Pages 3636-3694 (MSPA: 5536-5594)
So I’m halfway to 100 posts now. As with my inactive large number website, I’m impressed with myself by how much bigger this project is turning out to be than I first envisioned.
NOTE: I have officially decided to split Act 5 Act 2 into 32 posts, arranged like so:
- Two more posts before the Doc Scratch intermission
- Six Doc Scratch intermission posts
- Two posts before the scrapbook section
- Three posts for the scrapbook section
- One post after the scrapbook section
- One post after Hussie snaps out of the intermission; this will include Cascade and Intermission 2.
Note the flashing Bec symbol in the alert bubble.
TT: Sorry for the delayed response.
TT: Answering seems to be what to do right now.
GG: rose jeez!!!
GG: you sure seem to be absorbed in whatever youre doing on that computer…
GG: were you talking to someone?
TT: Oh, right. I forgot I gave you the code for the crystal ball.
TT: And here I was thinking I could safely delay responding to messages without seeming like an ass, the way it usually works.
Rose remarks that it’s kind of rude of her not to answer her friends’ messages. It’s weird, how throughout what I’ve covered last post, Rose realizes what she’s doing is bad but does it anyway.
GG: oh no no i dont blame you for not responding!
GG: you must be very upset
GG: are you ok?
TT: Why would I be upset?
GG: uhhh i figured you would have found out by now but i guess you still dont know?
TT: Know what?
GG: johns dad
GG: your mom 😦
GG: oh noo 😥
Also, out of all the things she knew, that her mother would get killed is not among them. Why exactly did she never know that? Is it because nobody had it in their heart to break the news to her? That might be why. I wonder what it would be like if she knew her mom would die beforehand. Would she for once try to stop that from happening?
Rose looks at her crystal ball and…
DEAR GOD, LOOK AT THAT FACE. We’ve never seen her react to ANYTHING like this before. At least, I don’t think so.
Note Jade’s sad face in the crystal ball.
GG: rose please say something
GG: you are making me nervous…
TT: I should have gone looking for her.
TT: Why didn’t I?
GG: because you were busy trying to make the best of this situation?
TT: John was too. But he went to look for his father.
TT: It would have been normal of me. I can’t remember what I was trying to prove anymore.
This is starting to remind me of how bad Vriska felt about killing Tavros. Rose was always so full of shit with regards to her mother’s motives and had a whole weird thing of trying to one-up (what she sees as) passive-aggressiveness. But now she is realizing how ridiculous all this was.
GG: you know…
GG: now we have all lost guardians
GG: dave lost his, and i lost mine in a weird way… uuum even though that was pretty much definitely my fault
GG: and even the trolls all lost their monster guardians
GG: i think that maybe it is an inevitable part of a game that can be cruel sometimes
Saying that the game can be cruel sometimes is such an understatement.
TT: For some reason, despite all the danger, I never thought she was in any trouble.
TT: I never believed she would actually die.
I think John worried about his father because he thought that since his house got sucked into a video game and his father went missing, part of his mission is to go find and save him just like in an adventure game. Rose, however, doesn’t see it the same way. When John told her about how he saw her mom, Rose didn’t ask if she was OK, rather if she seemed happy, which I think says a lot.
TT: I grew up with the feeling that something more significant had always been meant for her.
TT: That she was a heroine displaced in some way, resigned to the inglorious duty of raising me, and preparing me in her way.
TT: I didn’t actually need the ectobiological verification that she was like a mother and a sister at the same time. I always understood that somehow.
TT: And I felt she had knowledge and ability beyond what she let on. It was always intimidating, but nonetheless a source of respect which was childishly begrudging on my part.
TT: I think she was just waiting for me to catch up with her.
TT: But now I can’t.
GG: i am so sad
GG: rose i think you are being stronger about it than i am
Wow, Rose is saying some really heartfelt things about her mother. This is way different from what the narration told us way back in the early acts about how she’s supposedly all spiteful and does all kinds of elaborate “mind games”. If you reread pretty much any prior section of the comic talking about Mom with knowledge of what sort of person Roxy is, she implicitly comes off as not spiteful but ridiculously affectionate.
GG: i just hope you arent thinking of doing something rash
TT: I already was.
TT: I was going to go to sleep, fly to a sun bigger than our universe, drop a bomb in it, and kill myself.
TT: So if my course of action is to change on account of my mood, it can only become less impetuous, don’t you think?
GG: errrr, i dont know?
TT: You never liked my plan very much anyway.
GG: but i was trusting that you had thought it through and it was our best hope
TT: I’m not sure if I did.
TT: Maybe it was a terrible plan.
TT: I made it without a full understanding of the nature of the Scratch.
This once again reminds me of Vriska and how she started reconsidering her plan to fight Jack. I never realized just how much Rose and Vriska, both light players, have in common.
GG: then what will you do?
TT: I could stop being so cowardly, for once.
TT: I could short circuit this endlessly expanding game of chess we’re playing, just like Jack decided to do.
GG: what does that mean!
TT: Maybe I will go kill Jack myself.
TT: Right now.
GG: oh no no no no no!
GG: rose that is a much much worse plan!!!!!
GG: he would probably kill you!
TT: But the Scratch will wipe us out anyway, and reboot the conditions of our session.
TT: I suddenly don’t feel much like sneaking through the back door of the Furthest Ring for retribution by distant super nova.
GG: i know what you mean, i was angry at jack and wanted to stop him too, but we have to think of a more sensible way to do it
TT: Whether my existing plan was sensible or not,
TT: I may have been allowing myself to be manipulated by an omniscient being regardless.
Finally, Rose is aware of just how much shit Doc Scratch has been feeding her! It’s kind of a shame how she just now snapped out of it as she nears the last moment anyone is able to contact her. It seems like this dialogue is sort of like a final developmental scene for her before she becomes incomprehensible for the next few hundred pages.
GG: what? who?
GG: aaaaaaa whaaaaat?????
TT: This is a private conversation.
TT: Private even to those who know it word for word already.
I will be here.
GG: rose who is this!
TT: Ignore him.
GG: i dont even know whats going on anymore
You were discussing Ms. Lalonde’s intrepid new variation on suicide.
As one with a passion for the subject, I’m intrigued.
Doc Scratch throws any semblance of logic out the window and somehow randomly joins the conversation. Though dream bubble scenes have heavily defied chat client logic, this is the first time such logic is broken in regular scenes.
Jade, as an ambassador of Skaia, maybe you’d be willing to talk some sense into your friend?
You should understand she’s been corrupted by various entities with some rather questionable motives.
OH MAN I JUST REALIZED SOMETHING. Doc Scratch here is manipulating Jade into getting Rose to ask the cueball about the dark gods, causing her to go grimdark. This means Rose going grimdark is actually a Doc Scratch thing, something I never previously realized. If it weren’t for that bastard nudging events so she goes dark, Rose would’ve finally come to her senses.
GG: the dark gods gave you all these powers, and seem to be helping us with dream bubbles and stuff…
GG: but what if they are not actually good?
TT: They are enormous, ugly, and live in darkness.
TT: That doesn’t necessarily make them bad.
GG: but i still dont trust them!
If only there were a way to make this determination with certainty.
Through a reliable source within reach, for instance, at this exact moment. Perhaps one that is spherical, and devastatingly handsome.
GG: whats this weirdo talking about!
TT: The cue ball.
GG: oh yeah
GG: i noticed you found it!
GG: i was worried it had been destroyed when my room blew up
GG: is he saying you can use it?
TT: Yes. And he is right.
GG: does it work???
TT: It advised me to talk to you just now.
TT: So I guess so.
GG: then maybe you should try it!
Yes, Rose. Listen to Jade.
She is far less manipulative than I.
Doc Scratch tells Rose to listen to Jade regarding the cue ball, saying she is less manipulative than he is, but he is the one who gave her the idea! I just love how this guy is pretty up-front about his malicious intent but still has an easy time toying with everyone.
Another thought: I think Doc Scratch decided to make Rose go dark because she was about to come to her senses and give up on the suicide mission.
Rose asks the cueball if the gods are evil and after a sequence calling back to the insane montage in [S] Jade: Wake up, this happens…
While I think it’s fairly easy to guess that the Horrorterrors come into possession of Rose and cause her blackout, the way this happens is somewhat more of a surprise. Not only does it come through asking the cueball whether they’re evil, Doc Scratch made it happen.
This panel above shows us that the preceding sequence of events is how Rose’s screen blacked out. I love how it’s conveyed through Kanaya viewing the scene yet again; even after coming back to life and kicking three asses in one go, she is still relentlessly fascinated by Rose’s blackout and keeps watching it over and over again.
I think Kanaya is shown here to demonstrate to us that her turning bright is meant to complement Rose going dark. Though I only realized this connection through reading Hussie’s Formspring archives, it’s a very fitting one given how the two are in some ways opposite. In retrospect it was kind of an obvious parallel given the eye closeups and I’m somewhat disappointed in myself for not figuring it out on my own.
Also, funny bit: Vriska seems upset that her glasses are broken, a rather trivial concern in the grand scope of things.
Note that all four consorts are wearing their corresponding kid’s bedsheets.
Well, all except the pink turtle. But the point still stands.
You slip into the fabled blackdeath trance of the woegothics, quaking all the while in the bloodeldritch throes of the broodfester tongues. You advise the members of your Complacency not to be alarmed, as they chronicle the event in tomes bound in the tanned, writhing flesh of a tortured hellscholar, with runes stroked in the black tears bled from the corruption-weary eyes of fifty thousand imaginary occultists.
But they fail to not be alarmed.
This is because, as is now painfully obvious to anyone with a brain, you have basically gone completely off the deep end in every way.
You have officially gone grimdark.
(1) These narration lines call back to Rose’s conversation with John in which he talked about how she seems kind of spooky. The callback in this case is spread through multiple pages, almost as if Rose is saying it.
(2) Unlike other dramatic plot twist scenes, this one is accompanied with narration, in this case with humorously blunt narration saying she has officially gone grimdark.
Rose is then commanded to resist the urge to seek revenge, which she halfheartedly attempts; still more narration humor.
BIGGEST MOOD WHIPLASH EVER. We just got done with a rather sad scene where Rose finds out her mother got killed and said some emotional things about her, went dark, and left to seek revenge, and then all of a sudden we’re bombarded with Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff self-insert nonsense. I once watched Let’s Read Homestuck’s adaptation of the scene preceding this SBaHJ interlude and it was seriously grim, when all of a sudden this scene happened and I fell out of my chair laughing, forgetting any tint of prior sadness. OK, I didn’t literally fall out of my chair, but you probably get what I mean.
One thing to like about this whole scene is that it’s presenting existing content in SBaHJ format, where Hussie is called the Big Man but Rose is also playing the role of the big man because of her basket-cue-ball?? And Hussie is additionally playing the role of Hella Jeff??? I just love how this makes pretty much no sense whatsoever.
Adding on to the nonsense, WV is playing the role of Sweet Bro while AR is playing the role of Geromy, even though neither of them are supposed to be present in the scene; even if they were shown in their pre-exile outfits, AR has already been exiled and WV is hanging around on Skaia. But then again, Hussie shouldn’t be in this scene either. This is just the most beautiful nonsense ever.
I just love how the Hussie tells us through SBaHJ stuff that you probably want to know about his involvement in the story, keeping in tune with the tone of this self-insert scene. What’s more self-indulgent than that? Nothing is.
However, Hussie then proceeds to give us an actual explanation of his involvement in the story.
In the first paragraph, Hussie quotes part of Karkat’s prior statement about fourth wall forces you don’t want to mess with verbatim (in the sentence “But you should understand … give a shit”). Reiterating that line sort of gives it a new meaning: if Hussie’s self-insert starts fooling around in the events of the story, everyone will stop caring about it. This means that what Karkat said about the fourth wall forces has a sort of dual meaning: as serious descriptions of what messing with the fourth wall can do to the story, and as a self-indulgent meta joke regarding how everyone hates it when the fourth wall is broken.
Also, Hussie later toys heavily with his “one yard” promise. The one-yard space he’ll intervene with is only a yard from his perspective; from the perspective of the kids involved, it’s three light-years that they’ll pass through at sublight speed.
John then looks around and sees the beta kids’ aspect symbols carved into the hole, I guess to remind us that they’re still a thing?
Then he looks inside and sees a countdown at 10 hours and 25 minutes, faintly surrounded by red and blue. I have a couple things to say about that. First off, we don’t get as good of a scale of time for the kids’ session as we do with the trolls’ session, and this is one of the few events in the kids’ session we can precisely place on the countdown to the Scratch. Second, the red and blue surrounding the countdown serve as really nice foreshadowing that the Tumor isn’t what you think it is.
You’ll need to get used to seeing this stock flying animation a lot.
After captchaloguing the Tumor, John flies back to the surface the same way Rose flew away to fight Jack.
John captchalogues the Tumor, returns to the surface, and CD joins the scene, immediately forgetting what he was supposed to be doing. I love how even though he’s been repeatedly told that he failed the ring mission, it’s still on his mind as shown in his thought bubble.
Sweet, precious, beautiful Liv Tyler. You thought you’d lost her forever, just like Bruce Willis did when he blew himself up with a nuclear bomb in the center of an asteroid the size of Texas. His heroism and fatherly pride were ALSO the size of Texas.
But your love for Liv is not fatherly, oh no. This reunion is with no loving daughter, but a loving movie star fantasy crush, who happens to be in the form of a robot bunny which has traveled through time, and been given as a gift on five separate occasions, twice by you and thrice to you, and originally fished out of a sewer by Nicholas Cage on the silver screen.
You forget the point you are supposed to be making.
Hey, didn’t this comic have something to do with a clown killing people? I really can’t remember with all of John’s gushing about Liv Tyler and how gorgeous she is.
In all seriousness, I just love how even after gaining mighty airbender powers, talking to aliens from a warrior race, and learning that he is (kind of) his own grandfather, he is still a doofus who is obsessed with 90’s movies. Now here’s something I really could’ve talked about in my Act 1 posts had I analyzed the comic this intensively from the start. At the start of the comic, Hussie decided to make John like movies from the 90’s simply because that was the era where he was the most tuned in to pop culture. However, later that interest became a serious part of John’s character, as a nerdy kid who’s all about random old movies rather than what’s going on now in pop culture, or as Dave put it, a caveman from 1997. See, this is totally the kind of analysis I could’ve done in my early posts. When I get to Act 6 Act 1 where we meet the alpha kids, I’ll do the exact kind of intensive analysis I wish I did at the start of this project.
This isn’t the only way John’s taste in movies has influenced the comic. There are several movies that are referenced through the comic and have a decent impact on its storyline. This passage above makes reference to Armageddon and Con Air, both among John’s favorite movies, and both among the movies that had the most impact on the comic. It’s not just movies, but many different works of media that have influenced the comic, both Hussie’s works and otherwise. I think Homestuck wouldn’t be what it is without its references to other works that form the story’s structure. If we were to remove all of its references to—are you ready?—
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Alice in Wonderland
- Bard Quest
- Con Air
- Doctor Who
- Harry Potter
- The Joker
- Lord of the Rings
- Moby Dick
- The Neverending Story
- Parks and Recreation
- Peter Pan
- Problem Sleuth
- The Sims
- Starsky and Hutch*
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff**
- Team Special Olympics
- Weekend at Bernie’s
- The Wizard of Oz
- Wizardy Herbert
- and a lot of others
—Homestuck would definitely fall apart. You can probably recognize a good portion of these works as being referenced in the comic.*** And that’s not all—many times, the comic references itself in the form of callbacks. So as you can see, Homestuck is built upon references in three different ways: to itself, to Hussie’s prior works, and to other works of media.
* Also heavily referenced in Problem Sleuth. This means that all Starsky and Hutch references in Homestuck are also Problem Sleuth references.
** If you didn’t know, SBaHJ started as a satirical work made before Homestuck which was eventually incorporated into the comic as one of Hussie’s mythology gags. Now, of course, SBaHJ is essentially part of Homestuck.
I estimate a 20% chance that we’ll see these weapons being put in the time capsule in the epilogue.
John wonders where the weapons went, and the bunny indicates through “plush toy pantomime” that they were lost in the Breeze. If that means what I think it does, then Jade must be A LOT more skilled with technology than you think.
The hammer then reappears and John finds it too small to be of use until the bunny hands him another note from Jade’s mysterious penpal, whose identity we still don’t know is Jake, explaining how the bunny can be used to grow and shrink the weapons.
John!!! One more thing…
This rabbit im sure youve noticed is armed to the stitches! Hes got all four of the funny little weapons i mentioned thatre all deadly as the fucking dickens but that doesnt mean they are meant exclusively for the paws of mr terry kiser. (That is the name i call him.) Heck no.
It turns out that the penpal guy, just like John, named the bunny after an actor from one of his favorite movies. It’s almost like this dude is a parallel universe version of John.
I borrowed this technology from my grandmother who had quite the way with manipulating space. Legend tells she was something of a witch with the stuff! Once she was a brave hero like you and i john and the stars themselves twinkled in her cauldron. I would like to tell you who my grandmother is i really would. But i cant. I think i have trouble keeping secrets. I like to be honest just like you and a lot of secrecy after a while gets me feeling a bit jaded. Heh heh.
Grandmother? You wonder who that could be?
It’s probably just Jade. What with all the time shenanigans.
It’s later revealed that Jake intentionally threw in a hint that his grandmother is Jade because he doesn’t feel the need to keep it a secret. And John gets the hint and doesn’t think it’s all that strange. Now that I think of it, I can’t think of a moment where something bad happens due to someone sharing information that isn’t meant to be shared. Jade has let information slip a few times—knowing John prototyped Nanna without him telling, mentioning to Eridan that her penpal claims to be her grandson—but those times, it’s never harmful, which I think is intentional.
Liv Tyler hugens the hammer and before I comment on that scene I’d like to point out that constantly referring to the bunny as Liv Tyler makes it sound like a dumb story some ten-year-old wrote; kind of like The Starving Games, which is a terrible parody movie I watched months ago and considered making a blog post about.* This is the thing with Homestuck: pretty much everything in it sounds ridiculous out of context but makes sense in the scope of the story.
* Before watching the movie I read a summary of the movie on Wikipedia and it sounded exactly like some unfunny story I would’ve written when I was twelve, featuring gratuitous appearances from dozens of celebrities played by lookalikes.
As for the scene itself, CD high-fives John which is just the most wondrous thing ever, especially when you consider that any of the other agents would kill John on the spot.
Next comes a flash with super-dramatic music but extremely crude art, where John sings in an opera tone about the glory of his new hammer. The most notable thing about this animation is that it’s the only time where we hear a character speak aloud. Though one could argue this makes John have a canon singing voice (from which you can infer a speaking voice), it’s intentionally nothing like how anyone would envision him sounding. The characters’ voices are one of those things that, according to Hussie, are whatever you want them to be. Typically, voices of John range from sounding like a cartoony kid to a regular teenage boy; I prefer dubs that make him sound like a regular teenage boy because that’s quite literally what he is. So by giving him a super-dramatic singing voice, it adds to the humor of this flash.
Voice stuff aside, I should note that Hussie has a thing for blending serious and silly to an extent that almost everything in Homestuck is both at once. This dramatic flash is one of the strongest examples of this sort of thing.
You are so delighted by your rad new hammer and the cool hugening abilities of Liv Tyler or Terry Kiser or whatever her/his name is. Who the hell is Terry Kiser, anyway? Probably a movie star from the future.
I find it funny how John is obsessed with old movies but doesn’t know who Terry Kiser is. Weekend at Bernie’s, which Kiser is best known for, came out in 1989, around the same time as the movies John has posters of (1988 to 1998, except for Failure to Launch from 2006), so it’s a bit of a surprise he doesn’t know about that one.
Additionally, it’s notably optimistic of him to assume that even though human civilization was destroyed, in the future there will once more be glamorous movie stars.
John puts on his hood and leads, wait I mean, gives friendly requests to his crew. CD mediates between WV and the rabbit, symbolizing the quadrant his symbol represents. Then he uses his clubs symbol as an eyepatch for the rabbit, which is pretty sweet. Isn’t he supposed to be a bad guy?
You give your wallet to your loyal chauffeur familiar. He looks puzzled. You inform the party that you will not be going on this journey. You must remain behind and continue looking for your father.
Sad dramatic irony right here. John still wants to find his father, and only now do we know he’s dead.
This bit says two things. One, CD sucks at being a bad guy. Two, John has a real easy time trusting people.
GG: john!!! i am worried about rose!
GG: im pretty sure she is on her way there to look for jack!
GG: i cant say for sure because i cant see her with my goggles anymore for some reason, but i am fearing the worst
I somehow missed that Rose is now not only unviewable through Trollian, but also through Jade’s goggles. This is one of few times where role inversion is an actual thing that happens; Rose is becoming invisible to others which is heavily reminiscent of the void aspect (most likely the opposite of light) when you reread. But even then, it’s not so much supporting the idea that role inversion is a common thing as it is the idea of Rose rejecting her role.
GG: also, um…
GG: i guess you probably still dont know about your dad yet do you?
GG: darn, why do i always have to be the one to break terrible news 😦
It almost seems like sparing us some serious sadness when John never finds out through friends that his father died. Dave said stuff about his bro when talking to Jade, and Rose said sadder stuff about her mom when talking to Jade, so it would only fit with a (rather sad) pattern that John would do the same. But he doesn’t.
Also, in this conversation, Jade is doing the exact opposite of what she was known for doing before. Previously, she knew all this information but inexplicably refused to share it with John. Now, she knows a lot of information and wants to share it with John, but fails to reach him.
GG: oh god please dont tell me your computer was in the wallet you just gave that guy…..
GG: dammit john!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GG: one of these days you will learn the value of having plenty of backup computers
GG: in fact whenever you finally leave the battlefield i am going to give you the code for a nice pair of lunchmuffs
GG: and then i am going to force you to keep them on your head AT ALL TIMES!
GG: yeah, youre never going to read this are you 😐
We can assume at this point that Jade would later give John the code for a pair of lunchmuffs; the computer he uses to have his first conversation with Karkat seems to be made partly from lunchmuffs. Now, if only something of Rose’s was used to make the computer as well, it would’ve been made from the possessions of all four kids; it already seems to be made from John’s Bill Cosby poster, Jade’s lunchmuffs, and maybe also Dave’s timetable computer.
John sees some grimdarkness up ahead, wondering if that’s where his father is (damn you dramatic irony!), and goes there to check. What makes him think that’s where his dad is? Seriously I don’t get why.
2021 EDIT: To answer my past self’s question, my best guess is because John has the adventure game mindset of rescuing his dad from some dangerous threat, and the grimdark aura absolutely looks like a dangerous threat.
arachnidsGrip [AG] began trolling tentacleTherapist [TT]
AG: You’re heading into the 8lackout, so I won’t 8e a8le to see you until you leave.
AG: 8ut don’t worry, I can still sense you are there. 8ecause of awesome powers, remem8er?
AG: Smooth move, ditching your computer like that, 8y the way. That was some incredi8le leadership you showed!
AG: Now I have to contact you through Rose, thus exposing me to the risk of actually having to taaaaaaaalk to her……..
Vriska says that she would rather not have to talk to Rose. As I said when I was at the start of Act 5 Act 2, Vriska probably thought the other three kids weren’t good targets to meddle with. Rose especially is quite the challenge to get to do stuff, and with someone like Vriska who only thinks she’s a clever manipulator, she’s way out of luck. Does she secretly know that she’s not as cunning as she thinks she is and thus set her eyes on the impressionable John?
Up next is a walkaround game so I’ll stop here with a good 62 pages covered. See you next time as the comic continues to bring you joy and delight.