‘Station Eleven’ tells a beautiful story of trauma and hope in the post-apocalypse
“Station Eleven,” HBO Max’s new limited series that dropped its final episode on January 13, is unlike any other post-apocalyptic story you’ll ever see.
The show begins with a performance of “King Lear” on the day a massive flu pandemic spreads and wipes out most of civilization. “Station Eleven” primarily focuses on Kirsten Raymonde, a theater savant played by Matilda Lawler as a young girl after the pandemic hit and Mackenzie Davis as an adult 20 years later.
The beating heart of the series is the relationship between Kirsten and Jeevan Chaudhary, played by Himesh Patel, who is in the audience on the evening of the “King Lear” performance. Although he is not a doctor and does not know what to do, he rushes on stage when he notices that the main actor, Arthur Leander, played by Gael García Bernal, is having a heart attack.
Jeevan continues to help Kirsten when she cannot get in touch with anyone she knows. This introduction to his character leads us to immediately fall in love with this unlucky good-hearted man. It’s also a perfect and inciting incident for the series as a whole.
The storytelling in “Station Eleven” is far from linear. The show begins through the eyes of a certain character only to focus on him in later episodes. The viewer is left with heaps of questions from episode to episode, forced to ride the wave of unexpected protagonists and surprising revelations about the plot.
The story itself is weird and mysterious, and it takes a little while for the viewer to notice all the puzzle pieces that have been put together, but they’re clear once they come together and redefine everything. which preceded.
This divide between past and present is one of the series’ most defining qualities. Without it, some of the character’s deepest moments wouldn’t work, but it also feels a bit disjointed and clunky at times. It’s a bit of a mess in structure, but surely it’s still a wonderful mess.
The show itself is beautiful to watch. Cinematography by Steve Cosens, Daniel Grant and Christian Sprenger brings both halves of this show to life, from the cold and unsettling times before the pandemic to the chaos of the immediate aftermath, the calm and peace that comes from the nature having taken over 20 years later.
The direction from all of the show’s directors is excellent, with the work of Hiro Murai (of “Atlanta” and “Barry”) being a particular highlight.
The biggest thing this show exemplifies is completely unintentional, given that it was based on a 2014 novel and began filming in January 2020. “Station Eleven” is a perfect allegory for the coronavirus pandemic (COVID- 19).
The pandemic in this show is sudden and throws the world into chaos. These characters deal with horrific loss and trauma, but they find a way to care for each other. Finding a new normal is hard and letting go of the past is nearly impossible, but they find a way.
In the show, art flourishes and brings light into people’s lives.
The relationship between art and humanity is one of the strongest elements of “Station Eleven”. The show’s namesake is a graphic novel about a desolate astronaut stranded in space, a story that young Kirsten is in love with. It’s one of many examples of how art helps these characters work through trauma, which this series itself can do for people in reality.
“Station Eleven” is weird, unpredictable, and veers in directions that may confuse the viewer, but by the end of the final episode, it stands out as one of the most exciting and engaging shows in recent memory.