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This show is an American animated anthology-style sci-fi horror thriller about a train that takes passengers on dangerous and crazy trips to try to teach them lessons on character development, and gives them numbers on their skins that move up or down based on their good or bad behavior. If a passenger’s number goes down to zero, it means that the passenger can leave the train.
The series is called Infinity Train because the cars on the train are infinite – they go on forever. So far, there are four seasons or books with ten episodes each; the first two are available for free everywhere online and the latest seasons, 3 and 4, are on HBO MAX.
The first season which came out in 2019 follows Tulip Olsen, a 12-going-on-13 year old from Wisconsin who runs away after her parents refuse to take her to game design camp because they are getting divorced. On the train she discovers that the cars each have their own societies with creatures called denizens. At first she only cares about figuring out how everything around her works, but eventually makes friends with two of the denizens; a robot with a literal split personality called One-One and a talking corgi named Atticus, who offer to travel with her. As the story goes on, we discover a lot about the world and the characters, including the fact that the train is steered by a mysterious conductor who hides themself in a robotic suit and controls the whole train. The season ends with Tulip figuring a way to go back home and learning to be a better person.
The second season, also called Book 2, is about MT, which stands for Mirror Tulip. Mirror Tulip is Tulip's former reflection who is exploring the train, and at the same time wanting to be a normal human being. At first, MT acts like a tough girl, but opens up a bit when she meets a boy named Jesse Cosay who happens to also be stuck on the train. They start traveling together and get a new party member, Alan Dracula, a deer with superpowers who acts as their pet.
As the adventure continues, the heroes run into a pair of villanus cops named Sieve and Mace, who are hunting down MT because it is illegal for reflections to be independent. Though technically, Sieve is the “bad” one and Mace is the "good” one.
They also meet Grace Monroe and Simon Laurent, a couple of 20-something year olds who permanently live on the train. They take in children between eight and sixteen year olds in order to turn them into wild chaos-loving beasts called raiders. Their gang is known as the Apex because they see themselves as superior to everything else around them. An interesting thing about the Apex is that they call non-humans “nulls”, a word that means less than zero, indicating something that does not have any feelings. Apex believe that only people have feelings. Another thing about this supposedly friendly group who act nice at first, is that they see themselves as a cool club but demonstrate cult-like behavior. For example, they paint squiggly lines on their faces and greet each other by tracing two fingers along those lines. When they receive a task or order, one of them bends down and the other person does the salute. It’s kind of weird but cool at the same time.
The third season, or “book,” is Cult of the Conductor,
This book is about Grace and Simon getting separated from their group and meeting a little girl named Hazel and her gorilla friend Tuba. The main focus of this part seems to be more emotional drama than mystery-adventure because Hazel ends up changing the duo’s lives. Grace shows signs of caring about Hazel while drifting away from the closest thing she has to a boyfriend, Simon.
An important thing we learn in this season is that the children of the Apex work as a pack; each is encouraged to fight for Grace's favor. Another thing we learn about them is the fact that they believe that numbers equal power. The higher the number, the more power and authority a person has.
Fun fact: Their symbol is based on the conductor who they see as a god. Additionally, their community is very important to them because if somebody tries to mess or disagree with one, the whole bunch fights back. Their favorite form of punishment is wheeling: which consists of throwing the offender/boring person or thing, under the train. Their way of thinking is basically: Do whatever it takes to win and survive because nothing is illegal or immoral unless the leaders say so.
Another bit of trivia about this crew: the kids are supposed to give some of the stuff they collect or most likely steal, to their leaders and caretakers as a sign of loyalty and respect.
Tulip is a redheaded girl with glasses and a stubborn, obsessive, extremely logical, impatient and controlling personality. She also has a bit of a short temper when things don't go her way but eventually she learns to control it. Fun fact: her name is a reference to a type of long-lived flower.
One-One is a robot that serves as comic relief and has an optimistic and idealistic side called Glad One and a pessimistic and cynical side known as Sad One. Fun fact: the two sides often bicker but can occasionally be helpful.
Atticus is a corgi that at first acts like a snob but later shows a softer side after meeting Tulip. He serves as her guide, father figure, and advisor. Some additional information about this character: He has a British accent and likes giving extremely long and formal speeches.
MT starts out as a reflection but gets tired of that life and decides to try to be her own person. Her appearance starts identically to Tulip except with chrome skin but later she decides to cut and eventually shave off her hair. Her personality is a bit different from Tulip's – both of them are stubborn, but MT is street smart, initially antisocial and hotheaded. She eventually changes her name to Lake.
Jesse is an optimistic teenage boy who is nice to everybody he meets to the point of being a doormat; he is obsessed with getting people to like him. That problem causes him to be easily peer pressured and manipulated. His appearance is that of a light brown skinned person with dark brown hair and comes from Arizona. Eventually he becomes more assertive.
Grace: she is an African - American woman in her mid twenties who looks and acts friendly or cool depending on the age of the person she talks to. She uses sweet and motherly tones when speaking with small children and aloof monotones with tweens and teens, but deep down is uncaring, selfish, and manipulative except with Simon. They have become very close after meeting for the first time at the age of ten. Her usual appearance is short dreadlocks, a pale orange almost pink top, purple shorts, gold exclamation-mark-shaped earrings, a green fanny pack, knee pads and pale red sneakers. She's the head of the Apex. She has good people skills and serves as tour guide and recruiter for new members. The younger kids in her care see Grace as a mother figure and the older kids see Grace as a big sister. Her role as leader means she's an attention seeker. This attitude comes from feeling neglected/ignored as a little girl. In Season Three, she tries to drive a wedge between Tuba and Hazel because she doesn't like the gorilla. She sees herself as the girl's surrogate mom, but instead strains her own relationship with Simon. I think her name might be a reference to the fact that she's a gifted dancer. Fun fact: her name also stands for “polite”, “civil” and/or well-mannered. She shows basic manners when charming targets.
An example of her manipulative side is when she convinces Hazel to become a member of the Apex by telling her that it would be good for her to be with other kids. Some additional information about her: though she acts confident and carefree on the outside, Grace occasionally displays sensitive and vulnerable traits like fear, guilt, and doubt. She suffers from a phobia of disappointing others and being perceived as weak, which means that she doesn't always think straight.
Simon is Grace's best friend, second in command, partner and trusted advisor, but at times it seems he might have feelings for her. For example, at one point he tells the protagonists MT and Jesse that he will always put Grace above his own life. His personality is interesting because sometimes he acts like a goofy manchild - he likes figurines and fantasy books to the point of wanting to write one - and other times he seems cold and serious. Simon isn't always good with people because he loses his temper to the point of coming off as rude and hostile if Grace is not there to help him talk with them. His physical appearance: he is a blonde man with dark eyes and wears a white hoodie, beige pants that are ripped on one knee, a black belt and pale green boots with bicycle pads strapped on. He also has a bit of a manipulative side. He tells Jesse that MT broke Todd's foot on purpose when what actually happened was that Todd tried to kick her and hurt himself. He serves as an older brother and father figure to his group. He also shows zero empathy for others feelings, except for Grace’s. Examples of his idea of empathy: listens to everything she tells him and comforts her when she freaks out. Basically, he wishes to be Grace's favorite person.
Simon is not a bad dude, just misguided in thinking good behavior is bad and bad is good. Another thing about him is that he is very smart and agile because he handles the strategic and physical training in the gang but has a bit of a jealous and possessive streak at times he wants Grace all to himself. I think his attitude may have come from a messed up childhood. Grace initially encouraged his destructive behavior and negative outlook, but if he tries anything dumb or recless, she pulls rank on him.
Cool bit of trivia: his last name, Laurent, is French although he is American; that may mean he's bicultural and has a mixed heritage. Fun fact: his name is a reference to a mimicking game for kids, Simon Says. His surname means ``the bright or shining one.” Bright meaning smart and shining because he is blonde. The name Simon can also mean "listen" in Hebrew. He was Grace's first follower.
Some more important facts about him are: he hates being lied to, doesn't like secrets, is afraid of being wrong, occasionally acts like a control freak, and has no sense of boundaries or personal space. An example of that behavior is first seen in a scene during season two where he grips Jesse's arm when the boy tries to defend MT from bullies. The bullies were Simon's “children.” Jesse is a teenager and he is an adult, which means that Simon committed assault. Another thing about him is that he doesn't want to leave the train since it's like a home for him, and will do anything to stay on it. That means there is no line he will not cross to achieve his goal. Additionally, it is implied that despite acting like a Pied Piper clone, he might actually have a soft spot for the kids he manipulates because he talks to them and tells them stories.
Hazel: she is a six year old kid with a kind, fun-loving and sweet personality who instantly bonds with Grace, much to Simon's annoyance. He tries to hide it but it's obvious he can't stand the girl. She has blonde hair and coffee colored skin. An important thing about her is that she sees Grace and Simon as a sort of cross between aunt and uncle and foster parents, which is interesting because it looks like she could be their own child. Another thing about her is that since she originally only lived with Tuba, a gorilla, she doesn't know many humans and wants to meet them. She is eventually convinced by Grace to join the Apex. Another interesting fact about her is that despite normally acting like a positive person, she occasionally gets anxious or frustrated. An example of her anxiety is seen in a scene where she witnesses Grace and Simon fighting and starts to hyperventilate. There might be more to her than meets the eye.
Tuba is a sarcastic and snarky yet motherly gorilla who serves as Hazel's best friend and caretaker. She develops a rivalry and later an uneasy alliance with Simon, meaning that though they didn't like or trust each other at first, time might change their minds. Hazel likes Tuba and Simon so she forces the two to work together.
Eventually we discover that she is colorblind, meaning red and green things look the same to her.
Season Four just came out and follows two guys with communication issues named Ryan and Min-Gi. The boys get on the train at the same time. This season basically explains how the train works and introduces more new characters. The main theme this season is friendship and communication.
Ryan Akagi is a free spirited young man. He is also a dreamer. He likes rock music. Physical appearance: he is Japanese-Canadian and has dark hair and glasses.
Min-Gii Park is Ryan's best friend and has a down to earth and hardworking personality. Physical appearance: he has dark hair and is Korean.
I like this series despite being dark. It has some tender and funny moments, like when Tulip eats an onion and likes it or when Grace casually slings an arm around Simon's shoulder in season 2. This duo has a lot of interactions with heavy romantic undertones which I find cute. For example: In the third season, there is a scene where she asks him to dance and he starts blushing. Hazel urged Grace to do it. Another cute thing about Grace and Simon is that they give each other nicknames and exchange flirty banter.
Every character has a reason for acting the way they do and most of them develop in a good way, but there are some who change for the worse.
I noticed that most of the characters on the show have strong bonds with each other, and that's good. Simon and Grace's relationship and mutual loyalty borders on extreme codependency because they feel that they need one another. For example, if they get separated from each other, both of them start to worry and panic. That kind of support is good at first, but if one of them decides to do something else with their lives, the other will see that as betrayal or abandonment. In that case, I think that means they need serious help.
On the other side we have characters like MT and Jesse who actually have a normal friendship. They respect each other’s differences but they also argue and it's no big deal. They give each other space when they don't feel like talking.
The protagonist of the first season, Tulip, shares some similarities with Alice from Alice In Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. All three are girls that struggle to make sense of the insanity around them.
During the second season, the fact that the main character MT wants to be seen as a person, despite technically not being human, reminds me of Pinocchio and Astro Boy.
I think the main theme of the series - which is change - is important because most of the characters have issues with changing in some way and must learn to get over it or in some cases, accept it.
The Apex kids remind me of The Lost Boys from Peter Pan because both are packs of rowdy children who worship a clearly immature leader, Grace and Peter respectively. The difference between these two groups is that The Lost Boys literally don't grow up, while on the other hand The Apex are emotionally and mentallly immature.
Simon is a Pied Piper-like figure because he appears to possess a way with children despite having a short temper.
Hazel reminds me of Mowgli from The Jungle Book and Tarzan because she grew up with apes.
The fact that the train just appears out of nowhere to pick up passengers reminds me a lot of The Polar Express from the book of the same name. Each passenger has different experiences on board. Some people take more time than others when it comes to learning life lessons.
My favorite characters are Grace and Simon because even though they act badly, they show signs of not being totally evil. They care about each other a lot, though in Simon's case it is more along the lines of obsessive love. An example of that affection is the fact that they take turns saving each other from life threatening situations like falling off the train.
One of the main reasons to watch the show is that the music made by techno star Chrome Canyon really makes you feel a lot of things. The other reason is that the plot and characters are complex, meaning that most of the main cast are not traditional heroes and villains because they have flaws and issues. Also this series does a great job with adding depth to the characters.
This series is supposedly for all ages but most of the stuff that happens may be too scary and mature for kids under 13 because there is a lot of drama and intense moments. Also there is some symbolism, meaning that the background music, objects, and physical appearance reflect the emotional and mental state of the characters. In other words, it changes along with them.
The type of sci-fi in this series is interesting because there is a mix of numbers, robotics, talking animals and one part of the train has gravity manipulation. The first season has technology that runs on riddles and math that works like magic.
The second season is more action cyberpunk. The third season is basically about the main cast running around exploring the unknown parts of the train, while at the same time showing us some backstory for the Apex leaders. Grace and Simon had tragic childhoods.
This cartoon is amazing and will give you the feels!!
I just watched the new season and it's the darkest one yet because the main characters are keeping things from each other and that never ends well.
A scene I like is the opening of the third season because it shows what the Apex are like when they aren't acting like animals.
An important part of the season is that one or both of the main characters Grace and Simon may be getting redeemed. Season 4 out now also has some moments that give you the feels.
I relate to most of the protagonists because I have trouble controlling my emotions and almost every main character has issues with that.
Info and references
This series is created by Owen Dennis
Recap and trailer:
Some additional information about the series: each season or book has a subtitle related to the main characters.
Examples: Book 1 - The Perennial Child (Tulip), Book 2 - Cracked Reflection (MT), Book 3 - Cult Of The Conductor (Apex) and Book 4 - Duet. (Ryan and Min-gi)
Info about the origin of character names: