Tulip is still emotionally broken by the events of the previous episode, so much so that her number begins going up again. But The Cat, abandoned by The Conductor, offers her a plan to get Atticus back to normal, which lies in The Conductor’s own tape. Watching someone else’s tape apparently isn’t dangerous compared to watching your own, so she, Tulip, and One-One watch it and uncover The Conductor’s past as a woman named Amelia who created gadgets with her eventual husband Alrick. But Alrick tragically died of an obligatory tragic backstory, driving Amelia to stumble upon The Train herself. Only she wasn’t the ORIGINAL conductor, just someone who usurped control and started messing with the train cars for her own ends.
This teaches Tulip that if Amelia could repurpose things around the train, then Tulip should be able to do the same with the gun that changed Atticus. But more importantly, both she and Amelia are running from changes in their lives because they’re afraid. This revelation brings Tulip’s number down to zero and opens up a portal to her way back home…but she won’t leave until this matter is settled and Atticus is back to normal, so she asks The Cat to use her craft to take their car to The Engine.
In the finale, The Cat drops Tulip off at The Engine and sees a new train car under construction, indicating that Amelia is constantly making new ones. She confronts the would-be Conductor in her robot shell and grabs the gun that can turn Atticus back with the right device. Amelia reveals that she removed One-One as Conductor, was trying to make a car to replicate her past, tempts Tulip with making a car where her parents are still together, but Tulip knows that wouldn’t be a reality.
Tulip finds the component to turn Atticus back, though just in time to get hit by the Steward. One-One takes this opportunity to regain control. Tulip tells an embittered Amelia neither of them can go back to how their lives were so they should both try to move on, but Amelia’s numbers have covered most of her body. It will be difficult for her to leave herself, but not impossible. With that, Tulip says a tearful goodbye to One-One, Atticus, and Amelia then returns to her life. Seven months later, after finding a happy balance with her parents, she finally gets to go to the Game Design Camp.
And that was Infinity Train! Or at least, the beginning of Infinity Train, since there’s a teaser at after the end that seems to indicate plans for more, but we’ll see where that goes. In the meantime, this finale was pretty good overall, but I couldn’t help but think some things were rushed or left hanging, which may be BECAUSE this isn’t supposed to be the end, but that doesn’t feel like a great reason. There are so many things about this train that I guess just…exist whenever someone enters it, like the tapes that just happen to contain a passenger’s memories and makes them mentally trapped if they watch their own, while the numbers really do turn out to be connected to a person’s awareness of their own problems. I don’t really have a problem with the train itself existing without origin, but what is this train supposed to be, exactly? A form of roundabout therapy for people trying to run from their problems? Feels like a risky method if there’s a chance those who don’t work themselves out potentially end up living the rest of their lives there.
I did like the elaboration on Amelia, but that too felt like it came all at once so I didn’t have much time to process it. Compared to The Beast from Over the Garden Wall, Amelia is a far more complicated character who is meant to have parallels to her corresponding protagonist, Tulip, whereas The Beast was just an enigmatic threat that Wirt had to outwit. Not saying that one necessarily is better than the other, but perhaps peppering out Amelia’s backstory throughout the ten-episode could have been the better move instead of saving it for the final night. We’d barely gotten to know there even WAS a Conductor before all this came at us.
Despite those issues that might end up bugging me more as I continue to think about them, I’d say this was a solid finale to this series, assuming it was written that way. It looks like Cartoon Network hasn’t quite punched Infinity Train’s ticket yet if that teaser is to be believed, so we might get some more explanation through that. One thing’s for sure, this definitely did its job in making me WANT to see more, so let’s hope that this run did well enough to warrant the eventual return be the best it can possibly be.