Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 49 B, “Old Oak Doors”
And don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
As I mentioned before, this is actually a single live show that was divided into two episodes for length. That means we start by picking up exactly where we left off, with Cecil running to his studio door, hoping to find Carlos there. He’s horrified by what he actually finds, but for us listeners it’s the most hilarious kind of horror. Waiting there for Cecil is Steve Carlsberg.
Steve is voiced Hal Lublin, who does an extremely good job portraying him as a generally good person who also happens to be extremely annoying. Lublin’s voice acting skill becomes even clearer when Steve begins to tell Cecil about an elaborate conspiracy theory about there being a secret missile testing site in Night Vale (which Cecil insists isn’t a secret at all). In the course of his explanation Steve does surprisingly good impersonations of a large number of the cast including John Peters, Carlos, the Faceless Old Woman, and all of Hiram McDaniel’s heads.
Soon Kevin arrives on the scene to make a new effort to win over Cecil as well as Steve while he’s at it. He understands Cecil’s love of the many awful, dark secrets of Night Vale. He used to feel the same way about Desert Bluffs. Now his world is much brighter and happier for having the unrelenting light of a smiling god in it. He opens a door and light pours out of it. Cecil doesn’t like the light at all, but Steve seems to be uncertain. After all, it is a pretty light and he did get a lot of work done at the company picnic.
Steve’s only qualm is he wants to make sure that the schools in Desert Bluffs will be good enough for his step-daughter (and Cecil’s niece) Janice. Kevin assures him that the schools are top-notch in fact they will even go so far as to “heal” Janice. Steve and Cecil don’t understand what he’s talking about, so Kevin clarifies that he plans to “fix” Janice’s legs because right now she can’t walk.
That proves to be the tipping point. Just as Night Vale citizens don’t want to be associated with racism they will not put up with ablism either. Steve’s voice goes from being gentle and bumbling to angry and ferocious. I don’t know exactly what happens but it sounds like Steve goes through some sort of Hulk transformation. He roars and throws Kevin through the door full of light as Kevin lets out one final cry about beautiful smiles. It’s a pretty cathartic moment. Even Cecil is impressed, and admits that maybe Steve deserves a bit more respect than Cecil’s been giving him.
After Steve heads off Cecil gets a much more welcome visitor. Dana is finally back from the desert otherworld! Even better, she’s the one who brought together the armies of angels and masked warriors who are currently fighting the forces of Strex. Just as she arrives Tamika makes a call to the people of Night Vale from her radio station. Both Tamika and Dana seem to respect and admire each other, but they soon realize they have different ideas about how this battle should go. Dana wants everyone to stay inside while the angels and masked warriors fight. Tamika wants the regular citizens to rise up and take back Night Vale for themselves. They both have their points, but I think I have to agree more with Tamika. Night Vale is constantly in danger. They can’t always count on convenient armies showing up to defend them. The people of Night Vale need to learn to fight for themselves.
Dana is amusingly miffed when Cecil takes Tamika’s side. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard her be anything but proudly strong or light-hearted. In the meantime it looks like Night Vale can use all the help it can get, because that deadly light is still flowing through the oak doors and reality itself seems to be coming apart. Then, just when things seem bleakest, Cecil sees the ordinary people of Night Vale begin to rise up. Cecil goes to join them and takes us to the weather.
This episode’s weather is “Call Off Your Ghost” by Dessa.
When we get back it’s to a message on Cecil’s voicemail from Carlos. He managed to find a way to stop the deadly light from coming into Night Vale, but at a price. Carlos realized that the only way to close all the oak doors was to get everyone back on their proper sides. The masked warriors all came back to the desert otherworld but then the doors vanished before Carlos could go back through. That was when he realized that, as far as the universe is concerned, he doesn’t belong in Night Vale. He may be able to call Cecil with his phone’s conveniently never-ending battery life, but for the foreseeable future Carlos is trapped in another dimension.
After we hear the message a jubilant Cecil returns. (He clearly hasn’t listened to his voicemail yet.) He happily describes how all the people of Night Vale worked together to run StrexCorp out of town. In fact, the company can’t even come back as it was anymore, because it was recently purchased by an angel who is heavily implied to be the former Marcus Vanston (apparently he was able to take his money with him).
Everything seems wonderful. The old station management is even back at the studio! There’s only one loose end to tie up and that’s resolving Night Vale’s long-awaited mayoral election! The Faceless Old Woman and Hiram McDaniels prod Cecil to figure out who the winner is. Cecil takes a rough count of hands from the audience the show was performed for (based on the cheers it sounds like the Faceless Old Woman won that vote). Then we are reminded that votes actually mean nothing in this election.
Cecil then receives the official results. The next mayor of Night Vale is Dana Cardinal!
It’s a choice I never considered, but as soon as I heard it I knew it made perfect sense. Dana has been journeying for months on a mission to go home, but also to save her home. She raised armies to battle against Strex and when she got there she did everything she could to try and keep every citizen safe. Hiram and the Faceless Old Woman only ever seemed to want the position for personal glory. Dana actually cares about Night Vale. That’s what makes her the best choice for the job, hands down.
The Faceless Old Woman and Hiram clearly aren’t happy about the decision and vow to do something about it. In the meantime Cecil congratulates Night Vale again on coming together so wonderfully. There will always be another danger, but they have won the day today. And that, most definitely, is something to celebrate.
So ends Welcome to Night Vale’s second year. Next time we’ll get back to some simpler stories in “Capital Campaign”.
Now let’s update that Conspiracy Tracker, shall we?
1. There’s a house that doesn’t exist, but connects to a desert world and the Dog Park.
2. The Apache Tracker died to save Carlos’ life.
3. Time isn’t real in Night Vale.
4. Cecil may have died as a teen. It involved a mirror.
5. A city of tiny people underground have declared war against NV because people keep stealing their houses.
6. NV’s sister city Nulogorsk was both destroyed and not destroyed in 1983.
7. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
8. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
9. A dark planet is calling to people. It may be the radio station.
10. The desert otherworld has a blinking light on a mountain.
11. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
12. Cecil can’t remember his past.
13. An evil light is waiting in a desert otherworld.
14. Desert Bluffs/StrexCorp have a smiling god.
15. Someone bought Cecil at an auction.
16. The Faceless Old Woman and Hiram are conspiring against Dana.
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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