Intermission, Part 1 of 2
Pages 1154-1264 (MSPA: 3054-3164)
New: Link to rewritten version (I recommend you read it instead of this)
Your name is SPADES SLICK.
I’ve gone through the first three acts of Homestuck, now it’s time for the intermission. Before I read Homestuck, I already knew that it had an intermission, because someone on an online forum gave me a rundown of how long each act is, and said that the intermission is his favorite part because it’s so badass. But I sure as hell wasn’t expecting it to be about a completely different cast of characters. And that’s exactly why so many readers skip the intermission, something considered heresy in the Homestuck fandom. For similar reasons, it’s not unheard of for readers to either skip over the trolls’ arc or to skip straight to the trolls’ arc. Just about every fan of Homestuck knows that these are all bad ideas. I didn’t skip any act (the intermission or otherwise) on my first read through, though I’m almost certain that I did accidentally skip over some pages throughout Homestuck when finding the page number I was on. For example, I believe I accidentally skipped the important flash [S] Jade: Enter, but I didn’t understand much of the story anyway because I skimmed everything on my first read. It’s well-known that the intermission first doesn’t seem important to the plot but actually is important, which is the main reason why it’s bad to skip it. It’s really entertaining and action-packed anyway. I’ve seen readers comment that they like how the Midnight Crew gets straight to business and kills a bunch of green morons rather than four teenagers dragging ass on their adventure.
Anyway, the intermission of Homestuck opens by introducing us to a mobster named Spades Slick. He is the leader of the Midnight Crew, a gang of mobsters consisting of him and his subordinates, Clubs Deuce, Diamonds Droog, and Hearts Boxcars. The Midnight Crew’s goal is to plunder Lord English’s secret mansion and exterminate almost all of English’s gang, The Felt. Slick in particular wants to destroy all the clocks in the mansion. The intermission is notable for its numerous callbacks to Problem Sleuth: Slick’s inventory, the Midnight Crew being ripped from the adventure’s donation pages, objects turning into weapons, each having a signature candy and skill and item storage and bizarre porn magazine and whatnot, and so on. Slick gets out his war chest. Among other things, there’s a Crosbytop, which was first owned by John’s father and eventually ended up in Aradia’s possession. How’d it end up with Slick? On the Crosbytop he reads Homestuck, saying that “[he doesn’t] understand what the hell is going on or who all these characters are. It’s all a lot of nonsense.” This kind of attitude towards the kind of things the four kids are acquainted with really sets the no-nonsense mood for the intermission. Another example is Slick’s reaction to being commanded to captchalogue something; he thinks it must be some smartass way of saying to pick something up.
The Felt’s mugshots.
Not long afterwards, we learn about each of the Felt’s pool-ball members. Each has their own time power, many of them have dumb or useless powers, we don’t know what their deal is until over four thousand pages later (that’s 20 times longer than the intermission itself!), and most of them are stupid. Three of them are already dead, and the odd one out is Snowman (the 8-ball), who he isn’t going to kill for a reason as withheld as what she looks like. Nobody knows what Lord English looks like, and Slick hopes to change that. Then we switch over to the childish little guy, Clubs Deuce.
Deuce has the ultra-sluggish Doze (2) tied up yet again. Unlike his leader, he doesn’t want to harm those clocks, and tortures Doze by hitting him on the leg with a stick and swapping hats with him. Then Itchy (1) appears and swaps everyone’s hats around with his super speed. Slick trips Itchy and then kills him, marking the first death in the intermission. Clubs screws around some more, then we switch to the professional of the group, Diamonds Droog. Trace (3) punches him with his past trail abilities, but this means that Diamonds now knows where exactly he’ll be in the future in order to kill him. Deuce messes with Doze some more, and Die (6) jumps from an alternate timeline in which Itchy is alive to a timeline where he’s dead. Slick injures him. Die jumps to a timeline where Slick is dead and finds a barren wasteland on an alien planet with two moons. This serves to indicate that Slick really was who made this town what it is. Then we switch to the team’s muscle man, Hearts Boxcars. Boxcars wants to crack a safe but is then confronted by the two dangerous morons, Biscuits (13) and Eggs (12), who start cloning themselves. Deuce and Droog walk around to see stuff preemptively destroyed and Diamonds realizes that Fin (5), who follows future trails, was there. In the past, Fin sees Droog’s future projection who guns him down, causing all the clock destruction in the first place. This intermission is pretty damn confusing.
We haven’t seen Spades Slick in a while. Die returns to the timeline in which Slick is alive. Slick slices Die’s neck and takes his voodoo doll, his section of Act 6 Intermission 5 foreshadowed and Lord English’s rumored invulnerability mentioned. After more confusing past/future trail shit, Clubs puts a bomb on Doze’s head, killing him and Trace.
YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL YOU HATE TIME TRAVEL
Boxcars is swarmed by a bunch of copies of Biscuits and Eggs. Clover (4) is seen near a clock, and it’s stated that he would be willing to help out at the cost of answering his time riddles, something that is quite flirty in retrospect when you consider the wonders of leprechaun romance, and may very well amount to “if you arouse me I’ll help you out”. He informs us that a lot of the mess could be stopped if Crowbar (7) was around. Stitch (9), one of the least stupid Felt members, is seen taking care of Lord English’s backup Cairo Overcoat and his colleagues’ effigies. A bleeding Fin comes in, but Stitch can’t heal Fin before he bleeds to death. Diamonds and Clubs confront Stitch. Hearts is still fuck deep in Eggs and Biscuits clones. Slick removes Crowbar’s pin from the doll, and that’s where the fun really begins with an arc of timeline hopping focused mainly on Slick. I’ll end this post at Slick disappearing from the alpha timeline.
For the first half of the intermission, I haven’t really done much commenting on the stuff as I go, mostly saying what happens; this post is a pretty good deal shorter than most of my recent posts, 1200 and a bit words compared to the previous 2442-word post, my longest so far. I don’t really have too much to say about all this intermission stuff so far, mostly because it’s not dealing with voiced major characters I can say a lot about. It’s pretty fast-paced compared to acts 1-3, and pretty hard to completely understand. Green morons are killed in short succession in a nearly one-sided battle between black and green, instead of kids taking forever to explore their houses and get through the video game they’re inside. Hussie intended the intermission to be a throwback to Problem Sleuth and as characterization for Jack Noir, and because of its relevance to the storyline, few readers have qualms about the fact that the intermission is a thing.
See you next time as I go over the second half of the intermission with Snowman’s debut, the final showdown between the Midnight Crew and the Felt’s survivors, and the first visual appearance of a troll.