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Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 30 “Dana”

What lies beyond the old oak doors?

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We begin with an update from Mayor Pamela Winchell. The update is that she is still retiring from being mayor later in the year. She has apparently been announcing this regularly for at least a week now, adding little notes about how she’s definitely not being forced into retirement by mysterious figures wearing meat crowns. (If you’ll recall, meat crowns were what the City Council wore when they first founded Night Vale. Does this mean the Council is behind Pamela stepping down?)

In happier news, Cecil has also been hearing more from Dana lately, the intern who was trapped in the Dog Park during “Poetry Week”. Today she was able to even leave him a voice mail, which also means that we once again get to hear a new voice in Night Vale! Dana is played by Jasika Nicole and her acting is really lovely. Nicole sometimes suffers from the common issue on the show where actors get a little stilted with their lines and can’t seem to use contractions, but overall the issue is minor. The great part about Nicole’s acting is that she has an adorable and very earnest voice that makes it easy to believe she can persevere through dangerous trials and still stay a good, optimistic person.

Of course, at this point we don’t know much about Dana’s character. In her message she talks about how she’s begun to explore the Dog Park. She spent two weeks walking in one direction without coming to an edge. Instead she found an old oak door, standing unsupported in the park. It sounds similar to the one John Peters, you know the farmer, found in his fields a while back. However this one didn’t have any knocking coming from the other side and Dana was bold enough to open it and go through. Now she is in the basement of an old house. She hears noises upstairs and is ready to investigate.

Cecil was unfortunately unable to call Dana back, as his phone cut him when he tried. Luckily, he doesn’t have to wait long to hear from her again. His phone rings while he’s on the air. It’s Dana again, ready to update Cecil on what happened in the house. She can barely hear Cecil when he talks though, making the conversation pretty one-sided.

While in the basement she saw a picture of a lighthouse in the middle of a field. On going upstairs she saw a man facing away from her and staring at a wall. She spoke to the man and he didn’t respond so she got closer. To her surprise, the man was John Peters (still a farmer). He was staring at a photo of a window and looking concerned. Dana tried to speak to him again, but then found that her hand went right through him. Since she can’t speak to John and the house is otherwise empty Dana decides to go outside through the open front door. She doesn’t know what’s on the other side, but she has to take the chance it’s something better. A moment later the call disconnects.

Next we get a quick look at sports news. As usual, this is synonymous with talking about the constantly unfortunate Night Vale High School Scorpions quarterback, Michael Sandero. Michael recently had off-season surgery to remove the second head he’d grown. However his mother actually decided to have her son’s original head removed, leaving the one that only speaks Russian because she likes that one better. (Also, remember that in Night Vale Russian=weirdness.)

Cecil reads a quick ad about McDonald’s inducing painful existential crises and then we get a news story from Night Vale’s most beloved romantic interest, Carlos. Carlos has finally gotten tired of his team of scientists being too scared to ring the doorbell of the house that looks like it exists but doesn’t really. They offered to pay him five dollars to ring the bell, but Carlos rejected the money out of scientific integrity. Interestingly, Cecil actually seems a little annoyed about this.

“They offered him five dollars but he turned it down, saying something about scientific integrity and blah blah blah. But I’m like, five dollars is a taco lunch at Jerry’s Tacos, so, whatever, rich guy!”

It sounds like Carlos might be a bit less perfect to Cecil now that they’re actually dating.

Carlos doesn’t get the chance to ring the nonexistent doorbell though. Before he can get close enough the door opens and a young woman comes out speaking on her cell phone, seemingly unaware of the scientists. Mysteriously, Carlos notes that the woman sounds like she’s speaking to Cecil. Unfortunately she soon runs off and the scientists lose track of her. Cecil realizes the woman must be Dana. He takes us to the weather, full of concern for her safety.

This episode’s weather is “The Lethal Temptress” by The Mendoza Line.

When we get back Cecil has another message from Dana. From her point of view she left the house and walked into an endless desert with a single mountain in the distance. Dana, like many in Night Vale, doesn’t believe in mountains. That doesn’t seem to be making it go away. She can feel something wrong in the land around her, like something big is coming. She asks Cecil to tell her family that she is safe, for now anyway.

Cecil regrets that he wasn’t able to speak to Dana again and now truly seems to be thinking of her as a friend and not just a former intern. It’s a nice touch since we haven’t really heard about Cecil having friends before this point. He tries to remain optimistic for the moment. He’s grateful that Dana is safe and he was able to speak with her. He’s also glad that Carlos didn’t ring the doorbell on that mysterious house. For now, that will have to be enough.

And now for a few slight changes to our Conspiracy Tracker.

1. Angels are living with Old Woman Josie and the City Council denies they exist.
2. There’s a house that doesn’t exist, but connects to a desert world and the Dog Park.
3. The Apache Tracker died to save Carlos’ life.
4. Time isn’t real in Night Vale.
5. Cecil wants to be swallowed by a giant snake.
6. There’s a city of tiny people underneath the Desert Flower preparing for war.
7. Literal five-headed dragon Hiram McDaniels wants to be the next mayor.
8. Pets become perfect when you accept them…
9. Russian=Weirdness
10. Cecil hates Steve Carlsberg for unknown reasons.
11. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
12. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
13. A dark planet is calling to people.
14. People are shipping crates with tiny houses inside.
15. Old oak doors are appearing around Night Vale
16. Desert Bluffs is controlled by the evil company StrexCorp.
17. A blinking red light is coming from somewhere unknown.
18. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
19. Cecil doesn’t know how old he is.
20. Earl Harlan thinks he and Cecil could have had something.
21. Mayor Winchell is retiring, possibly not by her own choice.
22. The Faceless Old Woman is running for mayor.
23. Cecil will be killed one day and it will involve a mirror.
24. Something big and bad is coming from a desert other-world.

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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