I wish… I wish… I wish I had tried this show out months ago. Out of all of the animated series that I have ever watched, Infinity Train’s sheer complexity, depth of character, and dialogue never fails to impress me and, amazingly, if seems to get better with each passing season… every passing episode. To put it bluntly, once I started the final four episodes of Infinity Train‘s third season, I was hopelessly enraptured until the finale, “The New Apex” which, to be perfectly frank, not only took my breath away, but all the other breaths I had been planning to take that day.
Infinity Train, to the unititiated, is an animated anthology that follows a new group of main characters every season (though, they are introduced briefly in the season before which always causes a rash of fun speculation about who the stars of the next season will be). These characters board a mysterious train with a seemingly infinite number of cars full of strange inhabitants, talking animals, objects, and perils that they must solve or overcome to reach the next car. They do this until the glowing number on their hands reaches zero, they have dealt with their personal traumas and hangups, and can leave the train.
Yes, it’s weird… I know.
This season has flipped the script a bit and has centered on Simon and Grace, members of a gang of passengers called “The Apex” who have not only rejected the idea of getting their numbers to go down so that they can leave, but actively strive to make their numbers go up as high as possible as they believe that the train has been taken over by the False Conductor, One-One, who overthrew the True Conductor.
Now, if you watched the first season, you know that’s a lie… One-One was the true conductor and was overthrown by Amelia, a woman who found herself on the train following the death of her husband. One-One was restored and Amelia is now making amends.
We know the truth… but Grace and Simon do not.
There’s more, of course…
Grace and Simon have also befriended a little girl named Hazel who was being taken care of by a denizen named Tuba, a large and imposing Ape. Grace and Simon have a severe distrust of train denizens, who they call, “nulls,” but after traveling with Hazel and Tuba, a burgeoning trust and friendship grows between them.
But, just when you think you know where this show is going, it jumps the tracks.
In the cliched scene where Simon was supposed to save Tuba’s life because they had grown to trust one another, Simon murders her. Straight up murders in a ghastly and vile way. It’s frankly shocking, but not the most shocking that this season goes.
Mind you, I’m not even into the final four episodes yet, I’m just catching you up.
Book Three, as it turns out, is a fascinating study of diverging ideologies… the mind of someone who is open to new ideas and experiences verses the mind of someone who is closed and set in their ways. Simon and Grace begin the season as best friends who trust each other implicity, only to have that friendship decay slowly over the course of ten episodes. You can literally track every step as it transpires.
It doesn’t help, either, that it turns out that Hazel, the cute little girl they found who Grace has developed a special bond with, turns out to be a denizen as well and it’s Grace’s bond with this child that allows her to grow and evolve while Simon stagnates.
“The Canyon of the Golden Winged Snakes Car” picks up after Grace and Hazel’s touching funeral for Tuba. Here, they meet Amelia from Book One who is traveling through the train trying to undo all of the damage she did while she usurped the role of the conductor. Of course, Amelia tells them everything… the true history of the train, who the real conductor is and, of course, Simon cannot accept it.
Simon journeys back through the car to get something from his former caretaker, a denizen called The Cat. This scene alone is worth the watch as Simon and The Cat have an incredibly written, frank, and emotional conversation so deep that you honesty forget you’re watching a show intended for children.
In “The Hey Ho Whoa Car,” we’re treated to an entire episode of waiting for the secrets to be revealed which makes the story incredibly tense and suspenseful. The true surprise is Grace’s apparent betrayal of Hazel when Hazel’s secret is revealed… at first, I was sure it was a ploy, but now that I’ve seen the entire season, I’m actually okay with it… it was the very thing that a scared child who’s entire belief system was just destroyed would do.
“The Origami Car” is an incredible dive into Grace’s mind as Simon betrays her and uses her own memories against her (it’s complicated). This episode shows all of Grace’s guilts, regrets, and pretense, strips her down to nothing, and leaves her devastated. A perfect set up for the finale.
Finally, “The New Apex.” This episode is a surprising, shocking, exciting, and amazing episode that demonstrates real consequences that cannot be undone. As I said earlier, the depth and maturity of this episode and the ends that it brings, ends that another series could have easily undone for the sake of sparing the audience from any finality, were refreshing and makes the final scene all that much more believable and important.
To be honest, if there is anything I loved about “The New Apex,” it is the surprising lack of a conclusion. The mistakes that Simon made cannot be undone. The mistakes that Grace made cannot be undone. At the end, we’re told that everything is different, we can’t go back, and we have no idea where we’re going next. It is an ending more adult and real than most.
So, yeah… I’m an Infinity Train fan for life. This series is amazing and, if you haven’t watched it yet, get on HBO Max and watch the whole thing. Book Four is something that we need.