Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 premiere of Manifest on NBC, called "Fasten Your Seatbelts."
Manifest kicked off Season 2 with a premiere that raised just about as many questions as it answered, although thankfully the show didn't waste time in revealing what happened after the gunshot rang out in the Season 1 finale. Instead of either Zeke or Jared taking a bullet, Michaela was accidentally shot by Zeke in the scuffle. While she did survive, death was still a major theme of the episode thanks to the Season 1 discovery of "death dates" that suggest Michaela, Ben, and the rest of the Flight 828 survivors will die in June 2024.
Unsurprisingly, Manifest didn't give away all the details about death dates in the very first episode of Season 2, but showrunner Jeff Rake has shared when some answers will come about whether the death dates can be undone:
Season 2 is largely centered around two big ideas. One is the question of the death date. Is it a real thing and can it be undone? Is there a workaround for the death date? That is Ben's defining journey of Season 2 as he continues to take on the role of caretaker for all the passengers. But it's also, on a parallel front, Michaela's journey throughout the season. As she grows closer with Zeke and as his clock ticks away--Zeke has one year to live because that's how long he'd been gone--Michaela is literally fighting for Zeke's life. So this idea of undoing the death date is the fundamental mythological question of Season 2 and we will answer that by the time we get to the end of the season.
As Jeff Rake noted in his comments to TV Guide, it hasn't actually been 100% confirmed that the June 2, 2024 death date really will be the end for the people who mysteriously returned on Flight 828. Granted, signs point toward people who have gone through this ordeal (and similar unexplained ordeals) do have expiration dates corresponding to how long they were gone, but so little is certain that a lot will have to happen by the end of the season, when the answer will be coming.
While that does mean quite a while before viewers get some hard truths about the death dates and whether they should count on Ben, Michaela, and the rest biting the dust on June 2, 2024, it sounds like there's a journey ahead that should be fascinating to watch. Michaela was surprisingly fine with Zeke after he shot her, knowing that it was an accident, and her relationship with Jared is clearly cooler. Apparently, Michaela and Zeke still have a story together, even though he turned himself in for shooting her in "Fasten Your Seatbelts."
Will Season 2 end with Zeke's death? Manifest does obviously play with time, so it's possible a full year could pass in-universe by that point. While Michaela is "fighting for Zeke's life," her brother will be on a different path. According to actor Josh Dallas, Ben will "start making preparations for his death date" because he accepts that it's coming, even if he's not 100% ready for it. Given that the episode ended for Ben with his kidnapping and then the reveal that Vance is actually alive, there should be some meaty story on his end in Season 2 as well.