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Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 50 “Capital Campaign”

Imagine a world with rabbits for money.

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Cecil starts the show in an upbeat mood. Strex has been overthrown, Night Vale has proven its greatness and now things can get back to normal. First on the agenda is a fundraising campaign being run by the Night Vale Community College. Cecil describes how enthusiastic the town is about education despite the many, many dangers of learning.

He also talks about Carlos, who has been trapped in the desert otherworld for weeks now. People have been going to Cecil to express their concern and sympathy. It’s sweet that the actual people of Night Vale are as invested in their relationship as we are. Cecil puts on a brave face about the situation. Still, it’s clear he misses Carlos very much.

There is a bit of good news though. Earl Harlan is back in town! We last saw Earl in the episode “Eternal Scout” when he was dragged away by a group of otherworldly children. Cecil didn’t have much to say about him then, but it was clear the two had some sort of history when Earl said that they “could have had something”. Now we get a little more insight into what that history was. Cecil explains that Earl was a childhood friend of his and that Earl is now working as a sous chef at a hip new restaurant called Tourniquet. It sounds like we’re likely to hear from Earl again in the near future.

Getting back to the capital campaign, things seem to be going well. Night Vale Community College has already earned 30% of its fundraising goal, particularly thanks to a generous donation from Mrs. Sylvia Wickersham. Mrs. Wickersham gave the school a fine porcelain vase filled with two dozen English Angora rabbits. College representatives are grateful, but specify that they would prefer donations to be in the form of money.

Today is also exciting because it’s inauguration day. Former intern Dana Cardinal is to be sworn in to her new job as mayor. Cecil is happy for her and also glad to have an intern go on to do anything. Important. Anything important is definitely what he meant to say.

Unfortunately it already looks like Mayor Cardinal’s term will be a bumpy one. Hiram McDaniels and the Faceless Old Woman feel the election was botched and are looking for Hidden Gorge in an effort to recount the pulses from it and overthrow Dana.

Things are also getting hairy, or rather harey, for the capital campaign. Mrs. Sylvia Wickersham has donated another thousand rabbits and they are beginning to overrun the campus. The capital committee is considering repurposing the rabbits to make a bunch of blankets, rugs, and blindfolds. The only tricky part is that no one has been to contact Mrs. Wickersham to get her consent. In fact, her neighbors have never even seen her, though they often dream about her.

“I mean, she never looks like herself,” each of the neighbors stated. “Generally she appears as a hovering green box that pulses with light, and her voice sounds like an oboe playing a whole note, but like, in the dream kind of way where I totally know it’s her,” they concluded.

While the search for Mrs. Wickersham continues, her donations keep coming. Another 5,000 rabbits have arrived at the Night Vale Community College, now outnumbering the students. They are running amok interrupting lectures, joining school clubs, and engaging in irresponsible drinking. In a fit of desperation college officials have called on the Sheriff’s Secret Police to break into Mrs. Wickersham’s home and do whatever they can to find her. In the meantime, we go to the weather.

This episode’s weather is a truly excellent story of a song called “Ghost Story” by Charming Disaster.

When we get back we learn that the police broke in and found that Mrs. Wickersham’s home is surprisingly empty. In fact, the only thing they could find in the whole house was a small, green tree lizard. To the surprise of everyone, a college representative explains that the lizard is Mrs. Wickersham. It turns out that gaining the ability to invade dreams, having all your possessions taken from your home, and getting turned into a lizard are all just perks for high-level donors to the college. There wasn’t even a reason for the campaign committee to call the police. It was just good publicity for the fundraiser.

The secret police coax Mrs. Wickersham into a vivarium, mark it as evidence, and take her away. Since she’s disappeared now the college approaches her next-of-kin, her dry cleaner, and he agrees to retract her recent donations. The rabbits have now all been given to the Night Vale Petting Zoo, where they will feed hungry wolves for months to come. In further news, the Night Vale Community College even reports that they’ve been able to meet their fundraising goal.

It seems this story has a happy ending for just about everyone involved. Let’s see if that streak continues next time in “Rumbling”….

Finally, let’s have 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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