Why did Cal age in Manifest?

In Manifest, Cal had likely aged when he returned from the divine consciousness at the end of season 3 because time and space are not linear there.

Manifest is a popular show that follows the passengers of the mysterious Flight 828 as they try to rebuild their lives.

Cal Stone was one of the passengers on Flight 828, but when he touched the tailfin of the plane, he disappeared and reappeared as an older version of himself, likely because of the way that time and space works in the divine consciousness.

What is Manifest about?

Manifest quickly became one of the most-streamed shows on Netflix after its release on the platform in September 2018. The show follows 191 passengers who board Flight 828 in Jamaica.

However, when the plane lands in New York City, the passengers are startled to find that in the world outside of the plane, five-and-a-half years had passed during their flight.

This leaves the passengers of this flight having to navigate a new life with friends and families who have moved on with their lives while they were presumed to be dead, as well as adjusting to a world that has evolved and changed in this time.

Why did Cal age in Manifest?

A big part of what makes Manifest so intriguing and interesting to watch is the fact that there are so many unanswered questions and unknown elements about exactly what happened to Flight 828.

This theme continues in the first episode of the fourth season of the show, which aired on 4 November 2022. The events in this episode take place two years after the events of the third season’s finale.

However, fans were disappointed to find that the mysteries surrounding Cal Stone, who was one of the passengers on Flight 828 and who mysteriously returned a full five years older after his appearance in season 3,  have not yet been explained in the fourth season.

When Cal returns, he briefly seems to remember something important, but is then struck with amnesia and cannot remember anything that happened when he returned to the divine consciousness.

As a result, he also does not have life experience or memories and is still a child emotionally and mentally.

There has not been any official explanation for why Cal has aged this time after visiting the divine consciousness when none of the passengers aged the first time that this happened.

Though it is clear that time and space do not work the same way in this divine consciousness as it does in reality and this is likely why Cal aged five years this time.

Manifest fans have also speculated that Cal’s ageing is obviously connected to the idea that things are being put back in the way that they belong, which has been a running theme in the show for some time.

Which other mysteries surround Cal’s disappearance and return?

When Cal returns at the end of the third season, he says that he knows what needs to be done now. However, at the beginning of this third season, it seems like he has severe amnesia about where he went and what happened to him while he was gone.

Since Cal was one of the few passengers that actually saw the white light when the plane was trapped, it is evident that he has a stronger connection to the calling than most of the passengers.

Therefore, it is entirely possible that he experienced something while he was gone that could help them all to get past the death date, but none of this has been confirmed yet.

How is Cal ageing returning things to the way they belong?

When Cal touches the tailfin of Flight 828 and disappears, he is about 12 years old, but upon his return, he is about 17.

This means that his disappearance and whatever he went through in the divine consciousness restored him to the age that he would have been if the Flight 828’s disappearance had never happened in the first place.

How the divine consciousness works differently from the regular reality

Although some fans have speculated that Cal ageing was just a plot device to link to time travel later on in the show, others are convinced that it is simply a way to illustrate how the divine consciousness works differently than regular reality.

In the divine consciousness, the future, past, and present all exist simultaneously, and time is not linear.

This could also help to explain how Cal aged this time when the passengers of Flight 828 did not age the previous time, but it does make it difficult to understand or predict what will come next in the show.