Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 48: Bored Superdogs and Memory Revelations

Introduction

Part 47 | Part 48 | Part 49 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 21 of 32

Pages 3546-3613 (MSPA: 5446-5513)

Only in Homestuck could this picture make any sort of sense. Even then…

NOTE: I’m really blitzing through Act 5 now (by which I mean going about 30% faster), and boy am I proud of that.

NOTE 2: As school is ending, I have a big project over the next few weeks which I have to work a lot on. This means that I’m slowing down posts somewhat, with the next three posts weekly instead of every five days. Next post coming Sunday.

: (

We now focus on what Jack Noir is up to. He just killed Dad and Mom offscreen. As with Nepeta, it’s a bit of a relief we didn’t have to see them die onscreen; showing a guy killing two loving parents of main characters in love together would obviously be even more heartwrenching than anything we’ve seen so far. Compare this to Bro, who got an onscreen death scene. This is probably not because he is (arguably) not as likable as the other guardians, rather because his death was the culmination of a fight, while the other two were just on a date when it was suddenly interrupted. If John’s dad was in a fistfight with Jack and lost when Jack became more powerful, he would no doubt get a full death scene.

As Jack loots trophies from his murder victims, the narration is incredibly dark about it, talking about how wonderful all the trophies he’s gathered are. This is arguably just as bad as having someone talk about how sad this death is.

But then Jack realizes that this is really dumb.

This is no way for a killer of your elite profile to dress. Your rise to omnipotence has had a regrettable influence on your vanity it seems. Have you forgotten the original grievance with frivolous attire that got you here? 

That’s it. NO MORE TROPHIES. YOU ARE SWEARING OFF TROPHIES FOREVER. 

Probably.

Once again, the narration litters sad murder scenes with some black comedy. The rule with black comedy is, if it doesn’t make you laugh, it isn’t black comedy, rather just makes it more disturbing. Gamzee is a good example of this: an alien juggalo is an absolutely HILARIOUS concept, but once you get past that and accept he’s a ridiculous juggalo troll, after he turns evil his status as a clown dude only makes it scarier.

Nice use of Skaian clouds to convey information.

God you are so bored.

It used to be that when you were bored with paperwork, you would go distract yourself by sharpening one of your favorite knives, or give your most disapproving scowl through a fenestrated wall to survey the kingdom. But those were simpler times. There is only one cure for boredom befitting a demigod, and that is more senseless killing. 

More humor. The newly superpowered villain is now bored out of his mind, nicely subverting the whole idea of maniacal villains who love nothing more than victory. “OK, I just destroyed everything in existence. Now what?”

Going on, we now get a new side of Jack’s character: what’s different about him now that he’s a dog. First a funny moment when he starts thinking about how delicious bones and snausages are, and then a massive Achilles’ heel revelation: his newfound loyalty to Jade.

My second choice title picture for this post.

You successfully suppress all thoughts of delicious little wrapped wieners and infuriating things like mail and its agents of delivery. 

But in the process you awaken your deepest and darkest feelings of all. Feelings of… 

Loyalty? How completely despicable. 

But no, that is not quite all there is. 

Could it also be… 

LOVE? 

It must be. It is the only emotion that could possibly make you feel so utterly disgusted with yourself.

Jack feeling subconscious loyalty to Jade is such an amazing villain weakness. It’s both funny and has a heavy effect on the plot. If not for those feelings Jade probably wouldn’t have gone god tier, and also probably would’ve died one time too many. But it also makes me wonder: why didn’t Jack inherit as many traits from his other prototypings? Prototyping with Jaspers didn’t give him loyalty to Rose, nor did prototyping with a bird make him think about how delicious worms and seeds are. Probably because Bec is a first guardian.

When you think of Jack’s loyalty to Jade as an Achilles’ heel the way I just mentioned, it’s an especially fitting cause of his defeat.* Only PM had strong enough will to overcome her dog loyalty and punch Jade out of the way to slice off his arm.

* It’s a little unfair that he is the Jack who gets to live to the end of the story when he has done by far the most bad stuff. If fans got to vote which one makes it to the end, Slick would certainly win.

I still don’t get why Jade’s bed became white when she entered the Medium.

Visual callback to when Jack killed John, but with the twist that he teleported away.

Turns out Jack was briefly there when Jade was sleeping following entering the game, but couldn’t kill her. This is another one of those flashbacks revealing there was stuff behind a scene that we hadn’t previously seen. It’s so weird seeing Jack not kill someone he sees.

You get the Draconian Dignitary on the line. He asks what the hell you’ve been up to. You say it doesn’t matter. You have a point of serious business to discuss with him. He makes sure you’re remembering to keep the destructive impulses to a minimum. No more planet exploding or anything like that. You say yeah yeah. He says no point in securing power when there’s nothing left to rule. You say you know, god. It’s not the point. 

“No more planet exploding” is an interesting thing to hear DD say when we already know at this point that in the future, Jack will destroy at least two more planets (the trolls’ Prospit and Derse) and, as we’ll learn soon, twelve more planets offscreen. Like the mystery of Jack’s bloody hand, this is a little thing hinting that something’s going to go very wrong with him. I don’t think it’s too hard to guess that the event triggering this mass of planet destruction will have to do with Jade.

Lousy stupid dignitary, all keeping your murderous tendencies in check. He’s the most terrible guy you almost kind of didn’t despise completely.

This bit implies that DD functions as Jack’s moirail. As with the whole thing of trolls being easily able to recognize Jack’s relationship with the black queen as a black relationship, it seems that carapacians can feel troll romance. Between this concept and the idea of humans also being able to feel troll romance, one may surmise that in Homestuck’s universe, romance always comes in this set of four types and some species just aren’t inherently aware of that. Despite this, as I talked about my posts in the latter half of the trolls’ arc, the quadrants were created essentially as a joke. I guess Homestuck has a thing for turning silly things serious while simultaneously keeping them silly.

The Black Queen’s remains are still there.

You attempt to humor the Sovereign Slayer’s demands diplomatically. There’s a narrow line to walk between obeying the orders of a clear superior and blindly facilitating a perfectly useless genocide. It takes a very savvy breed of psychopath to pull it off. 

The Slayer is yapping about some girl. Probably one of the young players who can no longer provide any serious threat to your rule. But he wants you to go kill her anyway. You ask why he doesn’t go kill her himself. He says it’s complicated. This guy, you swear. You tell him you’re busy with things that actually matter. Like running this kingdom on his behalf and all. Levying taxes, oppressing consorts, all the unpleasant chores he would never dirty his snout with. He says this is more important than any of that stuff. You say fine, just send the droll after her. 

DD really is kind of like a business villain, one who is undoubtedly on the bad side but knows better than to just kill everyone. He is definitely the smartest of the quartet, but also one who doesn’t always bother with killing, his main weakness. He could’ve killed Jade in a blink but didn’t bother. Speaking of which, what exactly happened to his B2 counterpart? Or CD’s for that matter? There’s another thing I hope the epilogue addresses.

There’s a moment of radio silence. 

He says you mean the COURTYARD Droll? He wants to be sure this is the same droll you’re talking about. You say yeah, what’s the problem? He says, you mean the very same droll who couldn’t manage the one simple task assigned to him, to steal the White Queen’s ring from the very same adoring, wonderful girl and master and friend in question? Wait. He says he just means girl. Just girl. You didn’t hear any of that. 

You don’t say anything. 

He says fine. You win. Sic the stupid droll on her, what does he care.

Oh hell. You can tell this is going to go badly just because of who’s assigned to kill Jade. He actually succeeds in doing so but at the cost of his life. Poor guy.

You hit up the droll. The slayer was right, this guy is clearly incompetent. Still, the only real objective here is to get him to stop breathing down your neck with his awful dog breath. 

Looks like the droll’s on the battlefield. He says he is still looking for the queen’s ring. He says he made a new friend to help him with his search. But it is terribly breezy on this planet, and his new friend keeps blowing around making the search more difficult! He says thank goodness he is not wearing one of his finer hats. It would be just dreadful trying to keep it on his head in such weather! 

You say you don’t care about any of that stuff, and tell him to shut up.

Man, I swear, CD is so hilarious. He’s hardly a villain at all, more like the airheaded kid of the group, the one who makes the Midnight Crew a true spectacle.

The dignitary is one of your superiors who makes you nervous. The list of superiors who make you nervous in fact includes all of your superiors. It includes many of your inferiors as well. 

Who exactly would this guy be superior to? His whole role as an agent of Derse really makes me wonder about the nature of carapacian government. How in the hell would this guy be up there with his fearsome colleagues? The only explanation I can think of is that the game has their roles preset that way. Kind of like a real video game where there’s certain NPCs which have roles from the start with no real explanation for how they got there. Carapacians are never mentioned to have any concept of birth or reproduction aside from breeding with lab equipment, so I suppose it makes the most sense for them and their society to have an indeterminate point of origin. Maybe genetic breeding in labs would be analogous to something like buying citizens for in-game currency in a video game?

He tells you to forget the ring. You failed your mission, and you are never going to find it. There is a new mission. You say oh? He says yeah. And let go of the goddamn rabbit. You say ok, but don’t actually let go. 

You say you will be happy to begin the new mission very soon. But first there is this pretty blue tornado ahead you were meaning to investigate. Perhaps other locals it has attracted will know something about the ring? He says for the love of god, will you forget about the tornado and the ring. You don’t say anything and look longingly at the tornado again. He says fine, if you really must examine a meaningless and extraordinarily dangerous exhibit of meteorological phenomena, then go ahead. But be ready to embark on the mission not a moment later. You say alright, and wonder what you should do to prepare. He asks if you have a good winter hat. 

You nearly drop the radio in excitement.

CD, despite his childish ways, is obviously capable of killing, but only in ridiculous ways. He probably sees killing as neither good nor bad, rather something his bosses sometimes ask him to do.

You are now future Jack Noir. 

Presently, you are trapped in a single moment, which increasingly feels like an eternity. Your boredom is surpassed only by your all consuming rage and contempt for existence itself. 

Future Jack is angrier than past Jack for some reason (sounds like reverse Karkat, am I right?). This is once more heavily hinting at a plot mystery: what exactly will cause Jack to rampage through the trolls’ session? It’s tempting to think this is connected to his bloody hand, which isn’t really true, but not that much of a red herring either.

Hours ago, you entered an unfamiliar session. You killed a thousand robotic assailants. You destroyed twelve planets with ease, methodically and cyclically, like a single stained hand of a defective clock smearing each number it passes. You reduced Prospit and Derse to dust, and murdered a whole bunch of alien kids in yellow and purple pajamas. Your warpath of absolute devastation had only begun to be blazed; there were still miles and bloody miles to send forth. But when the dust of Derse settled, this infuriating fairy appeared out of thin air and froze you in time. But she can’t keep you like this forever. And when she finally lets you go, you will be ready. 

As if destroying three planets (two Prospits, one Derse) wasn’t enough already, he destroyed another twelve planets offscreen, putting his full planet destruction count at fifteen. To put it this way: Jack Noir destroyed fifteen planets, twelve of them offscreen. Now that’s a villain right here.

You are now the Maid of Time, recently resurrected from the crypt of Derse. Your name is Aradia Megido, and for the first time in your life, you feel truly alive. 

You have just incapacitated Jack Noir with a spell. But a demon so powerful requires your full concentration to subdue. He will break free any moment. You may release him, and die now. Or you may continue to hold him, and die later. 

Would Aradia die a heroic death had she released Jack and let him kill some more? That’s a good question. We don’t actually know at this point what’s up with god tiers and their mortality; Doc Scratch will explain that soon. But this is a decent dilemma nonetheless.

This is another fairly confusing scene, mostly because the upper image is too quickly animated to process well. At a glance, it may seem that Aradia just disappeared and went into the green sun. Maybe putting the upper image in slow motion will make it easier to parse? Let’s see:

That’s better. First guardians are now apparently usable as a portal to the Green Sun. It’s kind of a random ability but it has had some pretty interesting uses. As far as I’m aware, all three beings who have gained Bec’s powers have had this power used exactly once; Bec Noir above, PM using herself to bring WV to the sun, and Jade using herself to send John’s letter to the trolls. As shown, putting the image in slow motion makes it considerably easier to understand, demonstrating a way to get around the tendencies of the comic to be cryptic. I’ve mentioned before that flash animations often convey a great deal of information in a short amount of time and thus it can be very hard to process everything, and this may be a similar situation.

Aradia enters a dream bubble where she she sees the following happen (abridged somewhat):

It’s so weird seeing robotic Aradia and god tier Aradia in the same picture.

Exact same stock Aradia pose in the upper right corner as before.

Troll reckoning portals are blue, as shown above. I wonder if every session has a different, randomly selected portal color?

Did Aradia use this wallet modus pre-death?
Also, if Dad’s Crosbytop and Aradia’s are one and the same, then what’s up with Slick’s? I guess we’ll never know. Though it’s not hard to guess that Aradia’s just got sent back to Alternia yet again after she entered the game for Slick to find it.

It’s also weird seeing Aradia in her first and last forms together. Heh, “forms” makes it sound like she’s an anime robot.

OK I’m really sorry about that lengthy picture montage. I’ll try not to do this sort of thing much, but this time, showing what happened in pictures just seems to work better than in words.

AA: s0llux! 
TA: hey what’2 up aa. 
AA: y0u will never guess what i just f0und 
TA: won’t ii? 
AA: i d0ubt it 
TA: wa2 iit the matchiing ruiin2 2iite? 
AA: um 
AA: yes 
AA: h0w did y0u kn0w! 
TA: ii don’t know, ju2t a weiird feeliing. 
TA: ii feel liike we had thii2 conver2atiion before and that’2 what iit wa2 about. 
AA: yeah 
AA: me t00 

The count of dream bubble scenes that start as flashbacks is now at three. In this case we knew from the start it’s a dream bubble scene but it’s the same basic idea.

In this memory of a conversation, the characters almost immediately get the feeling that it’s a memory. What’s weird about dream bubble sequences is that it varies greatly how long it takes for this revelation to happen. Compare this quoted bit above, where it takes only five lines for Sollux to start remembering things, to the sequence of pages starting here, where it takes thirty pages of lengthy dialogue and over eight thousand words of conversation for the same to happen (yes I did a word count), by far the longest it takes for someone to realize a dream bubble scene is a memory. On average it takes just a page or two of conversation in such scenes for people to realize it’s a memory.

What’s with that weird variance? In this case Aradia is whispering into her past self’s ear to accelerate the process, but in most cases it’s probably just kind of random how long it takes for people in dream bubbles to realize they’re reliving a conversation. Let’s go on.

TA: why don’t we pretend there ii2 no 2pooky paranormal phenomena goiing on ju2t once and talk about what you wanted two talk about. 
AA: g00d idea 
AA: 0k d0 y0u remember what we talked ab0ut regarding kanayas ruins? 
TA: 2orta. 
AA: i asked y0u f0r help in understanding the glyphs 
TA: ii gue22. 
AA: 0_0 
AA: are y0u just being difficult 0r d0 y0u really n0t remember 
TA: ii gue22 ii don’t fiind the whole my2tery of the ruiin2 a2 exciitiing a2 you, ok? 
AA: well 0bvi0usly! 
AA: but i really appreciate y0ur help anyway 
TA: 2ure. 
TA: how can ii help, then. 
AA: well y0u said that y0ud need an0ther set 0f glyphs t0 make sense 0f them 
AA: y0u speculated that there might be an0ther set 0f ruins 
AA: y0u even guessed they w0uld be blue! it turns 0ut y0u were right 
AA: d0nt y0u think that is pretty c00l? 

This whole sequence of pages, particularly the part quoted above, is another one of those moments where we learn a lot about what’s behind certain events. Such moments are very common in Homestuck, and they’re one of my favorite things about it. The Futurama episode “The Why of Fry” (which I recently wrote a blog post about) does this sort of thing REALLY well, as do several other episodes. Speaking of which, when I finish watching all episodes of Futurama in order, I might write a post about which ones I thought were the most memorable. There’s some which I already plan on putting on the list.

Numerous events are covered in this sequence, but a part that stands out that I never really took a moment to think about until now is that this bit tells us that a meteor impacting in the blue frog temple is how the trolls found the full code to make Sgrub.

TA: oh yeah, ii am awe2ome about that for 2ure. 
TA: but, 
TA: ii can’t 2hake the feeliing the2e ruiin2 are goiing two be nothiing but trouble for u2. 
AA: but y0u say that ab0ut everything! 
TA: that’2 becau2e iit’2 fuckiing true about everythiing! 
AA: n0 its n0t! 

Man, it’s so weird seeing Aradia being the optimistic one in conversations when she was always the opposite.

AA: i did find s0me 0ther neat things d0wn here t00 which are strange but quite harmless and n0t f0reb0ding in the least! 
TA: liike what? 
AA: like this AMAZING hat! 
AA: it is an authentic arche0l0gists hat its s0 hard t0 find them in this style 
AA: there are n0 h0rn h0les but i l0ve it anyway its great 

Even though it was originally a fatherly hat, Aradia thinks it’s an archaeologist’s hat. I’m fairly certain Problem Sleuth’s hat is exactly the same, making it also a detective hat. I guess the same hat can have a lot of different connotations.

Also, she totally could’ve worn that hat wherever she went. Why didn’t she?

TA: ii don’t know, ii ju2t “remembered” 2ome more 2hiit about thii2 dii2covery, god 2orry. 
AA: this is stupid 
TA: yeah, well, ii gue22 thii2 ii2 the kiind of 2hiit you have to deal wiith when two p2ychiic2 talk to each other about 2tuff. 
AA: maybe 
TA: why don’t we piick thii2 up agaiin later when we’re not feeliing 2o weiird? 
AA: well 
AA: 0k 

apocalypseArisen [AA] began trolling twinArmageddons [TA] and apocalypseArisen [AA] 

Uh, how exactly does Aradia trolling both Sollux and herself work here? It’s likely that this is a stylistic thing that matches with the idea that dream bubble conversations are still presented in the form of pesterlogs, but it’s still quite an oddity, considering that not long ago Tavros simply changed the scene with Dave and Aradia from a two-way pesterlog to a three-way pesterlog.

AA: ahem 
AA: sorry to interrupt i wanted to give you both the chance to remember but it doesnt look like this is going anywhere! 
TA: what the fuck? 
AA: w0w what 
AA: is it coming back yet 
TA: is WHAT c0ming back, wh0 ARE y0u? 
TA: wh0a h0ld 0n. 
TA: why am i talking like y0u suddenly? 

On the other hand, Sollux’s lines suggest that he’s still typing rather than talking, so maybe Aradia maybe did pester two people at once, including herself. But still, the other idea is pretty likely. It’s always a bit of a weirdness the way pesterlogs transition to in-person conversations; the transition is presented as smooth where logically it should be abrupt.

AA: this is a mem0ry 
AA: in a dream bubble 
AA: thats right! 
TA: 0h. 
TA: that d0esn’t really answer my questi0n, but 0k. 
AA: y0u changed y0ur v0ice because y0u remembered 
AA: like i did 
TA: remembered what? 
AA: that i died 
AA: this is my mem0ry and als0 hers 
AA: but i went 0n t0 bec0me the r0b0t wh0se remains are in this crater 
AA: whereas she did n0t 

Other Aradia starts typing in blue now. Another bit of weirdness that is pretty obviously done just for the sake of distinguishing two versions of the same character, something that has happened but only rarely. While in pesterlogs text colors are used to distinguish—Davesprite uses orange text, Dirk’s responder uses red text—in dialoglogs the alternate version of a character is simply noted as “(character)” (except in the case of god tier Calliope). It’s not quite as stylish but it makes distinguishing easy and not confusing.

REALLY nice use of transition art.
Also, what the fuck is Jade doing here. I mean, I know how she’s here but it’s really a bit random.

AA: i d0nt actually kn0w her st0ry 0r h0w she g0t here but f0r me this was the end 0f the r0ad 
AA: this is the afterlife 
TA: well, shit. 
TA: s0 then i guess i’m dead t00? 
AA: nope! 
AA: you are just asleep 
AA: you are also blind! 
TA: h0ly shit, i can’t see! 
AA: yes thats what being blind means 
TA: w0w, awes0me! way t0 be awes0mely sympathetic t00 my terrible new pr0blem, aa. 
AA: sollux will you shut up and stop being so tragic for once 
AA: you knew this was going to happen! your prophecies of personal doom were practically all you ever talked about 
AA: i think you were looking forward to this honestly 
AA: shes right 
TA: i can’t believe this, it’s alm0st as if i’m getting… 
TA: D0UBLE TEAMED. 
TA:  
TA: damn. 
TA: that didn’t feel right at all, i think i might have t0 retire the wh0le bifurcati0n gimmick, puns and all. 
TA: actually that is kind 0f a relief, maybe y0u’re right, i’m feeling better ab0ut this already. 
AA: great! 
AA: you should be able to relax now that youve been released from the curse of your vision twofold just like you said youd be 
AA: you are now merely doomed! 
TA: 0h. 
TA: that’s… awes0me? 

Sollux here is kind of Aradia’s straight man. He doesn’t know what to think about the fact that he is now blind and also “doomed”, despite the fact that he knew about this stuff as a prophecy. That’s the thing about him: he has all kinds of weirdnesses with him, but when it all comes down to it he’s actually a really normal guy with normal motives. Instead of continuing the weird prophecy stuff, Sollux mostly snarks about it.

AA: being d00med isnt that bad 
AA: i spent m0st 0f my life that way remember 
AA: at least y0u have the luxury 0f understanding 
AA: and the best part ab0ut being d00med is y0u 0nly have t0 put up with it until y0u die 
AA: thats the spirit hahaha 
AA: actually i guess i dont have to keep talking like im doomed anymore do i 
AA: nope 🙂 
TA: this is s0 weird, what am i even listening t0 here. 
TA: 0_0 
TA: FUCK, i cann0t BELIEVE i just made that face. 
AA: hahahahaha! 
AA: hahahahaha! 

So the other Aradia apparently can stop being all spooky and deadpan after being dead? I’m not exactly sure how that works, but I will point out that doomed Dave, her fellow alternate version of a time player, did kind of the same thing: when he became a ghost he decided to be a good deal more open about feelings, admitting that he would be pretty upset seeing his bro dead. Even now, the regular alpha Dave likes being, as he puts it, “deadpan and rad”.

GG: ummmmmm hey guys i hope im not interrupting!!! 
TA: well, yeah, y0u kind 0f were, s0rt 0f a reuni0n 0f cl0se departed friends g0ing 0n here, but n0 big deal i guess. 
GG: oh no! 
GG: i can leave 
AA: no dont! 
AA: sollux try to be polite 
AA: there is no reason at all for you to feel hostile toward them anymore 
AA: jade is very nice and she did nothing wrong 
AA: none of them did so when you wake up maybe you should try to reconcile with them or at the very least just say hello 
TA: did Y0U? 
AA: did i what 
TA: be nice t0 them 0r whatever bef0re y0u expl0ded. 
AA: well no 
AA: but i should have! 
AA: i did with you before i left didnt i 
TA: i guess s0. 

Aradia really is acting almost as if she always was friendly like this, so Sollux has a point when she called him out on being rude.

Also, if Sollux did indeed contact the kids after waking up, I guess that might solve the continuity error of his screen name appearing with the other trolls when he didn’t want to troll the kids.

GG: i have just been enjoying these little naps more and more lately! 
GG: each time i go to sleep i meet more new people and learn so much 
GG: but i still cant get karkat to take a nap, boy talk about a guy who is anti nap! 
TA: ahahahah, yeah, what a d0uche! 
GG: seeeeeriously! 
GG: he is the douchiest of crabby crabs who ever douched a big douchey crab 
TA: l0l. 
GG: but yeah, its been fun, i should really thank feferi again for setting it up so we could meet like this! 
TA: wait, ff is here? 
GG: yup! 
TA: 0h g0d, why didn’t that 0ccur t0 me, where is she?? 
GG: ummm probably in another bubble 
GG: but youll find her! maybe during your next nap… 
TA: well shit, why can’t i just g0 glub ar0und 0ut there in the ring and find her n0w? 
TA: i mean, aside fr0m the fact that i’m blind and c0mpletely useless. 

Jade joining the scene really seems kind of random, and I just considered, what exactly is the point of having her here? This whole scene is mostly about the trolls and stuff that went on with them, so why is Jade here? I guess it’s probably to demonstrate how humans and trolls can share dream bubbles, and to take another look at what stuff she’s been up to.

Also, it’s worth noting that Jade has now met several of the trolls in person in dream bubbles. Among the other kids, only John could do the same at this point, but I don’t think he slept at all between becoming god tier and scratching the session. So really, only Jade has met the trolls in person in dreams. Just like the old days when she was the only one who dreamt in a real physical world and knew stuff from those dreams.

AA: jade tell me 
AA: have you seen me here before? i mean me dressed like i am now wearing my godhood 
GG: yeah! 
GG: you were really nice and helpful 
TA: wait, what, y0u’re wearing a g0dh00d? 
TA: why didn’t y0u tell me that, what gives? 0r that y0u came back t0 life?? 
AA: im wearing a hood and have butterfly wings what else would you like to know 
TA: man, being blind is dumb, can i like gr0pe y0u 0r s0mething t0 get up t0 date 0n y0ur appearance, w0uld that be weird? 
AA: yes sollux that would probably be pretty weird 

OK this is one of the funniest things Sollux has said. But really, it’s not like there’s a lot of other options for getting up to date on someone’s appearance. Also, I love how Sollux bluntly remarks that being blind is dumb, which is, well… alright, I honestly have no idea how people typically react after becoming blind or whatever, and I imagine that usually happens gradually. So who knows.

AA: navigating between bubbles is difficult here 
AA: its better to drift between them naturally as they intersect 
AA: not spatially but through common points in memory 
AA: to navigate the furthest ring you need to have mastered the flow of time! 
AA: that is why i am here 
AA: i am alive again so i may assist the dead in this way 

[…]

AA: you see those encounters you had with me before have not happened for me yet because ive only just arrived 
AA: time follows strange paths here as does space 
AA: if you travel a great enough distance you may discover you are also traveling either backwards or forwards in time as well! 
AA: just as if you stay in one place for too long the geometry of space surrounding you will become unreliable 
AA: you may swat the air to your left and discover you have just slapped yourself! 
AA: the only way to make sense of it is to understand either property very well 

I think this is the first time we’ve really gotten an explanation of the weirdness of space and time in the Furthest Ring. It’s kind of presented to us as a weird place where time and space don’t mean anything and work in warped ways, which is an interesting concept: the outer space outside regular organized land is pretty much nonsense land made from memories. I’ve never until now come to appreciate the warped creative design of the Furthest Ring.

AA: and since i am new here i have some learning to do just like everyone else 
AA: but i do know one thing 
GG: what! 
AA: i knew that the first bubble i would enter would be an important one for us to visit 
TA: what’s s0 imp0rtant ab0ut it? 

Yeah, what exactly is important about this bubble? If I recall, the trolls involved learn about their subconscious wall writing and the creation of Doc Scratch but what exactly is important about all this? I mean, they never use that knowledge or gain revelations that become plot-relevant (even though the reader does). I guess I’ll see and possibly understand.

AA: it is important because it will help us begin to understand why we are all here 
TA: what d0 y0u mean why we are all here? 
TA: y0u mean in the afterlife? that’s easy. 
TA: because she’s asleep, she’s dead, y0u’re alive, and i’m blind, c0uldn’t be simpler. 
AA: no no 
AA: not why we are in this bubble now 
AA: but why we all exist in the first place and why we all went on this adventure together 
TA: 0h, that. 
AA: there is much to understand and i believe it all begins with one sequence of events 
AA: watching will help those whove passed to understand the purpose of their sacrifice and those still living to understand what must be done to complete the journey still ahead 
AA: we will let the memories lead the way 
AA: are you guys ready?

What understandings do everyone in this bubble actually get here? I’m not sure if the revelations about Scratch’s genetic code are really what’s up.

In this whole sequence we’re revisiting a lot of characters’ homes, kind of like a fast-forward through old times.

AA: hey kanaya 
AA: there is s0mething i want t0 give y0u 
GA: Oh Really 
AA: yes its s0mething very 0dd i f0und when i disc0vered the ruins the 0ther night 
AA: i d0nt kn0w what its arche0l0gical significance is yet but i suspect y0u will be able t0 repair it! 
GA: This Is A Dream Isnt It 
AA: 0_0 
AA: w0w! 
AA: uh i mean 
AA: o_o 
AA: wow 
AA: you figured that out very fast! 
GA: It Seemed Obvious 
GA: Either Im Sleeping Or Im Dead Which Is It 

This is even faster figuring out that this is a memory than previously. I suspect Kanaya had an easy time figuring this out because of her status as a space player, the resident longtime dreamer.

AA: oh i am sure you are alive 
AA: you are unconscious now and will likely wake up as your new self very soon 
GA: My New Self 
AA: yes 
AA: you are undergoing a metamorphosis which you have been groomed for since you were very young 
AA: much like i was for my various personal iterations including this one 
GA: You Mean 
GA: Being A Ghost And Then A Frog And Then A Robot And Then A Fairy 
AA: yes! 
AA: but it sure sounds silly when you list them all like that 

So, apparently Kanaya was meant to become a vampire all along? Sure, whatever. Weird, but it makes about as much sense as a lot other stuff the characters go through. Especially the way Kanaya just put it. When you think about Homestuck in the big picture, it sounds absolutely WEIRD; no wonder that was my impression of the comic for months. Gray horoscope aliens with candy corn horns are just the beginning.

AA: why dont we go through this conversation again to the best of our recollection 
AA: but i guess rather than acting it out we can just talk about it 
AA: the old fashioned way 
GA: Was What We Were Attempting Before Not Old Fashioned 
AA: i have no idea 
GA: It Seems To Me The Nature Of The Afterlife Is Probably Very Old Fashioned 
GA: Maybe Even The Most Old Fashioned A Thing Can Get 

What would an old fashioned afterlife be like? I can only think of something like what the ancient Egyptians thought the afterlife was, which this most certainly isn’t with its fancy reenactments of memories and crazy outer space stuff or whatever, not to mention that there isn’t anyone who judges the dead or whatever else. 

GA: This Was When You Were About To Give Me That Unusual Gift From The Ruins 
AA: yes 
AA: i then had sollux deliver the pieces to you so you could stitch it back up 
AA: sollux that is your cue! 
AA: come out and play the part 
TA: s0 we d0n’t have t0 hide anym0re? 
AA: no of course not! 
AA: obviously the jig is up everyone can come out now 
GG: yay!

It’s incredible really, how this bit quoted above is definitely dialogue while the part with Aradia reenacting a conversation with Kanaya was definitely online chat, but both are presented in the same format that somehow flows smoothly. As I said, it sounds impossible to blur the line between typing and talking to each other, but somehow Homestuck pulls it off, even switching back and forth at times. Not that there’s high demand for stories being able to effectively carry out such transitions, which goes to show how the comic is most certainly weird (but not nonsensical). In a TV adaptation of the comic, this sort of transition would no doubt would be impossible—another problem with the idea of adapting Homestuck into another form of media.

TA: s0 like, 
TA: 0k s0 i’m supp0sed t0 act 0ut what i did bef0re, when i br0ught her these shitty d0ll parts, is that’s what’s g0ing 0n here? 
GA: Yeah Im Still Not Sure Aradia Are We Supposed To Be Role Playing 

It’s kind of funny seeing characters in a past reenactment scene but not being sure what to do, rather than just going through past events.

AA: no guys come on this isnt that complicated! 
AA: we are just revisiting the past just like we would if we were talking about it 
AA: but it just so happens we can watch it happen as we talk about it 
AA: and as a matter of fact 
AA: this story does involve a role playing game but not in that way! 
TA: thith ith kinb 0f thtupib. 
AA: youre stupid and you sound stupid! 
TA: h0py thith, i b0 th0unb thtupib. 
TA: why the fuckth ith by b0uth fthull 0f all thethe theeth subbenly? 
AA: i dont know o_o 
AA: but you maaay be waking up soon 
TA: 0h, 0k, greath, th0 i will mithth the retht 0f the c00l tht0ry, 0k. 
AA: maybe not if we hurry this along! 

I like how Sollux’s dialogue is literal transcription of him talking with teeth stuffed in his mouth. This is kind of a combination of regular transcribed dialogue and the comic’s colored text with a distinct typing style.

Cal’s green outfit was foreshadowed in a prior sequence with Hussie.

AA: kanaya tell us what happened next! 
GA: There Isnt Much To Say 
GA: I Repaired The Doll And Made Him A Nice Outfit 
GA: With A Far More Becoming Palette And Fit Than The Absurd Tatters He Was Found In 
GA: I Thought At Least 

might have mentioned this before, but it’s pretty interesting how Kanaya designing clothes for the puppet is why Doc Scratch and probably also the Felt dress in green suits.

Also, it’s worth noting that Kanaya refers to Cal using male pronouns rather than “it” pronouns.

GG: isnt that daves puppet? 

This isn’t the only time Bro’s puppets are referred to as Dave’s. Why is that? I wouldn’t refer to a friend’s parent’s things as as my friend’s things. Maybe it relates to how the guardians are presented in the kids’ eyes rather than as their own individuals? That kind of makes sense; after all, when we meet the guardians as their own individuals (i.e. as the alpha kids), they’re largely different from the impression we previously had on them, most especially with Roxy and Jake.

GA: Anyway That Is All I Can Remember 
GA: I Quickly Began To Find The Doll Unnerving So I Put Him Away 
GA: To My Knowledge He Has Remained Secure In My Block Ever Since 

This seemingly wise move dealing with Cal is in fact another one of the things going through his stable time loop, just like when Rose threw Cal out the window.

Note that Kanaya has been slowly transforming in this sequence of panels. Here’s her belly wound.

AT: i DON’T REMEMBER THIS, 
AT: i MEAN, 
AT: i REMEMBER GETTING JUMPED OFF THE CLIFF BY MY LEGS, 
AT: bUT NOT THE THING i’M DOING NOW, 
AA: no 
AA: our manipulator disguised his tracks well 
AT: dO i, 
AT: hAVE TO LIE ON THE FLOOR LIKE THIS, 
AT: iS THAT IMPORTANT, 
AA: no tavros you can get up 
AT: aLSO, 
AT: cAN WE, oR AT LEAST i, bE NOT IN THIS MEMORY, 
AT: bECAUSE, 
AT: iT’S ONE THAT’S NOT AS GREAT AS MOST, 
AA: we will leave it soon 
AA: but you were doing something very important here 
AT: wHAT WAS i DOING, 
AA: writing a part of the code

(1) Once again, Tavros makes an appearance in this scene, but none of the other dead trolls have made any such appearance. Not Feferi, not Equius, not any others. In this case, it’s probably because he’s relevant to the creation of Doc Scratch.

(2) Are the trolls only now learning about the subconscious wall writing thing or what? The kids all found out about their writing through either a revelation relating to it (John) or their dream selves waking up (Rose and Dave), but it would seem that the same doesn’t go for the trolls. Did they find all this out in this dream bubble sequence? Aradia seems to imply this was the case given that she said this bubble will give its residents important new knowledge. Maybe that matches with the theme of trolls skipping through a lot in their game.

Note that it’s t1CK instead of tICK the way Tavros would normally write it. Hussie came up with an explanation on the spot for this (aside from matching with the t0ck code): Tavros’s true arc number is 1 but he is too weak-willed to ever consciously realize this and type with that number, only ever doing so subconsciously.

Note that the color of the wall writing always matches the text color of the rulebook.

That is way too much blood. Just way too much.

Why is Terezi’s book the only one that doesn’t have her blood color? Is it to match with her ancestor, who always wore red sunglasses?

Turns out Tavros subsconsciously wrote t1CK code on his walls, Aradia wrote t0ck code on hers, Vriska wrote 8r8k code, and Terezi wrote H34DS code. The trolls’ first guardian genetic code has a considerably more complicated origin than that of the kids. Why exactly is that? Is it because the trolls’ universe is one Lord English, the first guardian’s boss, preyed on? That probably makes sense.

But even those four parts of the code aren’t the end of the story.

Note that Gamzee’s carnival planet is outside the window.

In the picture above, you can see fang marks on Terezi’s cheek, which is worth noting because it subtly signifies the disparate flow of time in the Furthest Ring. Terezi, who just had her blood sucked by a newly-transformed Kanaya, is later in the timeline than Kanaya, who is in the process of her vampire transformation which happened before Terezi’s brief nap.

AA: each fragment would be transcribed in our rulebooks 
AA: sealing the collaboration between rust bloods and blue bloods 
AA: completing the code for our sessions architect 
AA: not exactly
AA: there was another fragment 
AA: oh? 
AA: yes 
AA: an additional eight symbols 
AA: from a wild card source i suppose 
AA: it came from a timeline not meant to happen 
AA: the one i came from to ensure it wouldnt 
AA: thus sealing my fate

Doc Scratch’s code is so complicated that part of it—most of it, in fact—came from a doomed timeline. Compare this to the kids’ code, which was subconsciously written by only one person (Rose) when Jaspers whispered a secret in her ear. Probably the code is so complicated to spice things up a bit.

Additional note: if Jaspers whispered the code into Rose’s subconscious, then how did the same happen for the trolls? When Tavros joined the scene, Aradia implied Doc Scratch did it, at least in the alpha timeline. But as for Gamzee’s section? I think Scratch said at one point that he only has knowledge of the alpha timeline, so probably Cal had something to do with it.

The words of the genetic code, t1CK t0ck 8r8k H34DS honk HONK when you put them all together, are pretty heavily embodied with symbolism. The best-known example of this is that those words foreshadow the events of Doc Scratch’s transformation into Lord English: a clock ticks and tocks, Scratch’s head breaks open as he becomes English, and he releases a honk followed by a louder honk. A bit more of a stretch is that those words may also tie in with the components of Lord English, as I’ve seen people theorize. Tick tock is Caliborn, a time player; break heads is Arquiusprite, a strong guy (break) with a super mind (head); and honk HONK is obviously Gamzee himself.

Why is Jade the only one who looks upset seeing Karkat and Terezi’s corpses?

Everyone’s waking up now. This means that Tavros and the two Aradias are the only ones here to hear the end of the story.
Also, note that this nap of Jade’s once more ended as a nightmare, which is a bit sad because she talked about how much she’s been enjoying these naps.

AA: i believed the fragment was gibberish from a lunatic 
AA: after completing his rampage through our session 
AA: since it was not part of the scripted chronology i was oblivious until it was too late to stop it 
AA: not that it would matter if i did the timeline had already gone astray 
AA: i pieced together what had happened by sleuthing the various scenes
AA: and discovered the text which the code was recorded in 
AA: i decided to return to the alpha timeline with the text 
AA: as evidence for his madness i guess 
AA: in the alpha timeline this text was destroyed 
AA: in an explosion caused by a computer virus 
AA: this explosion did not take place on my timeline 

So if I’m getting this straight, a programming book had to be destroyed, otherwise Gamzee would’ve gone insane early and killed all the trolls? I have no idea how in the hell that would work. Even though this makes the whole scene with Karkat blowing up his computer in a fit of stupidity a rather clever Chekhov’s gun, it doesn’t really add up. Unless Gamzee turning evil early was caused by the lusii not dying??? All I can say is, this kind of doesn’t make sense. I mean, I’m sure there’s some clever connection to be made, but the comic probably could’ve made such a connection clear.

AA: i identified this event as the difference prompting the offshoot 
AA: and returned to our planet via the reckoning just as i did at the end of my life 
AA: though that time deliberately 
AA: to influence events quietly to make sure it happened 
AA: and later joined the rest of our doomed selves to help defeat the king 
AA: the others surely had similar responsibilities along the way

How exactly would you quietly influence events to make sure a guy would run a virus after getting into an argument with his friend? Given how heated Karkat’s arguments with Sollux pretty much always are, it doesn’t seem far-fetched for Karkat to naturally do such a thing. Though then again, it is a bit extreme. And even putting that aside, I still don’t get how Karkat blowing up his computer and Gamzee going on a rampage would be in any way interconnected.

Seizure warning for the next few images!






Matching up with the kids’ session, it turns out that Derse agents stole the rulebooks and the ~ATH book, and those were used with Cal and Vriska’s cue ball to create Doc Scratch. Now THAT’S a true plot revelation right here. Once again Scratch’s components are more complex than Bec’s: Bec was cloned from an ordinary dog, but Scratch is made from a puppet holding four different souls and an omniscient ball. The weird thing is, it seems that the personalities of all the souls trapped in Cal don’t combine to create a crazy mess of a being, rather a sophisticated trickster with I guess hints of his components’ personalities?

This is a good stopping point, making for another satisfyingly long post. See you next time as Doc Scratch fucks with us all.

>> Part 49: Therapist Manipulation Station

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