‘Manifest’ Season Four Preparation: A Refresher On Where We Left Off In The 828 Saga

After NBC cancelled Manifest — a sci-fi-ish series that doesn’t aim to be logical at all, and it’s not objectively good, but it’s nonetheless entertaining in a soap-operatic way — Netflix saw their streaming figures and decided to pounce. It sure didn’t make much sense that NBC made that call at the same time that the show sat at #1 on Netflix’s chart, but it’s all working out for showrunner Jeff Rake, cast, and crew. Sure, we won’t receive the six planned seasons, but a fourth season will aim to put a bow on events in a supersized way with 20 episodes, although a firm release date (on multiple batches of episodes) remains up in the air.

We should hear more on timing soon, and hopefully, we’ll receive definitive answers on why Flight 828 disappeared off the radar for five years with everyone onboard surfacing like they’d only been gone for a few hours while life on the Earth’s surface kept trucking. Before that happens, let’s refresh ourselves on what happened at the end of Season 3. This obviously isn’t going to be a comprehensive account because, yikes, there’s a lot to catch up on before heading back into this giant mess of a show.

Key relationships repaired themselves toward the end of the Season 3, but total harmony wasn’t achieved:

— Michaela Stone and Jared Vasquez straightened out their tension, which was quite a feat after Jared decided to give up on Michaela (who, to be fair, was wishy washy about saying yes to marriage) when all Flight 828 passengers were presumed dead. She had suspected him of trying to sabotage her at work and with the cult, but he was only working undercover. And he lost his wife, probably because she sensed that he still loved Michaela. These two didn’t get back together, however, because Michaela married Zeke, who was on the brink of death, but not quite! Zeke lives, but I suspect Zeke may die inside if Michaela decides that she’s still into Jared.

– Ben and Grace Stone had long since recovered from her unintentional affair while he was in flight. They had a baby, and this caused Grace to somehow start to have callings even though she wasn’t on the 828. Olive felt left out and fell into the cult, but she appears to be out of that business. Unfortunately, Grace died in the Season 3 finale due to stab wounds after an attack by Angelina, who kidnaps baby Eden. While Grace is dying, Cal appears in her visions as a teenager, and he tells her that he’ll take care of things, and all will be well. This is wild, considering that Cal’s callings amped up and caused him even more physical suffering in Season 3.

– Saanvi went off the rails, and it seemed that all was lost with her becoming quite the obstacle and unlikeable character. Still, her callings led her to some redemption (she did kill The Major), and she sent the tailfin back where it belonged (the ocean), but this moment led to a confusing twist. Ben and Saanvi ended up back on the 828 in the midst of a calling, where Cal lets his father know that he’s outta there, whatever that means. Does Cal live or die? That remains unclear, as do all the possible implications of the government’s unknown role in Flight 828’s 5-year disappearance and the aftermath.

What should we make of the cryptic Season 4 teaser?

– Michaela and the shipyard are about as clear as mud right now. It would be nice to see a full-on trailer soon, but for now, we’ve seen Michaela walking around in very inappropriate footwear in the fine tradition of Jurassic World or something. She stumbled upon a bloody arm that looks like it has her last name and 828 etched into the skin, and there’s a heavy suggestion that she was somehow — along with Ben and Cal — predestined to be on Flight 828. My personal take here is that this is a lesson to never accept flight vouchers to take a later flight, and screw fate, but (clearly) I’m not writing this show.

From there, I can only speculate on what the show’s “Death Date” ultimately means:

– Will everyone spew water and die? That oft-mentioned day — June 2, 2024 — is apparently when Flight 828 passengers are all supposed to croak. Presumably, this happening will be permanently negated at some point, but I wonder if that day was originally projected to be the series finale air date. Since that six-season plan ended up on the chopping block, I’m not sure how relevant that date is with our viewer-bound reality, but I’m sure the writers will paint themselves in or out of that corner in an entertaining way.

What of horror maestro Stephen King’s wishes for the final season?

– I love that King nerds out over this show. And I hope he live-tweets every episode as he watches. His enthusiasm undoubtedly carried some weight in Netflix’s decision to resurrect the show, and even with pandemic delays, all of this is happening when there was never any guarantee in the first place. King went in with a hashtag, and he knows good TV (and can make accurate predictions about it), so his requests are worth listening to as well.

King’s hopes are as simple but telling: “I hope they can avoid ‘It’s complicated’ and ‘Trust me.’ Otherwise, I can’t wait.”

And I gotta agree with the Cell and The Shining author. For sure, Michaela said “trust me” (or a variant) far too many times after receiving convenient crime-solving clues from voices in her head. Yet I hope that, at some point, she does get some solid nap time in. It must be exhausting to have lived through coming back from the dead only to realize that everyone was gonna think she’s nuts. As always, things are complicated in this universe, but Jeff Rake will hopefully deliver the passengers to a conclusion that’s satisfying for the audience.

Manifest is currently streaming Seasons 1-3 on Netflix.