Station Eleven Season 1 Episode 2: Meet The Traveling Symphony

Station Eleven Season 1, Episode 2 starts where the previous episode ended. It’s twenty years since the flu outbreak that ravaged the world and Kirsten is now an adult and she’s found her place with a group of traveling artists. Kirsten met Sarah (Lori Petty) the group’s conductor when she was just ten years old. Sarah found her hungry, dehydrated, soiled, and clutching a copy of the book Station Eleven. Sidebar: This book just won’t go away. When they meet, they both draw on each other because even though times have changed it’s still a “hard knock life”. Once Sarah realizes Kirsten’s age, she lowers her weapon. Sarah tells Kirsten that she was a musician. I guess it’s kind of customary greeting. When you meet someone, you exchange names and state your occupancy prior to the world ending. “I was a Shakespearean actress,” Kirsten states proudly.

Sarah hands her a box of Cheezits.  It was the start of a beautiful lifelong friendship.  Kirsten hints that she’s been alone for a while now. We don’t know what happened to Jeevan but Kirsten tells Sarah about her plans to say goodbye to her brother, Arthur, and Jeevan. This group of marauders is called the Traveling Symphony. The Traveling Symphony consists of two dozen musicians and actors and they travel between outposts in a caravan of old camper vans and horse and wagons. The series jumps back to Year Twenty and the Traveling Symphony arrives in St. Deborah where they plan on putting on an epic performance for a group of survivors. Kirsten and her friend Alex her eighteen-year-old friend who was born after the world ended ditch the group to go ransack an abandoned house for supplies. Alex finds an iPhone and Kirsten explains to her all the capabilities of a phone.

The cellphone triggers a memory of Year O of the apocalypse specifically the first night Kirsten spent with Frank and Jeevan barricaded in the high-rise apartment. She was desperately calling both of her parents back to back. Kirsten is constantly haunted by the past. Back in Year Twenty, Kirsten finds a group of dried reeds that have been tied together to mimic the small tattoo on her hand. Someone must have left it behind for her to find. In St. Deborah a strange drifter makes his way into the group with a young boy that he claims is his son even though the boy looks too old to be his kid. Kirsten’s guard is up from the moment she meets this nameless guy. She becomes even more suspicious  of the drifter when he starts to talk about his dead wife. Kirsten’s wariness may be attributed to the survival instincts she developed living in this world.

Kirsten low-key gets into with one of her close friend’s Charlie. Charlie is pregnant and she breaks the news to Kirsten that once the baby is born she won’t be traveling with the Symphony because the road is no place for a baby. She tells Kirsten that she’s going to stay back now that she’s starting a family. Kirsten is livid and accuses Charlie of being selfish. Kirsten dashes off in a fit. Her reaction was unreasonable but it seems like she doesn’t do well with change. Despite this unsettling news and the weird drifter anxious to infiltrate their group the show must go on. Kirsten is the grief-stricken hamlet in the play, mid performance she has a flashback of when she found out her parents were dead. The show jumps back to Day Zero when Kirsten gets a text message from her Dad’s phone. The text message says the owner of the cellphone is dead and in the city morgue. The person warns her not to come to the location.

After the performance the group gathers around a camp fire celebrating the success of yet another performance. Charlie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl during the show and she tells Kirsten that she wants life to be different for her. She wants her to have a normal childhood and not grow up saddled with fear of people leaving. Finally Kirsten gets it. Kirsten spots the drifter sitting alone in a isolated area. The drifter tells her Kirsten that she’s still overcome with Day Zero pain. Kirsten doesn’t like how intrusive he is and decides to call him out on his lies.  She knows that he is lying about being from  Mackinac Island because the mushrooms he’s eating doesn’t grow there.  He also quotes pages out of the book Station Eleven which is strange because Kirsten’s always had the only copy ever made. The drifter insists on joining the Traveling Symphony and tells Kirsten that if he doesn’t the people she love will start disappearing. Kirsten senses something menacing about him and she’s committed to protecting the Traveling Symphony. So she stabs him in the gut with a switchblade and leaves him for dead. In the morning, Kirsten checks the spot where she left his body and found that he was gone. She never finished the job and now an enemy is on the loose.

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