Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 49: Therapist Manipulation Station


Part 48 | Part 49 | Part 50 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 22 of 32

Pages 3614-3635 (MSPA: 5514-5535)

alternate post title: Stop Listening to Doc Scratch You Imbecile

alternate alternate post title: the “I wish this was my 50th post” special

We once again switch perspectives to Doc Scratch, who controls the narrative for a while. He says:

[In fact, I think it would be for the best if I commandeered the narrative completely for a while. I trust you won’t mind if I speak in white. It’s not actually negotiable, but as a courtesy I will enclose my words between a pair of visually audible brackets.

I am doing this because I can.

(god I can already tell it’s gonna be a pain in the ass to format his pesterlogs when I quote them)

(even more now in WordPress than in Blogger, actually)

As we learn here, Scratch is the only character so far who is aware that he is in a story. Well, I guess also Hussie’s self-insert, but that’s a special case. What role does this fourth wall awareness play in the story? Mostly just meta shenanigans I believe. They can be fun, but it’s important to note that they are NOT the main point of the story. People often come up with meta justifications for why Act 7 was an unsatisfying ending (e.g. the idea that the kids escaped the story by entering the victory door), but I feel that escaping the story is no excuse for leaving so much stuff unresolved.

Also regarding this, Let’s Read Homestuck cleverly handles Doc Scratch’s fourth-wall narration which doesn’t make sense in video. Scratch says in the videos that the idea of “visually audible brackets” makes no sense to people watching the videos rather than reading the comic, but as an excellent host he must remain faithful to the comic’s script. I think that speaks for itself, going along very nicely with the theme of his fourth-wall awareness.

Spades Slick arrives in Scratch’s apartment, having somehow escaped his exile station he was trapped in. As I said months ago, we have no idea how he managed to escape and go to the green moon. I like to think he just banged on the exile door until it opened and then maybe flew a rocket to the green moon? I mean, he had to get there somehow. There’s his rocket butt, but didn’t he get that when he was nursed by Hussie? Who even knows.

Another question: why exactly did Slick go here? Probably to finish off the Felt. I bet that along the way he found out insider information regarding Lord English’s crew.

I will say, there probably could’ve been a whole subplot of Slick trying to escape his exile station and find Doc Scratch, probably similar to his B2 counterpart’s Jailbreak adventure, but instead having it happen offscreen makes Slick’s reappearance a pleasant surprise, especially since this is the first thing he does after coming in:

Just to be clear, I don’t actually hate Doc Scratch. I mean, sure, he’s a massive douche, and it’s satisfying to see someone come in and beat him up, but that’s what’s enjoyable about him; he’s a unique and effective villain. I’m not sure if I agree with the idea of hating a character because of being a villain. As I said when I got to Vriska’s introduction, I believe that you should judge a villainous character by effectiveness as a villain. My favorite antagonist in Homestuck is easily Caliborn, mostly because he is absolutely HILARIOUS.

Jack. Stop it.



Which would you prefer I call you? It’s one of the strange points of uncertainty which surrounds you. Maybe it is that you don’t particularly care. Your flair is for the plain and serviceable, isn’t it? Not much of your vanity is tied up in a name, I’d guess.

Not going to tell me? Fine, I won’t tell you my name either.

Well, I might. If you would just show some manners and stop hitting me with that ridiculous horse hitcher. I won’t crack no matter how senseless the drubbing. If only it were that simple.

You’re not going to stop, are you. It will be very difficult to discuss our points of mutual interest like this. I was prepared to go about it in a civilized way, even though I knew very well I would spend the first several minutes of our meeting sitting on the floor while being flogged. I have even prepared a bowl of candy for you, which I know you will enjoy. Courtesy is important, Jack.

Do you have anything at all to say? Any form of communication you care to attempt beyond the sound iron makes against my head repeatedly?

No, of course not.

This is some very one-sided dialogue right here, handling the unwritten rule that carapacians can’t participate in dialogue that’s not incorporated in the form of narration (you say this, he says that), by simply not having Slick say anything. It makes no logical sense why all these rules are there, but it’s admirable how the comic always gets by with those dialogue restrictions.

Doc Scratch = Bender?

What’s that? I see. You think you already know my name. You do not know my real name, Jack, just as none of your adversaries on this planet know yours. You only know my nickname. 

(1) Slick seems to have had dialogue offscreen, in the gap between this page and the previous one. I suppose this is a fairly tidy way to handle dialogue between Scratch and Slick like this.

(2) We never find out Doc Scratch’s real name, which is notable because eventually we do learn Lord English’s name. As for Slick’s name, it isn’t much of a surprise that his real name is Jack Noir because of the strong visual resemblance, and because we already were introduced to Jack when we met Slick.

Doc Scratch proceeds to help Slick to some candy and talks to Rose.

Also, note that John is now represented with the breath symbol.

This confident stock Rose face is painful to see when we know how heavily Doc Scratch is fooling her.

TT: It’s quite warm here on Lohac. 
TT: I think I’ve been patient enough. 
TT: When will I receive further instruction? 

Oh god, this pesterlog is already at a painful start. Painful as in oh my god Rose stop listening to this guy, please, PLEASE. As if it wasn’t bad enough for her to talk about conversing with Scratch, now we’re finally seeing a conversation between them firsthand. I’m afraid this conversation will cause me to lose some points on my Rose Meter (which is a thing I just made up now) because I already know how hard Scratch misleads both Rose and the reader even after going on about lies of omission.

Side note: In my first read, I tilted my computer screen so the white text was easier to read, even though I barely skimmed the text anyway.

Your inevitable impatience caused you to contact me again. 
Inevitability is my invitation.

TT: That’s pretty smug. 
I am right to be smug. I am omniscient, extremely powerful, and very charming. 
TT: Well, 
TT: Two out of three isn’t bad. 
TT: Can you use your limitless intelligence to figure out which ones I mean? 
That was clever. 
If I plead ignorance to the fact that you are denying my charisma, it invalidates my claim of omniscience. 
But if I must adhere to my all knowing status, it forces me to validate the unfortunate reality that you are feigning the opinion that my demeamor is unpalatable. 
Not that it matters, because I have all three qualities and you know it. 

TT: This is stupid. 
TT: Could we get to the point? 

You know how pesterlogs are often filled with discussions of the most irrelevant nonsense? Well, I think it’s pretty funny that Doc Scratch isn’t immune to that either. It kind of reminds me of Caliborn, who complains about really long walls of text … in a really long wall of text. Really, if there’s any pesterlog I should’ve read in my first read, it’s the first one with Caliborn in it, where he voices all the common complaints about pesterlogs.

The next part I’ll quote is pretty long so I’ll pick out notable Doc Scratch lines to comment on as a group.

Jokes are only temporary lies. 
If the falsehood is never exposed, there is no punchline. If the punchline is never delivered, the lie is sealed forever, regardless of initial humorous intent. Lies are not funny. 

I am allowed to do whatever I want. I choose never to lie. I also choose to tell jokes now and then, and to play pranks quite sparingly. 
But I can say that I have never played a prank on you, and no statement I have made to you thus far, or will make in this conversation, will contain any trace of falsehood for the sake of setting up a joke or a prank, with the exception of the joke I just made, and another one I will make very soon. 

Doc Scratch here is going out of his way to talk about lies, which he’ll do more of soon. This is notable because it invites readers to be wary of what he says, but despite this, what actually happens at the end is truly a shock.

Also, he has let’s say an interesting idea of what jokes are.

TT: Were you serious about wanting to die? 
TT: Why? 
I’ll tell you later. 
TT: Why? 
Because you asked. 
TT: But why not now? 
Because that piece of information would not fit elegantly into the sequence of our exchange at this moment. 

That last line here is just super false. Rose just asked about Scratch supposedly wanting to die so it’s a perfect time to answer that.

TT: Then you know how this entire conversation will go? 
TT: Is that true of all conversations you have? 
Yes. Until, briefly, I don’t. But the dark spots never last long. The truth disguises itself to me sometimes which can be mildly frustrating, but it usually reveals itself quickly, much as if a punchline was delivered. It’s a humorous dialogue I have with reality, and it is very amusing. 
TT: Then why do you bother with the conversations? Obligation to predestination, as usual? 
There is no obligation. 
It’s a pleasure. 

TT: It is? 
I’ve always had a soft spot for young ladies. 
TT: Hmm. 
TT: That’s a little creepy. 
No it’s not. 
TT: Yes it is. 
No it’s not. 
TT: It kind of is. 

This bit is fairly reminiscent of Equius, with Scratch conversing with young ladies out of pleasure and doing the no/yes thing. It turns out that Equius is closely connected to Doc Scratch through what we learn in Caliborn’s Masterpiece, which makes for some pretty brilliant possibly retroactive foreshadowing. I say “possibly” because this foreshadowing seems a little strong to only be retroactive.

TT: How young are the ladies you typically take a shining to? 
TT: And does this mean you are attracted to me? 
TT: Suddenly this conversation is kind of terrible. 

ROSE, NO. This is the weirdest fucking train of thought EVER! You could be catching up with your friends instead of this shit. At least she recognizes this conversation as such.

Of course I am not. Not in the way you mean. 
And anyway, you are applying standards of conduct frowned upon for your kind which make no sense to apply to me. 
I am an immortal entity with a large cue ball for a head, and no biological means of reproduction. 

TT: … 
TT: Really. 
Also, if you were millions of years old, you would find that nearly every lady you encounter is quite young, relatively speaking. 
There should be no reason for you to feel uncomfortable with this interaction. Try to think of me as one of your kindly human uncle figures. 
In fact, if I were in your presence now, I would offer you candy to prove it. 

TT: Oh my god. 
TT: Can we talk about the scratch instead of this? 

Whew thank god. I’ve hardly been this unsettled by a conversation in Homestuck. I’ve colored the most creepy lines here red; seriously, at times his creepiness even puts Equius to shame.

Also, the part about “human uncle figures” is a brilliant and surprisingly sneaky bit of foreshadowing (once again, may or may not be retroactive) which was brought to light in the MSPA Reader: Mental breakdown flash. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch the flash, it points out that bit.

You are situated near the game construct supplied by your session for causing the Scratch, yes? 
TT: Are you actually asking? 
That was a fact, and then a question mark. 

TT: Ah. 
TT: Well, yes, I am. 
TT: It’s a large plateau shaped like a record. It’s called the Beat Mesa. 

I’m pretty sure “Beat Mesa” is a fanmade name for the scratch construct which has just been made canon.

Up next is some exposition regarding the Scratch and how it must be done, so there’s a lot of stuff I’ll skip over, mostly some bits that are worth commenting on.

TT: How do I finish it? 
You don’t. 
Not you personally. Another will. You have something more important to attend to, remember? 

TT: Oh, right. 
TT: The Green… 
TT: Wait. 
TT: The Green Sun. 
TT: I’d planned to take care of that later, once John had retrieved the Tumor. 
TT: Whatever. 

(1) Oh, NOW Doc Scratch decides to stop typing in white. He said it’s not negotiable, but he in fact can type in black just fine when he does the fancy colored text bullshit. Wait, I mean the Fancy Colored Text Bullshit.

(2) I think it’s pretty well established that while some terms are colored super fancy, it’s not worth always doing that, especially when it’s just a bunch of teenagers talking about that stuff. Despite this, some online coverages of the comic do indeed insist on fancy colored text which I think is a bit ridiculous.

I told you to find the construct and await advisement on the Scratch. The plans you were making were based on assumptions and fabrications of your imagination. You were writing more stories, much like those about your false magical men.
TT: I wish what I’d written in my private journals could be confined to your dark spots.
I don’t. I find your stories entertaining.
TT: You’re being creepy again.
No I’m not.
Besides, the White King agrees with me.
TT: What?
For a Seer, your vision of events surrounding you is rather limited. It’s charming.
TT: Just,
TT: Please stop complimenting me.

It’s a shame really, how the most knowledgeable source of information out here can’t share his information without mixing it with creepy shit and lies of omission. I believe Aradia is the only other character at this point who knows this much, but as Karkat said one time, she had to be all cryptic about everything for no goddamn reason and then exploded.

TT: I guess it makes sense that it would happen later. My understanding is that Jack will not be banished from this session until near the end of the reckoning. 
Yes, Jack will exit your session later, but this has nothing to do with the Scratch. 
Not directly, as you imply. 

TT: I don’t understand. 
TT: I thought that was the point of the Scratch, to open a rift in spacetime as it were, and banish him into the trolls’ session. 
That is not the purpose of the Scratch at all. The Scratch does not open a rift in spacetime. 

TT: Hmm. 
TT: Then why have you directed me to cause it? 
TT: Does it have something to do with enabling you to die? 
No. Not directly. 
The Scratch has nothing more to do with my death than any other single event ultimately contributing to my demise. 

TT: I think it’s disingenuous for you to behave as if I have not been misled. 

Here, Doc Scratch is directly debunking what we’ve been led to believe about the Scratch. Like I said in post number 40, this is one of those moments where a theory is explicitly debunked. Sometimes dumb theories that don’t make sense are debunked; as I mentioned before, WV not being an imp and the “DEAD” tags are examples of this, as is Hussie saying he is not Lord English. But here, a reasonable theory is debunked. The idea that the Scratch is used to banish Jack was all but outright stated; though scratching the session and Jack leaving the kids’ session are correlated, they’re in fact different things.

Ever since the scratch’s first mention, the comic’s text has been carefully worded so as to lead readers into thinking the Scratch is meant to banish Jack without outright stating it. There’s too many examples to list: just search “scratch” in Act 5 of the comic and there’s plenty of times we are misled like that.

TT: You say you don’t lie, but what about lies of omission? 
Lies of omission do not exist. 
The concept is a very human one. It is the product of your story writing again. You have written a story about the truth, making emotional demands of it, and in particular, of those in possession of it. 
Your demands are based on a feeling of entitlement to the facts, which is very childish. You can never know all of the facts. Only I can. 
And since it’s impossible for me to reveal all facts to you, it is my discretion alone that decides which facts will be revealed in the finite time we have. 
If I do not volunteer information you deem critical to your fate, it possibly means that I am a scoundrel, but it does not mean that I am a liar. And it certainly means you did not ask the right questions. 
One can make either true statements or false statements about reality. All of the statements I make are true. 

As I said earlier, Scratch is going out of his way to explain how lies of omission don’t exist, which I think is meant to make readers suspicious of what he says. Also, he is himself lying through omission here: he doesn’t say that he will freely say misleading true statements that imply false statements.

It’s kind of debatable whether lies of omission count of lies. I would say, telling technically true statements that are misleading isn’t really lying, but it definitely is misleading people which is exactly the point of lying.

I should also note that lies of omission are quite common in the forces meant to bring about events predestined to happen. Skaia’s clouds never told Jade that building the robot bunny would massively screw everyone over, nor did they tell her about any of the other awful things playing Sburb would bring them. Aradia explicitly said once that she lied through omission when she led Sollux to believe that developing Sgrub would save the world.

TT: What exactly does the Scratch do, then? 
It resets the game. 
TT: Oh. 
TT: That’s it? 
TT: Then, 
TT: We all start from the beginning again? When John entered? 
The release of temporal energy will be quite massive. 
This is a hard reset. It will reboot the conditions in your universe well before you began playing the game. 
You will have lived different lives after the reset. The different initial conditions will ideally lead to a more favorable scenario in the new session. 
Unfortunately, you will have no memory of anything that has happened in the session you are in now. 

Doc Scratch’s lies of omission are so much fun to read the second time around, how much of what he says is technically true but super misleading. First off, he never says that the scratched versions of the kids aren’t going to be the ones playing the game, so for now, we’re led to believe that the reset session will be played by clones of the kids. I wonder how that would play out, how the kids would react to seeing alternate versions of themselves? I imagine something like the episode of Futurama where they all meet parallel universe versions of themselves. It would be entertaining, but just not interesting enough for a whole long storyline. I think this is probably why the alpha kids exist: to make the reset session more interesting. Rather than simply putting the four main characters we know and love in a slightly different situation, we get a closer look at the guardians’ personalities and what Sburb would be like in their hands, along with a look at what sorts of people the beta kids could grow up to be without actually aging them as characters.

TT: What will happen to us? Everyone in this session now? 
You will all cease to exist completely if you remain here during the Scratch. 
TT: This seems familiar. 
TT: It reminds me of when Dave and I were trapped in the doomed timeline, and he left to change the past. 
TT: The timeline ceased to exist, along with my dream self, who in a way became merged with my dream self of this timeline. I kept some of her memories. 

Something weird: it’s explicitly stated several times that future Rose’s dream self ceased to exist, but nothing about her waking self.

TT: Is the situation similar?
Similar, but more severe.
Since this timeline will undergo such a violent upheaval, such a merger of memory cannot happen.
You will be resigned to absolute oblivion.
Unless you can discover a way to preserve yourselves.
But it’s not really my place to advise you on that.
After you have dealt with the Scratch and the sun, what happens to you is not any of my business.

I thought Doc Scratch was supposed to be omniscient! But I suppose it makes sense that what lies beyond the scratch is unknown and mysterious.

TT: Then can you at least tell me if we will be successful in preserving ourselves after the reset? 
I don’t particularly enjoy spoiling things for people when unnecessary. 
I find speaking in a discreet color helps avoid this. 

Oh no, not more of this refusing to share information bullshit. Scratch is essentially responding to Rose’s question with “I’m not telling”. That should really clue her in to the idea that he might not be the most reliable source.

I believe Doc Scratch refusing to spoil things has to do with his awareness that he is in a story; otherwise it makes no sense. Well, there’s Calliope’s whole “causal spoilers” thing which is the same idea but that might have more to do with her tendency to see people as characters.

Also, speaking in white to avoid spoilers is possibly a reference to TV Tropes which in case you didn’t know is is both the best and worst thing ever.

TT: I have reason to believe that I won’t [reach god tier]. 
TT: The trolls have not indicated I will die on my Quest Bed, or that any of us will aside from John. Instead I’ve been given a more troubling and ambiguous forecast. 
What have I said about confirming the reliability of your sources? 

Doc Scratch, you are such a fucking hypocrite it’s unbelievable.

TT: Are you saying I will? 
TT: Oh. 
TT: Well, will I? 
It seems you’d like me to do some more fortune telling. 
TT: Fine. 
TT: Maybe this question will suit you better. 
TT: Is it probable? 
That’s a strange question to ask someone who is omniscient and therefore knows outcomes with one hundred percent certainty. 
I like it. 

TT: Then what’s your answer? 
You have exactly a fifty percent chance of ascending to the god tier. 

Once more, this vagueness regarding certain questions should be taken as a clue not to trust what this guy says.

TT: Why such a precise probability? 
Because, much like the decisions you must face to complete your dual suicide missions, you have two ways of achieving godhood to choose from. 
TT: Two ways? 
TT: By dying on the Quest Bed on my planet, and some other way?
TT: Is there another Quest Bed somewhere? 
Yes. Good guess, Seer. 
TT: Where? 
What difference does it make? You already know where the first one is. You have the choice to go there right now and take your own life. 

When Dave and Rose ascend to god tier, it seems like a grand reveal that the second quest bed is in the core of Derse, unless you remember how Aradia ascended to god tier.

TT: A god tier will live forever, with no caveats?
One will live forever, unless killed.
The death must be either heroic or just.
TT: How are those terms defined?
Broadly, mysteriously, and according to the case of the individual.
One may be killed by opposing a corrupt adversary and die for a just cause, as through martyrdom, for instance. This would be heroic.
Or one may be subject to corruption, and slain by a hero. This would be just.

Here is the introduction of the system of heroic and just deaths. Turns out that the catch to immortality is that if you die for a good reason you won’t come back to life. This has made for some interesting judgments regarding deaths, which I’ll talk about when I get there.

TT: Is this when you are going to tell me why you want to die? 
TT: I sense it’s not just because you’re getting bored with immortality. 
That’s good. Your vision is becoming clearer. 
TT: Then why? 
My master can’t enter this universe until I am killed. 
Such is the nature of the break. 

TT: That almost sounds like martyrdom. Are you sure it won’t be a hero’s death? 
Quite sure. 
My master is a very evil man. 

TT: Who is he? 
I won’t tell you his name. 
But he goes by the title, 
Lord English.

Doc Scratch is all but outright stating he is a bad guy. How can this not tell Rose that she should stop listening to him? The only reason I can think of is thirst for information. I think I said at one point that the Skaian clouds probably showed Jade predictions that proved to be true, causing her to trust them completely. The same is probably true for Rose trusting Doc Scratch; maybe he started feeding Rose all kinds of information that turns out to be true, causing her to start believing everything he says. And as I said earlier, the Skaian clouds also somewhat misled Jade, not sharing with her any of the bad disasters that would happen. That’s probably why Jadesprite was so disillusioned about her adventures in Prospit. In addition, didn’t Calliope say at one point that the clouds led her to believe she would play a two-player session when that wasn’t actually true?

Intensely symbolistic panel. Rose is serving as a pawn of Lord English’s evil schemes.

This next page I’ll comment on largely as a whole because it says a lot of interesting stuff about Lord English and I can’t really quote bit-by-bit and comment on it like that. Some lines I quote will be out of order.

Doc Scratch explains that if the Green Sun is destroyed, he would die and Jack would be neutralized, but his death would also release Lord English, his master who is even more powerful than Jack. However, he can also just as well die some other way which would also cause English’s release. He says the following about Lord English:

There is nothing noble about taking a course of action you believe would prevent his arrival, because that is impossible.
He will come.
In fact, he is already here.

Doc Scratch is telling Rose that although destroying the Green Sun would release Lord English, he is predestined to be released regardless. He claims that while Lord English is tied in with predestination, what happens with Jack is far more up to our heroes. I’m not sure how true that is. On the one hand, there are times when it is suggested that despite how much stuff is predestined, free will is indeed a thing in Homestuck to an extent (see post 42 for instance). But Bec Noir’s existence is itself a stable time loop and thus predestined: Bec wouldn’t have been prototyped if Vriska hadn’t interfered, but Vriska wouldn’t have interfered if she didn’t know Bec Noir would later exist.

To elaborate further, Scratch and others talk up Lord English as having the ultimate hold on paradox space and predestination. This is part of what makes the current ending of the comic so underwhelming; even if you assume Lord English was defeated in the final scene, this was just one iteration of him, and there’s no indication that he can’t still show up anywhere, nor is there any indication that paradox space is at last free of his grip. The prospect of defeating Lord English really feels like something that would’ve been handled in a super special absolutely base-breaking way entirely different from what we got. Sure, the Act 7 flash had super high-level animation that went above and beyond anything the comic has done, but that’s as far as it goes. Most of its events were very predictable, which further makes it an underwhelming ending. Is it too optimistic to assume the epilogue will cover all the stuff I just talked about?

Sorry about the ending rant, I’ll move on.

Through this page, Doc Scratch says some rather misleading things which, as I said, are a lot of fun to read in retrospect. There are two lines of his that stand out in that respect. First, he says:

You may decide to attempt to destroy the sun and end my life. This will neutralize Jack, who is also much more powerful and dangerous than myself by virtue of the ring he wears in addition to drawing energy from the same sun as I. He poses a significant threat to reality. 

Note how he talks about attempting to destroy the sun. That is exactly what Rose and Dave do, but they only attempt it. Doc Scratch further misleads Rose from the real purpose of the Tumor mission by pointing out that destroying the Green Sun would neutralize Jack, who she knows is a major threat in their game.

And perhaps the most notable of Scratch’s lies of omission is:

And it is certainly true that The Tumor you will deliver to its location has enough power to destroy it completely. 

The Tumor does indeed have enough power to destroy the sun: it has the power of two universes, which is exactly the mass of the sun. But it doesn’t actually destroy it; rather, it creates the sun. Plus, Scratch says the Tumor will be delivered to the sun’s location, rather than the sun itself. This line is very carefully worded so as to still be technically true in retrospect but incredibly misleading.

Note that Rose’s face is colored grayish due to shading.
Likely foreshadowing of her becoming grimdark, which will happen very soon.

TT: How can I see through it? 
It seems you weren’t listening, so I will state this again in the form of a question. 
Don’t you think I should be asking the questions from now on? 

TT: Yes, if you wanted to be disingenuous and irritating. 
Don’t you think a clever person should be able to acquire information from someone who only asks questions? 
TT: Then it’s a challenge! 
TT: I pass. 
Do you have a choice? What if I’m feeling a bit stubborn? 
TT: Ok, so what you mean is I should continue humoring your leading questions until you happen to ask certain rhetorical questions that contain information I need. 
Was that a question? 
TT: That was a fact, and then a period. 

Rose is calling back to what Doc Scratch said earlier in the conversation; an in-universe callback, if you will. In this case it’s a deliberate (and brilliant if I say so myself) comeback to Doc Scratch’s smartass bullshit. While the comic is filled with callbacks, it’s less common (and especially enjoyable) for characters to deliberately call back to things they or others had previously said. 

Do you believe in magic? 
TT: Magic is real. 
TT: I’ve been using it. 
Are you sure? 
TT: Use whatever word you want to describe it. I have magic wands, they are very powerful, and they allow me to be magic. Your questions are silly. 
What makes you convinced the wands are responsible for your abilities? 
TT: Because I did not have the abilities before I made them. 
Could this be circumstantial? 
TT: Could it? 
Is there an echo? 
TT: Is there an echo? 
Hee hee? 
TT: I don’t know what you’re getting at. 
TT: How about another leading question? 
What did you combine to make those wands? 
TT: Some stuff. 
Knitting needles? 
An inexpensive figurine of some fictional fellow with long whiskers? 
A simple textbook on the zoologically dubious? 
Why would this mundane combination of objects grant a child such an alarming mastery over dark forces all at once? 

It’s kind of a running joke in the comic that magic has been repeatedly claimed to be real or fake. I think I’m with Rose here: magic is obviously real in Homestuck, no matter how mundane its origins are. Even though she combined everyday objects to alchemize magical objects, she did so using technology that can create anything out of thin air. This isn’t the only time the reality of magic has been discussed; Karkat gave some of his own insight as to whether magic is real.

Would it be so difficult to believe the power you’ve found to devastate your planet and create shortcuts through your session is not entirely by your own device? 
Would it be so difficult to believe a young lady could be unwittingly apprenticed by more powerful entities who meant her potential to be realized later through some arbitrary trigger? 

Doc Scratch is talking about the Horrorterrors commanding Rose. He should REALLY be speaking for himself here. I never realized just how much of a hypocrite this guy is.

What would you say if I said a dutiful girl raised in the daylight was protected by a bulb-headed guardian, and learned to glow in the dark after death? 
What would you say if I said a vengeful boy on a path of nihilism was taken under the wings of fearsome angels, and learned to destroy hope with their light? 

Here, he is talking about Kanaya and Eridan respectively, two characters whose stories are related in a way to Rose’s: Kanaya tried to stop her from going down the wrong pathway, and Eridan saw her as a rival and got Kanaya to make him a deadly wand.

What would you say if I said a reserved girl enamored by what dwelt in shadow was selected by the horrorterrors for service, and did their bidding at every step while convinced of her own autonomy?

Rose’s whole arc in this act is the most ironic thing ever. She hates being told what to do, but completely follows the orders of not a troll girl who wants the best for her, rather dark gods and an omniscient trickster who’s full of shit in every way imaginable.

Haven’t your friends already shown concern for your recklessness and your increasing sense of detachment from the party, the team objectives, and not to mention those of your personal quest? 
Does this worry you? Is there a part of you left that’s able to worry? 

HYPOCRITE HYPOCRITE HYPOCRITE. He tells her to stop being detached from her group of players but continues doing just that to her.

I am going to ask the same question I asked earlier. 
Please do not regard it as a violation of my pledge. It is just an ordinary question, like those that crop up in an ordinary conversation. 

TT: Ok. 
How does a Seer see? 
TT: I don’t know. 
Be literal. 
TT: With her eyes? 
Take the orb. 
Ask it a question. 

TT: I don’t know what to ask anymore. 
TT: I’m confused. 
What would you ask me? 
TT: I would ask what should I do next. 
Then ask. 
TT: What should I do next? 
Not me. 
The ball, dunkass. 

And so the conversation ends with a SBaHJ reference. The reference is extremely out-of-place and abrupt, which I’m sure was intentional. Though for now it’s just a random oddity and/or amusing joke, eventually it serves as foreshadowing for one of Lord English’s components; in this case, Dirk’s responder, who has made several SBaHJ references over the course of the comic.

Just as John manifested early wind abilities before going god tier, Rose is doing the same with her seer abilities to see into the cue ball, as indicated by the light symbol in her eye.

Additional note: her cue ball vision matches her up with Vriska, her fellow light player and pawn of Doc Scratch.

The cue ball tells her to answer Jade, which she’ll do. I’ll go cover that next post, because this post is quite long. It probably could’ve been longer, but I feel that I had so much to say about this whole exchange that I can get by making this a post that covers fewer pages than usual.

See you next time as we go through a strange pastiche of extreme sadness and extreme silliness. And by extreme, I mean EXTREME and EXTREME respectively.

>> Part 50: The Sad, the Silly, and the Self-Indulgent

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