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Recap / Infinity Train S3E10 "The New Apex"

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... and the rebirth of the Apex.
Credit: Character Designer Megan Phonesavanh
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The gang reorders The Apex, but what will the new order be?


Tropes:

  • An Aesop: While you must take responsibility for your actions, you do not owe anyone anything when it comes to their choices in life. Grace spells it out to Simon that she knows he's suffering, and that she played a big part in what he became today, but it was he who rejected every single chance to redeem himself.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: Grace learns to take responsibility for her actions and promises to change herself and the Apex for the better. But in order for her to realize her mistakes, this cost her a bond with Tuba, her sisterly bond with Hazel and the loss of her best Childhood Friend's life and sanity in Simon.
  • Androcles' Lion: The little origami birds that Grace refolds save her life.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Grace dismantles the Apex so that everyone will be able to uncover the reasons why they're here and return home on their own, knowing it's a long time before her number will reach 0.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Grace manages to break the kids out from Simon's control by asking them if he ever told them about meeting Amelia (aka the true False Conductor).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Simon. He dies at age 18, as a confused and undeveloped Teenager, to the trauma that caused his Start of Darkness and haunted him his whole life without ever getting the help he needed. It doesn't help Simon died crying thinking he'd permanently lost his Only Friend and that he was alone. Writer Lindsay Katai says Simon's death was written as a tragedy unlike the death of Mace and Sieve. Even In-Universe, Grace sobs over Simon's ashes whilst the younger Apex Kids such as Lucy are clearly distraught.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Because Grace took the time to help out some origami birds, they return the favor by saving her.
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  • Big Bad: Simon establishes himself as the true enemy of the season.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Simon died to his trauma before he had a chance to grow, Grace still has a lot of work to do in order to change the Apex, and it's unlikely that she'll ever see Hazel again or even patch things up with her (not to mention that Tuba's death was indirectly her fault). But on the bright side, Grace has changed for the better, she's changing the kids for the better, everyone's numbers are dropping, the kids are excited for the journey ahead and she has a partner denizen in an origami bird.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: As Grace's visions of Hazel and herself accuse her, the Apex is just a coward leading cowards in doing things they know are wrong because they're afraid of considering anything else. Grace is forced to concede they're right.
  • Bookends:
    • Grace and Simon descend down the escalators in "The Musical Car" before they wreak havoc. At the end of the episode it's Grace alone, as she states that the Apex has to change.
    • Simon's meeting with Grace begins and ends with her saving him proceeding an attack by a Ghom. The crucial difference is the first time had Grace tell Simon a lie that Simon wholeheartedly accepts it leading to him following her for the next eight years. This time when Grace saves him and tells him the truth, he doesn’t accepts her answer and kicks off Grace, shortly dying to his original trauma.
    • "The Musical Car" has Grace place the Apex mark on her face. Before she enters The Mall Car, she wipes it off.
    • Also from "The Musical Car", Grace saves Simon from falling off the bridge. But this time, Simon is not grateful for the rescue.
  • Brick Joke: A dark one. In "The Musical Car", Simon wants to use the spotlight denizen for his personal use. When he makes his grand entrance in this episode, that spotlight denizen is shining down on him.
  • Call-Back:
    • One of Grace's memories is meeting with Jesse, Lake and Alan Dracula in "The Mall Car".
    • Simon's new throne was first seen back in "The Musical Car".
  • Cerebus Callback: Remember the two times Tulip nearly had her life force sucked up by Ghoms? This episode shows what would've happened if they'd succeeded.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • A pair of Ghoms are flying overhead just as Grace is taken out to be wheeled.
    • When Simon kicks the rail in his fight with Grace, the boot's electrical mechanism breaks. This means that it can't support Simon on the underside of the bridge when Grace takes the other one.
  • Children Are Innocent: Many of the younger kids are quite uncomfortable with Grace and Simon fighting and the order to wheel Grace, mostly following Simon out of uncertainty and they’re glad to see Grace saved from death by the origami birds as well as upset to see Simon die.
  • Cloth Fu: Simon chucks his coat at Grace to distract her before his first attack, but she recovers fast enough that he can't capitalize on it.
  • Coat Cape: Simon's Evil Makeover includes wearing a dark red jacket on his shoulders as if it were a cape.
  • Cry Laughing: Simon starts this after he throws Grace to be wheeled and his number now covers his face.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Simon, a white boy, invents a new slur specifically for Grace, a black girl, in order to dehumanize her and justify her being cast out of the Apex. That said the Apex is still equal opportunity.
    • The reaction of the younger Apex members to watching Simon and Grace’s feud is like children watching their parents fight.
    • Simon dies after pushing away his Only Friend when she tries to support him and after looking into the face of his lifelong Trauma Button, comes off as being Driven to Suicide out of loneliness and inability to move past the PTSD from his childhood. It doesn’t help that its established Simon Hates Being Alone and a writer playlist for him included songs about suicide.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Even after all he has done, Grace still tries to rescue Simon and mourns him when he dies, as do the younger Apex kids. Justified as Grace grew up with Simon, went through much of the same trauma and knows deep down inside he was a confused kid lashing out at the world.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Much as he tried to deny it, Simon’s Tears of Remorse show even in the end he couldn’t stop caring about his Childhood Friend Grace no matter how hard he tried.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Lucy is clearly not very enthusiastic about going against Grace on Simon's orders, and when Simon tries to kill Grace after she saved him, she's obviously upset and glad to see Grace alive. She reacts with horror when Simon is attacked by a Ghom and is upset they couldn’t save him.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Simon's long hair is no longer in a ponytail and is combed back to signify his role as a dictator.
  • Eye Scream: Simon's Family-Unfriendly Death includes a detailed shot of his watery eyes melting out of their sockets. Heck, steam is coming out of his eyes as they melt, like they're evaporating!
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Simon gets all of his life energy sucked out of him by a Ghom, peeling off his skin before he dissolves into ash.
  • Fantastic Slur: Simon calls Grace one, "Void". In the Apex’s terms, a "Void" is a leader unfit to lead and must be terminated.
  • Flower Motifs: The promo art has Grace surrounded by lotus flowers. Lotus flowers usually symbolize enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth, all things that Grace has obtained after taking a deep look at herself.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • If the cat hadn’t given the obviously emotional Simon the device used to invade Grace’s mind, none of this would’ve happened.
    • If Grace didn't mend the origami birds Simon crushed, she would've been a goner.
    • In a way, Hazel's statement that Grace would "die until you were dead" way back in "Le Chat Chatet Car" becomes quite meaningful here. Without Hazel, Grace would not learn how to be more empathetic and thus more willing to see that her world-views were horrible and then change. This leads to Grace escaping the memory tape Simon trapped her in, heal the origami birds and thus save her life. So yes, without Hazel, Grace would be dead.
    • If Simon didn't kick Grace off of the Train, where the origami birds save her from being wheeled, he probably would've been saved from the Ghom that sucked his life force out because Grace was too far away to reach him.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • Downplayed, Grace feels a lot of sympathy towards Simon all the way to his death and understands he is in a lot of pain, but says that means he should accept help from people instead of striking out against others.
    • In the same vein, while Grace was lonely and had no parental figures or love in her life, that gave her no excuse to slaughter innocent denizens and convince children to be apathetic serial killers. Hazel even notes that for all Simon did, it was her idea first.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Train made everyone’s problem worse in the long run this season.
    • Grace will now have to deal with having manipulated kids and kept them in a hostile environment longer then they should have been, having killed many innocent denizens, failed to protect a child who she is now estranged from, lied to her best friend, then watch said best friend try to kill her and die a horrible death right in front of her eyes. Not to mention that when she goes to the real world, she’ll have to deal with that she only has a 4th grade education at best as a teenager and without any hope of ever returning home to parents who realized their mistakes and want her back.
    • Simon went from a kid who was emotional needy to being taught to kill and use violence, as well as being abandoned by his parental figure that was supposed to help him, got PTSD, was forced to be in the same room as his abuser and then finally died a teenage Tyke Bomb.
    • Even the minor characters in the Apex have to deal with not only the fact that they wasted a long time on a pointless quest and also learned to kill, but now als a teenager they looked up to, graphically die in front of them. Lucy will also have to deal with the loss of her eye when she returns home.
  • Harmful to Minors: The younger kids such as Lucy and Todd, stayed on the bridge and watched the fight between Grace and Simon, clearly upset to see their Parental Substitutes fight. They were further horrified to see Grace nearly killed, followed by seeing Simon suffering a breakdown and Cruel and Unusual Death right in front of their eyes. By the point is Grace crying over Simon’s ashes, all the kids look fairly traumatized.
  • Heel–Face Turn: This episode cements Grace's change as she and most of the Apex decide to drop their numbers down to 0.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Its implied, particularly in deleted scenes, that Grace and Simon may have had a romantic relationship of some sort. Even if they didn’t, she and Simon were inseparable partners since they were 10 years old. As the other tropes on this page make clear, Grace outlives Simon.
  • Hope Spot: Grace saving Simon could be the start of Simon changing, right? No, he repays the favor by kicking her off the train. Even Simon himself is horrified by what he did once the realization hits.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Grace tells Simon to change and become better...he rejects it and tries to kill her instead. Even as he starts crying at what he did, it shifts to laughter at what he has become though with Tears of Remorse still flowing all the way to his death.
    Simon: Why would I ever wanna change if I'm always right?!
  • I'm Melting!: When the Ghom sucks Simon's life out, his skin, clothes, and skeleton all melt and turn to dust.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex:
    • Grace admits to Hazel and herself that everything she did throughout the Train was to be adored, to be praised, to not be shown as a failure, to be loved by others and avoid being alone. And in the end, this cost her everything she held dear.
    • Simon's extreme actions all come from his own insecurity and paranoia that he wasted his life following a pointless goal and that his Only Friend was planning to abandon him.
  • Irony: When Grace and Simon were children, their relationship began with Grace saving Simon and telling him a lie, which he earnestly believed with his life leading to follow Grace. In this episode, Grace saves Simon again, but this time tells him the truth, which Simon rejects leading to him attacking her and dying soon after.
  • I've Come Too Far: It is implied that Simon may actually know the true purpose of numbers, but feels having wasted childhood to his teenage years chasing a self destructive goal that its too late to change now and that he wouldn’t be able to function off the train at this point.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Grace being careful with the origami birds crushed by Simon and tending to them saves her life. That said she still has a long road to recovery including having to not only lower her number, she still needs to get an education and recover from seeing her Childhood Friend killed in front of her eyes.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Downplayed with the cat/Samantha who never gets any onscreen comeuppance for handing Simon a device that could invade someone’s mind and telling him how to use it when it was obvious he wasn’t responsible enough for it and would use it against Grace, but will eventually get the knowledge that her actions resulted in the death of her estranged adoptive-son.
    • Some of the older kids who tried to wheel Grace, such as the teenage boy who reveals Grace to Simon and calls the whole Apex down simply disappear and aren’t seen again when the Apex is dissolved by Grace, presumably having run off.
  • Laughing Mad: Simon loses it when he thinks he killed Grace and has a mental breakdown, laughing then crying and then laughing whilst the Tears of Remorse continue to fall.
  • Mind Rape: Grace suffers one as the manifestations of Hazel and herself berate her for doing all of these painful things in order to save herself, though it ultimately helps her become a better person.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Simon throws Grace off the train to her death...but he wasn't expecting the origami birds Grace helped out to save her.
  • Never My Fault: Simon flat out says he doesn't want or need to change anything about himself because he is "always right".
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Simon ended up being the catalyst for Grace's change in four ways.
    • By shattering the tube with the memory bots in the last episode, Simon unintentionally provided Grace a way out of the loop he trapped her in. The memory bots migrate to Grace and start recording her memories, allowing her to move past the memory of Hazel being revealed as a denizen.
    • Simon trapping Grace in her own tape with the tool Samantha gave him is ultimately what forces her to confront her own issues and cement her Heel–Face Turn.
    • If Simon didn't crush the origami birds on his way out, Grace wouldn't have taken the time to heal them and thus the birds wouldn't have saved her when she got thrown off the train by him.
    • And last, trying to kill Grace means that when the birds came to her rescue, she's too far away to save him from a Ghom.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When Grace enters The Mall Car, she finds it completely empty, save for Simon's fantasy novel.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • A nightmare-version of Hazel accuses Grace of being just as much to blame for Tuba's death as Simon is; while Simon was the one who killed Tuba specifically, to quote nightmare-Hazel, "He didn't come up with the idea to wheel denizens on his own!"
    • Its made clear that both Grace and Simon suffer from insecurity and a hatred of being isolated.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Grace deciding to dissolve the Apex as its ideology is inherently evil and the kids who stayed with her have their numbers decrease at the declaration. She also has a denizen partner in an origami bird.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Amelia's number went up her arm, wrapped around her shoulders and stopped at her neck. When Grace reunites with Simon, his number is up to his neck and wraps down his other arm, making it even higher than Amelia's. And when he throws Grace to be wheeled, it reaches all the way to his face and even down his leg. This contrasts with Grace, whose number has shrunken to just above her wrist.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Apex leaders are faced with this.
    • Grace gets a scathing one from a hallucination of Hazel (and herself) when she's trapped in her memories.
      Hazel: You tried to control me! Just like you control the Apex!
      Grace: But I never meant to hurt you!
      Hazel: (sobbing) You killed Tuba! You killed Tuba!
      Grace: No! It was Simon!
      Hazel: He didn't come up with the idea to wheel denizens on his own! It's your fault she's gone! You think you're strong, but you're scared! (as three Hazels march towards Grace) A coward leading cowards!
      Grace: Hazel, please, I didn't know-
      Hazel: And worst of all, when you had the chance to make it right...
      (Grace is shown a memory of Hazel revealing her turtle form, and Grace putting on an act to save face.)
      Hazel and "Grace": You protected yourself! You tried to control me and Simon instead of being honest!
      (Grace bursts into tears. A hallucination of herself appears in front of her.)
      "Grace": You're wrong, Grace. Wrong about numbers, the Conductor, denizens, everything. And you know it.
    • While Grace acknowledges that Simon is in a lot of pain, she also points out that she does not owe him anything for his own descent into villainy.
      Grace: Simon, you're in a lot of pain, I understand that!
      Simon: Another hollow apology, Grace?
      Grace: (hesitates) ... No. I'm not responsible for your problems! I don't owe you anything!
      Simon: You owe me everything!
  • Recurring Extra:
    • Lucy, last seen in "The Musical Car", is seen again and gets a bit of characterization; trying to warn Grace to leave as she still cares for her, is visibly upset when Simon declares Grace a void and fights with her, is relieved when Grace is saved, cries when Simon is attacked by a Ghom and finally grieving with Grace over Simon.
    • Todd, Alex, and Lindsay from "The Mall Car" all appear and are the only members to stay outside to watch the battle between Grace and Simon, later mourning over the latter, but don’t get any dialogue.
  • Reduced to Dust: When a Ghom sucks the life out of him, all that's left of Simon is dust.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • Just what was Simon’s past, all that was given was he probably went to a funeral, his mom told him at some point that socks and sandals were practical and that he didn’t see anything for himself off the train. Now that he’s dead, we’ll never know his past, what kind of life he led and if he had any living family members who cared about him.
    • Why did Grace’s statement after she saved Simon ("I don't know"), anger him so much?
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Before entering the Mall Car, Grace sees her reflection in an origami bird and wipes off the lipstick mark of the Apex on her face to signify her break from the old philosophy.
    • The promo art has Grace looking like she's rising out of the water, which represents how she rose out from the darkest depths of her memories and is surfacing. Notably, the flowers in the promo, lotus, are symbolized as those with roots growing within dirty water can still produce a beautiful flower. This shows that despite everything Grace did, she could still change for the better.
    • Simon always wears his long hair in a messy ponytail, as though representing he still has his inhibitions, but just barely. The next time Grace sees him in the Mall Car, he's wearing his hear down, alerting the audience that he's unleashing his worst instincts.
    • The lighting in The Mall Car is a dingy yellow, to show how the Apex is clouded with the idea of numbers = strength. After Simon's death, it's bright blue to signify that they're starting to change their point of view and their eyes have been opened to the truth.
  • Save the Villain: Grace saves Simon from falling off the train even though he tried to kill her. He repays that by trying to kill her again, and she can't reach him in time save him when the Ghom catches him.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • Grace admits that she was lying and manipulating others so that she wouldn't end up alone... before realizing that all she did ended with her being completely alone.
    • Simon genuinely believed his Only Friend, Grace, was going to abandon him like his adoptive mom, Samantha did. Thus his subsequent extremist actions come from the paranoid belief he had to hurt her before she hurts him, but in the end seems to have realized he pushed away Grace when she wanted to reestablish their friendship causing him to have a Villainous BSoD that leads to his death.
  • Shout-Out: Simon's death looks like a combination of two character deaths from the Indiana Jones' franchise: Toht's face melting from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Donovan's rapid aging from The Last Crusade.
  • The Stinger: During the Cartoon Network logo, it shows Grace's number decreasing down to her wrist and it cuts off before we see her new number.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: When Grace looks at the vandalized Mall Car after her character growth, she views it all with abhorrence and disgust at what it's become.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Simon's death results in his flesh melting right off his skeleton, which in turn dissolves into ash immediately afterward.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: After the Ghom sucks out Simon's life, it explodes into a blue puff of smoke. Whether it was due to Simon's large number or that's what Ghoms are supposed to do after sucking out someone's life is unclear.
  • Tears of Remorse: Simon starts uncontrollably sobbing upon the realization that Grace tried to reached out to him and he responded by trying to kill the Only Friend in his life.
  • Teens Are Monsters: In addition to Simon going postal, many of the older kids of the Apex are more willing to follow the "Wheel Grace" order unlike the younger kids and most of them aren’t seen again in the Timeskip.
  • Time Skip:
    • An uncertain one when Grace gets back to the Apex we aren’t given how much time has passed. Though one of the artists has claimed Simon’s hair was always as long as it was here, it just wasn’t as easy to see with his hair up.
    • We get a short one after Simon’s death, showing Grace dismantling the Apex.
  • Tragic Villain: In the end, Simon was just a kid who was robbed of his childhood, failed by abusive parenting, taught to kill at an early age, was inducted into a toxic ideology and only had one other person to confide in. His villainy came from a childish paranoia he was going to abandoned again and brought him nothing but pain.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even though Grace saved him, Simon still tries to wheel her. He clearly feels remorse given he cries after he does it, but tries to cover it by laughing and quickly pays for it with his life.
  • Unperson: Simon tries to get the Apex kids to view Grace as inhuman her a "Void", a leader that is no longer fit to lead due to betraying Apex ideology. Its heavily implied this is also for himself as a way to reconcile now viewing his inseparable childhood friend as an enemy.
  • Villainous BSoD: Upon realizing that Grace tried to rebuild their bond and that he just wheeled her, and now his long held fear of being all alone in the world have now come true, Simon starts uncontrollably sobbing, then laugh sobbing. This leaves him open to a Ghom attack and even then, Simon’s BSOD is still ongoing.
  • Visual Development: Simon's let down hair and coat reflect his change into a mad dictator.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Grace is pulling the tape out of her head, she throws up a little saliva.
  • Went Crazy When They Left: Simon losing the only person left in his life he could confide in and go to for emotional support has obviously taken his toll on him given his more manic and paranoid behavior.

 
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The Origami Birds

Grace repairs some origami birds that Simon previously stepped on. Later, those birds save Grace when Simon kicks her off the train.

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