Manifest season 4, part 1 review – a thrilling addition to the revived mystery-box drama

By Lori Meek
Published: November 3, 2022 (Last updated: November 16, 2022)
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A satisfying addition to the mystery-box drama as it lays a solid foundation for concluding the story. 

We review the revived Netflix series Manifest season 4, part 1, which does not contain spoilers.

The fourth and final season of Manifest almost didn’t happen. Before the season 3 finale even aired, NBC decided to pull the plug on the show, leaving fans disappointed. To make matters worse, season 3 ended on a spine-tingling cliffhanger. Thankfully, creator Jeff Rake fought hard to find the show a new home. As the series proved its popularity, Netflix revived it for a 4th and final season to be split into two parts of 10 episodes each. Part 1 is a thrilling piece of entertainment complete with heavy use of symbolism, strong character development, and a new set of Callings for the 828 passengers to solve. 

Season 4, part 1 is set two years after Angelina (Holly Taylor) murdered Grace (Athena Karkanis)and kidnapped Eden due to a delusional belief that the youngest Stone child is her guardian angel. Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) has now taken over the role of Lifeboat captain as Ben (Josh Dallas) fell into a deep depression and stopped caring about the Callings altogether. Angelina and Eden are presumed dead, meaning Ben is the only person who’s still trying to find them. Cal (now played by Ty Doran, who took over from Jack Messina), now magically five years older after the events of season 3, is hiding his true identity to avoid becoming a government experiment. After the plane disappeared with Captain Daly’s brief cameo, Eureka got shut down, so Saanvi ( Parveen Kaur) and Vance (Daryl Edwards) are once again working off the grid in a small research center they lovingly call the Bird’s nest. 

As we’ve become accustomed to with Manifest, throughout the season, multiple subplots merge with the main narrative showing how intertwined the lives of these passengers are. Jared’s ( J.R. Ramirez) career took a step back as he’s now in uniform, while Mick’s former partner, Drea (Ellen Tamaki), is a double agent working for the government’s Registry while covering for the Stone family as they follow Callings. 

Non-passenger characters like Olive (Luna Blaise), Jared, and Drea are given more to do this season, while during the NBC run, they seemed to be more of an afterthought. Even Michaela’s husband, Zeke (Matt Long), whose main arc has long been resolved, plays an important role in the storyline. 

We also get to catch up with 828-ers we met all through the first few seasons, and some new characters are thrown in to keep things interesting. Trouble-makers like Adrian (Jared Grimes), the 828 cult leader, and Eagan (Ali Sohaili), last season’s villain, also return to cause more mayhem. However, the main focus of this season relates to finding Ben’s youngest child and finally learning what actually happened to the passengers of flight 828 when Captain Daly flew into the storm. 

Given the time jump, the series makes good use of flashbacks to help fill in the gaps of what happened to our main characters in the aftermath of Grace’s brutal murder. At the start of the season, the Death Date is only 18 months away, meaning there’s a revived sense of urgency. Michaela is trying her best to keep the Lifeboat afloat and stop her fellow 828 passengers from meeting a grim fate. 

Despite the season being set two years after her passing, Grace’s absence is strongly felt throughout the narrative. Her calming presence in the first three installments was a driving force keeping all the main characters together. But, in a way, her loss allowed viewers to see a different, more human side of Ben. When the series first premiered, Ben was annoyingly likable and seemed fully focused on the greater good. Yet, this season he shows a selfish side of himself, which makes for an interesting change.  

We also get to see a whole different side of Cal. Well, it’s a completely different actor portraying the older version of him, so that’s probably why. I did like the way the writers dealt with putting the character in the unique position of not only having suddenly aged but also having to deal with concealing his identity. The father-son interactions make for compelling drama as, while he never outright says it, it’s clear Ben blames his son for what happened to Grace and Eden, which puts a strain on their relationship. 

Part 1 of season 4 is a satisfying addition to the mystery-box drama as it lays a solid foundation for the grand finale. I’m glad Manifest survived its cancellation and found a new home on Netflix. A series of this caliber deserves to finish telling its story. 

What did you think of Manifest season 4, part 1 on Netflix? Comment below.

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