Anyone with Netflix might have noticed Manifest is currently #1 in the US today. The second half of Season 4 (and series finale) dropped on Friday, and I am one of many who immediately dropped everything to watch. Granted, I have the attention span of a gnat and didn't finish until today, but can I just say... Wow.
That's it. Just wow.
Manifest is one of those shows that reminds you immediately of Lost, but it also resembles Travelers (shakes my fist at the cosmos for that cancellation), but it does everything right these two shows failed to do. Yes, there are weird mysteries, some familiar tropes, and bad people still suck, but lemme tell you in a spoiler free way: you will not see that ending coming. I've analyzed every episode in my head, turning over every theory and still couldn't have dreamed up that ending in a half-baked state. The way it all ties together is incredible, and though there are still questions, it's such a minor thing compared to the overall picture.
The premise of the supernatural drama is a plane mysteriously disappears for five and a half years, but for the passengers, it's only been a matter of hours. As they adjust to the reality of losing a large chunk of their lives, the mysteries keep piling on from eerie "Callings" to the medically impossible marvels).
This is a show that very much focuses on character development. As a character driven author, I love this. I admire and respect how much time the show takes to explore the large cast as the actors truly embrace their characters. They all shine in their own ways, and there's almost never a wasted opportunity. Some people are good, others are bad, but they're all united by the same event. They're in this together for better or worse (quite literally), and the evolution of the characters is natural. There are minor exceptions where someone will do something to make me raise an eyebrow, but really, these are little things and in no way detract from the masterpiece this final season became.
Without spoilers, I'll just say to pay close attention to the journeys. Take note of their connections. Watch them grow. Smile and cry with them on their bumpy paths.
My personal favorite throughout the series would be Saanvi, who grew as much as the Stone siblings, if not more. She did some really messed up things, but she also did her best to do the right thing. Absolutely loved her character throughout her entire arc and couldn't have asked for a better conclusion.
As for Josh Dallas as Benjamin Stone, I'll admit at first, I had doubts. He's an exceptional actor and I adored him as Prince Charming in Once Upon a Time. His love for Snow White and his daughter was epic, and I swear he's one of the few men who can cry while being so transparent and vulnerable and not make me feel awkward. But that was the problem: I felt like I was watching a paranormal version of Charming and wanted to see a different range. But this final season showed me that range, and Josh truly embodies his character with a genuine, raw passion that warmed my heart.
Michaela had a pretty rough journey too, as did Cal and everyone else, but those two deserve a medal for their sorrows, strength, and resilience. The Stones are the glue that hold everyone and everything together.
Four years. Four years, we've been waiting for this ending, sometimes not knowing if there would be a final season. The series had been intended to last six seasons, but faced the chopping block at the end of Season 3 when NBC cancelled it. Then, a miracle occurred: Netflix aired the series, and it became an unexpected hit overnight. Suddenly, everyone had to watch and know what happened. Stephen King unofficially led the campaign on Twitter for a revival, and we all know how slim those chances tend to be. But Netflix saved it. They gave the show creators one season, consisting of twenty episodes, to wrap things up.
Was it enough? I think so. I'm sad it wasn't longer, but the creators also didn't disappoint. The last two episodes in particular are the most emotional, and I was ready to cry. I didn't even cry over Titanic or Mufasa in the Lion King. It's like I'm broken or something, but I was ready to search for those tissues because this is the stuff that guts you and compels you to keep watching. And though I believe bittersweet endings are often necessary, I hate them. Not because it's not all gooey feel-good (I hate that too when it's unrealistic), but because it makes me sad. Deeply and thoroughly in despair for all those little things that could have or might have been. Or things I secretly hoped for but didn't get. But that's why it's so perfect. It made me feel for those characters. I fell in love and rooted for them to the very end.
I'm very sad it's all over, but the silver lining is that now I can rewatch this from start to finish and see what I missed before. I can immerse myself once again in such a clever and emotional show before I say my own final goodbyes to the passengers I've grown attached to.
And just to reiterate: this is the perfect ending we all never knew we needed. Other shows need to take notes because Manifest set the bar pretty high.
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