Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 42 “Numbers”

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Night Vale is a town with few constants. Cecil takes comfort in one thing that hasn’t changed: WZZZ, the local numbers station. For years this radio station has broadcast a non-stop feed of a monotone female voice saying seemingly random numbers interspersed with chimes. WZZZ was mentioned in passing early in the series (I noted then that numbers stations are totally a real thing) however today the station is getting a full episode devoted to it. That’s because, for the first time in living memory, WZZZ’s broadcast has changed.

Cecil plays a recording of the feed where a woman says several numbers then “I…I…” before going silent. Nothing has been broadcast for several hours now. Cecil wonders what it means.

In other news, Mayor Pamela Winchell is still holding excessive press conferences, but her heart is obviously no longer in them. Instead she is sad about how she will soon be stepping down as mayor and making way for the Faceless Old Woman, Hiram McDaniels, or Marcus Vanston to take her place after the upcoming election. The story is then followed by a terrifying ad for Hulu.

When we get back to the WZZZ coverage there are new developments to report. The woman is speaking again, trying to come up with appropriate metaphor for her new sense of freedom. We soon learn that she has named herself Fey. Fey is played by Molly Quinn, who has a charming voice but I have to admit doesn’t do very good acting in this episode. She emphasizes her lines oddly and it distracts from the plot. This is actually a pretty common problem among Night Vale actors. I wonder if the real issue here is Fink and Cranor’s writing or direction.

Anyway, we take a break from Fey to get an update from Dana. Cecil got a message from her that tells us she’s gone back to avoiding the mountain and the masked warriors in the distance. She says she isn’t scared. She says it so much that we can only assume she is very scared. Cecil hopes that she’ll be careful, which is about all he can do.

Back with Fey, she has started to sing “Roar” by Katy Perry and I honestly I have never enjoyed that song more. Apparently Cecil thinks it sounds fun too. He speculates about if he’ll ever get a chance to sing on the air.

Next Cecil comments on a long monologue that the Man in the Tan Jacket just delivered. (we only get to hear silence). Whatever he spoke about sounded urgent, but Cecil can no longer remember it. I don’t mind because I read the Night Vale novel and no longer care about the Man in the Tan Jacket at all.

Fey is much more interesting. Now she is plotting how to run away. She doesn’t know why she’s been reading numbers for so long. She just knows it’s very easy for her to slip back into it. That’s why she needs a cool car to get away in.

At this point Cecil clearly relates to Fey, seeing a similarity between the mysterious organization that’s been controlling her and his own situation with StrexCorp. He decides to help free Fey. As he heads off he takes us to the weather.

This episode’s weather is “Keep it Coming” by Senim Silla.

When we get back Cecil has some bad news. He managed to get into WZZZ, but there were no people inside. Instead there was only a computer being remotely rebooted. When it comes back on Fey’s voice begins to broadcast again, once more only saying numbers. Cecil laments that he wasn’t able to save her. He can’t even take the computer as it’s too well-secured.

Cecil ends the broadcast with a speech about our limitations and a wish that everyone can get the freedom they’re longing for right now. It’s beautiful and tragic. Personally, I dearly hope that Fey gets to live again someday.

Finally, 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.
8. NV’s sister city Nulogorsk was destroyed and not destroyed in 1983.
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. Dana’s desert otherworld has a blinking light on a mountain.
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 otherworld.
22. Desert Bluffs/StrexCorp have a smiling god.
23. Tamika Flynn is leading an army against Strex.
24. Someone bought Cecil at an auction.

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