Review: Infinity Train “The Beach Car”

 

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Tulip has moved ahead at least a few cars since her encounter with the cockroach-dog-dementors, finishing up the challenges of a crossword puzzle car, a living wizard beard car, and a giant pinball game car, but sees no change to the glowing 115 on her left hand…until it turns to 114. What could this mean? Amount of distance? A timer? Loss of points? One-One suggests that she might die once it hits zero, which is…not helpful.

With no time to lose, she enters the next car, which puts her at a pristine beach. There, she spots a cat trying to sell pipe as a “donut hole-er” to a rather gullible water blob named Randall, but what perks up Tulip’s ear is the mention of “The Conductor”, so she spills her entire situation to the cat, who gets her to realize One-One’s deathly prediction might not be accurate. The Cat is also happy to help Tulip out if she can get her shuttlecraft fixed, as well as giving her One-One. Tulip is hesitant to give up her only friend but makes the deal. Using her experience fixing go-carts, she just about finishes fixing the craft, aside from one missing gear, so Randall parts the seas to bring them to his local market full of identical Randall water beings, which she trades for a flower One-One gave her. Seems value here is measured by emotional connection instead of monetary worth.

The craft is fixed, meaning One-One must be taken with the cat, but Tulip comes to regret letting go of the only person who cared about her for personal gain and uses Randall to give chase. They soon catch up and save him, so the two make amends.

OUR TAKE

Infinity Train shares a lot of qualities with Cartoon Network’s other notable miniseries, Over the Garden Wall. Both star anxious adolescents dealing with complicated family situations as they come of age, leading them to wander into supernatural realms that they must escape while babysitting optimistic but naïve sidekicks who they initially would rather leave behind but come to care about dearly. The main differences are obviously the more sci-fi like the setting of Infinity Train, the genders of their respective protagonists, and their specific character arcs amongst other things, but I bring this up mainly to point out how this sort of set-up is good for establishing this miniseries format. Get the kid on an allegorical journey through their specific turmoil, and hopefully pay it off with a satisfying resolution.

As for this second episode, it does a good job at bringing us firmly into the beginning of the story’s second act, with Tulip already along her way through multiple gimmicky cars, but also provides a good stand-alone story in its own right. It mainly revolves around the idea of teamwork, business, deals, and the budding friendship between Tulip and One-One, as Tulip is torn between her only real friend in this new area and the possibility of going home being so tempting that she’d make a bad deal with a total stranger. Being only a fifth of the way through this series, it’s hard to say how this friendship will evolve, but hopefully, it’ll be fun to watch at least.

Also, a few interesting details about Tulip’s backstory which may relate to her number hand. Besides learning she was born with what is apparently known as “Perinatal Asphyxia”, her numbers seem to go down a bit whenever she talks about her past and her family, but going up again once her guard comes back up. I might be reading too much into it, but much like Over the Garden Wall, Gravity Falls, the new Duck Tales, and a lot of other recent cartoons, these details might not be so minor after all. That’s another side benefit of having all the episodes air in one week: all eagle-eyed viewers will have to be on their toes looking for seemingly insignificant things that might be major hints for later. Or you could just tune out and wait for things to be explicitly revealed. It works either way, and that’s what makes a memorable series with a lasting legacy.

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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