Manifest Season 4’s Cal Story Complicates The Time Travel Mystery

Details on Cal’s story in Manifest season 4 complicate the show’s time travel mystery. Though yet to be outright confirmed, time travel is heavily theorized to be at least part of the explanation for what really happened to Flight 828. Reveals about Al-Zuras in season 2, followed by huge plot twists with Cal and Captain Daly, strengthened the claim that Manifest is a story about time travel – not resurrection.

Manifest delivered a huge time travel hint when it unveiled a new version of Cal in the final minutes of the season 3 finale. Hours after touching the Flight 828 tailfin and disappearing, Cal returned five years older. What happened after that shocking turn of events was finally teased by comments from Manifest showrunner Jeff Rake and the season 4 teaser trailer. In the trailer, Cal was shown being arrested by police, presumably because he was found at the scene of Grace’s murder. As for where he’s been, Rake mentioned that there’s “sort of an amnesia” with Cal in regards to what happened to him. Rake added that in spite of his new “grown-up” appearance, Cal is “still a little boy” emotionally [via Tudum].


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The plan for Cal creates a great deal of confusion surrounding the show’s approach to the time travel concept. The season 3 finale’s tease was a sign that time travel would finally be confirmed, as Cal claiming that he knew what to do strongly implied that he had some important answers for the passengers. Plus, his aging left the strong impression that Cal was lost somewhere in the timestream for five years. However, both of these assumptions about season 4’s story are in doubt now. Rake’s comment about Cal still being a “little boy” in a psychological sense could mean that instead of traveling through time for years, the Callings brought him up to his correct age, as 17 is how old he would have been had he not disappeared in the first place.

Manifest May Be Putting Off A Time Travel Reveal

What’s been said about Cal’s story in Manifest season 4 doesn’t debunk the time travel theory, but it does indicate that the show will be putting off any big reveals. Cal having some form of amnesia provides the show with an opportunity to avoid giving an immediate explanation about where (or when) the character went when he touched the tailfin. And while Rake’s comments on Cal’s age cause further confusion over whether or not Cal traveled in time, time travel is still a likely answer to some of the most pressing mysteries in Manifest.

Regardless of what happened to Cal, there continues to be an overwhelming pile of evidence that supports the time travel theories. In addition to the passengers not aging after being gone for five years, there’s also what happened to Captain Daly and the “silver dragon” seen by Al-Zuras and his crew in the 15th century. Based on a Calling experienced by the passengers, it seems Flight 828 and Al-Zuras’ ship briefly coexisted at the same time and place. Plus, Captain Daly wearing his pilot uniform during his season 3 finale cameo indicates that he’s the 2013 version of the character. So even if Manifest throws a few wrenches into the mystery over the next few episodes, there’s definitely a sense that time travel is part of the equation.

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