Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 41: Jade’s Adventures in Dumbtimeloopland

Introduction

Part 40 | Part 41 | Part 42 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 14 of 32

Pages 3250-3294 (MSPA: 5150-5196)

NOTE: Next week is spring break, so the next two (possibly the next three) posts will be posted at a faster rate than usual: on March 15, 18, and possibly 21 respectively. Never mind, that’s a really time-crunchy schedule. Let’s just say the next three posts will each be posted at most five days after the previous.

Hilarious every time.

Back from where we left off, Jade answers Karkat and talks about her sprite. Speaking of which, here’s another pattern Jade breaks that I should’ve mentioned last post: (21) her sprite is not a long-lived entity.

GG: i made the mistake of prototyping my dream self who has been dead for years 
GG: and shes completely crazy and theres no talking any sense into her 
CG: HMM. 
GG: hmm? 
CG: YES. “HMM.” 
GG: hmm what 
CG: HMM AS IN HMM INTERESTING. 
CG: AS IN HMM HOW VERY, VERY FUCKING INTERESTING INDEED.

GG: :\ 
GG: what are you getting at??? 
CG: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT AM I GETTING AT. 
CG: I’M GETTING AT WHATEVER HMM INTERESTING GETS AT. 
CG: PLEASE GO ON, I’M LISTENING TO YOUR PROBLEM. 
GG: well… 
GG: i mean, i understand why she is upset 
GG: but she is completely inconsolable, and wont listen to reason about anything! 
GG: and i guess i could deal with that but… 
GG: the frustrating thing is that shes actually me 😦 
GG: i really dont think i would act like that 
CG: HMMMMM. 
GG: will you stop saying hmm!!!!!! 
CG: OK, FINE. 
CG: WHAT OTHER SEQUENCE OF LETTERS WOULD YOU HAVE ME USE TO REGISTER MY PROFOUND FASCINATION. 

Jade relates her interaction with Jadesprite, and Karkat finds it fascinating because it strongly resembles his interactions with her past and future selves. Towards the end of the trolls’ arc, Karkat talked about how arguments with himself are just sort of a thing that keeps happening. He feels that a similar thing going on with someone else is an invigorating prospect. That’s not unusual at all; pretty much everyone gets a sense of jubilation hearing of something that sounds exactly like what they would do.

CG: NOW TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. 
GG: my feelings? 
CG: YES, HOW DID THIS MAKE YOU FEEL. 
GG: well… 
GG: at first i was sad 
GG: because she made me remember all the sad things that just happened 
GG: but im trying to be strong about all that so we can keep moving forward 
GG: and if i can then why cant she? 
GG: but she just went on and on 
GG: and i started getting angry… 
GG: ugh i have never been so angry in my LIFE!!! 
CG: HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. 
GG: I SAID STOP SAYING FUCKING HMM 
CG: o:B 
GG: what does THAT mean????? 
GG: is that supposed to be someone with a halo and goofy teeth?
GG: ARE YOU MAKING FUN OF ME? 

Here’s Jade once again being grouchier than she ever was before her dream self’s death. I think it’s due to a mix of several things: losing her air-headed dream self, having squidmonster dreams, talking to Karkat, and now exasperation with her sprite.

Jade says about Jadesprite:

GG: i mean, i understand why she is upset 
GG: but she is completely inconsolable, and wont listen to reason about anything! 
GG: and i guess i could deal with that but… 
GG: the frustrating thing is that shes actually me 😦 
GG: i really dont think i would act like that 

and later on the same page:

CG: DON’T YOU FIND THE SITUATION TO BE JUST THE SLIGHTEST BIT INTERESTING? 
CG: I MEAN, CONSIDERING 
GG: considering what?? 
CG: IF I RECALL, IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO FROM EITHER OF OUR PERSPECTIVES THAT YOU WERE RIPPING ON ME AND MY SMUG WINDBAG FUTURE SELF FOR ARGUING WITH EACH OTHER 
GG: oh come on… 
GG: this is NOTHING like that! 
CG: HOW IS THIS NOT LIKE THAT 
GG: because she’s… 
GG: well 
GG: she’s ACTUALLY INSANE 
CG: OH I SEE, AND ALL THOSE IDIOT PAST AND FUTURE KARKATS WEREN’T??? 
GG: but 
GG: those are you 
GG: im not her! 

Karkat immediately calls her out on having said earlier that Jadesprite is her. This demonstrates the confusion and subjectiveness of the whole concept of whether or not alternate versions of you are you (more on that later) More on that topic: some alternate selves of you are definitely more “you” than others. Past Karkat and future Karkat unambiguously are him. But Jade and Jadesprite? I’m really not sure.

CG: SO TELL ME 
CG: HOW IS THIS EVEN THE SLIGHTEST FUCKING BIT DIFFERENT? 
GG: i dont know 
GG: it just… 
CG: YES, GO ON 
CG: I’M REALLY CURIOUS 
CG: HOW 
GG: … 
GG: oh my god 
GG: youre right 😦

This bit above sounds so much like a father successfully convincing his daughter that he is right.

This panel is worth including twice in a post. Not that I haven’t done that before but seriously it’s so PRICELESS.

As Karkat chats with Jade about her sprite, he imagines Jade and Jadesprite making out. Now here’s something I can analyze super heavily. The first thing to note is that the envisioned makeout is a callback to the Great Robosmooch of 2010. So you could call this the Great Imaginary Doggysmooch of 2011. I’ve seen people suggest that Karkat must have recognized the callback to the scene with Equius and Aradia, thereby thinking that the two Jades making out is only the natural continuation of this scene. But I doubt that’s very likely.

What’s more likely is that this is just a weird fantasy that makes no sense. Karkat has been repeatedly described by others as weird; among the sane characters, he is certainly one of the weirder ones. Or maybe it’s more like this. Just a bit ago I talked about how how Karkat thinks at times he’s his own kismesis because of his endless arguments with himself that continue being a thing despite exasperation. Maybe he thinks Jade might go through the same stuff with her sprite?

On the other side of things, this is a bizarre fantasy that’s obviously meant to be humorous, which it is. But on the other other side of things, it clearly says something about Karkat and his thoughts.

CG: WELL IF YOU CAN MANAGE TO GET YOUR ANEURYSM UNDER CONTROL 
CG: MAYBE YOU WILL REALIZE I DIDN’T ACTUALLY SPECIFY TO WHOM AN APOLOGY WAS IN ORDER. 
CG: IDIOT. 
GG: what 
GG: are you saying you want to apologize 
CG: I GUESS 
CG: THIS APOLOGY WAS GOING TO GO DOWN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, SO THIS MIGHT AS WELL BE THE TIME. 
CG: AND LET’S FACE IT, I WAS REALLY BEING THE WORST KIND OF PHLEGM BUBBLE BLOWN OUT A NOISY GLISTENING ASS. 
CG: SO I’M SORRY. 
CG: BUT TO BE FAIR, IT WAS MY PAST SELF WHO WAS GIVING YOU SUCH A HARD TIME, AND HE’S COMPLETELY DERANGED. 
GG: ok, i appreciate the THOUGHT of an apology, but i dont know if it really counts if you are just going to pawn off responsibility on your “past self” again! 
GG: maybe your “present self” should own up to it! 
CG: YEAH THAT’S WHAT HE’S DOING. 
CG: HE, BEING ME, RIGHT NOW, IS OWNING UP TO WHAT A FUCKING RETARD PAST ME WAS, AND CONTINUES TO BE. 

Here’s an interesting thing about Karkat’s character. It’s constantly talked about how he has some kind of self-loathing, though most of the time, this fluctuates between bordering on an informed flaw (blaming his past/future selves on stuff rather than himself) and being a very strange and unique kind of self-dislike (like in moments when he blames himself on bad stuff). As I said quite a while back, I don’t think disliking yourself necessarily goes hand-in-hand with disliking other versions of yourself. This itself depends partly on the question of whether alternate versions of you are you. That seems like something that should have a solid answer, though it’s really more subjective. Here’s a good example: when Dave ranted about his upbringing, he felt bad for saying all that stuff to Dirk because he feels as though his bro is not the Dirk he’s talking to, though Dirk says that in his mind, all splinters of him are him and there’s no getting around that. They go on to debate about that topic and I guess respect each other’s views in the end. Jade also doesn’t seem to be certain whether or not alternate versions of her are her, as shown later in this conversation.

Dammit I got off track. The point is, the self-loathing Karkat is touted so often as having is a complex trait that might not be the kind of thing that can be boiled down to a simple phrase.

After having their official reconciliation (I guess this is the point where Jade officially warms up to the trolls), Karkat tells Jade about important plot stuff.

In the picture above, when Karkat shatters his fantasy of Jade making out with Jadesprite, the touching lips of the two Jades remain intact. Is this supposed to symbolize that despite abandoning his Jade-on-Jade fantasy, he now really does have these weird feelings for her that can’t be released from his subconscious Karkat mind?

GG: so you say you have been talking to me from the future? 
CG: YEAH 
CG: MAKING PLANS AND WHATNOT 
CG: TO PRY OURSELVES MUTUALLY OUT OF THIS MASSIVE MOBIUS DOUBLE CLUSTERFUCK. 
GG: ok, so what is the plan? 
GG: i mean, why did you want me to contact you at this moment so badly? 
CG: OK WELL THE MOST IMMEDIATE POINT OF BUSINESS IS 
CG: YOU SEE THAT GLOWING BLUE SCREEN BEHIND YOU? 
GG: yes 
CG: YOU NEED TO TURN THAT FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT OFF.
GG: ok, i can do that 
GG: but why, what does it do? 
GG: its been here my whole life and i could never figure it out
CG: I’M NOT GOING TO SAY MUCH ABOUT IT. 
CG: BUT SUFFICE TO SAY THERE ARE JUST SOME THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO SCREW WITH. 
CG: THERE ARE OUTCOMES THAT ARE EVEN WORSE THAN THE COMPLETE ANNIHILATION OF EXISTENCE ITSELF 
CG: FORCES MORE DAMAGING TO THE INTEGRITY OF REALITY THAN THOSE CAPABLE OF TURNING IMAGINATION INTO PURE VOID 
CG: THEY ARE FORCES WHICH IF HANDLED RECKLESSLY WILL NULLIFY THE BASIC ABILITY OF INTELLIGENT BEINGS IN ALL REAL AND HYPOTHETICAL PLANES OF EXISTENCE TO GIVE A SHIT. 

If you read between the lines here (mostly just remember that Jade’s wall is the fourth wall), what Karkat is talking about is not some weird nonsense forces, rather the actual concept of breaking the fourth wall and its effects on stories when it’s not just a one-off joke.

GG: i dont think im following… 
CG: YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW 
CG: ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS TURN THE THING OFF 
CG: AND THEN DO THE NEXT THING I WAS TOLD TO TELL YOU TO DO. 
GG: you were told? 
GG: by who? 
CG: BY YOU. 
GG: oh… 
GG: future me? 
CG: YES. 

It took me a minute to realize that this is weird stable time loops much worse than the typical trolls-ensuring-events thing. Stuff like trolls retroactively involving themselves in kids’ events is straightforward compared to this. Here, the loop is as follows: future Karkat tells past Jade something -> past Jade becomes future Jade -> future Jade tells that to past Karkat -> past Karkat becomes future Karkat -> etc.

CG: YOU COULD BE TELLING YOURSELF THIS RIGHT NOW, BUT WE’RE SORT OF WORKING ON A STRICT NO MEMO POLICY. 
CG: WHICH IS YOUR IDEA OF COURSE. 

A no memo policy you say. Later in the Doc Scratch intermission Jade talks to Karkat and Kanaya in a memo, so I’m assuming either the policy is given up or predestination bullshit. I’ll probably find out when I get there.

CG: DID I MENTION HOW YOU DON’T LIKE IT WHEN WE ARGUE WITH OUR PAST/FUTURE SELVES? YES, PRETTY SURE I DID. 
CG: SO I’M GOING ALONG WITH THE POLICY AS BEST I CAN. 
CG: I AM BEING PLEASANT AND AGREEABLE, AND I WILL GENTLY LOWER A MAGNIFICENT, CORUSCATING COLUMN OF HOT FUCK YOU DOWN THE PROTEIN CHUTE OF ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE. 
GG: uh… ok 
GG: well it sounds like a pretty good policy to me! 
CG: YOU DON’T SAY. 
CG: SO ANYWAY, BECAUSE OF THAT, MY ROLE AT THE MOMENT IS TO ACT AS A SORT OF GO BETWEEN FOR YOU AND YOUR FUTURE SELF 
CG: TO HELP ALONG THE PROCESS OF MAKING THESE PLANS 
CG: WHILE YOUR FUTURE SELF IS DELIBERATELY VAGUE ABOUT SOME STUFF SO AS NOT TO “JINX” THE CONCEPTION OF THE IDEAS IN THE FIRST PLACE I GUESS? 
CG: ALL WHILE YOUR CURRENT SELF IS NECESSARILY KIND OF DUMB ABOUT EVERYTHING. 
GG: hey!!! 
CG: SORRY, OK, JUST KIND OF IGNORANT 
CG: BECAUSE STUFF HASN’T HAPPENED YET 
CG: YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. 

FUCKING TIME LOOPS. So many of Jade’s sensible ideas originated from themselves, apparently including the no memo policy, which is of course really frustrating. Jade herself makes note how frustrating this is in a conversation with Kanaya when she finds out that her password system originated from itself. This shows a difference between Jade now and Jade before her dream self’s death: previously, Jade blindly fulfilled all kinds of nonsensical time loops, but now she recognizes that she’s succumbing to paradox space being a tool.

This reminds me of how different this time loop stuff is from Dave telling Jade that what’s next is up to her. Unlike the whole crazy message relay self-originating nonsense, creating Jadesprite really was her own idea. Although at first it seems like a mistake, ultimately Jadesprite existing is exactly what was needed for Jade to reach god tier, which is undeniably a good thing.

Anyway, after some more discussion of paradox space stuff, Karkat says that Jade needs to draw the fourth wall after turning it off.

You size up the arcane contraption. The blue flicker of the coat’s lining is arresting. But you don’t know it’s a coat. That would only invite more questions. You don’t know what it shields. Nor do you know whose shoulders it was meant to cover. If you knew that – if you even knew his name – you would understand terror no human ever has. 

You should really listen to Karkat and turn it off. If you start messing with it, I will seriously start fucking everything up. It would be irresponsible of both of us to let that happen. 

You suddenly wonder where Jadesprite went. You wonder that because I said you did. I know where she went. But I will not say. 

Not that you can hear a word I’m saying. 

The coat’s too thick.

This is the narration being weird again. This time it’s not just Jade’s thoughts in second person, but the narrative—Hussie’s self-insert, more specifically—talking to Jade. It’s kind of flimsy whether the narrator and Hussie’s self-insert are separate entities.

Also, it’s really fitting that the narration is slightly breaking the fourth wall as Jade stands next to a cracked fourth wall (which wasn’t cracked when Grandpa first stole it). There’s also probably some symbolism in Lord English’s coat covering the fourth wall—is it foreshadowing Caliborn taking over the narrative?

Jade turns off the fourth wall, transitioning us to the exile arc via WV’s command station which also just shut off. I should note that going by rundowns of the following pages, I am fairly sure Jade turning off the fourth wall is the last time in this act that the story is narrated from Jade’s perspective, making for some rather nice correspondence. After this point, Jade’s perspective of the story isn’t followed as closely.

WV builds a fort out of some parts of his command station walls, an obvious callback to Problem Sleuth and its whole mechanic of using forts (and maybe also alcohol? I don’t remember) to enter the imaginary world. I can’t help but wonder if the fort he sleeps inside a bit later has something to do with his whole dream sequence. The deal with the dream he has later in this sequence is kind of a foggy topic; more on that when he actually has the dream a bit later.

As for the other exiles, WQ explains stuff to PM about her leadership role. The first thing to do is wait for the fifth exile, the white king, to arrive via the lotus time capsule. Then, going by plan, WV will put on the queen’s ring and fight Jack while AR will destroy the command stations when the time comes. This whole plan, especially the part with WV, is kind of weird to read considering what really happens to the exile arc in the end: all but two are killed, and PM, the intrepid new leader, herself puts on the ring.

Morse code translates to:

Help! My friend is stuck inside the big can, inside a small house he built! You must hurry, he is not very bright and he doesn’t understand it when I blink! Are you watching me? Oh no, don’t blink me you don’t understand blinking either!!! How do you people even exchange ideas without luminous rear ends!!!!!!

Serenity the firefly escapes the command station and tries to tell the exiles that WV is trapped in the command station. Her narration states:

You interrupt whatever nonsense these silly people are planning with an extremely urgent message!!!

Unfortunately, your simple message cannot seem to penetrate their thick carapaces. 

Doesn’t ANYBODY in this stupid desert speak blinking?

That’s a surprisingly intelligent and rather snarky firefly.

Next is WV’s dream sequence, a rather bizarre sequence I have a lot to say about.

WV dreams about living in a mayor’s house and the first thing I notice is a rather different, more painting-like art style. It’s not uncommon for dream sequences in works of media to be drawn differently than usual, but in Homestuck, dream sequences are typically drawn in the usual art style, merely sometimes with different scenery. This different art style seems to signify that carapacian dreams are just different from dream bubble dreams.

WV’s dream, in this picture and the one above it, is largely a pastiche of all the items that stick out in his memory. To the left above there’s the chalk and amber, to the right the container of oil, and on the bed there’s John’s bedsheets which he started wearing after Jack massacred his army. In the picture above there’s the fort WV just built forming the bottom of the house, which is situated on Skaia.

A bizarre dragon-like dream version of Jack appears, signifying that this is kind of a nightmare about the traumatic events in WV’s life—mainly everything involving Jack. Note the word “dragon-like”; this signifies that it’s a dream so of course things will look weird like that.

WV himself transforms into a dog and I now notice the light symbol as the “O” in “MAYOR”. That symbol is fairly prominent in the exile arc (for example, it’s on the blue stamp WQ wears). Maybe this weird transformation sequence is to tout the hypothetical idea of WV wearing the ring and taking on Jack? It’s clear that WV is afraid of Jack, making the whole plan rather flawed when you think about it. Not to mention that AR sort of has a trigger (heh) reaction to the symbol of Bec’s face.

WV first gains dog ears in his dream, then a snout, mirroring Jack’s transformation sequence in [S] Jade: Enter.

It’s the sun symbol again. Also, the flaming Prospit is still in the sky, clearly another thing that WV remembers strongly. He is envisioning his moments as a proud leader of men, this time as a dog with wings and a sword and one arm and whatnot.

Dog WV also has the mysterious bloody hand Jack has. The bloody hand didn’t come with the prototyping, so I considered that maybe WV dreams of himself with a bloody hand because Jack has it. But that doesn’t make any sense, because Jack got his bloody hand while massacring the exiles after escaping the kids’ session. I flipped back a few pages and saw that WV apparently got his bloody hand after ripping the uranium out of his chest, which foreshadows Jack ripping the uranium out of WV’s chest and himself gaining the bloody hand. Clever foreshadowing.

WV’s red miles impale all his soldiers. This is probably because WV must have heard his fellow exiles talking about him and how he should put on the ring and fight Jack, but he’s afraid that if he puts on the ring he’ll be a bloody corrupted murderer, just like Jack.

Vriska then appears in WV’s dream, making the whole sequence even more confusing. Player dreams seem to be rather unlike carapacian dreams, not like dream bubbles. Here’s what Hussie said about this sequence:

We don’t really know what [Vriska] is or isn’t doing. All we know is she and WV are sharing a dream.

Dream rules have never been that easy to pin down. We only know what we know about dreams and dream selves after facts have accumulated over a long period of time. WV’s dream sequence doesn’t seem to fit into the existing model, and we can’t expect to figure out how it fits into everything right away, if it does at all.

It does seem the sequence was more like a “normal” dream, full of symbols and foreshadowed peril. Vriska, for whatever reason, deliberately or otherwise, shared this normal dream, and was able to understand some things about its context, and the role WV is supposed to play. Perhaps her psychic acuity was a factor. Perhaps her godhood status was as well. All you can do is speculate.

We do know that she is dreaming without a dream self, and without her dream self having been killed. She is her dream self, having resurrected to reach the god tier. We didn’t know anything about how such a character would dream, but here’s a glimpse at some evidence.

Even though it’s still not totally clear what’s up with this dream, the above paragraphs speak for themselves; it’s open for interpretation. I figure Vriska unconsciously used her psychic powers to appear in the dream, rather than just share a dream bubble.

Vriska tells WV that the slayer is hers and tells WV to wake up. Here’s something else worth noting: following Vriska’s god tier ascension flashback scene, she starts wearing her god tier outfit.

This post is getting pretty long so I’ll stop here. See you next time as the infamous arc known as Murderstuck officially begins and we finally learn what the fuck is up with these damn frogs.

>> Part 42: Password Weirdness and Frog Breeding

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