HBO Max’s “Set Eleven” has been structured within the sort of mode that the form of the yarn change into now eventually evident from its first three episodes, which premiered in mid-December and which we covered in our non-spoiler review. It change into handiest as the weeks went on that it grew to turn out to be fully sure what this chic miniseries from showrunner Patrick Somerville change into doing as it alternated between new-numbered, character-centric flashback episodes and even-numbered ones rooted within the post-pandemic display.
The prove “Lost,” with its the same time-leaping nature and point of interest on connections or levels of separation between of us, is one apparent comparability, excluding that “Set Eleven” began by orbiting Jeevan (Himesh Patel) and did no longer introduce the grown-up version of its ensemble lead, Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), unless the very conclude of episode 1. Kirsten took center stage in episode 2 as a member of the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of Shakespearean actors who cross from station to station, staging “Hamlet” by firelight in Year 20 of an world that has been ravaged by a fictional flu with a survival rate of 1 in 1000.
Episode 3, alternatively, pivoted help to the past and the POV of Miranda (Danielle Deadwyler), who grew to turn out to be out to be more of a recurring character than a first-rate character. It wasn’t unless the prove’s second week and fourth and fifth episodes that the pattern of “Set Eleven” began to feel acquainted as Kirsten’s Year 20 storyline resumed and Clark (David Wilmot) stepped into the highlight more. Now, the sequence has pulled into the station, as it had been, with its 10th and closing episode airing on January 13, 2022.
Since “Set Eleven” is on hand to rush now in its entirety, we’ll be delving into stout spoilers right here, up to and along with its tearjerker of a finale.
The Zone of Positivity
“Set Eleven” entered production sooner than the arena spread of COVID-19, and despite the undeniable truth that it wasn’t constructed to handle life in a actual pandemic head-on, it has made a formidable case for itself as essentially the most easy share of art work to avoid wasting so within the 2020s. “Art” is the most foremost note right here. Clark would per chance also honest pronounce that the Traveling Symphony’s “Hamlet” production is no longer art work remedy, however it undoubtedly does showcase the therapeutic power of creativity and catharsis.
Here is a prove where of us caught in an condominium without heat maintain themselves heat by rapping. Jeevan’s brother, Frank (Nabhaan Rizwan), hobbles in on a cane and objects a tape deck down on the desk in entrance of Jeevan and Younger Kirsten, performed by the excellent young actress, Matilda Lawler. Frank has looped a sound clip of a man laughing into a hip-hop beat, and sooner than the scene is over, he has climbed up onto his chair and gotten his roommates on their feet, bouncing along as he delivers an electrifying lyrical droop along with the rush. The words arrive spilling out of his mouth and he says, “In finding within the zone of positivity, no longer negativity, cuz we gotta are trying for longevity.”
That’s qualified one mode of creativity on prove in “Set Eleven.” The prove takes its name from Miranda’s homemade graphic unusual, which becomes an nearly non secular text for a team of misplaced young of us, led by the Prophet (Daniel Zovatto). All of these of us inhabit a post-apocalyptic landscape where, as the title of 1 episode tells us, “Survival Is Not Sufficient.” There are dangers display — the young of us themselves elevate landmines — however the adults are also overgrown young of us with the potential to detonate relationships. Whether it is thru art work or reunion and reconciliation with estranged loved ones, their souls want sustenance qualified as essential as their our bodies.
Ache on the Canvas
From the second the Prophet confirmed up at Kirsten’s swimming hole, “Set Eleven” set apart its characters on a collision route, and viewers had every correct to ask that it can conclude in loss of life and tragedy for a complete lot of of them, qualified as it did with the Prince of Denmark. The prove is no longer without its casualties, with Miranda and her ex-husband, Arthur (Gael Garcia Bernal), succumbing to the flu and the Traveling Symphony co-founders, Sarah (Lori Petty) and Gil (David Scandalous), each loss of life of moderately just a few causes. A condominium invader kills Frank and a bandit within the woods dispatches the Prophet’s young lieutenant, Cody (Luca Villacis), with a poison droop.
Having a character be bodily display of their memories, watching and interacting with them, is a visual storytelling instrument that does no longer ceaselessly justify itself, however in “Set Eleven,” the poison’s conclude on Kirsten is representative, in a mode, of how interior demons would per chance also also be helpful for introspection sooner than one exorcises them. That is what artists save: they set apart their pain on the canvas and confront it thru mimesis.
What’s refreshing about “Set Eleven” is the ray of optimism that filters thru it even as characters face grim circumstances and endure loss. Misunderstandings boil over into war and of us plain each moderately just a few yet are quiet in a position to resolving their differences.
The yell in episode 5 that the Prophet is Tyler, the runaway son of Arthur and Elizabeth (Caitlin Fitzgerald), is no longer fully unexpected, however when it comes, it serves to realign the war as more of a deepest dispute between family moderately than the customary warring tribes of apocalypse survivors. It demystifies him, the dark cult leader, as more of a Peter Pan form. He warns in opposition to the Museum of Civilization — where the Traveling Symphony is headed — however moderately than being some moderately just a few Mammoth Foul, the particular person within the help of the scenes there, Clark, is somebody we catch already met along with his hold human foibles.
Afflict and In finding away
The finale of “Set Eleven,” lensed by cinematographer Steven Cosens, begins with Miranda talking about logistics — “the droop issues make a choice from A to B.” She’s ingenious however works slack; she considers herself a ghost who does no longer set apart in contact with of us; and she or he’s sealed herself up in a room in Asia as the arena is ending. (I’m in a position to pronounce on all counts, qualified as I’m in a position to pronounce to lines admire, “Journalists want to cross outside.”) But the relic of the yarn she’s drawn binds the prove’s characters, and her discuss of logistics gives expression to what we catch seen on “Set Eleven,” which is of us crossing paths, coming together and drifting apart at moderately just a few ingredients of their lives.
“I have in mind injury,” Miranda says. “And fracture out.” At a young age, she misplaced her family to a typhoon named Hugo, and after that, art work grew to turn out to be her sanctuary. On her final evening on Earth, she finds herself on the cell phone, pleading with a pilot named Hugo to preserve the sick of us on his airplane quarantined to have the ability to keep the lives of those within the Severn City Airport.
The paths of Kirsten, Tyler, Clark, and Elizabeth, all of whom, admire Miranda, portion a connection with Arthur, converge half of an world away at that very same airport. It appears Clark and Elizabeth, now older and white-haired, are quiet within the station where Tyler left them all those years within the past when he ran away after seeing a sick man gunned down.
He burns down the Museum of Civilization and additionally they handcuff him to a pipe. It’s Kirsten who devises the idea to catch them work thru their points via theater, with Tyler taking part in Prince Hamlet and Clark and Elizabeth taking part in King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. Arthur realizes that he met Kirsten when she change into a girl and it is handiest then that he — the resentful “CEO whisperer” grew to turn out to be neighborhood leader — has the same opinion to her thought.
Factual sooner than he goes onstage, Kirsten reminds Tyler that it did no longer work when she herself stabbed him. Alexandra (Philippine Velge) has set apart a actual knife in his palms, however he drops it, and Elizabeth later has the same opinion to leave with him.
Because the Wheel Turns
The object that truly clinched “Set Eleven” as a winner for me is when it reunited Kirsten and Jeevan on the conclude. In the penultimate, Jeevan-centric episode, the sequence confirmed us how this guy with the fuzzy past as a culture critic grew to turn out to be an unimaginable kidnappee and doctor-in-coaching for a neighborhood of pregnant ladies with synced menstrual cycles. He got mauled by a wolf and misplaced just a few toes, however he did no longer lose his life, and he even stumbled on admire, somebody who may perchance give him a essential-wanted hug and who may perchance salvage him to if truth be told admit, “I am no longer k.”
Years later, after he’s gone gray and made a life for himself someplace else, Jeevan reveals up on the airport to back to Sarah. He is her angel of mercy, and within the initiating, it appears admire he and Kirsten will qualified droop away out each moderately just a few and live ships that handed within the evening. Then, they glimpse each moderately just a few all around the airport, and “Set Eleven” lays a benediction on us within the create of their tearful embody.
The closing image of the sequence is that of a fork within the avenue, two paths diverging in a wood admire one thing out of a Robert Frost poem. Kirsten and Jeevan droop their separate ideas, with the promise that the Symphony’s touring “Wheel” will loop help round to the airport and Jeevan will elevate his family subsequent time. The sequence began with these two characters, and Jeevan’s fate change into ceaselessly dim, if no longer presumed ineffective, so it change into optimistic to seem for him prick up off on his hold quirky adventure moderately than qualified being killed off.
Seeing it arrive stout circle help to him and Kirsten, in spite of the total lot they’ve been thru, summons the feels and it ends the sequence on a hopeful, fortunately-ever-after impress. “Set Eleven” gifts an world where human bonds and creativity are the fireplace that heat chilled hearts. When Frank says, “This new and bad time change into the happiest of my life,” he may perchance qualified as without problems be talking about the enrichment of reveals admire this amid life within the early 2020s.