[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Manifest Season 3 finale “Mayday Part 2.”]
So much happens in the Manifest Season 3 finale and leaves us with so many questions. That MAJOR death and Cal (Jack Messina and Ty Doran) shocker, which we break down with creator Jeff Rake and stars Josh Dallas (Ben Stone) and Athena Karkanis (Grace Stone) here, are just the beginning.
The two-part finale also sees Angelina (Holly Taylor) take baby Eden (after killing Grace) while Ben, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), Saanvi (Parveen Kaur), and Cal are in a Calling back on the plane. Meanwhile, Zeke (Matt Long) watches Michaela and her ex-fiancé Jared (J.R. Ramirez) exchange words, and his reaction suggests that, at the very least, the love triangle is about to regain some speed. Then, in the last scene, Dr. Gupta (Mahira Kakkar) is leaving Eureka when suddenly Captain Daly (Frank Deal) reappears in the plane only for both the pilot and the entire plane to disappear.
TV Insider turned to creator Jeff Rake for answers and to Dallas to find out how he’s going to handle everything if the series returns for Season 4.
What can you say about where Captain Daly has been?
Jeff Rake: Here’s my non-answer answer. We revealed a lot in Season 3. We have now kind of moved away from faith versus science. We’re telling a story about divine intervention and about how the passengers are going to navigate this path — not that science can’t have a role in trying to counter and thread the needle of a story about divine intervention. Someone once said God is a scientist, and Saanvi the scientist is still going to try to figure out how to impact this story of divine intervention.
We are now in a realm where we are talking about our passengers interacting with the divine, so Captain Daly is interacting with the divine. Where has Captain Daly been since he bewilderingly disappeared a year and a half ago in story time? Whether it’s purgatory, whether it’s the netherworld, these are terms and concepts that Ben and others will struggle to understand. That idea of the divine taking you away, but keeping you in a holding pattern — which is probably an apt flight analogy — as your ultimate fate is determined speaks to where Captain Daly has been. Let’s put it this way: Captain Daly has been exactly where the passengers as a group were for those five and a half years. Captain Daly has been exactly where Cal was from the end of Episode 312 when he disappears to when he returns right there at the very end of the season finale. What that place is I’m gonna let Cal speak to that when we come back in Season 4. I’m going to let Ben chew on that and use that information to try to navigate where to go forward.
What about where Captain Daly and the plane disappear to? Should we be looking at where the tailfin or things in the past have gone, or should we think about something completely different?
Rake: That’s a great question. That’s fundamental to Ben’s puzzle in Season 4 and going forward because Ben understandably is going to come to believe that his disappearance, the passengers’ disappearance, Captain Daly, Cal, the tailfin itself, that they’ve all been going to the same place that this divine intervention is the puppet master moving his strings. As Ben, Michaela, Saanvi, everyone continues to try to put the pieces together, they’re going to try to decipher whether it’s possible to access that place if this is purgatory, some unknown destination that no one knows about. They’ll be poring through the Bible, they’ll be poring through the Noah’s Ark myth, and other biblical stories to try to understand exactly how to access this place, wherever it is, how one gets in and how one gets out, and that’ll be part and parcel of how they try to save themselves.
Ben didn’t always handle things that happened in Season 3 in the best of ways. So how is he going to be handling everything that’s happened? Grace is dead, Angelina took his daughter…
Josh Dallas: I don’t know how he goes forward. At the end of Season 3, you see him just saying he doesn’t understand. Saanvi says to him, “You gotta have faith,” and he does have faith, but he doesn’t understand. That’s one of the key things into Ben: He wants to understand so much. He wants to understand everything. I think that ultimately got him in hot water this season, because he’s so determined and so blinded, as I think most people would in this situation. If the situation ever happened to anybody, you would be so dogged about finding out what happened to you that some things, judgment being one of those things, kind of go out the window.
But I think in his mind, whether what he’s doing is right or wrong, he can justify it to himself. It’s been a really great season for him and I think he’s gone on such a big journey. We see the end of Season 3, he’s unaware of what happened with Grace until he goes into that Calling, and then I think we can assume he knows something’s going to happen. So where we start off Season 4, I’m not for sure, but he is going to have a lot to deal with and whether or not he keeps that sort of dark edge that’s been creeping into him into Season 4 and whether that gets bigger … I can imagine that not only is he going to be even more propelled to find out what happened to him, but what happened to Grace and who’s responsible and where’s his baby and where’s Angelina. I don’t know if he’s going to handle all of those things within the letter of the law.
What’s next with Michaela and that love triangle? It sounded like the talk Zeke wanted to have might mean the end of their marriage.
Rake: I know what you mean when you watch that moment and I get it, but let’s put it this way: I don’t think that Zeke is going to throw in the towel so easily and I think that Michaela is deeply conflicted. We’re gonna watch that conflict play out. It would be too easy for the story and it would be too easy for those characters to walk away from that marriage. Things are much more complicated on Manifest. And so I would never expect Michaela or Zeke to throw the towel in on each other, nor would I expect Jared to throw in the towel. He made his intentions quite clear standing out there on the street in those final moments of the season finale. So you can expect much more heartache and tension as we continue to kind of play the sine curve of that triangle.
Saanvi seems to have redeemed herself because she had a Calling again, which was big. So what does that mean for her journey moving forward?
Rake: Yeah, that’s hugely important, not just for Saanvi, but for all the passengers. Saanvi hadn’t experienced Callings for well over a year in story time, and there’s been so much conversation among all of the characters about how they may potentially save themselves. The biggest data point prior to the Season 3 finale was Zeke’s survival. When Zeke survived his own death date at the end of Season 2, that was the first piece of evidence that survival is possible, but how did he survive? And now here, as we get to Saanvi reclaiming her Callings, it’s the second giant data point that lines up with Zeke’s survival. It suggests that there is a path for redemption, as one thinks about it within the realm of good and evil and Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, non-Western theology about life and death and justice and redemption and an afterlife.
There are so many questions and answers that humans have struggled with for generations and generations. That’s what we’re trying to tug at right here in our little story. Yes, it appears that Saanvi has redeemed herself, but does that mean that anyone can redeem themselves from taking a life? Does it have to do with the unique circumstances of having taken a life inadvertently, accidentally? Does it have to do with the fact that Saanvi took the life of someone who meant to do harm to others, that victim was a morally compromised person? All of those gray areas speak to the struggle that all of our passengers will be dealing with in the seasons to come, as they ask themselves, Who will be able to live? Who deserves to die? Can any act be redeemed? Are there any acts that can never be redeemed? These are the important questions that we’ll be playing with all the way to the end of the story.
Speaking of acts that can’t be redeemed, I would think taking a baby is one of them. Do you consider Angelina a villain of the week or few weeks or a Big Bad?
Rake: Angelina is now as much a part of the fabric of this story as anyone else. In the back half of Season 3, the audience will now come to realize, among other things, we were telling the origin story of a triumvirate — Angelina, Eagan [Ali Lopez-Sohaili], and Adrian [Jared Grimes] — who have come together to represent the oppositional viewpoint of Ben, Michaela, Saanvi and Cal. This chasm, this dichotomy between two groups of passengers is going to drive conflict and tension and build the stakes for the seasons to come as we move closer to the death date.
It may seem that Angelina, Adrian, and Eagan are deluded, it may seem that they are crazy. Many will believe that Angelina is evil, but, as I hope the audience was able to parse from that final episode, while the result is terrible and devastating and deadly and unforgivable, Angelina in her own way believed that she was doing something to save not only herself but to save the other passengers from a group of people who she believes were going against God’s will. This is delicate, tricky, controversial stuff, and we’re gonna continue to explore those complicated themes as we go forward. We haven’t come close to seeing the last of Angelina.