if they will reconnect at some point in the future or not. But he walks off with Violet, who had a sweet date with Cal, also now in the way-too-young category. As TJ and Violet are both long and leggy, they look good together.

Eagan and Adrian go off together. Somehow, their pairing reminds me of the end of Casablanca, with the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Eagan reaches out to his father, who hangs up on him. That relationship will need work to repair, but all the surviving passengers have learned the importance of persistence.

Ben is reunited with Grace, and says Cal will be healed and mentions their third kid. Ben’s got some explaining to do.

Some of the best final scenes are with Michaela. Of course, she hugs her mother, again and again. But this time when she meets Jared, she breaks up with him at once. This is the right thing to do. When you’re not committed to a relationship, you can’t wait for the other person to break up with you; you need to do it yourself. This is much kinder than stringing them along.

Michaela remembers something else: that Zeke was working as a cab driver when 828 went missing. She runs out along the line of taxis, looking at the various drivers, and finds him. And then tells another potential passenger (passenger for the cab, not from 828) that this is her husband. The scene where she jumps in the front seat and starts talking is a lot of fun.

The passengers are now in a similar position that their acquaintances, friends and family were at the beginning of Manifest: they now all have five and a half years of extra memories.

Title musings: “Final Boarding” is the title of the episode, and most travelers will recognize it as the last call before an airplane flight departs and will – if they have ever rushed across an airport, trying to catch a flight – feel the urgency of the words. The title is perfect.

Bits and pieces

For all the passengers to make it to the Ark site, they would all need to be in the area. Huh, maybe the Callings wanted most of them to be locked in the Detention Center.

Michaela joins Amuta in the cockpit, reminding us of the episode "High Flight."

Passengers turning into piles of ash does not make sense to me. I can understand the gasping people would feel at a midair plane explosion, but – and I am no expert – would that make them crack like they do and implode with fire? However, it does look like the cracks from the volcanos we’re seeing everywhere and it does seem like judgment.

At the beginning of season four, in "Touch-and-Go," I remarked on Michaela’s new do, with her hair parted in the middle instead of on the side. It looked better and it seemed to signal that time had passed, which it had (two years). But it turns out there was a plot reason for it, so that when she stepped back into 2013, we are shown that she is her younger self again with her hair parted on the side.

Something similar happens to many of the guys. Many grew beards in season four, something that, as far as I can tell, is more fashionable now than it was a few years ago, so it made sense. But when they step off the plane into 2013, they are mostly clean shaven again.

Given that eleven passengers simply disappeared from the plane – or turned into piles of dust – I am amazed they were allowed to depart. There’s a good chance that they’re all going to be questioned by Vance and maybe locked up due to their mass delusion. On the other hand, so many of them have information about events and even Vance that they should be able to persuade him.

The condition of the passengers when they return is inconsistent. Cal is young again; Michaela’s hair is as it was, but Saanvi is injured.

Ugh, the Major is still alive! And so are the meth heads. And Zeke is still completely under the thumb of his addictions.

Wonder if the actor who plays Dr. Alex Bates was pregnant during the filming of the last episodes of season four and that is why we didn’t see her until this last episode. Her face has the fullness that I associate with pregnancy and her outfit when she greets Saanvi could be hiding a pregnancy.

Am worried about Cal. Yes, Saanvi will cure him but in the alternate timeline, Cal gets sick again.

Anyway, one reason Holly Taylor might have been cast was because she’s so tiny (5’3”), which makes her easier to carry. Luna Blaise is only a little taller (5’5”).

More than once, Angelina – when she was wearing Olive's clothes – was mistaken for Olive. All this time they mistook Olive for Angelina in the picture.

At the end we see police arriving (including Drea) and Robert Vance, to figure out how eleven passengers disappeared. Expect Vance and Ben will get to know each other again.

The poem "High Flight," quoted in the episode with the same name, with the phrase “the delirious burning blue” makes me wonder if that was why Manifest chose to use sapphire. However, sapphire was already associated with some ancient stories.


Olive: Hey. I can still feel him, Dad. I know he's not here. But he's here.
Ben: Thanks, Ol. I needed to hear that.

Michaela: Ben, we've seen what happens to people on the Death Date. It's not pretty. I think it's better if the girls are as far away from here as possible.

Saanvi: No, maybe this wasn't a panic attack. Maybe it's a preview. Accelerated heartbeat, disorientation, lack of oxygen.
Michaela: Like Zeke's body getting cold and being covered in ice. I think this is how we're supposed to die.
Ben: As if we exploded in a plane crash.

Eden: What happened to our house?

Michaela: Wow. Not expecting you guys to show up and definitely not together.
Ben: Kind of thought you were a lost cause.
Adrian: I convinced him it's never too late to tip the scales towards—
Eagan: Yada, yada. I got off the Kool-Aid. Or on it. Who the hell knows?

Michaela: The plane, it's our version of the scales.
Ben: You're right. Time for our judgment.
Michaela: Everyone, we gotta get on the plane.
Eagan: The plane that the earth just threw up? That plane?

Ben: You're meant to be on that plane, Angelina. We all are. The plane isn't here for just you.
Angelina: But it is, Ben. God is ending the world like he did in the time of Noah. And just as he saved Noah and his family, he will now save my family.
Michaela: Cal brought the plane back, Angelina, for all of us.

Bethany: Okay, everyone. Fasten your seat belts. Are there seat belts? Okay. If there's someone or something you pray to, this would be a good time to check in.

Michaela: TJ, he stopped a murder! Joe, he prevented a trafficking ring! And Adrian, he stopped a boy from drowning!
Ben: Astrid saved a boy's life! Radd helped free his innocent son, and on and on and on and on! We're not perfect, but we've done the best we can. Isn't that enough? Isn't that enough? Isn't that enough?
Thomas: Two more seconds, and whatever that was would have gotten peed on.

Amuta: The long, delirious burning blue. So, what now?
Michaela: Last time the glow chased us. This time, we're gonna chase it. Take us into the middle of it.
Amuta: Copy that, Captain.
Michaela: You're actually just gonna copy that? I truly have, like, zero experience.
Amuta: This situation wasn't in the training manual.

Michaela: This trip made me realize a lot, and it made me realize that we want different things, and I don't wanna change, and I do not want you to change. I think there's someone better out there for you. Someone who wants everything that you want. And as long as I'm here, Jared, I'm gonna cloud everything, and it's gonna take you forever to figure that out. I'm backing out, because you guys are going to find a way to each other. Don't ask me how, but you will.

Michaela: This is my husband. Do you mind taking another cab?
Zeke: Hi – honey.
Michaela: Thanks for that.
Zeke: That usually work?
Michaela: Oh, I don't know. I've never tried it.

Overall rating

I really enjoyed this, especially the second time I watched it. The stuff about forgiveness was excellent and it hit the emotional notes we needed hit. Also, although the episode did not answer the big questions as well as I would like, philosophers and religions and the human race have not been able to answer most of these questions for the last few millennia. I think Manifest was brave for asking them.

I’ve been teetering between three and a half versus four, but given how much I have written in this review (as well as what I did not put in), I can see the show really made me think. Four out of four never-ending stories.

Victoria Grossack loves math, birds, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. Victoria, big congratulations on finishing your Manifest reviews! I had some strong (and mostly positive) reactions to this finale that I promise to post here soon.

  2. Okay. Pretty early on in the second half of the fourth season, the fact that Zeke was still in the cast even though he was only "visiting" suggested strongly to me that the ending of the series would be a reset with 828 landing and everyone reverting back to where they were so that Michaela and Ben would get their spouses back. So I wasn't surprised when it happened. I thought it was a risky choice by the writers, but emotionally it was perfect.

    Frustrating in other ways, though. I felt particularly bad that Olive got reset when she had become such a mature and knowledgeable young woman.

    But all in all, I enjoyed Manifest. It wasn't perfect, but they did tie up the story in a bow and it was an interesting series. I don't know if I'd watch it again. Maybe. Thanks for reviewing the series, Victoria. I probably wouldn't have gone back to it if you hadn't.

    1. I also study the credits of various shows to see which characters will survive. And yes, Olive lost the most growth by returning to her youth - but in many ways, she and Cal suffered more than any of the adults (well, excepting those who were tortured by the Major). And, if the plane goes back in time, she becomes young again as well.
      I will certainly rewatch this; I always pick up more stuff during repeat viewings. Besides, I usually have trouble starting a new show.

  3. I have been doing a rewatch of the series - I have trouble letting go - and I noticed details that I missed earlier. In an earlier episode, Olive refers to a version of the story of Noah - in an edition of Gilgamesh - where he was a really selfish guy. So that tracks. Also, in another episode, Autumn and Angelina did conspire to murder Astrid, so no wonder they both turned into dust.

  4. Okay, so who else cheered out loud when Angelina exploded?! That was so satisfying. Her realizing that she got it wrong.

    Though this didn’t answer the question directly of where they were for five years (the glow?) or why Angelina needed to be saved, it actually had a lovely message abt taking care of each other, forgiveness, being thankful, patience, and taking charge of your life and decisions.

    The plane rising from the fissure though? That really strained credibility, as did the ground then molding into a runway.

    But I got a huge smile that I wasn’t expecting when Mick hugged her mother, and when she saw Zeke in the taxi. And that was enough to make me satisfied with this ending.

    Thank you Victoria for your reviews. You did a great job!


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.