Redditor armchairstormchaser’s theory About “Manifest” basically boils down to this: Flight 828 just crashed and killed everyone on board. And everything that happens afterwards actually happens in purgatory, where everyone has to come to terms with their past before moving on to the afterlife.
The Reddit user pointed out how strange it is that almost all of the passengers on Flight 828 have skeletons in their closet. Michaela, the police officer, killed someone in a car accident. Zeke abandoned his sister Chloe on a hike, resulting in her death. Paul is an abusive husband. Etc. While it’s possible that this was just a coincidence made up by the show’s writers, armstormchaser believes there are greater forces at work. And when Flight 828 returns to Earth, it gives passengers a chance to redeem themselves.
The theory of purgatory makes as much sense as any other. But then armstormchaser introduced another wrinkle: what if, instead of the traditional Christian version of Purgatory, the characters in “Manifest” were trapped in some kind of computer simulation? It is less clear what the purpose of this would be, or who might be behind it. And that’s just one of many possible explanations, including parallel universes and time travel, to name a few. But until “Manifest” finds a new home, this theory and all the others will remain just that.