Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching Infinity Train and marveling that the show just seems to get better and better with each passing episode. The show is so richly textured, brave in that it rebuilds its cast every season, and has a premise so unique that you know drugs were involved in its creation.
Because my exposure to this series has been so compressed, that I really haven’t had the time to write about it, but now since I’m consuming it week by week, I’ve got more of a window and, to be honest, “The Campfire Car” is probably the perfect place to begin because it was just a beautiful piece of animation, a beautiful piece of drama… it was beautiful from beginning to end.
Infinity Train, for the uninitiated, tells the story of people making their way through a magical, dreamlike train in a quest to face their own inner demons and face their traumas. The first season saw Tulip make her way through the train with a robot named One-One and a talking corgi king named Atticus. The season season picks up with MT, a mirror reflection of Tulip who meets up with Jesse and a magical deer named Alan Dracula. This season, the third season, follows two members of a gang of children called The Apex who have rejected the train and the conductor and wreak havoc in every car they go to, but when two of them, Grace and Simon, get separated from their gang and come across a little girl named Hazel who is being cared for by an ape named Tuba, they find themselves embroiled in a whole new mystery.
Grace and Simon have a burning hatred of the natives of the train who they call, “nulls” as they see them as less than a person and delight in torturing them and tormenting them. However, as this season has gone on, they’ve grown closer to Hazel and, by extension, Tuba. It looked like they were becoming a cohesive family and all were learning a lesson about trust.
And then, out of sight of the others, Simon murdered Tuba by throwing her under the train’s wheels. This, of course, triggered outrage in Grace and a panic attack in Hazel, from which it was revealed that she was actually a null as well.
“The Campfire Car” deals with the fallout. Grace decides to keep Hazel’s secret from Simon and, upon entering a strange car where walking, talking food are having a campout, Hazel decides that she wants to have a funeral for Tuba.
The episode is so heartfelt and wonderfully written, it is sad and tragic and yet, at the same time, it holds such a promise that Grace is learning and growing as she should. She embraces Hazel and loves her, defying all the instincts she’s garnered for years.
It sets up plot for the rest of the season and a conflict that has been brewing, practically boils under the surface ready to explode and then, rather unexpectedly, the cliffhanger ties the story back to the first season.
So, yes… I’m deeply in love with this series. It is equal parts fantasy and mirth crossed with horror and existentialism. I could say that Infinity Train has the potential to be great, but let’s face it, it’s already crossed those tracks.