Why I’m Still Manifest-ing Michaela and Zeke as Endgame
As Manifest prepares for its final descent at Netflix (the first half of the fourth and final 20-episode season having premiered on November 4), there’s one question at the forefront of viewers’ minds. No, it’s not a question about what happened to the plane, whether the passengers will survive their apocalyptic death date, or even whether it’s God herself sending the Callings. The question is this: Zekaela or Jachaela? The love triangle between Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh) and her two suitors, now-husband Zeke (Matt Long) and former flame Jared (J.R. Ramirez), has been consistently chugging along since Zeke’s unexpected arrival at the end of Manifest’s first season.
This hotly-debated topic has driven fans wild for years now. While, for the majority of the series, Michaela has been steady in her relationship with Zeke, there’s no denying her lingering feelings for Jared. During Season 4, via flashback to the aftermath of Grace’s death, Michaela finally admits her feelings for Jared before committing herself to Zeke once again as the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Still, the triangle continues on with Michaela and Zeke celebrating their third wedding anniversary by season’s end while Jared is still actively pining for the girl he wished to marry before the miracle of Flight 828 stole her away from him for five and a half years… while sleeping with her best friend and former NYPD partner, Drea (Ellen Tamaki), of course.
As we head into the final episodes, the answer to who Michaela will end up is just as important as the many other questions we have, as it has been building for nearly the entire series. There are pros and cons to Michaela’s relationships with both men, and it’s not difficult to understand why both relationships have such passionate fans backing them. For this writer, though, the answer is clear: Michaela and Zeke must be the couple to come out on the other side. If not, the message of the series crumbles.
Way back in the series premiere, we begin with the Bible verse Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good.” This is Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela’s mother’s mantra, the phrase she uses to try to understand everything that happens in the world, which she has subsequently burned into the minds of her children. This is particularly true for Michaela, who believes in a higher power and holds these words close to her heart. When their entire world changes aboard Flight 828, it immediately must be known that this is a sign from the universe that they’re on the right path, which results in Michaela quickly coming to trust the Callings and the unexpected path that they have put her and the other passengers on.
When the Callings bring Zeke and Michaela together following his year-long stay in a frosty cavern after a hiking trip gone wrong, it’s unclear why. The obvious explanation is that Zeke is the first example the passengers discover of this inexplicable phenomenon happening to someone else, someone not on the plane. However, when Zeke and Michaela quickly begin to develop feelings for one another, it begins to make sense. The Callings brought them together for two reasons: To help each other heal from their pasts and to fall in love. Both felt responsible for and haunted by the deaths of close loved ones, each understanding the emotions and guilt that come along with that better than anybody else in the entire world. Neither judged the other for their actions, but helped each other to see that those moments don’t define their entire character. They naturally fell for each other, tried to redeem themselves, and everything else just fell into place. Everything worked together for good to lead these two to getting married. Three years later, Zeke and Michaela remain each other’s biggest supporters. Their relationship is the rock that gets them through these difficult times with increasing danger, the 828 registry, and now the apocalypse to worry about. Plus, they have spent nearly the entirety of the time since the plane touched back down after five and a half years together. Why would the Callings bring them together just for it to end on a terrible note?
While Michaela’s remaining feelings for Jared, whom she had dated for years before the trip to Jamaica, are understandable, their reunion would not be the satisfying story that Manifest intends to tell. If Michaela and Jared were to rekindle their relationship, doesn’t that defeat the entire point of this journey? Had Michaela never gotten on the plane, she would have married Jared. She decided to accept his proposal before the plane touched back down in New York and their entire lives were upended. She would have married him, settled down, and remained a police officer. Instead, as one of the biggest signs that all things work together for good, fate set Michaela on a different path.
Fate led her to Zeke, a man she never would have met and married without the Callings. It stopped her from marrying Jared, forcing her to reconsider their relationship when she could have easily run back into his open arms. It has helped her to heal (as much as she can) from her best friend Evie’s tragic death, at least allowing her to move forward with her life and accept that she can’t change what happened to Evie no matter how hard she beats herself up for it. It has made her reconsider her role on the police force, picking what she believes is the right thing to do over her duty as a cop when she refused to process Saanvi (Parveen Kaur) for accidentally killing the Major (Elizabeth Marvel).
All things work together for good, even if it doesn’t play out exactly as anticipated. That’s what the Callings have stood for on Manifest. Every bad thing that has happened has been the direct result of someone not following the Callings. The Callings are pointing the passengers toward the right path for themselves and for the entire world. There is no other explanation for Zeke and Michaela’s years-long relationship if this isn’t the path she is meant to be on for the rest of her life.
Though Zeke seemingly met his fate in the midseason finale of Manifest Season 4, it’s hard to believe that the universe would have put the passengers through all of this for it to end on such a terrible note. Given the impact of the supernatural on this show, and their repeated iteration that all things work together for good in the universe which brought them together, it’s impossible to give up hope for a reunion between Michaela and Zeke before the series ends. They’ve proven themselves as a couple and shown each other true love and kindness. Just like with Ben and Grace (Athena Karkanis), there must be a bigger plan in store that can make sure Zeke and Michaela get the happy ending they deserve.
Jay Snow is a freelance writer. He has published many places on the internet. For more of his thoughts on television and to see his other work (or to simply watch him gush again and again over his love for the original Charmed) follow him @snowyjay.
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