Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 55: Scrapbook Examination Station (SBES) Volume I

Introduction

Part 54 | Part 55 | Part 56 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 28 of 32

Doc Scratch Intermission, Part 3 of 6

Pages 3874-3935 (MSPA: 5774-5835) (not in order)

NOTE: Remember, no new posts until after the 23rd because of vacation.

Here’s how this whole 250-ish-page scrapbook section is going to work. I said a while back that I will always avoid doing the selection screens in the normal order. The scrapbook pages, which are in fact the first selection screens, are an exception, not because I will do them in the normal order, but because there is no normal order; from what I can tell, readers do them in various orders. To spice it up regardless, for each of those selection screens, I will go by a different rule for which order to read the scenes.

There are six such selection screens total, each directly following the previous. This post and the next two will each go through two of those selection screens. I was originally going to do something different so that I’d be sure it’s all split evenly since some selection screens take up more pages total than others, but I figured it’s easiest to just split it like that.

For the first selection of scrapbook scenes, shown above, I will do them in order of smallest to biggest picture. This means I’ll start with the one on the bottom left, the Dersite battleship.

I find it pretty neat that there’s one Dersite battleship relevant to the plot, and one Prospitian battleship relevant to the plot. The Dersite battleship was made smaller, while the Prospitian one was made bigger. Or was it just kept the same size? I can’t remember.

Inside the battleship, there’s lots of little controls and stuff. The controls are regular-sized when they should be really small because the ship was shrunken down. Unless maybe the battleship was designed for use by enormous carapacians?

After CD picks WV’s pocket, Liv Tyler is shown to be furious. And in that picture we get Liv Tyler the actress looking furious, taking the obvious description of the image more literally, I guess as a reminder of how dumb it sounds to keep calling the bunny that?

Liv chases CD in a weird diagram panel, doing yet another thing the comic hasn’t done before.

Next is a day in the limelight for two minor characters at once: Jaspersprite and Nepeta. Nepeta’s spotlight in this scene is particularly notable because it’s giving development into her character after her death. It also brings to mind an interesting thought. As trolls start getting killed off, we don’t even hear from them when we follow the kids later on even though they can contact the kids at any point in time, and even though we still get plenty of interactions between the kids and the alive trolls. While it’s fairly obvious why that is, it’s still a bit of an oddity, and I think this scene is partly there to reminds us that we can still hear from the dead trolls since they can contact the kids at whatever point in time they feel like, as long as it’s before the scratch.

Another oddity about this scene is that the pesterlog here is labeled “Show Spritelog” rather than “Show Pesterlog”, and while Nepeta’s lines are presented as “AC: ___” the way they usually are, Jaspers’ lines are presented as “JASPERSPRITE: ___”. It’s probably because that’s the way their lines have always been presented. Jaspers is possibly using Rose’s Pesterchum account; if that’s true, then presenting his lines as “TT: ___” would be really confusing, which is another likely reason this chatlog is presented in such a weird style.

Anyway time to comment on this conversation. As Nepeta tries to explain to Jaspersprite why this will be their last conversation, we get this interesting bit:

JASPERSPRITE: Whats the scratch? :3 
AC: :33 < well you know roses friend john? 
JASPERSPRITE: Yes of course! 
AC: :33 < imagine that he is using this great big circle like a really fun scratching post, and it makes all this light come out that changes everything 
AC: :33 < just after he starts doing that the sky goes funny everywhere and then i cant s33 you anymore 
JASPERSPRITE: Yes. :3 
AC: :33 < thats what it is 
JASPERSPRITE: I think i understand that completely! 

Presumably he understands this because of sprite knowledge, which is a bit weird because he previously had trouble understanding what a timeline is.

Also, this is the first reveal we get of what happens in the session as it gets scratched. While much of the plot stuff has been revealed by characters like Karkat and Vriska, Nepeta is revealing something about the scratch in her special scene.

AC: :33 < im a bit nervous for you, especially since you remind me so much of someone i already lost 
AC: :33 < but maybe youll be ok? i dont know 
JASPERSPRITE: Im not worried nepeta so you shouldnt either its not as if i have never died before. 

Jaspers thinks that since he already has died before, there’s no reason to be scared of dying again, which reminds me of Aradia who also has a reason not to be afraid of death. Those are two very different reasons for sharing pretty much the same sentiment.

AC: :33 < did you ever have someone nice back on earth who you loved? 
JASPERSPRITE: Rose!!!!! I loved rose. :3 
AC: :33 < h33h33, of course you did. i mean a nice cat who was your matesprit? 
JASPERSPRITE: There was a time i remember i was thinking about girl cats a lot for some reason. 
JASPERSPRITE: I would saunter around the house making all these big meows and looking out the windows with my nose touching the glass. 
JASPERSPRITE: But then roses mom took me to this place where i was scared to be for a while and then when i was at home again i didnt do the meows anymore. 
JASPERSPRITE: I guess i didnt think about the girl cats after that which is just as well because none ever came to the windows really not even when i did my biggest meows. 

Jaspers is saying that he was neutered. Despite that, after being combined with Rose and becoming Jasprosesprite^2, his status as a neutered cat was completely canceled by what we can only presume is Rose’s inner sexual thoughts (which leads to some pretty disturbing implications). Or maybe there’s some other kind of combination thing going on?

AC: :33 < i have never told anybody this not even my moirail 
AC: :33 < heh, actually hes the LAST guy i might tell, he so wouldnt appurrve X33 
AC: :33 < but yes i have liked somebody for quite some time, but alas he doesnt know it 

The thing with Nepeta, aside from liking shipping (which she doesn’t mention at all in this conversation!), is that she keeps to herself so much that she thinks a lot of things that aren’t true. For instance, she thinks that since she never told anyone that she liked Karkat, nobody would ever have any suspicions of such a thing, which is very much wrong, since Karkat is well aware of that whole awkward situation.

Another thing about Nepeta saying that she never told anyone else that she likes Karkat: it’s kind of a recurring theme for characters to tell people they didn’t know until recently things they never told anyone else. While several of the trolls, particularly Vriska and Terezi, have shared their inner feelings with human kids, Nepeta is sharing her feelings with a cat. Dave fits this pattern as well; he said that he would never tell anyone else all the stuff he said to Dirk about his upbringing. It’s a bit of an odd pattern, and the way Nepeta follows it is especially interesting.

JASPERSPRITE: Maybe you can win his affection by rubbing your cheek against him thats what i would do. 
AC: :33 < ohhh no no no, im too shy even for that! 
AC: :33 < and he is so adorably grumpy all the time, it probably wouldnt go over well 
AC: :33 < its hard to explain, maybe cats think diffurntly, but trolls tend to be pretty cautious about expressing their f33lings when it comes to the flushed quadrant 

This isn’t the first time such a thing has been stated. In Karkat’s memo with Kanaya near the end of the trolls’ arc, he freely discussed his whole suspicions of black romance with himself, but refused to disclose any of his red romance stuff. Why exactly is the flushed quadrant so much more secretive than others? I thought it was kind of inferred that all four quadrants are equally relevant to troll romance. Maybe it’s to make this whole thing more relatable to humans?


AC: :33 < maybe i just n33d to let go of the silly infatuation 
AC: :33 < i think its never going to happen honestly 
JASPERSPRITE: You shouldnt lose hope! 
JASPERSPRITE: I have another story that might give you hope even though it should be noted again that im only a cat. 
AC: :33 < oh? 
JASPERSPRITE: Yes one time i was with rose and i was sitting there dressed up in my suit with her as happy as can be. 
JASPERSPRITE: But then she disappeared! 
JASPERSPRITE: The whole place disappeared and i was in another place. There was no rose there was someone else. 
JASPERSPRITE: I guess i loved her too in time but never as much as rose it just wasnt the same. 
JASPERSPRITE: I kept waiting to see rose again but never did and finally i lost hope that i would and then i died. 

This is another one of those bits of foreshadowing of the alpha kids. It’s still a while before we learn that they are going to exist. As is later revealed, his new owner was Roxy, who if I remember right got him after fooling around with technology. This means that of the four alpha kids, two of them (the other is Jake) are hinted at before Act 6. Roxy was in fact hinted at all the way back in Act 3 when we saw that someone made Jaspers disappear and later sent him back dead. I believe that was also around the time Hussie came up with the alpha kids, though I don’t remember where he said that.

JASPERSPRITE: But then i became alive again and i got to see her and i was so happy! Purr purr purr purr purr. 
JASPERSPRITE: Thats my story and thats why i think theres always hope even if you die. 
AC: :33 < so, youre saying that maybe i will have to die to get to be with him? 
JASPERSPRITE: Yes maybe. :3 
AC: :33 < i hope thats not the case! 
AC: :33 < but i guess you just have a different way of looking at things 
AC: :33 < thank you for the advice jaspers! 
JASPERSPRITE: Purrrrr. 

If you’re reading for the first time, this last part of the conversation is tragic because Nepeta did indeed die before telling Karkat how she feels, but if you’re rereading you may remember something from later. I won’t say much about it just yet, but her appearance in [S] Roxy: Sleepwalk is nicely connected to what’s said above. I would explain it now, but I’d rather save it for when I get there.

Next, we get to see what Jadesprite is up to. Turns out she flew away to Skaia for some reason, with the exact same expression we last saw her with about 600 pages ago, showing that we’re picking up exactly where we left off with her.

Jadesprite than meets Davesprite, who was alive all along. His Disney death and reappearance are, interestingly enough, almost a thousand pages apart. He’s also there with a full unbroken sword, which I think is the Royal Deringer? Not much else to say about that.

When I was younger, I always liked to stand on the big heat vent thing next to my house.

Next is a big throwback sequence to Dave months in the past. In the picture above, Dave typing on his phone brings a pretty big sense of nostalgia; we haven’t got many graphics of people typing like that in quite a while.

Note how the alert bubble shows Rose’s house, something that isn’t done very often.

And yet, in the very next panel, we get pre-Stiller shades Dave drawn in an art style that wasn’t used at all until Act 4. A very interesting blend of old and new.

— turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering tentacleTherapist [TT] — 

TG: heres one for you 
TG: its a whopper 
TG: are you ready 
TT: For what? 
TG: this huge fuckin whopper im about to just say 
TT: You mean a canard of behemothic embellishment? 
TG: what 
TT: Or was your resolve finally dismantled by the siren’s song of all that flame broiled beef? 

Man, it’s been forever since we got ridiculous Dave/Rose conversations that are completely pointless and incomprehensible but hilarious. And their last conversation actually consisted mostly of serious plot stuff so this is a hell of a throwback.

TG: no no 
TG: ok first do you even have burger kings out in the fucking woods 
TG: why do you reference things that obviously arent in the woods like terrible burgers 
TT: I’ll limit my establishments of reference to lumber mills and sugar shanties from now on. 
TT: Also, there’s a Burger King less than forty minutes from my house. I won’t let this stand in the way of the new policy though. 

You probably already know this, but there actually is a Burger King less than forty minutes from the location of Rose’s house. I like how Homestuck (mostly) throws away all the laws of physics but includes real obscure information about fast food restaurant locations for the sake of a little joke.

Rose reads a lot like Calvin or Susie from Calvin and Hobbes. Her vocabulary is way too advanced for her age.

(caption added 4/2/2019)

Dave goes on to ask Rose to analyze his dream as she builds some Calvin and Hobbes style snowmen, shown above. He describes the dream as follows:

TG: i was in this dark place surrounded by this big flock of crows 
TG: god this is so generically morbid 
TG: im sorry in advance for exposing you to my unconscious minds retarded cliches 
TT: It’s ok. 
TT: They wouldn’t be cliches if they didn’t comprise the unanimously understood bedrock of phallic symbolism, with no other viable interpretation. 
TG: well obviously i knew the birds were just black screaming sky dongs just hear me out 
TG: i kept dying 
TG: there kept being these traps like i would go one way and get my head chopped off 
TG: or go another way and get stabbed or whatever 
TG: and every time i died the dream reset itself and i was standing there alive and ready to try to escape again 
TG: but each time i would be watching myself from the vantage point of a different crow 
TG: like i was the crow all squawking around in circles like a macabre flapping douche 
TG: and i would always watch myself try to do something different to dodge the trap but i always ended up dead 

The dream is constantly said to be filled with lame generic death clichés, and why that is largely true, it also legitimately symbolizes some themes in the comic. First off, Dave dies many times in the comic, as he does in the dream. Also, his dream seems to be somewhat symbolic of the comic’s concept of inevitability, how the same predestined things will happen no matter what you try. The whole thing of watching himself from the perspective of crows may relate to the whole thing of time players having alternate selves and split consciousness and that sort of stuff.

TT: Hm. 
TT: Well, if I’ve learned anything from my extensive skimming over the Wikipedia articles on dream analysis, 
TT: It’s that this dream is very unlikely to have any literal significance whatsoever. 

Extensively skimming over Wikipedia articles is something I can relate to. Every so often, I’ll decide to look something up online just because I want to know about it, but then I click every other link I see until I end up wasting a large amount of time reading articles on completely unrelated topics. Unlike my other Internet browsing, it’s never like “oh I’m bored I want to browse Wikipedia articles”, it’s more like “oh I want to read about this one thing I heard about” and next thing I know I’m scrolling through articles on the presidents of Venezuela.

TT: It’s probably not about dying at all. 

TG: you mean maybe its about anxiety over maintaining my blogs 
TG: or that my beats might not be ill enough 
TT: Yes. In fact, if you were on my couch that would have been my next question, as a licensed professional. 
TT: “Mr. Strider, have you considered that what you actually dread is to have your urban rhythms exposed for what they truly are, which is, clinically speaking, just shy of ‘da bomb’?” 
TG: and then we crack up laughing cause we both know theyre fresher than your moms change of drawers and tighter than when shes wearin them 
TT: Listening to you conjure imagery of my mother in her underpants is definitely keeping us buoyed high above this swirling Freudian hellhole. 
TT: Well done. 
TG: please its not like shes my mom i can visualize her choice ass all i want without it gettin much more than moderately uncomfortable for everyone involved 
TT: What if you’re wrong? 
TG: about what 
TT: Her not being your mother. 
TG: uh 
TT: Don’t worry, you’re probably safe. Luckily I can think of no literary or historical precedent for that sort of folly whatsoever. 
TG: this isnt the first time youve insinuated were related what is up with that 
TT: Isn’t it? 
TG: no 
TG: i mean 
TG: im not sure 
TG: i feel like youve brought it up before which is kind of weird but now i dont know 
TG: i think im getting this weird deja vu thing where i was sure we talked about this 
TG: forget it 

I just love how Dave and Rose start remembering stuff right at the most awkward time: Dave talking about how hot Rose’s mom is. This puts the count of dream bubble scenes that start as flashbacks at four, and the count of kids who think Rose has a hot mom at two.

TT: Why don’t you tell me more about your dream? 
TG: ok 
TG: so i kept dying and kept being crows and stuff 
TG: and then i started to notice something coming from the sky 
TG: it was this faint eerie singing and i look up and theres nothing there just darkness 
TT: That’s interesting. 
TT: I’ve read about this. 
TG: what did you read 
TT: Certain texts say singing from the unknowable void carries a message. 
TT: That its recipient has been selected for a mission of supreme cosmic importance, that will result in your death and that of billions more. 
TT: But one that is essential to the perpetuation of existence itself. 
TG: what the fuck sort of crackpot psychology text would say something like that 
TT: It’s not from a psychology text. 
TG: so then youre consulting astrology books now 
TT: Not astrology. 
TT: More like, 
TT: Zoology. 

The implication here is that Rose’s grimoire book is another one of those things with prophecies related to our heroes’ adventures in it, much like Charles Dutton’s Dream Bubbles. I kind of glossed over it originally, but when we got to read parts of Rose’s book on the Horrorterrors, it was pretty loaded with foreshadowing, including a page that had something to do with the whole fourth wall thing.

TT: Keep describing the dream, though. 
TT: If the rest of it is incompatible with prognoses of the zoologically dubious, I will withdraw my insinuation. 
TG: theres not even much more to it 
TG: i looked up into the sky 
TG: didnt see anyone singing 
TG: but even though the sky was black i could see the sun 
TG: it was bright as hell even through my shades 
TG: so i flapped my wings and flew up away to it like a fucking piece of garbage 
TG: and thats it 
TT: This doesn’t strike you as an impulse of self destruction? 
TG: no 
TG: not in the sense that it was a dark sacrificial zoology mission 
TG: it was more like somewhere to go besides watching myself die a lot from the vantage of a feathery murder of dumb shitty birds 
TT: So, if hypothetically you were to accept such a mission, or even insist upon one, it wouldn’t be in the spirit of genuine sacrifice, but of escape?
TG: what the fuck are you talking about 
TG: ok somethings wrong 
TG: this whole conversation is falling apart this isnt how it originally went at all 

I think it’s kind of unclear at this point whether the later descriptions of Dave’s dreams are just his thoughts or things that actually happened in Derse and whatnot, not to mention that we don’t know if this is still what happened in the dream he described months back.

Note the sword we saw Davesprite with on the bottom right corner.

TT: Aw. We were making good progress, too. 
TT: Why did you have to go and remember? 
TG: this happened months ago 
TG: does this mean im dead 
TT: What do you think? 
TG: stop it 
TG: this is so sick you using the dream bubble bullshit to pick apart my psyche 
TG: am i dead or asleep 
TT: If you’re starting to remember, you should be able to tell me. 
TG: god dammit 
TT: Maybe I’m just as confused as you about it? 
TG: yeah right 

Here, Dave is assuming that even though he doesn’t understand what’s going on, Rose most certainly does. While characters tend to see John as always oblivious to what’s going on, they tend to see Rose as someone who knows everything.

TT: Am I dead or asleep, Dave? 
TG: i dont know 
TT: Try to remember.

And so, this scrapbook scene ends on a confusing note where Dave and Rose are apparently on a dream bubble version of Derse. Let’s move on to the scene with John.

arachnidsGrip [AG] began trolling ghostyTrickster [GT] 

AG: Hi, John human. 
GT: auuugh!

It’s been such a long time since we saw anyone have such a reaction to getting trolled. I swear, this is throwbacks galore.

Also note that the background of the top half is John’s color while in the bottom half it’s Vriska’s color.

I somehow never noticed until now that it isn’t just John in Vriska’s alert bubble, but John and Vriska in each other’s alert bubbles, which makes for some pretty nice symbolism. The speech bubbles coming out of each other make this picture sort of a self-originating paradox, much like things in the comic itself. In addition, the top picture has a white background while the bottom one has a near-black background, making it look kind of like a yin-yang sort of thing which is also something that’s featured in Homestuck.

GT: excuse me, alien time troll, but i am TRYING to wrap a present. 
GT: really, you all have the worst timing. 

I feel like this is some kind of nod to how most of the flashback conversations in the comic take place at the kids’ birthdays (aside from John’s, of course).

AG: Calm down, I just thought I would foreshadow my existence to you at this quaint moment on your timeline. 
AG: It is way too tempting not to let you know I have taken gr8 care to 8ecome a very important feature of your life. 

Many readers interpret Vriska’s actions involving the kids’ session as trying to insert herself in the story as the one behind everything. If true, then choosing to foreshadow herself early on would fit well with the idea of Vriska trying to give herself an amazing story. As we see, she does a rather clumsy job with foreshadowing; in the comic’s first John/Vriska conversation, John only recalls that he thinks she threatened to kill him.

AG: Or for that matter, to let you know that I will 8e giving you a present so much 8etter than the useless crap you’re shoving in that 8ox. 
AG: I will 8e giving you the gift of immortality! 
GT: oh sweet, that has been on my wish list, ranking just below a mint condition little monsters poster, starring hollywood superstar, howie mandel. 
GT: can i expect it to arrive on my next birthday?? 

John randomly bringing up his favorite movies is another thing that makes this scene feel like a throwback.

AG: Yes, as a matter of fact. Nice guess! 
AG: It will come at a cost though. 
GT: the mandel poster, or immortality? 
AG: The latter, jackass! 
AG: In order for you to claim it, you will have to 8e quite gulli8le and allow me to arrange your murder. 
GT: i see, here is where all the sick trolling begins! 
GT: you can keep your present, i am not interested. 
AG: 8ut you will 8e! You will happily go along with everything I tell you to do. 
AG: And then, once I have completely earned your trust, I will kill you John. ::::) 
GT: sigh… 
GT: the other troll i just talked to was way better, if a tad grumpy, at least she was down with talking about cool movies, sort of. 
AG: 8ut this is all true. I’ve seen it already. You have no idea how delicious the dramatic irony is right now! 
AG: You will die. I will lead you into a trap, and watch you 8leed to death on a 8ig stone sla8 with a sword stuck in your chest. 
AG: There is nothing you can do a8out it. In fact, it has already happened! 
GT: that’s nice. now scram, troll! 

As I said, Vriska is trying to incorporate foreshadowing into her attempt at a heroic story, but John thinks she’s making stuff up.

AG: 8ut my inevita8le grisly murder of you notwithstanding, you’re a pretty fun guy to hassle. It’ll 8e difficult sparing you from the privilege of my company until your game 8egins. 
GT: that is basically the worst pickup line i have ever heard. 
AG: Please, John. As if there is any conceiva8le sequence of events which could lead me to consider you as a via8le romantic partner, in any quadrant. Even the pale ones.

Vriska just mentioned how great the dramatic irony is right here; ironically, a line of her own, the last one quoted above, has dramatic irony she isn’t aware of. She thought there’s no way she’d consider John as a romantic partner.

GT: weren’t you leaving? 
AG: Yes. 
GT: ok then… 
AG: I mean, I was going to. 
AG: 8ut now I guess I’m not. 
GT: oh. 
GT: why? 
AG: 8ecause this isn’t really happening. 
GT: it isn’t? 
AG: It did, once. 
AG: 8ut now it’s just a memory. 

Fifth flashback scene that turns out to be a dream bubble memory.

After the conversation goes way off track and Vriska talks about how she wanted to hang out with John, he says:

GT: oh god, this is so ridiculous. you are just a crazy troll on the internet, and i need to get back to packing up this present for my friend! we are not going to hang out, i’m sorry. 

John has an incredibly hard time figuring out that this is a memory in a dream bubble, far more so than anyone else. While even though the whole dream bubble scene with Dirk and Jake takes a long time before either of them starts remembering things, Jake catches on fairly easily that it’s a memory, John starts remembering things quickly but takes a long time to figure out what’s going on. I wonder why that is exactly? I think it might be because as is later revealed, the John we’re following died before he learned about dream bubbles and stuff, or dreaming outside of regular dreams in the first place; he died before his dream self even woke up.

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the way these dream bubble scenes are made. The picture above with Vriska smoothly transitions from the computer lab to her bedroom, with honk horns next to Flarp rulebooks. The one with John is even better, with his bed replaced with a sprite bed, and the scribble map Terezi made him is shown to the right alongside his posters, making for some neat mixtures of old and new memories.

John sees Vriska in his backyard and the scrapbook scene ends here.


Time for round 2 of scrapbook pages. This time, I’ll go through them clockwise, starting from the one on top.

The first scene is Nannasprite making a reappearance on Skaia through finding Dad’s hat. Not much to say about this one, other than that it’s yet another less important character getting a drawn-out return. And also that it’s obviously pretty sad.

Next is Jadesprite and Davesprite. Note that Davesprite is wearing his pendant necklace, as is Nannasprite shown above. I thought those things were used for summoning sprites, so why are they now being worn as necklaces? Maybe it has to do with the fact that the kids have gone beyond needing sprites and they’re now free to do what they want. All four of the kids’ sprites get decent scenes in this scrapbook stretch of pages, almost as if they’re guest stars.

JADESPRITE: what is that? 
DAVESPRITE: what this thing 
JADESPRITE: yes 
DAVESPRITE: legendary sword 
JADESPRITE: how did you get it? 
DAVESPRITE: long story 
DAVESPRITE: shenanigans mostly 

[…]

DAVESPRITE: so things kind of became even more crazy in this timeline than the one i was from 
DAVESPRITE: and it was clear dave was never gonna do the quest i didnt get the chance to finish 
DAVESPRITE: not even after you brought the forge 
JADESPRITE: the forge? 
DAVESPRITE: your volcano 
JADESPRITE: ohhh 

What I’m gathering from this is that Davesprite, the secondary Dave, is going through the quest stuff for him. I think this mostly signifies that the planetary quests are generally a secondary aspect of the game, something that often isn’t actually significant to the plot.

DAVESPRITE: so 
DAVESPRITE: after laying low for a while 
DAVESPRITE: i just went and did whatever i could myself 
DAVESPRITE: got caledfwlch 
DAVESPRITE: the fuckin welsh sword dave broke 
DAVESPRITE: went to look for hephaestus again 
DAVESPRITE: figuring there wasnt much hope in beating him this time either especially being injured and all but what the hell right 

I think this implies that Davesprite, in the timeline he came from, thought he was supposed to fight his denizen when he first visited. I’m sort of confused about all that and I guess I’ll see what happens later on.

DAVESPRITE: but then 
DAVESPRITE: thats when you lit the forge somehow 
JADESPRITE: i did? 
DAVESPRITE: well no 
DAVESPRITE: not you other jade 
JADESPRITE: yeah 
JADESPRITE: shes a lot more brave than me i think 
JADESPRITE: she brought me back thinking i could help her and all i did was disappoint her and everyone else 
JADESPRITE: you came back as a sprite and youre managing to do important things… 
JADESPRITE: but i just feel so scared and helpless 

Here Jadesprite is portrayed in a different, more sympathetic light from the crybaby she was in her debut, as someone who does want to be able to do important things but just can’t. I think the difference may lie in conversing with a longtime friend rather than herself.

DAVESPRITE: sounds like you came back because jade made the decision for you 
DAVESPRITE: i made the decision to come back myself maybe itd be different if you had the same chance 
JADESPRITE: i dont know if i would have if i had the chance 
JADESPRITE: but i would like to not feel so useless to everybody 
DAVESPRITE: i think everyones on top of this 
DAVESPRITE: theres not much for us to do anymore 

I think sprites are meant as an early-game mechanic that eventually stops being of much use. In a regular video game that could be done just fine without problems, but since this is a real-life video game, the sprites don’t just die off. Well, they might be supposed to die eventually, but they don’t just stop existing after a certain point. especially not when they’re splinters of the main characters. This also brings to mind something I said about sprites when I was early in Act 5 Act 2:

Assuming the idea that sprites are meant to eventually die off is true, breaking that idea leads to interesting stuff. On the battleship, Nannasprite and Jaspersprite are complacent with their lives as a grandma and a cat, but Davesprite becomes a tragic figure, feeling himself worthless as not at all the real Dave.

I think a major theme of the comic is our heroes breaking the principles of a video game, and the sprites are no exception.

JADESPRITE: what about your sword? isnt it important? 
DAVESPRITE: i guess so 
DAVESPRITE: but not really for me since im not the real dave anymore 
JADESPRITE: im still not sure how you got it… 
JADESPRITE: what does it have to do with my volcano? 
DAVESPRITE: thats a bit complicated 
DAVESPRITE: see it turns out 
DAVESPRITE: i had no idea how the denizens worked at all 

This is where this scrapbook scene ends. At this point readers may notice a pattern: there’s a lot of talking about denizens now when they weren’t mentioned very much previously. I think at this point Hussie realized that he wanted to explore the concept of denizens some more? I don’t know.

The second scrapbook scene with Dave and Rose starts with a whole bunch of dialogue I don’t have much to say about. Namely, they start reenacting the past, with Liv Tyler giving them the Tumor bomb and Dave, despite not feeling like an actual hero, wanting to go on the mission instead of Rose.

TT: Maybe you should try to answer the question. Why did you want to go? 
TG: because i made the map so i know how to get there better 
TT: But it seems simple enough. A set of bearings to follow. 
TT: See? The application pilots the moon. Change course when necessary. Anyone can do it, really. 
TT: We talked about this. Debated, if you recall. 

If I’m understanding this right, Dave made a map on his dream computer, and then a piece of software was installed on it to pilot the moon? I would say that’s incredibly weird, but if you think about it, it’s not the least bit weirder than Sburb itself being a piece of computer software.

TG: then out of nowhere this sword appears in the thing 
TG: so im thinking obviously i have to break the sword somehow 
TG: because thats all i fucking do is break swords 
TG: but as im thinking of how to do it i put my hand on it 
TG: and it just snaps off with this comical shattering noise 
TG: like i just fucked up some priceless shit in the louvre

Obviously, it doesn’t make sense for a sword to break as easily as Dave describes. I bet this is meant to be comparable to the way things tend to work in video games. It’s as if you click on a sword stuck in a slab of rock in a video game, it says “Break sword? Y/N?”, and you click yes and the sword breaks.

Callback to Jack slicing Prospit’s chain.

TG: then i took it and sliced the chain 
TG: like this 
TG: damn 
TG: it still cuts like its plowing through a shaft of boneless zombie meat 

It makes even less sense for a sword that breaks easily to be able to slice a giant chain as shown above, which I think further ties in with the video game theme; breaking a sword and slicing a giant chain in half with it both take nothing more than a (metaphorical) click of the mouse.

Note Derse’s moon outside the window.
And that Dave now also has a black aura.
And that Dave and Rose are now surrounded by each other’s text colors.

TG: come on 
TG: knocking me out so you can steal the suicide mission 
TG: god dammit 
TG: that is so trite 
TT: I really am sorry for that. 
TG: its like 
TG: heres how bad this is 
TG: were are basically bruce willis and ben affleck from johns shitty crappy movie 
TG: you made this even more armageddon than it already was 
TG: sealing me in the air lock so i can go home to liv tyler and have the most terrible babies with her 

As I said a while back, the comic is pretty loaded with references to movies and such. Here, Dave complains about how the whole suicide mission is pretty much just a reference to Armageddon, turning a serious plot thing into one of John’s favorite movies.

TT: If it’s any consolation, Liv Tyler came with me on the suicide mission.
TG: the bunny or the actress 
TT: Which would make you feel better? 

I haven’t seen Armageddon but it’s pretty easy to deduce that Rose, who is analogous to Bruce Willis (thanks Wikipedia), threw a wrench into the movie metaphor, paralleling how many of the callbacks in the comic have some kind of twist or difference from the original.

TG: you not knocking me out with a ball of fucking yarn is fucking what 
TT: If I could have chosen a method of sparing your life you might have found more awesome, I would. 
TT: Is there an “ironic” way to do that? 
TG: this probably comes close but that doesnt make it not lame as hell 
TT: Does it matter if I took some personal satisfaction seeing you fall unconscious at the gentle glance of a soft cotton globe? 
TG: its cool you are so tickled by this i hope it brought you a lot of rad laughs on your way to go fucking explode 
TT: … 

If you read between the lines, a major point in this whole conversation is that Dave and Rose both care for each other a great deal, both trying to stop the other from doing the suicide mission. That is made more obvious further along in their scrapbook segments, but it’s already true here that if you ignore their jokes and sassy remarks, you get two kids trying to save each other’s lives.

TG: so thats it 
TG: im actually lying here on derse asleep 
TG: and you went out there and blew up the sun 
TG: and now youre dead and im dream chilling with your smug ghost 
TT: Yes to the first part. 
TG: so youre not dead 
TT: Not yet. 
TG: then youre dreaming 
TG: what youre taking a little nap on the moon in the middle of nowhere 
TT: Afraid not! 
TT: I am wide awake. 

I can only imagine how confusing this must be for first-time readers; based on what I’ve read on first-read liveblogs, I’m sure that’s the case for many. But the weird thing is, in a reread there really isn’t much to say about this part quoted above. I think this sort of thing is part of what sets apart reread liveblogs from regular liveblogs.

This scene is finished, now for the continuation of the Dersite battleship.

These two pictures call back to CD’s debut, when he himself picked PM’s pocket. Now, CD is having his pocket picked.

Here’s an interesting thing. If you read the segment with Dave and Rose before this one, then that means you probably already knew Liv was going to snatch the Tumor; however, if you read this one first, it comes as a bit more of a surprise. Not surprise as in a super plot twist, just something that you didn’t know was going to happen.

Now CD apparently thinks it’s his mission to get the wallet or something? I love how he always forgets what he has to do like that.

Note that John is now wearing his new green ghost shirt.

And finally, the continuation of the scene with John and Vriska.

GT: so. 
GT: it seems that you are, in fact, an alien. with horns and everything. 
GT: huh. 
AG: Yes, John. Horns and all. That totally proves I am an alien 8eyond a shadow of a dou8t! 
AG: Now what do you make of these 8lank white eyes of mine? What do you think THAT could mean, hmmmmmmmm? 
GT: i don’t know. aliens usually have big spooky eyes, don’t they? 
AG: Humans have literally the dum8est extraterrestrial lore. Weren’t those supposed to 8e aliens on one of your posters? 
GT: haha, you mean mac and me? yeah, even i can admit that movie was indefensible. 

What was Vriska expecting human extraterrestrial lore to be like? I bet she thought it would be just like trolls because of the universe she created.

GT: i can accept that you are an alien, but come on. meeting an alien who is also a GHOST in my front yard is a bit much to believe. 
GT: it is almost too awesome. 

John has a very weird system of what to consider strange or hard to believe, which has been demonstrated plenty of times now. The bit quoted above is perhaps the strangest example. He probably shrugs off the prospect of meeting an alien as an E.T. sort of thing. Or I guess a Mac and Me sort of thing, if you want to bring knockoffs into this. But the whole idea of aliens who are also ghosts probably can’t be equated to any of his favorite movies.

AG: So you don’t remem8er anything a8out the game at all, then? The destruction of your planet? 8ringing your ancestor 8ack to life as a clown woman? 
AG: Putting a huge flaming ocean out with your magical wind? Jack Noir? Dying, resurrecting, and possi8ly dying again? Is any of this tickling your sponge? 
GT: hmm… 
GT: nope. sounds cool though. 

Really, that’s all he has to say about all this crazy stuff? Maybe he thinks she’s merely talking about a video game that you play on the computer; that’s the best explanation I can think of. And it does make sense.

AG: Fuck, I cannot 8elieeeeeeeeve how cold it is on this planet. How can any species possi8ly 8e a8le to survive somewhere like this? 
GT: yeah, i thought you looked pretty cold out here. 
GT: so i brought you this jacket. 

Does this mean John happens to own a jacket exactly like the one Vriska wears? This may serve as a parallel between those two, I don’t know.

2019 EDIT: Yeah, of course I didn’t bother talking about how heartwarming this little moment is. I can be a real wet blanket sometimes, sorry about that.

GT: hey, your clothes switched suddenly. 
GT: was that some kind of alien wardrobe warpifying technology? 
GT: such as a warpdrobe, if you will? 
AG: Sure, John. Let’s just say that’s what it was. 

The weird thing is, Jade has the exact kind of technology John is talking about, although at this point he may or may not know this. Come to think of it, we don’t get to see much of the kids’ reactions to and thoughts on Jade’s strange home life. Dave’s life eventually had a whole Cerebus syndrome thing applied to it, and I think it’s weird that we don’t get a similar thing done with the other kids, or at least Jade.

GT: you look pretty cool in more normal clothes. not that your space boots and pixie outfit weren’t neat. 

John referring to Vriska’s boots as space boots is more evidence that his views on aliens are heavily colored by his favorite movies.

It’s no longer snowing.

GT: this is my green slime ghost pogo ride, in all its glory. 
GT: in my childhood, it was hours of fun, and hundreds of painful injuries. 

[…]

GT: anyway, this thing is kind of a death trap, and i haven’t ridden it for years. 
GT: i think my dad had it installed as one of his ridiculous ways of making a man out of me. 

There is indeed evidence that John’s father wanted to make a man out of his son, with all his fatherly notes and stuff. As I said a while back, it’s likely that Mr. Egbert expected his son to grow up into a fatherly businessman just like him. However, I think the idea of the pogo ride being installed to make John tougher is just him thinking his father is more outlandish than he really is.

GT: anyway, that’s my back yard. pretty damn boring, sorry. 
GT: i would show you inside, but i don’t think my dad would take too kindly to bringing an alien inside. 

I’m telling you, this whole scene might just be a big E.T. homage, with John trying to hide the alien from his dad and all that.

This is where the sequence starts to get interesting. John starts showing Vriska around his neighborhood, although he never explored his neighborhood back in Act 1 for some reason.* I bet Hussie felt that the deal with John’s neighbors wasn’t worth elaborating on when the story makes a point of not focusing on any humans or trolls besides the ones we follow, but now he’s taking the opportunity to have a little fun and provide a few hints at what’s up with John’s neighborhood.

* Just as I never took the opportunity to go in-depth about the basic mechanics of the comic back then.

GT: these are my neighbors, who live in a lot of same looking houses as mine. 
GT: i never see them. i think they’re all really busy people with a lot of serious business to attend to. 

I think this brief touch upon John’s neighbors is a nod to how the comic itself shows us next to nothing regarding any people who aren’t directly connected with the main characters. When we finally do get a direct reference to such people, John says that he knows very little about them. His speculation that his neighbors are all very busy people seems to be an extension upon that lack of knowledge, like something one might surmise from the little we know about his neighbors. It also ties straight in with the name of Homestuck; the characters’ knowledge of their communities is completely confined to their homes. Rose is an especially good example of this: she seemed mostly unaware that her mother works in the lab next door, because it’s not part of her house.

GT: hey, look. 
GT: the snow is melted over here. 
GT: it’s really warm suddenly. weird. 
AG: Does your planet usually have these kind of temper8ture swings? 
GT: no, this is pretty unusual december weather. 

It’s pretty incredible how John’s thoughts keep dancing around the idea that he and Vriska are reliving memories. For some reason, he doesn’t recognize that this is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you’re dreaming. In fairness, he probably has the distinct feeling that he’s awake and most definitely not dreaming. Whenever I am awake, I am for some reason certain that I am not dreaming, a feeling I don’t get in my dreams, though it never occurs to me then that it’s a dream either.

GT: this lake here did not used to be a lake. a long time ago, before i was born, there was a factory here. 
GT: my dad says there was a huge explosion. he was walking by with my nanna when he saw it. 
GT: then a little later, my nanna died. my dad never told me how, except that it involved a big joke book. 
GT: i never knew her, which is too bad. she sounded nice. 
AG: I know what happened. 
AG: I saw it. 
GT: you did? 
AG: Yes. 
AG: Do you want to know? 
AG: It might jostle your memory. 
GT: ok! 
AG: I 8elieve this lake is where Jade landed. You landed a little ways over there, a8out where your hive is now. You clo88ered your nanna to death with the aforementioned joke 8ook. 8ut it wasn’t your fault. You were 8oth just little wigglers, riding meteors from the future. 
AG: You cre8ted yourself, your nanna, Jade, her grandpa, not to mention Dave and Rose and their guardians, all in a la8 using paradox slime, and sent them 8ack in time as the silly gru8s with arms and legs you call 8a8ies. And here you were dou8ting the usefulness of slime! 
GT: wow, really? 
AG: Yes, a8solutely. 
AG: I paid close attention to all this, 8ecause I thought it might give me some clues a8out us and our ancestors, who were made the same way. 
AG: Any of this familiar? 
GT: hmm. 
GT: that all sounds incredible if true, but i don’t have even the foggiest memory of that happening! 
AG: Yeah. I figured as much. 

Unlike many other things, this time it makes perfect sense for John not to remember all this (aside from not knowing his nanna), because the version of John we’re following here died before creating the kids and guardians.

GT: how is this happening? 
GT: is this through the advanced alien technologies? 
GT: like holograms, or teleportations? 
AG: If that’s what you want to think to keep you comfy in your stupor, sure. 

More often than not, fictional alien races are more advanced than humanity, and Homestuck is no exception. I think John’s assumption that they are traveling through memories with alien technology is directly connected with the tendency for alien civilizations in movies to be super advanced.

GT: it’s a castle!!! 
AG: No shit! 
AG: It is 8ig and fore8oding and ostent8ious, just the way I wanted it. 
AG: As a 8lue8lood, I was entitled to 8uild such a home. Something to set me far apart from the commoners. 
GT: you built it? 
AG: Of course not. Ro8ots 8uilt it for me when I was very young. 
AG: 8ut I was allowed to dict8 instructions. Expected to, in fact. 
GT: oh gosh. 
GT: so rad. 
AG: Really? 
AG: I still find it interesting what sort of mundane facts humans tend to 8e impressed 8y. 

John probably thinks all this is incredible partly because it’s like his favorite movies about aliens coming to life. But then again, I think any human would be impressed by things like commanding robots to build your house.

AG: Anyway, my design kind of got 8oring as I got older. A huge castle hive sounds great, 8ut it starts feeling pretty cavernous and lonely after a while. There were so many 8locks I never even used! 
AG: Your tastes change, 8ut you get stuck with growing up in a place suited to your earliest, most juvenile inclin8ions. 
AG: No8ody tells you that when you’re a kid though. 

Nobody tells you A LOT of things when you’re a kid. I don’t know if people think kids don’t need forewarnings of what stuff they’ll go through as they get older, or wouldn’t believe the warnings, or would think all that’s going to happen so long from now that it’s not worth worrying about, or what.

GT: i think i know what you mean. 
GT: i feel like a long time ago, i might have given my dad the impression i really liked clowns? 
GT: and now there are clowns everywhere, his stupid collection just keeps growing and growing, and it drives me CRAZY. 
AG: John…….. 
AG: That 8arely compara8le example is so cute, I don’t even know what to say. 

John kind of thinks that he and Vriska have something in common, though as she notes, it’s hardly a parallel at all. Once again, this is an example of false character parallels.

Some parts of Vriska showing John around omitted.

AG: This was my respite8lock. 
AG: From kind of an em8arrassing memory, actually. 
GT: haha, more eight balls!!! 
GT: you sure do like to smash them. 
AG: John, addiction is a powerful thing. You pro8a8ly wouldn’t understand. 
GT: what are you wearing? 
AG: Just a fairy dress. 
AG: I wore it for this stupid thing I did once. 

I wonder if Vriska ever explained to this version of John what that stupid thing she did was during the time they dated? If she did, then John probably would’ve given another barely comparable example.

GT: is that a rocket car stuck in the web over there? 
GT: what’s that about? 
AG: Don’t worry a8out it! Man, this would 8e such an awkward moment on a d8. Again, if it was one. 
GT: there’s something really familiar about that rocket… 

YES, FINALLY, John is remembering things! It’s weird how a rocket similar to the one he got near death is the first thing John remembers when their death is typically the last thing newly dead ghosts remember. Nonetheless, the important thing is that he remembers stuff now.

Aside from visual similarity, I don’t recall any connections between the rocket shown above and the one John alchemized, although looking back I see that the former was alchemized from the rocket shoes (code: “pshoooes”) while the latter has the code “PCHOOOOO”. Maybe it’s a universal constant that all rockets in Homestuck have the same design? I think Uni-Real Air also has the exact same design as all those, as does Dirk’s rocket board.

I like how this image above is yet another image where one half is John, the other half is Vriska. Also it has the one side dark, one side light color scheme again. Vriska’s half of the image has some interesting things about it. On her walls, there are some Nic Cage posters, which I can only imagine is what her room would be like had she still used that room after trolling the kids. There’s also some rather inexplicable things there: Tavros’s severed legs (gross) and a red package which, despite probably being John’s present from Dave, I have no idea why it’s in Vriska’s half of the picture.

Also, the art in the picture is a bit of an optical illusion that plays with weirdnesses that can arise from isometric projection, somehow connecting Vriska’s floor to John’s wall when that shouldn’t be possible.

GT: this is my dad’s room. 
GT: but… 
GT: i have never been inside of it. 
GT: so why do i recognize it? 

It was already mentioned way earlier that John was never once inside his dad’s room, but him mentioning it again makes me think of stuff. Specifically, how his dad seems to be somewhat overprotective. While John did have a mental breakdown after entering his dad’s room for the first time, I don’t think that would have happened if his father didn’t go so overboard with clowns.

The horrorterrors in the background are a really nice touch.

Sometimes I feel that the art in dream bubble scenes is underrated. I mean, look at this graceful combination of John’s partly built-up house (note that it’s built up only as far as it was back in Act 4), and Vriska’s planet. How is that art not incredible?

GT: hey, look! 
GT: that’s my dad. 
GT: what’s he doing here? 
AG: …….. 
GT: i’ve missed the heck out of him. 
GT: though i’m not sure why. he should be safe at home right now. 
GT: i guess i must have lost track of him. but i don’t remember how. 
GT: all i know is i have this feeling like i should run over and give him a hug. 
AG: Well, just so you know, he is pro8a8ly not actually there. 
AG: Kind of like how my lusus was just a memory. 

Here’s yet another thing that reminds me of something in Futurama.* In the episode Game of Tones, Fry feels like talking to memory projections of his family is the same as getting to see them again and reacts accordingly; come to think of it, the whole memory reenactment thing from that episode is very similar to dream bubbles. However, John doesn’t seem to feel the same way about talking to brain ghost versions of friends he misses. I suppose both views on this sort of thing are reasonable but I think John should have been somewhat happy to at least talk to memory versions of his friends. On the other hand, such a sense of happiness would likely be overtaken by frustration of frequently almost getting to see his friends.

* Just to be clear, that isn’t the only show I watch. I also watch Bob’s Burgers and Regular Show, and those are the only shows I watch. It’s just that Futurama has the most things that I can compare to things in Homestuck.

GT: are you a psychic alien? like the one who jodie foster met in contact, and assumed the form of her dead father to talk to her? 

Oh god dammit, why does a poignant exchange about John’s father being just a memory have to be interrupted by yet another funny reference to one of his favorite movies?

AG: As a matter of fact, yes, I am a psychic alien. 8ut that has nothing to do with this! 
AG: These are our memories, and we are in the afterlife. I keep trying to tell you, and it’s starting to get frustr8ing. 
GT: i see. so it is not me who is jodie foster. it’s more like you are jodie, because nobody believed her when she came home and had amazing tales to tell. 
GT: except matthew mcconaughey. 
AG: Aaaaaaaargh! 
GT: but it’s ok. i will be your matt mcconaughey. 

I’m pretty glad that the interruption of the exchange with humorous movie references is itself interrupted with a rather sweet thing that only John would say. I mentioned this line all the way back in the beginning of my first post, which had almost no substance in retrospect, as an example of him being lovable.

AG: Do you remem8er me yet? 
GT: no. 
GT: i only remember when you contacted me and said you’d kill me a little earlier. 
GT: but that was months ago. 
GT: i do remember talking to some other trolls like you. 

This is a pretty strong hint that this is the version of John from Davesprite’s timeline, something that gets more and more obvious as this scene progresses.

GT: and playing this game. it was on my 13th birthday. i was really looking forward to playing it, but it was late in the mail. 
GT: i got some presents from my dad. like this big weird clown doll that i didn’t like much. 
GT: and some fruit gushers… 
GT: oh yeah! i also realized gushers were made by betty crocker. that freaked me the fuck out! 
GT: did YOU realize betty crocker makes gushers??? 
AG: This comes as news to me. 
GT: well she does. her villainy knows no bounds. 

I think the reference to Betty Crocker is meant to remind us about the whole thing of John thinking she is evil so that readers will have an easier time catching the clues that Betty Crocker is the Condesce that are shown a little later.

GT: actually… 
GT: i remember dying in a suit. 
AG: You do? 
GT: but 
GT: this was not the suit i was wearing when i died. 

This parallels how doomed Dave took a while before remembering what he was wearing between his death, making mistakes along the way. In John’s case, he only wore the white ghost suit briefly, even more briefly than the original one he got for his birthday, so it’s a bit of a weird mistake to spend some time walking around in that one, unlike Dave who did indeed wear the suits he briefly thought he was wearing for quite some time.

EB: this was.

Confirmation that we’re following the doomed John. I really like the way several things happen to signify John remembers everything. He’s wearing his last outfit, his eyes disappear, and to further signify all this, his lines are now preceded with his current chumhandle acronym.

I’ve finished the first two scrapbook selection screens so I’ll stop here. See you in two weeks and a bit as I go through more scrapbook panels with some stuff that I have a feeling is probably going to be kind of confusing.

>> Part 56: SBES Vol. 2 – Of Sports and Snake Monsters

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