Pending Train – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Episode 2

Pending Train Episode 2 begins with Shirahama sharing something he learned in the fire academy. According to Heinrich’s law, there are 29 small incidents and 300 tell-tale signs before a serious accident. There’s no water, food or communication mode – they’re in a world that’s stuck ‘pending.’

Back on the train everyone laments and gears up the blaming for the lost cases of drinks. Yonezawa thinks it’s Rena. Hatano proposes maybe it’s the people who didn’t return but everyone else starts accusing. It’s already at a fever pitch when Kayashima says he’s seen it. But he argues whether he can trust everyone to ration properly. He heads out to find the bottles but they’re not where he saw them before. They’re gone, he says.

Meanwhile, the others have pooled their resources and not come up with enough snacks to last a day. Shirahama sets up a tarp to trap rainwater, hoping to catch at least some dew. Two days in and they need water soon. To pass the time, he and Hatano chat about the things they miss, Shirahama saying he’ll take her to his favorite restaurant when they get back. 

The next morning a search party seeks water sources, walking as far as they can go. Those left behind bicker at first but later work together to create common sleeping areas, giving them all some peace and a sense of order.

As the foraging group finds water, Tanaka, who’s just ripped his sore tooth out, heads toward the water bottle stash – but the conductor catches him. Now revealed, he returns with a case of water ready to accept trades. As it’s getting more heated, Kayashima grabs Tanaka, threatening him with his scissors. Shirahama insists they talk things out without violence so Kayashima puts it to a vote – keep Tanaka or toss him off the train. Hatano casts the deciding vote to keep him. 

The next day they head back to the water site ready to scale a mountain to get it. They rejoice as Shirahama reaches the little pool but he goes a bit further spotting the sea and Mt Fuji in the distance. However, it’s not the landscape he was expecting – maybe they are decades in the future, even centuries.

In the present, the station sets up a place to answer families’ questions but they haven’t any answers. While on the train, everyone despairs in their own way. And like a harbinger, people start realizing their phones are dying too. Yonezawa creates a last message for his friends, but of course, it doesn’t post. Others leave final messages for loved ones on their phones or by email but those messages don’t exit their devices.

Hatano brings Kayashima a flower for his girlfriend’s death anniversary, but it was one of the many lies he’d told. He finally admits today is his younger brother’s prison release date. He calls her an idiot when she tries to make a message for his brother. Her phone dies in the process and with it her last chance to leave a message for loved ones. Somehow, she concludes that Kayashima is actually (secretly) kind.

Taking a moment alone, Shirahama recharts the signs ahead of a disaster, only realizing them afterwards. He believes there’s a reason he made it out of a previous fire accident. While in the present, the disaster team hears a report of the missing people from car 5. And car 6. They have no leads.

As everyone settles in for the evening, Tanaka is out in the woods singing loudly until something whacks him in the head. He looks up but is momentarily distracted by an aurora. Then turns to see something flying straight toward him.

The Episode Review

Car 6. At this point, other than the missing water bottles, there’s been no reason for the survivors to think there’s anyone else out there. Maybe some of the original car escapees did make it, rather than falling into the ravine. But now with Tanaka getting hit in the head, it could be a bird or a plane or something much bigger and more predator-like. Or perhaps car 6 is there too – and feral.

Meanwhile, at car 5, they don’t need any new doom – they’re turning on each other without any external contribution. It’s interesting when the blaming starts that Hatano suggests the people who didn’t return initially as the perpetrators, even though she has an idea what happened to them.

It’s a plausible excuse and one to protect their fragile group dynamic – something she seems determined to shield alongside Shirahama. We know his reason now. Perhaps hers is about her role as a teacher. With Kayashima the doomsayer and Shirahama the ray of hope – and everyone else bouncing somewhere in between – there’s a perfect storm of emotion to match the ragged but stunning landscape.

In Pending Train Episode 2, our survivors begin to consider the idea that they may not make it back. And that ‘back’ may no longer exist. The idea sends everyone’s mind spinning in different directions, but all land in the same place – thinking about their loved ones left behind.

If you were stuck pending, to whom would you send your last message? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We won’t tell 😉

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