Station Eleven Review: A Strangely Humane And Intense Apocalypse Brings A Beautiful End To Our World

Station Eleven

This could be the most inspirational post-apocalyptic series of all time. It is perhaps a strange thing to say in these difficult times. It is the worst of times and Station Eleven has an inevitability as all apocalypse movies do.

A powerful virus sweeps through the globe, killing almost all of humanity. Fast-forward to 2 decades later as the survivors eke out a living in a pre-industrial milieu.  

Station Eleven is based on a 2014 Emily St. John Mandel novel. The first 3 episodes start on HBO Max this Thursday. The genre-defying series focuses not as much on survival as on how our life force, expressed here through art, asserts to survive and thrive.

The series is as heartbreaking and dark as all apocalypse movies, but it is also luminous and amazing, and at times, even funny. It may well be the most inspiring show revolving around life after the world ends. A funny word to use alongside an apocalypse, but true.

The impending doom starts as a play of King Lear is staged. Arthur Leander, movie star, collapses and passes away on stage as he plays the titular role. In the ensuing commotion, Jeevan Chaudhary (played by Himesh Patel), and 8-year-old Kirsten Raymonde (Mackenzie Davis) are thrown together. She was one of the daughters of King Lear in the play.

Kirsten’s parents are beyond reach. The reason becomes chillingly clear as patients pour into hospitals that night. The pair take an alternative route to buy groceries worth $10,000 and hole up in an apartment with Frank, Jeevan’s brother. They watch as an airliner crashes into the skyline in Chicago.

The World Of Station Eleven Is Divided Between Those Born Before And After The Pandemic

The limited 10-episode series moves from the early period of the pandemic to 20 years later when a young Kirsten continues with her career as an actor post-apocalypse. She plays Hamlet wandering with the Travelling Symphony. It is a disorganized music and theater group based near the Great Lakes.

They are safe and lead an idyllic life as long as they stay within the confines of the ‘Wheel,’ their rigid circuit loop.

In many ways, Station Eleven shows the way to build a community right from scratch. All the survivors are divided into prepans and postpans, humans born before and after the pandemic. Station Eleven is one of the groups where members struggle to reminisce and preserve the comforts and memories of their past. Memories to them can either be comforting or a prison.

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