Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 47 “Company Picnic”

The change we all feared has come.
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Normally when an episode of Welcome to Night Vale ends on an ominous note it comes back next time with little or no consequences from the previous events. That’s not the case this time. After Cecil blatantly defied StrexCorp and tried to rally a revolution in “Parade Day” he seems to have been, at the very least, fired. Today Lauren Mallard welcomes us not to Night Vale, but to the Greater Desert Bluffs Metropolitan Area. She is soon joined by Kevin (whom I’d been waiting to hear from forever. They’re both thrilled to be able to report on all the great Strex-related news without “filters” or “reinterpretation”.

Some of the first news we hear about is how Tamika, her army, and Carlos’ team of scientists have all been captured. Carlos himself seems to have gotten away, likely because he was exploring the world on the other side of the old oak doors. That means he’s trapped on the other side for now, but that’s probably a lot better than being held captive by Stex.

Today’s main story is that Strex has declared a mandatory company picnic for all citizens of the Greater Desert Bluffs Metropolitan Area to be held at Mission Grove Park. Kevin tries to act like this will be a fun occasion but it is also clearly a threat. Soon Strex employees begin rounding up those who tried to avoid the picnic and weigh heavy stones on their heads (that say “Party-Pooper on them).

Interestingly, we learn that StrexCorp apparently doesn’t have the power to stop the up-coming mayoral election. It’s back down to just the Faceless Old Woman and Hiram McDaniels after Marcus Vansten had to withdraw following certain events in “The Debate”. However, it’s pretty clear that the people at Strex have no intention of allowing the new mayor to have any real power. The candidates are already “releasing statements” about how they don’t even care who wins and just want to work with Strex and the smiling god.

Back with the picnic Kevin announces that the picnic will now go on indefinitely, much to Lauren’s delight. We also learn a bit more about the picnic grounds which have balloons and streamers as well as an electrified volleyball net. It becomes pretty clear that this whole “Company Picnic” thing is just code for a prison camp where Night Vale citizens will be forced to labor endlessly while they pretend to have fun. There are even overseers with bullhorns instructing everyone on how to best show how much fun they’re having.

Then Lauren gets the extra perk of being able to announce the weather again.

This episode’s weather is “Stupid” by Brendan Maclean.

When we get back Kevin announces that the picnic has settled down now that everyone has stopped putting up a fight and started doing their work. Kevin is happy. He envisions a world in the near future where no one has to worry about anything. No one will think about the future or the past, just the present where everyone will be working to make StrexCorp a better and more powerful company. The episode ends with Kevin wishing us blessings from a smiling god and I feel a chill go up my spine.

There’s nothing new for the Conspiracy Tracker today folks, unless you count a creeping sense of dread.

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. A city of tiny people underground have declared war against NV because people keep stealing their houses.
7. Literal five-headed dragon Hiram McDaniels wants to be the next mayor.
8. NV’s sister city Nulogorsk was both destroyed and not destroyed in 1983.
9. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
10. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
11. A dark planet is calling to people. It may be the radio station.
12. Old oak doors are appearing around Night Vale
13. Dana’s desert otherworld has a blinking light on a mountain.
14. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
15. Cecil can’t remember his past.
16. Earl Harlan thinks he and Cecil could have had something.
17. Mayor Winchell is retiring, possibly not by her own choice.
18. The Faceless Old Woman is running for mayor.
19. Something big and bad is coming from a desert otherworld.
20. Desert Bluffs/StrexCorp have a smiling god.
21. Tamika Flynn has been arrested by Strex.
22. Someone bought Cecil at an auction.
23. Dana is going to be someone important.

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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