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A Night Vale Holiday Recap

I’ve been absent in light of schoolwork, and it’s felt good catching up on WTNV. That vaguely promised book has been officially announced, so that’s pretty exciting. I’d gotten pretty behind (by my standards, anyway), so I’m going to be glossing over The List, Monolith, and Antiques.

Perhaps the most endearing thing for me about WTNV, even more than the prevailing weirdness, is its dedication to continuity. My point is demonstrated most clearly by The List, an episode based entirely around a one-off joke from two years ago. The Night Vale Secret Police issued a list of words to be recited in order upon the arrival of a vague but imminent catastrophe. Night Valians (Night Valites?) are apparently quite studious, as everyone survived. It was only a drill, but everyone surviving even a drill in Night Vale is a miracle in and of itself.

The police then dispersed the crowd listening to the drill announcement (including Cecil) with tear gas, through which Cecil boldly finished his broadcast. His apparent resilience to obstacles like tear gas add an extra meaning to what he’s reported on in the field. Considering the horrific circumstances he’s been in, the mind boggles at how he may have been professionally weathering all matter of suffering in past broadcasts.

The drawbridge, one of my favorite Night Vale plot lines, came up again as well in Monolith. The city council held opening ceremonies, twelve years ahead of schedule no less, having completely spent the $12 million budget. On what the budget was spent remains undisclosed. Along with the glow cloud, which hasn’t been seen in awhile, and Carlos, who’s still in another dimension and has no desire to return, the drawbridge is one of the earliest story arcs in the series. I’d almost go far enough to say that it’s a high water mark in Night Vale absurdity. After all, there’s not even any rivers in Night Vale!

Another few interesting revelations caught my ear. Christmas materialism has apparently been banned in Night Vale for several years. The Monolith, after suddenly appearing on top of city hall, cracked in half and rained down gifts. Its spew of presents were rounded up and thrown into the landfill, preceding a speech from the city council about the true meaning of Christmas. It’s about being a happy family and loving the police state, it turns out.

In a delightful reversion from previous developments, Carlos is acting like a scientist again. I’d complained awhile back about Carlos and his science background being the butt of jokes. Fortunately, this trend is being undone. While Night Vale cowered in fear of a roving pack of antiques, Carlos called in to the show to discuss all the work he’d been doing analyzing and understanding the strange world he’s “trapped” in. I’ve never been a part of the rabid Cecil/Carlos fanbase, but I am glad the only confirmed person of color in Night Vale is no longer being portrayed as amusingly incompetent.

Overall, Night Vale continues to excel in surprising and delighting, and the writing has remained as strong as ever in my absence. The hardest classes of my school career are behind me, and you, dear reader, can expect me to be posting again regularly.


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