Netflix’s ‘Manifest’ follows the story of a group of passengers who went missing for five and a half years to find out that the world has moved on in their absence. The Stone family becomes central to the plot as they try to find out what happened to them during those years and what it means for their future. Through its four seasons, the show develops a complicated mythology where science and religion collide, making the passengers look at their situation from a whole new level.
In the fourth season, it is revealed that Cal Stone is the key to saving the passengers and the world from an imminent Death Date. He had always been more in touch with the incident that baffled everyone else, so it makes sense that he should be the one to resolve things. While it means he will save the rest of the world, what does it mean for him? Does Cal die at the end of ‘Manifest’? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
Does Cal Die?
Of all the passengers of Flight 828, Cal had always been the special one. Like everyone else, he had Callings, but he always seemed to know more than he let on. In the five and half years after the passengers reappear, Cal is the one who goes through the most staggering transformation. At the end of the third season, Cal finds himself back on the plane, in the Glow, and when he comes out, he is five and a half years older, precisely the age he should have been if he hadn’t disappeared.
In the fourth season, Cal discovers that he is the Dragon and is the key to preventing the disaster that’ll befall the passengers and the world on the Death Date. He receives a tattoo from another passenger, and a few tests reveal that he has sapphire in him. More details pour in about Cal’s situation, and by the end, it becomes clear that he must sacrifice to ensure everyone else’s survival.
The fourth season proves that sapphire is an integral element in the story. It has been present on the plane, on the passengers, and is traced back to Noah’s Ark. Cal has sapphire inside him, but there are two other places where parts of it are present. One part is embedded in Angelina’s hand, who has convinced herself that she is the savior who is to guide a handful of chosen ones past the Death Date. A Calling tells Cal that two parts of the Omega Saphhire must unite to save the world.
Despite his hatred for Angelina, Cal agrees to work with her. He tells her about the purpose of their sapphires, but by now, Angelina is convinced that the world needs to end. Luckily, there is another place where a third part of the sapphire is present. In the previous season, Saanvi had come across the driftwood from Noah’s Ark, which contained traces of the sapphire. When she realized that experimenting on it was causing tremors, volcanic fissures, and other problems, she decided to destroy it and threw it into the fissure in Storm King Mountain.
Ultimately, Cal’s sapphire and the Ark’s sapphire unite and create a bridge. The blue Glow emanates and acts like a beacon, calling every passenger. The connection between the sapphires takes Cal, too, and he disappears. No one knows where Cal went and what happened to him, but Olive tells Ben that Cal is still alive because she can still feel him. Later that night, the plane resurfaces, the passengers board it, and when it lands, they find themselves back on the day they disappeared for five and a half years.
Their ages and lives are restored, and they still remember everything. However, when a young Cal shows up, he has no memories of all that happened in the past few years. His memories are completely erased. Ben and the others figure that this must be a gift for his sacrifice. When Flight 828 went missing, Cal’s childhood, which he was supposed to spend with his twin, was lost. After he visited the Glow, he aged five years in a day, robbing him of any chance he had to explore his adolescence.
When Cal connected his sapphire with the Ark’s, he was taken to the Glow, the Divine Consciousness. This is where the plane had been all this while, where they received the Callings, where Cal’s aged stopped and then moved five years ahead. Since the reappearance of the flight, Cal had been through a lot. He felt distant from his sister; he lost his mother and held the guilt of being responsible. He almost died when his cancer came back, but none of that stopped him from doing whatever he could to save the world.
Cal kept pushing himself to find a way to avoid the Death Date. When he was the only one left with the Callings, he kept working on them, trying to balance the scales until he had exhausted himself. In the end, when he offered himself up for the sacrifice, he proved his worth to the divine. In return for all the loss and pain he’d suffered all these years, he was gifted with returning to his childhood and his innocence, forgetting about all the bad things that happened to him and his family.