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‘Station Eleven’ Episode 3 Recap: Secret Origins

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‘Station Eleven’ Episode 3 Recap: Secret Origins

In a way, this is Station Eleven’s origin story. Not the origin of the flu that wipes out humanity, nor the origin of any of the characters we’ve come to care about in the series’ previous two episodes. No, this is the origin of Station Eleven itself—the graphic novel that gives the series its title. In this installment (“Hurricane”), we spend time with the book’s creator, cartoonist and logistics expert Miranda Carroll (Danielle Deadwyler), as she navigates life, love, art, and death—the Big Four of all human endeavor, I’d say. Written by Shannon Houston and directed by Hiro Murai, the episode that results is a minor masterpiece.

Right up front, we need to acknowledge that it’s also a marked break from the previous two episodes. Jeevan, Kirsten, Frank, the Traveling Symphony—they’re nowhere to be found, or in Kirsten’s case they’re only a cameo appearance. This one’s all about Miranda, the woman who delivered a copy of Station Eleven to actor Arthur Leander in the premiere. It was her book, as it turns out—a book that both she and Arthur say, at different points, may well have ruined their lives.

Why? It’s complicated, as human connections tend to be. Miranda’s just a logistics expert with an artistic hobby when she’s picked up at a diner by Arthur, a charismatic movie star who’s hiding out in the relatively paparazzi-free environment of Chicago. Spotting her drawing at a diner, he impetuously inserts himself into her life, offering to buy one of her drawings at a premium so that he has a birthday present to give to his friend Clark (David Wilmot), another character who briefly appeared in the premiere. He invites her to the party; she declines, then relents and follows him in.

STATION ELEVEN EP 3 ROMANCE

An entire relationship follows—and the weird thing is that it’s Miranda, more so than bonafide celebrity Arthur, who appears married to her work. She continues to pursue both her logistics gig and her artistic sideline, working on the global supply chain (now there’s a phrase to send shivers down any survivor of 2021’s spine) by day, writing and drawing by night. She also navigates the demands of her burgeoning relationship with Arthur, with whom she shacks up, though to his chagrin she spends most of her time isolated in his pool house, working on her two callings. 

Everything turns disastrous at a dinner party involving Arthur, Clark (side note: Emily St. John Mandel’s original novel, upon which the show is based, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2015. Coincidence? I have no idea), and several of their high-rolling friends, including his glamorous co-star Elizabeth (Caitlin FitzGerald). When Elizabeth uses a pet name for Arthur and reveals that he showed her Miranda’s work in progress, Miranda quotes one of his awful-seeming blockbuster movies—“Burn every parasite motherfucker alive”—dumps her glass of red wine, and bolts. After receiving confirmation of Arthur and Elizabeth’s affair from his old Rosencrantz & Guildenstern acting buddy Clark, she packs up and leaves, but not before setting the poolhouse and the pages of her graphic novel on fire.

STATION ELEVEN EP 3 PARASITE

STATION ELEVEN EP 3 FIRE

Which brings us to the point we arrived at in the premiere, when a then-unidentifiable Miranda delivered a copy of a fully redrawn Station Eleven to Arthur as young Kirsten worked on a coloring book in his dressing room. It’s here we learn that she definitely made more than one copy, which could explain how other character have been quoting a book only Kirsten believed she had access to. (Another side note: One of the comic’s lines, “Survival is insufficient,” is emblazoned on one of the Traveling Symphony’s horse-drawn vehicles.)

But in the end, Miranda declines Arthur’s invitation to see his production of King Lear and travels to Malaysia on business. While she’s there, the end of the world begins. She gets a call from Clark that Arthur has died and she promptly passes out, dropping the keys to her only method of escape from the mainland. She returns to work and pours her heart out to her would-be clients like a late-season Don Draper from Mad Men, then seals up her hotel room with duct tape helpfully provided by the front desk. Then comes a knock on the door, and who should it be but the spaceman from the premiere, and her own graphic novel. The end.

At this point Station Eleven is rich enough that it’s almost too easy for poignant, pointed details to get lost in the shuffle. Take the character of Leon (Chike Johnson), Miranda’s boss, as an example. When we first meet him he seems like a joke delivery mechanism straight out of The Office, using a pencil and pen to illustrate how logistics is a journey through spacetime or some shit like that. By the end of the episode, though—with his presence relegated to a voice on the other end of the phone—he proves to be both resourceful and fiercely dedicated to Miranda’s survival of the onrushing flu pandemic. He sends her the information and items she’ll need to escape the Malaysian mainland for a freighter that will keep her safely at sea for over a year. Even as he coughs, a sign of his own impending death, he’s grateful to hear Miranda’s lie that she made it to the freighter and is safe and secure. 

Jim, Miranda’s colleague, is another case in point. The towering height and lanky frame of Veep actor Tim Simons makes the guy a walking punchline, a gangly hail-fellow-well-met type whose reaction to news of the end of the world is 18 holes of golf. But his enthusiasm upon receiving word that their canceled pitch meeting is back on—their would-be client’s hydrofoil crapped out in the middle of his escape attempt—masks a deep-seated fear. 

“We’re all gonna die, huh?” he says to Miranda. 

“I think so, Jim. I’m sorry,” she replies. A few moments later, his golf equipment dropped to the floor, they hug, a clinch made awkward by the height differential involved, but no less a touching display of human connection for that.

STATION ELEVEN EP 3 HUG

“I’m so scared,” he tells her.

“I’m scared too, Jim,” she replies. Here, now, at the ass end of 2021, is there a more relatable sentiment to be found?

Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) writes about TV for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anyplace that will have him, really. He and his family live on Long Island.

Watch Station Eleven Episode 3 on HBO Max

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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