Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 14 “The Man in the Tan Jacket”
There’s a new man in town and he, um, well he’s got a jacket I guess.
Prepare to notice the novelty of the passage of time, because this episode starts us off by welcoming us to the year 2013. Last night there were fireworks at the remains of the Night Vale Harbor and Waterfront Recreation Area, despite that place now having a sign to let everyone know that it never existed.
Today’s top story is about a new stranger in town. Outsiders must really be rare in Night Vale. They always seem to get a news story when they show up. This man is, of course, not nearly as perfect as Carlos….unless he is. Actually no one can remember what he looks like. All anyone recalls is that he was wearing a tan jacket and carried a deer-skin suitcase.
That’s all we know so far, but Cecil seems concerned.
We also hear from Teddy Williams, the owner of The Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. Teddy has been concerned about the underground city beneath his business for a while now, since the first episode in fact. He set up security cameras in the bowling alley and recently captured footage of a blurry shape moving near the soda machine.
Cecil admits that the footage is of such poor quality that the shape could be just about anything. He then immediately jumps to saying it’s most that the shape is a representative of the underground city, taking our food supplies and preparing for war. He also makes some simple extrapolations to deduce a bit more about the civilization.
“It takes very little extrapolation to believe that they worship a god named Huntokhar, who demands sacrifice to keep their Underground City thriving in the absence of nourishing sunlight.
And a fair assumption is they are ruled by a Child King, recently coronated, who is too weak to rein back the generals intent on marching upon us in war.”
Cecil recommends that Night Vale citizens form militias to deal with the threat. The militias should also rough up Steve Carlsberg, just in case he’s already betrayed us all.
Getting back to the man in the tan jacket, Old Woman Josie has learned a bit more about him from her angelic friends. According to them the man is carrying flies in his deer-skin suitcase. The angels won’t say more because it could jeopardize Josie’s soul and even their own statuses as angels. Whatever this man is, it sounds like he’s very powerful and very dangerous. What would angels, who regularly defy City Council, have to fear? On an unrelated note, Josie assumes he is a fly salesman. She does not like fly salesmen.
In other news, the Night Vale Daily Journal continues to face financial trouble in 2013. Editor Leann Hart explained that she couldn’t pay her staff and that this had absolutely nothing to do with her recent birthday party that featured a river of champagne and a cake topped with moon rocks. As a result she and her staff are considering new sources of income, such as mugging strangers.
Also, no one should bother worrying about the birthday party thing because she was never even born anyway.
After a quick ad explaining the wonders of gulping (which briefly mentions the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home) we get another update on the man with the tan jacket. He was recently seen near Larry Leroy’s house, next to a flaming refrigerator. The sheriff’s secret police have gotten so frustrated with the way no one can remember anything about the man that they have temporarily lifted the ban on writing utensils. They encourage anyone who meets the man to write about the incident immediately.
And then there’s this bit:
“Either way, the man was definitely standing with his deerskin suitcase, and staring up at the sun for hours. He followed the bizarre glowing orb, which is somehow the source of all light and life, and –
“Oh god, the sun, are you kidding us with this thing? We don’t even have time for that mystery!” the Secret Police then interjected.”
While funny, this is also potentially insightful. It suggests that maybe the people of Night Vale aren’t as ignorant as they seem to be. Do they just pretend not to know about basic aspects of existence because that knowledge has been forbidden to them? Is this ignorance sometimes inconsistently enforced?
Next we have a traffic report that’s got to be painfully detailed for certain people. We hear about a woman driving with a teenage boy and she is clearly regretting a sexual liaison they just had. At the same time, she seems somehow grateful that she can’t go back to keep it from happening. And that’s all we’ll ever know.
This episode’s weather is “Movement 1: Invocation of the Duke” by daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra.
After the break Cecil tells us that he just got a call from an angel. The angel said that the man with the tan jacket was from someplace underneath the Earth. Cecil asked for more information, but the angel only added “a flower in the desert.” Cecil doesn’t know what to make of it, but it seems to imply that the man in the tan jacket is from or affiliated with the city underneath The Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. Why would that worry an angel though?
Get used to that question, readers. We’re going to have it for a long time.
Finally, here’s the Conspiracy Tracker.
1. Angels are living with Old Woman Josie and the City Council wants to capture them.
2. There’s a house that doesn’t exist.
3. The Apache Tracker has changed into a real Native American and only speaks Russian
4. Time is weird in Night Vale and Carlos wants to figure it out.
5. Cecil wants to be swallowed by a giant snake.
6. There’s a city underneath the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex.
7. Literal five-headed dragon Hiram McDaniels wants to be the next mayor.
8. Pets become perfect when you accept them…
9. What the heck is the dog park?
11. Cecil hates Steve Carlsberg for unknown reasons.
12. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
13. The government can control the weather.
14. Two boy scouts are close to becoming Eternal Scouts.
15. The Apache Tracker and angels are watching the Desert Flower.
16. Night Vale is prone to duplication.
17. A dark planet is calling to people.
18. People are shipping crates with tiny houses inside.
19. There’s a man with a tan jacket who’s affiliated with the underground city.
Alex Townsend is freelance writer, a cool person, and really into gender studies and superheroes. It’s a magical day when all these things come together. You can follow her on her tumblr and see her comments on silver age comics. Happy reading!
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