Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 1 of 2
Pages 4285-4345 (MSPA: 6185-6245)
NOTE: My next Problem Sleuth post is still in production. Stay tuned for it I guess.
The curtains closing in on a tragic explosion transition us to robotic Hussie, who completely destroys all drama with a humorous line, “One down.” I think I’m getting the hang of this black comedy thing. Though he immediately says he’s referring to the curtains, not the kids, it’s still funny regardless.
So, uh… what about all those other kids?
Oh, yeah. Those people.
Aren’t they all dead?
Hussie is a master at pretending not to really care that much about his comic. Some people think that due to many parts of the late comic being unsatisfying, after a certain point he actually did stop caring as much as he used to; if so, his lines above may be taken as an exaggeration of his future self.
Look who John is next to in this image.
As Hussie realizes there’s a few characters he hasn’t killed off, we get this image showing which characters are and aren’t dead. It has some interesting bits: Dad is dead no longer, Spades Slick and Clover are uncertain, and Jane and WV are ambiguously dead. The four uncertain characters are notable because their statuses shown above hint at new stuff happening; three of them either turn up alive or are later brought back to life (I’m not counting Clover because he’s brought back along with a bunch of definitely dead guys). Also, the uncertainty markings acknowledge that an ambiguous scene that could be interpreted as a character dying but isn’t clear doesn’t necessarily mean the character is dead, which I think is important considering that some assume that Vriska and Lord English and everyone* certainly died in Act 7. I think the scenes in that animation are deliberately left ambiguous as if there’s some kind of charm in doing that, which there isn’t but it’s not like those crazy meta theories make any more sense.
* Once someone said Aradia died even though she pretty clearly didn’t.
Back on topic, Hussie realizes he has very little time to fuck up the story and just levels up John and Jade instead.
You don’t get boondollars anymore. That shit is for babies now.
Instead, you are finally ready to have your first ACHIEVEMENT BADGE sewn on to your KIDDIE CAMPER HANDYSASH!
You each receive the badge GIFT OF GAB, enabling you to engage in simple, direct dialogue with others, without requiring any gimmicks to facilitate communication. You don’t need to type through a chat client, or talk to a sprite, or traverse through a memory in a dream bubble, or wander around in an interactive game environment, or any of that stuff.
You seriously never thought you would live to see this achievement unlocked. It almost feels like cheating. Like conversing in god mode.
Before I talk about Gift of Gab, I’d like to clear up a misconception. Unlike what many readers thought, it does not mean the characters literally were mute except in special cases until now, because that would be kind of stupid. It only means the characters could talk to each other while we watch, in handy dialoglogs.
In the early acts, face-to-face dialogue was not important for the characters. At first, the only characters they ever meet in person are their guardians, who were deliberately mysterious and automaton-like. Over time, the characters do sometimes meet in person but the story avoids having them talk to each other that way except in special cases, with excuses (narrative or not) as to why there’s no dialogue. This is made more and more obvious as the comic progresses, with characters occasionally lampshading this weird dialogue avoidance. I think this accidental-turned-intentional dialogue avoidance put the author into a trap of sorts, where he knew he wouldn’t be able to introduce regular face-to-face dialogue without making it a SUPER BIG DEAL in-story. So when such a thing finally happens, it’s enabled only after characters achieve far greater accomplishments.
When we later learn about other badges on the Kiddie Camper Handysash, it’s clear that the whole concept is satirical, since almost every badge makes fun of the comic’s weird avoidance of doing things the normal way.
JOHN: where are we?
JADE: im not sure!
JADE: some sort of limbo dimension between the two walls i guess
JADE: like a realm with unusual spatial properties we have to cross through
JOHN: oh, ok.
JOHN: we escaped the scratch?
JOHN: like, we still exist and everything?
JADE: we still totally exist john
JOHN: ok, just making sure.
JOHN: i still felt pretty existy, but you never know.
The return of the beta kids opens in exactly the best way a character returns to the story after some time absent: with a character-establishing moment of sorts, in this case an amusing John line (i still felt pretty existy, but you never know).
JOHN: i’m still kinda confused though.
JADE: about what?
JOHN: i mean, we crashed through that giant window you magically made with witch powers to escape the scratch, so we can keep existing, right?
JADE: i didnt make it with witch powers though, i captchalogued it hours ago because karkat told me to…
JADE: then at the last minute i took it out and made it huge so we could escape through it
Here’s where Jade starts to clarify stuff about what happened in Cascade, giving something of an in-story recap, more in-story than the three recaps put in self-insert interludes. Here, she clarifies that the fourth wall is in fact a Chekhov’s gun.
JOHN: i see.
JOHN: did you at least make it huge with witch powers?
JADE: i did make it huge with witch powers!
JOHN: so i guess that’s what witch powers do, is make things huge?
JADE: they also make things small
JOHN: right, like you did with all those planets.
JADE: witch powers can teleport things, and fling things around through space at very high velocities
JADE: all sorts of stuff!
JADE: but to be honest, im not sure how much of that is attributable to inheriting becs abilities…
More clarification. Interestingly, Jade’s inheritance of her dog’s powers is clarified through passing mention.
JOHN: what i’m wondering is, once we crashed through that window, weren’t we supposed to like…
JOHN: enter a new game session? the reset one?
JOHN: and meet up with karkat, and vriska, and all the trolls, and i guess maybe also a bunch of dead trolls too??? like troll ghosts or such.
JADE: yes that was the basic idea
JOHN: and what about your grandson? wasn’t he going to be there, from the future or something? and then he would send liv tyler to me, or actually to you i guess, into the past somehow?
JADE: that would be jake
JADE: and yeah, i do believe we will meet him in this session
JADE: he said he had a bunch of friends who helped him make the bunny! im pretty excited to meet them all
It’s funny reading what John said about Jade’s “grandson” given that we now know exactly what’s up with the guy. It’s easy to forget that the beta kids had misconceptions of their own regarding that stuff.
JOHN: hey, i wonder what the fuck ever happened to liv anyway?
JOHN: last i saw her, i sent her off to give the tumor to rose and dave…
John wondering what happened to Liv is perhaps meant as an implicit recap sort of thing: it’s easy to assume she was destroyed in the creation of the Green Sun, which is later confirmed in a way that makes me understand a little more why people expected answers to such things as the mystery of the frog switch.
When Jade tells John that the Derse dreamers survived, John asks how she knows that:
JOHN: how do you know they’re ok? or any of this stuff, really?
JADE: ive learned a lot in my dreams lately
JADE: heh, probably more than i ever learned looking at the clouds on prospit!
Jade’s last line here says a lot about how her character developed through Act 5. Up until then, her thing was always being mysteriously psychic, followed by being not-mysteriously psychic. Here, she dismisses that stuff as being a lot less knowledge than she thought at the time.
JADE: when i was dead there for a few minutes, i had one last very informative nap
JADE: the bottom line is, rose and dave will rendezvous with the trolls near the green sun, and then they will all meet us in the new session
I kind of want to know what happened in Jade’s informative nap. Maybe she met Aradia who knows stuff like that?
JOHN: ok, that sounds awesome.
JOHN: and that was part of the plan i guess i understood, but…
JOHN: where is this new session?
JOHN: all i see here is a bunch of giant windows, and a lot of warp speed whooshy nonsense.
JADE: its through the other wall!
JOHN: you mean that one way over there?
JOHN: so is this place like that yellow lawn ring thing karkat was talking about?
JADE: no, not lawn ring!
JADE: thats a silly troll word
JADE: its the yellow yard
JADE: we have to cross it to break through the next wall
JOHN: how is this a yellow yard?
JOHN: that’s a stupid name for this place!
JADE: see that long yellow band down there, stretching between the two walls?
JADE: i think thats supposed to be the yard
JOHN: thats not a yard.
JOHN: yards are like these flat wide patches of grass, surrounded by fences and stuff.
Here, John is lampshading how things in science fiction often have names that don’t make logical sense at a glance. Though Jade is right about the yellow band being the yard, what neither of them could ever know without more self-indulgent nonsense is that it’s actually a yard-long ruler.
JOHN: if anything, it’s more like a road.
JADE: yeah i think youre right
JADE: kinda like the yellow brick road?
JOHN: sure, why not!
JOHN: let’s all go see a big pompous wizard to solve all of our problems.
JOHN: i bet rose would get a kick out of that.
Through John making observational remarks about the place he’s in, the story directly reveals a parallel to the Wizard of Oz that may or may not have always been intentional.
It’s a little weird that Jade’s aspect symbol is rendered the “default” way but John’s isn’t.
JOHN: the fuck…
JOHN: is that?
JADE: i have no idea
JADE: extra dimensional shenanigan based phenomena perhaps?????
This is a live demonstration of the author’s ultimate failure to provide more than a smidgen of influence on the area where he allowed himself to do so. He didn’t end up directly doing anything more than confuse the kids.
The new dark background looks really cool. It makes the trip look a lot more like an interstellar journey.
JOHN: wait, what just happened?
JADE: i dont know!
JOHN: it got darker, and greener…
JOHN: this place is weird. when are we gonna bust through the other window, anyway?
JOHN: i’m kind of antsy to get on with our adventure and meet up with everybody!
John’s statement about being antsy to continue his adventure is kind of depressing in retrospect knowing that…
JADE: i would say
JADE: if i keep our speed constant…
JADE: we should arrive in about three years
Before I discuss the narrative choice of giving the characters a three in-story year pause from their adventure, I’d like to say that Jade’s estimate of the time it’ll take them to get to the new session is another occasional demonstration of her knowledge of science, something we don’t see in action much with her, but definitely with her B2 self as we have already learned by now.
I think the choice of giving the kids three years to travel to the new session is meant largely as an opportunity for character development, providing a lot of in-story time to flesh out the characters without concluding their story. Ever since Act 5, Homestuck has been a heavily character-focused story. Though some people resent the shift away from simple video game satire, you have to understand that Homestuck was meant as an actual story from the start.
Up next, when John asks why Jade just can’t teleport the ship to the new session, she gives an exposition about first guardian powers that really gets me thinking. I’ll quote the exposition entirely and then comment on it.
JADE: the way i understand it is…
JADE: becs powers draw from the green sun
JADE: and the green sun presides over our universe
JADE: many universes actually! and the sessions that created them, as well as the sessions created within them
JADE: including the trolls universe and their session
JADE: think of it like a giant solar system, but instead of planets revolving around the sun, there are many universes
JOHN: uh, ok.
JOHN: that sounds…
JADE: it is!
JADE: so, bec was able to teleport anywhere in the universe he wanted in an instant, much faster than light
JADE: jack was able to do this too, within our session, and then when i inherited those powers from jadesprite, so could i
JADE: but we could only teleport locally
JADE: which means, bec could jump to anywhere in our universe, but not to another universe, or into a session
JADE: and jack could jump to anywhere in our session, but not outside it
JADE: we cant even jump to the green sun itself, even though we sort of serve as a gateway to it, and all its energy
JADE: and once we leave the suns domain, our travel is limited by the speed of light, like everyone else!
JADE: for example, the furthest ring is not in the suns domain
JADE: it is more like the suns medium, allowing it to exist
JADE: so if i wanted to fly out of our session and travel to the green sun, i would have to make my way there through the furthest ring at the speed of light or less
JADE: and wherever we are now is not in the suns domain either
JADE: so the same rules apply
First off, it’s a good question why only universes and sessions are in the Green Sun’s domain. My guess is because universes are where the first guardians, those granted the sun’s powers, reside. And since universes are within the sessions in which they were created, it makes sense for sessions to be in that domain as well.
Another thing this exposition has implications regarding is Lord English’s possible (but frankly rather unlikely) defeat in Act 7. The battle against English takes place in the Furthest Ring, which is not in the sun’s domain. Many readers believe that god tier Calliope destroyed the sun to disable English’s first guardian powers, but if you take into account that those powers don’t work in the Furthest Ring, all destroying the sun really did was generate a black hole. And English might have been sucked in there, but for all we know that just took him somewhere he can cause more misery, and here’s why: the black hole through which Caliborn entered the game took him to his session, and the one generated from B2 Jack Noir’s head exploding likely took Gamzee there as well, so maybe that hole took English back to the session in which he rose to power? Or maybe he just time traveled out of there.
To drive the point home, let’s assume the very best case scenario: assume Lord English has a single cohesive timeline that starts with his birth and ends with being killed with the black hole and/or the magic chest attack, which obviously isn’t necessarily what really happened. Since he travels through time and through universes, that doesn’t mean that after this point he is gone from existence, because even if he really has only one timeline, then himself from before he started destroying the Furthest Ring could keep being “already here” and mess everything up.
I know I sound like a pessimistic fucker in this tangent about Lord English, but let’s face it, Homestuck isn’t truly finished considering the plans for an epilogue, so I can still freely assume everything is still messed up as all hell. Feel free to share your thoughts on the deal with Lord English’s final scene in the comments.
JADE: but to be fair, we were all the victims of a big prank!
JOHN: oh man, a prank??
JOHN: who pranked us?
JADE: some really creepy omniscient guy
JADE: it doesnt matter much, hes supposedly dead now
JOHN: oh. well that was quite a ruse then. that son of a bitch!
JADE: yes, but its not all as bad as it seems
JADE: theres a silver lining in all of this
JADE: like you said, a sun presiding over many universes has to be pretty cosmically important
JADE: who knows what terrible consequences there would be if it was destroyed
JADE: or maybe worse, if it never existed at all
JADE: which is what made rose and daves true mission an unintended success!
JOHN: their true mission?
JOHN: what was that?
JADE: to deliver the bomb to the empty location the green sun was meant to exist for most of eternity
JADE: and then create the sun in the first place
JADE: that is what the tumor was for all along
JADE: like i said
JADE: we got played like a bunch of suckers!!!
To serial readers who got about a month between Cascade and this update to process the events of the flash, Jade’s reveal of what the suicide mission was really about probably seems redundant. But I’m grateful that it exists, because otherwise archival readers confused by what happened in Cascade may never understand what happened. I especially like how the animation is recapped in a pesterlog, which readers are more likely to absorb and retain, rather than in the recaps which are essentially optional bonus material. One could see Jade’s explanation of the events of Cascade as a substitute for the visual reveal that Doc Scratch tricked Rose and Dave into creating the Green Sun.
As shown in this image, in John’s mind the trolls are Karkat, Vriska, and a bunch of others.
More code next to Serenity reads “You suck!!!”
The next several pages focus on Jack and PM in the troll session. All these pictures above are really just scenes from Cascade remade as panels, which one may once again see as a drawn-out substitute for the scenes in the flash.
Jack now has red feelings for PM, while PM has black feelings for Jack. This pretty clearly establishes them as a duo for most of Act 6, right until the very end.
Morse code reads “Coward!”
Jack flies away from PM in fear, making this the first time since becoming a dog he is emotionally impacted by anything that isn’t Jade. Even when Aradia time-stopped him, he wasn’t scared, only frustrated that he couldn’t do anything.
“Please…” (also, note PM’s slightly bloody hand)
The pages with PM looking at WV’s body shows us that she isn’t a being of pure rage either, upset just as well by her own matters.
Sollux’s corpse looks exactly like it did the last time he died. But this time around, there’s Feferi’s goggles instead of his 3-D glasses next to his body.
Continuing the visual montage following Cascade, we zoom in on the trolls on top of the meteor. Looks like Karkat is by far the most affected by Sollux’s death.
Is this image where the tall Gamzee headcanons came from? Karkat is presumably squatting down or something, because normally the characters are all drawn as the same heights. I mean, not that I don’t agree with the popular opinion that Gamzee is really tall; it weirdly makes sense to me. Speaking of which, I really don’t like how many height and weight headcanons are incorporated in the guest art late in the comic. It just feels too much like a fan work.
The renditions of Dave and Rose once again reuse imagery from Cascade.
And here it is, the beginning of the full kid-troll meeting. When I was on the Doc Scratch intermission I said I would discuss the prospect of kids and trolls meeting in Act 6 Intermission 1, but I think I’ll save that for next post when I start the long group conversation between the kids and trolls.
And Jade transitions us with magic green sun abilities back to John. This serves as a surprising transition device; one could only imagine how amazed John is to see his own friend show him what’s going on with his other friends through her own body.
The consort speech bubbles seem to represent that John and Jade are speaking through dialoglogs.
JOHN: oh man, rose and dave have sweet god tier pajamas like us! that’s so awesome.
JOHN: haha, dave looks like kind of a doofus with that snug little hood.
JADE: i think he looks cool!!!!!
JADE: the cape is great, hes like a super hero now
JOHN: that’s true.
JOHN: i still think i prefer my outfit though.
This exchange on god tier outfits brings a sort of pattern to light: the god tier outfit designs get progressively stranger the further into the comic they’re introduced. The heir, thief, and maid outfits, the first three to appear, all look pretty normal, but Jade’s has a special Wizard of Oz thing going on, and Dave’s and Rose’s both look kind of goofy or overly mystical. But those have nothing on the ridiculous page and prince outfits.
JOHN: look at all those trolls…
JOHN: there are so many trolls. the idea of meeting them all is kind of overwhelming.
JOHN: i wonder which one is which?
JOHN: i think that must have been karkat there. and that was probably his clown asshole friend he mentioned, too.
JOHN: and that was definitely terezi, with the fancy glasses.
JOHN: not sure about the others… i wonder if vriska was there?
I think it says a lot which trolls John can identify. Basically, it’s the obvious ones and Karkat. If Vriska was there, I’m sure he would’ve been able to tell which one was her.
JOHN: did you know…
JOHN: that i had to kiss [rose] to make her come back to life?
JOHN: yes, it’s true.
JOHN: it’s kind of weird kissing a dead body, but i didn’t mind.
JOHN: how did you feel about it when you kissed dave when he died?
JADE: how did you know about that!
JOHN: karkat told me.
JADE: that figures
JOHN: do you think that all of our unbridled corpse smooching means karkat’s silly shipping prophecy will come true?
JOHN: i mean, the guy is really angry, and says fuck like in practically every sentence.
JOHN: but he does weirdly seem to know what he’s talking about when it comes to romance.
JADE: i dunno
JADE: do you want it to come true?
JOHN: i don’t know.
JOHN: do you?
JOHN: hmm, indeed.
I think it’s funny to see John and Jade have an uncertain reaction to the idea of Karkat’s shipping grid coming true when we just got done seeing that the alpha kids all have crushes on each other for some reason.
JADE: i think i miss them already
JADE: and weve only been here for a few minutes 😦
Pretty much exactly how I felt after my middle school graduation.
This is a stock design for deep ecto-sibling conversations: first it was used with the Derse dreamers, now the Prospit dreamers, and later on again with the squared sprites.
I really like how Jade’s fetch modus she had since she was little more than a “silly girl” now can easily store planets.
Next comes a somewhat deep moment amidst John and Jade’s conversation: Jade offers to send him to the trolls but she can’t go with him, and says she’ll totally be fine with that considering she’d still have the population of five planets as company. But John declines the offer because it would make him feel really guilty leaving her behind after having just met her for the first time. This decision would later prove to bite him in the ass when he goes on a rant about how boring it is on the ship, but for now it’s pretty clear that he made this choice because it feels like the right thing to do. I think that says a lot about his morality: he always does what he senses through intuition as the good thing to do. Jade, however, bases such choices more on what realistically makes sense; she knows John would likely enjoy it more on the meteor.
Also, this decision seems sort of like it could be alternate universe fanfiction bait, both the idea of John leaving to join the meteor, and the idea of John and Jade leaving the ship behind with the restrictions on Jade’s powers modified so that’s possible.* I haven’t seen any fanfiction like that but I’m sure it exists.
* Davesprite would be like “looks like everyone forgot about me again”.
JOHN: now that you mention it, i’m pretty beat.
JOHN: also… starving!!!
JOHN: i sure hope there are things to eat on those planets.
JOHN: there were a lot of weird glowing mushrooms on lowas. i dunno about those.
JOHN: i seem to remember a bunch of farms on the battlefield…
JADE: there should be lots of good stuff on the planets
JADE: also i would bet this ship is stocked with plenty of military rations
JOHN: yeah, probably.
JOHN: pff, hell, we could just raid all of our fridges and alchemize some tasty grub!
JADE: oh yeah!!!
JADE: durrr, problem solved
JOHN: ok, cool.
On the battleship, we get an exchange regarding food to eat that answers a little question that doesn’t come up a lot in the comic, but we don’t get a similar exchange for the meteor. It’s less obvious how those traveling on the meteor got to eat food, but the answer is basically the same: at one point we saw alchemiters on the meteor, which are later brought up in Dave and Rose’s conversations as a way to make food and alcohol.
JOHN: ok, cool.
JOHN: but it would still be nice to say hi to everybody before they leave.
JOHN: just to let them know how we’re doing.
JOHN: like, one of the last things rose saw before she died was me dying…
JOHN: i wonder if she knows i’m ok?
JADE: im pretty sure she knows a ton of things now
JADE: considering she is a fully realized seer of light
JOHN: yeah, probably.
JOHN: then maybe i’ll just hop over real fast, and give karkat a fist bump, and give dave a hard time about his hella tight little hood, and then hop back?
JADE: im sure that would be hilarious
JADE: if you go i dont think i can bring you back
JADE: i cant bring anyone or anything to here from there!
JOHN: aw man, really??
JADE: as far as i know…
JADE: if theres a way i havent figured it out yet
JADE: i am still kind of new to this omnipotence thing after all
If Jade was able to do that, then all the kids and trolls meeting together for the whole journey would be totally easy: she could just send everyone gathered on the meteor to her and John.
JOHN: that’s stupid.
JOHN: what is with all these rules!
JADE: i dont know!
JADE: im sure the rules exist for a good reason though
JADE: maybe to somewhat limit the power and reach of omnipotent beings?
JADE: if there are no limits at all, it could be especially dangerous in the wrong hands
JADE: like what happened with jack!
JOHN: isn’t that a contradiction though?
JOHN: if there are limits to your powers, you can’t exactly be OMNIpotent, can you?
JOHN: more like…
I bet John would come up with a similar quip if he were to learn that Doc Scratch is not actually omniscient. Unfortunately the word “semiscient” doesn’t exactly have a very good ring to it.
JOHN: so, the dog ears…
JOHN: is that a permanent thing now, or what?
JADE: i think so
JOHN: i like them.
JADE: i do too!
JOHN: you are like a furry now, but not really the weird kind that people on the internet like to have sex with in their imagination.
It’s a little interesting that John thinks of those creepy sexual furries as a type of person on the Internet. I think this is a good example of how a lot of weird sorts of people only seem to exist online and not in real life. Social media sites in particular have a lot of negative stereotypes that often seem to only exist on the Internet, at least in my experience.
John says he wouldn’t want to put the letter inside a book and dispose of reading material during the long trip. I wonder if at some point he got so bored that he decided to read Rose’s weird books?
John decides that the next best thing he can do is write a letter to send to the meteor. As John and Jade try to get stuff to write a letter on and put it in to send it, a lot of things from the early days of the comic return to the scene.
And a lot of people from earlier days as well. Highlights include the iguana with Ahab’s Crosshairs, Casey, and the bedsheet consorts. And also Davesprite, but everyone forgets about him.
I’ll talk about John’s dynamic with Davesprite when we get back to John and company an in-story year later.
JOHN: ok, i think this is a pretty good letter.
DAVESPRITE: let me check it out
DAVESPRITE: maybe ill humorously defile willis and afflecks dumb skyward yearning faces
JOHN: oh HELL no.
DAVESPRITE: come on dude hand it over
JADE: nooooo come on guys theyre about to go just stuff it in the bucket and throw it at me already!!!
DAVESPRITE: too late i already did it with sprite powers while he wasnt looking
JOHN: augh you bastard!
As I talked about long ago, sprite powers can do pretty much anything the story wants. While usually it’s for plot convenience, this one is for humor convenience.
JOHN: wait a minute!
JOHN: i forgot, trolls hate cleaning products for some alien reason! shit, that’s going to make everyone so uncomfortable.
JOHN: oh well, there it goes. too late i guess.
DAVESPRITE: ahahahaha you fucked up
I find it pretty funny that John forgot about the bucket gag even though that whole joke is one of the things the comic’s fanbase is infamous for.
See you next time as humans and trolls meeting brings laughs abound.