Infinity Train – Overcoming Trauma

Infinity Train is a science fantasy animated series released on August 5, 2019, by Owen Dennis. So far only three seasons (or three “Books”) of the series are released. The basic premise of the show is that the passengers that find themselves on the infinite train have issues that they need to work through. Everyone enters the train with a different number. The numbers decrease if the passenger shows progress, but the numbers increase if the passenger shows signs of regression. If the number on the passenger’s palm goes down to 0, they are allowed to leave.

Infinity Train has been one hell of a ride (no pun intended). The stories that are being told tug at your heartstrings and they deal with some very heavy topics. You can’t help but relate to some of the struggles the characters go through over the course of the series. Struggles that aren’t that different from our own. In this analysis, I’m going to focus on the two central characters from Book 3, Grace and Simon. Here are some things we can learn from them about the effects of trauma and the road to recovery.

Their Shared History

When we were first introduced to Grace and Simon in Book 2, they were made to be the antagonists, and for good reason. They founded a group called the Apex, where their primary philosophy is that the higher the number, the better. Apex members with higher numbers typically get more respect because it signifies “strength”. They are often seen terrorizing the denizens (inhabitants of the train that serve to help passengers), destroying their property, and abusing them to suit their purposes. Back when I was watching Book 2, I couldn’t help wondering how they ended up on the train? And how did they turn out this way? What went wrong? Well, Book 3 gave us some answers.

Simon’s Past

The first clue we got was regarding Simon’s past with Samantha. Samantha is a denizen that takes on the form of an anthropomorphic cat. He got acquainted with her when he first got on the train. At some point during their time together, they were chased by a Ghom. She managed to escape but abandoned Simon as a result. The incident deeply scarred Simon and it’s evident that he hadn’t properly recovered from it. The traumatic experience has definitely played a role in his strong dislike for denizens. It didn’t help that Grace affirmed his resentment for them early on in their friendship. It goes without saying that his trauma has definitely influenced the decisions he’s made throughout the series.

One of those decisions being him killing Tuba. That scene, in particular, cemented my hatred for Simon. But even then, I still believe he did it because he thought it was the right decision to make. Make no mistake, I’m not trying to justify his actions, I’m just trying to explain why he chose to do what he did. When he shamelessly admitted to Hazel that he murdered Tuba, I genuinely think he did it because he did, to a degree, care about Hazel’s wellbeing. His killing of Tuba was twisted and unjustifiable, but in his eyes, it’s noble. After all, the one denizen he was close to abandoned him to die, what makes Tuba any different? He couldn’t bring himself to trust denizens because of that experience.

Grace’s Past

Speaking of Grace, she’s got a set of problems of her own. In the episode “The Origami Car”, Simon trapped her in her memory tape, she’s been forced to briefly relive her past memories. It was revealed that she didn’t have many friends and her parents have been negligent of her. While they smothered with toys and other materialistic things, they never gave her the attention she craved. At one point, she even shoplifted just to get their attention but that didn’t work out in her favor. While her parents were occupied arguing with the authority figure, the infinite train appeared and she boarded it. Not long after she boarded the train, she was attacked by the Steward, but the figure was immediately apprehended by who Grace believed to be the true conductor.

Grace quickly picked up on the long string of green, glowing numbers on the conductor’s arm. She made the connection that if this noble figure who just saved me had a very high number, the goal for all passengers must be to increase their number. She shared this information with Simon after saving him from the Ghom that I mentioned earlier. When Simon asked how she got her number so high, she replied saying that it’s because she was good at the train. She managed to get Simon’s trust and admiration and that positive attention was something she craved, but never got. With the Apex, she managed to get the respect and admiration from all the kids she recruited. It made her feel present, it made her feel important and it made her feel visible. For once, she finally got what she wanted.

Both Grace and Simon have committed heinous acts that are all tied to the trauma that they carry with them. Although we don’t condone their actions, we can, at least, see where they are coming from.

Their Separate Paths

The traumas we’ve endured don’t completely go away. With Grace and Simon, they coped with their traumas in a very unhealthy way. The saying that hurt people hurt people rings true to both of them. They are hurt, they’ve been scarred and they project that pain onto others even if they might not realize it. But the key difference between both their journeys throughout Book 3 is that Grace manages to break the cycle, but Simon doesn’t.

Grace managed to learn the error of her ways after spending time with Hazel and Tuba. Her attachment to Hazel allows her to grow as a person. When Hazel broke down and turned into a denizen, Grace was hit with a cold, hard truth. She was wrong about the denizens. This little girl whom she’s grown to adore and care for is, in fact, a denizen. Denizens are more than just props, they have feelings, they were real and they are living beings of their own.

When trapped in the memory tape, we see Grace acknowledging the irony of her actions. She did everything she could to not be alone, but that’s exactly how she ended up. Simon turned his back on her, Hazel left her and now she’s all by herself. It was all because she couldn’t own up to her mistakes. That realization marks a change within Grace, as she’s determined to right her wrongs. 


Simon, on the other hand, doesn’t want to change. He couldn’t bring himself to accept that the ideology he’s believed in for so long is wrong. Grace wasn’t able to convince him otherwise because he doesn’t trust her anymore. After all the lies she told him, he doesn’t wanna hear any more from her. There was no turning back, their friendship is already very strained at this point. During their fight, he states that he doesn’t wanna change because he’s always right. His stubbornness, his entitlement, and his pride were what led him to his downfall. Simon let his traumatic experiences get the better of him and the sad truth is, a lot of people do too. But that doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. Simon may not have come out of the conflict enlightened, but we can. We can see how Simon went wrong and try our best to not end up like him.

Conclusion

There’s always hope for change. Reflect on yourself and your behavior, be kind to yourself, talk to someone. Acknowledge the mistakes you’ve made and try to grow from those experiences. Healing from trauma takes time and it takes work, but we’ll get there.

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