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Welcome to Night Vale Recap: Episode 52 “The Retirement of Pamela Winchell”

Alright, you’ve lived your dream. Now what?

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Pamela seems to be enjoying her post-mayoral life. We know because she’s still holding constant press conferences to announce how wonderfully her retirement is going. That’s nice for her. On the other side of things Dana is having trouble adjusting to the power of her new role as Cecil explains she was last seen staring at her own hands saying “I thought it would be different than this.” At least Dana doesn’t mind Pamela’s many press conferences. She’s much too busy being mayor to tell the press anything. In fact, Dana even decides to name Pamela the Official Night Vale Director of Emergency Press Conferences. Pamela declines the offer, but announces an emergency press conference to talk about the new mayor is.

After a brief ad we learn more about Pamela’s retirement. She’s recently taken up fishing, or what she calls fishing anyway. It sounds more like cracking a whip with a large hook on the end at people.

There’s also word from the angels that they are working on repairing a lot of the damage around town caused by Night Vale’s recent war. Now that they own Strex they have the money and resources to forward a lot of their personal agendas, including paving over lane five at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex. I guess the tiny underground civilization’s alliance with a smiling god didn’t work out too well for them.

Pamela soon calls another press conference to demonstrate her new interest in bird watching. We don’t get to know the details, but Cecil assures us that Pamela clearly has a deep misunderstanding of the concepts of both “birds” and “watching”. This misunderstanding led to a large fire and everyone at the press conference running for their lives.

It’s become clear by now that Pamela’s press conferences are a hazard to the community. After the bird watching debacle her next conferences cause flooding, end a peace treaty, and feature a flawlessly executed mass poisoning. Cecil still seems pretty calm about the whole thing until intern Maureen points out that Pamela is holding another conference…on the front steps of the radio station. Cecil rushes out to speak to her and we go to the weather.

This episode’s weather is “Here I Land” by Nicholas Stevenson.

When we get back we learn that Pamela’s nightmarish press conferences managed to reach supernatural levels of disaster. Cecil and Dana both tried to talk her down, but Pamela was at a point where she was just chanting the word “retirement” and conjuring dangerously powerful winds. Luckily the day was saved by the Man in the Tan Jacket. Cecil doesn’t remember anything that happened at that point, but that didn’t stop him from taking notes on it all.

The Man in the Tan Jacket quietly spoke to Pamela and somehow got her to accept Dana’s offer for her to be the new director of emergency press conferences. It’s wonderful, because who doesn’t want to keep seeing Pamela Winchell as part of this show? The Man in the Tan Jacket then went on to talk a lot about his home town, where it is, and why he needs help with a problem there. Unfortunately, even Cecil’s notes weren’t able to keep track of his words and the Man in the Tan Jacket remains mystery. Oh well. A lot of things remain mysteries, right?

The important thing is that Pamela is happy again and Night Vale is slightly more peaceful. Cecil closes the episode with a touching speech about focusing on who you are in the moment, rather than who you’ve been or might be. It’s a good way of looking at the world and realizing that changes, while they can seem scary, don’t have to be the end of the world. Instead it can just be about new beginnings.

On the subject of changes, this is probably going to be my last recap for Welcome to Night Vale. It’s been a lot of fun going over this incredibly complicated series with all of you and seeing your theories and ideas in the comments. I hope someone else is able to take up the mantle and see these through because there really is still so much to say. For me though, it’s time to move on. I’ll still be writing some articles for The Mary Sue, just not as much. I want you to know that you’ve all been completely fantastic. Thank you for sharing this wonderful weird world with me all this time!


And, in case you wanted it one last time, here’s the Conspiracy Tracker!

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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