The characters on Manifest all carry the weight of being “the returned” passengers of Flight 828.
But no character has been more crucial to the storyline and the overarching mystery than Cal Stone played by the brilliant Jack Messina.
Despite being the ‘holy grail,’ the 11-year-old has infused Cal with depth, wit, and innocence resulting in one of the brightest young characters on television. On Manifest Season 2 Episode 13, he befriended and evaded his kidnappers, he’s helped his father, Ben Stone, decode many Callings, and he’s the reason Zeke is even in their lives.
Cal may just be the answer to all of our burning questions.
Thankfully, off-screen, Messina’s life is less focused on plane conspiracy theories and more rooted in enjoying his time on set, honing in on his craft, and schoolwork.
Check out the interview below:
The season finale of Manifest was wild and you did a great job as Cal! What insight have you gotten about where his storyline might go in season 3?
I have zero insight on where Cal’s storyline might go. Every episode surprises me, and the cast is never told ahead of time what is going to happen. I can’t wait to see though.
Where are we at on a season 3 renewal? Manifesters are hoping you have some good news for us!
I haven’t heard anything yet about season 3, but the Upfronts are coming in May. We should know by then.
Cal initially brought Zeke to the Stone family through a Calling, and Zeke returned the favor by saving Cal from the kidnappers. Does their connection play deeper into the story?
I think it will. Cal and Zeke have a special bond. I’m sure it will continue.
Is the flash of light that saved Zeke the same one that affected Flight 828? Why did he survive?
I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s a good guess that the lightening is connected somehow. I think Zeke survived by saving Cal.
What Happened at the End of ‘Manifest’?
Manifest’s Flight 828 officially landed.
*** Warning – stop reading if you have not watched the final episodes of Manifest Season 4 – spoilers ahead ***
And not just because the final 10 episodes dropped on June 2, 2023, but because the previously doomed flight finally landed on April 7, 2013, as it was supposed to—and with plenty of backstories that the passengers (the ones that survived the Death Date anyway) will forever carry with them. They’ve been bonded through a shared experience—shared trauma, if you will—that no one else can even begin to understand.
When the series first premiered, it was a rather interesting and unique premise as passengers from a flight that was considered missing landed in New York on November 8, 2018. While they thought they’d only been gone a few hours, they were actually gone for five years. As they readjusted to their “new normal” they began to experience Callings, which they eventually realized they had to solve in order to keep the Life Boat—captained by Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh)—afloat.
By following the Callings, they were one step closer to redemption, thus, beating the Death Date when it finally arrived on June 2, 2024. On Manifest Season 4 Part 2, that day finally came, and while no one was sure if they’d done enough, they really had no other choice but to weigh their souls and find out.
Cal, who was described as the “Holy Grail” over the course of four seasons, finally understood his purpose in the overall mission, making the sacrifice to merge with the other sapphire in the driftwood at Storm King Mountain in hopes of preventing the apocalypse.
Once that happened, the end of times began, with all of the passengers getting called to the exact same spot on the mountain where the earth began to crack and lava began to pour out.
And from there, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the missing plane emerged, completely intact, and ready for the final flight.
All of the passengers began boarding the vessel, which Angelina and her merry band of followers attempted to thwart, unsuccessfully, might I add. When Angelina was stripped of her sapphire powers, everyone turned on her as it was made evident that she was, as Adrian pointed out, a false prophet. She wanted to believe and drink her own Kool-Aid so badly, but in reality, she was steering her “flock” to eternal damnation by making them do horrible things to their fellow passengers (ie: Autumn poisoning Astrid) and forcing them to ignore the Callings.
When she was knocked out by a lava rock, Ben contemplated leaving her behind, especially after everything she did to his family, including killing his wife Grace and kidnapping his newborn daughter Eden, but turning his back on someone in need was never Ben’s style so he risked everything to jump over the cracks in the Earth to carry Angelina through the fire onto the plane—the image that was prophesized by the Al Zuras journals had finally come to life in a rather stunning visual. It was his final test… and he passed with flying colors.
The rest was, quite literally, out of their control. As co-captain Amuta and Mick lifted the plane off the ground amid the volcanic activity, the rest of the passengers awaited their fate—and it wasn’t long before the bad guys like Paul, Russell, and Autumn began to burn up and explode into a pile of dust. Angelina was the final one, and she went down kicking and screaming, “I’m an angel, this can’t happen to me,” and yet, it did.
Adrian’s face began to light up, and in a jaw-dropping moment—and one proving that it’s never too late to do the right thing—Eagan traded his life for his friend. The lava cracks began to appear on his body before eventually subsiding, essentially underscoring that anyone who would sacrifice their own life for a friend deserves a second chance. Saanvi also began to show display cracking signs, and as she told Ben that she was ready to die, they disappeared, an indication that though she did take the Major’s life, she did a lot of good trying to help the lifeboat and mankind.
The passengers then had to band together to fight away a black cloud that formed into somewhat of a grim reaper that we previously saw with the Methheads, eager to bring down everyone with him. Ben passionately shouted that though the passengers weren’t perfect, they did the best they could, questioning, “isn’t that enough?”
And it seemed to be as everything went dead silent and the volcanic activity subsided. They beat the Death Date and saved the world.
Mick and Amuta then saw the glow appear up ahead, or rather, the long delirious burning blue, and Mick, as captain, decided to go right into the middle of it rather than chase it this time around.
Everything seemingly came to a standstill as the doors of the plane opened by themselves and all that was visible was a bright light, indicating that they’d gone into the glow.
As they all stepped out, their outfits reverted back to the ones they were wearing in the first episode, and as they stepped through the jetbridge doors, they saw all their loved ones waiting for them; they went back in time and landed when they were supposed to in 2013.
Grace was alive, as was Ben and Mick’s mom, which was a welcome sight for the family who had just endured quite an adventure. Even their dad, who had a stroke in 2024, was doing well.
It’s as if all was right in the world, including the fact that both Olive and Cal were children again able to grow up together as twins as it was always meant to be. Unfortunately, you can’t have it all, and regaining their childhood together came at the expense of Olive and TJ’s relationship. While it was a bummer for fans, we saw just how much Olive cared for how brother and how much they regretted not growing up together, so I think she’d be okay with this turn of events.
In a way, it resets things to the way they always should’ve been if they never became variables in this divine experiment. Olive and TJ would’ve never happened initially considering the age difference. Or, they would have happened, but years down the line when it’s appropriate. There’s a moment during their final goodbye where Olive says she has to go to find a clue to ensure that they have a “future,” and in a way, I think it’s a hopeful clue that in time, TJ and Olive will end up together. But for now, TJ cannot wait around, and you can see when he runs into a young Olive, it crushes him, but he forces himself to move on with Violet (who is alive in this scenario and way too old for Cal), while also celebrating that fact that he got his mother back.
Of course, the fact that they dipped back about 11 years in time meant that a lot of people that existed in 2024 weren’t born yet, including Eden and Drea and Jared’s soon-to-be child, who was actually being born as the passengers were trying to stop the world from ending, however, considering Ben’s mindset has always been “what’s meant to be will be,” the understanding is that eventually, Eden and Hope will exist.
Mick saw Jared waiting for her at the airport, and he informed her that he jumped the gun on proposing to her, but she already made up her mind. This second chance that they’ve all been given could not be squandered making the same mistakes again. There’s a reason she hesitated all those years ago, and she knew it as a fact now—they loved each other, but they didn’t belong together. So, as heartbreaking as it was (and as confusing as it was for Jared, who no longer had any recollection of what they’ve endured due to 828), she knew she was doing the right thing by stepping aside and making room for him to find Drea. He was powerless against Mick, and as long as she was in his life, he would choose her, so she did what was necessary so that they could both be with who they were meant to be with. “You’ve gotta have Hope,” she said, referring to the unborn baby.
In that moment, Mick also remembered that Zeke—who previously visited her from the glow after his death before reverting to his time in the cave where she reminded him to “find her” triggering his Calling that led him to her in the first place–once told her that they nearly met numerous times as he was even at the airport driving his cab when 828 was supposed to land. And thus, this means that if Mick had landed as she was supposed to (rather than disappearing into the glow), she likely would’ve taken his cab home and connected with him. They were fated to meet, and always meant to be soulmates. She rushed out to the cabs, finally finding Zeke’s and telling another customer to find a different ride because he was her “husband.” While Zeke didn’t know what she was talking about, he was totally into it and agreed to drive around New York while she told him everything.
On his way out of the airport, Jared bumped into Drea, and the two immediately connected, as he joined in to investigate a case of 9 missing passengers, including Angelina. As for Vance, he also arrived at the airport muttering that it was “impossible” for that many people to be missing from a flight. Oh, buddy, you have no idea.
Fans have complained that the ending, though fitting, undoes years of character growth and development for non-passengers, and that’s true, too. The passengers have been forever changed by their experiences, but their loved ones don’t have any recollection of what happened or what they endured in those years—some don’t even remember meeting despite being best friends in a different timeline like Vance and Ben. However, the idea is that this is a second chance and a fresh start at doing the right thing and making the right choices, with the passengers who do remember there to guide things along and make sure that, again, what’s meant to be will be. Ben knows Eden needs to exist, so he will ask Grace to have another baby. My guess is that Vance and Ben will cross paths as Vance’s investigation picks up and leads him to question what happened on that plane.
Saanvi, who finally got her happy ending with Alex (who came to the airport to find her love and mustered up the courage to embrace her truth!), will still be in the Stone’s life as Ben explains that she’s going to save Cal’s life from cancer. She and Ben may not have been endgame (though they definitely explored that connection when they thought the world was ending), but they’ve always had a profound connection, and I don’t think that will change in this timeline as he’ll make sure that she’s included as family.
The series made the most of its second chance with Netflix, delivering an outstanding series finale, and the hope is that the passengers will also make the most of their opportunity. And it’s a reminder that despite circumstances, some things are meant to fall into place no matter what.
There’s an alternative theory here that the passengers all died, and when they reached the glow and emerged in 2013, it was simply a dream or their idea of “heaven,” going back to the moment they’ve been dreaming about for years. I could see that happening because that means everyone else’s realities stayed intact in 2024—they saved the world by sacrificing themselves and dying, while Olive went on to raise Eden on her own while Drea and Jared welcomed baby Hope. However, it seems as though while a plausible theory, series creator Jake Rake debunked that on Twitter, while also discouraging the idea that there are two separate timelines.
Spoilers for #manifest this will be a thread
So I saw someone say they didn’t understand the ending. Like who the black figure was on the plane, where the callings come from and what they are, and if there are two separate timelines happening so like two of everyone.
— Chelsey Schlough (@Fandomgeek1989) June 5, 2023
At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be an inspirational show—reminding people to do good, be good, and have faith. All good things, remember?
And as Dallas noted, there’s so much still unsaid, unanswered, and unexplored that personally, I’m not counting out a sequel somewhere down the line! Would the non-passengers start remembering? Would they get Callings? Would things turn out the way they should be?
It’s clear the fans would support a sequel/movie!
Is Drea Pregnant on ‘Manifest’ Season 4?
Manifest Season 4 Part 2 officially hit Netflix on June 2, 2023 (a year ahead of the drama’s June 2, 2024 Death Date). After the final 10 episodes landed, the story was turned on its head, with plenty of jaw-dropping moments occurring as the passengers of Flight 828—and their loved ones—attempted to solve the Callings and figure out how to stop an apocalypse threatening the entire world.
***Warning; This Post Contains Spoilers from the Final 10 Episodes of the Series***
The series had its fair share of love triangles and complicated relationships–which were only heightened by the end of the world looming large–but one played a key role this season after Zeke’s death: the love triangle between Mick (Melissa Roxburgh), Jared (J.R. Ramirez), and Drea (Ellen Tamaki).
Mick and Jared finally gave into their feelings for each after she properly grieved and mourned Zeke’s death.
Drea, who was dating Jared on a “no strings attached” basis, wanted to talk to him about something right before she saw him locking him with his ex, a sign that they were finally giving their relationship another shot. At that moment, she brushed off her text message, which led fans to speculate whether she was possibly pregnant.
And the pregnancy was confirmed roughly 8 months later when a Calling led them right to her. Drea may have taken a step back to allow Jared and Mick to figure things out, but she remained committed to the fight to help 828’ers, buying an abandoned building directly next to the detention center and spending all of her free time trying to knock down the wall connecting to the building. It was definitely a huge task for a woman and her baby belly, but it just goes to show you how loyal Drea is as a friend and ally.
Once the Calling led Cal and Jared to Drea, they realized that she was with child, which Jared later confirmed was his. Drea made it very clear that while the child was biologically his, she was willing to raise their daughter as a single mom if he didn’t want to be in the picture. However, Jared has wanted nothing more than to be a father, so he was ecstatic, promising to be a present and supportive co-parent. He was determined to make it work in any way possible.
As the Death Date grew closer and closer, the duo realized that their growing bundle of joy was giving them hope during some pretty bleak and depressing times, thus the decision to name the baby Hope.
Once Mick saw how happy the unborn child already made Jared, she understood that his place was with his family, by Drea’s side. She loved him so much that she would never ask him to compromise on his happiness, noting “Everything you need is one ten over.”
She saw the way he and Drea looked at each other and figured that his heart needs to be with the mother of his child.
And while it was a truly heartbreaking moment for Mick and Jared shippers, even Jared knew that Mick was speaking truths because he didn’t fight her on it. He simply kissed her on the forehead as a final goodbye and left to make things right with Drea.
The truth is that the timing was never right for Mick and Jared. She stalled for a reason on that flight from Jamaica, and it’s because deep down, despite the love she held for Jared, they were never right for each other. Their eight months together—given to them by Drea, if you think about it—were the necessary closure to allow them to finally move on without wondering “what could’ve been.”
The following morning, the passengers of 828 stayed behind to face whatever was coming on Storm King Mountain while Drea and Jared—along with Eden and Olive—headed back to the Stone house, where Drea fittingly went into labor just as the end of the world began.
As tremors intensified around the world, Drea’s contractions did as well, and it was such a significant juxtaposition—as death comes for everyone, life begins for others.
Jared remained by Drea’s side to help her with the birth, though we never actually got to see them become parents because the passengers beat the Death Date and reverted back to 2013, the day that the flight was originally supposed to land.
Manifest Season 4 Part 2 Review – A Never-Ending Story Worth the Wait
One thing becomes evident at the conclusion of Manifest Season 4 Part 2— thank god, thank the divine, thanks fans, and thank Netflix for reviving this show, believing in it, and giving it another shot at a proper ending, the one that was always planned since Flight 828 went missing.
Because it was… absolutely incredible.
***Warning: Spoilers Ahead for the final 10 episodes of Manifest Season 4***
The series hasn’t always been smooth sailing, or, I should say, it hasn’t been without its turbulence—frustrating fans with vague twists and turns about what happened to the passengers, death dates, callings, and more for four years—but the second half of the season proved that Jeff Rake always knew how it was going to end. He had the blueprint, and he delivered it flawlessly to those fans who stuck around for the journey.
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know that I hate series finales because they never stick the landing, but Manifest came quite close, and I’d go as far as to say that for such a complex series, it got as close to perfect as it possibly could.
It gave not only viewers the closure they needed but it also gave the characters what their hearts desired—and they’ve been fighting for.
Flight 828 disappeared and landed five years later, completely upending the lives of passengers and stripping them of any chance at returning to what once was. During that time, they chose to power through and live as best as they could—through all of the hate crimes, lab tests, and government lockups—all in hopes that they could find some answers about what happened to them. And that included solving the Callings in hopes of balancing the scales and saving the Lifeboat when the Death Day finally came knocking on their door.
While it would’ve been much easier to leave the series as an open-ended finale, allowing viewers to come to their own conclusion about what happened, Rake decided not to do a disservice to loyal fans who campaigned for the truth and begged for clarity, trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle along with the passengers week after week.
Instead, we got a full conclusion that went into depth and provided so much insight into all of those questions that have been floating around for years, including the “why.” Why these passengers? And the beauty of this is that there wasn’t a good reason for this one. Rarely do we get a reason in life for why things happen to certain people—so this felt fitting. The simplicity of it was that it was just because. They were a group of random people connected by a situation—a mix of good and bad, who, given the choice, could decide if they wanted to be better or continue on their same path. There wasn’t anything special about them, nor were they chosen for any specific qualities—it just was what it was.
And they all mostly rose to the occasion. As the Death Date closed in on them, Cal figured out that the Peacock calling was a hint that he needed to merge two sapphires together. And when Angelina, who considered herself an angel and the chosen one, decided not to stop the end of the world but rather encourage it so that only her “flock” would survive, Saanvi discovered that the driftwood she threw into Storm King Mountain also contained sapphire and would suffice.
Cal, hailed as the Holy Grail throughout the first half of the season, made the ultimate sacrifice for his family, connecting with the sapphire, which resulted in a huge beam that lured all of 828 to the same point in time. They always said that it was connected, and the moment of all the passengers uniting and waiting for their judgment day was simply proof of that. They were always in this together, from beginning to end, helping each other figure out how to navigate the complexities of what was being asked of them.
Cal’s sacrifice then miraculously unearthed the actual missing plane, in perfect condition, waiting for them to board.
It was all surreal, but that was kind of the point. There were biblical references, sometimes to the point of annoyance, but the one that kept bubbling up to the surface was Noah’s Ark, and Flight 828 was Noah’s Ark.
The passengers were tested many times throughout the course of the five years for a reason. When judgment came, their actions and flaws were weighed against each other, with those who didn’t take their second chance and make the best of it, quite literally disintegrating into a pile of ash. The divine assumed that those passengers didn’t learn the right lesson from their second chance, harnessing the power for the wrong reasons.
The visuals on this were stunning—particularly for Angelina’s death (which was much deserved and necessary)—though actually seeing the effects of the death date shouldn’t have been all that surprising as we’ve seen it before with the methheads.
Those who survived their judgment day—including Eagan, Adrian, and Saanvi—all made it into the glow, and this time, the doors opened for them as they exited the plane, walking right back into 2013 as they should have all those years ago. And it’s as if they stepped through a time machine, with only a few hours passing since their takeoff.
Seeing the passengers arriving in their old clothes, the ones we first met them in, was enough o give me goosebumps, but it was also oddly comforting. Everything they went for wasn’t for nothing—it put so much into perspective for them, showing them what was possible and what their hearts truly yearned for; the leaps they were too afraid to make, the things they took for granted, and the road that lay ahead.
It was their actual second second chance. And it was both a blessing and a curse because while the passengers all kept their memories of the last 11 or so years (including what transpired in the 5 that they were “missing”), their loved ones who weren’t on the plane with them had absolutely no idea that anything was amiss.
Ben was thrilled to see Grace alive in this timeline as the only thing missing in his life was his wife, however, he couldn’t share that he knew anything about their daughter, Eden, who didn’t exist at this time just yet. The only consolation is that Ben has always believed that’s what meant to be will be, so he had no qualms that eventually, they would add Eden to the family down the line.
Mick and Ben’s mother was also alive, while her father never had a stroke. They were all reunited again, getting the chance to spend more time with the people that have been gone for so long.
Olive and Cal were also kids again (and Cal’s CGI effects were a little hard to accept but I get it, the kid has aged and no amount of makeup could undo that), but neither of them remembered anything that happened. And so while they may have gotten their childhood back—and the possibility of growing up together—it’s a bummer that they won’t remember all that they went through together to truly cherish this moment. The clean slate allows them to live without the burden and heaviness of what they went through, but I feel as though Cal proved he was strong enough to carry it even since childhood.
The Stone family, despite all the hits and losses, truly grew together while working toward stopping the Death Date, and it would have been nice for the kids to carry that with them. Cal didn’t even remember Saanvi, and Olive had no recollection of her romance with TJ since he was an adult while she was a child. TJ did, however, connect with Violet, who was alive in this timeline, and he got his mom back, so I would say he’s probably thrilled with the outcome either way.
It was also heartbreaking to see how Vance didn’t remember any of them, despite being such a crucial part of their lives for so many years. Vance and Ben’s bromance was one of the best things to have happened to the series, but it’s just a reminder that there are tradeoffs in life that are necessary.
The passengers will forever be bonded and connected through this shared experience—it’s one that no one understands aside from them. Saanvi may not be a part of the family in the same way she once was, but with Ben informing Grace that she’s going to cure Cal’s cancer, she would still be part of it in a new way.
As for Mick’s endgame, it was always Zeke. And as someone who shipped her and Jared, it makes sense when you look at it through the scope of that final episode. There’s a reason Mick hesitated all those years ago, and it’s because she knew deep down that she and Jared wanted different things. She had the pleasure of seeing that in real life thanks to Flight 828, so when she landed back in 2013—and Jared had no recollection of all that they’d been through as exes, friends, partners, and a couple—she chose to set him free and no longer take a place in his heart. She knew that his destiny was to be with Drea, who Jared met while leaving the airport shortly after. And it felt right. When Mick said “you gotta have Hope,” it gutted me because it showcased just how massive her decision was and how much consideration went into it. She wasn’t just thinking of herself, she was thinking of everyone.
Mick, however, recalled Zeke telling her that he was at the airport the night her plane landed—one of the many near-misses of their fated meeting—so she ran to fetch his cab, calling him her “husband” and promising to explain everything afterward. Zeke was definitely confused, but he was also in awe of Mick because he felt their connection. And even if you didn’t ship Zeke and Mick in the post-828 timeline, their reunion here, even with his lapse in memory, just made sense. It all fit into place in the way that it should have, but might not have without all those experiences granted by the missing plane.
Some things, like Vance investigating the mystifying and “impossible” disappearance of 11 passengers on 828, still needed to happen, but in different ways.
And I’m sure the passengers that survived will tell you that nothing is impossible, including a fitting finale that covered all of its basis and gave fans exactly what they wanted and then some.
Turning it over to you because I totally understand if this finale wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and you expected something way different. What did you think? What parts did you love? What did you hate? What would you change?
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