Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 52: Metafictional Disc Glitch Madness

Introduction

Part 51 | Part 52 | Part 53 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 25 of 32

Pages 3717-3762 (MSPA: 5617-5662)

NOTE: This post took longer than I hoped because it goes through a lot of flash pages and those always take longer to cover than usual. For some reason it didn’t occur to me until yesterday that I could take screenshots from flashes far more easily by taking them from these fan-made storyboards. See the image above for how I feel about that.

Terezi is starting to surpass Karkat as my favorite troll.

Proceeding from where we left off, we have what appears to be yet another walkaround game, except it doesn’t work because the disc is missing. A weird big “Objection!” referencing Ace Attorney appears out of nowhere, our first hint that something isn’t right with the disc missing.

Terezi sees a note written in Gamzee’s blood and jumps down into a strange room that some may recognize as being from the trickster mode easter egg that shows up in walkaround games. Gamzee’s silhouette shows up there, which is notable because he was in the room back when it was just an easter egg.

I really like how this room was redrawn in regular Homestuck art style.
Homestuck has had its share of scenes redrawn in Earthbound style so now I guess this is a room that I believe is from Earthbound redrawn in Homestuck style?

You wonder where you are? This is a fancy looking room. It doesn’t look like a place you would expect to find on this meteor, at least not in any strictly canonical capacity.

This is yet another one of those references to things that were only seen in easter eggs. As I explained earlier, this room was originally just a secret room you could find in Alterniabound, but now it’s been made canon.

Gamzee starts moving Cal around and does this remind you of anyone? If you think back to Act 2 you may deduce the analogy, Dave is to Bro as Terezi is to Gamzee; this analogy becomes more obvious as you move along. Dave and Terezi are both abused by people connected to Lord English who own Cal at certain points in time and like to flash step and move him around. What’s next, Terezi having a feelings jam with the Beforus version of Gamzee who is probably still alive somehow?

You have been completely hornswoggled. This whole thing was a setup from the start. A trap deployed by a cunning mastermind. All of the clues are adding up. The blood. The note. The flagrant displays of tricksterism and japery. The identity of the puppetmaster behind all of this is now painfully obvious to you.

Spidertroll.

Terezi is completely blind to the idea that Gamzee is pulling the strings, isn’t she? If only she didn’t miss Karkat’s message, she would’ve figured everything about.

Later on, this whole sequence of pages is retconned so that John honks a horn and Terezi finds out that it was actually Gamzee. Now that I read how incredibly misled Terezi was, I can see why she’d want to change that scene. But as with a lot of the other retcon stuff it leaves a number of plot holes. Despite finding out the truth about Gamzee in the retconned timeline, she is somehow no less convinced that she is supposed to kill Vriska.

After looking through a selection of records to play as crime-solving music, she comes across a disc of I’m a Member of the Midnight Crew, leading to a ridiculously huge “WHO’S THIS DOUCHE BAG” flashing in pool ball colors. You know what this means, right? Eddie Morton = Lord English.

Dumb jokes aside, Hussie has noted a few potential connections between Morton and Lord English on his Formspring. The name of the sword Caledscratch, which is either capable of harming Lord English or an alternate form of such a sword (I really can’t remember), splits up into three characters in Homestuck. Cal and Scratch are obviously connected to Lord English, while Ed would refer to Eddie Morton, also a character in the comic to an extent.

Here’s some more trivia for you. Eddie Morton sung the original version of the Midnight Crew song, and the Midnight Crew is loosely linked to Lord English because the Felt, led by English, was its rival gang. However, when the Midnight Crew was created Hussie didn’t know about the song; only through Toby Fox mixing the song into Black (the song used in [S] Jack: Ascend) did he become aware of the song, and from there on out the Midnight Crew and Eddie Morton have retroactively always been connected.

Note that Mr. Morton is colored green, just like Lord English.

Cal, Ed, and the Scratch (on the disc above) are all featured in the same place. Incredible sneaky symbolism.

Disc 2 of Homestuck is found in the Midnight Crew record and ends up getting scratched in the same pattern we’ve seen lots of other times. This is notable because I just got done talking about how Eddie Morton is connected to Lord English*, and the Scratch is also somewhat affiliated with English.

* This sounds really stupid out of context. Once again, the classic pattern of ridiculous things being made serious.

Terezi captchaloguing the disc not shown.

Chests are everywhere in this lab, and people find it all too tempting to sneak their personal belongings into them for safe keeping. That is, until the goods are stolen shortly after by those who can’t resist looting every chest they encounter, which is everybody.

Yet another humorous line that breaks the fourth wall to an extent. Needless to say, in walkaround games pretty much everyone who plays it will loot every chest.

You got your NEOPHYTE REDGLARE ROLEPLAYING OUTFIT! 

What is this doing in here? You have not worn it since your Flarping days. The only part of it you kept on hand was the stylish pair of glasses, which of course since the incident has managed to become a regular accessory. 

This passage reveals that Terezi originally wore her red glasses only as part of her roleplaying outfit. However, in the flashback scenes in [S] Terezi: Remem8er, she is wearing that outfit without glasses, leading to a continuity error. To be fair, if she was seen with glasses in those scenes, the less attentive readers would think it’s a continuity error.

But you cannot imagine how someone could have gotten their hands on the rest of it. Surely a crafty and resourceful criminal is at work. 

(spidertrollspidertrollspidertroll)

OK, this time around it makes sense for Terezi to think Vriska got her hands on the outfit. How someone found the outfit beforehand and decided to keep it, especially if it was Gamzee, is anyone’s guess.

Terezi then retrieves her Pyralspite (I always used to misread it as Pyralsprite) plush, which was her loyal sidekick back in the day. As we see later, Pyralspite was the name of her ancestor’s mighty dragon lusus, making Terezi’s imitation of the dragon with a little scalemate plush quite adorable.

Does this picture above remind you of anyone? If that doesn’t scream Bro, nothing does.

Seriously, this whole sequence is a massive callback to Dave exploring his freaky living room.

Once again, callback to Dave and Bro. I just realized that this sequence is a callback with a twist: it’s not just Gamzee screwing with Terezi, it’s Gamzee pretending to be Vriska screwing with Terezi.

There he is. How’d he get all the way up there? He has always been quite the slippery scalawag. 

Maybe he was reminding you to check out the note. You almost forgot is was up there, what with all your furious investigating. Most of which has involved fooling around with records, hugging plush toys and cosplaying as a childhood heroine.

I completely forgot this was supposed to be Terezi investigating a crime! A large portion of the early acts is pretty much the kids aimlessly screwing around only occasionally with some objective. Now, Terezi is doing the same screwing around when she’s supposed to be investigating a crime. I guess Hussie can’t resist a throwback to the silly screwaround sessions.

Also, Redglare being referred to as “a childhood heroine” puts a new and somewhat depressing light on Terezi’s already depressing thoughts on Latula.

On the other side of the note is more of Mindfang’s wordy journal, which (coincidentally?) picks up where it left off. Basically, Mindfang gets one eye blinded when she stares into the eyes of the dragon Pyralspite (it still feels weird not calling it Pyralsprite), and then Redglare cuts off her arm. The parallelism to Vriska and Terezi is pretty obvious: Vriska also lost an eye and an arm, to Terezi blowing up the cueball via Doc Scratch. Come to think of it, the majority of the events in the ancestors’ timeline are in some way an echo of things the trolls went to. When we first got to read part of Mindfang’s journal, we got echoes of Vriska’s black relationship with Eridan, Eridan’s attraction to Feferi, and Gamzee’s haughtiness after becoming evil.

A bit more obscure of a parallel is that in this sequence, Gamzee is manipulating Terezi into taking on Vriska. Likewise, the subjugglators got Redglare to put Mindfang on trial.

Homestuck Disc 2 is then inserted, leading to a flash titled [S] Seer: Ascend, basically one giant callback to Dave ascending to the highest point of his apartment. Fun fact: there is a fanmade post-retcon version of that flash.

Interestingly, Terezi crumbling the note in disgust still makes sense post-retcon; instead of being angry at Vriska, she would be angry at Gamzee who she knows pretended to be Vriska.

Another fun fact: this whole sequence has a beta kids version (Dave), a trolls’ version (Terezi), and an alpha kids version (Dirk) that all involve the respective characters going to the roof with Cal upon the instruction of someone linked to Lord English; the main characters involved in each of those sequences are the ones who teamed up to fight B2 Jack Noir. Even better, each of the three beings who constitute Lord English was involved with one of those sequences: Caliborn for Dirk, Gamzee for Terezi, and Arquiusprite (as Bro) for Dave.

In that flash with Dave from a long time ago, he kicked the door open. Terezi, however, kicks the door out entirely. If you want to see all parallels between the two flashes I’m talking about, check out these two unofficial storyboards.

I love the eye transition between the Pyralspite plush and the real Pyralspite.

Here is where the comic starts glitching out due to the disc getting damaged. This is exactly the kind of weird meta shenanigans I like. Interestingly, pretty much the exact same thing happens later on when Caliborn jams stardust into the Act 6 Act 6 cartridge, which seems like reusing a concept until you realize that the second time around (which is much later of course), the glitches actually affect the characters’ experiences rather than just the narrative.

This is where we see a little cinematic rendition of Mindfang getting blinded in one eye. I wonder, if we already learned through the journal how Mindfang lost an eye, then why are we being showed this again? Maybe it’s as filler content to make the flash long enough for the song it uses—in case you didn’t know, many flashes in the comic are built to fit their songs, rather than vice versa—or maybe it’s to continue brining ancestor-descendant parallels to light.

After the flash, we switch to Vriska, who reads more of Mindfang’s journal on her laptop. Apparently she has it saved on there; weird, but understandable knowing her.

As Mindfang and Redglare prepare for their final confrontation, I can’t help but notice the trolls in the audience and how they’re presented to us as silhouettes. The comic avoids showing background humans entirely, and shows background trolls only rarely; here, they’re only shown as silhouettes. I’ve already talked about the comic’s lack of background human and troll characters who aren’t Sburb players.

Mindfang proceeds to do a major dick move: controlling the lowbloods in the audience into hanging Redglare. This is once again reminiscent of Vriska and how she cheats with cheap mind tricks. She proceeds to remark that she and Redglare could have had a good rivalry, which is yet more blatant parallelism with Terezi and Vriska. She even uses the word “scourge” at one point, which we can only assume is how they came up with the name Team Scourge.

Mindfang then goes to Darkleer, Equius’s ancestor, to have him build her a robot arm, an obvious parallel to Equius building Vriska’s arm. She talks about how Darkleer did some act of defiance to the highbloods and then beat himself up about it. I only now realized that this is different from Equius, who was so far up his own ass with blood caste nonsense that it cost him his life. Though for now it seems like a heavy contrast, it’s later revealed that Darkleer couldn’t bring himself to kill Nepeta’s ancestor, which makes him more similar to Equius in retrospect, as a parallel with his relationship with Nepeta.

As Mindfang talks about the magic cueball she got from Darkleer, she implies that she interacted with Doc Scratch, who she refers to as the Doctor, which I’m not sure I understand how it works? Did she meet Scratch in person or something? If true, that may contradict that he was described as a mythical figure.

2019 EDIT: Sometimes I am a total bonehead, holy fuck. I can’t believe I forgot how the cueball worked and how Vriska could see into it with her vision eightfold.

Also, throughout the journal Mindfang references the trolls’ god tier titles, referring to Redglare as a seer and talking about how she stole fortune.

Among the ancestors we learn about through Mindfang’s journal, the Summoner, Tavros’s ancestor, is an odd one out—we learn his story through what she learned about her future through the cueball, rather than her direct experiences.

It turns out that Tavros’s ancestor was an incredible fearless man who led a rebellion against the trolls’ brutal government. As I said back when I was on the trolls’ arc, the story of the Summoner explains a lot about Vriska’s treatment of Tavros. She always thought he would be strong and mighty, just as the other trolls parallel their ancestors. But instead she ended up jerking him around and abusing him out of hate. Remember when it was revealed out of nowhere that Vriska had red and black feelings for Tavros? Their ancestors’ romance is probably why.

The rebellion ended in banishing all adult trolls from Alternia to keep them occupied in fighting wars. Oh yeah, and the Summoner would eventually kill Mindfang, proving to be stronger than her. Vriska said that she planned for John to end up even stronger than her, and presumably she wanted the same to happen to Tavros, all because of the journal. If Tavros did grow to be strong and powerful like Vriska hoped, I bet she’d find him killing her to be a very dignified death.

Up next is an exceptionally glitchy animation titled [S] Flip.

nce again, when you try to control Terezi the flash glitches out completely, leading to her walking through rather gruesome scenery. At this point, with Disc 2 in place, you should expect to be able to control her once more, this time around the glitches prevent that.

As Terezi walks, the glitches get even weirder than before, throwing in unwanted random appearances from all sorts of things. To get a sense of how much effort was put in making this flash super glitchy, I’ll list the random unwanted cameos in order as I go along. First off the glitches make us see:

  • duplicate Terezi walksprites
  • duplicate sound icons
  • disc icons
  • Gamzee’s silhouette (shown above)
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff (shown above)
  • Redglare confronting the mind-controlled audience

Moving on, we see that Gamzee stored the corpses of the dead trolls in weird jars, which is not only the scariest thing ever but also demonstrates how much of a psychopath Gamzee has become: he now enjoys playing with dead bodies as well, something no sane human being would be able to fathom.

Also, continuing with the list of things glimpsed through glitches:

  • Eridan’s corpse
  • Nepeta’s corpse
  • Feferi’s corpse
  • Equius’s corpse
  • Tavros’s corpse
  • the purple Horsaroni thing
  • at least two pictures of Mindfang

First appearance of the mind aspect symbol.

Here we see Gamzee firsthand playing make-believe with trolls’ severed heads. Aside from setting in stone that Nepeta is dead, this also makes no sense whatsoever, further demonstrating how far Gamzee has gone off the deep end.

And here is the return of the unconventional animation format of presenting dialogue, which is only used twice in the entire comic; the other time was in [S] Equius: Seek the highb100d, and I believe this is the only other time it’s used. I suspect that as with some other things, like the more sophisticated art style used for a fairly short time early in Act 5 Act 2, this is Hussie experimenting with different ways to present media. Once dialoglogs become a thing this alternate way to present dialogue makes this sort of thing completely redundant because we can now present face-to-face dialogue the easy way, but for now it’s a nice spin on the allowed methods of presenting dialogue.

VRISKA: Hey Redglare. Nice outfit!
TEREZI: S4M3 TO YOU M1NDF4…
TEREZI: 1 M34N VR1SK4
TEREZI: 4S MUCH 4S 1T P41NS M3 TO 4DM1T, YOUR FRU1TY OR4NG3 F41RYSU1T SM3LLS…
TEREZI: D3L1C1OUS >:[
VRISKA: Thanks! I see you finally wised up and started taking this rivalry seriously.
VRISKA: It was hard to antagonize you properly while you refused to get in character! :::;)
TEREZI: 1 4M NOT 1N CH4R4CT3R!!! >:O
TEREZI: TH1S 1S S3R1OUS BUS1N3SS, VR1SK4
TEREZI: S33? 1 BROUGHT MY D34DLY C4N3 SWORD 4ND COOL CO1N 4ND 3V3RYTH1NG
VRISKA: Yes, I can see that. So you’ve come for revenge, then.
VRISKA: I thought we settled all this a long time ago?
TEREZI: NO, NOT R3V3NG3. JUST1C3! >:]
TEREZI: FOR TH3 D3SP1C4BL3 MURD3RS OF OUR 1NNOC3NT FR13NDS!
VRISKA: Murders? Like, plural?
TEREZI: VR1SK4, PL34S3. DO NOT TRY TO D3NY 1T. 1 FOUND TH3 3V1D3NC3
TEREZI: T4VROS, N3P3T4… 3V3N G4MZ33!!! 1 M34N R34LLY VR1SK4. G4MZ33?!
TEREZI: >:o[
VRISKA: Gamzee isn’t dead, you dope!
VRISKA: He flipped out or something and now [starts glitching here]

Here, it’s finally directly referenced how ridiculous Terezi’s misconceptions about Vriska are. For some reason it never occurred to me until now that Terezi must find out at some point that her misconceptions were completely dumb, but I guess now’s the time it happens.

At this point the flash has some even weirder glitches. The list continues with:

  • SBaHJ-style Gamzee
  • Vriska holding Tavros’s severed legs
  • Rose riding Maplehoof (shown above)

I love how Rose riding Maplehoof is among the weird glitches in the flash; it’s pretty much calling back to a random goofy easter egg flash from long ago.

I just love Terezi’s reaction to finding out she was completely fooled into thinking Vriska killed everyone. As I said, I guess that’s the time she finds out the truth, but it only now occurred to me that’s why the facepalm x3 combo is happening.

While this facepalm combo is shown, it glitches out to:

  • Rose’s facepalm x2 combo
  • Spades Slick’s facepalm x1 combo
  • shots of Rose’s duel with Jack, some previously unseen (shown below)

Here’s where the comic does something really intersting. While most of the glitches show skip back to previous parts, the one shown above skips forward. If you look at the unofficial storyboard for the page after [S] Seer: Descend, this Rose pose isn’t used there. I suspect that this was meant as a sneak peek for the potential Heroes of Light vs. Jack flash later on. Although that flash never ended up happening, the guest art assets of the characters involved were still used regardless.

TEREZI: WH4T 1 PROPOS3 1S S1MPL3
TEREZI: 1 FL1P
TEREZI: H34DS, YOU ST4Y
TEREZI: SCR4TCH, YOU GO
VRISKA: You’re kidding, right? You want LUCK to decide this?
VRISKA: May8e you forgot who you’re dealing with. I am the Thief of Light.
VRISKA: You really expect me to lose a simple COIN FLIP?
VRISKA: I’ve got AAAAAAAALLLLLLLL THE LUCK, remem8er? >:::)
TEREZI: 1 D1D NOT FORG3T
TEREZI: WH4T W1LL 1T B3, M4RQU1S3?
VRISKA: ……..
VRISKA: Just flip the fucking coin, Neophyte.

So I guess Terezi decided to once more handle Vriska with her coin flip thing? Maybe she made that decision because Dave brought it up as a memorable pointless thing she did a while back.

Terezi flips the coin and in Hussie’s usual trollish manner, the flash cuts off here due to glitches before we can see the outcome.

The dÎsc is tø€ badly da™aged. You can no lcœger play Homeµ&uck.

You arñ forzød to quit£² You will not be ab£‡ to resume plaÿing unless you can re¼áir the scrõtch in the dis . 

You will n««d to seek t÷e §ervice of so‰ê‡ne who is capaðle of fixing a scrat h_ 

A s¤ratch dØctor, if y†ù will.

Now the story has a real problem right there, far more fundamental than any problem in the story yet: the story itself can no longer run properly. We’re about to start Doc Scratch’s section of Act 5 Act 2 so he can fix the disc (awesome name symbolism right here) so this is a good stopping point. It’s also where I planned to stop the post regardless.

See you next time as Doc Scratch fucks with us all yet again.

>> Part 53: Scratch Doctor Narration Adventures

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