Why is Cal Older in Manifest, Explained

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Manifest’ opens its fourth season two years after the events in the finale of Season 3. The cliffhanger ending left the audience with a lot of questions, but none of them was as intriguing as Cal’s situation. He has been the most mysterious of all passengers, and in the fourth season, his arc gets even more twisted. The familiar face of the twelve-year-old Cal is nowhere to be seen. In his place, there is an older version of him, who is kept a secret from the rest of the world.

His family doesn’t want anyone to know what happened to Cal because it would only lead people to ask more questions about them, and all the passengers are in enough trouble as is. While the normal people in ‘Manifest’ might be unaware of Cal’s exponential growth spurt, the audience can’t get the question out of their heads. If you are wondering what happened to Cal to make him older, then here’s what you should know about him. SPOILERS AHEAD

How Did Cal Get Older?

Of the 191 passengers who boarded Flight 828, Cal is the only one who has displayed a closer connection to the mystery. The others, including his father and his aunt, get callings and have to decipher their meaning by chasing after leads. Cal, on the other hand, has always seemed to have a better sense of what they could mean. The reason behind this is that Cal was one of the three people on the flight who got a glimpse of the white light that trapped them for more than five-and-a-half years and changed their lives forever.

In Season 3, the Stones and their friends get closer to understanding the mystery behind their situation when the tailfin of the plane is discovered and experimented on. When Ben touches it, he suffers a violent shock. But when Cal touches it, he disappears along with it. He appears at the end of the episode beside his dying mother. But he is not the twelve-year-old kid anymore. He is much older. It later turns out that Cal’s sudden vanishing is similar to the mysterious disappearance of Flight 828. All this time, they had been inside the divine consciousness.

The flight disappeared when a turbulent storm showed up in front of it out of nowhere. When the lightning struck it, the plane was transported to the divine consciousness. While the show still has a lot of explaining to do, general information on the topic suggests that it is the collective consciousness of the entire world, which includes everyone who has ever lived to everyone who will ever live.

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/Netflix

Past, present, and future meld into each other, and here, everything exists all at once. Because time does not flow linearly here, it is understandable that whoever arrives at this place will no longer be in touch with the timeline of their own world. It won’t be far-fetched to assume that this irregular behavior of time is the reason why the passengers didn’t age a day even when they’d been missing for more than five years. And this is also how Cal got years older in the span of just one day.

On touching the tailfin, the twelve-year-old Cal goes back to the divine consciousness. Here, he meets Captain Daly and Fiona Clark who were last seen on the plane that Daly flew into another dark lightning storm. They have been in the divine consciousness all this time and Cal discovers that they have chosen to stay there. The place gives them an immense sense of calm. It is so peaceful that they don’t want to leave, and when Cal decides to go back, Daly tries to persuade him to stay. But Fiona says that he still has work to do. 

When Cal returns he is much older, having possibly gained the five years he had lost due to the flight. He is around the same age as his sister now, and that’s again, because of his visit to the divine consciousness where the laws of time and space are much different than in the normal world.

Read More: Are Callings Memories in Manifest, Explained