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‘Station Eleven': All the Timelines in the HBO Max Miniseries Explained

The post-pandemic drama takes place over several decades

Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Station Eleven.”

Adapted from Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 novel, “Station Eleven” is a television show about a highly contagious virus that eliminates most of the human race and ties together some of the survivors in strange and wondrous ways. But if you’ve read the book or have been watching along, you know that “Station Eleven” is not your average apocalypse show.

Over the course of ten episodes, executive producer Patrick Somerville’s miniseries conducts a deep dive into the backstories of its principal characters, as well as the people in their orbits: Miranda Carroll (Danielle Deadwyler), Arthur Leander (Gael García Bernal), Kirsten Raymonde (Mackenzie Davis), Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel), Clark Thompson (David Wilmot) and Elizabeth Colton (Caitlin FitzGerald).

Ranging from decades before the flu outbreak to 20 years later (the “present day”), the series flashes between the past, present and future of several characters within any given episode. To help you keep track, here’s a guide to “Station Eleven”s master timeline.

Note: This timeline reflects the “Station Eleven” series, including changes made from the book.

2005

Arthur is a movie star and Miranda is working on her “Station Eleven” comic when they meet at a diner. He invites her to attend his best friend Clark’s birthday party, igniting their romantic relationship.

2007

Two years later, Arthur and Miranda are unhappily married. While attending a film premiere, his co-star Elizabeth tells Miranda to disregard any rumors that she and Arthur are having an affair. Later, at one of Arthur’s dinner parties, Miranda realizes that they are indeed having an affair. She pours wine on the table, tells Arthur she’s leaving him and sets the pool house containing all of her “Station Eleven” drawings on fire.

December 2020

Miranda meets Arthur in his dressing room at the Chicago theater where he stars in a production of “King Lear.” She gives him a finished copy of “Station Eleven,” which he later gives to young Kirsten (Matilda Lawler), the eight-year-old actress who happens to be in the room when Miranda visits. Afterwards, Miranda flies to Malaysia for a business trip.

At an unspecified time, Arthur gives another copy of “Station Eleven” to his ex-wife Elizabeth for their son Tyler (Julian Obradors) to have.

Day 0

station eleven
HBO Max

On the day of the flu outbreak, Jeevan and his girlfriend attend a performance of “King Lear.” Arthur suffers a heart attack in the middle of a monologue, prompting Jeevan to run onto the stage and call for a medic. Arthur dies a few minutes later as a traumatized Kirsten watches from the wings.

Jeevan exits the theater to find that his girlfriend has gone home and Kirsten is standing alone outside, her caretaker (and Arthur’s mistress) Tanya having gone in the ambulance with Arthur.

As Jeevan accompanies Kirsten home, his sister calls from the hospital she works at and warns him about the severity of the flu. Per her instructions, he resolves to go to the grocery store and head to his disabled brother Frank’s (Nabhaan Rizwan) apartment. Since Kirsten’s parents are nowhere to be found, he takes her with him.

Meanwhile, Clark calls Miranda to break the news about Arthur’s passing; at this point, she is already in Malaysia and attempting to leave the country by sneaking onto a boat that her boss booked for her. Shocked and upset, Miranda falls down some stairs and hits her head, missing the boat. She returns to her hotel, presents a business pitch and seals up the vents in her room with masking tape.

Clark flies to Chicago to take care of Arthur’s estate, leaving his boyfriend behind. On the plane, he runs into Elizabeth and Tyler, who are headed to Chicago for the same reason. The plane gets redirected to Severn City Airport in Michigan because of the virus. Another plane touches down soon after, but none of the passengers are allowed to exit because some of them are infected.

As it turns out, this is Miranda’s doing. As she and Jim wait to die in her hotel room, she checks Clark’s flight and realizes that another plane is coming in. Jim helps her contact the pilot and she begs him not to let anyone off the plane so that the people in the airport have a chance at life. Moved by her appeal, he obliges.

Year 1

Kirsten, Jeevan and Frank live together in the apartment. Kirsten learns that her parents are dead.

When their food supply starts to run low, Jeevan decides that it’s time to go, but Kirsten insists on staying until her “Station Eleven” play is complete. Frank doesn’t want to leave at all. At the end of the performance, an intruder breaks into the apartment and demands that they vacate the premises. Frank refuses and the intruder stabs him to death. 

After wandering through post-apocalyptic Chicago wilderness for some time, Jeevan and Kirsten move into an abandoned home for the winter. Resenting the move, Kirsten becomes engrossed in reading and re-reading “Station Eleven” to Jeevan’s frustration. One day, Kirsten goes MIA during a scavenging mission, leaving Jeevan to fend off an attack by a stranger. In his fury he takes the book when she’s distracted and drops it in the snow. When she confronts him about it, he heads back out later that night to retrieve it – and a wolf attacks him.

Jeevan awakens in a department store turned makeshift maternity ward inhabited by a community of women who are set to give birth on or around the same day. The resident doctor has saved his life (and amputated one of his feet) because she believes him to be a doctor. Although reluctant at first, he helps the doctor deliver several babies, inspiring him to devote his post-pandemic career to becoming a healer. Eventually, he returns with one of the women to the house, but Kirsten is gone.

At the airport, a janitor posing as a Homeland Security agent rounds up a group of mostly young women and flies out on another plane. Clark gives the remaining inhabitants a rousing speech and becomes the leader of the airport community. During a holiday party, Elizabeth gives Tyler a copy of “Station Eleven” and lies that Arthur has been writing him letters for years.

Later that night, he sees a passenger force his way out of the grounded plane and brings him into the airport. Elizabeth runs over to her son just before a former airport employee named Miles (Milton Barnes) shoots the infected passenger. The community decides to quarantine Tyler and Elizabeth for a month in a different part of the airport.

While quarantining, Tyler becomes obsessed with “Station Eleven” and starts to believe that the virus was meant to happen for some higher purpose. After he overhears Clark say that he and Elizabeth need to leave, Tyler sets the grounded plane on fire and runs away, leaving everyone to think that he died.

A Few Years Later

Kirsten, now traveling alone, runs into The Conductor (Lori Petty) and joins the Traveling Symphony.

Year 20: The Present

Station Eleven, Prince Amponsah, Mackenzie Davis
HBO Max

Kirsten is now a longtime member of the Traveling Symphony. While traveling through the town of St. Deborah’s By The Water, she meets a mysterious stranger (Daniel Zovatto) of whom she is instantly suspicious. He speaks of a man called the Prophet, a spiritual guru who lords over the town. When he threatens Kirsten, she stabs him but he gets away. Later, she realizes that he is the Prophet.

While staying at the home of a retired Symphony member named Gil (David Cross), she learns that the Prophet kidnapped his grandchildren. Some of the Prophet’s disciples return, including the grandchildren. They take another Symphony member, Alex (Philippine Velge) and murder Gil.

Kirsten gets separated from the group when she goes to look for Alex, who decides to stick with the Symphony for now. She crosses paths with the Prophet, who is recovering from the stab wound she inflicted on him earlier, and his army of young disciples again. He informs her that the Symphony is on its way to the Museum of Traveling Civilization, where it’s being taken against its wishes to perform Shakespeare. He proposes an alliance: he will lead her to the Symphony in exchange for disguising him as a member of the Symphony, so that he can retrieve something of his that they’ve taken. After fighting off a band of violent attackers together, they begin to form an uneasy friendship. 

Once they reach the Severn City Airport, the children disperse into the surrounding woods, while the Prophet poses as a fellow actor. To prove that they are who they say they are, Clark and Elizabeth (now much older) ask them to perform something inside the Museum of Civilization. They improvise a powerful performance from “Station Eleven”; when nobody’s looking, the Prophet plants some kind of device in one of the walls. Rigid in his ways, a distrustful Clark wants to cancel the Symphony performance, while Elizabeth wants it to go on. They realize who Kirsten is around the same time that they realize who the Prophet is: Tyler.

Tyler blows up the Museum of Civilization, revealing his identity to all. He is locked up in a makeshift prison while Kirsten joins her Symphony friends in quarantine. After suffering a heart attack, the Conductor is moved into an emergency care unit. Kirsten appoints herself director of “Hamlet” and casts Clark as Claudius, Elizabeth as Gertrude, and Tyler – who will only speak to her through his character – as Hamlet. 

Midway through the performance, Tyler pulls a knife on Clark, but retreats after his father’s old friend says he loved him, too. Later, one of the child soldiers brings a bag of land mines to the airport, but Kirsten dissuades her from detonating them by reading from her copy of “Station Eleven,” demonstrating that Tyler’s “prophecies” are just lines from the book. 

Twenty years after being separated from Kirsten, Jeevan is married to the woman who went with him to find her. They live with their children in a different settlement community, where he is a healer. He makes his way to Severn City Airport to treat the Conductor, who passes away. After the performance, he locks eyes with Kirsten, and the two reunite. The next morning, the Prophet, his children, Alex and Elizabeth leave together and the Symphony moves on to their next destination. Kirsten and Jeevan walk together until they reach a fork in the road. They promise to see each other again and part ways.

All episodes of “Station Eleven” are now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.