The fourth and final season of Manifest began airing in November 2022 with its first 10 episodes. That chunk of the season provided no issue. But when the series ended with its last 10 episodes in June 2023, that’s when the crash landing occurred. As usual, there are plenty of fans who loved the series finale and the way the ending wrapped up the various storylines. However, it’s safe to say there are also plenty more who felt the ending ruined what came before it.
Can a series finale ruin a great show? That’s subjective. It depends on each viewers own’s opinions and perspective on how successful a story comes to an end. Objectively speaking, from a narrative standpoint, the Manifest series finale largely belittles everything that happened prior with the flip of a switch. By walking off the plane back to 2013, every twist, turn, and Calling felt erased, like they had no impact on the future.
Sure, they technically do have an impact because the passengers had to endure all of that in order to go back to the start. But going back to the start, like characters waking up from a dream or the audience learning the characters were actually dead the whole time, can be a cheap narrative device if not used carefully. In Manifest’s case, the cons of the ending far outweigh the cons.
As a Manifest fan who was part of the movement for Netflix to save the series, and one who adores the cast, it was tough to be disappointed by the series finale. Those who love the ending and felt satisfied with where the characters ended up… I love that for you. I wanted to love it, to see the vision and take in all the meaning, but sitting with what happened and unpacking still left me frustrated. The show as a whole remains an exciting ride, though going out with a fizzle rather than a bang sure takes the wind right out of our sails, er… wings?
Written by Reed Gaudens