Listeners, look past the things you think you see. Move your head just a touch to the left - a glance in a world of perspectives - and then you might see it: an entire universe in the corner of your eye.
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.
So look at the fleeting stars with fleeting eyes, and feel how the earth beneath you gives. It is all a temporary manifestation of particles, and it is all unraveling back to particulate silence. The bustle of the human day will come and will go. And then there will be night.
But how beautiful these moments within the dissolve! What a temporary perfection we can find within this passing world! Everything good ever done! Everything good that was done today, and all the good people doing it, and back and back and forward and forward, all of that beauty within a universe unraveling.
- Cecil Palmer, Welcome to Night Vale, Episode 49 - Old Oak Doors Part B
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