The next car in the train brings Tulip’s group to a room full of reflective surfaces and a locked door ahead just like some of the last few. But to her shock, Tulip sees her reflection on the floor isn’t doing as she is. In fact, it starts talking back to her, telling her that they’ll have to switch places in order get the door open. They do so, with Mirror Tulip taking on a silvery form, but then ditches Real Tulip behind in the mirror world so she doesn’t have to do what Tulip says anymore. Mirror One-One and Mirror Atticus aren’t much help, but then “Reflection Enforcement” arrives, who are basically two silvery detectives and I am almost certain one of them is played by Ben Mendelsohn.
They plan to kill Mirror Tulip, which Real Tulip thinks is a bit much, but Mirror Tulip can’t even escape the car without a reflective surface, so she’s screwed anyway. After another self-REFLECTIVE talk about Tulip’s tendency to push people away, the two decide to escape together and Mirror Tulip gets to have her own life in Pencil Bank Car. But Mirror Tulip gives her a push to take off her glove, revealing her hand number has gone down to 3.
Later, the gang enter a Ball Pit Car that gives them a much needed chance to play around. But after some brief reaffirmation of their friendship, they meet a stuffed rabbit named Khaki Bottoms who is looking for heroes. He tasks them with returning a squishy tube called the Jiggle Wiggle to its resting place, forcing them through many trials that…honestly make me wish I could still go on these things without getting weird looks. But no sooner do they complete these trials than they see the encroaching tentacles of the Steward (that thing from Episode 3), along with The Cat and the first proper appearance of The Conductor, another menacing looking robot who plans to punish Tulip for her interference in his plans, as well as capturing One-One.
Atticus fights back against him, but is shot and turned into one of those dog-cockroaches. The Conductor flees with the Steward and blocks the exit, leaving Tulip and One-One trapped and without hope.
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUdge. If you were to look up the definition of mood whiplash, the latter half of today’s episodes would probably qualify. Going from a bonding moment playing around in a ball pit with Khaki Bottoms the rabbit and then seeing the Ernie Hudson dog turned into a monster is a great way to basically make sure that any kids watching this (who weren’t messed up by the bits about divorce) are definitely going to have trust issues and will probably need therapy. Although I’m of the mind that everyone should get at least some therapy in general, so that’s fine with me. Plus, it’s actually kind of reassuring that there are still cartoons being put on kids networks that can have this sort of emotional range.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, since we should probably discuss the first half as well. The Chrome Car is probably the weirdest episode that we’ve had yet and I’m not entirely certain that’s in a good way. I mean you can point to any of these episodes and call them weird, but while I haven’t watched any of them again since the day they aired yet, this one feels like it stands out due to how much new information we have to keep track of. Every previous car feels like it would be its own little world with beings that are basically villagers living in their own village, but this car starts with our protagonists facing what are supposed to be their own reflections…who apparently already know that they need to switch places to escape, but also there are mirror cops who keep things in order AND reflections can escape the mirrors and live as themselves? So is Tulip like a vampire now and can’t look at herself in a mirror? It just raises too many questions, but it’s certainly a neat enough premise.
Though after facing her memories AND a version of herself, Tulip’s number is closer to 0 than it’s ever been, as well as her opening up to her friends and trusting that they’ll be by her side until this whole thing is done!…right on time for one of them to be turned rabid and her pathway blocked. Basically every reason she could possibly have to bring her mental walls up and push everyone away again. Tomorrow brings us the final two episodes, which will likely bring us to Tulip’s lowest point and the grand finale, but I have to admit I’m not ready for this Crazy Train to reach the station.