Some years after this reconnection in Toronto, Arthur and Miranda are married; they have a little dog named Luli and a house in Hollywood. Arthur is extremely famous, and the photographers that follow them around make Miranda constantly anxious. At their house, Miranda and Arthur host ten guests to celebrate their wedding anniversary and the opening figures of Arthur’s latest film. Miranda feels that there is something wrong with the evening and has trouble hiding the feeling.
While Arthur believes fame is embarrassing, his status as a super-celebrity creates more anxiety than embarrassment for Miranda. She has trouble identifying exactly what feels off about the evening—in which her wedding anniversary is paired with a celebration of Arthur’s career, the very thing that drives so much of her anxiety. Again note the recurrence of the dog’s name “Luli.”
Arthur is sitting at the other end of the table, and Miranda can’t seem to catch his eye. She doesn’t say much, and feels out of place in Hollywood. Miranda listens in on various conversations between guests, constantly looking at her dog and hoping everyone will leave. But by midnight, everyone is still there and no one seems close to leaving.
We now see that from the beginning of their relationship to this point in their marriage, Arthur and Miranda seem to have grown more distant rather than closer together. Again, Miranda feels out of place in her life.
Near Miranda, Clark Thompson is talking to a woman named Tesch, who is pretentiously asking him what he does. Clark informs her that he does Management Consulting in New York City. When the topic of conversation turns to Miranda’s work, she knows that most people view her as an eccentric since she’s so private about Station Eleven. She says that she’s almost finished, and isn’t sure if she’ll publish it when she is done. She maintains that it is the work that’s important to her.
The dinner guests in the entertainment industry cannot seem to understand Miranda’s desire to produce artwork that will not be commercialized or produced on a mass scale. Art for them is monetized, but for Miranda, we have seen, it is a constant, a personal escape, and a means of coping with the world. It’s also a source of pride, as she strives to make it as excellent as possible—but this effort isn’t so that others will appreciate it. Rather, she does it for the value of the work itself.
From this point Tesch transitions to a personal story about when she was in “Praha,” at which point Clark interjects that she can call it “Prague” in English. Elizabeth Colton, Arthur’s co-star and the woman he has been looking at all night, says that it is a beautiful city. She remarks that she wants to move to somewhere with history.
This pronunciation of “Prague” becomes an important marker for a memory later on. Elizabeth Colton here first expresses her desire to move to a city with history, which, if we remember the discussion in the bar immediately following Arthur’s death, ultimately leads her to move with her son to Israel.
The topic of conversation shifts to how Miranda and Arthur met. When Arthur says that it’s not that exciting of a story, Elizabeth remarks that she believes everything happens for a reason and that she loves hearing how people met. Arthur concedes to tell the story, at which point Miranda finally excuses herself to let Luli out.
After the introduction to Elizabeth’s desire to move to a place with history, we are given insight into her faith, particularly with the idea that everything happens for a reason. This notion will play a major role in the way that she deals with the Georgia Flu and the collapse.
Outside, Miranda reflects on the more personal details of the story that Arthur doesn’t share with the guests, and the trauma of Pablo drunkenly waiting for her back at the apartment. As the story ends inside, Miranda notices the way that Elizabeth looks at Arthur and touches his arm. Miranda turns away and Clark comes out for a cigarette. Miranda has realized that Arthur and Elizabeth are having an affair. A comment from Clark suggests to Miranda that everyone else already knows. Clark wishes her luck and heads back inside to the party.
Miranda now realizes what has seemed so off about the evening: her husband is having an affair with Elizabeth. Thus as she reflects on the gruesome details of the beginning of her relationship with Arthur, she also comes to see its budding end.
After the party has all but ended, Miranda sketches Station Eleven in her studio. She realizes that she has given Dr. Eleven a clone of her dog Luli. At three in the morning she goes to the kitchen for a cup of tea and notices Elizabeth Colton passed out on the sofa in the living room. Miranda tries to talk to Arthur, but he drunkenly tells her they’ll talk in the morning.
Again, Miranda retreats from a difficult situation to Station Eleven. The unintentional cloning of Luli suggests again the way that art can mirror life, and that artists put pieces of themselves into their work.
Miranda then heads out to the driveway and approaches a paparazzo to bum a cigarette. The man agrees not to take her photo and says his name is Jeevan. He gives her a cigarette and asks why Elizabeth Colton’s car is still in the driveway. Miranda responds that she’s a raging alcoholic and was too wasted to drive. As they talk about his work, Jeevan says that he believes that “work is combat.” As Miranda becomes lost in thought, Jeevan catches her off guard and surprises her by taking a photo of her smoking.
In another act of fate or chance, Miranda shares a cigarette with a man who will one day try to save her (then ex) husband’s life. The interaction also exemplifies the other form in which the novel examines fate, namely the notion that we are fated to be a certain way based on the people that influence us. Jeevan’s comments on work, for example, will leave a subtle imprint on Miranda.
Back in the house, Miranda creeps into Arthur’s study. She notices the beginning of a letter to Arthur’s friend V, and finds the glass paperweight that Clark brought that night as a gift. She takes the paperweight and decides to keep it forever.
Here the paperweight passes hands, foreshadowing the journey it will take and the connections it will symbolize, as at this point in the novel we know that Kirsten ends up with the paperweight (as well as the “Dr. Eleven” comics).
After taking the paperweight, Miranda returns to her studio to continue working on Station Eleven. Soon Elizabeth shows up to apologize. Miranda tells her that what she has done (have an affair with Arthur) is a terrible thing to do. The two end up sitting on a floor surrounded by Station Eleven drawings.
While the two women have every reason to hate one another (as one had an affair with the other’s husband), they still share a moment surrounded by and marveling at the drawings of Station Eleven, suggesting that art can be a powerful unifying force.
Three months later, Arthur and Miranda get divorced. While Elizabeth moves into their Hollywood home, Miranda moves back to Toronto and starts working for Leon at Neptune Logistics once again. She comes into a more high-powered position and begins traveling the world for work. She wears expensive clothing, which she thinks of as armor, and whispers “I repent nothing” into mirrors of hundreds of hotel rooms across the globe. She loves her life, and she continues to work on Station Eleven in her free time.
Once back in the corporate world, Miranda reinvents herself. She gets her expensive clothing, and in a slight echo from Jeevan’s “work is combat” line, she thinks of this clothing as her armor in the world. After the marriage and divorce, she still repents nothing. Opposing Jeevan, she loves her work and globetrotting lifestyle. And all the while, her art and Station Eleven remain the grounding constant she knew they would be.