Cartoon Network Review – Infinity Train (Book 2): Something to Reflect On

One of the best short series of last year returns with a different lead and a different goal.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

After being separated from Season 1 protagonist Tulip (Ashley Johnson), Mirror Tulip or “MT” (also Johnson) is on the run from the Reflection Police or “Flecs” for leaving her mirror world. Pursued throughout the Infinity Train by Agents Mace and Sieve (Ben Mendelsohn and Bradley Whitford), she encounters a young man named Jesse (Robbie Daymond) and a magical deer named Alan Dracula. Together, the three make their way through the train to lower Jesse’s number so he can get out and hopefully so that MT can find her freedom.

InfinityTrain2 - 1Cast
Yes, she’s made of chrome. 

END SUMMARY

So, the last season of Infinity Train contained the revelation that the purpose of the train was to help people work through their issues until they’ve resolved their personal problems, represented by the number that appears on their hands. For example, Tulip, the protagonist of the first season, had to work through her issues involving her parents’ divorce. At the end of the season, having realized that she was not at fault for their problems and that she had been suppressing their fights for years, she finally came to terms with it. The show also revealed that the numbers don’t only go down. If someone, like the first season antagonist Amelia (Lena Headey), fights repeatedly against moving forward on their issues, then their number can grow, to the point that Amelia’s number was literally wrapped all over her body. 

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She literally tried to break reality rather than face her husband’s death.

In this season, we see that not everyone necessarily believes that getting off of the train is a good thing. We witness people deliberately fighting against self-improvement with a borderline religious fervor, claiming that the train is meant to serve them. It’s basically a perfect picture of one of the fundamental problems with humanity: We will rewrite what is considered right and wrong more often than we will change our behavior to be right. It’s a powerful message that is conveyed really well within the series. It’s not even the focal point, but it’s such an important thing to tell people that I have to applaud the show for it.

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You can see two people here who have fought it strongly. 

I don’t want to spoil the actual primary messages, because in a show like this they’re inherently tied to character development, but let me say that they’re great choices for a show aimed at teens. The creativity of the train from the first season continues, but I have to give them extra props for Alan Dracula, the magical deer. He seems to be a representation of the train itself. He’s unpredictable, he’s hilarious, he’s helpful, but he also is slightly indifferent to the people around him. 

InfinityTrain2 - 4AlanDracula
Also, he looks great in heels.

Overall, I love this show and I want them to keep it going as long as they can. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Infinity Train – Meaningful Messages Abound in this Mini-Series Masterpiece

A show about teaching kids to deal with divorce approaches it through universal messages and creative storytelling.

SUMMARY

Tulip (Ashley Johnson) is a 12-year-old girl who desires to be a programmer and software engineer. Her parents Megan and Andy (Audrey Wasilewski and Mark Fite) are currently getting a divorce and, due to their scheduling issues, are unable to take Tulip to her session of game-design camp. Angry, Tulip runs away and somehow finds a train in the middle of nowhere. She’s sucked inside and finds that each of the train cars is impossibly huge, each with its own theme and world. She’s aided by the two-in-one robot One-One (Jeremy Crutchley and Owen Dennis) and Atticus, the King of the Corgis (Ernie Hudson). Together, they have to find a way to get Tulip off of the train, which turns out to be more about Tulip than the train.

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The King of the Corgis is a strong contender for cutest monarch.

END SUMMARY

This show is a hallmark of efficient storytelling. The entire series, binged, is 100 minutes long, meaning that you can get through the whole thing in less time than 2 episodes of Game of Thrones. Despite the relative brevity, the pacing of the show is so fast that you will swear you just spent a full day getting attached to these characters. It’s similar to Adventure Time or Over the Garden Wall, both animated series which use a lot of imagery and cuts to convey more to the audience than just the script would. They’re also series that routinely try to convey deeper meaning through extended metaphor rather than just telling the audience what to think, something this series also excels at. 

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This, in particular, is a great storytelling device.

The art style isn’t super unique, but it is incredibly versatile, allowing for a ton of variety of characters and imagery without any of it feeling out of place. Given that the premise of the show is rapidly running through worlds, that was a must. The settings in particular are imaginative, running the gamut between worlds that are more metaphysical to the more grounded. 

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I mean, here’s a random party of monsters in costumes of other monsters. 

Each episode moves forward both the narrative and the metaphor of the show, as well as Tulip’s character arc. It’s pretty clear that this was a mini-series from the outset, because by the end of the season, she’s completed her journey both inside and out. If they do continue the series, I hope it’s the journey of another person through the train, rather than having to undo her progress.

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We’re flat-out shown a ton of other people are on their own journeys.

The main thing is that the show gives you hints about the many things that you might need to do in order to move through a trauma, whether it be a divorce, a loss, or a similar life event. It doesn’t tell anyone outright or lecture anyone, but it conveys the importance of the steps to recovery through every episode. I really think it would help some kids going through tough times. 

Overall, I really recommend this show and I hope it keeps going. If you have 2 hours, it’s available on Amazon for like 10 bucks.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.