Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 66: The Miracle of Another New Beginning

Introduction

Part 65 | Part 66 | Part 67 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 1 of 6

Pages 4391-4436 (MSPA: 6291-6336)

NOTE: The first 30 or so pages covered in this post are technically between Act 6 Intermission 1 and Act 6 Act 2, but it makes the most sense to consider those pages part of the latter act.

NOTE 2 (8/25/2016): Happy birthday, Andrew Hussie!

You are Jane Crocker again. 

And once again, you have woken up on the moon of Prospit, without any recollection of how you fell asleep. You think you were going outside to get the mail? You can’t remember.

Here’s a bit of dream self weirdness in action. Waking up in the dream world and taking a while to remember stuff that happened is one of the defining motifs of dream bubbles, but not of dreams in Prospit or Derse. Jade’s dreams never worked that way at all, with her essentially sleeping on and off in sort of a dual state of existence, sometimes forgetting that she’s even asleep. But in fairness, Jade has always been a special case in that regard.

Callback to Jade’s death by shaving cream, and some others I believe.

Right as Jane stares outside her window to watch some more clouds, her session’s version of Jack makes his debut with a character-establishing moment of sorts. Since this is the first appearance of this particular version of Jack Noir, it’s kind of a character establishing moment, but since we already have a pretty complete picture of what the archagent is like through his other two versions this scene evokes more of a reaction along the lines of “classic Noir”.

Another coffin clogger bites the dust.

Two down. Two to go.

This line is a very dark echo of Hussie’s line “One down.” following Jane’s apparent death. It shows us that here, things are really dangerous, way more than they appeared to be when Act 6 Act 1 ended. This echo might also serve to remind us of how waking Jane is presently ambiguously dead.

The Hussiebot parallel pile doesn’t stop from getting taller.
To top it off, both scenes are technically in interludes between comic subdivisions.

The moment rapidly approaches. You’re gonna show these alabaster sons of bitches how a cold war is done. You can’t wait to read it in their papers. “The Maid is dead. Our Life is pathetic, blah blah blah.” Or somesuch monotone drivel overheard during one of their pointless, weepy cadaver parades. There’ll be no mistaking it this time. No servant will discover the body and inform the queen that Prospit’s remaining hero passed in her sleep, peacefully and mysteriously. When the clock strikes twelve, no one in this wretched kingdom will have any doubt who’s calling the shots here. 

You’re gonna bring this whole goddamn ball down.

You touch base with your administration’s top powdermonkey, none other than Dersite bumbler extraordinaire, the Courtyard Droll.

You ask if he’s done rigging the tower to blow. He says you bet. You say good, over. 

Rigging the tower to blow and waiting for the clock to strike seems a lot like a parallel to New Year’s Day, which is exactly the time this sequence of pages was posted. The new year’s symbolism is made obvious since Jane watched a cloud with her dream room about to drop, fondly regarding the miracle of a new beginning; it’s made especially obvious this time around, more so than with the pages posted exactly a year prior when Jade’s lab dropped and all that.

But he mutters something over the radio you don’t quite catch. You say what is it. He says oh nothing boss. You say out with it. He asks, isn’t this cheating? Assassinating the heroes like this before the war’s even really begun. You say what do you care, just follow your orders. He says oh of course, no question, he just thought it was against the rules or something. You say it’s all fair game now that the kingdom’s under new management. The new boss ain’t opposed to taking some shrewd tactical shortcuts. You like the cut of her jib. 

God damn, I wish I hadn’t already talked about my theory that Jack is specifically designed to be a wildcard character. I’ll just go ahead and do the thing where I copy and paste something I previously said, and then I’ll add additional thoughts.

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.

Considering how CD feels like killing the kids is breaking the rules, now I really think that Jack in particular is meant as a wildcard, far more so than even his subordinates; he’s the only carapace who really truly goes “screw the dumb rules” and does things the easy way. It kind of reminds me of how in Cool and New Webcomic*, Jack is the only normal one among all carapacians featured so far, and all others act like the Droll but even worse.

* If you don’t know, Cool and New Webcomic is a parody of Homestuck which is the absolute best thing ever. It’s right up there with Detective Pony which I’ll talk about later in this post, which is to say in the absolute godsquad of Homestuck fanworks.

He says he supposes he can’t complain. Her policy toward elaborate hats seems to be as lenient as the old queen’s. You say will you shut up about the hats. He says it’s probably because she wears the most grand and luxurious fluffy hat he’s ever seen. You say you don’t think that’s a hat. You think it’s something called “hair.” He says oh. 

This bit probably is meant to set up a mystery arc with a vague clue: Derse has a new queen, and who is it? We know so far that she doesn’t mind doing things the quick and easy way and has a lot of hair.

The reveal of how Jake’s dream self died completely ruins any drama in the funeral scene.

He says the intelligence report he had said the kid wouldn’t take well to peanuts. So he snuck in there with a whole bag of them. You know, like the kind from circuses.

He says he ate most of them because they were delicious, and as far as he knows, aren’t poisonous to most everybody else. But he did save a few to get the job done, because he is a professional who always carries out his orders.

It’s not easy feeding a sleeping boy some peanuts, he says. He says he had to work extra hard to put them in his mouth and then use his hands to make his mouth chew up the nuts.

CD killing Jake’s dream self with peanuts is a perfect example of firing a Chekhov’s gun in an unexpected way. John was mentioned long ago to have a peanut allergy, which seems for a long time to be a random thing mentioned in passing until it becomes relevant in the form of Jake having the same allergy.

Jack sees dream Jane coming back to life and gets out of there with a transportalizer. I think it’s pretty clear now that at this point the alpha kids’ aspects and stuff will start getting relevant, something that was only touched upon in their prior sub-act. Also, guess what he turned his back on? Come on, I don’t even have to say it.

Happy new year! (again)

When the clock strikes twelve, the blatant new year symbolism is in action with Jane’s dream room dropping, mirroring the prior new year’s update. I just found a continuity error: later, Prospit is shown in full with Jane’s tower intact; maybe it’s shown in full prior to that point, I can’t remember. Maybe the tower was rebuilt or something? I don’t know.

Act 6 Act 2 proper opens with Jane waking up behind her house, turning up alive there all along, somehow.

You suppose you should let dad know you’re ok. But it’s been so long since you’ve enjoyed such a massive PRANKSTER’S GAMBIT in an exchange with the old man. It’s hard not to bask in it, if only for a few seconds.

Uh…

what?

Jane wants to pretend she actually died just to play a prank on Dad??? God, that’s so messed up. Maybe she was no only brainwashed into thinking Betty Crocker isn’t an evil alien, but also into thinking death isn’t that big of a deal? She’s supposed to be more mature than John with regards to her relationship with her father, but she might actually not be any better.

The way GCat likes to be all mysterious and douchey sort of reminds me of Minos, the immortal cat from Detective Pony.

Jane sees what she calls the God Cat, answering the question of how she was saved from the explosion and introducing the alpha universe’s first guardian, who is described as follows:

Just look at that aloof little bastard. He doesn’t give a shit about anything, does he? 

You guess you should feel grateful toward him for saving your life, but you know he’s just as likely to rescue you from an explosion as he is to randomly teleport you across town, forcing you to call your dad and ask for a ride home, while you spend all day standing in some random field in the pouring rain while you wait hours for your dad to come and pick you up after he gets lost because he plugged the wrong place into google maps. 

One could potentially see the cat’s role as another thing in the post-scratch universe that is refined from the first time around. This time around, the first guardian is much more inherently dangerous than Becquerel himself ever was. And I don’t mean more powerful, I just mean much more willing to destroy bad things in its own form, not as others inheriting his features. The dog/cat symbolism in the beta and alpha kids’ respective first guardians is obvious: Bec is loyal to Jade and is focused solely on protecting her, but GCat has much more of the standard douchey “force of destiny” spirit.

Jane is commanded to call GCat down from the tree, and refuses. I must say, this command does a good job at pretending it was a reader-submitted command (at this point those were already phased out long ago). And that’s not at all a bad thing; the command-based humor is sort of the MSPA comics’ trademark.

Even if you were inclined to do that, he wouldn’t respond to that name. You’re pretty sure he doesn’t have a name. You and your friends just call him the GCat for lack of anything else to call him. Everybody has opinions, but nobody can agree on a good name. You think he probably doesn’t want a name. He’s just a feisty stray who likes to meddle with your life, then vanish for weeks at a time. 

This bit is sort of a reference to how readers debated a lot on what the B2 universe’s first guardian should be called. “God Cat”, the only name the alpha kids could agree on, is just about the least creative name possible for a superpowered cat who watches over the world, so this is kind of a parody of those name debates.

Uh oh. Looks like the jig is up, yet again. Is the jig ever ANYWHERE but up?? That’s what you want to know. 

You feel bad about leaving him in suspense for even a moment. Your gambit gets totally rocked by a guilty conscience. 

Whoa, Jane is finally having a sensible reaction to something! Talk about a real life miracle right here.

Upon Dad’s instruction, Jane returns to her room, and he blocks her room with a bathtub. I can only imagine how frustrated he is about having such a disobedient daughter. Back when John tried to avoid his father, he was portrayed as a normal kid and his father was portrayed as a lunatic. Now, with Jane, it’s the other way around; her father has been especially strict with her, because he is aware of the attempts on her life and wants to do all he can to protect her.

Jane talks to Roxy again and DEAR GOD SO MANY WORDS. I mean, I know that stuff has happened before pretty much all the time but seriously, I somehow didn’t see that coming. I almost want to skip ahead to Caliborn’s first appearance because he’s so much more entertaining than the whole rest of the Act 6 cast. Or really, just about anyone else in the whole damn comic. Seriously, if there’s only one good thing about Act 6 it’s the fact that Caliborn exists.

But I’m not actually gonna skip through all this. Since this pesterlog is crazy long, especially for such an early-game conversation, I’ll going to go over this one, or at least parts of it, the old-fashioned way.

After a teaser of Dirk and Roxy’s names, the conversation starts off with Jane recapping the events of Act 6 Act 2’s prologue. This is a bit of an odd thing to do story-wise considering we just saw all that stuff happen in a way that was all pretty clear. Sometimes the story recapping stuff through conversations is really helpful, like Jade’s explanation of the events of Cascade. But here it’s another thing that’s just kind of there.

There are some interesting bits though. For one thing, Jane says that she was the victim of two assassination attempts, one on Earth and one in the dream world. This is one of those times when an example of events being circumstantially simultaneous is brought to light, and it’s something I didn’t catch on my own, maybe because those events are spaced apart by an intermission focusing on the beta kids.

Following that, Jane talks about how her visions of Skaian clouds made her feel small in comparison to the grand schemes, and foolish to think she had any idea what she’s getting into, thereby making her ready to believe the crazy stuff her friends believe. This is exactly what I meant by the weird blank slate effect going on with the alpha kids which I talked about in my first Act 6 post.

How ironic that right when I start questioning the loads of long pesterlogs I fall into commenting on them with nothing but walls of paragraphs.

This image above gives something of a teaser of Roxy; the most notable thing here is a cat who is probably Jaspers. I’m noting this because the cause of Jaspers’ death is one of those things that is very heavily hinted at before it happens. I think this “mystery” in particular deliberately has a lot of hints to make it easy to guess. As with Kanaya’s vampire resurrection, it’s kind of too easy to guess.

As for the pesterlog, I continue to be shocked by the massive walls of words. Maybe it’s because it’s weird seeing a conversation taking place in such mundane settings be this long, especially when it’s past the “first impression” conversations? Roxy isn’t not much of a mystery character at this point either, meaning that unlike with Calliope, this pesterlog isn’t really one of those long “mystery character” pesterlogs either. I mean, sure, we haven’t been properly introduced to her yet, but when we already know this much about her and what she’s like, not to mention all but two letters of her full name, she isn’t really that mysterious anymore.

Anyway, Jane starts asking Roxy to reiterate stuff she always wanted her to believe, and she starts with saying the following about her “mother”:

TG: ok well fors tarters
TG: she really is the notable author u know
GG: Oh, I know that!
GG: That was always something I had no trouble believing, considering the public documentation even reclusive celebrities receive.
GG: And frankly, the family resemblance is obvious.
TG: yup 
GG: Anyway, it would be disingenuous if I found your relation far fetched, since we’re all apparently related to noteworthy people. It’s just one of those funny things. 

Wait…

“It’s just one of those funny things”?

That is such an underreaction to a “coincidental” fact that really should make her think something’s up. Even if the alpha kids weren’t meant to play Sburb from the start due to predestination, I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that if that were the case, the Condesce might have just selected descendants of famous people to to go through with her plans which is obviously bad news because she’s the goddamn witch.

GG: Maybe we should start at the very beginning.
TG: ok
TG: but the begninning was a hecka long time a go
GG: Do you remember around when we first started talking?
TG: y
GG: And you claimed you were the one making my pumpkins disappear?
TG: hahAHA
TG: *aha
TG: y :3
GG: You later proceeded to try to prove to me that what you were saying was true.
GG: But none of your attempts thereafter would ever bear any fruit, pardon the pun.
TG: k but it aint pardoned because a pumpkin aint even a fruit
TG: its a big orange porch thing for holloween numbnuts
GG: Yes, I know what pumpkins are. It was a joke, silly.
GG: What I’m trying to say is, in thinking back to those days, when you couldn’t verify your claims, it made me think the whole thing was a big ruse.
GG: And I think this unfortunately began a pattern of mistrust. It was always hard to rule out the possibility that you could be joking about other things as well. 
TG: yeah 
TG: but its not my fault i mean appeafrification tech is notoriously unreliable 

OH MAN I JUST HAD ANOTHER THEORY THAT IS TOTALLY WORTH TYPING IN ALL CAPS TO ANNOUNCE.

So, Roxy’s appearifier gun is a Crockercorp product, right? I think it’s the only product of the company’s that she ever willfully uses, and the same goes for Dirk’s sendificator. What if the Condesce induced her into getting a hold of that thing so that her experimenting would inadvertently lead Jane into not believing anything about the witch’s evil ways? If that’s true, then this would be a great example of simple things happening in convoluted ways.

See, cool stuff like this is why early Act 6, though it clearly has flaws, isn’t as bad as people think. I was just starting to understand why people think it’s a drag but then the comic finally gets interesting again.

TG: remember 
TG: i xplained this 
TG: i cant just always appearify stuff from you any time i want
TG: i can only take stuff im “allowed” 2 which is pmuch random 
TG: like stuff that by takin id be messing up the time line cause that stuff is supposed to be there and serve some funciton it hasnt served yet 
TG: so most of the time if i try all i get is slime on my end 
TG: but pumpins 4 some reason are a lil easier to take i dunno why 
TG: like they are specifically and arbitrorily unhinged from spacetime 
TG: is spooooko 
TG: *ky 

Basically, Roxy admits her appearifier gun is pretty much a force of predestination, but uses it anyway. I bet it was specifically designed for her to get a hold of because it looks like a cool badass gun that’s totally in her style.

Another random thought: unlike with the beta kids’ inexplicably neutral reactions to the revelation that Sburb messes with their homes through magic, this sort of stuff makes sense with the alpha kids considering that all of them live around crazy sci-fi technology.

Next, Roxy says she wants to appearify something to prove she’s right in action despite Jane believing her regardless, and we get this exchange:

GG: I don’t know. 
GG: The baking chest, maybe? 
TG: too big 
TG: i got size restrictions here 
TG: bigger stuff takes huge amount sof power to swipe 
TG: so this gizmo i have has a built in size cap 
TG: like somethin as big as you for insance 
TG: i cant take 
TG: believe me ive triiiied 
GG: D’aw. 
GG: That’s sweet of you, I guess? 
TG: was totes sweet of me to try and steal you for the hangouts but it dint work becuse of BUULBSHIT 

This is another one of those hints of Roxy living in the future, and in more ways than one. First off, she must be really lonely out there if she has tried to appearify Jane as someone to hang out with. But there’s an implication of Roxy living in another time period that’s much more subtle: she says that the appearifier takes a lot of power to use, which may bring to mind prior statements that the transmaterializer in Jake’s frog temple sends stuff through spacetime and also requires a huge load of power. Unlike with her cat’s death, the hints of Roxy living in the future are fairly subtle.

More on Roxy’s mistake in appearifying the book when we see it from her perspective, which will be next post because I changed my mind about the order of doing the Roxy/Dirk selection screen. It’s because Roxy’s section has fewer pages and therefore the post series will probably flow better with her section first.

EDIT (8/30/2016): Actually, I’ll start with Dirk’s section after all, but next post will end partway through his section.

After some arguing, Roxy tries to appearify the Sassacre book and surprisingly, it works.

GG: It worked! 
GG: The book is gone! 
TG: oh no 
TG: aaaawwwww shit 
GG: What is it? 
TG: shit shit shitsh it 
GG: Did you receive the book? 
TG: shoiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit 
TG: SHITSHITSHITHISTHITSHITSTHI 
GG: Don’t tell me. 
GG: The book is damaged somehow, isn’t it? 
TG: ffuuuuuuuuuuuk 😦 
GG: Sigh. Is it at least SOMEWHAT intact? 
GG: Or was it completely incinerated in transit? 
GG: I just KNEW we should have used Wise Guy. I can’t believe this. 
TG: dont worry 
TG: the book itself is topes fine :* 
TG: *:9 
TG: *dsjf 😦 
GG: Oh. 
GG: Then what’s the problem? 
TG: fffff 
TG: im so stupid 😦 
TG: so stupoid so stupud soos tupob :((( 

Obviously, something terrible just happened, and it sure as hell isn’t her cat getting crushed because that would be kind of stupidly obvious. But unfortunately, her sadness is completely undermined by her being inherently amusing. That changes somewhat when we see that scene from her perspective which I’ll discuss when I get there.

GG: Will you tell me what happened?? 
TG: gotta go bbl 
TG: well talk abt important stuffs l8r 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 

Roxy saying they’ll talk about important stuffs [sic] is funny in retrospect considering that I’m pretty sure her next conversation with Jane is mostly just bugging her about romance drama. It’s so important that they have to do these horrendous attempts at romance confessions as soon as possible, am I right??

tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 
TG: ps jane ty 4 believin me 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 
TG: OH SHIT 
TG: on last thing jane 
TG: DO NOT RUN THEFILE I SENT U BEFORE I GET BACK 
TG: i need 2 
TG: uh 
TG: just dont w/o me ok 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 
TG: fuuuuuuuuiiiuickl 😥 
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] 

I think it’s really amusing the way Roxy gives three messages that purport to be the last before she actually leaves. Also, Roxy’s line warning Jane not to run the file she sent is possibly a callback to its equivalent scene in the trolls’ arc: Sollux (the tech-savvy hacker) warning Karkat (the leader) not to run his virus, but in both cases the leader runs the virus in a fit of stupidity anyway.

See you next time as we read Pony Pals for real, and I mean it this time. Oh, and Jane blows up her computer but that doesn’t really matter. Nor does us getting to know by far the most popular of the alpha kids.

Seriously though, next post will cover everything from the next page up to the end of Roxy’s half of the selection screen, and it seriously might take a while to release, like maybe a week or so. If it takes REALLY long then I’ll try to release Problem Sleuth posts in the meantime. All I can say for certain is that my next post will be another jumbo post. Are you ready for that?

>> Part 67: Meet the Rad Dude with Rad Shades

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s