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Act 5 Act 2, Part 7 of 32
Pages 2891-2941 (MSPA: 4791-4841)
“The villain is a FUCKING DOG WEARING SUNGLASSES.”
Back to Jack’s duel with a wicked rad dude, his creepy puppet, and his bird son/brother, we get some panels like the one above that are creepy but crazy awesome. See, if this lightning ninja freak is fighting a villain, that’s when he’s pretty cool, like an impossibly rad character from Street Fighter or something.
This is a really rad panel.
Jack unleashes his red miles and this happens:
This serves to transition us to Rose, who’s in some dark room reading a book.
An early sneak peek at Skaia’s final form.
Notably, the book here (as well as a few others on Sburb lore) is written in consort hieroglyphics, the same kind used in the frog temple. Shouldn’t the English alphabet logically be used instead? After all, the English language seems to be a universal constant, as does the English alphabet (trolls can read both the Daedric alphabet and the English alphabet). I guess the hieroglyphs are for stylistic effect.
— tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] —
MISTAKE CAUGHT! RED ALERT!!! … … OK, I’ll calm down. Homestuck, like any work of media, has its little mistakes, but this one is really kind of glaring. The screen names here should be reversed, because John is pestering Rose (for reference, he’s asking her for prototyping advice), not Rose pestering John.
EB: rose, i have a question, and i am in a hurry!
EB: so hurry up and answer!!!
TT: Did you know your planet was on fire?
EB: it is?
TT: Yes. It makes a good light for reading, actually.
EB: ok, haha, that’s a confusing thing you said, but that topic will have to wait!
Yeah, a fiery planet making a good light for reading is a prime example of something that only makes sense in context. “There’s a fiery storm on Jupiter, which makes a pretty nice reading light.”
TT: First of all, I should preface this conversation by saying I know exactly what you and Jade are going to do.
TT: The more of our future I’ve been allowed to see, the more I’m presented with a challenge I’m not very comfortable with.
TT: The trolls have tipped us off about what’s to come without any regard for the consequences, as appears to be their nature.
TT: But maybe that’s why it’s worked for them.
TT: Maybe their indiscretion mingles with the cosmic noise that is the fabric of temporal uncertainty.
EB: rose, tick tick tick!!!
TT: Sorry, John.
TT: I’m just nervous about it.
TT: About whether telling you what you definitely will or won’t do will alter a predetermined outcome.
Here’s that recurring theme of withholding information again (though at least this time, Rose has a decent reason to do so). She’s being simultaneously anti-fatalistic and classically Skaia-esquely fatalistic. Sometimes, Homestuck’s plot seems to be filled with things like, “There’s this terrible thing that’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” That’s simultaneously a problem with and part of the fun of Homestuck. A subset of this sort of thing would the theme of foregone conclusions, where the fun is not finding out what’ll happen, but how it’ll happen. Don’t some Shakespearean plays do that sort of thing? I don’t want to turn this into a high school English class so I’ll move on.
TT: I guess I can permit myself to tell you this, somewhat definitively.
TT: Failing to prototype the kernel is the absolute worst thing that you could possibly do.
TT: Like, ever.
EB: oh no!
Here’s the weird let’s call it “semi-fatalistic” way Rose is acting again. She talks about how breaking certain rules of the game is very bad, but at the same time has this massive game-breaking quest going on.
EB: why is it so bad?
TT: Because the battlefield will not be able to heal, and then transform.
TT: It will not reach the stage which allows it to become ready to receive our universe.
EB: i thought you said it wasn’t going to be able to make a universe anyway?
EB: wasn’t it barren or something?
EB: so why is it important?
TT: Because if it does not reach this stage, we will not be able to recover the treasure hidden in its core.
TT: Which is to say,
TT: You will not be able to recover it.
TT: When you go to sleep again.
EB: why didn’t you say so, of course the answer is treasure.
John probably thinks “of course the answer is treasure” because that’s very typical of video games. I guess John forgot to put on his video game thinking cap for a while or something.
GG: are you busy?
GG: i dont have much time!
GG: i am about to make my entry item, and its a little confusing
GG: i think the more players we add, the trickier they are to… um……
GG: like yours was
Here’s the kids working together outside of the relevant client/server pairs: John and Jade ask Rose and Dave respectively for advice on Jade’s entry into the game. I mentioned a pretty long time ago how cooperation between the players is an admirable thing to see in Homestuck. In this case Dave doesn’t answer Jade, but the point still stands.
Also, why exactly does Jade think making the entry item is confusing? As far as I can tell, Jade’s process of making it isn’t any different from the other three kids, but maybe Jade thinks her case is confusing because she isn’t much into video games? I’m not sure.
TG: nak nak nak
TG: nak nak nak nak nak nak
TG: nakka nakka nak
GG: dammit dave!!!!!!
GG: this is really urgent!
TG: MY GLASSES ARE TALKING TO ME MY GLASSES ARE TALKING TO ME
As I said, Jade really wants Dave’s help even though he isn’t the one in charge of getting her into the game. This really shows how the kids are naturally inclined to work together in all scenarios.
Dream Dave visits Rose’s room and there’s an ominous black aura surrounding her. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a good sign.
John wakes up from a nap and loses his Cosbytop and sprite pendant, both drowning in oil. If he ever recovered those items later during the battleship journey, I figure the pendant would still be usable but likely not the laptop.
The text here has a weird effect where it’s not only rotated, but with the letters’ vertical positions shifted around a bit. Hussie must’ve had trouble editing the text there so that it fits in the PDA picture just right. Also, fedorafreak is up and about.
In a fit of stupidity, John throws his PDA in the oil. I remember that later Nannasprite recovers that thing fine which suggests that maybe the other things John left in the oil would still work? I’m not sure. Fits of stupidity are another parallel between John and Karkat.
EB: i don’t remember what happened, i was in the middle of helping jade…
EB: and then…
EB: i guess my bed crashed?
EB: and i got knocked out i guess.
EB: i was dreaming.
EB: i couldn’t have been out for that long, because my dream was really short.
TT: You weren’t.
TT: Ten minutes, I’d say.
Rose’s line here tells us that John woke up after Jade entered the game. In this read, it took me a little bit to figure that out.
EB: hey, how do you know these things anyway?
EB: can you see me somehow?
TT: I have a crystal ball.
EB: oh man, really?
EB: like a magic one?
TT: I think so.
EB: can it show you the future?
EB: is that how you know what’s going to happen?
TT: No, it can only show me various locations in the present moment, as far as I can tell.
TT: My perception of the future has been informed by other sources.
EB: like what?
TT: Whispering gods, memories sifted from dreams, cryptic readings from unearthed talismans, conclusions drawn from riddles deciphered – every gambit you’d expect a quest to extend to an emerging seer.
TT: I have more pedestrian sources too, you know.
TT: Sometimes trolls blither tidbits about the future, and I can’t help but take note of it.
TT: Just as they do with you.
TT: You also have access to the oracle clouds in Skaia, whereas I do not.
EB: oh yeah.
TT: Knowing the future is no remarkable feat here.
TT: It appears to be a fact of life.
TT: I’m not all that special, John.
Much like Dave, Rose is, as John put it, “jaded by awesome shit”. It recently hit me that this crazy knowledge stuff ties straight in with Rose’s role as a seer.
EB: ok, buuuuuut…
EB: i guess that’s not all i’m talking about.
EB: you seem a little different.
EB: kind of, um… spooky?
EB: i just mean that before, it felt like we were in this adventure together, figuring stuff out as we went along.
EB: and now you have all the answers! because of magic, and other mysterious reasons!
EB: and you want to use your powers to break the game, and i still don’t really understand why, and…
TT: I’m not actually trying to caricaturize a grim sorcerer.
TT: There’s still a perfectly intact piece of my mind which realizes how ridiculous it is to be flying across rainbow oceans with a couple of magic wands and a salamander in a little cowl.
TT: And it wasn’t without swallowing a little embarrassment that I revealed I was using a crystal ball just now.
TT: It’s all pretty absurd.
TT: And yet,
TT: It’s been fun, and above all, practical.
TT: For solving our problems.
John is talking about how Rose seems kind of spooky and weirdly omniscient, and Rose’s reaction is justifying it by saying that she’s not trying to be the spooky witch (hehe) archetype.
EB: well, if you do not have any objection…
EB: maybe later, i will drop by your planet again and rescue you, thus breaking the spooky spell put on you by your nefarious, shadowy masters.
EB: that way you will stop being so grimdark and ominous, and basically completely off the deep end in every way, as is now painfully obvious to anyone with a brain.
John’s putting on his video game thinking cap again. It’s sort of like John is Mario and Rose is Princess Peach, and she fell for a trap created by ominous Bowsers or something, except the Bowsers are ugly squid witches who cause Peach to become a spooky goth girl. So Mario has to jump through tubes and question mark boxes in a variant of the blue sewer world or something until he makes it to the next level and saves Peach. But when Mario finally finds Peach, she’s a full-out gray monster and the two go to fight [insert Mario villain here] and … you know the rest.
That was a pretty crappy analogy. The bottom line is, John now thinks Rose is a damsel in distress or something and he has the idea that it’s a video game of that sort.
TT: I will do by best to occupy myself as benignly and unmagically as possible until you show up.
EB: please write some happy stories in your journal, about lively horses, and conspicuously not about wizards, or sadness.
Dirk, who is kind of Rose’s male counterpart, has written a story about lively horses (his edit of Pony Pals to be specific, which eventually turned into a completely rewritten story). Even though the story is also stated to be a pretty emotional tale.
(If you haven’t read the fanmade full version of Pony Pals, read it now.)
TT: … “Happy?”
TT: What is this strange, unsad emotion of which you speak?
EB: yes, this is good.
EB: you see rose, these are jokes.
EB: this are what they look like, do not be alarmed.
TT: Are those the things people say when they want unusual noises to come out of the pliable crescent-shaped holes sometimes found in people’s faces?
EB: laughs, rose. laaaughs.
EB: also, those crescenty looking holes where laughs come out of?
EB: those are smiles!
EB: observe… 😀
TT: I need to make a note of this.
TT: Excuse me while I open this tome bound in the tanned, writhing flesh of a tortured hellscholar. The screaming will subside shortly.
EB: ok, i will wait patiently.
TT: Continue to not be alarmed as I record your advice with runes stroked in the black tears bled from the corruption-weary eyes of fifty thousand imaginary occultists.
TT: And then brace yourself for the fabled blackdeath trance of the woegothics I will slip into, while quaking in the bloodeldritch throes of the broodfester tongues.
Here, Rose is exaggerating her ominous dreary dark goth girl thing and parodying herself to poke fun at John. But as far as I can tell, many fans like to make Rose seriously be a “what’s a joke?” kind of person. Pretty much every character has some kind of super-inaccurate fanon interpretation, but Rose here almost is acting like fanon Rose.
EB: no, rose!
EB: that sort of nonsense is exactly what is out of the question!
EB: i see things are more urgent than i realized.
EB: i will have to venture there straightaway, and slap you right out of that silly old trance!
TT: One is not easily shaken from the broodfester tongues, John.
TT: They are stubborn throes.
EB: well shit.
John’s whole idea of saving Rose from being all spooky has a strange meta feel to it. To get a picture of what I mean, here’s a little scale I just came up with.
Meta level 0 would be a story that features a whole bunch of classic character archetypes without questioning them, like all the classic fairy tales and whatnot.
Meta level 1 would be a story or a part of a story that lampshades character archetypes. Very often, Homestuck enters meta level 1, where characters talk about being a hero or a villain or a sidekick, Rose’s whole idea of everyone having an arc to fulfill, or Vriska trying to make herself a super-perfect person. Meta level 1 can be as simple as a character saying, “Oh god, it’s one of those people.”
Meta level 2 is when it’s lampshaded that people are lampshading archetypes. The bit quoted above is an example of that: Rose recognizes that John thinks it’s the damsel-in-distress archetype and that following with that is harder than he thinks. Homestuck has a few other bits that are meta level 2, like Dave’s argument with grimbark Jade about being an archetypical reluctant hero vs. what he really is, or Dave telling Rose that human beings don’t have arcs.
Meta level 3 is when it’s lampshaded that people are lampshading that people are lampshading archetypes, or in less confusing terms, lampshading meta level 2. You can see how the scale continues from there. I can think of a time where Homestuck enters meta level 3: Rose lampshades how people are always lampshading the weirdness of her idea of people having arcs and stuff.
I won’t talk about further meta levels because recursion is confusing. The main point of this digression is, Homestuck is all about lampshading stuff.
EB: what is this treasure, anyway?
EB: and how’s it gonna save us!
TT: You’d probably be disappointed if I described it.
EB: tell me anyway!
TT: It’s called The Tumor.
EB: you’re right, that is the shittiest sounding treasure i have ever heard.
EB: so what is this tumor supposed to do?
EB: and what is the significance of…
EB: removing it, i guess?
EB: does that mean im curing the battlefield or something?
EB: like the planet’s doctor?
This bit is the first introduction of the Tumor, a major driving mystery arc plot point. Here, the name is introduced, but further exploration of it is cut off. I think the deal with the Tumor is fed to us bit by bit rather than having an exposition dump about it, as the comic is prone to do.
TT: I have to go, John.
TT: Talk to your trolls.
TT: We’ll catch up shortly.
EB: there’s stuff you didn’t tell me!
EB: what happened with jade? did i mess anything up with the prototyping??
EB: aaaugh, why can’t i remember!!!!!
EB: don’t go yet rose, tell me!
— tentacleTherapist [TT] ceased pestering ectoBiologist [EB] —
EB: BLUH BLUH
EB: HUGE WITCH
“HUGE WITCH”? I’ve said before that the “Rose is a witch” thing is the closest Homestuck gets to the weird role inversion bullshit. But as I had previously mentioned, this probably isn’t so much role inversion as it is indication that Rose is off the rails. And I have to say, the Rose witch thing is shoving that fact in our faces pretty well. But at the same time, Rose is doing very seer-y things, if that makes sense.
I love how Karkat’s face is in the background, symbolizing him bombarding John with his anger.
Also, John’s doing a stock Vriska pose. Make of that what you will.
CG: IT’S ME AGAIN, ASSHOLE
CG: THE ONE WHO HATES YOU, REMEMBER?
CG: OR SHOULD I SAY FUTURE-REMEMBER???
CG: AGAIN WITH KNOWING MY NAME
CG: IT’S REALLY FUCKING UNSETTLING WHEN YOU DO THAT.
CG: I WONDER HOW FAR BACK YOU KNOW IT
CG: I’M GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE A SPECIAL POINT OF NOT BEING THE ONE TO TELL YOU, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE YOU THE SATISFACTION.
It would have been funny if Karkat ended up telling John his name regardless. That’s not what happens, but it would still be funny.
EB: hey, shut up a second!
EB: i need you to be nice for a change and do me a favor…
EB: have you talked to jade recently?
EB: can you tell me what happened to her??
CG: WHO THE FUCK IS JADE.
CG: JOHN, THE FACT THAT YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO THINK I CAN READ YOUR MIND JUST UNDERSCORES WHAT A HARROWING GODDAMN IDIOT YOU ARE.
EB: jade is the girl who i am pretty sure just entered our session.
EB: she is my client player.
CG: OH, YOU MEAN THE ONE WHO FUCKS EVERYTHING UP.
EB: um, yeah… i thought you knew that? you talked to her a bunch of times, apparently.
CG: WHY THE FUCK WOULD I KNOW THAT.
CG: THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND TIME I HAVE EVER TALKED TO A HUMAN.
CG: AND THE FIRST TIME, MUCH TO MY MIGRAINE COMPOUNDING REGRET, WAS WITH YOU.
EB: ok, i see what is going on here.
EB: we are finally getting to our first couple of conversations. cool!
Heated angry Karkat is back in action! It’s always amusing how John’s always really enthusiastic to get flamed by Karkat.
CG: YOU SEE, IN OUR FIRST CONVERSATION, WE DIDN’T EXACTLY GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT.
CG: IT IS A FOOT WHICH SHOULD HAVE REEKED OF YOUR VERBAL RUINATION.
CG: BUT INSTEAD IT SMELLED LIKE
CG: WELL, LET’S NOT GET INTO THAT.
CG: I AM HERE TO DO WHAT YOU AND YOUR PATHETIC CADRE OF CO-HUMANS FAILED TO DO, WHICH IS SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
CG: I AM HERE TO UTTERLY ANNIHILATE YOUR SHIT.
CG: I WILL STAY ON MESSAGE THIS TIME. I WILL NOT BE DETERRED BY YOUR GOOFY MANNERISMS AND YOUR ABSURD PENCHANT FOR REVELING IN SELF ABUSE.
CG: WE WILL GET OFF ON A FRESH FOOT, AND BY FRESH I MEAN MOST FOUL INDEED.
CG: ITS TOES ARE WIGGLING UNDER YOUR HIDEOUS PINK NOSTRILS. NOW BREATHE DEEP YOUR MISFORTUNE, YOU SAD LITTLE CLOWN.
CG: THIS IS THE END OF YOU. THAT AROMA YOU DETECT WAFTS FROM THE BOUQUET PERCHED ON YOUR CORPSE BOX.
CG: NOBODY CRIES, EXCEPT YOUR SHITTY GHOST. HEAVY SOBS FROM A SPECTER OF UNQUALIFIED FAILURE.
CG: IT IS A SYMPHONY TO MY ANGRY EARS.
EB: so… the smell is from a foot… but also from funeral flowers?
EB: this metaphor is confusing.
Some characters in Homestuck have a whole thing of getting carried away with turning idioms into elaborate metaphors.
EB: this is all that big time trolling i was looking forward to.
EB: and it’s pretty good so far, and ordinarily i would be excited to hear more…
CG: YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN???
CG: YOU ARE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THIS, WHAT A SICK FUCK.
EB: but i really am concerned about what happened with jade!
The funny thing about John’s interactions with Karkat is that Karkat flames him when John doesn’t want him to, and he doesn’t flame him when John wants him to.
EB: the ground is shaking…
EB: what’s going on?
CG: I’LL TELL YOU WHAT’S GOING ON.
CG: WHAT YOU FUCKING DID IS WHAT’S GOING ON.
Literally two pages before the wham flash, we get one more little hint as to what’s going to happen. Just from this bit I quoted, you might be able to deduce that Bec got prototyped while John was asleep and caused Jack Noir to become nightmarishly powerful. After all, Jack is currently on LOWAS so he can be inferred to be the one who caused the ground to shake. I’m pretty sure Hussie deliberately made Bec’s prototyping guessable.
EB: so tell me what i fucking did!!!
CG: OH, YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU FUCKING DID?
EB: please, no more stalling or “i already told you’s” or any other maddening nonsense!
EB: TELL ME!
CG: VERY WELL, JOHN HUMAN EGBERT.
CG: I WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU DID
CG: READY FOR ME TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU DID?
CG: HERE’S ME, TELLING YOU WHAT YOU DID
CG: OK, HERE GOES
CG: WHAT YOU DID IS AS FOLLOWS
CG: AS SUCH
CG: AND THUSLY
This is pretty much code for, “massive info dump that will answer all your questions is coming soon.” In my previous post I talked about how flashes in Homestuck are often followed with info dumps, and as we’ll see, the following flash is a great example of this pattern, with a subsequent stretch of pages exploring the ramifications of what happened in that flash.
OK, time to comment on [S] Jade: Enter. As I mentioned in an intermission post, I think I missed that flash in my first read because of inadvertently skipping pages, but it’s one of my favorite flashes.
The flash opens with a series of shots of what’s going on with all the characters involved here set to piano music. The one depicted above is pretty funny because it has a dramatically shaded view of John looking solemn which would normally look pretty badass, but the Cosbytop makes it seem more like a clown filing papers.
Jade alchemizes her entry item (a Bec piñata) and a blindfold appears on her head as she does that. I can’t help but wonder, how did the blindfold get there? Did it come with her alchemization, or the Bec piñata have embedded first guardian powers to zap the blindfold on her face?
The blindfold is meant to tie in with the symbolism of the entry items, and I’ll stop here to note that I never discussed that symbolism at all. Many readers will catch on to the symbolisms associated with each of the entry items and discuss them in commentaries. Hussie goes in depth on the entry item symbolism on his Formspring here. I totally could’ve talked about this whole symbolism stuff, but I never bothered doing that. I guess it’s something I find irrelevant to discuss in something that’s meant to be my own commentary. I could go on a tangent about the nature of this post series, but that would be as pretentious as it is better fit for my recurring posts where I say stuff about this post series. Speaking of which, a day before the Omegapause ends, I will make another post where I say stuff about this series, including how it might change when Homestuck resumes.
OK I got way off track here. Back to where we were.
John comes very close to prototyping one of Grandpa’s dolls, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that it lost an eye and arm the moment John picked it up with the Sburb cursor. I always thought that John decided to prototype that doll because of the missing eye and arm, but now I guess that’s either not the case or an art inconsistency.
At the crucial moment, Vriska interferes and puts John to sleep before he can prototype the doll. I’ll stop and take a moment to wonder, what would happen if Vriska hadn’t put John to sleep? I think Hussie stated on his Formspring that whether or not Vriska put John to sleep, Bec would’ve jumped into the kernelsprite or at least tried to do that. John and Jade agreed that they shouldn’t prototype Grandpa before she enters the game, leaving Bec to combine with a blue doll. I guess that would turn Jack into a blind armless superdog? I’m not sure how dangerous he’d be then. One thing that definitely couldn’t have happened if the doll was prototyped is Jade ascending to god tier, because Jadesprite existing was necessary for that to happen.
Bec warps all the junk (and Grandpa’s body!) into outer space and jumps into the kernelsprite, and for the next ten seconds, we watch Bec transform into a sprite. This scene is prolonged, which is notable because it gives us a bit of time to let it sink in that Bec just prototyped himself into Jade’s sprite. Often in Homestuck’s flashes, lots of events will happen in rapid succession, causing people to miss out on some stuff. Bec’s prototyping clearly averts this pattern because it’s a very important moment in the plot.
Hussie says it’s kind of a mystery why Bec prototyped himself. I think it was to amplify his first guardian powers and make sure Jade is protected. The full extent of Bec’s powers is kind of ambiguous. Becsprite and Bec Noir both have demonstrated incredible powers, though it’s unclear how much of it is raw first guardian power.
A second reason why Bec might have prototyped himself is because maybe he knew that if he prototyped himself, the enemies in the game wouldn’t be able to hurt Jade.
Compare Becsprite destroying the meteor:
to Bec Noir destroying the trolls’ Prospit later in the flash:
Becsprite seems to be using all his power to destroy the meteor, but Bec Noir not only seems to have an easier time destroying Prospit, he also does it quite differently. This suggests that the two’s powers do indeed work pretty differently. In Homestuck it’s always been pretty indeterminate exactly which powers characters or objects get. I’ve mentioned several times that powers in Homestuck typically operate on the principle of new powers as the plot demands.
The fighting scenes show a bunch of sprite mode views of Davesprite with his bird wings spread out, and I have to say, it looks pretty badass. I wonder whether or not it was guest art. I would say no if not for the fact that some of the sprite mode characters in [S] Make her pay were guest art.
Here’s something that I’ll put in my Jade pattern-breaking count: (15) it’s not just her house that enters the Medium, also the volcano next to it. This was implied as early as [S] WV: Ascend where there’s a hole in the ground where the volcano once stood, but it’s best to count that event when it happened onscreen.
I love how Jack Noir’s transformation into Bec Noir is played out. His head turns into a dog head, and the green sun effects on his wings really emphasize that he’s going to be super-dangerous.
Davesprite has such a “we’re screwed” look. Or a “what the fuck just happened” look. Could be both.
Up next is a flashback to the trolls at the victory platform, accompanied with a change to 8-bit music. The music in this flash is so perfectly dramatic but it also has its own unique flavor with lots of Asian instruments and stuff.
This flash answers lots of questions, including perhaps the most enticing: who is the demon the trolls talk about? Noir is the demon. It’s him. I think the army of a thousand Aradiabots that fought Jack serves to show how strong he is (this kind of thing is done a lot in Homestuck), which was mentioned in Alterniabound but I didn’t bother discussing that.
It was really hard to take screenshots of these scenes at the right time.
Karkat wakes up on Prospit, sees Bec Noir, and recognizes him as the Jack who he felt a pretty strong bond with. His face in the picture shown above captures his reaction to what he perceives as an ally betraying him so well. I’m not sure if his emotion could be captured in Hussie’s usual art style (both pictures shown above are clearly guest art).
The flash concludes to Jade falling through snow with a goofy grin set to a slow piano and strings version of the cheerful song that played at the end of Bec’s debut flash back in Act 3. That scene has a weird saddening effect, because of the music that concludes shit hitting the fan extra hard.
This was such a whopper of a flash I don’t know what to say. I’ve decided that I won’t do much recapping stuff anymore when I already have extensive commentary so I won’t bother with a recap of [S] Jade: Enter. Nor should you expect a huge wall of words recapping the act when I finish Act 5 Act 2. I might have a shorter recap, I’m not sure.
Following the flash is a stretch of pages accompanied by Karkat’s exposition that shows us the ramifications of what went down during that flash.
Jack’s first kill as Bec Noir is Dave’s bro, one of the most badass characters in Homestuck. Let it sink in, this is demonstration of how strong Jack is now. It’s also the very first thing shown to readers after watching [S] Jade: Enter. This would also be a very fitting end for Davesprite if it didn’t turn out that he survived wounded.
CG: YOU MADE AN UNBEATABLE BOSS IS WHAT YOU DID.
This is such a great line to accompany the death of a hardcore fighter, and the presumed death of his bird sideman. The death scene fits so well with the word “unbeatable”.
CG: THE IDIOT YOU CALL THE JADE HUMAN WENT AHEAD AND PROTOTYPED HER FREAK OF A LUSUS, WHILE YOU DECIDED TO TAKE A NAP FOR SOME REASON RATHER THAN DOING WHAT A LEADER IS SUPPOSED TO DO AND STOP HER FROM BEING SO FUCKING RETARDED.
We now know exactly what the awful mistake the kids made is, but we also know that we can’t actually blame it on the kids. In Karkat’s eyes, John and Jade both made a horrible mess of things, but in reality, if any person should take the blame, it’s Vriska.
CG: YOUR VERSION OF JACK, WHO YOU WERE SOMEHOW DUMB ENOUGH TO ENTRUST WITH THE QUEEN’S RING, BECAME ESSENTIALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE.
Once again, it’s not the kids’ fault that Jack took the queen’s ring, at least not directly. This is half exposition dump, half misconception dump.
The fire Jack made is so strong that it made John’s whole planet look green.
EB: jade prototyped a lusus?
EB: what’s that?
CG: OK, MY BAD, I FORGOT I WAS TALKING TO A MEMBER OF A GENERICALLY BIZARRE ALIEN SPECIES.
I like how Karkat calls humans “generically bizarre”. To Karkat, humans are like a stereotypical sci-fi alien race. But Homestuck’s trolls are quite different from what comes to people’s minds when they hear “alien”. I just looked up “alien” on Google Images, and most of the results are either weird nightmare creatures or have very minimalist designs, with saggy monochrome slimy skin, no hair, and big hollow eyes. I wonder what results show up when you look up “alien” on Troll Google? Some of the trolls seem to have subconscious knowledge of human stuff, so maybe humans are the troll race’s idea of aliens.
CG: I GUESS SOME HUMANS HAVE A LUSUS, WHILE OTHERS DON’T? WHATEVER.
CG: HER LUSUS IS THE CREATURE WHICH SERVES AS HER CUSTODIAN.
EB: oh, you mean her dog!
CG: I GUESS
EB: so, she prototyped becquerel?
EB: why is that so bad?
CG: JOHN, DO YOU EVEN KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS?
CG: IS THIS HOW HUMAN FRIENDSHIP WORKS? YOU JUST DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT EACH OTHER?
Apparently John doesn’t know that Bec is a powerful dog. Compare this to Dave, who called Bec a “devilbeast” before we even knew Jade’s name. Did Jade withhold information about the weirdness of her life from John just as she pointlessly withheld her knowledge of the future from him? I still don’t get why it would have been bad to tell him. John would have thought it’s incredibly awesome that Jade is apparently psychic.
CG: HER LUSUS EXHIBITS THE PROPERTIES OF A LEGENDARY ENTITY CALLED A FIRST GUARDIAN.
CG: IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MONSTROSITY.
Confirmation that Bec is Earth’s first guardian. This doesn’t typically come as a surprise to readers, since when Doc Scratch is first introduced, you’ll likely be reminded of Bec.
CG: AS THE DEFENDERS OF THEIR PLANETS, [FIRST GUARDIANS ARE] VIRTUALLY OMNIPOTENT.
CG: PROTOTYPING ONE IS ABSOLUTELY UNCONSCIONABLE.
CG: THE RESULT IS A BOSS A HELL OF A LOT WORSE THAN WHAT WE HAD TO FIGHT, AND WE PROTOTYPED TWELVE TIMES RATHER THAN A MEASLY FOUR.
CG: AND ONE OF OUR PROTOTYPINGS INCLUDED AN OUTER FUCKING GOD THE SIZE OF A CITY!
CG: I HOPE THIS PUTS IN PERSPECTIVE HOW TERRIBLE YOU ARE.
This little power comparison above got me thinking. When we saw the hypothetical fight between Vriska and Bec Noir, they were evenly matched and it was as likely as not that Vriska won. But Aradia said that the trolls only narrowly succeeded in defeating the black king—who is supposedly weaker than Bec Noir—with Vriska rolling the maximum dice combo just like she did in her envisioned fight with Jack plus the other trolls all at her side plus an army of a thousand Aradiabots plus Gamzee’s super rage attack.
CG: [JACK] WAS WEARING A RING I DIDN’T RECOGNIZE, CERTAINLY NOT ONE BELONGING TO OUR QUEENS.
CG: WE DESTROYED THOSE.
Apparently the trolls destroyed both of their queens’ rings. This begs the question, how and why did they destroy the white queen’s ring? My guess is that they had to dunk both of the rings in the volcano in order to fully activate it, and that the white queen freely gave up her ring. This would present a challenge for the kids; Kanaya wasn’t kidding when she said that activating the forge wouldn’t be easy. Maybe they’d need to snatch the rings from Bec Noir and PM, find the Ring of Void (maybe take it from Caliborn?), use retcons to make another copy of the Ring of Life, and throw all those into the volcano. I’m looking forward to seeing how the magic ring stuff will play out.
Pictured above: one of the images accompanying Karkat’s info dump. It’s an interesting choice for Hussie to have this part of the exile side story merely accompany a conversation, rather than actually narrated from the exiles’ perspective where they’re given commands. Is this done to spread Karkat’s exposition through multiple panels and emphasize how much information he’s giving John? Or to emphasize that this is a ramification of what happened in [S] Jade: Enter?
Recently I participated in an online discussion about adapting Homestuck as a TV show or movie, a task that’s considerably harder for Homestuck than it is for most other works. Some people suggested that the best way to adapt the pesterlogs without them getting boring for viewers might be to read the pesterlogs as related scenes are shown on the screen. Homestuck itself does that pretty often, and this sequence, showing visuals of the exile arc shown alongside Karkat explaining stuff, is one of the best examples of this.
CG: ANYWAY, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED, AND THAT’S WHY YOU ARE SUCH A DISGRACE.
CG: THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST TIME I WILL EVER EXPLAIN ALL THIS STUFF TO YOU, BECAUSE I CAN’T IMAGINE IT WILL HELP MY HEADACHE MUCH TO REPEAT MYSELF.
CG: I BET IT’LL BE PRETTY FRUSTRATING FOR YOU IN THE PAST!
From John’s perspective, Karkat finally explained everything to him out of request. From Karkat’s perspective, it’s his first time explaining stuff. John learns things in the reverse order that Karkat bothers explaining them. The backwards trolling is just so beautifully mind-wrenching.
EB: yeah, i should get going too.
EB: my friend is pestering me, and i doubt she likes to be kept waiting.
EB: (she is sort of the bossy type!)
CG: WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT YOUR DUMB HUMAN FRIEND AND HER PETULANT, MEANINGLESS DEMANDS.
CG: WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY HAVE TO DO WITH ME.
EB: yeah, you’re right, it is probably of no significance to you whatsoever.
John refers to Vriska as “his friend” rather than Vriska. That’s a pretty great prank on Karkat. Or should I say, trolling Karkat? If you think of it, the kids troll the trolls (as in mess with them) more so than vice versa. John, Rose, and Dave all do that pretty often.
CG: HERE, JOHN HUMAN DIPSHIT.
CG: HAVE A SECOND AND PENULTIMATE FUCK YOU:
CG: MAY IT MARK THE SECOND OF MANY TO COME, AND THE MAGNIFICENT DENOUEMENT TO MANY RECEIVED.
CG: TOGETHER WE JUST TUGGED AT THE BOW TO UNRAVEL A PRESENT FULL OF GO FUCK YOURSELF.
CG: HAPPY WRIGGLING DAY YOU UGLY PILE OF TRASH.
— carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling ectoBiologist [EB] —
Karkat’s last line here is such an awesome stopping point (how did he know it’s John’s birthday?) and it’s almost exactly 50 pages so I’ll stop here. See you next time as OH MY GOD VRISKA WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. Next post will be Thursday because it’s pretty short.
It's ok that you didn't necessarily get everything. In my first read, as I've said multiple times in these posts, I practically didn't understand anything all because I skimmed. I think reading Homestuck kind of taught me not to skim stuff I read, a habit I've had since forever. Even when serially reading the more recent updates, some stuff I didn't quite get.
*A bunch of typos.Ughh, writing on a phone sucks.
Ahh yes, [S]Jade: Enter. What a great flash it is! Fun fact, the song that plays in it (Umbral Ultimatum) is actually a reason I read Homestuck in the first place. Before getting there, I listened to it to death, and when flash finally happaned I was like \”OH SHIT IT'S THAT SONG\”. And also we have another example of something quite predictable from normal person's perspective that never even crossed my mind while reading: Bec prototyping himself. I don't know why, I just can't put the pieces of a puzzle together unless someone shoves the answer in my face. It gets particularly bad with shipping, as I usually don't realize a ship is hinted at, right until the moment it becomes canon. Like Kanrose. I recently got to Equius: Seek the highblood, and Nepeta has literaly paonted it on her shipping wall. How the hell to I miss these things. Probably only exeption is possibility of Davekat. These hints are like getting smacked in the face with obvious. Well, I always itentified myself with Jake the most of all characters, anyway.Uh, sorry for making this comment a rant about shipping. I don't really have anything intresting to say here, really. Maybe in later posts are opinions will clash and I'll be able to post my point of view? Anyway, keep up the good work.