Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 17: Coolkid Duplication Station

Introduction

< Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 >

Act 4, Part 3 of 6

Pages 1578-1659 (MSPA: 3478-3559)

Rose kicking ass.

Continuing from where we left off, John finds his dad’s car, and then talks to Terezi who, like I said in the last post, he always has had an enjoyable dynamic with. Right away they snark at each other:

GC: JOHN DONT M4K3 FUN OF MY H4ND1C4P 
EB: which one, the blindness or the leetspeak. 
GC: 1 4M S3NS1T1VE 4BOUT BOTH 


[…]


GC: B3FOR3 YOU K33P TYP1NG MOR3 STUP1D O’S 1N TH4T WORD 
GC: JUST L1ST3N 4ND DO WH4T 1 S4Y 
GC: YOU KNOW YOUR3 GO1NG TO 3V3NTU4LLY 4NYW4Y 
GC: B3C4US3 YOUR3 4 N1C3 GUY 4ND K1ND OF 4 TOT4L W33N13 PUSHOV3R 

Man, I could quote a million snarky remarks traded between John and Terezi. But I won’t. Terezi talks about how she plans on messing with John’s timeline, and draws a really awful map for him. Rose, meanwhile, starts taking down adversaries with ease through her needle combat prowess, impaling an ogre in the eyes and riding it down a waterfall. She talks to Dave in a conversation which consists mostly of Dave saying funny ridiculous things about the ogre Rose killed, even speculating as to whether it has a brainstem and whatnot.

Dave goes on to answer Kanaya, who asks him how to win Rose’s heart troll her effectively. Dave finds it obvious that she has a thing for her, and here’s another thing I’ll pause on to discuss: it’s almost robotically stated that Dave and Rose are always sarcastic while John and Jade never are (Jade once said “you see not everybody always means the opposite of what they say the way [rose] and dave always do”, and Dave just now echoed it by saying “see not everybody always means literally what they say the way john and jade always do”), though that’s kind of not totally true. John says sarcastic things reasonably often actually, even if not as much as Dave and Rose, while Jade does only occasionally. I’ll list some sarcastic things John has said:

  • (to Nannasprite): “do you think that instead of telling me exactly why that is with a clear explanation, you can give me a series of really coy riddles about it and then sort of giggle?”
  • (to Nannasprite saying something cryptic): “i suddenly understand everything!”
  • (to Karkat): “wow, yeah you’re totally not trolling me, bro! i see now we are bffs forever.”
  • (to Terezi saying that she wants to mess with him): “oh ok, that sounds really great and helpful!”

OK maybe I was a little hard there. The point is, Dave’s line is kind of oversimplifying things. Anyway, he tells Kanaya that being sarcastic and stuff is a way to win Rose over, and goes on to tell the troll that she (though he thinks she’s a boy) sort of reminds him of Rose. Overall this exchange is really making it clear that Rose and Kanaya have potential to actually be a thing. We all know that Kanaya eventually gets exactly what she wants, though her relationship with Rose does get its complications as time progresses; said complications are fully resolved in one timeline, but still uncertain in the other.

Rose, meanwhile, answers Tavros, who asks her how to effectively troll Dave. Rose tells him that by rapping to him, he will cower in fear at the loud THUNK that would drop when Tavros shoots down some rhythmic slam poetry. She says a lot of incomprehensible things that end in something with an unusually large amount of profanity for her:

TT: Yeah. 
TT: I suppose what I’m saying is this. 
TT: Drop some hard, peer-reviewed motherfuckin’ science on his ass. 
TT: Some seriously government funded shit. 
TT: It will destroy him. 

Maybe it looks better colored orange (Dirk’s color):

TT: Yeah. 
TT: I suppose what I’m saying is this. 
TT: Drop some hard, peer-reviewed motherfuckin’ science on his ass. 
TT: Some seriously government funded shit. 
TT: It will destroy him. 

Anyway, Rose talks to Kanaya who now thinks she’s a master of human sarcasm. She trolls Rose by jumping around random points in the timeline, which obviously gives readers a headache, and she gives us some hints of what else she did in her attempts at trolling Rose; her first conversation led her to believe that she is a lot dumber than she really is. Not too much out to get of this conversation other than a migraine, and what Kanaya looks like.

I’ll stop for a moment to say stuff about Kanaya. At this point, she tends to act awkward talking to Rose, practically sweating with nervousness because she feels like she didn’t quite say the right things a few minutes ago to the girl of her dreams. This might give the impression that she’s kind of an awkward person, but if you look at her interactions with other trolls, even Vriska who she was also interested in, she doesn’t really act like that at all, generally making the same kinds of remarks to others Rose does. Other characters generally don’t act this awkward with potential love interests. Karkat, Terezi, Vriska, and Tavros all shamelessly flirted with their respective human love/hate interests (John, Dave, John, and Jade respectively). Jane was SUPER awkward with Jake that one time she massively failed to confess to him, but that was when she was specifically asked to make advances toward him, and she didn’t really flirt with him in day-to-day interactions; none of the other alpha kids’ interactions with their love interests would really qualify as awkward, at least not like Kanaya’s interactions with Rose. John gets along exceptionally well with Roxy, his most recent potential love interest, and seemed enthusiastic to trade smack talk with Terezi after the two of them were declared as a potential black romance. Meenah flirted shamelessly with Vriska (both versions of her) and Karkat. And you can’t forget about Karkat and Terezi, who are like a pair of cute elementary students who deny their mutual crush. I think Kanaya was so awkward with Rose because she found her to be so amazingly perfect and really didn’t want to mess up with her, and because she knew who she was before talking to her because she read her Sburb walkthrough.

Damn I do tangent stuff a lot. If you didn’t bother reading that whole paragraph up there, just read the last sentence, it sums up my point.

Tavros trolls Dave and starts rapping freestyle and failing miserably at getting Dave’s attention, or actually producing something coherent which doesn’t fall down the Freudian slippery slope and break its spine. Dave doesn’t respond to any of it and just draws a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff comic which actually uses a line Tavros said to Dave. Besides laughs at awful raps, from this conversation we get the official name of that dark kingdom we’ve seen around that complements Prospit. Interesting that Tavros of all people is the one who reveals Derse’s name. Also we see what he looks like.              

This is stupid.

John takes a shortcut like Terezi advised but ends up going through an oil pipe, almost losing his bunny from Dave in the process. He saves it and reenacts the ending scene of Con Air with the help of a pair of salamanders. Then he answers Karkat, who finds it ridiculous what John is doing. That’s where we get something of a human/troll cultural exchange: John and Karkat have a common interest in movies, and we learn that trolls have extra-long names for movies because trolls have had movies for thousands of years (another continuity error, trolls have sweeps instead of years). I kind of want to see John and Karkat watching a movie together, probably disagreeing heavily on which parts are good and which are bad. Maybe every scene John likes, Karkat hates, and vice versa. We do know that Dave has something of a relationship with romcoms because of how many he watched with Karkat. Also, this conversation is the first indication that Karkat and Terezi are a thing. I love how they have seriously been teased as a potential pairing before we know either of their names, and how John is amused by how ridiculous and not so above-it-all the trolls really are. He says:

EB: i don’t know why you guys are doing this to yourselves. 
EB: all this time jackassery, it’s giving me a headache. 

[…]

EB: i like how you guys have basically resorted to trolling each other, through us.

Then John talks to Terezi, fulfilling the super-vital “Terezi punches Karkat and says it’s from John” stable time loop. Terezi goes on to introduce John to the concept of denizens, and how you’re apparently supposed to kill your denizen in order to release the grist hoard for something called the Ultimate Alchemy. John enters a return node to go back to his room, and then we switch abruptly to the carapacian arc.

The two male exiles prepare a crown for the newly-arrived WQ. PM notices that and remembers something else: her past self is now on Prospit and meets the white queen. She explains her situation to the queen, who gives PM? her ring. Their future selves are then seen together, PM giving the ring to the queen, who coronates the intrepid mail lady.

Meow.

Rose talks to Jaspersprite, who explains to Rose her planet quest in which she has to “play the rain” in order to restore underwater life to her planet, after she “wakes up”, whatever that means. His “secret” is also brought up but is not really explained yet. Rose’s planet quest is a topic of interest because it is brought up several times later (most recently by Dave) as something that she consistently refused to follow through with and might not even be her real quest. Fairly recent updates have made it clear that Hussie has not forgotten about Rose’s quest to play the rain, and that Rose feels that she really doesn’t actually need to do that thing because it feels so unimportant, and because after they deal with all the bad guys and beat the game, there would be no point in doing so. I’ve seen readers argue that Rose will probably end up doing her planet quest at some point regardless, but I don’t really have a view on whether that will actually happen. I do think that it will be at least brought up again at some point, whether or not it’s done.

Rose consults with a dreaming Jade about what her sprite said, because she feels that someone who says similarly cryptic things could provide backup. Jade exposits about dream selves, how all four kids have one, how hers is awake while Rose’s isn’t yet, and how Rose will understand stuff once her dream self wakes up. She is worried that her bedroom might also have scrawlings on it like John’s has. Dave is busy climbing up the antenna tower on his house in order to get to his kernelsprite.

Terezi guides John some more, trying to get the rocket pack without random stuff stuck inside it like the thing John got when he mashed keys to make a random captcha code. She says she’s giving all the codes for the objects and stuff that she got from the other three kids to Sollux, her team’s hacker, in order to get the code for the clean rocket pack. Random interesting note: John says that he bets the trolls’ hacker guy is the best because hackers are always the best. I wonder how he’ll react when he learns that Roxy is into that stuff. Terezi returns to give John the code, and so he makes his rocket pack, and then talks to Dave.

Dave says that he entered the medium, and this is a point where many readers complain, because we didn’t get to see how Dave got into the game. This is saved for Act 4’s concluding flash, [S] Descend. I don’t know why Hussie decided to do that—maybe for the sake of putting awesome moments in a concluding flash? Typically, readers will feel upset that they didn’t get to see an animation of Dave getting into the game, but they all but forget about it after watching Descend, which takes up its first 40 seconds showing how Dave entered the game, because of how dramatic the whole flash is. Anyway, Dave goes on to ask John what to prototype. He doesn’t have any ideas and blasts off to his seventh gate, ignoring Dave’s warning that John is probably fucking something up.

What the hell did you do, Dave.

Then we get another cool flash in which we’re introduced to Dave’s planet, the Land of Heat and Clockwork. We see that Dave alchemized lots of stuff while we weren’t looking (suit, sword, timetables), and fights underlings in a badass sequence with the help of his sprite, regrettably prototyped with Lil’ Cal, whose puppet attacks are both hilarious and nightmarish. Typically, readers will think, why the hell did we skip so much stuff?! Not just Dave entering the medium, but Cal getting prototyped, Dave’s alchemy binge, and his progression through the gates (all the way through number 5 according to the loading screen!). Also, I really like the choice of music in the flash, with the constantly repeating bass pattern, the 6/8 beat, and lava effects really fitting for a planet filled with gears and lava.

If all this didn’t garner enough of a flat “what the fuck” reaction, Dave talks to Rose and casually reveals to the reader that they’ve been stuck in a bad future in which Jade and John both died, by her meteor and his denizen respectively‚ for four months. Dave decides to go back in time to prevent John from going to his denizen, and advises Rose to go to sleep in order that she may continue existing. I should note that in this conversation, both Dave and Rose changed in personality, which I’ll discuss in a little bit.

We rewind back to what was John’s final conversation with Dave in the doomed timeline, but before blasting off, Dave relays messages from his newly-appeared future self asking him to get off that rocket pack, or else he’ll die. John doesn’t believe him, so future Dave himself pesters John, begging him to get off. He says:

TG: john stop being a tool and unbuckle yourself from that piece of shit 
TG: if our friendship means anything youll listen to me and past dave 

At this point it’s clear that despite how much he likes to not care about anything, Dave cares deeply for John and badly wants him not to go and die. In Acts 1-3 Dave was consistently portrayed as shrugging off just about everything that should be taken seriously. While present Dave only shows a bit of irritation at John, future Dave is seriously angry at him. This shows us that after four months in a bad future, Dave went through quite some changes in personality, becoming more bitter and expressive of negative emotions, more so than regular Dave ever would be on a regular basis. Future Rose also changed somewhat, given that she seriously questions whether Dave’s plan to travel back in time will work. Then comes the shocking part: Future Dave gives present Dave his stuff and then hops into Dave’s sprite, creating Davesprite.

Fun fact: This happened on my birthday, but way before I knew about Homestuck.

John blasts off anyway, cue massive facepalm from readers. In the first few acts Dave was the one who was always kind of a douchebag, but now John is being one instead. Rose prepares herself for a nap and gains the memories of her future self in a brief flash.

Davesprite goes on to vent his frustration to Terezi, telling her not to talk to John anymore. He says that the whole doomed timeline shows that none of the trolls think anything through, and wonders how they go about timeline management. All Terezi says about that is that the troll in charge of time stuff is a girl who doesn’t want to talk to any of the kids. Davesprite explains why Terezi shouldn’t talk to John anymore:

GC: SO JOHN 4CTU4LLY D1D WH4T 1 S41D?
TG: yeah
TG: im telling you
TG: huge pushover
TG: he will do what you say
TG: unless it happens to be for his own good
TG: then all a sudden hes a tough nut to crack go figure

Even today John is kind of like that. He follows Terezi’s retcon mission instructions to the letter, even when he starts suspecting that she made him do pointless scalemate stealing stuff just to screw with him. There are exceptions but that’s generally the case.

Here’s yet another potential continuity error: Aradia prototyped herself into her own sprite, but Terezi talks about self-prototyping (which Davesprite just did) in a way that suggests that it’s a totally new thing the trolls didn’t think of doing. Anyway, after Terezi apologizes and does her D4V3 1S TH1S YOU thing, Davesprite reconciles with her and says that she’s a pretty good troll, and can do what she wants as long as she doesn’t bug John. Terezi also thinks he isn’t so bad, finding it impressive that he came up with prototyping his future self into a sprite. Overall, this exchange ends on a positive note.

Davesprite then chats with Dave, and he talks about how he’s supposed to present all this information he is given from being a sprite in riddles but can give Dave a straight answer to anything. Instead of asking about stuff like the Ultimate Riddle or whatever, Dave asks his sprite why they are so fucking awesome, which Davesprite doesn’t have an answer for. They discuss their comics and how Dave is now provided with plenty of cool gear in advance. It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between Dave and Davesprite. It would be cool to see them converse again after three years apart going through different stuff, but Davesprite recently combined with Nepeta so … I don’t know.

This is probably a bit of an awkward stopping point because it’s between Davesprite becoming a thing and John reconsidering blasting off (not to mention proximity to the anniversary flash and the first recap), but damn if this isn’t the longest post in this whole series so far. So I’ll stop here. Not sure if I’ll still have 6 parts for Act 4 or bump it up to 7 parts. In any case, see you next time as we progress through Jack Noir commencing his massive flipout and John explores Rose’s world and stuff.

>> Part 18: Snooping Nerds and Dream Dancers

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