Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 56: SBES Vol. 2 – Of Sports and Snake Monsters

Introduction

Part 55 | Part 56 | Part 57 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 29 of 32

Doc Scratch Intermission, Part 4 of 6

Pages 3936-4001 (MSPA: 5836-5901) (not in order)

NOTE: SBES stands for Scrapbook Examination Station.

Welcome back to my Homestuck post series. After nearly three weeks without any such posts, I guess it’s time for more scrapbook pages. I will do this selection screen left to right (boring order, I know), so I’ll start with Nannasprite.

The whole first half of this scene is one of the strangest parts of the comic: a text description of the adventures of a character entirely separate from our heroes. I think all the stuff with fedorafreak is mostly there as an ascended meme, since Hussie has teased fans with jokes about fedorafreak many times before this log was posted. Now, of course, this scene makes for an interesting side story with some interesting ambiguous implications regarding the true nature of Sburb, as I talked about after I finished Act 1.

fedorafreak: eureka. 
fedorafreak: stand by for clarification re: enthusiastic outburst. 
fedorafreak: yes. it is as hoped for beyond hope. 
fedorafreak: unusual devices may be used to duplicate fresh, perfectly pressed garments. inexhaustibly, afaik. 
fedorafreak: reconstructing complete professional ensemble now – hold. 
fedorafreak: pleased to report restoration of dapper visage an overwhelming success.
fedorafreak: alas, devices appear to hold no such promise for departed family members, misplaced hand-held steam press.

This is actually kind of an interesting monologue; it’s kind of like a little what-if scenario, namely what would happen if Dad played Sburb. Of course, this isn’t exactly John’s father, but he has pretty much the exact same fatherly businessman interests.

fedorafreak: update on device utility – combinative apparel synthesis presents intriguing possibilities. 
fedorafreak: now combining expensive leather pipe tobacco sleeve with handsome, gray fedora. 
fedorafreak: to document result shortly. 
fedorafreak: resulted in hat w/ outlandish and frivolous appearance. 
fedorafreak: do not care for; shall discard immediately. 

Just like all the beta kids, fedorafreak quickly starts experimenting with the game equipment to make stuff out of his possessions, all of which parallel his set of interests, i.e. stereotypical dad stuff.

fedorafreak: combination of pant, fine cotton shirt even more disappointing. 
fedorafreak: yielded useless, excessively tall pant; relieveing from wardrobe at once.

Also like the beta kids, once again we get some alchemy combinations that make no sense. Why would pants + shirt = super tall pants? The answer is pretty simple: to reference a fandom meme, namely the so-called Pantskat. If you don’t what that is, on this panel about 100 pages ago Karkat in the center of the picture looks like he is wearing very tall pants; I forgot to mention that earlier.* That meme is referenced a few more times later on, partly so that archive readers who don’t know about the meme will catch on to the repeated references to tall pants regardless.

* I also forgot to mention that the surviving trolls’ gathering was posted on the first anniversary of the trolls’ arc.

fedorafreak: consumed final swallow of carefully rationed urine. soon to seek water elsewhere in exotic new surroundings.

It’s really interesting how while issues of food access usually aren’t addressed much in Homestuck and generally have easy solutions, fedorafreak apparently has to drink his own urine. He mentioned that earlier during one of the prior glimpses of what the Serious Business users are up to. Unfortunately I kind of glossed over those. For reference, here’s the links to all the previous pages featuring Serious Business: 1 2 3 4

fedorafreak: preparing for expedition to reap gems from mischievous local fauna. 
fedorafreak: crafted sturdy bludgeoning instrument out of uprooted mailbox.

Here is another difference between fedorafreak and the kids. The kids each have a weapon of choice based upon a household possession, but fedorafreak, like John’s dad, is too fatherly for weapons, instead kicking ass with regular strong objects. 

fedorafreak: turning on hand-held device for brief report. 
fedorafreak: severe injury sustained in skirmish with undersized, sportive rascal. 

Does this mean he was injured by an underling? If so, it would be the first time anyone in the comic dies that way; it’s weird that among the many deaths in Homestuck, I’m pretty sure only one is at the hands of an underling.

fedorafreak: encountered rest surface. 
fedorafreak: horizontal stone slab exhibiting unidentified iconography. 
fedorafreak: a tall post at each corner. 
fedorafreak: mysteriously inviting. 
fedorafreak: mounting slab. exhaustion taking hold. 

In other words, fedorafreak is mounting his quest bed. He mentions that his quest bed has unidentified iconography, which may be a tease at readers who hope to know fedorafreak’s god tier title now that we know he’s playing Sburb. Some time before posting this log, Hussie joked that fedorafreak would ascend to god tier as the Gent of Piss. Amazingly enough, that actually came to pass. Maybe not the Gent of Piss part, but it’s definitely close enough.

pipefan413: Excuse me, sir! 
fedorafreak: @pipefan413, friend. 
fedorafreak: @pipefan413, sound of voice nearly refreshing enough to distract from perpetual taste of warm, poorly filtered urine. 
pipefan413: Oh my, no. I am not actually your friend, dear. 
pipefan413: I am his mother! Hoo hoo hoo. 
fedorafreak: another of @pipefan413’s legendary pranks? pl clarify. 
fedorafreak: if y; prepared to regard as hilarious. 

Interest in pranks and humor obviously runs in the family, but we don’t actually get to see much of John’s dad’s interest in pranking.

pipefan413: You remind me of him so. Would you mind terribly if I talked to you for a little while? 
pipefan413: I am fearing the worst for my son, while my grandson has gone off to do great things. I’ve caught myself feeling a bit lonely, hoo. 

Nanna’s mention of feeling lonely is another example of weirdness that arises from sprites not dying off.

fedorafreak: can imagine no greater pleasure. 
fedorafreak: though, eyelids heavy. 
fedorafreak: getting dark; feeling in extremities, fading. 
pipefan413: Oh, but you must be exhausted from your travels! You poor thing. 
pipefan413: Why don’t you just lie there and rest? I will tell you a story.
fedorafreak: @pipefan413’s kindly mother: ty 

I really like how fedorafreak’s last words are nothing more than a simple thank you, written as an acronym to boot. He’s too cool for dramatic last words.

There’s the appearances of Betty Crocker again.

Much of my commentary on Nannasprite’s fairy tale has become outdated because of what we now know through Skaianet Systems, but I’m leaving it all intact. I’ll also refrain from discussing the absolute horror Jane and Jake’s relationship becomes in the epilogues, other than pointing out that the best possible version of Jane is unknowingly foreshadowing the worst possible version of Jane.

pipefan413: It is a fairy tale about a young sister and brother who were raised by a wicked witch!
pipefan413: The witch in truth was a world famous baking baroness. Her cruelty made life miserable for the two children, who did not have their father anymore to protect them. 
pipefan413: He was the greatest prankster who ever lived, and a true southern gentleman. He was killed by a comet on the day the boy was born, and the wicked baroness raised them alone, with a hand as firm as that which she ran her brutal baking empire. 

While we already had a fairly clear picture of Nanna and Grandpa’s childhood, only now it’s shown to us how cruel it really was. It’s easy to forget that Sassacre was apparently married to the Condesce, which pretty much makes no sense. It’s one of the few things in the comic that really truly doesn’t make sense, right up there with pretty much everything about Gamzee.

pipefan413: The children pledged to each other that one day they would run away together. 
pipefan413: They followed in the footsteps of the dear colonel, in defiance of the old batterwitch. They studied his every jape, and practiced them in secret! 
pipefan413: But as they grew older, their interests drifted apart. The boy developed a passion for adventure and put aside his study of practical jokes. He dreamed of wealth and fame and discovery and swore he would wander the world. 
pipefan413: One day he decided to run away with the loyal dog he inherited from their father. He asked the girl if she would come along, but she was too scared of the retribution that might follow. 
pipefan413: The boy scoffed at the danger, and assured his sister there was nothing to worry about. But he had not seen first hand what the baroness was capable of! 

Young Grandpa running away, as is emphasized here, is a true act of bravery, something we don’t really see Jake doing very much.

pipefan413: The girl surely missed her brother, and soon enough he achieved fame for his exploits. She followed him in the newspapers, the tales of his remarkable discoveries, inventions, and riches. How she wished she could rejoin him, and be free from toiling for the pastry hag! 

It’s really kind of weird comparing Jade’s grandpa, an incredible renaissance man, to Jake, an average confused dorky teenager. Just as Dave was amazed by the stuff his B2 self did, Jake would no doubt be floored by learning what he accomplished as a grown man who reached his full hidden potential. Unfortunately that hasn’t really happened yet.

pipefan413: One day, the girl was able to gather enough bravery to mention her brother to the baroness, and her desire to see him again. With contempt, she guaranteed that this could never happen. When the girl asked why, that is when the baroness began to reveal to her more than just her baking secrets. 
pipefan413: She mentioned that like in many fairy tales, there was more to the children’s past than they knew. The colonel was not their father, nor was the baroness their mother. They in fact had no father or mother at all, nor were they ever actually born. They had both fallen from the sky! They were not actually brother and sister as they had been told either. 

These secrets sound almost like something you’d respond to with “how the hell did she the witch know all this stuff”, but it’s actually simple: she probably just witnessed their meteor impacts and concluded stuff from there.

pipefan413: Again like in many fairy tales, the truth was that they were always destined to become married one day. They were to have two children, a son and a daughter, and these children were meant to save the world! But the batterwitch was determined to make sure this destiny would never be realized. 

It’s almost as if the Condesce is a rabid Dirk/Jake shipper. I like how the witch made it so that Nanna and Grandpa would never have kids, but they already had a son and a daughter as babies through slime cloning.

pipefan413: The girl that day swore she would bring down the baroness and her evil empire. She would use the many secrets she’d learned over the years against her, and began carefully plotting her downfall. 
pipefan413: Years went by. The girl was nearly ready to put her plan into action. 

Even though the secrets Nannasprite knew weren’t addressed much in the story’s end, I think participating in the fight against the Condesce is good enough considering how many readers’ hopes weren’t fulfilled.

pipefan413: But then, just like that, the baroness disappeared. She was never seen or heard from again. 

Though it’s kind of a mystery, I think the Condesce’s mysterious disappearance is probably her leaving the pre-scratch universe and entering the post-scratch universe. How she got to the scratched universe, or how she got to the kids’ universe in the first place, is also a mystery, one that has unfortunately not been answered. There’s several fan theories regarding her timeline. Some speculate that she when entered the kids’ universe, the universe bifurcated due to the Scratch, leading to a separate pre-scratch and post-scratch Condesce. While it takes away the problem of how she switched human universes, it doesn’t clear up her disappearance, so I don’t really like that theory. Another theory is that she went from the trolls’ universe to the kids’ universe through the portal from Hiveswap that allows people to get sucked into alternate universes. What I like about this theory is that it elaborates on a plot mystery through external comic media, as bonus material of some sort.

pipefan413: She considered a reunion with her estranged brother, and once destined husband to be. But the days of longing for a future with him seemed to be from another lifetime. The chance had come and gone. 

The phrase “another lifetime” is really nice foreshadowing of Nanna’s post-scratch life as Jane who had romantic interest in Jake due to teen drama bullshit. There’s a lot of other such foreshadowing in this story that I never previously knew of.

pipefan413: She was content to let him live his increasingly elaborate life, while she sought a simpler one. 
pipefan413: Besides, now was not the time to revisit a destiny with an old star-crossed lover. She had recently become betrothed to a fine, upstanding gentleman. Soon, she would start a family. No, not one meant for heroism as foretold, but one that would make her happy nonetheless. 

Being “a fine, upstanding gentleman” is about all we know about Nanna’s mysterious husband. This is another mystery that could be elaborated in external media. Hussie already offered speculation regarding that in the first Homestuck book, including the idea that Nanna was married to Harry Anderson.

pipefan413: In following years, she was left to ponder all that might have been. 
pipefan413: What might have been if there had been no baroness to keep the girl and boy apart? 

Answer: a whole bunch of terrible romance drama. Once again this is foreshadowing of the alpha kids.

pipefan413: What might have been if the baroness had not disappeared, and she had the opportunity to use her secrets against her! 

As I said, she gets that opportunity once again, and thankfully she does use it to an extent by joining the fight against the Condesce.

pipefan413: For you see, the girl had uncovered so many dirty secrets about the terrible batterwitch, including the most troubling one of all. 
pipefan413: Of course no one would have believed her, but she knew. 
pipefan413: She knew the baroness was not human! :B 

And there it is, the wham line. First Betty Crocker was mentioned, now it’s revealed that she is not human. This leads to a mystery arc regarding Crocker’s true identity. Nanna’s story contains some hints that it’s the Condesce, though I don’t know how easy it is yet to jump to that conclusion.

Note that the symbol on the denizen’s lair is Dave’s Hephaestus browser icon.

In the picture above, Davesprite visiting Hephaestus’s lair is shown, but weirdly not in a Skaian cloud as one might expect in scenes that take place on Skaia. It might actually be shown in a cloud but it’s not clear the way that’s drawn. Maybe it was too hard to put the picture in a cloud while still getting a good level of detail?

DAVESPRITE: i busted into his palace 
DAVESPRITE: to finish the quest 
DAVESPRITE: i was expecting him to be asleep and was gonna figure out some way to wake him up 
DAVESPRITE: but like last time i saw him 
DAVESPRITE: he was already awake to greet me 
JADESPRITE: but i thought the denizens were supposed to be asleep? 
JADESPRITE: at least until you do the right things on your quest… 

Wait, the denizens are supposed to start off asleep? I completely forgot about that, and I kind of don’t totally understand that.

DAVESPRITE: they are 
DAVESPRITE: as sprites were programmed to know things like that about the game 
DAVESPRITE: but i guess not everything 

I was about to ask, how the hell does Jadesprite know that stuff about denizens? Then I read this bit and realized it’s because she is a sprite, and now I feel dumb.

DAVESPRITE: it seems like if you try to go fight them too soon 
DAVESPRITE: you find them awake and theyre like 
DAVESPRITE: what the fuck are you doing here already 
DAVESPRITE: which is what happened last time i saw him 
DAVESPRITE: before i became a sprite 
DAVESPRITE: and i stupidly tried to fight him which was a bad idea because hes hella strong 

How come pretty much everyone thinks the denizens are to be killed? My bet is that players are deliberately led to believe that, and realizing that they are really supposed to consult with their denizens is meant as a sort of challenge that the trolls all failed at.

DAVESPRITE: and the whole time he was raving about shit 
DAVESPRITE: about a stolen sword and missing forge 
DAVESPRITE: but i wasnt really listening 
DAVESPRITE: if i had i might have understood 
DAVESPRITE: he wasnt actually trying to kill me he was giving me the choice
JADESPRITE: what choice 
DAVESPRITE: wait i mean The Choice 
DAVESPRITE: i always forget i can talk underlined for important shit 

I give up on trying to understand how things like sprites talking underlined even works.

JADESPRITE: what did you choose? 
DAVESPRITE: i guess i made an unwitting choice 
DAVESPRITE: by deciding to flee 
DAVESPRITE: i figured he was unbeatable so i decided to get the fuck out of there 
DAVESPRITE: so i snapped a quick captcha to get his huge hammers code and then gtfo 

A long time ago Davesprite said that he got the hammer from Hephaestus but didn’t elaborate on how. This little question is answered right here.

JADESPRITE: what happened when you saw him this time? 
DAVESPRITE: like i said he was awake again 
DAVESPRITE: but this time i wasnt in any condition to fight 
DAVESPRITE: so i didnt 
DAVESPRITE: and thats what i didnt get 
DAVESPRITE: hes this terrible angry monstrous guy but theres no need to fight him 
DAVESPRITE: so he looked me up and down all hard 
DAVESPRITE: saw the broken sword 
DAVESPRITE: and like before gave me the choice 
JADESPRITE: you mean Choice! 
JADESPRITE: hehehe :p 
JADESPRITE: oops 

Did Jadesprite forget to turn off her underlined speaking which still makes no sense? If so I guess that’s the comic’s text dialogue weirdness in action.

What the hell is that SBaHJ skateboard doing there.

DAVESPRITE: he says he can repair anything 
DAVESPRITE: but only one thing 
DAVESPRITE: and i had to choose 
DAVESPRITE: so i said ok fix the sword 
JADESPRITE: as opposed to what? 
DAVESPRITE: meh 
DAVESPRITE: doesnt matter really 
DAVESPRITE: i just thought making the sword felt like the right thing 

It sounds like a pretty hard decision to pick one item for the denizen to repair, so it’s a little unusual that Davesprite just picked to fix the sword without hesitation. While Dave has this whole thing of breaking swords a lot (which he lampshades heavily), Davesprite took the opportunity to unbreak a sword, averting the recurring theme.

DAVESPRITE: so i gave him the sword 
DAVESPRITE: but it still wasnt all that simple 
DAVESPRITE: he needed lava from the forge to make it 
DAVESPRITE: which means echidna had to be awake 
DAVESPRITE: our denizens had to have some kind of truce to make it happen 
DAVESPRITE: see what i mean about it being complicated 
JADESPRITE: yeah ._. 
DAVESPRITE: so jade must have done something right 
DAVESPRITE: to wake her up and get the forge going 
DAVESPRITE: dont know what she did though 
JADESPRITE: probably something amazing 
JADESPRITE: she is still working so hard to help everyone 
JADESPRITE: i guess i used to be that way… 
JADESPRITE: but ive completely forgotten how 
DAVESPRITE: are you sure

In the scrapbook section, both Dave and Davesprite commit major acts of friendship. While Davesprite encourages Jadesprite, Dave goes beyond that by trying to save Rose’s life.

I really like the way Davesprite encourages Jadesprite to contribute to the story. While in some areas Davesprite was more active than Dave is, now he’s more of a subordinate and instead helps others do stuff. While Jadesprite’s contribution is fairly small and not noticed by others, it really has quite a crucial impact on the story events, since it’s the sword that would be later used by Dave to slice off Derse’s moon.

CG: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING NOW. 
GG: pw. 
CG: SERIOUSLY, WHY DID YOU GO BACK TO SEE HER? YOU DIDN’T MENTION THIS LAST TIME. 
GG: listen fuckass 
GG: i am going to need a password before we continue 
GG: plz ❤ 
CG: RIGHT, OK. 
CG: LET’S SEE IF I CAN REMEMBER, IT WAS PRETTY ELABORATE IF I RECALL, OK HERE GOES. 
CG: I’M A DISGUSTING WORTHLESS BILGESACK ON THE GARGANTUAN TEAT OF A LABORING, LEPROUS MUSCLEBEAST. MY SELF ESTEEM IS SO SMALL, ITS EXISTENCE IS A MATTER OF CONJECTURE AMONG THEORETICAL PHYSICISTS. I SMELL SO BAD, THE STENCH CANNOT BE EXPRESSED WITH EVEN THE MOST ELOQUENT, FLORID LANGUAGE. THE ODOR MY BODY MAKES HAS MADE POETS CRY. I HAVE WON SPECIAL AWARDS FOR DISCOVERING NEW PLACES TO TOUCH MYSELF EROTICALLY WHILE FARTING. I UNFAIRLY PULVERIZE THE COMPETITION IN ASSHOLE PAGEANTS, AND I HAVE RECEIVED A LIFETIME BAN FROM UGLY CONTESTS BY PRESIDENT SHITFACE HIMSELF. MY BLOOD IS NOT FIT TO FLOW THROUGH A SEWER, AND MY SIGN IS A PICTOGRAPHIC SYMBOL THAT LOOSELY TRANSLATES AS “PLEASE HIKE THESE PANTS UP TO THIS GUY’S ARMPITS, CHAIN HIM TO A FLOGGING JUT, AND MAKE A FUCKING EXAMPLE OUT OF THIS SORRY SACK OF SHIT.” WHEN I LOOK IN A MIRROR, MY REFLECTION SLOWLY SHAKES HIS HEAD WHILE I WET MYSELF IN SHAME. 

Finally, we get to see one of the Jade/Karkat password arguments firsthand. Amidst a completely pointless lengthy Karkat rant, we get surprisingly easy-to-miss foreshadowing of the Sufferer, bolded above for your convenience. And also another Pantskat reference which actually ties in with the fact that his ancestor wore these super long pants.

Not shown: Jade telling Karkat the real password is “IF I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH, THEN WHY DON’T I HATEMARRY MYSELF?”
Also, if you look at this picture long enough, Jade’s arms start to look like Tavros’s horns.

This image above calls back to Jade’s stuffed dream self (once again, still creepy as hell) getting thrown into her sprite. It’s kind of weird and random but whatever.

GG: i wonder if we will ever be able to start a conversation without having a ridiculous argument about the password system? 
CG: IF YOU WOULD DROP THE PASSWORD SYSTEM AND LET FUTURE ME TALK TO YOU, HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU AN ANSWER. 
CG: SPOILER: THE ANSWER WOULD BE NO, BECAUSE THE PASSWORDS ARE RETARDED. 

Correction: jumping around the timeline instead of going linear is retarded. The more I think about it, the more asinine it is to go through with the complicated time trolling shit instead of doing it linear.

GG: why would i want to do that?? 
GG: the only guy whos dumber than past karkat is future karkat, and vice versa! 
GG: i have this on good authority from both sources 
CG: I STILL THINK YOUR USE OF THE TERMS IS KIND OF ASININE, THERE REALLY IS NO PAST OR FUTURE KARKAT FROM YOUR VIEW 
CG: THERE’S KARKAT WHO KNOWS LESS STUFF AND KARKAT WHO KNOWS MORE STUFF. WHY NOT JUST GATHER THE FACTS FROM THE ONE WHO’S GOT THE LOWDOWN ALREADY? 
CG: I MEAN, I’D DO IT MYSELF, BUT I CAN’T STAND THE GUY. 
GG: you see, that is your problem 
GG: okay, one of your many, many problems… 
GG: you have no patience to do things the right way, youre always just looking for the shortcut! 
GG: even if doing so has brought you nothing but trouble a hundred times before 
GG: it is sort of funny that the only thing standing in your way is one of your other problems, your preposterous self loathing 
GG: so you cant even trust your future self to help you cheat! 
GG: its like you have so many problems, they cancel each other out 

I think it’s kind of cute how Jade and Karkat are sort of acting like each other’s therapists, just like when Karkat explained to Jade why she hates her sprite so much in their last onscreen conversation.

CG: I STILL DON’T REALLY GET IT. 
CG: WHY MY DENIZEN WAS SUCH A NIGHTMARE WHILE YOURS APPARENTLY GIVES YOU GUTTURAL PEP TALKS IN SOME BYZANTINE MONSTER LANGUAGE. 
GG: we already talked about this 
GG: echidna and i have an understanding now 😉 
CG: OOH, VAGUE BULLSHIT, IT’S THE EXACT FUCKING THING I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF. 
GG: well maybe if you werent in such a grumpy hurry all the time you wouldnt have killed your denizen so quickly 
GG: you might have actually learned something!!!!!! 
CG: HUGE UGLY MONSTERS ARE FOR KILLING, PERIOD. 

Through much of the comic, it’s shown that the trolls didn’t really understand many aspects of the game which led to their failure. Like Davesprite the first time he met his denizen, as well as pretty much all the trolls, Karkat fell for the trap of thinking that denizens are supposed to be killed. Additionally, he doesn’t seem to understand that each Sburb player can only understand their own denizen’s speak.

The topic of Karkat’s denizen is something I definitely didn’t expect to be brought up way later, after I caught up with Homestuck, when Karkat reveals that he never told anyone the truth about his denizen. The name of his denizen was never stated which is a bit of a shame because that would be a cool thing to address later on. He refers to his denizen as “such a nightmare” and a “huge ugly monster”, in contrast to his later statement that his denizen was weirdly small. Did he really lie about it this whole time?

Here’s another thought. Remember how Eridan spent all his time in the game killing angels? Well, you could say that he is so dumb that even Karkat, who misunderstood a lot of stuff about the game, knew it was a stupid thing to do.

GG: did you ever talk to kanaya about it? 
CG: I DON’T REMEMBER, MAYBE? 
CG: I’M A BUSY GUY, JADE. I TALK TO A LOT OF PEOPLE ABOUT A LOT OF STUFF, INCLUDING MYSELF. 
GG: her situation was very similar to mine 
CG: I THOUGHT SHE KILLED HER DENIZEN TO LIGHT THE FORGE OR SOMETHING 
GG: it doesnt sound like you got the whole story 
GG: or maybe you just werent listening to her :p 

Here it’s suggested that Kanaya did more with her denizen than just kill it; later it’s confirmed that she talked to her denizen, meaning she was one of the few trolls who did something right with her denizen.

CG: WELL I SURE DON’T THINK IT WAS WHATEVER YOU DID 
CG: AND IN ANY CASE I THOUGHT ALL THAT WAS OVER WITH 
CG: WHY ARE YOU BACK, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH FROG BREEDING? 
GG: this was kanayas suggestion 
CG: KANAYA’S STILL HELPING YOU? 
GG: yes! 
GG: im talking to her right now actually 
CG: OH 
CG: I SEE HER ACROSS THE ROOM, SHE’S NOT TALKING TO ANYONE ON A COMPUTER NOW. 
GG: durrr, of course not, shes from a different time than you genius 
CG: WHICH TIME 
GG: a few hours in your future! 

Karkat’s second last line here tells us that despite stupid time shit being pretty much everywhere in the comic, the characters don’t have its weirdness internalized; for Karkat it’s to the point where he makes naive misconceptions, the kind that would be made by readers early in the comic.

CG: AH, I SEE HOW IT IS. 
CG: YOU WON’T TALK TO FUTURE KARKAT UNTIL I JUMP THROUGH YOUR FUCKING PASSWORD HOOPS AND BECOME HIM EVENTUALLY 
CG: BUT YOU’LL TALK TO FUTURE KANAYA JUST LIKE THAT. DOUBLE STANDARD ANYBODY??? JADE SAYS YES PLEASE. 
GG: you are so ridiculous, i have kanaya using the same password system as you 
GG: she is just a little further ahead on my timeline is all 

Kanaya is probably also a bit less stupid about the whole password thing.

CG: I HAVE STUFF TO ATTEND TO HERE. MY TEAM IS FALLING APART. 
CG: AND I CAN’T FIND GAMZEE ANYWHERE. I’M WORRIED HE MIGHT HAVE WANDERED OFF SOMEWHERE AND GOT HURT. 
GG: aw 
GG: well… 
GG: youll find him 
CG: I THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T TELLING ME ABOUT MY FUTURE. 
GG: i know, i made an exception 
GG: but only one! 

Oh my god Jade why would you say that??? Seriously this is almost as bad as when Vriska lied that John would find his father eventually. The only explanation I can think of is that when Jade was told Karkat and Gamzee would meet again, she wasn’t told that Gamzee turned evil which doesn’t really make sense.

CG: LET’S MOVE THIS ALONG. JUST UPDATE ME ON THE FROGS, AND GIVE ME A NEW PASSWORD, OK? 
GG: kanaya thinks we should all talk about this 
GG: she says youre important to consult on the matter, but the you from her time is too busy 
CG: BUSY WITH WHAT? 
GG: :x!!!!! 
GG: she is opening a memo 

But what about the no memo policy Karkat mentioned a long time ago? I think this is probably just an exception to that.

Though it’s a bit hard to tell, the pink and green drawings from Dave’s wall are both from sports-related SBaHJ comics—fitting given that he and Rose discuss sports, by which I mean trade terrible sports metaphors.

TT: I am piloting the moon through the Furthest Ring right now. 
TT: At the moment, it’s passing through a dream bubble. I am visiting your dream in person. 
TT: Or, you are the one visiting me as I travel, in your sleep. If you’d rather look at it that way. 
TG: ok 
TG: so all those questions you asked me 
TG: getting me to remember 
TG: you were just stalling me werent you 
TG: so i wouldnt wake up and try to stop you 
TT: Not entirely. 
 

I think it’s more like Rose is protecting Dave.

TG: this sucks 
TG: could you just please turn the thing around and come back 
TT: Why? 
TT: I’m already out here. Might as well go through with it. 
TG: we agreed id do it though 
TG: or at least you pretended to agree 
TG: just before going into a major league wind up with your nap yarn 
TT: A major league wind up? 
TG: sports 
TT: It’s always been pretty sad that I seem to know more about sports than you. Which is really saying something. 

It’s good that Hussie didn’t choose to mention sports among Dave’s interests, because it would be hard to make this funny joke otherwise. It’s probably even more funny to people who actually know stuff about sports, i.e. people who are not me.

TG: but instead of winning the gold sports prize you just fucking die and nobody cares and it didnt mean anything 
TT: Which prize is that? 
TG: the football prize 
TT: You mean the most vaunted accolade associated with the gridiron, known as “Stanley’s Cup?” 
TG: no come on 
TG: its called the bruce bombardi trophy or something 
TG: for best pile squad 

I decided to look up the two sports awards mentioned above; turns out that neither one actually exists, which is a bit surprising because like I said I, too, know pretty much nothing about sports. Stanley’s Cup is actually an episode of South Park, although there is also the Stanley Cup which is some hockey award. The Bruce Bombardi Trophy is completely made up, and there isn’t even a famous person by that name. (EDIT: A commenter told me it’s a misspelling of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. See what I mean by knowing embarrassingly little about sports?)

TG: and even though youre dead all these fat millionaires in helmets just leap on your corpse anyway and pile up and i mean WAY up 

Now here’s a sports misconception I actually know about. Football players look fat but they’re actually really muscular; I only know this from reading Vocabulary Cartoons.

TT: How high do they even have to be? 
TG: the sport pile doesnt stop from getting taller 
TT: Does the officiator have a means of measurement on hand? 
TT: I wouldn’t want to be crushed by a nonregulation sport pile. 

In the last two bits I quoted above, Dave is referencing this SBaHJ comic to add on to his pile of sports metaphors. I wonder if in that comic, he pretended to be ironically pretending not to understand sports when in reality he truly doesn’t understand sports.

TT: I forget what we were doing exactly. 
TT: Were we pursuing the hackneyed debate over who has the best claim to self sacrifice, 
TT: Or seeing who can out-dumbass the other with obtuse sports lingo? 

I think trying to out-dumbass each other with terrible sports metaphors is sort of a symbol for another competition of sorts between Dave and Rose; seeing who can do a better job of saving the other’s life. I think Dave wins that competition as shown a bit later.

TG: how do i wake back up 
TT: I guess I could wake back you up, if you really want. 

TG: ok then do it 
TT: But you have to promise to stay put. 
TT: Don’t try to stop me. Just let it go. 
TG: but this was my mission 
TT: It really makes no sense for you to go. This was never your preoccupation. 
TT: They selected me a long time ago. 
TG: that doesnt make sense 
TG: why would they drag me into it just to have me make a map and then let you ditch me 
TG: theyve obviously been gunning for me too 
TT: Yes, they helped you chart a path through the Ring. And they will open that path for a pilot they have marked. 
TT: I believe I fit the description. I’m not sure about you. 
TG: why do you think that 
TT: I am the pilot. That’s all there is to say on the matter. 
TG: but i dont want you to die 

Man, this conversation went from hilarious to emotional really quick. While Rose thinks she is the only one fit for the mission, Dave’s reason for joining her is simply because he doesn’t want her to die.

I don’t think Rose knows at this point that there’s a second quest bed right in the core of the moon. If Doc Scratch told her that, Dave probably would have been less worried about her dying and thus probably wouldn’t come with her on the mission, ultimately leading to only Rose traveling with the trolls on the meteor and Dave joining John and Jade. That wouldn’t work out because joining Rose is the only reason Dave was able to reach god tier.

After debating whether Dave should be woken up, this guy comes in before they can decide:

 Also note that Rose has a sprite mode pose that calls back to the early acts.

In a way, DD interrupting Dave and Rose is a lot more scary than it would be if Jack showed up, because while Jack has shown up out of nowhere many times, DD has gotten far less screen time and therefore him showing up is a lot more surprising.

In the image above, the drawing to the right of Dave’s window changed from stuff from sports comics to “are you next?” Apparently that writing can shift to pretty much anything through probably some goofy magic powers. This provides an interesting hard-to-catch hint about SBaHJ and how it relates to Dave’s subconscious.

TG: whos this douche dag 
TG: i mean bag 
TG: im stuttering this dude is making me nervous 

Dave just gave us a new alternate name for DD—the Douche Dag—that matches with the pattern of carapacians having multiple names that all have the same acronym.

I like how Dave’s dream projection apparently dying is only shown for a second before he wakes up fine. This matches well with the sudden feeling of Dave getting killed in his dream then waking up unharmed, a feeling that couldn’t be done if we were to have there be a panel that consists solely of DD killing Dave’s dream ghost.

Rose just got a callback to the early acts, now Dave gets one too. There were some panels in Act 2 (example) where Dave slowly looks in a certain direction; those always irk me for some reason, maybe because I always expect there to be some kind of jumpscare when there is none, or because such slow motions just feel weird. Now Dave is doing the same weird thing he did back then.

Finally, Dave breaks the promise that he’d join John and Jade if Rose wakes him up in an act of heroism: flying away from Derse to join Rose in the hopes that he can save her.

Here’s a really interesting thing the comic is doing. Instead of having Jack and CD’s conversation shown as transcribed dialogue (not allowed with carapacians) or with narration (can’t do because Doc Scratch is busy), it does something completely different: have what they say summarized in speech bubbles with a mix of words and pictures, as is also shown below.

Comparing these two images above, you can see through the semi-visual dialogue the differences between CD and Jack. This format of dialogue, which has also been used to an extent in the previous scrapbook scenes following this storyline, isn’t used much again until we get to the fake character selection screens in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 which do a lot of that stuff, showing what all the groups of characters are doing through funny thought and speech bubbles.

There’s the stock ring graphic yet again.

I totally forgot WV still has the white queen’s ring CD just mentioned.

Here’s another really interesting thing. Jack blows up the ship, which ordinarily would make readers worry that WV got killed if not for the foregone conclusion that he ends up exiled to Earth.

EB: i remember now. 
EB: i was tricked by a troll into flying up to the last gate, using this rocket pack. 
EB: she said i could take a shortcut and go kill my denizen while he was sleeping. 
EB: it… 
EB: did not quite work out that way. 
AG: This sounds like Terezi’s handiwork. 
EB: i don’t know. she didn’t tell me her name. 
EB: she was a blind troll. she made me this incredibly shitty map for me to follow! 
AG: Yep. That’s her. 
AG: I guess she got 8oth of us then. Un8elieva8le. 
EB: she tricked you too? 
AG: Yes. 
AG: Well, not tricked, so much as made a pointless coin flip and sta88ed me in the 8ack. 
EB: wow. that’s pretty cold blooded! 
AG: Oh, sure. She was easily the most underhanded and villainous mem8er of our group. 

Vriska here does a pretty good job of convincing John that Terezi is insane and evil, completely ignoring that she herself has done much more villainous things.

AG: 8ut I did let my guard down. And even when she sta88ed me, I sure didn’t think I was going to die. 
EB: why not? 
AG: It turns out immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to 8e. Let’s leave it at that. 

I wonder whether Vriska thought she ended up dying a heroic death, or a just death. Or maybe she thought the god tier immortality system is just a complete ripoff? Who even knows.

AG: Haha. I guess in her own sick way, she actually set us up on this d8 together. 
AG: May8e I should thank her whenever she falls asleep? Or dies, god for8id. 

Possibly foreshadowing of this version of Vriska meeting at long last with the Game Over version of Terezi.

AG: I still can’t 8elieve I’m meeting a version of you that doesn’t remem8er a thing a8out me. None of my gr8 exploits, or any of the ways I helped you. Only that one stupid time I taunted you! 
AG: It’s a vaguely frustr8ing feeling. 
EB: sorry… not sure what to tell you! 
AG: So you remem8er literally nothing I told you a8out myself? Not even the, uh…….. 
AG: Compromising stuff? 
EB: well, you did just show me around your planet. which was really cool! 
EB: … there’s compromising stuff? 
AG: Your species would think so. 8ut I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. 
EB: i guess not. 

Given that Vriska later said that it didn’t work out with her and doomed John, I can’t imagine this version of John didn’t end up a little scared by learning about the “compromising stuff” she mentioned; maybe that’s why they broke up.

EB: you said the name of the blind troll who killed us, but you have not told me yours yet. 
AG: I haven’t? 
EB: no. 
AG: …….. 
AG: It’s Vriska. 

Here’s another one of those bits of subtle character development. When John first asked Vriska her name, she refused to tell him and was very pissed off when he figured it out. Now, however, after a bit of pause she tells him her name.

EB: nice to meet you, vriska. 
EB: i am john! even though you know that. 
AG: Yes. 
EB: so now what do we do? aside from be dead for probably ever. 

John thinks that he and Vriska will only probably be dead forever; once again this demonstrates his optimism and refusal to accept gloomy fates.

There’s a few cool things going on in this picture above, and I’ll go over them from top to bottom. First off, once again there are horrorterrors in the background. While we have already seen the top half of the picture a few times, only now are we getting into what’s below the lair, leading to a weird perspective view. You can see the Typheus browser icon above John and Vriska’s silhouettes, making this the second instance of denizen lairs featuring browser icons.

EB: well, like i said, i flew up to the last gate. like this. 
EB: oh, nice boots! 
AG: ::::D 
EB: it brought me inside the palace. 
EB: it was huge, and it took a long time to explore. it was eerily empty too. 
EB: i had that weird feeling of getting to a place in a video game you are not supposed to be yet, because you don’t have the right powerups and such.
EB: you know what i mean? 

Here, John directly compares his situation to a video game, as I’ve done many times now. This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence that John sees this whole adventure in terms of a video game, which isn’t quite as true for the other kids. John’s mention of getting to a place in a video game you are not supposed to be yet implies that he probably played a lot of glitchy thrown-together games but liked them anyway, which is very much in his Egbertian spirit.

Note the Chekhov’s piano.

AG: What’s this? 
EB: i found it very deep in the palace dungeon. i was wandering for hours, following a horrible sound through the pipes. 
EB: i could tell typheus was really close, because it was very loud here. it could only be the sound of him sleeping. 
EB: i was so tempted to play it, but i didn’t dare risk waking him up! 
EB: pretty much by then i was sweating bullets at the thought of confronting him. 
AG: You were right to 8e nervous. Denizens are incredi8ly powerful monsters. You had no chance whatsoever at this stage of the game. 
AG: You might have stood a chance after I started helping you. 8ut Terezi really screwed you over 8y leading you here so early. 
EB: yeah… 
EB: i guess if i ever see her, i should thank her too. 
AG: Why? 
EB: because this was important. 
AG: What was? Getting killed 8y a monster? 
EB: well, yes. but not just that. 
EB: the whole ruse was important! 
EB: if i didn’t make the decision to go, then dave would not be able to go back in time and fix things. 
EB: in fact, if i didn’t die here in this palace, we never would have been born in the first place! 

John implies that there was something wrong with the timeline he came from, and it is not his death. At a glance, it may seem hard to understand why Dave had to fix things if John’s death wasn’t accidental. I think the most likely reason something was wrong with the timeline is because Cal was prototyped into Dave’s sprite instead of future Dave, (1) breaking the puppet’s stable time loop and thus Lord English’s as well, and (2) rendering all the stuff Davesprite did impossible.

AG: This denizen does not look asleep to me. 
EB: nooope. 
EB: he was wide awake when i found him. i practically crapped my pants! 

John and Vriska are clearly taking a look at the memory of Typheus, but we don’t actually get to see him. It’ll still be another two thousand pages till we get to see a denizen in person (namely Yaldabaoth, and later Typheus and Echidna), and four thousand pages until we get to see a denizen’s face (once again Yaldabaoth, whose face looks like DMK from Problem Sleuth for some reason). At this point, for some reason it’s a rule that all denizen stuff has to happen offscreen. I have no idea why that is, other than maybe to drive mysteries of what denizens look like.

AG: Well, that explains your quick death. If your denizen was anything like mine, it wouldn’t have wasted much time 8efore unleashing a huge shitstorm of devast8ing monster magic. 
EB: what was your denizen like? 
AG: Her name was Cetus. 
AG: She was this awful sea monster. Her lair was deep underground amidst a 8unch of shipwrecks. She was quite vicious and territorial. I knew I had to kill her quickly to release the hoard, 8efore she had the chance to do anything tricky. 
EB: what do you mean, tricky? 
EB: did she talk to you? 
AG: Oh, of course. She was 8a88ling in riddles through most of the fight. I wasn’t paying much attention though. I mean, what creature DOESN’T speak in 8oring riddles in this game? 
EB: so, is that what you all did? 
EB: kill your denizens as fast as possible, without listening to them? 

Though Vriska has typically done everything a lot more worse or messed up than the other trolls, she and Karkat are no different in the way they thought denizens were supposed to be dealt with, as are presumably most of the other trolls.

AG: Yeah, pretty much. We were all pretty good players, remem8er? 
EB: yes, so i’ve heard. 

More like they were all pretty bad players. Like I said, I’m pretty sure denizens actually aren’t supposed to be killed but players are deliberately led to believe that.

AG: Well…….. 
AG: Ok, I can’t exactly speak for everyone. There was a lot going on, and I don’t know how some people went a8out 8eating their denizens. 
AG: For instance, I’m not sure how our hero of 8reath did it. May8e the monster just released the hoard for him out of pity???????? 

There it is again: Vriska referring to Tavros as “our hero of breath”, presumably so she won’t have to explain who he is.

EB: maybe he just talked to his denizen? 
AG: If there was a way to avoid a tough 8attle, I’m sure he found it. 
AG: It sounds like a good way to cheat yourself out of a lot of sweet xp and loot though. 

Here it’s suggested that Tavros might have talked to his denizen (likely Typheus because there are some cases of players with the same aspect having the same denizen) rather than fighting it. Like Kanaya, he might have actually done something right unlike most of the trolls. If he did indeed talk to his denizen, then that may mean that Tavros, who can be very stupid at times, did something right that most others didn’t do.

EB: i dunno. you might be surprised! 
AG: John, are you saying you had a nice friendly chat with this hideous, 8loodthirsty creature 8efore he killed you? 
EB: yes! 
EB: typheus may not be pretty to look at… 
EB: but he is not a bad guy at all!

Maybe Vriska only thought her denizen was evil because of her appearance? I think John’s statement that his denizen is not as evil as he looks supports the idea that players are deliberately misled to think denizens are meant to be killed.

Finished with the third selection screen, on to the fourth.

I’ll do this selection screen counterclockwise from Doc Scratch.

This selection is a bit of an oddity because it focuses on Doc Scratch and is more or less shown to us in the style of his scenes in his section of Homestuck; the last page is accompanied with him saying “Oh shut up.” I’m not totally sure why a scrapbook scene would be presented to us in Doc Scratch’s narration rather than regular comic style in his website scheme. Maybe in this case it’s more stylistic than anything.

Even after trimming a lot of stuff, there wasn’t room to put these two characters in my post labels.
WORDPRESS EDIT: There is now.

This selection is even more of an oddity because it’s the continuation of a conversation from forever ago and only has subtle relevance to the comic’s storyline. Way back in the trolls’ arc, Tavros and Gamzee had a conversation that ended with them proceeding to have an unshown terrible rap-off. Now, way after Gamzee turns evil and Tavros is killed, we finally get to see that rap-off.

Gamzee’s rap lines are as follows:

TC: If mOtHeRfUcKiN MaGiC’S AlL We’vE EvEr kNoWn aT 
TC: ThEn iT’S EaSy tO Be mIsSiN WhAt bE FuCkIn tHe hApS 
TC: BuT I’M AlL ScOpIn aT MiRaClEs tHaT ArE Up iN ThE AiR 
TC: GoT My sEe oN Of mIrAcLeS, tHeY’Re hErE AnD ThEy’rE ThErE 
TC: I Be cHeCkIn tHe mIrAcLeS WhIlE FaLlInG DoWn sTaIrS 
TC: SeEn tHe sHiT OuT A MiRaClEs tHaT ArE AlL BeInG Up aT BaSiCaLlY PrEtTy mUcH EvErYwHeRe, FuCk… 
TC: OcEaNs oF FaYgO FuCkIn gLiTtEr lIkE SpAcE 
TC: A FiSt fUlL Of sTaRdUsT’S WhAt’s pOoFiN My fAcE 
TC: A MiLlIoN HoRnS HoNkIn rAcKeTs iN PiLeS 
TC: A OnE WhEeL DeViCe wHaT CaN RoCkEt iN StYlE 
TC: Is sHiT ThAt wHaT I WiSh fOr 
TC: BeCaUsE… (MoThErFuCkIn cHoRuS BrO) 
TC: I’M AlL A FiRm bElIeVeR At tHe mIrAcLeS 
TC: Do yOu hAvE TiMe fOr mY MiRaClEs, BrOtHeR :o) 
TC: Do yOu gEt yOuR NoTiCe oN Of tHe mIrAcLeS 
TC: So mAnY FuCkIn mIrAcLeS, tHe mAgIc mOtHeRfUcKiN MiRaClEs 
TC: HoNk. 

TC: PuRe mAgIc iS AlL WhEn tHeRe bE HaTcHiN Of gRuBs 
TC: I’Ve sEeN ShIt tHaT WoUlD ShOcK YoUr lOoKsTuBs 
TC: I PeEpEd oN A PlAcE Of 6 tRiLlIoN HeMoS 
TC: AlL Up aT OnE RoCk, BlEeDiNg aS EqUaLs 
TC: It’s eAsY To sEe iF YoU SeArCh aLl yOuR FeElInS 
TC: ThAt pEaCe hApPeNs fIrSt, AnD MuRdEr’s tHe sEqUeL 
TC: It’s tHe bEaUtY Of tHe cArNiVaL, tHe mAgIc’s iN TeNtS 
TC: FuCkIn dArKnEsS OuTsIdE, bUt tHe lIgHt mAkEs yOu wInCe 
TC: JuSt tAkE My mOtHeR FuCkIn hAnD BrO 
TC: PuT On yOuR ShAdEs, PuLl bAcK ThE FlAp 
TC: AnD GeT OfFa tHoSe wHeElS!!! 

These lines are very similar to those from ICP’s song Miracles, the same one that Dave sent Gamzee and inadvertently caused his crisis of faith. The lines are so similar that it’s a safe bet that in Homestuck’s universe, the rappers in fact ripped their song from Gamzee’s rap above; presumably that holds true for all their other songs as well. One of Gamzee’s lines, once again bolded for your convenience, seems to be foreshadowing of the differences between Beforus and Alternia.

Tavros’s lines are as follows:

AT: yOU BROUGHT UP A PAN, uH, 
AT: iN THAT LAST sTAN, zA 
AT: bUT THE ONE i’M A FAN, oF 
AT: iS THE PAN HANDLED PUP, a, 

AT: yES, sHIT, iS A LEGIT, 
AT: tHING TO SAY ABOUT IT, 
AT: aBOUT THE PAN WITH THE MANGRIT, 
AT: oN WHOM i NOW SLAM IT, 

AT: yOU CAN’T HANDLE MY SLAMS, 
AT: wELL, uNLESS WHEN YOU CAN, 
AT: iN WHICH CASE, tHAT’S COOL, uH 
AT: i JUST SERVE UP THE HOOPLA, 
AT: tO GOAT NOSES, tHAT ARE HOOPLESS, }:o) 
AT: aBOUT THE PAN, wHO’S CALLED PUPA, 
AT: iN THE CASE YOU WERE CLUELESS, 
AT: aBOUT THE PAN WHO CAN MAN, uP, 
AT: aND IS ABLE TO STAND, uP, 
AT: oN LEGS uNLIKE MINE, wHICH, 
AT: aRE FUNCTIONALLY USELESS, 

AT: tHE ONLY THING MORE FLY THAN THE RHYMES, 
AT: i’M SAYING TO EXPRESS ALL MY MALICES, 
AT: iS THE ABILITY HE HAD i WISH WAS MINE, 
AT: iNSTEAD OF i GUESS, THIS EXCESSIVE PARALYSIS, 

AT: bUT HIGH, iN THIS CASE, hAS DOUBLE THE MEANING, 
AT: iT MEANS HE CAN FLY, pLUS DOES HIGH SELF ESTEEMING, 
AT: tHAT’S TWO THINGS HE HAS, tHAT i’D RATHER WERE MINE, 
AT: hIS TWO FLAPPY WINGS, aND hIS BIG HEALTHY SPINE, 
AT: oOPS, 
AT: tHAT’S THREE THINGS,,, 

Unlike Gamzee’s lines I can’t make out much meaning from these. I think Tavros is just trying to do some kind of stream of consciousness rap because he is so bad at it? Gamzee compliments him along the way for reasons that will soon be made clear.

Gamzee and Tavros also mention in passing some random aspects of troll culture, like laughsassins and culling drones. Later on Doc Scratch will elaborate on the history of trolls with the stories of the ancestors not covered in Mindfang’s journal so I guess this is some kind of prequel to that, with some hard-to-catch mentions of troll things not brought up much later?

AT: i THINK i’M IN THE PROCESS OF RELEASING AT LEAST ONE TEAR, 
TC: Me tOo, BrO, yOu mOtHeR FuCkIn kNoW ThErE Be sOmE Of mY EyE’s RoYaL JeLlY To gO WiTh yOuR EmOtIoNaL pEaNuT BuTtEr. 
AT: wHOA, aHA, hA, 
TC: ThIs iS BeAuTiFuL, dUdE, i fEeL So aT ChIlL WiTh yOu. 
AT: yEAH, fRIENDLINESS WITH YOU IS, pRETTY MUCH ALWAYS NICE, aND FUN TO HAVE, 
TC: HeY… 
TC: WhEn wE Up aNd sTaRt tO KiCk aT ThIs rEd TeAm NoIsE, 
TC: YoU ShOuLd mAkE YoUr wAy tO GeT YoUr hAnG On aT My hIvE. 
AT: oH, yES, tOTALLY, 
TC: We cOuLd sPlIt a tIn oF ThE PiMpEsT SnEeZe i gOt oN HaNd, BaKeD Up aLl sPeCiAl fOr yOu. 
TC: AnD ThEn mAyBe mAkE OuT A LiTtLe. 
AT: uH, 
TC: ;o) 
AT: , 
AT: ,, 

Here it’s shown out of nowhere that Gamzee apparently had romantic feelings for Tavros, which is not only completely out-of-nowhere (like the ship people always debate about), but is also hardly brought up again. It is referenced again a few times but not in contexts where it’s at all relevant.

AT: ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tavros’s reaction to Gamzee hitting on him mirrors the reader’s reaction—one may think, “was Gamzee really attracted to Tavros?” or “why the hell is that even a thing?” I think this might just be mostly a big lipped alligator moment, a bizarre scene that’s just kind of there.

In this image, the frogs come in many different colors, which may represent that Jade and company have done a lot of experimenting on genes to breed the right frog.

Also, since her room was destroyed, the return node she hopped into took her to the next best place: the grand foyer.

PCG: OH GOD, HE’S STILL FOLLOWING YOU? 
PCG: THAT IS SO MESSED UP. 
?GG: yeah… 
?GG: its ok though. as long as he is tailing me like a lost puppy, at least hes not killing anybody 
PCG: DON’T TRUST HIM JADE, I’M TELLING YOU. HE IS A STAB HAPPY PLANET EXPLODING ASSHOLE. 
PCG: REMEMBER WHAT HE DID TO DAVE? IT WAS LIKE THIS WHOLE EPISODE, YOU HAD A HYSTERICAL EPISODE ABOUT IT, REMEMBER? 
?GG: i remember the episode!!! 

Here’s a fanmade rendition of said episode.

?GG: but hes ok now 
?GG: and im kind of starting to think that was just his way of saying hi 

Why would Jade even think such a thing?? Karkat thinking stabbing is merely the way Jack greets people is understandable, but for Jade it doesn’t even remotely make sense. It’s ten times worse than John saying it was kind of cute that Bec doomed everyone by prototyping himself just to protect Jade. By the way, here’s something Jade has in common with Karkat, her patron troll: they are both strongly connected to their versions of Jack.

?GG: my dog used to fetch my bullets too! 
?GG: i really think he believes he is my dog, on some level 
PCG: JUST DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM, JADE. 
PCG: DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON THE PUPPY. 

Well, now you know pretty much exactly what’s going to happen later on. Jade will turn her back on the puppy, but not in the way one may expect. When she dies, Jack flips out and starts wrecking shit.

Yet another reference to Betty Crocker in the newspaper headline.

Sorry Jack, but there’s not enough room in the post labels for you either.
WORDPRESS EDIT: There is now. God damn does it feel good not having a character limit for past labels.

PCG: HE REALLY SEEMS TO HATE FROGS. 
?GG: yeah… 
?GG: the poor froggies 😦 
PCG: MY JACK HAD THIS IRRATIONAL THING AGAINST FROGS TOO. 
PCG: I MEAN MY NORMAL JACK. NOT PSYCHOPATH OMNIPOJACK. 

A major idea you can gather from what Karkat says here is that alliance with Jack Noir isn’t a thing that normally happens. That’s already kind of obvious, given that he is the archagent of Derse and all that, but their ally having an irrational thing against frogs really emphasizes that it’s a very odd case.

This also gives me some thoughts about Jack’s typical role in Sburb sessions. His usual role is clear: he is the archagent of Derse and thus an obvious bad guy. But all four versions of him featured in the comic have completely broken the typical “rules” of the game. My theory is that Jack is deliberately programmed to be a wild card character, a rebellious agent who is never afraid to break the common practices, in contrast to figures such as the Black Queen as discussed here.

FGA: Derse Agents Are Heavily Predisposed Toward The Murder And Desecration Of Amphibious Lifeforms And Their Iconography Respectively 
FGA: Frequently I Had To Thwart Assassination Attempts From Their Kingdom 
FGA: Or Extermination Attempts Is Probably Better To Say 

Unlike pretty much everything any version of Jack has done, I imagine frog assassination or extermination attempts are a regular thing in Sburb sessions, one of the many challenges players typically face.

?GG: youre probably right, they really seem to drive him crazy 
?GG: this is not the first time i have had to reprimand him 
PCG: WAIT, DID HE FOLLOW YOU INTO THE PALACE TOO JUST NOW? 
PCG: IS THAT WHO YOU WERE YELLING AT? 
?GG: he was growling at echidna and i had to tell him he was being very bad
?GG: he destroyed some of her really nice statues too 

Why does Karkat seem to not know anything about Jade’s meeting with Echidna? It’s almost like it’s blacked out of Trollian’s viewport, which wouldn’t really make sense. Maybe it’s mostly because Karkat never understood the true purpose of denizens.

I forgot to mention back in Act 3 that the way the stairs in Jade’s house are drawn always confused me.

I like how Jade’s whole house has basically been turned into a frog breeding facility.

PCG: AND WHAT WERE YOU EVEN DOING THERE AGAIN, YOU STILL HAVEN’T TOLD ME. 
?GG: huh? 
PCG: THE PALACE.

FGA: I Recommended She Return To Her Denizen For Advice 
PCG: ABOUT WHAT 
FGA: The Location Of The Final Frog Required To Complete The Gene Sequence 
FGA: One Whose Song Should Remove The Last Traces Of Dissonance From The Waveform 

Wait, what? What waveform is she talking about? My guess is that she is referring to the Vast Croak, which is obviously kind of weird but whatever. With that in mind it might make sense that Dave assisted Jade with frog breeding because he likes mixing beats and thus would have experience with that sort of stuff.

PCG: OH YEAH 
PCG: YOU WERE SEARCHING FOR WEEKS 
FGA: Yes 
PCG: AND YOU NEVER FOUND IT 
FGA: I Had A Good Lead 
FGA: But You Decided There Was Not Enough Time Left To Bother With It 
PCG: THE RECKONING HAD STARTED. 
PCG: WE HAD TO KILL THE KING. 
FGA: Understood But This Was A Matter That Really Did Require Your Attention 
PCG: YEAH I KNOW, BUT MAYBE I WAS SICK TO FUCKING DEATH OF MUDDLING AROUND WITH FROGS AND THEIR CACOPHONOUS GODDAMN RIBBITS AND MIXING THEIR SLIME AND SHIT. 
 

Karkat says that he decided to give up on finding the final frog because the Reckoning had started. The weird thing about that is, the Reckoning occurs after the black kingdom defeats the white kingdom in the game of chess, which seems to be a predestined event. This must mean that the final frog was predestined to never be found, thus forcibly rendering the kids’ universe cancerous as discussed later. It sucks that Karkat thinks he is at fault for all that stuff.

PCG: I’M NOT AN ECTO SCIENTIST NO MATTER HOW MANY GRUBS WHO TURNED OUT TO BE US THE GAME MADE ME ACCIDENTALLY MAKE. 
?GG: but you are a programmer arent you? that is at least kind of like being a scientist, having some technical savvy… 
PCG: I WAS A SHITTY PROGRAMMER. AND ANYWAY I ONLY PROGRAMMED VIRUSES. 
PCG: SHITTY VIRUSES. 

Just as the comic sometimes references the kids’ interests that aren’t particularly relevant, here it’s referencing one of the trolls’ interests, namely Karkat’s lack of skill in programming.

Why is Jack’s head in the bottom left corner now a silhouette? Is it because he’s facing backwards?

Yep, that’s a waveform alright. Presumably it is indeed the one needed for the Vast Croak. Either that or it’s a DNA sequence.

PCG: WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE, ARE YOU GIVING ME SOME ASSURANCE THAT THINGS WILL WORK OUT? 
PCG: BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I DON’T KNOW WHERE THE HELL ANYBODY IS. 
FGA: The Future 
FGA: Um 
FGA: Okay Im A Vampire Now Apparently If That Helps 
PCG: WHAT THE FUCK IS A VAMPIRE 
?GG: shhhhhhhshhhshhshshsh….. 
?GG: SHOOSH 
?GG: no future talk!!! lets stay on topic 

I find it interesting how even though the trolls always saw themselves as superior to their kids, Jade here is pretty much acting like their boss.

PCG: OH MY GOD WHY CAN’T I GET A STRAIGHT FUCKING ANSWER TO A THING, IT’S A SIMPLE QUESTION 
?GG: kanaya means she is a very pretty girl with pointy fangs who has a bright sunny complexion and wears fancy dresses 
PCG: THANKS, THAT CLEARED EVERYTHING JUST RIGHT THE HELL UP! 
?GG: and… 
?GG: she drinks blood >_> 
PCG: OH 
PCG: YOU MEAN A RAINBOW DRINKER 
PCG: YEAH, I ALREADY KNOW ABOUT HER TRASHY NOVEL FANTASIES. 
PCG: ARE WE DONE SHITTING AROUND 
FGA: They Arent Trashy 
?GG: hee hee 

There’s another reference to the trolls’ interests: Kanaya’s interest in vampire novels. Karkat saying that he thinks Kanaya being a vampire is just a dumb trashy fantasy mirrors how some readers probably thought it would be dumb for Kanaya to actually be a vampire.

PCG: YES, HILARIOUS. 
PCG: I GUESS I HAVE NO CHOICE TO BELIEVE YOU BECAUSE SKEPTICISM IN THIS SITUATION IS FOR IDIOTS RIGHT? 
PCG: IF I SAID “YEAH RIGHT! IF THERE’S A DRINKER IN THIS HIVE I’LL EAT MY COCOON!” I’D BE LIKE THE DUMB LUSUS IN THE MOVIE WHO DOESN’T BELIEVE THE KID WHEN HE TELLS IT THERE’S A RAINBOW DRINKER IN THE CLOSET. 
PCG: SO I GUESS BY REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY I SHOULD NOT BE THAT DUMBASS, YELL “OH FUCK”, AND TELL EVERYONE TO GET IN THE SCUTTLEBUGGY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. 
PCG: WELL FAT CHANCE, I’M NOT FALLING FOR IT. 

Karkat’s lines call back to what Dave said a long time ago about how it’s dumb and clichéd to be skeptical when someone claims that there’s monsters or whatever (yet another thing I glossed over). Here’s a comparison between those two things. Karkat and Dave both talk about going against what movies tell them, but while Dave directly goes against it, Karkat goes against it via reverse psychology and thus falls into the trap of doing the exact skeptical nonsense that happens in movies.

These images are a throwback to the parts of Act 3 where the actions of Jade’s dreambot are shown alongside her dream self’s actions, but with two major differences. First, the panels featuring the “real” world are with Jade herself, not her dreambot. Second, the art is drawn in a style that was hardly used at all until Act 4.

PCG: DID ECHIDNA TELL YOU WHERE TO FIND THIS FROG? 
?GG: not exactly… 
?GG: she just helped me remember 
PCG: REMEMBER WHAT? 
?GG: something from my past 
?GG: if i accepted her terms 

Unlocking a forgotten early childhood memory seems like a supernatural ability but if you have a vast hoard of knowledge, as all the denizens do, it really isn’t. There’s plenty of times where certain experiences have brought back memories I had forgotten for years. Now if it was a memory from when Jade was a baby that would be supernatural because nobody remembers stuff that happened at that age.

FGA: What Were Her Terms You Never Did Tell Me 
?GG: yeah because you never told me yours!!! 
FGA: Oh 
FGA: I Just Thought It Wasnt That Important Or Interesting 
FGA: Since Karkat Thought The Battle Was More Pressing Than To Wait For Me To Locate Another Frog 
FGA: Also 
FGA: What She Asked Me To Do Was Impossible 
FGA: So 
FGA: Yeah 
?GG: hmm 
?GG: yeah she made me promise to do something that sounds impossible too 
?GG: except…… 
?GG: i actually agreed 😮 
?GG: i have no idea how im going to keep my side of the bargain, now that i think about it 

What exactly was that impossible thing Kanaya was asked to do? Frustratingly, it’s never elaborated on later, even when she says again that her denizen asked her to do something impossible. Even though it would be logical for the impossible demand to be the same as the seemingly impossible thing Echidna asked Jade to do, it wouldn’t make sense for escaping the Scratch with all the planets or whatever to be Kanaya’s impossible demand. Maybe it was actually something that would later happen in the B2 session?

Looks like Jade’s wearing some kind of Skaianet pajamas.

?GG: it was when i was young 
?GG: before i woke up on prospit 
?GG: i had begun sleep walking 
?GG: both on the island and on the moon 
?GG: and in my dream it was very bright 
?GG: i saw something in the light 
?GG: i couldnt tell what it was so i got closer 
?GG: but before i got there i woke up 
?GG: and found myself by the lagoon surrounding the ruins 

It’s never specified what that bright thing Jade saw was. While it’s not clear what it is, the purpose behind it is easy to guess: presumably Skaia made a bright light so that little Jade would walk to it, thus causing her sleepwalking waking self to walk to the final frog and then wake up.

Here it’s shown that the final frog was sent to young Jade. We never found out who sent it there, which is unfortunate because it was crucial to the goal of the story and thus seems like a plot thread that should be tied up.

Not shown: the final frog dying.

The dreambot Grandpa built Jade is shown to be imprinted with the Betty Crocker logo. Nanna said earlier that Grandpa inherited the company after the Condesce disappeared and integrated it into his business empire, and it’s nice that we get to see that in action with a Betty Crocker branded robot. This implies that the company was turned into a tech company which, interestingly enough, is exactly what the Condesce did with it in the scratched universe. But that also means that despite John’s prophetic hatred of Betty Crocker, the company was already part of Grandpa’s business in his universe before even his father was born.

PCG: OK GREAT, SO IT’S THERE ON THE MONITOR, PROBLEM SOLVED 
PCG: YOU JUST APPEARIFY ITS GHOST IMPRINT, MIX IT WITH YOUR CURRENT EVOLUTION’S PARADOX SLIME, SMOOTH OUT THE GENETIC WAVEFORM, TADPOLIFY BILIOUS SLICK, AND YOU’RE DONE. 
?GG: hopefully! 

So this really means Jade finished the last step of frog breeding? It seems suspiciously easy, which means something must be going on with that final frog; the apparent simplicity of adding the final frog to the mix demands an explanation for how it got there in the first place.

PCG: YOU SAID WHAT SHE ASKED WAS IMPOSSIBLE. 
?GG: it might be 
FGA: What Were Her Demands 
?GG: she said 
?GG: that if i accepted her help 
?GG: that i would have to make a promise 
?GG: that whenever we left this place 
?GG: and wherever we end up going 
?GG: she had to come 
PCG: HUH? 
?GG: not just echidna but all the denizens 
?GG: their palaces their consorts their lands… 
?GG: everything 
?GG: i have to bring them all with us 

Later, after ascending to god tier, Jade successfully fulfills that promise. It seems that Echidna asked her to do that because it’s a very important thing to do to win the game in the combined session, and since that happens after the trolls can no longer view her, there’s no way they could tell her to do that, meaning that the denizen saying so is the only way such a thing could happen.

Alright, two scrapbook scenes to go in this ridiculously long post.

Why exactly didn’t Liv Tyler escape the ship until the last second? Probably because it looks cool that way.

Note Grandpa and the foyer junk in the bottom right corner.

Turns out this is how WV got exiled, a story that it might not be clear we’re following until now. It’s interesting how his exile seems to be pretty much a complete accident, which doesn’t seem to be true for the other exiles.

AA: hey what are you doing out here! 
TA: 0ut where? 
AA: out of your bubble 
TA: oh, i dunn0. 
TA: am i not supp0sed to leave? 
AA: i just didnt think you could 
AA: i guess you must have a foot on either side 
AA: cant say im surprised! 

I can’t imagine it didn’t confuse some readers that Sollux is apparently half-dead or whatever. It’s not immediately apparent, but this scene is in fact a flash forward to after Sollux’s second death, which is actually a half-death, as indicated by how he only replaces O’s with zeros half the time.

AA: i am waiting for friends to arrive 
AA: they will need my help 
TA: what friends? 
TA: m0re ghosts? 
AA: no theyre alive 
AA: first 
AA: there will be two humans 
AA: they should be joining us any minute 

Aradia says that two humans will join the surviving trolls. The obvious guess would be Dave and Rose (which is the correct answer), but that is pretty different from what we’ve been led to believe before. Previously Karkat said that either Dave or Rose would die blowing up the Green Sun, and that all but one of the kids will meet with the trolls at the sun. Now, it seems as though things will go different, leading to yet another mystery arc: why are Rose and Dave the only two humans who will meet the trolls, according to Aradia?

TA: first? 
TA: then what? 
AA: then rest of our party 
AA: the survivors 
TA: 0h 
TA: so then, we made it 0ut here alright. 
AA: yes 
AA: well 
AA: they made it 
AA: your body will arrive with them 

Aradia mentioning Sollux’s body leads to another mystery arc: how exactly did he die (again)? It’s kind of like when Karkat implied he killed Gamzee although that’s not exactly what happens.

AA: along with the others 
AA: hey maybe we can have a funeral! 
TA: whats a funeral? 
AA: kind of like 
AA: a big corpse party 
AA: the humans could probably explain it better than me 
TA: ok, c0ol.

Comparing a funeral to a corpse party is one of the weirdest analogies trolls have come up with to understand human stuff. A corpse party isn’t something you usually hear of in day-to-day life, and for a good reason: it’s fucking creepy. This matches well with Aradia’s attitude towards death.

TA: SHIT, it’s s0 bright, how can y0u stand it here? 
AA: you can see the sun? 
TA: yeah, i can see it. 
TA: but.. 
TA: it lo0ks 2d. 

Seems like half-blind Sollux lacks depth perception, just like the one-eyed Leela from Futurama. I’m happy that although being half-dead is essentially confusing nonsense, half-blindness actually does mean something.

O_0

Half-blind Sollux has a really cool design. Just as his eyes were originally red and blue, his eyes are now white and black; in both cases, his eyes represent arc colors. It’s weird that he is heavily loaded with symbolism but is only a supporting character, as I talked about when we first met him.

Finally, I’m finished with this monstrous post. It’s over 5600 words long which is a hell of a lot of words. See you next time as we learn how juggalos destroyed the universe in a (probably) much shorter post. Also coming soon is my first Problem Sleuth commentary post.

>> Part 57: SBES Vol. 2 – A Terminally Cancerous Universe

3 thoughts on “Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 56: SBES Vol. 2 – Of Sports and Snake Monsters

  1. I knew the part about Stanley's Cup, but the Bruce Bombardi thing makes me feel really stupid. I updated the post accordingly.By the way, out of curiosity, do you frequently visit this blog or did you just come here once?

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  2. The \”Bruce Bombardi Trophy\” is a reference to the Vince Lombardi Trophy which goes to the winner of the Super Bowl. The Stanley Cup (also known as \”Lord Stanley's Cup\” so \”Stanley's Cup\” isn't as far off as it seems) is the equivalent award in pro hockey.

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