The third episode of STATION ELEVEN takes us exclusively to the second set of characters in the story. So, we are not spending time with Kristen (younger or older) but with Miranda Carroll (Danielle Deadwyler) & Arthur Leander (Gael García Bernal). What we know of them is from Episode 01. If you remember, (and if you don’t it gets replayed in #3) she stops by the theater to give Arthur the completed copy of her graphic novel Station Eleven. What this episode reveals is the background of how these two know each other. And also, the reason for the special gift.
The two don’t first meet in any unusual way. Arthur, the charismatic actor feeling on-top-of-the-world notes her in a diner where she is pencil etching graphics. He is like an unexpected storm that rumbles in and throws Miranda off-guard. In his actorly bravado, he invades her space to admire her art and wants to buy it. She doesn’t go for it but is flattered. He invites her elsewhere and she declines only to change her mind and follow him. And a relationship is born. There is good sex and her being caught up in the world of a celebrity and all seems good. But Miranda is not just arm-candy for him. She has her own job and her own artistry. We learn that she has been continuing to draw and layout Station Eleven and won’t give up on it. We also learn that Arthur is not too happy with her job and independence. But, in spite of that, they do find time to get married.
Then Miranda weathers a storm that causes her to alter her course drastically. At a dinner party, two big reveals happen. First, she shares about her art project. A dinner guest asks, her how soon is the piece going to be published and Miranda says that it isn’t going to be and the reply is “then, what’s the point.” Miranda explains that it is only meant for her. In essence, it isn’t about the finished product; it is about the process that makes her happy & fulfilled. It means far too much to her privately to ever let it be mass-produced. But then the next response just crashes it all. Elizabeth (Caitlin FitzGerald), Arthur’s co-star, thinks she is paying Miranda a compliment when she states that she has seen Miranda’s work and it is well done, that she is talented. She says Artie took her back to the pool house and showed it to her. Well, first, “Artie” comes out as a cute pet name that has got to irk Miranda, but worse than that, Arthur had no right to take anyone back to her art spot and show off her private work. That evening concludes with Miranda destroying her work as a result.
Some time passes, and of course, the episode dances timelines, so nothing plays out linearly. The couple is now divorced and Miranda takes a big job assignment in Maylasia, thus missing Arthur’s play premiere. She does manage to see her ex and give him the completed Station Eleven before she leaves because in their life apart she managed to create it again – it was that important to her. She is in Maylasia now, on a big business venture with her colleague Jim (Timothy Simons, VEEP’s big dick Jonah Ryan). While there she also weathers yet more rough times. I’m guessing by now you see why the episode is called “Hurricane.”At one point she uses the metaphor to explain her preparedness for crises. Well, she is hit with two big ones. She is alerted to the pandemic crisis and she is told of Arthur’s death. She panics over the first one and passes out upon hearing the second one. In some small ways, she still loved Arthur. The immediate shit-storm still needed to be dealt with and since she didn’t manage to get out of Maylasia, she holds up in her hotel room and is seen taping the vents and seams with tape hoping to ride out the threat. A knock at the door halts her efforts and an unexpected visitor enters. Well, where does this all lead?
All through this episode, I was wondering how all our storylines connect. What does Miranda’s story have to do with Kirsten’s? Having not read the source material this reviewer has no clue. Besides this show could deviate off of that as most shows do anyway. There are only two points they share – a copy of Station Eleven and that they are both artists. Are the journeys of these two artists & the necessity for art to live on (both personally for Miranda and socially for Kirsten) the only point of this show or does the plot of the graphic novel unlock something? Why was the creation of it so important and why does Kirsten covet it? There is so much more to learn.