Act 5 Act 2, Part 20 of 32
Pages 3479-3545 (MSPA: 5379-5445)
Terezi just went missing after having caught up with Sollux when all of a sudden, we’re back to a flashback of Dave fooling around on his bro’s Xbox gaming system. One hell of a mood whiplash alright.
AA: i think its absurd i never introduced myself to you in all that time i spent moping around the lab
AA: guess i wasnt in a very good mood
AA: hi dave my names aradia
TG: youre a fan of one of my websites arent you
TG: what asshole gave you my chumhandle
TG: also what was your favorite thing i did you liked
TG: and what did you think was so great about it
Man this is such a throwback to the old relentlessly and persistently sarcastic and too-cool-for-anything Dave. The last time we heard from him (which was, by the way, quite a while ago) he was giving sincere advice to Jade, but now I guess it’s throwbacks galore. Not that he isn’t still sarcastic and into being rad, it’s just that he’s somewhat more sincere about this stuff.
AA: 6 a girl and a place very close to you
AA: in fact
AA: i could visit you right now if you would like
TG: oh holy shit ok youre a troll
TG: only trolls say theyre six i dont know whats up with you and that dumb fake age
AA: to be fair it translates to the same age as you which at the moment is 12 is it not
TG: makes no sense bye
AA: understanding disparities in the flow of time should be easy for people like us let alone understanding disparities in such pedestrian things as units
AA: i am 6 sweeps old one sweep is a little more than 2 years you dummy!
TG: cool story
AA: look it is either the truth or i am just someone who is being a bit playful what is the harm in that
TG: ok so 2=6 awesome joke hahahaha
It’s been so long since Dave did that whole thing where he refuses to understand and identify with what people are saying for pretty much no reason.
TG: or wait maybe it was just a waste of time
TG: you people think im made of the stuff
AA: i know you arent
AA: but i am
AA: maid of time
AA: whereas you are the knight of the very same cosmic faculty
AA: it would seem we have very little in common dave
AA: when in fact we have very much
I can only imagine how weird this sounded to past Dave. Some troll talked to him, saying she is a “maid of time” and while Dave is a “knight” of the same aspect. To me it would probably sound like someone telling me, “well, of course YOU’D think that, you’re a Gryffindor” when I don’t even know much about Harry Potter.
AA: dave describe to me why you are now incredulous please
TG: i remember this
TG: i remember shutting off my phone and never talking to you again
TG: im still talking
TG: whats going on
AA: of course you remember that
AA: this is a memory
TG: no its a dream
TG: im asleep
TG: or am i
TG: what is going on here
This is the point where readers go, “oh, it’s another one of those confusing dream bubble scenes”. This puts the count of dream bubble scenes that start as flashbacks at 2; first was with Jade and Feferi a while back. Note that while the aforementioned sequence ends with Feferi (the highest blooded troll) declaring she is dead with a smile, this one will end with Aradia (the lowest blooded troll) declaring she is alive, also with a smile.
But the thing that makes this confusing is that Dave’s dream self is supposed to be still alive, so why is he dreaming in the Furthest Ring now? We’ll see the answer in a bit.
AA: come to the window
AA: because im outside
AA: take a look
TG: i dont see anything out there
AA: that iiis
AA: im not out there anymore!
AA: turn around
Callback I never previously knew about. The comic is, of course, filled with callbacks, and they vary greatly in nature. Some are incredibly obvious, while some, like this one, are pretty obtuse. Some have some deeper meaning to them, intending to evoke another scene, while many others seem to be just callbacks for the sake of callbacks. Those that are blatant and just there for the sake of being there are the worst kind, giving me a vibe of “tee-hee, do you remember this?”
Note that while Dave and Aradia are now talking in person, the chatlog is still a pesterlog like how it started. I guess that this is a stylistic thing based on holy fuck I never finished this sentence and didn’t notice until reformatting these posts three years later. Let’s say it’s based on the fact that Hussie in Act 5 Act 2 worked with severe dialogue restrictions.
TG: oh sup
TG: looks like youre a fairy
TG: thats cool
Also, Dave’s line “thats cool” indicates that by this point he’s somewhat mellowed out. Come to think of it, how exactly did he become somewhat more tolerable like that? Maybe it was the whole thing with John and Davesprite.
Remember Cal? That didn’t stop being a thing or anything.
As Dave slowly starts to remember his experiences and that he is the Dave who got the short end of the stick in the whole coinflip thing (which I have nothing to say about), the scenery does the cool thing where it become a pastiche of the memories of everyone involved.
TG: bro dead there
TG: like in reality
TG: like thats a thing that really happened
TG: is reality still a thing that means something can that be a question on the table too
AA: yes yes and yes
AA: yes it can be on the table and yes reality still means something
AA: and yes your guardian did die
TG: what did i do wrong
TG: aside from getting my ass killed in the most retarded way possible
AA: all is well and as it should be
TG: whats he doing
TG: alpha me
AA: what would you be doing there if you were him
TG: i am him
AA: even better!
TG: i dunno
AA: would you be upset
AA: then maybe what you are doing is grieving
AA: in whatever way that comes naturally to you
OK I guess I was wrong that one time about Dave lying on the ground being the closest we get to a true reaction to his bro’s death. Doomed Dave is quite easily impacted by finding his bro died, though we never saw the moment where alpha Dave learned that. Or maybe re-reading the pesterlog which includes the moment I talked about back then will show me more of a reaction. I have no idea; all I know is that I should probably start sounding a little less all-knowing.
AA: you are lucky to be able to
AA: i could not for a long time
AA: but now that i can again im so relieved
AA: because i have discovered there is no reason to grieve!
AA: the living need each others help
AA: just like the dead do
AA: alpha dave still has a long way to go
AA: hes still not at ease with his mortality
AA: but people like us have to be!
AA: we have to be prepared to die a thousand deaths before our quest is complete
AA: the master we serve demands it
I’ve been talking quite a bit about Dave, now let’s talk about Aradia.
She says that as she discovered while dead, making a fuss about death is pointless and it’s something you need to deal with all the time. In the Homestuck world that attitude makes sense, given that death really is super cheap in its world. How many ways does the comic even have for coming back to life? As much sense as Aradia’s sentiment towards death logically makes, death is by nature hard to overcome, and she seems like one of very few who can actually face death like that. Her shtick was always being “0k” with things, which carries on in an unusual way to her newly alive self.
Also, please, PLEASE, don’t tell me “the master we serve” is Lord English. God tier Aradia’s real motives have always been suspiciously ambiguous; one time John tried and failed to get a straight answer out of her. At this point she is at least friendly about her whole thing of not worrying about death. I guess I’ll see what happens with her motives when I get further along.
TG: why are you even here like why are you showing me this
AA: im not showing you im just visiting your bubble
AA: it projects your thoughts and memories
AA: as well as other things relevant to you much like the clouds do in skaia
TG: but like
TG: if im seeing this
TG: shouldnt i be able to do something about it
TG: or stop it from happening or
TG: i dont know like anything to keep helping my friends
TG: what do i do
AA: none of this is your business anymore
AA: its time to move on
More people in the comic should really adopt the mentality of trying to stop bad things from happening instead of just letting whatever is “supposed to” happen, happen. Alpha Dave is still forced to cooperate with time loops and thus goes along with stuff, but maybe doomed Dave, now that he’s dead, realized that doesn’t matter anymore?
TG: where are we now
AA: oh look this was my hive!
AA: before it was destroyed
TG: oh so this is the trollplanet
TG: pretty cool not really what i pictured
AA: what did you picture
TG: i dont know its more subdued
TG: i pictured a lot more mayhem like
TG: a bunch of trolls flying around in little grub pods constantly screaming at each other through bullhorns shaped like buckets
AA: thats very silly and a little perverse
AA: but actually that sounds like what it might have been like on some parts of the planet sooo
TG: can we not go to those parts
AA: ill put in a good word with your bubble about it
The weird mayhem parts of the trolls’ planet sounds exactly like the kind of thing that would be explored in Hiveswap.
AA: want to see inside my hive
TG: yeah sure
TG: how about later
TG: not that that doesnt sound cool but i kind of want to just go home
TG: and i guess chill for a while cause i guess it was all a bit much
TG: if thats ok and i guess also possible
AA: it is quite possible and more than ok
When you think of it, it sounds incredibly nice for Dave to finally get to just chill out.
AA: it seems you have a hiveguest dave
TG: aw hell no
TG: is this who i think this is
AA: tavros has been looking forward to meeting you
AT: fIRST, oK, i THINK YOU’RE FANTASTIC,
AT: wHICH IS TO SAY, jUST AN ENVIABLY COOL GUY, wHO i ADMIRE,
AT: lET’S PUT THAT COMPLIMENT ON THE TABLE WHERE WE CAN BOTH SEE IT,
TG: holy shit
AT: lOOKS LIKE i FOUND ANOTHER POINT IN TIME TO BOTHER YOU,
AT: wHEN, i GUESS,
AT: yOU ARE MORE EMOTIONALLY SUSCEPTIBLE,
As happy as it is that Tavros has met Dave in person, it’s also amusing how Dave immediately recognized this guy as that incredibly awful rapper. Also, Tavros’s lines here make the first time we heard from him brilliant retroactive foreshadowing.
Even though some people argue retroactive foreshadowing doesn’t count as foreshadowing, I believe it has a charm of its own regardless: making random bits of stuff people say mean a lot more in retrospect. Kind of like how the Sassacre book “could kill a cat if you dropped it”, Gamzee’s “if I could make you smile” thing, or Davepetasprite^2 flying up to the sun like a fucking piece of garbage. Of course, this is all built on the assumption that the foreshadowing is indeed retroactive, which, though it can’t be said for sure, does match with Hussie’s writing style, turning the most random things into actual plot points thousands of pages later.
TG: are those sick fires youre packing there
TG: you best not be bringin that fire into my bubble less you plan on dropping that shit
AT: oHH, bRO,
AT: tHESE ARE WITHOUT ANY CONFUSION TO BE NOTED AS SOME TRULY UNHEALTHY INCENDIARIES,
AT: tHEY ARE IN ABOVE AVERAGE NEED OF MEDICAL ATTENTION,
AT: sO, iN OTHER WORDS, jUST TO COMPLETE THE ANALOGY, i HOPE YOU KNOW A LICENSED PHYSICIAN,
TG: i am your general fucking practitioner and doctors orders are to shut up and burn down my goddamn office
TG: ill break your brittle ass like a graham cracker and well roast smores over the flaming debris have i made myself clear
AT: aH, hAHA, yES, aND,
AT: cERTAIN FEATURES OF YOUR PALE ANATOMY MAY SERVE AS THE MARSH MALLOW INGREDIENT, nEEDED FOR THE MOLTEN SNACK,
AT: i WILL PROVIDE THE FUDGE, }:D
So we’re back to those Dave metaphors I see. And Tavros joining the fun. Though Tavros’s spotlight in this scene is fairly short, he still is shown to have gotten a fairly happy ending despite his death. He and Vriska are the only trolls to really get such a scene following their deaths. Tavros in particular is notable for getting such a scene; after being jerked around for so long, this little scene really throws a bone to him. The other trolls killed off in Murderstuck don’t get anything like that.
TG: so aradia just so were clear
TG: this is like a hellbubble right
TG: its my eternal punishment to have shitty rapoffs with this tool forever is that it
AA: yes you figured out the mystery!
TG: i guess i had it coming for a flagrant lifetime spent being unbelievably fucking incredible at rap and just about practically everything else
TG: except not dying
This is pretty much a largely morbid discussion about life and death concluding on a lighthearted note. Kind of the opposite of Sollux’s prior conversation with Terezi.
To end this sequence, upon Dave asking, Aradia says:
AA: i am very much alive
AA: and i intend to stay that way 🙂
She’s obviously happy to be alive once more in a new supernatural state of being, as one who does not fear death. Intending to stay that way suggests that being all dead and spooky really sucked for her in retrospect. This makes sense; it almost seems like the ULTIMATE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT for someone to realize that refusing to share useful information is dumb and pointless. I guess Aradia likes being both 0k with things and being alive and feeling stuff?
EB: ok then, i guess i will get going.
AG: Go where?
EB: to keep looking for my dad!
AG: Are you sure you don’t have more important things to worry a8out?
EB: are you saying that i am still not supposed to find him yet?
AG: John, please. I thought you were done getting the future spoon fed to you like this.
AG: I have told you that you will find your dad eventually. That should 8e good enough! Don’t you think it’s time to start taking your responsi8ility more seriously?
John’s number 1 priority really seems to be finding his dad. The dad subplot has been addressed a lot ever since we started following John for the first time in hundreds of pages.
EB: so you’re saying i should go get the tumor now instead of putting it off?
AG: I’m not telling you to do anything. Just reminding you of what’s at st8ke.
EB: wait, i mean the tumor.
EB: i mean The Tumor!
AG: Why don’t we just call it what it is.
AG: A 8ig fucking 8om8 in the core of your 8attlefield.
EB: which is what i was wondering about…
EB: how am i supposed to get it out?
EB: i guess go find a cave or something?
AG: Yes, you could pro8a8ly go looking for a sanctioned entry point.
AG: Or you could just do what winners in a hurry do.
EB: uh, is that even possible?
AG: It’s practically always possi8le.
AG: I won’t tell you how, 8ut I will point out you could start making 8etter use of your powers than facilit8ing noisy joyrides.
I almost forgot that Tumor subplot even existed. But I guess John didn’t.
AG: Is that what Earth is like, 8y the way? A 8unch of humans flying around in little wheeled pods constantly 8eeping at each other with their chauffeur familiars????????
EB: hehe, no.
EB: well, maybe some places, but most cars stay on the ground, because science fiction hasn’t happened yet.
That’s a funny thing to say in a story that more or less is science fiction. Pretty much the same idea as characters in a TV show saying they’re not in a TV show.
9/26/2019: I just realized that Vriska’s speculation on what Earth is like is a callback to Dave’s speculation on what Alternia is like just a few pages ago. Kind of weird noticing a new callback five years after I first read Homestuck.
AG: Anyway, I’m just saying it’s time to do something useful and impressive with your powers, deli8er8ly for a change. You are a god now, remem8er?
EB: yes, but…
EB: all i can do is make a lot of wind blow around!
EB: how is that going to help?
AG: Use your imagin8tion!
AG: That windy thing of yours is more vers8tile than you think.
EB: alright, i will try.
Here Vriska is seriously honestly helping John in a rise to heroism by moving away from being all bossy and “noooooooo that’s not the thing that’s going to happen!!!!!!!!”
AG: I think it’s time for me to get going too. I will prepare for 8attle.
EB: oh, man.
EB: i guess if there is nothing i can say to change your mind, and it’s something you really have to do, then i understand.
EB: but, how about this…
EB: can this not be the last time we talk before you go?
EB: it would be nice to hear from you at least once before you leave to fight him.
AG: Yeah! You got it. I will message you 8efore I leave.
EB: in my future, too! none of this messaging me in the past nonsense, before i even knew you.
AG: Of course.
EB: ok, great. i will hold you to that, vriska.
AG: It will 8e a certainty.
AG: That said, there is no need for any sort of farewell right now.
AG: Go do your amazing windy thing, John. 8e cre8tive! I will talk to you l8er.
EB: ok, i will, later!
arachnidsGrip [AG] ceased trolling ectoBiologist [EB]
It turns out this actually is the last time John and Vriska converse in this session. That isn’t hard to believe given what John said about this not being the last time they talk.
John proceeds to do a wind drill to go to the core of Skaia with his god tier superpowers. I can’t help but notice that the breath aspect seems to deal a lot more with elemental abilities than the other aspects; there’s no aspects that deal with bending the other three classical elements.
This transitions us to a look at what John’s dad and Rose’s mom are up to. The narration gives something of a dialogue between them with how they’ve never met anyone so beautiful and how they always have each other. I think this is the closest we get to dialogue between guardians. It may as well be a conversation but it’s narration that flows perfectly well with the style of the story. They are at ease and have each other when all of a sudden…
Up next Vriska reads Mindfang’s journal, one of the stranger parts of the comic as I’ll explain shortly. I didn’t read it in my first read or my second read (though I did go back and read it at one point). Here’s why:
Where the hell did Mindfang find the time to write this wall of words???
See what I mean? That is SO MANY WORDS, and way different in nature from the long but usually readable chatlogs.
Mindfang’s journal is only tangentially relevant to the plot and, though it does give interesting revelations about the trolls’ history, it really, truly, intentionally, isn’t a particularly good read because it’s both extremely wordy and really messed-up. Hussie based this writing style on excessively wordy awful fanfiction with its lengthy verbose prose on the level of the incomprehensible stuff Rose has said.
The first paragraphs are just over-flowery descriptions of stuff going on with Mindfang and her black relationship with Eridan’s ancestor, Dualscar. But soon enough it descends into “what the FUCK am I reading” mode when Mindfang starts making out with a slave, mind-controlling her just enough that she doesn’t know how much of her actions are her own, all because she finds it funny to see how Dualscar reacts. This is the book that Vriska talked about how thrilling it was to read; needless to say, now we know why Vriska did things that were so messed up. Because she wanted to be like Mindfang.
Dualscar soon has the slave killed, supposedly out of jealousy, though it’s easy to argue that in reality, he had her killed out of pity. I suspect that the ancestor stuff was deliberately left open to interpretation; according to Hussie all this actually happened but was described through Mindfang’s eyes.
The journal is accompanied with both pictures of the ancestors and pictures of the trolls setting up a showdown, once again doing the thing where dialogue of one thing is accompanied with scenery of another scene. In this case, it’s clearly meant to match up the story of the ancestors with that of the trolls.
As I’ve said earlier, the ancestors are pretty much Homestuck’s version of the thing where a group of characters has a group of historical figures, each of which can be clearly mapped to one of the characters. Homestuck handles this not so much with actual flashback scenery, rather two ways: some of the ancestors have their stories given through Mindfang’s journal, others through Doc Scratch’s storytelling. I suppose this is done to match the comic’s strict rules of presenting dialogue and scenes; Sburb players conversing via chat client is fine, but face-to-face conversations can be more or less anything but straight-up dialogue between people shown via chatlogs.
The green blood on Gamzee’s club heavily implies Nepeta is gone now. Like I said, it’s probably a relief we didn’t have to see her die onscreen.
Anyway, moving on with the journal, Dualscar tries to report Mindfang’s crimes to Gamzee’s ancestor, the Grand Highblood, but he is killed because he told a bad joke. She herself remarks that she always thought Dualscar would have had a far grander demise than this, which (perhaps deliberately) is reminiscent of how many of the trolls’ deaths so far were very undignified.
Then we learn a bit about Neophyte Redglare, Terezi’s ancestor, who was commissioned by the subjugglators to bring Mindfang to justice. The journal talks about how there’s almost certainly no way she’ll play a role in her future, which is quite amusing; even in-comic historical figures can be hilariously bad at catching foreshadowing.
Up next, Vriska, Gamzee, and Eridan pose for a Western showdown when all of a sudden…
In the 3x showdown combo flash, nothing really happens before Kanaya joins the scene and ends the flash. But even though the showdown part is more or less the three trolls just standing there, it’s worth the shock of seeing Kanaya join the scene. Even if the majority of readers saw it coming by now, it’s still a big surprise.
After joining the scene, Kanaya comes and kicks some serious ass. First she gives Gamzee a kick in the shame globes, then a punch in the face to Vriska. Reactions to this are typically nonstop “hell yes”. It’s obvious why: everyone loved her, her death scene, unlike the others, is truly saddening, and now she’s way back in action. But on the other side of things, it’s a bit random to see her suddenly come back. It’s been very heavily hinted at, sure, but really, it’s kind of weird to see a vampire fangirl to turn out to be, as far as I can tell, an actual vampire. I say “as far as I can tell” because I know embarrassingly little about how vampires work. While other readers surely thought, “duh, she came back because she’s a vampire”, I once took a moment to think about why she came back to life and after a minute concluded that she presumably can do that out of special rainbow drinker abilities.
Then Kanaya snaps Eridan’s wand in half, debunking his science-magic nonsense. Note that this was the wand she made for him as a joke.
This sequence is topped off with another round of murder. Eridan’s death is the most insane of all the trolls’ deaths yet. While Tavros, Feferi, and Kanaya are impaled, Equius is strangled with a bowstring, and Nepeta is bludgeoned to death, Eridan is literally chainsawed in half. His death, like pretty much every other death in Homestuck, has a good deal of irony in it. In this case, he got killed by someone who he himself killed, with a death far more brutal than any he dealt out. And unlike all the other deaths, Eridan’s is kind of a pattern breaker; not only is his death more violent than the others, his is more of a “YEAAAAAHHHHH” death than a “NOOOOOOOOO” death.
Finally, Kanaya puts on Eridan’s blood as lipstick, sending off the badass stuff, with Equius’s sweaty glasses on her face to boot.
Just kidding, Hussie specifically said this was just a silly throwaway joke. This is something you should understand about Homestuck: as much as the comic loves crazy obtuse foreshadowing and plot twists, there are plenty of throwaway jokes that aren’t plot-relevant.
I think we’re done for today. I covered a good 67 pages, many of them action panels without dialogue or narration and thus good progress through Act 5 on my way to my long-awaited (by me) dissection of Act 6. See you next time as we go through a whole sequence of plot revelations involving cueballs, puppets, and time travel.