Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 39, “The Woman From Italy”
She’s a lady from Italy, no reason to stare. Of course, when you’re screaming, she still doesn’t care.
Lately, it seems Tamika Flynn has been a very busy girl. She and her army of highly literate children have sabotaging every business in town owned by Strex (which is most of them now) and taking down their many yellow helicopters. Tamika even built a bloodstone circle in the Ralph’s, in direct defiance of Strex’s recent ban on bloodstones. This is an important detail, because it shows that Strex is now apparently in a position to ban things in Night Vale and that they moved into restricting the town’s religious practices.
During this story Cecil strikes a careful balance. His words outwardly condemn Tamika’s acts of “extreme heroism” but his tone clearly shows that he’s in favor of everything she’s doing. At this point he’s clearly walking a fine line with the Strex executives that own the radio station.
Then, for reasons even he doesn’t understand, Cecil begins to talk about a woman who came into town today. He goes into an odd amount of detail about her drinking some coffee, then suddenly Cecil’s voice is replaced with an unnerving, insect-like one. The voice speaks in rhyme and promises that the woman from Italy is a force of terror who will not give any mercy. Just as suddenly, the voice is gone and Cecil finishes talking about the woman and her breakfast, seemingly unaware that anything odd happened.
We hear more about the woman after a report on how adorable Khoshekh’s kittens have gotten (they’ve already molted twice!). Cecil describes her doing some literal window shopping, then is interrupted by the creepy voice again. The voice describes all the pain the Woman from Italy will gleefully inflict on us then we again transition back to Cecil who still sounds calm and cheerful.
Soon there is an ad for Starbucks, but it’s clear that no one actually finished writing it. Instead Cecil reads things like “insert slogan here” and “remember to pick up milk” and “I am a good person, worthy of love.” It’s an ad that’s so strange even Cecil sounds uncertain when he’s read it.
In sadder news, the White Sand Ice Cream Shop has gone out of business. This is especially unfortunate because it was one of the few businesses in town that wasn’t owned by Strex. That is no longer true, as Strex has swiftly moved in to take it over.
Getting back to the mysterious woman, we now learn that she is ancient (probably older than Italy) and is after our skin. On that lovely note, we go to the weather.
This episode’s weather is “Penn Station” by The Felice Brothers.
Once the weather is done Cecil is pleasantly surprised to realize that for once he doesn’t have to tell us how we all survived some great disaster. There’s just not really anything going on today. In fact, he’s at such a loss for topics he begins to talk about that perfectly normal woman again. She’s apparently done with her visit and is now on her way out of town.
Suddenly in the midst of talking about her Cecil’s voice falters and slowly transforms into the creepy insect-like one. It’s actually a pretty cool moment. When I first heard this episode I didn’t realize until the end that the voice had been Cecil all along. He continues to explain how dangerous the Woman from Italy is, then reassures us because she wasn’t actually here to attack Night Vale. She was just stopping through on her way to her real victims. On that delightfully dark note, Cecil says goodnight.
Honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of this episode. I like the vague and creepy premise, but then it never really goes anywhere. The Woman from Italy is just some terrifying force driving through town. I thought she was going to turn out to be hired by Strex or something, but no. The show is about 40 episodes ahead of my recaps right now and the Woman from Italy still hasn’t appeared again. Oh well. I like what little we saw of her, at any rate.
Here’s the Conspiracy Tracker!
1. The angels have disappeared and the City Council still 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 may have died as a teen. It involved a mirror.
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.
9. Cecil hates Steve Carlsberg for unknown reasons.
10. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
11. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
12. A dark planet is calling to people. It may be the radio station.
13. People are shipping crates with tiny houses inside.
14. Old oak doors are appearing around Night Vale
15. A blinking red light is coming from somewhere unknown.
16. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
17. Cecil can’t remember his past.
18. Earl Harlan thinks he and Cecil could have had something.
19. Mayor Winchell is retiring, possibly not by her own choice.
20. The Faceless Old Woman is running for mayor.
21. Something big and bad is coming from a desert other-world.
22. Desert Bluffs/StrexCorp have a smiling god.
23. Tamika Flynn is leading an army against Strex.
24. Someone bought Cecil at an auction.
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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