Animation: Season 2 of Infinity Train Takes an Existential Twist

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Infinity Train takes an existential twist in season two, as we move deeper into the inner workings of the train. When Tulip left the train at the end of season one, she left her mirror copy she freed from the chrome car to wander the train. Season two follows MT, or Mirror Tulip, as she wanders the train, trying to figure out who she is. She meets up with Jesse, another passenger on the train, over their shared friendship with a magical deer Jesse named Alan Dracula. Jesse acts as a foil to MT, where he is brighter and more fun MT is more abrasive and hostile to the train’s effort to put her through challenges that help her grow. While Jesse is happy to share their friend, MT commits herself to getting Jesse’s number to zero so he will leave and she can have the deer all to herself.

The larger impact of the first season have changed the train as well. 1-1 is now the conductor, and is running a much more hospitable train than the predecessor ousted by Tulip in season one. We see him early on giving instructional videos to the passengers explaining the concept of the train and how to leave. The Cat also appears later on in the season in a new car she runs since the conductor ruined her previous car. The subtle moments of continuity were helpful and interesting to watch for. Tulip’s impact on the train can be seen throughout this season, and in spots you would least expect it.

We also learn that not all the passengers are trying to leave the train. MT and Jesse meet the Apex Gang, led by Grace who takes pride his how long her number has grown in her time on the train. The Apex gang follow the ways of the old conductor, taking what they want and treating the non-passengers on the train like MT as if they were merely programs. They even start calling them “Nulls,” and treat them as if they do not matter. Although they do not get a lot of screen time in this season, the story in season three shifts to tell their story.

The primary conflict in this season is more existential than in the previous seasons. Although MT is concerned with getting Jesse to overcome his conflict and leave the train, she is more concerned with questions of her own personhood. Everyone on the train tells MT that she is not a real person, but merely a reflection of her prime, and then a product of the train; a tool that is used merely to help someone else progress to emotional maturity. MT’s name when pronounced sounds like Empty, which is what she ostensibly is. As a reflection that is freed, she now needs to discover who she is, and what kind of person she is going to become. Her questions and conflicts arise from her forming her own identity apart from Tulip or the train.

Her run in with the Apex gang pushes this theme further, as they believe that all the creatures they encounter in the train are merely products of a formula or code that do not feel things. However we watch MT develop emotionally alongside passengers and other denizens of the train. If the train is about helping people solve their problems through navigating challenging cars and puzzles then MT is helped just as much as any passenger. MT’s struggle is that she feels and can make decisions for herself despite being told that she is merely a product of a code designed to carry out a specific function.

This season really struck me since MT’s conflict is the central conflict of most of our lives. We come to state of consciousness about ourselves, that we are free to decide who we want to become despite what our past of dispositions may lead us to believe. Tulip’s fight to prove herself as a free agent to herself and to the train is a struggle that defines human nature. Season two of this animated series delivered a strong story with an emotionally resonant arc and character development that dealt with questions that I believe are central to human nature. I cannot wait to see what comes of the third season.

-Patrick Bernas