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Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale of Manifest on NBC, called "Icing Conditions."
The second season of Manifest has come to an intense, emotional, and downright confusing end on NBC, and with no news of a renewal for Season 3, fans are facing what amounts to an indefinite hiatus at this point. With the production shut down on some of the biggest shows on television, ranging from NBC's own One Chicago to The Walking Dead, even a renewed Manifest might not be back for a while. Still, with all of those cliffhangers in "Icing Conditions," viewers deserve news that more Manifest is on the way for some answers. Manifest definitely needs a renewal after that finale.
Unlike many of the other shows that will soon wrap for the 2019-2020 TV season, Manifest was able to finish filming its season as intended, and consequently packed in so many cliffhangers that fans might need a whole hiatus to sort through them all, if Manifest is indeed renewed. The biggest cliffhanger was undoubtedly the final reveal, via Ben's Calling, that the plane carrying them at the beginning of the series did explode over the middle of the ocean. His vision was seemingly confirmed by several fishermen fishing the tail fin out of the water.
Manifest showrunner Jeff Rake spoke with TVLine about this (and several other) cliffhangers, and his comments prove that there's a long game for Manifest that could be far more satisfying than "Icing Conditions."
[B]ecause if materials testing proves that that is, in fact, the 'identical' tail fin, it’s a metaphysical impossibility. We saw that plane land in New York. We saw that plane blow up on the tarmac at the end of the pilot. So how can a plane have landed and been exploded and then also be found at the bottom of the ocean? Once the entire world finds out about this tail fin, that’s going to re-trigger the global scrutiny and paranoia about Flight 828 and its passengers. More pointedly, it’s going to lead people — and not just hatemongers like the Xers, but even rational minds — to conclude, in light of this evidence... Does this mean that the passengers are not the passengers? And if they’re not the passengers, who are they? That’s going to be a season-long, science-based, science meets mythology investigation. For those who have been feeling that the episodes have become a little science-light or investigation-light, they have a lot of good material coming down the pike.
A potential third season would reveal that the fishermen definitely didn't keep their discovery to themselves, because the "entire world" is going to find out and there's going to be "global scrutiny." Just when the attention seemed like it could die down!
Of course, Jeff Rake did seemingly choose his words carefully, so it's technically possible that materials testing could prove in the first five minutes of a third season premiere that this tail fin is a fake, but he seems to have put in a lot of thought. Too much thought, in my book, for this to be a fake-out that comes to nothing.
Jeff Rake also shared some of the plans for characters in Season 3, as "not every last passenger has that same kind of benevolent, selfless makeup of the Stone family and Saanvi," and there's "a whole mixed bag out there." Elaborating on whether fans would meet new characters in a third season, Rake said this:
We absolutely will. And we’re going to meet one in particular who is going to become one of the more important characters in our series. I imagine us looking back in later seasons and trying to remember when that character entered, because they’ll have become so integral to our storytelling.
Not only is Jeff Rake seemingly counting on a Season 3, but more beyond if he's referring to "looking back in later seasons" at this point! Again, he seemed to be choosing his words carefully, so there's not much to guide speculation about what kind of character this would be other than destined to be "integral."
The Manifest showrunner already has plans for Saanvi as well, since the Season 2 finale didn't take it any easier on her than on the Stones or Zeke (although Zeke at least didn't die as expected). Saanvi's attempt to force the Major to give up some info backfired when the Major smashed the vial that Saanvi intended to use to save her life, meaning that Saanvi unintentionally killed the Major.
Jeff Rake stated that in Season 3 Saanvi would face "a two-pronged story arc" with the real-world stakes of committing "a homicide" as well as the fact that nobody except for Vance knows about this. Rake didn't drop details, but did say that it's "going to become quite serious."
And there was yet another cliffhanger! Admittedly, Michaela's love life isn't quite as pressing as the seeming explosion of the plane and Saanvi killing a guy, but her romantic feelings are bound to start complicating things again now that Zeke survived his death date but Jared is still in the picture. Jeff Rake teased:
That’s awesome. Hundred percent to all of that. Michaela did an excellent job of compartmentalizing her feelings for Jared, but the question is how long can those feelings stay compartmentalized as the triangle evolves. The ultimate question there is: Can Michaela carve out a place for both of these men in her life? And that’s what we’re going to see going forward.
Look, I'm not even the world's biggest Manifest fan and I think a Season 3 needs to happen to deliver some answers. Manifest didn't get the kind of mega-renewal that some of its fellow NBC series scored, but that doesn't make it doomed, and the fact that it was able to actually finish its latest season could be in its favor. NBC may not get many actual finales in the rest of the 2019-2020 TV season.
Only time will tell if Manifest does score the renewal for a third season. If nothing else, viewers can be confident that Jeff Rake has a plan in store and isn't just winging it when it comes to the direction of the show. For now, Manifest will have to join the likes of CBS' FBI as ending on an intriguing finale but with no news of a renewal or cancellation.
Manifest was renewed for Season 2 in mid-April 2019. If NBC follows more or less the same schedule, then good (or bad) news could be on the way within the next week or two. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV and movie news, and be sure to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule for some upcoming viewing options.