Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 23 “Eternal Scouts”

A boy scout should always be prepared … for ANYTHING.
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Another day in Night Vale. This day is one we get to welcome with some adorable new additions. Khoshekh, the cat that hovers in the men’s bathroom at the radio station has just given birth to a litter of kittens! This is a bit confusing as Khoshekh is a male cat, but then everything about Khoshekh’s existence is confusing, so Cecil doesn’t dwell on it. More importantly, the kittens are up for adoption, as Station Management made several terrifying noises when Cecil asked if the station could keep them.

The main story today is about the local Boy Scouts. Two members of the Night Vale troop, Franklin Wilson and Barton Donovan, are about to reach the highest scout rank: Eternal Scout. The ceremony will be held later in the day behind the Ralph’s, probably near the hole where people huddle. Anyone who wishes to see the ceremony should expect to never return home again.

After a segment on death now being a meritocracy (you must earn your death, no more handouts) we go to press conference where Mayor Pamela Winchell is congratulating Wilson and Donovan for becoming Eternal Scouts. Cecil notes that there are several strange-looking, mute children in the crowd.

There are a few more briefs stories. One talks about the soda machines the Glow Cloud, as head of the school board, refuses to remove from local schools but has agreed to booby-trap. The other is about job openings at the vague yet menacing government agency. Good luck if you want to work there. Whether you get the job or not, it sounds like you’ll never be seen again.

Back with the Boy Scouts, the ceremony is set to start any second now. Cecil takes a moment to interview Scout Master Earl Harlan. Earl is very proud of the boys in his troop but, as no one has ever achieved the rank of Eternal Scout before, he is also terrified. It makes sense. Literally anything in Night Vale has the potential to be deadly, particularly the unknown. Then we get an interesting bit:

“”We could have had something, Cecil. Always remember that,” he concluded, clutching my arm before walking, head bowed, out of the studio.”

Many fans have interpreted this line as a romantic one, indicating either that Earl and Cecil used to date at some point (though Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have denied that) or that Earl has long had unrequited feelings for Cecil. In any case, the line goes completely unaddressed in this episode despite being notably out of place. It feels like it has to be a seed for something later on. Unfortunately, knowing how this show works, it could be years before we get any real follow-up on it.

After a brief ad for Six Flags we get a PSA from the Night Vale Medical Board. They want their patients to stop screaming so much when they come to the hospital. Also, could you maybe wait until you’re done bleeding before you come in? The blood’s been causing a lot of messes and it’s really rude of you to go around staining things like that. (Though I suppose you could always just go to the hospital in Desert Bluffs. I doubt they’d have any problem with you bleeding at all.)

Now the Boy Scout ceremony has finally started. There is a large tent that more of the strange, mute children are streaming out of. Soon they stand still, as though awaiting orders from a higher power. It really creeps out Cecil and the Sheriff’s Secret Police. While we all wait for the children to strike, Cecil takes us to the weather.

This episode’s weather is “Too Much Time” by John Vanderslice.

When we get back the Eternal Scout ceremony is over. Cecil speaks with relief, explaining that his worry about the mute children was misplaced. It turns out they were barely dangerous at all. They only kidnapped ten people, dragging them into the tent and thus another world, and only a dozen others were killed. That’s barely a blip on Night Vale’s radar. Earl Harlan was among the victims taken into the tent. Cecil ponders his last moments with Earl without saying just what he thinks about them.

As for the new Eternal Scouts, they have been preserved and put in glass cases for all to see. I’m not sure, but I like to think this is one of those “break glass in case of emergency” situations. I’ve never understood those. If there’s an emergency, why would you want to add broken glass and possibly bloody cuts to the problem? Finally, Cecil hints that he might feel some regret about what has happened today. Again, he refuses to dwell on it and instead just wishes us good night.

And now for a new addition to 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?
10. Russian=Weirdness
11. Cecil hates Steve Carlsberg for unknown reasons.
12. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
13. Two boy scouts are close to becoming Eternal Scouts.
14. The Apache Tracker and angels are watching the Desert Flower.
15. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
16. A dark planet is calling to people.
17. People are shipping crates with tiny houses inside.
18. There’s a man with a tan jacket who’s affiliated with the underground city.
19. There’s an old oak door on John Peters’ farm.
20. Desert Bluffs is controlled by the evil company StrexCorp.
21. A blinking red light is coming from somewhere unknown.
22. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
23. Cecil doesn’t know how old he is.
24. Earl Harlan thinks he and Cecil could have had something.

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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