VALENCE – Season 3, Episode 8: “Turnabout”

The TEAm lends a helping hand. Someone leaves empty-handed. And Reilley makes clear the stakes at hand.

VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast meant for adult listeners. You can find more information, including our full cast list and transcripts, at

If you’d like to listen to the next two episodes in advance of their public release, you can purchase access to them now in the free Apollo Podcasts app.


VALENCE was created by Wil Williams. This episode was written by Wil Williams and Katie Youmans, with protest 101 consulting from Tuck Woodstock, and edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, transcribed by Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird. The VALENCE Season 3 theme was composed by Travis Reaves.

Performances by:

  • Josh Rubino as Liam Alden and Liam’s Inner Voice,
  • Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley,
  • John Westover as Nico Salvai,
  • Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
  • Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
  • Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
  • Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
  • Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
  • Amanda Noriko Newman as Rain,
  • Nadine Amami as Erica Alden,
  • and Gerald Hill as Newscaster.


[[A door handle turns and clicks open. Soft wind chimes tinkle.]]

WIL: Brought to you by Hug House Productions.

WIL (PUBLIC FEED): Before we begin the episode, we want to let you know that VALENCE is participating in the new Partners Program created by Apollo Podcasts! If you’d like to listen to the next TWO episodes of VALENCE Season 3 in advance of their public release, you can purchase access to them now in the Apollo Podcasts app.

WIL (APOLLO FEED): Before we begin the episode, we want to thank you for supporting us and the Apollo Partners Program! Your contributions go directly to the creators to help fund projects like VALENCE so that everyone involved in the production can be paid a fair wage! 

Here is your Apollo-specific tip for this week: I know how, last time, I talked about how cats don’t even — they don’t even have a union. But really, the tip should be “Help your cats unionize!” I think that their demands are a little — a little absurd. I don’t think that we can appoint them to be advisors for political — geopolitical leaders like they used to be, or make them gods again like they used to be. But I do think that they — I think that they deserve the collective power of bargaining! Sp help your local cat unionize! Give whatever support they need. Everyone deserves a union!

Ok, here’s the episode! [laugh]

WIL: VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast with discussions and depictions of struggles with mental health. You can check our show notes, or the transcripts on valencepod dot com for a full list of content warnings. It’s important to take care of yourself — especially here in New Candler.

[Season 3 theme music starts, gentle and driving acoustic guitar that builds, bringing in electric instruments and feeling like the beginning of what you always wanted a road trip to be when you imagined it]

[begin episode]

Scene 1

NOEL shifts the TEAm to a near-empty parking lot in Birmingham Alabama where Nico and Grace are waiting with two cars

LIAM’S INNER VOICE (NICE): We’re doing this. We’re doing this in earnest.

MAHIRA: These are the wheels you picked for us?

NICO: Welcome home, dingbats. And yes. It was these or a Crown Vic, and I have taste.

GRACE: How did it go? Are you all alright?

FLYNN: It was great. God that felt SO MUCH BETTER than the last protest.

NOEL: [Gravely] Agreed.

SARAH: It was so nice. They all really knew each other. It was like a big family.

MAHIRA: A community. Good job, Birmingham, Alabama. Definitely did not expect that of you, and maybe I should have.

SARAH: Yeah, like what community is supposed to mean. I loved that. I want—I want to make something like that. I mean, in a less dire situation, but . . . eh, well, maybe less dire. I don’t know.

[Laughs] I’ll think about it when my adrenaline and serotonin levels calm down.

NOEL: They all took such good care of each other. Even when things got worrisome for a moment there.

FLYNN: Especially when they got worrisome.

NOEL: Mmm, true.

FLYNN: Nico, we covered up a whole mural.

NICO: Oh fuck yeah, no shit?

LIAM: It was on the side of a building close to the university—not on campus, though. It was a selection of scientists who had worked towards a “cure for magic.”

SARAH: A few people said it had been covered with all this cool graffiti and art before the city decided to make it a big mural and protect it.

NICO: Vommmmmm.

LIAM: We got to watch protestors cover it back up with whatever they wanted. It was beautiful. Just watching them do it. And seeing what they did. I think you would have loved it.

NICO: . . . Did you take pictures?

SARAH: Didn’t have our phones.

NICO: Right, right.

FLYNN: Some members of the press were there, though, and I know they did. I’ll see if I can find pictures the next time we have downtime.

LIAM: This felt good. This felt like something real.

GRACE: We’ll have to see if it actually is

LIAM: Grace

GRACE: But I agree. It felt good.

LIAM: Oh. Good. That’s nice to hear from you.

GRACE: It’s nice to feel.

LIAM: Sarah, do you have directions to Rain’s place? If not, I can contact Zoe for them again. I know those two are close, just given how much Rain’s contributing to organizing on the back end, so I’m sure she has it.

SARAH: Yeah, I’ve got it—hacker babies. We ready to head out?

FLYNN: I’m good. Mahira, you good?

MAHIRA: I’m good to lay the hell down.

NICO: Then let’s get outta here before we’ve been in one place too long.

Scene 2

TEAm walks up chatting, knock on the door

NICO: They’re not douchey they are cool!

MAHIRA: No, they’re pretty douchey.

NICO: You literally wear aviators. You don’t get an opinion on which sunglasses are douchey.

FLYNN: Woah woah woah. Aviators aren’t cool on cishet white dudes. They’re extremely cool on everyone else, and Mahira is definitely everyone else.

MAHIRA: Exactly.

LIAM: Well, I like your sunglasses, Nico.

NICO: Yeah and so does VOGUE

Grace knocks on door

FLYNN: Ewwwww is that where you get your taste?


FLYNN: Hahahaha ewwwwwww you know things about Vogue!!!

Door opens.

RAIN: [Clearly scared] H-hi. Come in. Please.

MAHIRA: Is everything okay?

RAIN: Everything is fine. Please come in. Please.

GRACE: [Whispered] Rain, what’s wrong? Should we leave?

LIAM: Are you safe?

RAIN: I—how was the protest?

NICO: They’re not safe. Let’s go.

SARAH: We can’t leave them {here alone—}

NICO: Inside, I meant inside!

GRACE: Rain, can you drive?

RAIN: Yeah?

GRACE: Take the keys and get out of here. We’ll figure something out.

The keys jangle as GRACE pulls them out of her pocket and drops them into RAIN’s hand

MAHIRA: Is anyone else inside?

RAIN: I . . . can’t . . . talk . . . about that.


RAIN: What?

NOEL: Have you been put under an NDA? Don’t answer me directly. Answer the question Flynn asks you. Flynn?

FLYNN: Oh! Um—do you like puppies?

RAIN: I . . . don’t know what . . . puppies are?? Can—please? Please. I’m scared.

LIAM: We have to go in.

GRACE: Take the keys and go.

The keys jingle softly as RAIN tightens their hand around them

SARAH: Contact me as soon as you’re safe.

FLYNN: Or if you’re not. We’re here for you.

LIAM: Thank you for your help, Rain, and I’m so sorry for whatever mess we’ve gotten you into.

RAIN: [Starting to cry] Am I gonna be okay?

SARAH: You’re gonna be okay.

RAIN: [whimper]

SARAH: You’ve got this. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going.

RAIN: Okay. Okay. Good luck.

RAIN runs to the car, gets in, and starts driving

NOEL: Let’s go.

NICO: Right behind you.

MAHIRA: I’ll be behind the others.

LIAM: You don’t all think this is it, do you?

NOEL: No. It wouldn’t be this easy.

NICO: Liam, she saying anything in your head?

LIAM: No. Silent.

THE TEAm slowly, cautiously, walks around the house. In a distant room from LIAM, the pop of a wine cork. Hearkening back to s1e3, LIAM runs forward, forgetting to alert anyone—but this time, they follow. They round the corner into the living room, where ERICA ALDEN is pouring herself a glass of wine. From the TEAm, commotion.


GRACE: You’ve got to be kidding me.


SARAH: Oh no.


LIAM’S INNER VOICE: I don’t . . . I . . .

ERICA: Put the glass down? I’d rather not.

MAHIRA: Put it down or I’ll make you.

ERICA: Quite the company you’re keeping anymore, Noel. I expected this from Liam, but not from you.

NOEL: B-because—don’t—don’t speak to me!

LIAM: Don’t speak to th—

LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Shit, I can’t use . . .

LIAM: Noel. To Noel.

NOEL: Fuck it! To them! Me, them. I don’t care if she knows. She can’t say anything to hurt me anymore.

ERICA: Still always looking for a fight. I never, ever intended to hurt you. Not that you’d ever believe me. It’s a mother’s job to look out for her children, even when they don’t want to hear it.

NICO: This is fucked.

GRACE: What do you want, Erica?

ERICA: I’m here to make an offer. I figured that was obvious, no?

FLYNN: No, it’s obvious. You already tried this with their dad, though.

ERICA: Oh, is that how it happened? Because, to my memory, Richard decided to abandon our life’s work to offer Liam some, I don’t know, support, before running away and getting himself killed.

NOEL: Don’t talk about him like that.

LIAM’S BITCHY INNER VOICE: Don’t defend him.


SARAH: So, what, you’re here to make an offer on behalf of the cause?

ERICA: “The cause.” [Chuckles lightly] Not everything is that political.

SARAH: No, it literally is.

ERICA: I’m sure you think so. Aren’t you going to hear me out?


ERICA: Not even if the offer includes full legal immunity for Mr. Salvai here?

LIAM: There’s no Mr. Salvai here. You’re not very good at this.

NICO: [Laughs a little]

ERICA: Why would I be? I never had the energy for any of this.

GRACE: So why are you here?

ERICA: Because Morgan asked me to be.

NOEL: You’ve never cared for her. You always hated her.

ERICA: Right. Let me clarify: Morgan told me to be. And I did want to see the two of you.

LIAM: A little too late on that one.

A beat. ERICA takes a sip.

ERICA: I did try for you, Liam. I don’t know if you know that. I always had such a soft spot in my heart for you. You were such a beautiful baby. Such a good baby. A good child, too. I always thought your father was being too harsh on you, but you know him. His mind was set.

LIAM: I don’t have an interest in any of this. You had plenty of chances, and you refused to take them. I don’t forgive you, and I don’t have an interest in anything you could have to say. Noel, do you? It’s alright if you do.

NOEL: I— I don’t know. I—

NICO: Oh fuck yeah. Let’s go Noel. Say it.

NOEL:  [Laughs] Yeah. Fuck it.

[Laughs] God, I fucking hate you. You’re such a bad parent and such a bad person. You don’t care about anything except being comfortable and relaxed. Other people don’t matter to you at all, no matter what you say. You just don’t care. And you don’t care that you don’t care. You were never anything but awful to me. Even when you were acting nice, it was always so—so mean. So cruel. For no reason. No reason that had anything to do with me, I know that. I know it now. So, no, I don’t—fuck you. You don’t get to speak to me anymore. You don’t get a place in my life anymore. Oh and—[Laughs]

—well, I guess you were right about me being a lesbian, but joke’s on you, maybe I was such a bad daughter because I’m not a daughter! Don’t respond to that. I don’t care about your opinions anymore. I see you for what you are. 

I don’t need you. I’m fine without you. I’m great without you.

FLYNN: Fuck yeah. Fuck yeah!

SARAH: Good job, Noel.

LIAM: Well done, Noel.

ERICA: [Sarcastically, uninterested] Brava. I’m wounded.

NICO: So do we, y’know, pewpew?

ERICA: Completely desensitized to violence. Incredible.


MAHIRA: What did you do with Rain’s family?


MAHIRA: Rain’s family. The family that owns this house.

ERICA: [Chuckles] Oh, no. They rent.


SARAH: Where are they?

ERICA: How am I supposed to know? Morgan’s people set this all up. I just got on a flight and followed the directions here, to the world’s least interesting AirBNB.

FLYNN: Oh my god shut upppppppppppppppp

GRACE: So you don’t know anything about where they are?

ERICA: No, and—what am I expected to say here, hmm? “No, and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you! A ha ha.” Very ominous. Is that what you’d like?

MAHIRA: We can make you talk.

ERICA: I’m sure you could, but there’s nothing that you would find. I’ve always refused to be embroiled in any of this. I won’t be starting now.

LIAM: Then leave. You’re going to leave.

SARAH: Give me your phone.

ERICA: No, I’d prefer not to.

NICO: Give her your phone or I’ll fucking kill you.

ERICA: I don’t have a phone.

MAHIRA: Bullshit. Stand up. I’m searching you.

ERICA: [Laughs] Excuse me? No. I’ll leave if that’s what you all want. But I’m not going to be searched.

LIAM: Yes you are.

ERICA: I don’t have anything on me.

LIAM: And we don’t trust you. Stand up.

ERICA: Oh, come now.

NOEL: Stand. Up.

A beat. NICO lights up his magic.

ERICA: Fine! Fine.

NICO: [Laughing] Damn she didn’t even give you a haven here to protect you? She must hate you too.

NOEL: She does!

ERICA: Can’t you have someone else search me? Having her hands all over me seems extremely inappropriate.

FLYNN: Do you WANT us to hurt you? Shut up!

MAHIRA searches ERICA. She grabs a phone from a pocket.

MAHIRA: Here’s a phone—and . . . here’s a second. And her wallet.

ERICA: Ah, well, you’ve got me!

MAHIRA keeps searching.

ERICA: You found both phones. Stop. Touching me.

MAHIRA: No. Ah—here we go. Knife on the leg? Really?

ERICA: It’s like that one said. I knew I’d have to protect myself.

NICO: “That one”?!

MAHIRA: That’s everything.

LIAM: Now leave.

ERICA: You’re going to make me leave? Morgan knows where this is. Shouldn’t you be the one that’s leaving?

FLYNN: Will we be safe to stay here if she does?

SARAH: Are we safe anywhere?

ERICA: [For the first time, genuinely at a loss] I—but—this is. Where I’m staying.

NOEL: No, it’s not.

ERICA: I don’t… But— Where am I supposed to go, then?

NICO: [Laughs]

NOEL: We literally do not care.

ERICA: Fine! I look forward to a nice hotel instead of this disgusting house. Give me back my phone so I can call a car.

LIAM: [Laughs] What? No.

ERICA: How am I supposed to leave if you won’t let me leave?

GRACE: You’re a smart woman, Erica. Think.

ERICA: What???

FLYNN: You’ve got legs. Better fuckin’ use ‘em!

ERICA: What???

SARAH: You heard them. Go.

ERICA: These—these heels are four inches. There can’t be a hotel around for miles.

NOEL: We literally do not care.

ERICA: You cannot be serious.

LIAM: We can’t be serious?

NICO: Stand the fuck up and get gone.

ERICA: This is ridiculous.

SARAH: They said stand the fuck up and get gone.

FLYNN: Hey, get her purse too.

ERICA: This is HERMES. And this is A BIRKIN.

NICO: Oof, THAT’S what they gave you? They read you as beige. Or did you–or did you buy one off of someone and CHOSE beige? [Laughs]

NOEL: The former, which is somehow funnier.


FLYNN: What the fuck are they talking about

SARAH: You think I would know?

LIAM: I promise you, it’s very funny, but it also doesn’t matter in any other way.

GRACE: Didn’t we tell you to get gone?

ERICA: There is NO reason for you to take my bag.

LIAM: There’s no reason for anything you do.

MAHIRA: And there is a reason. My girlfriend will love it.


NICO: Yeah, no more talking. Not even mumbling. Or we’ll start taking accessories. Actually hey, hand over those earrings.


LIAM: Yes. The earrings.


NICO: I said no talking.


ERICA takes off the earrings and hands them to NICO, who puts them on.

GRACE: They look much better on you, Nico. Less boring.

NICO: Well duh. 


SARAH: God, Morgan really wasted all of your time here for nothing, huh? She’s not even this ruthless with us.

NOEL: Because she knows we’re competent.

NICO: She’s still being quiet, Vamps?

LIAM: Hmm. She is.

NICO: Hmm.

Scene 3

INT. Rain’s apartment, post protest and Erica confrontation

MAHIRA: Let’s see what the news has to say about today, see if we made it on there at all.

MAHIRA plops down on the couch and clicks on the tv, turning it to a news station

NEWSCASTER: -with reports still coming in.

FLYNN: Are you sure it’s okay we stay here, even with Rain . . . not here?

SARAH: I mean. It’s our best option, at least. I don’t know. Does it matter?

FLYNN: It does.

SARAH: Yeah. Does it matter enough?

LIAM’S INNER MORGAN: Hmm? What’s that on the television? You may want to pay attention, Liam.

FLYNN: [Sighs] No.

NEWSCASTER: So far, eight confirmed casualties and seventeen more injured. Emergency workers are still pulling survivors out from the wreckage.

LIAM: Everybody shut up.

A beat as the TEAm notices the tv and falls silent

NEWSCASTER: If you’re just tuning in, the flagship location of Halo was the site of what sources suggest was an explosion of kinetic magic. I think it safe to say we all remember the attack on Halo’s corporate offices in uptown New Candler only a few weeks ago. 

MAHIRA: What the fuck.

The newscaster continues, but farther back in the mix as the TEAm processes what’s happening

NEWSCASTER: We have reason to believe that one of the magic users involved in that attack, former Halo employee Noel Alden, a muse with a focus in kinetic magic, is responsible for this heinous attack. Noel Alden, along with her brother Liam, and their known associates Sarah Harris, Mahira Varma, Flynn Velasco, Nicolo Salvai, and Grace Chen were all present at the attack on the corporate office.

GRACE: She blew up her own store and killed people just to frame Noel??

SARAH: Who would-

LIAM: Reilley would.

NICO: That . . . shouldn’t surprise me. Why does it surprise me?

FLYNN: What do we do?

NEWSCASTER: I’m receiving word from my producer that we have Morgan Reilley via satellite with a message for Ms. Alden. We go to her now.

MORGAN: Hello? Am I live?

NEWSCASTER: Yes, hello Ms. Reiley. You’re on the air.

MORGAN: Thank you. I — I have something I want to say. To Noel.

[seemingly overcome with emotion] I only hope it’s not too late to get through to her.

Noel, please, you’re like a daughter to me. Please come back. I don’t know what your brother and his . . . his comrades have told you, or done to you, or how they manipulated you into doing this, but I promise I haven’t given up on you. And I won’t. I love you. I-

It’s not too late, Noel. Come back, and we can find a way to help you.

NEWSCASTER: Thank you, Ms. Reilley.

We’ll have more for you as the story unfolds.

Cut to commercial tune plays and is then cut off abruptly when the tv is muted

LIAM’S INNER MORGAN: Well, that certainly explains why Erica was so keen on holding your attention earlier, doesn’t it? Shocking, really, that she turned out to be the most capable of your entire family at helping me with my goals.

MAHIRA: How did we not see this coming?

FLYNN: Because it’s fucking unhinged? Nobody would do this. It’s . . . this is Joker shit. But smarter. It’s smart Joker shit.

LIAM: Noel?

NOEL: [strangely flat] No, Mahira’s right. We should have anticipated this. Or something like it.

NICO: Woah woah woah no ok come on. No. This is fully evil, what she did, and I don’t even think good and evil are real things, but this is—c’mon.

NOEL: It doesn’t matter now. We were wanted before for destroying an empty building. Now people are dead. And it’s because of us.

SARAH: It is absolutely not because of us — Noel, don’t think like that. Morgan chose to do this, and nobody made her.

NOEL: To get to me.

[a beat]

I have to turn myself in.

MAHIRA: No the fuck you don’t!

FLYNN: Yeah no that is for sure not an option.

GRACE: Wait, turn the sound back up?

LIAM: You got it.

NEWSCASTER: Former Congressional aide Theodore Galford sent in this footage from his own home security system. He says the group broke into his Dallas home, holding him hostage and threatening his family if he wouldn’t let them stay there for two days. Mr. Galford and Grace Chen crossed paths several years ago when he was part of Senator Caspar’s staff. 

In the footage, you can see the members of the group sitting around his dining room table, discussing something with a still-unidentified person via video chat.

LIAM: Sol.

SARAH: Someone had to have doctored this footage. He let us in! There’s no-

NEWSCASTER: Please be advised, if you see any of the people shown on the screen now, do not approach them. Get to safety and alert the authorities as quickly as possible. Again, do not {approach them}

MAHIRA clicks the tv off

FLYNN: Thanks, that’s about all we needed to see of that. Noel, I’m so sorry.

NOEL: It’s fine. You had no way of knowing.

FLYNN: No, I meant. Like. Fuck her for doing that to you.

NOEL: Oh. Thank you.

A beat.

MAHIRA: What’s our next move? Because Reilley made hers.

NICO: My gut is saying run more, hide better. But- [heavy, annoyed sigh] Yeah no that’s not the move here.

SARAH: We have to go back.

GRACE: Nobody is turning themselves in!

SARAH: Of course not. But Reilley’s shown here that we don’t get to keep this up forever. She escalated, and people are dead. Do you really want to see what happens if she escalates again? Because she’s not going to stop.

FLYNN: Discrediting her wasn’t enough, clearly. She’s too good at manipulating the narrative.

SARAH: Then we need to make it too big for any one person to manipulate. And it needs to include the fact that she’s a muse.

FLYNN: I — so, after we talked about you training new hackers, and me bringing Zoe on with the blog, I reached out to her, asking if she knew anyone who would be interested in working with you. I wanted this reveal to be nicer, happier, but. Here, look.

FLYNN unlocks his phone and hands it to SARAH

SARAH: Flynn, this is. There’s so many people on this list.

FLYNN: Twenty-six, and most of them know a couple friends who also sounded interested.

SARAH: I know I said I need help, but I don’t know if I’m up to — that’s so many people — I’m an introvert!

FLYNN: And we can give you plenty of space to recharge when you need it.

SARAH: [stressed groan] I can try. With the twenty-six. And we’ll go from there.

GRACE: [quietly beaming] I knew you’d be a great leader, Sarah.

[end episode]

WIL: VALENCE is a Hug House production. You can find more information at Hug House dot Productions.

WIL: VALENCE is created by me, Wil Williams. This episode was written by Wil Williams and Katie Youmans, with protest 101 consulting from Tuck Woodstock, and edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, transcribed by Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird. The theme music was composed by Travis Reaves.

WIL: This episode was performed by:

  • Josh Rubino as Liam Alden and Liam’s Inner Voice,
  • Naomi McMillan as Morgan Reilley,
  • John Westover as Nico Salvai,
  • Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
  • Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
  • Katie Chin as Grace Chen,
  • Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma,
  • Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
  • Amanda Noriko Newman as Rain,
  • Nadine Amami as Erica Alden,
  • and Gerald Hill as Newscaster.

WIL: You can find our full cast list and information on how you can support this indie podcast on valencepod dot com.

WIL: Until next time… protect your magic.

WIL: Looking for another great podcast to listen to? We recommend The Attic Monologues.

The Attic Monologues is a queer urban fantasy podcast that follows Nyx Ryland, a nonbinary university student practicing monologues using a collection they found in their attic. But these monologues are strange, and dreamlike, and the more Nyx reads, the more it becomes evident that things are not as they seem. These monologues are not just paper and ink, the world is not what they knew, and the people they love just might be in danger – or the danger itself. The Attic Monologues is made in association with the Exeter University Podcast Society, and you can find all of season 1 now wherever you get your podcasts.

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