Pending Train – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Pending Train Episode 1 introduces a young woman with a baby racing for a train. She thinks of her beloved and how life can change in an instant. Then we shift to three people crossing paths as they head their respective ways.

The woman who was carrying a baby (but isn’t now) queues behind a familiar man as they all get on train car five. We meet more of the train occupants as they carry on with their own thoughts – some more charitable than others.

An earthquake alert is the start and suddenly items and people are disappearing, network connections are lost and the train just speeds along, the force pushing standing passengers to the ground.

When everyone wakes, one passenger checks on the injured. Others pry the doors open and, in a panic, people push off the train into the unfamiliar. Teacher Hatano, firefighter Shirahama and hairdresser Kayashima volunteer to walk through the tunnel for help.

Back at the train station, the conductor realizes they’ve lost a car, heading into the tunnel to check. Both get to the end not finding each other. The missing car isn’t anywhere on the tracks. While the three find a vast expanse of nothing.

Back at the train, explaining what they saw, scientist Kato is befuddled as it sounds impossible but gaming student Yonezawa shares a few theories. A missile hit and they’re the last survivors having been protected by the tunnel. Or they’ve crashed and died; and are awaiting reincarnation in mass hypnosis. His third idea is that they’ve landed in a parallel world.

Shirahama quickly moves on to the practical, starting a manifest of passengers and building a fire for smoke signals. Kayashima plans his walking route to get the heck out of there but Shirahama convinces him to wait.

Everyone hangs out on the train waiting for rescue, bored and hot. Rena spots a newspaper story on a murder suspect spotted near the train. She then rummages through a bag on the floor next to her, finds a letter from prison and quickly stuffs it back in. She grabs something from someone else’s bag and then sticks Kayashima with it as she glides past.

When Hatano notices her bag is missing, Rena blames it on Kayashima, noting he has a letter from prison and a weapon too, making everyone suspicious. He thanks everyone, pointing out that no one trusts each other, and gives himself another reason to leave now. While walking he discovers a case of water bottles.

As the group divides their supplies to share. Yonezawa notices in the background of his video that Rena took the bag. To misdirect, she spouts facts about how no one is looking for them anyway, impacting everyone’s mood. Shirahama and Hatano go after the innocent Kayashima but he keeps moving, taking one bottle with him. He eventually reaches a hard-to-spot ravine and sliding off, he’s hanging by a hand. Just in time, Shirahama appears to pull him up.

Taking a breather, Hatano notices a school bag over the edge of the cliff, recalling some of the passengers who got out of the train initially but didn’t return. They apologize to Kayashima about the misunderstanding but he brushes it off, saying he doesn’t see them becoming friends.

The next day, as Tanaka suffers a toothache, everyone else discusses the next steps. What if there is no rescue? In the background, Tanaka tries to buy a water bottle from the high schoolers but disgusted, they leave with the goal of being free. The idea hits Tanaka – if he doesn’t have to go home, he’s free. And off he goes, shouting along the way.

The idea spreads and disorganized groups head off to forage or look around, to see what’s out there for themselves. Shirahama can’t save anyone, recalling when he failed to save a colleague in a fire. Now he’s desperate to save as many people as he can, even as Kayashima gives him a dose of reality.

Together they go after the students, Kayashima suddenly thinking of the much younger brother he’d raised, who’s now in prison. At home, Tatsuya’s released to find his brother not there – not what he’d expected. Meanwhile, Kayashima’s stuck and filled with inner turmoil at not being there to receive him, blaming himself for everything.

Walking back, high schooler Kazuma finds a discarded can from a product that isn’t available commercially yet. Tanaka spots a building not to be completed until 2026. Kato realizes he’s found a plant that shouldn’t have been scientifically generated for another 30 years. Yonezawa’s the only one excited at the prospect of sci-fi coming to life. But what does it matter, Kayashima asks – they’re stuck regardless.

In the real world, the news announces missing passengers. Meanwhile, at car five they find a drinks vendor who’s been lost wandering the forest and lost his cart of drinks – someone’s stolen it. And we’re full of suspicions again.

The Episode Review

It’s a rough start for our survivors in Pending Train episode 1 – that is, unless the ‘awaiting reincarnation’ theory is correct (and they’ve not survived). Stranded and without supplies, everyone’s all over the place by turns, desperate or hopeful or resigned. With pack mentality, one person lights an idea, sending others into a flurry of emotions, actions and reactions. In short, panic ensues.

Could any of Yonezawa’s theories be correct? With the small amount of evidence they have, they do appear to be in the future. And nothing looks like they’d expect it to look. Are they the only ones?

In one short episode, they quickly move from emergency status to thoughts of longer-term survival. They’ve pretty much already eaten their meagre morning train supplies. Caught between a rock (ravine) and a hard place (tunnel to nothingness), what will they do next?


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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!

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