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Act 3, Part 4 of 4
Pages 1052-1153 (MSPA: 2952-3053)
Link to rewritten version part 1 / part 2
It’s like fucking Christmas up in here.
Last time, we literally examined the world of Jade’s dreams. This time, we’re going to round out act 3 of Homestuck with lots of stuff falling into place. First off, John alchemizes a bunch of things out of his possessions, a pattern that happens with all the kids, and which Jade doesn’t subvert. I’ll list the most notable things he makes: a green Wise Guy suit, Spy Kids-style computer glasses, several hammer weapons, ghost arms to lift bigger objects at long range, and a Cosbytop. I really like the alchemizing system, and how weird combinations can make awesome things; my favorite combination is fake arm + Nanna’s ectoplasm + Dad’s PDA = the remote ghost gauntlet (the arm which he can control from afar). I should also note that we don’t actually go through John first using each of the alchemy devices in order with captchalogue cards and cruxite dowels and all that nonsense; rather, he’s just repeatedly commanded to combine a few items and bam, he does so. Unlike in Act 1, at this point we take much less time to dwell on John using the captchalogue mechanics. I think the main point of the captchalogue stuff may have been to put readers in the right mindset to feel comfortable with the regular usage of the Sburb interface.
Then Dave has his final round of battle against his brother. This time the flash is fairly short: they have a sword confrontation, his brother uses his sword to rip apart Lil’ Cal, Dave’s sword, and his shirt symbol, and flies away on his hoverboard, giving Dave his Sburb discs. Dave tells John the following:
TG: bro just kicked my ass
TG: thats really all there is to say on the matter
Then we switch to Jade, who gives us another animation which reveals how exactly Jade knows the future: she sees it through Skaia’s clouds. Turns out I was wrong about the clouds shaped like objects only appearing in the flash John: Wake up and the end of this flash (John: Wake up from Jade’s perspective). Clouds shaped like things Jade thinks of appear alongside clouds with future visions in this flash. Oh yeah, and this flash and the following page show Jade’s exchanges with John from her point of view, including the one where I called Jade out on being kind of a douche. A Flash animation reveals to us how Jade knows the future, but we still don’t understand why she refuses to simply tell him, “hey john, i can see the future in my dreams”.
Item breaking x3 combo.
Jade wakes up, talks to John in a conversation we’ve already read, and uses her harpoon gun to zipline to a spire near the frog temple which Bec always forbade her from entering, until now. The zipline is also where AR’s cable came from. Rose finishes building John’s house to the first gate. Dave gets his game of Sburb, empties his sylladex, and sends an unresponsive Rose an update telling him that he got the game. Rose is revealed to have made a present for John from an object she’s had as long as she can remember with her knitting skills she learned over the past few months. Shit is shaping up.
Then we get a flashback in which Rose receives knitting needles from John. John’s letter to her encourages her to open up and be more positive and creative, instead of the kind of wet T-shirt Rose makes herself out to be as John explains in a clumsy attempt to make a metaphor in the style of Dave, the prince of metaphors (the king of metaphors is Karkat). Rose talks to a troll who happens to be her future girlfriend. This conversation, the very first between Rose and Kanaya, already establishes that they have potential to be pretty good friends, to say the least. Kanaya complains about how humans fail to understand how the trolls can contact them at any point in time they please, but Rose turns out to understand it just fine, even if she doesn’t believe it as true. You can right away see that Rose and the mysterious troll could be exchanging verbose metaphoric psychobabble
and making out all day long if they were to meet in person. Kanaya tells Rose not to tell anyone else an opinion of hers and suggests that the two of them be friends (because Rose herself suggested as such in an earlier/later conversation). Here are two snips from their exchange that exemplify their potential friendship:
TT: I understand.
TT: You exist in some temporal stratum through which you have communication access to various points of my timeline.
TT: It’s not that complicated.
GA: Yes Thats Right
GA: Will You Try To Talk Some Sense Into Your Idiot Friends
GA: So That We May Proceed To Bother Them All On More Rational Terms
GA: I Will Admit This Campaign Of Provocation Wasnt All That Well Thought Out
GA: Dont Tell Anyone I Said That
One more thing worth noting: you can deduce from Kanaya’s screen name alone that she’s probably female, if you bother looking up what an “auxiliatrix” is. Given that, this exchange between Rose and Kanaya might be the first hint of potential homosexual relationships in Homestuck. Oh yeah, and Kanaya uses “human” as an adjective in a way that indicates that she’s either an alien or pretending to be one.
For his birthday around the same time, Dave gets Ben Stiller’s sunglasses and a letter from John. John’s letter to Dave is remarkably uplifting: it encourages Dave to spread his wings out from the shadow casted by his freak of a guardian. John remarks that it’s kind of a joke present, but Dave trashes his brother’s “dumb pointy anime shades” in favor of Stiller’s shades, which he always wears from here on out. He answers yet another troll.
Tavros fails miserably at trolling Dave. He rants about how hard he’s about to troll Dave, but Dave starts blowing a tornado of disturbing sexual allusions straight up poor Tavros’s hunky bull horns protruding out of his hunky bull head, and Tavros blocks him instead of the other way around. Unlike Rose’s exchange with Kanaya, this conversation is not so much insightful into a potential friendship as it is ball-bustingly hilarious. Here’s just a snip of beautiful Strider prose typed by Dave’s innuendolicious fingers controlled by the dirty-minded neurons serving the mental forces of his Strider mind:
TG: no man
TG: i just need to know when to be there
TG: when the stars come into alignment and your flux capacitor lets you finally sate your meteoric greed for crotch-dachshund
TG: i wouldnt want to miss it and cause a paradox or something
TG: itd suck if the universe blew up on account of you missing your window of opportunity to help yourself to a pubescent boy’s naked spam porpoise
Law is beauty. Order is peace.
Then we switch perspective to the Aimless Renegade. We learn that he has been hanging around the frog temple at Jade’s island, and looting stuff Jade and her grandpa left behind, mostly guns. We fill out the exile pattern of each having their own obsession: WV is a mayor, PM is a mailwoman, AR is a judge. I wonder, how would this guy get along with the meteor crew had he made it to join them like the Mayor did? Would he become buddies with Terezi with their mutual interest in legal systems (touched upon when he causes Dave to say weird things like “this is so completely illegal” in an exchange with her)?
Jade puts John’s present on the frog platform and it is then appearified away by the Mayor. She has to find a way to get inside the temple itself. The Renegade, meanwhile, blows stuff up with Jade’s grandpa’s powerful guns. PM goes inside her command station and sends the present to Jade many years in the past.
It’s little Jade’s birthday, and her grandpa is celebrating by teaching her the joy of the hunt. She randomly gets a package from John with a letter, a blue ghost version of John’s shirt, and pumpkin seeds. The letter has several interesting things in it: it reveals that the kids have known each other for years (it’s hard to thank you enough for your friendship over the years), Jade is the one who got the kids together (heck, if it weren’t for you i wouldn’t even have met rose and dave), and that the letter played a part in the kids meeting each other given its inclusion of John’s old Pesterchum screen name. Here’s another plot thread tied together into a stable time loop. John says that this present is “a couple silly things”, but it is part of what caused the four kids to get together (the other part is left indeterminate but is probably her cloud visions), and also, it caused Jade to become interested in growing pumpkins; Jade’s interest in pumpkins therefore originated from itself.
Out of nowhere, we see Jack Noir dealing with John’s dad. Jack tries to kill him by telling him to stick a knife in his pipe, but he burns Jack’s hat, and Jack promptly frees the prisoner. Jade plays her bass to summon lily pads (this works because of her music’s plant-growing properties), and goes inside the frog temple. Dave installs Sburb, and has a snappy little exchange with Rose:
TG: alright im installing this game finally
TT: Where doing this man?
TG: you could almost say
TG: where making this
TT: Go on.
TT: What is it where making this?
TT: Let’s make shit take place.
then comes the awesome flash that concludes act 3 of Homestuck.
Here’s what happens in [S] Enter, the flash that concludes Act 3:
- Dave installs Sburb and gets Rose into the game;
- Rose prototypes Jaspers and Dave prototypes Rose’s eldritch princess doll into her sprite;
- Rose makes her cruxite bottle, takes a leap of faith to get it, and is rescued by her new sprite;
- Nannasprite writes John’s note in Sassacre’s book and lets the book fall beneath the clouds;
- Jade gets Dave’s Sburb discs (the ones that fell on a neighboring roof) from the time capsule in the frog temple;
- Rose enters the game;
- and John uses his new weapons to fight the imps and ogres up to his first gate and enters it in the end.
I love this flash so much. It perfectly intertwines badass scenes, plot thread tie-ups, and funny moments into three-and-a-half minutes of kickass music, features all four kids roughly equally (with Rose getting more screen time than the rest), and condenses Rose’s process for entering the game into a single animation (which isn’t done that way for the other three kids). It fills numerous holes in the plot: what Rose prototypes into the sprite, that WV’s command station is the cork of a bottle just like PM’s is the apple of a tree, how the wizard statue lost its arm, that Nannasprite wrote the note in Sassacre’s book, and part of how Jade gets her discs of Sburb.
After that concluding flash, we zoom out from John’s house to reveal that he was transported to a whole new planet.
END OF ACT 3
Now for a recap of the third act of Homestuck. A large portion of Act 3 followed us getting to know Jade, with her dream world, her island, her magical dog, the frog temple, and her house’s strange technology. Dave doesn’t get a lot of screen time though: he battles his brother in two flashes not spaced too far apart, does not appear for a solid 200 pages, then has his final round of battle in which he gets his brother’s discs and then gets Rose into the game in the concluding animation. He does have some pretty golden dialogue in this act though, specifically his monologue to Jade and his exchange with Tavros. Rose explores the lab near her house which has weird technology like that of Jade’s house, and doesn’t do too much else besides helping John out a little more, holding a therapy session with him regarding clowns, and getting into the game. John continues experimenting with the Sburb interface and ends up making it to his first gate. We also hear from three trolls and three exiles—the exiles end up meeting together at the frog temple and send Jade’s package through time, on Jade’s instruction.
We don’t get too much characterization in Act 3, compared to what we have in Act 2. John gets some through his birthday letters; they exemplify how beneath the doofus image, he really is a good friend with a special skill in influencing others, and is shown to be inventive with his discovery of how punch card alchemy works and how to alchemize cool weapons and stuff. John’s exchange with Rose about his father’s supposed obsession with clowns fleshes out Rose’s characteristics as someone with exceptional understanding of people’s motives. Jade is still the kid who can see the future, only we now know how she does, and Dave hardly gets characterization in this act.
Overall, Act 3 is a little shorter than Act 2, but has a greater plot density. There’s the delivery of Jade’s present in the exile arc, the introduction of time travel technology, bits and pieces of the deal with the trolls, and Jade’s dreams fulfilling stable time loops. Even the pages in which we get acquainted with Jade as a character serve largely to introduce plot concepts (technology, the dog, the frog temple, the dream world), more so than with the other three kids.
There’s one thing of note that I should have discussed back in Act 1 so I’ll discuss it now: the characters have a fairly nonchalant reaction to the game stuff they’ve been through. John doesn’t seem shocked at Rose’s ability to move stuff around his house, or that he’s suddenly in this whole new world because of a video game. He clearly doesn’t have much preemptive knowledge of the game given that he has no idea what stuff he’s in for, and he treats a lot of it (like his dad being kidnapped) as video game clichés. Why exactly is that? Why doesn’t he get more confused about it than he is? Maybe so that time won’t be wasted on John being confused by so much, but then again, Act 1 is really slow-paced anyway. Maybe John starts off confused by everything, but then shrugs it all as “oh it’s a video game”, and thinks of everything like being in a video game, which I’m sure he’s imagined happening to himself at some point. That might also be why he at first thinks his goal is to save the world from destruction, because there’s a lot of video games with such a premise.
That’s about all I have to say about Act 3 of Homestuck. See you next time as we switch to a whole new set of weird characters in the first half of the confusing but action-packed intermission.