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Infinity Train is a Cartoon Network mystery/comedy series created by Regular Show storyboard artist Owen Dennis. The show premiered on August 5, 2019 and was originally promoted as a ten-episode Mini Series, with a second season being teased following the airing of the final episode.

The show follows a teenage girl named Tulip (Ashley Johnson), who after running away from home finds herself on a seemingly endless train in the middle of nowhere, accompanied by a Literal Split Personality Robot Buddy named One-One (Jeremy Crutchley and Owen Dennis) and a talking corgi named Atticus (Ernie Hudson). Stuck on this mysterious locomotive, and now sporting a strange glowing number on her hand which she cannot figure out the meaning of, Tulip must work her way through the worlds and puzzles presented by each car, hoping to find a way home.

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The original pilot was released on November 2, 2016, as a "Cartoon Network Minisode". The short, which can be viewed here, became one of the channel's most popular, receiving over a million views within a month. On March 2, 2018, a teaser site opened, revealing that a full-length series had been greenlit for a 2019 premiere, with the first trailer debuting at San Diego Comic-Con 2018. The following June, a second trailer was released, originally only accessible via the above teaser site.note  On July 20, 2019, a third trailer was released, followed by an advanced screening of the first episode (viewable here in the United States).


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Tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Tulip ran away from home in order to get to Oshkosh. Even if she didn't get taken to another dimension while attempting to do so, her mother is still dealing with the fact that her daughter just disappeared after an argument and she has no idea where she could be. The first trailer even has Tulip's mother calling into a vacant room in the hours after Tulip left. Word of God confirms that Year Inside, Hour Outside does not apply to the train, and Tulip was moving through it for at least five months, meaning both of her parents also had to deal with their daughter's inexplicable, no-traces disappearance for almost half a year to boot.
    • Amelia/The Conductor's backstory has it that her husband died and she was unable to move on from the trauma.
  • Aerith and Bob: The character names range from relatively normal (Nancy, Randall, Kate, Mikayla, Andy, Megan, Amelia) to somewhat unusual but still plausible (Tulip, Atticus, Gambit, Alrick) to practically made up (One-One).
  • An Aesop:
    • Things in our lives change and often those changes are simply beyond your control. Treating those things like they are your responsibility and trying to fix them will cause needless stress and only lead to more problems. The only solution is to try to adapt to life's changes.
    • Failing to properly process trauma and the negative emotions associated with it will only cause you to fall further and further into them, and trying to live in the past before it happened will do nothing but make things worse. The only way to recover is to process your trauma and move on.
  • Alice Allusion: Several. Not surprising, given the premise. In fact, you could argue that the entire show is an Alice Allusion.
  • All There in the Script: The names of several creatures and beings are never stated in the show, and can only be gleaned from the credits sequence, such as the soul-sucking cockroach dogs being called "Ghoms".
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The series' timeframe is never explicitly stated, with Tulip's computer looking like an older PC model with an old-looking desktop, and the game she's creating has rather primitive, Space Invaders-type graphics, and the soundtrack uses primarily synthetic instruments, which seems to place it in the 80s, but Tulip also has a cellphone capable of texting that looks like it's from the mid-to-late 2010s. The simplicity of Tulip's game could be attributed to it being a first-time game from an amateur programmer.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Steward is heavily armed and attacks without provocation, but it doesn't try to kill Tulip intentionally, only demanding she returns to her seat. It also flees at the sight of One-One. It turns out to work for the Conductor as The Dragon.
  • Animesque: Especially apparent with the characters' eyes.
  • Another Dimension: Wherever the train is, it has soul-sucking creatures that live in the desolate wasteland surrounding it, and there's a swirling vortex in the sky that occasionally absorbs any unfortunate souls caught on the train. It's actually just a passenger coming off the train.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Tulip constantly questions the logic (or, rather, the lack thereof) of the train, despite having traveled through dozens of different worlds by the third episode, wondering why arbitrary actions like singing would have any effect on their progress.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Tulip sees someone being sucked up into a vortex in the first episode and thinks it's a bad thing. It's actually a good thing, as it takes you home once you confront your traumas.
    • When she asks One-One about the significance of the number decreasing, they state that if it reaches zero then she's gone forever...from the train, because it's not counting down how long she has to live but how much trauma she's currently going through.
    • A meta one appears at the end. What was supposed to be a 10-episode miniseries has a Sequel Hook that states that Infinity Train will Return.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Several of the cars are notably bigger on the inside than their already impressive external dimensions would imply.
  • Big Bad: The Conductor. When she catches up with Tulip in the Ball Pit car, she indicates that everything is supposed to exist as she intended, and Tulip's pursuit of freedom by moving around the cars throws everything into chaos.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: The giant monster that was scaring Atticus and his subjects turn out to be just a tiny spider, projecting a huge shadow with the help of a glowing orb.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tulip manages to return home and mends her relationship with her parents. However, Amelia will likely be trapped on the train for the rest of her life, and it's unlikely Tulip will ever see One-One or Atticus again.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The train itself sees emotional maturity as purely good and denial as bad, but completely ignores the obvious complications of pulling people out of their lives and disproportionately punishes people who are not ready to move on with ridiculously long sentences. Not to mention that some of the train cars contain ridiculously dangerous obstacles that are just as likely to kill the passengers as they are to help them grow as people.
  • Book-Ends: The show begins and ends with Tulip heading off to Coding Camp.
  • Captain Obvious: Upon seeing the exterior of the train and a passenger getting vaporized, Tulip asks One-One what happened, with his reply being that she's in a bad place at the moment. Played with, as the "bad place" is Tulip's obviously troubled state of mind, not her physical location; it's later shown that the "vaporization" was the passenger lowering their number to zero and escaping the train.
  • Central Theme: Trauma, and how to deal with it, as well as the consequences for not dealing with it properly.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The first thing One-One does when they meet Tulip is ask if she's their mother. As it turns out, the mother they were looking for was the motherboard of the train because they're the Conductor.
  • Civilized Animal: Episode 3 introduces a civilization of talking dogs, the Corginians. Episode 6 introduces a civilization of talking turtles.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Sad-One speaks in a monotone and often is The Eeyore. He also has some of the funniest one-liners.
    • To a lesser extent, Atticus. He's a regal, dignified king who also happens to be an adorable corgi and treats simple dog things with the utmost seriousness.
  • Conspicuous CG: Done deliberately with the train cars themselves and the outside's cloud vortex to emphasize how unnatural they are. The train cars' movement also falls into the Uncanny Valley.
  • Cool Train: Once you get past the nightmarish thought that you may never leave, the Infinity Train is a seemingly ordinary train with all sorts of weird compartments, including one with talking corgis.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Alrick; while he was shown wearing the black hoodie the Conductor is known to wear, he was a sweet man. His wife, on the other hand...
    • One of the first unsettling sights that Tulip sees in the train dimension is a swirling vortex that absorbed a fellow passenger, making Tulip realize that she could possibly die on the train. The penultimate episode reveals that the vortex is a good thing, as it means you zeroed out your number and can finally return home.
    • This applies to the train itself, as despite its eldritch nature, it only seems to bring people aboard to force them to face and move on from their trauma.
  • Death World: The train is surrounded by barren wastes stretching out to the horizon, which is populated by creatures like cockroach-dogs that drain the life energy from their victims, and a vortex in the sky that shoots down a beam of energy that apparently absorbs another passenger. While the cockroach-dogs are definitely a health hazard, the vortex is actually a bait-and-switch, as it takes you back home.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Some of the trappings are different, but Tulip still enters a strange land filled with strange inhabitants and must learn about herself before being allowed to go home.
  • The Dragon: The Steward, to the Conductor.
  • Eldritch Location: The train seemingly has no end, possesses creatures which defy logic, and the cars themselves have properties which don't fit their external design; it does have an engine, however, as One-One alludes to there being a conductor. The area around the train isn't much better. In the end we don't even learn its origin: it just exists, and existed even before the current Conductor usurped control. Its true nature seems to involve bringing people on board who can't move past some sort of trauma and trapping them until they finally move on. It's also implied on some level to be sapient with a will of its own separate from its Conductor's, with Amelia being unable to recreate her old life no matter how many times she tried.
  • Epiphanic Prison: The train. Its "victims" are those who are going through serious emotional turmoil, and the only way to escape is to gradually understand and work through the trauma.
  • Eureka Moment: Tulip briefly loses hope when the monster in the Corgi Car turns out to be a spider's shadow cast by a glowing orb, but after Atticus calms her down, she questions how a normal spider would even affect the water level, leading her to the Steward.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One of the train cars is full of baseball-playing dinosaurs, as seen in "The Cat's Car".
  • Exact Words: When Tulip asks the signifcance of the number, One-One states that if it hits zero, she's "gone forever", making Tulip think she's going to die. They mean gone forever from the train, they never said she was going to die.
  • Fake King: The Conductor is actually train passenger Amelia, who overthrew the true Conductor, One-One, to try and make a car with a replication of her dead husband.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: When Atticus attempts to explain the monster.
    Atticus: I will admit, there are some things I haven't told you about Corginia–
    Atticus and Tulip: Like why there's a giant shadow monster!
    Atticus: Yes. Patience, young lady.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: The Steward has blue flames coming out of its eye sockets that are generated by a pair of valves behind its mask.
  • Five Stages of Grief:
    • In a rare example where death isn't the cause, Tulip is stuck in Denial over her parents' divorce, trying to ignore everything to avoid facing the pain, occasionally slipping into Anger. By the end she's moved on to Acceptance.
    • Amelia was originally in Depression following her husband's death, but by the present is stuck in Bargaining and Anger, and due to her power over the train as Conductor, is extremely dangerous because of it. Thanks to Tulip, she's at least starting down the path to Acceptance.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are a few hints at One-One being the real Conductor, like their obsession with "fixing" the Unfinished Car, the Conductor/Amelia's obsession with capturing them, and how they were able to take control of Amelia's tape.
      • The fact that it's One-One that tells Tulip about the significance of the number. As Tulip stated, they made her think that she was going to die.
      • During the first encounter with the Steward in "The Corgi Car", it flees upon seeing One-One. It used to work for them until Amelia took over.
    • Tulip sarcastically mentions how her number is going down because she's "growing as a person" in "The Cat's Car". She's absolutely correct.
    • When Tulip comes dangerously close to crossing the Despair Event Horizon at the start of "The Past Car", her number starts to go back up because she's slipping back into the habits that led to her being unable to deal with her trauma. This turns out to be foreshadowing for "The Engine", where it's revealed that Amelia's own number has been increasing the whole time she was acting as the Conductor, and it's now so long it extends off her arm and onto her neck.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Tulip wakes up in "The Grid Car", for a split second you can see the Conductor retreating behind some trees in the background.
    • In the final moments of the show, Tulip still doesn't have a reflection in the mirror.
  • Funny Animal: The turtle people in "The Unfinished Car", though curiously they're lead by a quadripedal tortoise.
  • Furry Reminder: Both Mulgrowl the Cat and the corgis of the corgi car are intelligent and capable of human speech, but still act like their respective species and point out traits like their lack of thumbs when asked why they're incapable of certain tasks.
  • Genius Loci: It's somewhat implied that the train itself has a will and intention of its own. Even with Amelia usurping One-One as Conductor, the train continues to do the exact same thing it was already doing when she took over despite her being singularly focused on recreating her old life. Furthermore, no matter what Amelia does, after years of trying, she can't recreate her husband and the train keeps putting her number up higher and higher in response to her falling further and further into her demons. One-One also explicitly refers to the train as their mother.
  • Hard Light: The environments of the cars are solid holograms, generated by orbs that are usually hidden by the scenery.
  • The Homeward Journey: Tulip's goal is to escape the train and go home.
  • Hybrid Monster: The Ghoms have the physical features of wolves and cockroaches.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title references its train car of focus, with all but the last being formatted as "The [X] Car".
  • In Medias Res: Most episodes begin with Tulip and her companions exiting one of the many train cars explored between episodes and briefly alluding to the adventure they had there.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: Ultimately, it seems this is the purpose of the train: to force people to confront their pent up trauma and negative emotions and finally move on. The only way to escape is to finally do so, the number of issues that they still have to deal with represented by a literal glowing green number on their hand, which opens a door to the home of the passenger when it reaches 0.
  • Leitmotif: The title card of each episode features a simple four-tone one (based around a part of the score from the Mysterious Stranger segment of The Adventures of Mark Twain, which was an inspiration for the show's overall aesthetic), which recurs throughout the soundtrack, most notably as the tones that the Conductor uses to control the Steward.
  • Light Is Not Good: All of the main villains are associated with the colour white, with the Steward even having blue fire.
  • Literal Split Personality: One-One is a ball-robot with two personalities: Glad-One, the eternal optimist; and Sad-One, the eternal pessimist. The two can split down the middle to function independently.
  • Living MacGuffin: The reason why the Conductor/Amelia seeks to reclaim One-One is because they are a key component to stopping the train itself. One-One is the real conductor, and Amelia wanted to make sure they never had a chance to reclaim control of the train.
  • Living Shadow: Subverted. The corgis fear the shadow monster that raised the tides, but the beast is actually just a spider whose shadow was being cast by a light; the actual cause of the problem is a tentacled robot.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Tulip's videotape full of false but happy memories was intended to be a gift to bring her everlasting happiness, with other such tapes existing. The train itself is arguably one for its native inhabitants as well, with every car serving its purpose with the intent of keeping its denizens placated. "The Engine" reveals dozens of passengers exist on the train simultaneously, but the infinite nature of the train means Tulip never met them.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Tulip: How does this door work? Are you like a real robot? Are there other people on here? Is this what trains are like?
    Glad-One: Yes!
    Tulip: Yes to what? Which?
    Glad-One: I dunno.
  • Metaphorically True: When Tulip asks what the number means on her hand, One-One states that she'll be gone forever if it goes down to zero. In the sense that the old self filled with trauma will be gone forever and she'll be reborn as a new person.
    • Can also be interpreted to mean that Tulip would leave the train and never come back.
  • Mood Whiplash: "The Ball Pit Car" starts off mostly lighthearted as Tulip, One-One, and Atticus play around through a ball pit funhouse, and then the Conductor shows up...
  • Mundane Solution: Some of the more benign inhabitants of the train, such as One-One or Atticus, have no idea how to exit their respective cars due to... their inability to reach or turn the door handle.
    Tulip: ...That's how all doors open!
    Atticus: [mildly offended] My people have been working on this technology for decades.
  • Magitek: What the train is. The train, while being incredibly technologically advanced, houses some supernatural elements such as the Chrome Car, which is a car that seemingly brings reflections to life.
  • New Content Countdown Clock: All episodes of Gumball immediately before the event had a countdown to the next episode.
  • New Weird: An interdimensional train that kidnaps people and forces them to run a gauntlet of random and bizarre pocket dimensions until they work through their emotional trauma, is piloted by an AI with a Literal Split Personality, continuously builds new cars for itself, and is inhabited by everything from talking corgis and sentient blobs of water to mirror policemen and human-sized pencils with limbs.
  • Noodle Incident: We only get glimpses of a few of Tulip's adventures in the many cars of the Infinity Train.
    • "The Crystal Car" starts at the tail end of an adventure in a Mediterranean seaside town populated by people with flowers for heads (and apparently almost literally involved a noodle incident with a pasta restaurant).
    • "The Cat's Car" starts with Tulip waving goodbye to baseball-playing theropods.
  • Not So Different: After watching Amelia’s tape, Tulip is at first angry because she didn’t want to feel bad for her, preferring to think of The Conductor as “some heartless robot thing”, but now she realizes that Amelia is having her own trouble adapting to the changes in her life, running away out of fear just like Tulip herself. It’s this realization that ultimately brings Tulip’s number all the way down to 0 and opens her exit car containing the portal that will take her back home.
  • Ontological Mystery: Tulip is stuck on the train with no idea what it is or how to leave. She also has a glowing number stuck on the palm of her hand that has no immediately discernible meaning. The number turns out to be representative of the issues that Tulip is refusing to deal with, and once she manages to overcome them, the number reaches zero and a door home opens.
  • Parental Issues: It's clear in the first episode that Tulip is not taking her parents being divorced well.
  • Pensieve Flashback: How the passengers' memory tapes work when watched.
  • Reality Warper: The train is able to appear anywhere in the real world it needs to, generating the necessary space and train tracks to drive there. It's shown causing the entire roof of a building to vanish in "The Past Car".
  • Rewatch Bonus: A good chunk of One-One's more non-sequitur dialogue has Double Meanings that, upon rewatching, reveals itself to have been foreshadowing and straightforward explanations of various elements in the series when placed in the proper context.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who or what is responsible for the train's existence is never revealed.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Corginia is a kingdom full of sentient corgis that like to lie in the sun and have their belly rubbed. The sole "ugly" inhabitant isn't even ugly; they're only referred to as such because they're a different breed of dog.
  • Robot Buddy: One-One is Tulip's ditzy robot sidekick.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Atticus personally joins Tulip to defeat the monster and braves the Steward's machine-gun fire in a valiant, but ultimately futile, attempt to attack it. Once the Steward escapes, he joins Tulip's journey to the train's engine so that he can assure that it will never do damage to his kingdom again.
  • The Runaway: After a scheduling error kept either of her parents from taking her to a video game design camp like they had promised, Tulip decides to try and head there by herself, which is how she finds the train.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In "The Past Car", the Conductor is unmasked as Amelia, who deposed the original conductor One-One.
  • Sequel Hook: The original television airing of "The Engine" had a short promo clip air before the credits sequence, in which One-One tells the audience he'll "See you next time!" before the screen states "Infinity Train will return".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: While Tulip is running from the Ghoms, One-One suddenly starts humming "Yakety Sax".
    Tulip: What are you singing!?
    One-One: It’s a wacky getting chased song. I made it up.
  • Stealth Pun: Tulip's dad affectionately calls her "bud". As in a tulip bud. It could even be considered a Multiple Reference Pun, as it echoes the expression "budding genius".
  • Surprise Creepy: The idea of being stuck on a train with no way out is a little unnerving, but helped by some of the whimsical characters and locations that Tulip interacts with. Tulip herself is actually enthused about the whole situation until she realizes she isn't on Earth anymore and surrounded by life-threatening creatures both inside and outside the locomotive.
  • Talking Animal: The Cat and the corgis of Corginia, including Atticus, can speak human language.
  • There Is Another: It's nonchalantly revealed that Tulip isn't the only passenger in "The Cat's Car". It turns out the Conductor is one of them.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Tulip is repeatedly seen eating raw onions, and one of her altered memories in "The Cat's Car" shows her mom presenting her with double onion ice cream cake. She even has an onion-shaped eraser on the end of her pencil.
  • Tragic Villain: Amelia lost her husband and found herself onboard the train. She became the Conductor and tried to create a perfect world where he was still alive and they could live happily. Her sadism appears to simply be one way she fills the void he left in her.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Ghoms can suck out life force with their mouths.
  • Wham Episode:
  • Wham Line: A meta one from the very end of "The Engine", after Tulip makes it home and it seems like the series is wrapped up, we suddenly cut to glitchy footage of One-One, who delivers a line in unison as the following message appears:
    One-One: Back as Conductor and better than ever! See you next time!
    Infinity Train Will Return
  • Wham Shot:
    • "The Past Car" has Tulip see the memories of the Conductor, with someone wearing a black hoodie entering the train. Much to her surprise, it's not Alrick — who was shown wearing a black hoodie and speaking with a robotic voice similar to that of the Conductor — but his wife, Amelia.
    • How big of a number does Amelia have? It's gone past her arm and up to her neck.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Subverted. Unlike what you would expect, time on the train and time in the real world move at the same rate. According to the creators, Tulip was missing for the entire five months she was on the train.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Tulip's habit of snacking on raw onions earns her this remark from her friend Mikayla.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Subverted. After a comment from One-One, Tulip becomes convinced that the numbers on her hand are counting down to her death. When she tells this to The Cat as part of her plea for help, the feline points out that One-One isn't the smartest or most optimistic being out there. It turns out that the number actually indicates the weight of your emotional trauma. However, Amelia notes that the number can also go up...
    Tulip: One-One! You made me think I was gonna die!
    Sad-One: It'd be surprising if you never died.


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