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Recap / Infinity Train S1E9 "The Past Car"

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Tulip was never the only passenger on this train...
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Angry and downcast from the events that just occurred, Tulip is convinced that she'll be stuck on this train forever, causing her number to shoot up to 67. Kate Mulgrowl, who like One-One survived the collapse of the play structure, speaks up at this moment to make one more deal. Tulip initially refuses to listen to anything the feline says, especially becoming angry when the cat says that the way to cure Atticus lies in entering yet another video tape, believing it to be yet another lie. Tulip agrees to watch the tape only if Mulgrowl does so first, which the cat does, prompting Tulip to begrudgingly follow. One-One manages to tag along as well, though he's unable to explain how he managed to do so.

The trio finds that all the memories contained in the tape follow two British schoolchildren, Alrick and Amelia, as they go from childhood friends to lovers in young adulthood. As they go through the memories, One-One continues to display the ability to control their playback but is still unable to explain how. By the end of the tape, Tulip has learnt that the Conductor is Amelia, who boarded the train as a young adult following her husband's premature death, with Mulgrowl further explaining upon them exiting that the woman had removed the previous conductor at some earlier point and took over the train for her own purposes since.

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Tulip wonders how any of this information helps her, so the cat points out in the footage that the train had a small cannon which Amelia re-purposed, and Tulip realizes she can likely do the same. She angrily questions why the cat didn't tell her this information to begin with and rants about the tape making things more difficult: the Conductor is no longer some heartless robot to fight, but a person who is in deep emotional pain that they're trying to run from... just like her. Voicing this epiphany causes Tulip's number to zero out, creating a portal back home to Minnesota. But despite this good fortune, she states that there is still one last thing to take care of. Using Mulgrowl's shuttlecraft and leftover parts from the earlier fight, the trio gains control of the train car and start speeding it towards the engine, with the goal of confronting the Conductor and returning Atticus to normal.

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Tropes:

  • Call-Back: The life-dragging vortex from "The Grid Car" returns. It's revealed that when a passenger's number hits zero, it's actually a portal for the passenger to disembark the train and go home.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Steward's arm that was cut off in the previous episode allows Tulip to access the car's admin controls for her own use.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The episode doesn't take place in a new car, but in the same car as the past episode. Also, Tulip is shown a glimpse of the Conductor's past life as Amelia.
  • Epiphanic Prison: When Tulip faces her own problems and accepts them, her number hits zero and the train generates a portal to her home.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One-One is able to manipulate the memories on the tape, which relates to their true nature and relationship to the train as revealed in the last episode.
    • Several parts of the memory tape hint at Amelia being the Conductor before the reveal. She is shown to have built a crystal radio, hinting at mechanical inclinations. She has the same handkerchief as the Conductor, which Tulip spots. Finally, she is shown manipulating a payphone with a recorder in a similar fashion to how the Conductor controls the Steward.
    • After seeing Amelia and Alrick hug, One-One quotes how Plato said "Love is a serious mental disease". This gives us a hint as to Amelia's true goal.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mulgrowl the cat isn't necessarily evil, but she fights on Tulip's side in this episode after having deceived Tulip in her last appearances.
  • I Choose to Stay: A temporary version; Tulip's number reaches zero and an exit door appears, giving her the chance to return home, but she decides to hold it off until she can save Atticus.
  • Immediate Sequel: The episode takes place entirely in the Ball Pit Car, just minutes after the Conductor left and trapped the group there.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It's raining in the memory that reveals Alrick's death.
  • The Lost Lenore: Amelia's husband died, and her inability to handle her grief led her to the train, where she eventually took over.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Amelia's Start of Darkness began with the death of her husband, who she deeply loved.
  • Not So Different: Tulip realizes while ranting at the cat that she and Amelia both dealt with the changes in their lives by running away from them.
  • Red Herring: Alrick's similar mannerisms and use of a voice modulator to sound like the Conductor's robotic suit make Tulip think he's the owner of the memory tape prior to the revelation. The similar mannerisms are instead implied to be Amelia deliberately emulating him.
  • The Reveal:
    • We discover the true identity of the Conductor.
    • The number on Tulip's hand is finally explained; it relates to her emotional progress, and once she comes to terms with her problems, it reaches zero and an exit portal opens, allowing her to return home.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Conductor is revealed to be a woman named Amelia using a Mini-Mecha who usurped control of the train.
  • Start of Darkness: The episode details Amelia/The Conductor's: her husband died and she couldn't move past his death. Like Tulip, the train took her on board... but unlike Tulip, she couldn't overcome her trauma and faults, and just spiraled further and further into them until she hijacked the train and became the Conductor.
  • Tomato Surprise: At first we're led to think that Amelia's husband is the Conductor, as the memories focus more on him (though both are in every scene prior to the funeral), Tulip assumes it's "some British guy", and the survivor between the two wears a concealing cloak, plus the Conductor has a robotic voice and Alrick was goofing around with a voice modulator. When the figure climbs onto the train, it turns out that it was Amelia herself, and she apparently deliberately took on similar mannerisms to him in her "Conductor" persona to remind herself of him.
  • Tragic Villain: The Conductor is revealed to be this. This knowledge actually infuriates Tulip, because knowing that the Conductor is a fellow human who has been through her own emotional turmoil rather than an emotionless, overly pragmatic robot makes her feel sympathy.
  • Wham Episode:
    • We learn that the Conductor used to be a woman named Amelia who took over the Train after the trauma of her husband's death.
    • Tulip's number on her hand goes down to zero, which opens a portal for her to go back home.
  • Wham Shot: In the final memory on the tape, Tulip, One-One and the Cat see the Conductor, wearing a black hoodie, picked up by the Infinity Train on the roof of a building... and just before they get on, their hood falls off to reveal that it isn't Alrick, as they assumed, but Amelia.
  • Whoopee Cushion: Amelia's flashback shows her teacher falling for this classic prank. One-One finds it so amusing they rewind and rewatch it several times, which is how they discover that they can manipulate the memories.


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