Infinity Train: Book 1
December 26, 2023 9:58 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Infinity Train was a short-lived Cartoon Network series, who for its second two Books was moved to HBO Max, then unceremoniously delisted from there, because WARNER BROS IS TERRIBLE. That's right: current Infinity Train right now can only be legally seen on DVD or from tapes of on-air recordings. This is what you missed. Contains minor spoilers.

Infinity Train is full of wonder, humor, and horror. Characters, or Passengers are abducted from the real world into the sequential self-contained universes of the Train, where they try to find a way to escape back home. Or, don't. Within the Train, its various pocket worlds have their own inhabitants, called Denizens, living their own lives.

What is the Infinity Train? It is a train, with everything that implies: it has cars, an engine, rails, wheels and other train-like components. But what is its nature, and how does it work? These questions are explored during the four Books, each consisting of ten episodes. The series was originally projected to run for eight Books, but see above, re: Warner Bros being terrible. As a result, while many questions are answered, many have been left hanging. The four extant books, 40 episodes, were all made as part of one production season.

BOOK ONE OF INFINITY TRAIN is the story of Tulip and her journey through the Infinity Train, with One-One the robot and Atticus the Corgi King.

Episode 1: The Snow Car
Tulip is a preteen girl in wintertime Wisconsin who desperate wants to go to Game Design Camp. Her recently-divorced parents, though, made a scheduling mistake and can't take her. She decides to try to talk the 300 miles to Oshkosh herself. Along the way, she finds a mysterious train station in the snow-covered fields. She boards, and the world changes around her... she ends up in another snow field, that contains three snowmen... and One-One, a spherical robot that speaks in two voices, that of Glad-One (always optimistic) and Sad-One (always pessimistic). One-One is looking for its "mother," and follows Tulip outside of a door set in giant snowman, but through it is a wide world, a Wasteland, with her emerging from a car on a impossibly long train passing through it.

She passes into the next train car, to find a grid pattern on its interior walls, which extend inward when she touches them. She begins to enjoy herself, investigating what happens when she interacts with the walls, until she pulls off her glove and discovers a glowing green number set into her hand.

Creeped out, she leaves the car. Out in the Wasteland, she notices a gigantic luminous yellow storm in the sky, which sometimes strikes the Train with a glowing tendril of energy, that pulls a humanoid form out of one of the cars, which dissipates. Frightened, leaves the car and, when the Train pulls to a stop, climbs down off of it and tries to get away from it, but to be attacked by a pack of three roach-dogs (we later learn they're called Ghoms). A Ghom follows her back to the Train and into the Grid Car. One-One manages to knock the Ghom off of Tulip before it can suck out her life. Together, they manage to escape the Ghom, and the car. Tulip reasons, the Train is a machine, and machines have rules, and determines: she is getting off this Train.

The remaining descriptions will be less complete, to preserve some sense of mystery.

Episode 2: The Beach Car
Tulip meets Randall, a Denizen made of water looking to start a business, and The Cat (voiced by Kate Mulgrew!), an enterprising feline who seems to know a lot about the Train, and has her own transport (with buttons bearing adorable paw symbols). The Cat claims to know the Conductor, and might could get Tulip off the Train if she lets her take One-One away. Tulip agrees, for a while at least....

Along the way, Tulip's number decreases by 1, signifying that it can change. She hears two conflicting pieces of information: that if it reaches zero she'll disappear forever, or that if it reaches zero she'll be allowed off the Train. With this information, she continues onward.

Episode 3: The Corgi Car
Tulip and One-One find the Kingdom of the Corgis, and meet their friendly and charismatic king Atticus (voiced by Ernie Hudson, Winston Zeddemore himself!). Tulip takes a break from her efforts to get off the train to help the corgis, meeting a horrifying robot creature called The Steward, finding out something about the Train's workings, and in the end gaining Atticus as a companion.

Episode 4: The Crystal Car
Tulip and company find a car of crystal creatures and mountains, and a door that won't open, unless she sings them a song. Tulip doesn't like to sing, though.... In the process, her number changes again, going down.

Episode 5: The Cat's Car
Tulip meets The Cat again, who again offers to help Tulip, but ends up trapping her in a "memory tape," a tape of Tulip's memories in particular, revealing some of her history with her parents.

It's revealed that the number on Tulip's hand is kind of a measure of her psychological damage, and that Tulip, understandably, is upset by the implication that the Train is judging her. It's also revealed that the Conductor has ordered The Cat to find Tulip, and threatened her life if she can't.

Episode 6: The Unfinished Car
Tulip, One-One and Atticus find a car where the rules of reality are strange and broken. Purple sludge covers the ground, and some places have little or no gravity. A friendly town of turtles live there. Tulip tries to help fix the world in the car, but the turtles have adapted to the physical laws of their car.

Episode 7: The Chrome Car
The three find a car whose interior is covered completely with shiny surfaces. Inside, her reflection begins behaving of its own will, and tricks Tulip into changing places with it. While in the Mirror World, two Mirror Police drive up and offer to bring her reflection back. But Mirror Tulip doesn't want to return, and Tulip is unwilling to force her back. How can this be resolved....

Episode 8: The Ball Pit Car
What starts out as a light and whimsical episode soon turns much darker, and tragic. The Steward, the Cat, and the Conductor return.

Episode 9: The Past Car
Tulip, heartbroken and demoralized, sits crying. Her number increases as she despairs of ever getting off of the Train. But The Cat offers a solution, and it lies within a memory tape of a hitherto-known person, named Amelia, who seems to be another Passenger like herself. Can the Cat be trusted?

After viewing the tape, Tulip's number reaches zero, and she is given an exit from the Train, but she passes it up, in order to help Atticus.

Episode 10: The Engine
Tulip is brought by the Cat to the front of the Train, to the Engine, where a new car is being made, that resembles the Unfinished Car from Episode 6. She also finally meets Amelia herself, and One-One's identity is revealed.

At the end, Tulip has been changed in one important way by her adventures on the Infinity Train... her reflection is missing.

Other episodes of Infinity Train on Fanfare (note, incomplete, and reveals details from later seasons): The Grid Car, The Black Market Car, The Family Tree Car, The Musical Car, The New Apex, all of Book 4, by Marticus and NoxAeternum.
posted by JHarris (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ah, should have said "hitherto-unknown person," in the description of Episode 9.
posted by JHarris at 10:00 PM on December 26, 2023

We were kind of into it and then Drew Pinksy showed up as a voice and we were too squicked to continue
posted by jordemort at 6:53 AM on December 27, 2023

jordemort, are you sure you’re not confusing this with The Midnight Gospel? Pinsky was a voice in the first episode of that show, but I don’t see Infinity Train in his IMDb credits.
posted by ejs at 9:17 AM on December 27, 2023

I bought this through Apple back when it was available and am happy to still have it.

I wish they'd been able to make all eight books.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 9:40 AM on December 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

Infinity Train creator Owen Dennis posted his thoughts about MAX’s disappearing of the show*, including a section about the ethics of pirating something that a corporation is disallowing you from acquiring any other way.

*On Substack, but before Substack articulated its anti-anti-Nazi stance.
posted by ejs at 9:40 AM on December 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

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