“A post apocalyptic saga spanning multiple timelines, telling the stories of survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.”

Directors: Jeremy Podeswa, Helen Shaver, Hiro Murai, Lucy Tcherniak
Writers: Emily St. John Mandel, Sarah McCarron, Patrick Somerville, Kim Steele, Nick Cuse, Shannon Houston, Cord Jefferson, Will Weggel
Staring: Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, Matilda Lawler, David Wilmot, Nabhaan Rizwan, Daniel Zovatto, Philippine Velge, Lori Petty, Enrico Colatoni, Danielle Deadwyler
Release Date: December 16, 2021

I watched Station Eleven over the course of about five months with my girlfriend. It was a long, slow, burn. We did not love the show, but to its credit, it did come together fairly nicely in the end. Emma had read the book, but didn’t remember a thing about it. I am reading the book now, and it will probably take me a very long time.

I took some notes on Station Eleven while I was watching it. I have thoughts. But before that, let’s look at the story first.

Station Eleven is based off of a fictional story written by Emily St. John Mandel. It travels through various timelines and explores the initial stages and calamitous ramifications of the Georgia Flu. The centerpiece of the story is Kirsten Raymonde; the younger version of her is played by Matilda Lawler and older version is played by Kirsten Raymonde. Kirsten is a confident young girl who grows up to be a talented, overprotected, badass. Her story takes her through various landscapes and results in various relationships.

Some of the relationships are good. Some of the relationships are bad. There are some truly good moments, but there are some absolutely confounding plot points.

Station Eleven passes the barrier of entertainment value, but int terms of execution, it is a bit messy.

Okay, here are my thoughts.

  • This show would be nothing without the character of Jeevan Chaudhary. Himesh Patel, who was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his performance, is the best part of the entire show. Every single episode that he is in is one of the better episodes of the show.
    • I really only knew Patel from a few movies like Yesterday (2019) and I remember him appearing in Tenet (2020) for a hit second.
  • Impossible for me to watch Station Eleven and not think of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011). When this show first came out, it had to hit people hard because it was truly grounded in a reality in the first episode. In the first episode it was a real sense of sense and anxiety. Those same emotions are not strung together entirely throughout the show, but in the episodes with Jeevan it is most prevalent.
  • Do we think that Station Eleven was planned on being made before COVID? Was it a start of COVID operation? If it was planned before COVID, then what a wonderful bit of timing for HBO Max and the show runners.
  • Part of me loves the idea that the show did not direct us toward the clues as to why some survived the Georgia Flu and some didn’t. The other part of me wishes that there were answers to be gleamed.
  • I do like how in this post-apocalyptic setting has green in it. There is a new beginning. Throughout the show it is not super dreary or dark in the depressed atmosphere. Nature has taken over naturally. It isn’t like the planet become like Mordor.
  • It would really have behooved me (and all viewers) to read all of Shakespeare’s work before watching Station Eleven. In particular Hamlet and King Lear.
  • There is a massive difference in quality of the episodes when they are set with a young Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) and older Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis).
    • Every single episode that includes Young Kirsten, and most likely Jeevan then, is better than any episodes where the characters are aged 20 years. The drop-off is huge.
    • It comes down to performance; Lawler is better than Davis and Patel is the best performer in the entire show.
  • It is interesting how Station Eleven went about the idea that even in a cataclysmic event, the disease is not the worst enemy of the people, rather people are enemy of the people.
    • At the start of the Georgia Flu, the disease is bad and humans are selfish trying to survive
    • 20 years later in the future, it really is about how the greatest enemy to someone is themselves.
      • The Prophet and his self affliction of isolation
      • Kirsten and her own distrust of people
      • Jeevan is the opposite, finding himself while helping about others and not himself
      • Clark being stubborn and set in his ways
  • Clark is fantastic in Station Eleven. David Wilmot plays the part very well. His most impressive scene comes in the later in the series when he is fighting with Arther Leander (Gael Garcia Bernal) in the hotel room. And then Clark relapses in his sobriety. It is a sad and heart breaking scene. Brutal to watch.
  • Besides Matilda Lawler killing it, Danielle Deadwyler is remarkable as Miranda Carroll. She appears in five episodes, but none better than when she pours the wine out on the table and politely tells Arthur to fuck off. When there is the visual story telling of Miranda and Arthur on a bridge on different ends. Ahh, I just loved it.
    • Second best scene is when it all connects together and she talks to the pilot of the plane that is being held on the tarmac. Beautifully heartbreaking.
  • So what does the spaceman symbolize in the story? What does it mean exactly? I think it is meant to be a little obscure.
    • Here is a thought I had.
    • Is the spaceman the visual representation of Miranda (and Kirsten for a few) being isolated and shielding herself from all emotions and outside influences. Rather than being dented by others actions, Miranda would rather float around in her own thoughts even if it is in the ether. She has faith that she will arrive home, where ever that is, safely.
  • I do not like the character of the Prophet (Daniel Zovatto). I did not love the performance that Daniel gave, but most of all I really dislike his character
    • He was able to garner an army of children? How?
    • He preached about Miranda’s book, but doesn’t remember all of it?
    • Major problem with The Prophet is the reconciliation that Kirsten has with him in a matter of one meeting. It went from I WANT TO KILL YOU to I WILL JOIN YOU AND HELP SAVE MY FRIENDS.
      • Where did this trust come from? Where did this handholding come from? Why would Kirsten trust his information about the troop being at the airport?
    • The Prophet literally had kids blowing themselves up and killing themselves and their respective parents, but everyone seems to forget that by the end of the show. It is my biggest gripe. I am not a huge fan.
  • The character of Alexandra (Philippine Velge) annoyed me. I understand she was there as a surrogate daughter to Kirsten, but she made some really stupid decisions. Terrible, stupid decisions. I also don’t understand why she gave The Prophet the knife in the final performance we see. I don’t understand.
  • LOVED the reunion between Kirsten and Jeevan in the final episode.
    • It was not too much. It was quiet with no words. We don’t need words because we understand both characters now.
    • When they are talking on the path as the show ends, it is remarkably sweet because you can see how both have grown up. No one blames one another, for there is no one to blame. It is just the life they are living in, and they have their own families now after discovering what family means to themselves when being worth each other.
  • Did not expect that birthing clip.It was a great shot because it shocked the audience just like it shocked Jeevan. It worked, but damn.
  • Station Eleven was nominated for seven Primetime Emmys.
    • Best Sound Editing
    • Outstanding Music Composition
    • Outstanding Cinematopgraphy
    • Outstanding Writing
    • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing
    • Outstanding Directing (Hiro Murai)
    • Outstanding Lead Actor (Himesh Patel)

I do recommend you tune into Station Eleven, but don’t dedicate an entire weekend to it. Just tune into a couple times a week and make it last a month and you’ll be happy. It is not an easy binge show, and there are too many ups and downs to keep a binge mode going. There are some outstanding episodes, but there are some boring ones. I am not going to tell you which ones are good and bad because you can’t skip any. Despite the head scratchers, you’ll be invested in the end.

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