God this arc frustrates me to no end because i just CANT figure it out…!
Lets break it down… Theres multiple realities, our canon night vale and the 1983 night vale. Potentially more. We already know about our night vale, but what do we know about the 1983 reality?
Following that, episode 33- “Casettes” likely is also part of 1983. The movement Cecil kept noticing in that episode and the one in 106 “filings” are probably one in the same. Kind of.
Leonard Burton met a very very grisly fate, but it may be unrelated to the end of the world the tapes warned us about.
The end of the world
My proposal: nuclear bomb. Or something.
Cal seems to have radiation poisoning, similar to that of the victims who survived Hiroshima.
More subtly, look at the way Cecil spoke of the end of the world in “Best Of?”. He spoke with urgency, but as if it were too late. This end of the world was sprung suddenly on night vale, theres enough time for cecil to talk to his listeners one final time but not enough time to get to safety. It couldn’t be a slow apocalyptic situation that takes time to develop, such as zombies, and its not an instantaneous thing. Theres enough time before the end for cecil and the residents of night vale to live their last moments in despair and terror.
Bethany didn’t. Didn’t what? Survive? Many people didn’t that year. Meaning that some people DID. People such as Cal who are now terribly irradiated and absolutely dying.
Now for the third and fourth possible realities:
The miniature city under the desert flower bowling alley and arcade fun complex
having the same residents, all apparently unaware that they exist in a smaller version of the town above them, its not infeesable that our night vale is also a miniature unaware of the larger, identical town housing them.
a vague yet menacing government agency steals the miniature cities buildings, perhaps a similar thing is happening with the disappearing buildings in night vale, probably not, but its a fun notion to humor.
Normal Night Vale
A normal town where everything is normal and nothing weird happens ever.
this is mostly inspired by the fact that cecil referred to bethany in present tense, bethany doesnt exist in our night vale and has been dead and gone for who knows how long in 1983. Meaning the memory of her still existing isn’t in canon OR 1983, potentially pointing to another reality where shes still alive and well.
the same thing goes for danas father, that reality is good enough for dana to abandon her night vale, meaning its probably not an irradiated wasteland.
Theres likely infinite other timelines, carlos mentioning quantum physics and the multiverse and all. But these four are the notable ones.
Other notable things are the existence of huntokhar, the distant prince, and the woman from Italy all currently existing in or approaching night vale. These three characters are related to eachother somehow, im sure of it. Coincidences dont happen in night vale. But the question is how? And WHY?
Ive written theories about this before but ive always had a sneaking suspicion that night vale isnt real. Even in the podcasts own canon, i dont think it exists on the same plane as everything else. Cecil makes mentions to the rest of america and the government but doesn’t know common states, when night vale sent a distress call for help to the american government after valentines day the government didnt take them seriously. When looking at a map of america cecil said it was wrong, recognizable but wrong, showing that theres a clear disconnect between night vale and the rest of the country, neither quite knowing the other.
Time is strange in night vale. Carlos himself said that time doesnt work there. This is furthered by the professor at the university of what it is when she came in serve for carlos saying that hes been missing for DECADES. By that point carlos had only been in night vale for, what, three years? But nope. Hes been missing for DECADES.
Something, best shown in the book, is that its hard to leave night vale. It was said that it was hard to come and go in the podcast, but the book showed diane crayton trying and failing REPEATEDLY. She always ended up back in night vale even when she logically shouldnt have. What makes it so hard to find and leave?
Also the dog park. The dog park is the only way to easily leave night vale but still makes return very very difficult. Something we often forget is that carlos and dana are the exception, not the rule. Most people in the dog park are still unable to return to night vale.
So i propose that night vale isnt in the same plane of existence as the rest of the world. Not isolated nessecarily, the fictional countries cecil has gone to are on the same plane, but far away and inconvienient. Imagine night vale as an island of abnormality in the sea of our real world. The dog park is the most viable gateway between the reality where night vale exists and where night vale doesnt, the empty desert is where night vale WOULD stand but in this reality (our reality) its just an empty desert where no one decided to build a small town. Since portals between realities are much less common in the real world than in night vale it would make returning EXTREMELY difficult.
I think that maybe, just maybe, the woman from Italy, the distant prince, and huntokhar are trying to merge night vale with reality. That timelines are ripping apart and blending together becaude they NEED to be combined to assimilate into the real world. Night vale might be turning into a normal town, and those who refuse to escape to the new reality being presented to them will have their realities crumble around them. Perhaps THATS what happened to the miniature cities sky.
OK OK BUT I’VE SEEN ALL THESE POSTS ABOUT WHO PROPOSED TO WHOM AND
what if Cecil does all this weird Night Vale-ish stuff to propose (you know, hiding origami mice under Carlos’ pillow or something like that) but Carlos just becomes mildly annoyed at it without knowing it was Cecil doing it. And Cecil feels really bad because he thinks Carlos is rejecting him. And Carlos can’t quite muster up the courage to propose, but then he sees that Cecil is sad so he finally does it in, like, a normal way, with a ring and a “will you marry me?” And Cecil is really confused, and once Carlos explains what he’s doing, Cecil is really happy but he’s like “But I already did that! Didn’t you notice the lettuce I put in your hat?” and Carlos just bursts out crying because he’s gonna marry this beautiful awkward piece of perfection
“For a picture that’s only a couple years old, Josie looks so young. It’s her smile, I think. Her smile never aged.”
sorry for the lack of colour and finish on this. i wanted to get this done, but have been busy preparing to move home. it’s not a big move at all, but moving is always stressful. also my tablet pen conked out before i got a chance to do flat colours and the text, whoops.
but this scene! it’s just so…i’ve been listening to this show for almost four years now, and it’s like these characters have become a wee, strange, fictional family to me, and so this seriously hit me on several personal levels, right in my heart. this was just such a sad, yet sweet moment between josie and her friends, i’m glad they got a chance to meet <3
Honestly I think the entire world was fractured in 1983 into many different timelines. It varies per timeline what caused the fracturing and what happened to the timeline after that but I think that’s the point at which our Night Vale got weird, basically.
I’m also 95% sure Cal is from some irradiated version of Night Vale and that in his universe, he survived the atomic blast, but his wife (and so many other people) didn’t. That would explain how discombobulated and physically deteriorated he is. He’s basically living in a post-nuclear-disaster timeline.
On a character level, this last episode did something I always love when this show does, which is remind us that Night Vale is actually a pretty fucked up place to live. Like, these people form their own communities, they stick together and are there for their friends, they use love and art and science to carve out a place in their fucked up world. But their world is still very fucked up and there are people who want to get out, who want to experience time normally, who want to live somewhere they aren’t under threat constantly. And that’s totally understandable. It’s also ultimately not helpful. I think it can be both.
Cecil’s message of solidarity hits hard in the age of Trump and neo-fascism. Everyone wants out of this, but for most of us that’s not reality. For most of us we are going to have to keep making our way in a really fucked up world. And Cecil is saying, let’s keep doing that. Let’s stick together because we do know this evil, and we’re scared but we can live, we can outlast it. Night Vale, like our world, has never been able to rely on the benevolence of its government. This new horrific fragmentation of worlds is no different. So much bullshit is going on in Night Vale that it feels like the actual news cycle, and I think that is completely intentional. Cecil is saying don’t let it swamp you down. Focus on fighting it. Focus on solidarity with your community.
mm yeah hey guys here’s your friendly reminder not to do the whole “what if being gay in night vale was normal and that’s why everyone accepts cecil and carlos being so open lololol” rhetoric for several reasons
first, there is literally no proof of being gay being “the norm” in night vale. like are we even listening to the same show. straight couples/characters are shown no hate or disapproval, and the number of confirmed straight relationships is about the same as confirmed gay relationships. what the fuck guys.
it undermines the fact that night vale has gay representation for gay representation’s sake. cecil and carlos are gay not because it’s a political statement or because it’s important to the over all plot, but rather because gay people exist and because we can have narratives outside of our gayness.
it’s homophobic to think that the acceptance of gay relationships/gay people is just part of the ~~~night vale weirdness~~~ because it implies being gay is weird and it implies that being straight is normal. yeah, being straight is THE NORM, as in it’s what’s common in society, but to say it’s normal implies being gay is weird/wrong/bad, which it’s fucking not. and again, this undermines the representation aspect of night vale.
thinking gay acceptance is weird is also homophobic. like, i don’t even need to explain this one. if you think accepting gay people is weird then you’re a homophobe. (and again, there is a different between “what is common in society” and “this is what i think is normal in society”. while gay acceptance may not be COMMON in a lot of places in society, it doesn’t mean it’s weird.)
despite the feel of the show, night vale represents a future in which people are accepted for who they are and who they love without judgement. to think that this is weird or wrong or that it’s just part of the show’s ~~quirkiness~~ is messed up, especially considering places like this DO EXIST irl even if they’re not common. anyways, here was your friendly reminder. cut that “being gay is part of the night vale weirdness” shit out guys lol, it’s really not cool
“I approached the mirror, hoping to see a face I knew: a young man’s face I just barely remember. But I only saw a multiplicity of me, a man divided, unrecognizably under razor-sharp grounds, and behind me a glowing slash in the bathroom wall. When I turned, the whole in reality was gone. Only plain gray subway tiles.
I don’t know what is real.”
-Welcome to Night Vale, Filings (Episode 106)
did someone say emotionally distressing episodes that finally give me closure to the episode which has haunted me forever? Because I’m interested. It’s the time of year again where I try to bribe finknor to stop hurting Cecil!
Back in 2012, History Week said that in 2052, “there will have been no mayor (of Night Vale) for over thirty years.”
That timeline is vague, and could apply to events as distant as five years from now, but it most certainly includes 2017; that would make it 35 years since Night Vale had had a mayor, which does fit the phrasing “over thirty years”.
I’m not saying that Dana Cardinal- or to be more precise, Mayor Dana Cardinal, the Dana Cardinal who killed her double and survived entering the dog park, the Dana Cardinal that we’ve grown to know and love in the main reality of the podcast- is necessarily gone for good, and that her absence will necessarily mean an end to mayors being a thing in Night Vale at all.
I’m just saying that that is a distinct possibility, and one that is backed up by existing Night Vale canon to boot. (It’s rather old canon, true, but this arc has been referencing a lot of old canon lately.)
I’m definitely concerned about Dana right now… no, not concerned. Worried.