Infinity Train: The New Apex
August 27, 2020 10:08 PM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Trapped in her memories, Grace finally confronts that which sent her to the Train in the first place. But coming to terms with one's past still means that one has to deal with the repercussions of those acts in the present...

So ends Book Three, and, well...that was one hell of an ending. And possibly one that Cartoon Network would have never allowed. (Creator Owen Dennis has said that the series was always intended to be an HBO Max series from the start, but the legal delays in launching the service lead to the first two Books to be released on CN.) Given what had happened in this season, we were heading to a pretty dark resolution, but the show deciding to go full Raiders of the Lost Ark with Simon after his outright fascist turn was...not expected.

Simon's appearance at the end definitely brings to mind the warning that Samantha/The Cat gave Simon several episodes earlier, about what it would take to get a number high enough to the point that it would be written over their body - and we see that he manages to push his even beyond the point where Amelia's number is. The ending also brings up what role the Gohm (the dog-like creatures that have been a threat throughout the series) serve with the Train, especially given the one that kills Simon immediately poofs after doing so - it's possible that they serve as the Train's mechanism for dealing with passengers who get their number too high.

The coda, with Grace beginning a dialogue about what the former members of the Apex need to move forward serves as a good capstone for the season and its themes - she realizes that as a leader, she needs to give those she's leading the tools to help them - and to come to terms with her own trauma so that she stops inflicting it on others. We end with Grace looking hopeful for the first time, a sign that she's in a better place, if not quite at the point where she's ready to leave the train.
posted by NoxAeternum (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sadly, Dennis is saying that the show is in jeopardy, because executives seem focused on it being "kids animation".
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2020

Yup, I was surprised at Simon's ending too!
posted by Pronoiac at 10:43 PM on August 28, 2020

That was a really intense ending, and while I feel like Simon's heel turn moved a little fast I still believed in it.

I'm still kind of taken aback by the knowledge that people can stay on the train so long that they effectively can't go home -- like, yes, Amelia, but I assumed she was an outlier. But Simon and Grace have both been on the train for, what, close to a decade? They grew up there. It's their home at least as much as the places they came from. If Grace ever does get a door, she doesn't really have a life to go back to.

If next season gets made, I suspect it's going to be about Amelia and Hazel, and if so I am HYPED.
posted by nonasuch at 7:23 AM on August 29, 2020

That was a really intense ending, and while I feel like Simon's heel turn moved a little fast I still believed in it.

I think that the fact that the story spent so much time humanizing Simon made his fall both work as well as twisting the knife that much more. He wasn't just a monster, and it made his monstrousness that much more heartbreaking. You understand why the Gohm kills him - but it feels like a tragedy when it happens.

(Also, that's the fourth outright killing we've seen in the series - it makes it clear that the Train is something very dangerous, and that it makes "either unfuck yourself or die trying" a very real prospect.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:58 AM on August 29, 2020

I liked this season a lot, buuut this episode was the first one (across three seasons, mind) that left me a little cold.

I was totally invested in all of our characters (poor Tuba). Grace's change of heart and (especially) Simon's descent were both handled really well over the course of the series. But Simon was so far beyond redemption by the end of episode 9 that there was really only one way things could pan out. Which left this episode with nothing to do but go through the motions.

I liked the implication that the gohms are not just scary monsters, but something the train relies on to remove serious malefactors. And what does the self-destruct mean? Are they part of the karmic purpose of the train somehow? I do hope we get to see more seasons. It's impressive how each one so far has managed to use the same setting to give us these drastically different arcs. It's so confidently written, unafraid to swap out characters or mess with our assumptions.

I've had so much fun binging this series. Thank you so much to NoxAeternum for making these posts and bringing Infinity Train to my attention.
posted by Lorc at 12:12 PM on August 29, 2020

Thinking about why Simon unraveled so fast, I came back to the moment when he comes into the car after wheeling Tuba. I genuinely thought that he and Grace were going to lie their asses off, play a touching scene where Simon claimed that he tried so hard to save Tuba and he just couldn't and therefore he and Grace were going to look after Hazel because it's what Tuba would have wanted. I thought I could see Grace preparing herself for her half of the drama.

And then he didn't.

Because it turns out that while Grace was almost always putting on a performance, Simon wasn't: he believed everything he was saying and everything Grace had told him. And when he realized that Grace didn't believe all the things she said, he started to fall apart.
posted by nonasuch at 7:14 PM on August 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

It is a great show, however this season felt like a single short tale that would have benefitted by dropping in one go like season 2. I hope they manage to continue it though.
posted by Marticus at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2020

And we have a video of series creator Owen Dennis and producer Maddie Queripel reacting to fan theories.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:10 PM on August 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'll be really bummed if this is as much of the series as ever gets made.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:21 PM on September 1, 2020

I love this show but that was a somewhat disappointing season, at least by the standards of the previous two. It had some wonderful moments, the pinnacle of which for me was the funeral, particularly the way Hazel so empathetically focussed on Tuba's children whom we never met and whose story we never fully learned. That really brought home the reality of death on this train, and the mass murder it apparently engages in continually (also illustrated by the quiet rain of sentient tombstones later on). By comparison, the demise of Simon just felt like another blond anime villain getting his comeuppance. It was a far less weird and exploratory season, and it's hard to do straight human development stories; they did a fine job, but it didn't manage to rise to the strange sublimities of the previous seasons. But I certainly hope there are more!
posted by chortly at 10:13 PM on September 10, 2020

I was really hoping when the gohm exploded it would reveal Simon exactly as he was when he first entered the train, as some way of resetting people that get too far off the track (heh). It's odd that the train is meant as some kind of metaphysical therapy system but sometimes the result is you fucking die.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:46 PM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Season 4 - the final season - was just released on HBO Max.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:27 AM on April 15, 2021

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