Who’s Alice? What the hell is happening at this gas station diner? Who is Thistle Man and why is he after the lead character?
Joseph Fink, creator of the hit podcast series, Welcome to Night Vale, is at it again with a second series from Night Vale Presents. Consider Alice Isn’t Dead a serialized mystery podcast—but there’s something very strange going on. Part One just launched at the beginning of March and its second episode aired this past Monday. The first episode is aptly titled “Omelet” and the second episode is “Alice”—which resolves some of the cliffhangers after the introductory episode. Out actress Jasika Nicole narrates throughout each episode, her character a truck driver hauling deodorant sticks across the U.S. The unnamed truck driver speaks into the radio: “Alice…”
Trucker lady begins to tell her story in patches over a CB radio. She’s being followed by a man she just had a ghastly encounter with in a parking lot outside a diner. She’s beginning to wonder if this has anything to do with her wife Alice’s disappearance. She thought Alice was dead for a time, but now she’s positive she isn’t. “I warned you,” she says into the radio. “I never loved anyone so hard from my goddamn gut. So screw you for that.”
Mixed with utter frustration and bitter despair, the road trip continues—her searches remain void of real answers. And that’s when everything just gets plain weird. Like Twin Peaks meets Eerie, Indiana weird. The same town changes form several times over even though she’s driven hundreds of miles—she sees people on fire, then people crying, then an old man appears next to her in her car, then she does this thing where she repeats ideas she previously brought up verbatim. Girl is tripping.
By Episode Two, Jasika’s character presents a very interesting new set of circumstances. In her wife Alice’s absence, she’s made the uncomfortable decision of going through her stuff. She misses her intensely—it’s clear when she emotes things like: “Not you next to me in the morning, coughing before bed.” But then something wild happens—she sees something over and over again on the news—something that pushes her to look through Alice’s stuff in the hopes she’ll find evidence or clues. And she does. (Note to self: When your girlfriend or wife or partner goes missing, and you find weird stuff written and hidden away amongst your stuff, be very, very afraid.)
I find myself thinking deeply about what it would be like to be in our narrator’s shoes with her foot on the gas pedal. See; she got this here trucker job because it too—the truck company—is some kind of clue left behind from her Alice. Her emotions ride up and down as the scenery changes, and she fixates on her real or unreal-looking surroundings. One moment she’s near seething: “Damn you, Alice. I’ll find you, and you will give me an explanation for what’s happening.” The next second, quiet and hopeful and desperately loving: “I want our lines to cross again, even one more time.” You’ll find her singing wistfully to Weezer, stopping to describe the night sky, looking for the upside and stopping at nothing to find out what happened to Alice.
Each episode lasts about 15-20 minutes, perfect for your commute to and from work, in traffic, at the gym, or yes, even on a road trip.