Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 71: Rainbow Freefalls of Frivolous Banter

Introduction

Part 70 | Part 71 | Part 72 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 6 of 6

Pages 4595-4666 (MSPA: 6495-6566)

Jack returns to kill Jane again but is interrupted by a message from DD:

Hang on. It’s this guy. Gotta answer this. He better be bearing news of murdered youngsters. 

He says the deceased child count is still sitting at zero over here. You say WHAT? He says that’s not all. You wait for him to spill the beans. 

He says one of the brats staged a little rebellion on the moon. Stuck the Brute’s head on a pike for all to see. Real black eye for the kingdom and the Condesce. Press is going nuts with it. Wait. The Brute’s dead, you say? He says yes. Dammit. He was one of your best agents. You never really cared for the guy but you admired his brutality. We all did sir, he says. 

It seems like the alpha kids are actually doing a good job going against the Derse agents, inadvertently or otherwise, since the agents’ plans are all ruined now. What’s especially crazy about this is that Jack Noir of all people is hopelessly struggling to accomplish anything.

The White Queen didn’t stop being a thing or anything.
Oh wait, she actually did. My bad.

Note that Jack is now missing a tooth.
Very subtle foreshadowing of his soul fusing with Lord English or whatever the hell. Especially since readers at this point might not remember English has a gold tooth.

The White Queen appears and knocks out Jack, which is basically the ultimate surprise dramatic entrance since readers at this point probably forgot any version of her ever existed. Also since she has never previously done anything cool and deadly like that.

Next we get a bunch of pages focusing on Roxy in a nearby lab filled with cats.

You never understood what the point of this thing was. It’s old and damaged. Whatever is supposed to show up on the screens is blacked out, either due to the damage, or due to this voidey blackout bullshit that seems to follow you wherever you go. 

It’s weird that the narration gives the two obvious reasons why that device might be blacked out, rather than clarifying it, as if it doesn’t really matter why that is. Unless the real reason it’s blacked out is because I’m pretty sure this device is the same as the one in Rose’s lab that tracked meteors and this session doesn’t have any meteors impacting Earth? That seems like a good explanation to me. Whether or not that’s why the screen is blacked out, I think it serves as foreshadowing that the alpha kids are in a void session.

OK I’m a bit confused now. Going by the way the machine shown above in the first picture appearified an imprint of Rose I’d assume it takes stuff from the pre-scratch universe, but the narration suggests the second one is the only one that actually does that? As for the scarf Roxy appearified it kind of seems like a resolution to a random hard-to-catch plot mystery but since Rose’s scarf was pink and not striped I’m not so sure. Maybe the first appearifier did indeed take things from the scratched universe? That would explain the narration’s statement that the appearifier is locked on B2 Rose’s childhood, because if it was actually a time in pre-scratch Rose’s childhood there’s no way that would make sense since B2 Rose was an adult by then.

You stow the kidmomgoo in one of your captchalogue bottles. 

Wait… 

That was kind of a weird implementation of your modus. You’re not even sure what happened there. Oh well, whatever. You guess you can go just… sort of… 

Pick it up? 

The weird way Roxy’s modus works with the slime sort of hints at the slime’s prototyping actually happening, which in retrospect is probably a red herring thing. It’s weird how a lot of things going on in this whole lab subplot are barely even handwaved.

GCat appears, and he gathers with a bunch of other cats to say goodbye to Frigglish. This seems like subtle foreshadowing of the cat’s origins that should logically amount to something but for some reason doesn’t.

A mutant kitten does the honors, intentionally or otherwise. Bon voyage, friend. 

Callback to how a mutant kitten did the honors when John created all the kids.

Next we get a short flash fast forwarding to Jaspersprite, concluding the cat “mystery” subplot. This would’ve made for an awesome transition to Act 6 Intermission 2 but the story’s narrative structure won’t allow for it, as the narration points out. The real transition to Act 6 Intermission 2 works in a completely different way from what one might think, as I’ll go over at the beginning of my next post.

I like how the exiles all have different character designs, something the comic doesn’t often do with background characters.

Next Roxy is confronted by a group of exiled Dersites, which reiterates a story pattern with the alpha kids in an unexpected way. The exile story pattern has always worked a little weirdly so it only makes sense for the alpha kids’ exiles to have a completely different story behind them.

3/22/2019: Looking back on this post two and a half years later, I realized that the passage above was incomplete, so I added what I probably wanted to say in blue text. I think my posts might have a few other incomplete sections; hopefully I’ll find them soon.

Only now do Dirk and Roxy have the chance to meet in person.
If only that goddamn cat did that earlier…

GCat leaves the lab and teleports a fenestrated wall to Dirk’s living room which is another subtle hint at something that’ll happen later on; in this case, Dirk using the Chekhov’s fenestrated wall to go to Roxy’s home and help his friends all get into the game.

As a result of the wall unplugging, Roxy lands in a dream bubble and oh shit it’s another mystery character. I can only imagine, who the hell wouldn’t think this is some kind of evil Feferi?

Among the two pre-scratch trolls who have a major role in the story, the one who makes a friendly first impression becomes an antagonist, but the one with the villainous first impression becomes a driving force in the plan to kill Lord English.

While the previous troll teaser was just a bit confusing, this one is scary. It definitely leaves quite an impression on readers, which is notable because it exemplifies an aspect of Meenah’s role in the story: as a more interesting replacement to Feferi among the trolls. If you’re really clever, you can guess that this character establishing moment sets Meenah up for some serious character development later on.

Oh HELL yes. It’s the first Caliborn pesterlog. Let me get this out of the way: Caliborn is the best character in Homestuck. I know I said John was my favorite in my first post but he’s actually my other favorite. The reason Caliborn is such an amazing character is simple: because he is hilarious. He is kind of an idiot, he’s completely sociopathic, and he keeps going on about how much he hates everything in a repetitive but hilarious way. I think I’ll talk more about his role in the story when he appears again later. For now I’ll just go to his debut pesterlog.

“Really, if there’s any pesterlog I should’ve read in my first read, it’s the first one with Caliborn in it, where he voices all the common complaints about pesterlogs.”
—me a few months ago

Caliborn starts by pointlessly ranting about stuff; not even about any specific thing, just ranting about random shit for the sake of it. A part of his rant I find interesting is:

uu: SHE SENDS ME SO MuCH BuLLSHIT ABOuT THIS. YOu DON’T EVEN KNOW. 
uu: SHE WANTS TO HEAR WHAT I HAVE TO SAY. LIKE EXCHANGE THEORIES AND SHIT. AND I HAVE TO JuST BE LIKE *BITCH I DON’T GOD DAMN CARE!!!* 
uu: EVERY TIME. 
uu: BuT IT DOESN’T MATTER. WHAT’S THE NEXT THING I INVARIABLY FIND ON MY TERMINAL? 
uu: ANOTHER GOD DAMN WALL OF TEXT. 
uu: ALL COLOR CODED AND FORMATTED FOR ME TO READ. AND EVERYTHING. 
uu: JuST WALLS AND WALLS. OF CANDY ASSED TOOTY FRuITY FuCKING SHIT. LOADS. OF. TEXT. 
uu: OF PEOPLE BABBLING MOSTLY. 
uu: WE ARE TALKING ABOuT MIGRAINE INDuCING DIARRHETIC VERTICAL SuICIDE DROPS OF uGLY FuCKING WORDS. 
uu: IMPENETRABLY ASININE RAINBOW FREEFALLS OF FRIVOLOuS BANTER. GOT IT? 
uu: SO I SAY. WHAT IS THIS? I TOLD YOu IF YOu SENT ME ANY MORE FAN FICTION I WOuLD FLY TO PROSPIT AND MuRDER YOu IN YOuR SLEEP. WHICH I STILL MIGHT DO *REGARDLESS*. BuT ANYWAY. 
uu: SHE SAYS THESE ARE ACTuAL ANCIENT TRANSCRIPTS! 
uu: I’M LIKE. WELL FuCK. 
uu: HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE TALK SO MuCH. 
uu: I FEEL LIKE I’M PICKING uP SOME BAD HABITS FROM YOu WINDBAGGING PISSFACES. 
uu: LOOK AT THIS. I WASN’T EVEN GONNA GO OFF LIKE THIS. 
uu: THIS WAS SuPPOSED TO BE JuST. AN IN AND OuT FuCK YOu. 
uu: I’M SO DONE HERE. 
uu: ANYWAY. LATER. YOu HORSEPORKING TWIT. 

Caliborn complains about long walls of text, only to end up doing just what he hates. He uses a bunch of lengthy metaphors to describe the unbearable walls of words, which is a common way for pesterlogs to get as long-winded as they are. This not only demonstrates he’s a massive hypocrite, but also why he is such an amazing character: he repeatedly proves himself to be braindead in all the most accidental ways. He complains about those pesterlogs being pointless and rambly but ends up starting the conversation with extremely useless bullshit and pretends it isn’t his fault.

TT: Wait. 
TT: Just one thing before you go. 
TT: Your sister was saying you were having some doubts about playing. 
TT: Is that true? 
uu: SHE’S NOT MY SISTER. 
uu: WE DON’T GOT SISTERS. IT’S NOT A THING. DON’T DRAG uS THROuGH YOuR NASTY HuMAN FAMILIAL MuD. 
uu: OF COuRSE I’M GOING TO PLAY. I WAS JuST SAYING I WOuLDN’T. YOu KNOW. TO FuCK WITH HER AND MAKE HER CRY. 
uu: LIKE I HAVE A CHOICE. BuT TO PLAY. 
uu: HOW ELSE AM I GOING TO GET OFF THIS DESOLATE ROCK? 
uu: YOu THINK I WANT TO STAY HERE? JuST HANG AROuND. TIL I JOIN THE HuNDRED BILLION CORPSES FERTILIZING THE SOIL? 

Here, Caliborn drops a few hints as to where he lives, which is yet another thing in Homestuck he despises: characters vaguely hinting at stuff. I’m sure these hints were enticing to readers at the time, and by this point they were probably all about throwing around crazy theories about the deal with those two “trolls”.

TT: You sure seem to hate us, but I notice it doesn’t stop you from talking to us frequently. Or at least to me. 
TT: Surely there must be at least one of our virtues you admire. 
uu: YES. AMBITION. THAT’S THE ONLY GOOD ONE. 
uu: AND I THINK YOu GOT THAT. WHICH IS MAYBE WHY. YOu’RE THE ONLY ONE I CAN PuT uP WITH FOR ANY DuRATION? 
uu: LET’S CALL IT A GRuDGING RESPECT. WHICH IS THE ONLY KIND THAT’S EVEN WORTH A FuCK. 
TT: I’ll take that as a rare overture of friendship. 
uu: NO. DON’T. 

Dirk is pretty much the best person possible for Caliborn to have funny conversations with (at least until Hussie’s self-insert comes in), since he’s totally able to dig into that guy and not just be annoyed with him. Dirk constantly tells Caliborn how weird and contradictory his thought processes are and stuff like that. Considering how Hussie starts doing the same, I’m reminded of how Dirk is kind of his second author avatar.

EDIT (12/29/2018): Also worth looking at my mini-post about Caliborn and Dirk’s dynamic.

TT: So, do you even know how this is going to work?
uu: WHAT.
TT: Your session. Can you even really have a session with only two players?
uu: SHE SAYS YOu CAN. AND SHE LIKES TO THINK SHE’S THE EXPERT.
uu: PERSONALLY? I DON’T CARE.
uu: MAYBE IT’S AGAINST THE RuLES. WHAT WE’RE DOING.
uu: I JuST WANT TO GET IN THERE. AND JuST.
uu: FuCK.
uu: SHIT.
uu: uP.
TT: Yeah.
TT: I sensed that was your plan.
TT: Which is kind of what I’m talking about. How can you win like that?
TT: I thought the point was to cooperate with your coplayers to achieve an objective.
TT: Not compete with them or try to kill them. I don’t think we’ve had one conversation where you didn’t express the desire to kill her. 
uu: I GuESS WE’LL JuST HAVE TO SEE. WON’T WE?
uu: I THINK THIS IS PROBABLY A DIFFERENT KIND OF SESSION.
uu: ONE WHERE THE PLAYERS FIGHT FOR SuPREMACY. RATHER THAN WORK TOGETHER.
uu: I THINK THAT IT MuST BE THAT WAY.
uu: BECAuSE THAT IS HOW I WANT IT TO BE.
uu: AND IF I WANT SOMETHING TO BE TRuE HARD ENOuGH. THEN THAT MAKES IT SLIGHTLY MORE ABSOLuTELY IRREFuTABLE. 

Caliborn’s idea of what his session will be like is in a sense two-way foreshadowing. His theory* that the players have to fight it for supremacy is reminiscent of the troll teams, which could be taken as a red herring hint that he’s a troll; his idea that the session will go this way because he wants it to is real foreshadowing, specifically of his future self’s grip on predestination.

* Who knew Caliborn theorizes about stuff much the same way Calliope does?

I love this montage of SBaHJ and Rainbow Dash cosplays so much.

uu: NOW WHERE THE HELL IS YOuR GHASTLY JuJu. 
uu: GO GET IT. AND HuRRY uP. 
TT: My juju? 
uu: THE LOATHSOME FALSE PERSON. WITH THE FLOPPY LIMBS. IN DERSITE ATTIRE. YOu LIKE TO NAP WITH. 
TT: Oh, Lil Cal? No, man. 
TT: Lil Cal is the shit. 
uu: THAT THING IS NOT THE SHIT. 
uu: IT IS AN uNCANNY GRINNING MOCKERY. A BAD OMEN. YOu SHOuLD CHOP IT uP AND BuRN IT. 
TT: No way, dude. He’s my best friend. 
uu: HOW FuCKING SAD IS THAT?? 
uu: I’M JuST TRYING. FOR ONCE. AND THE ONLY TIME EVER. TO BE HELPFuL. 
uu: THOSE THINGS. 
uu: YOu DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE. 
TT: A kickass ventriloquist doll? 
TT: I’ve been given reason to believe it once belonged to my bro. 
uu: I DON’T GIVE A SHIT. WHAT YOu BELIEVE. 
uu: THERE’S ONLY ONE REASON FOR THOSE TO EXIST. 
uu: IT IS TO TuRN THE LIFE OF EVERYONE WHO OCCuPIES THE SAME uNIVERSE WITH IT. 
uu: INTO A NIGHTMARE. 

[…]

uu: MAYBE IT DOESN’T MATTER. 
uu: MAYBE YOuRS IS uNTAINTED? I DON’T KNOW. 
uu: COuLD BE. ITS EYES LOOK… 
uu: DEAD TO ME? 
uu: MAYBE YOu LuCKED THE FuCK OuT. WITH YOuR PARTICuLAR JuJu. 

Although this conversation mostly consists of useless but funny bullshit that establishes Caliborn’s character, we also get a bit of oblique foreshadowing that’s fulfilled in Caliborn’s Masterpiece. It’s a vague introduction to the concept of jujus; it’s kind of hilarious that Caliborn, the character who represents haters of the comic, does the whole foreshadowing thing which is business as usual in Homestuck.

TT: Why do you want me to get Cal so bad? 
uu: I DON’T! 
uu: JuST THAT. I SAW YOu. SLIGHTLY AHEAD OF NOW. 
uu: CLIMBING TO THE ROOF WITH THAT THING. 
uu: SO APPARENTLY. IT’S REQuISITE FOR GETTING THE FuCK ON WITH STuFF?? 
uu: DuMBASS. 
TT: Ok. So, some self-fulfilling shit, then. I was hoping for a better reason. 
uu: WHATEVER. DON’T TAKE IT. 
uu: MAKE A PARADOX HAPPEN. WORKS FOR FuCKING ME. 
TT: At this point I’m leaning toward grabbing him just cause he seems to bother you so much. 
uu: WELL. I’VE HEARD OF WORSE REASONS FOR ACTING LIKE A STuPID PIECE OF SHIT. 

The weird thing is, the alpha kids’ thing of a character picking up Cal upon the instruction of someone connected to Lord English ends up purely contrived through paradoxes, and thus is very much in the spirit of the comic utterly lampshading and making fun of its own principle of callbacks; I’ll go over this more as Dirk and Caliborn continue discussing this stuff.

TT: This is probably a dumb question, but you don’t really care about “causal spoilers,” do you? 
uu: YES. THAT’S uNBELIEVABLY DuMB TO ASK. 
TT: Like, you don’t mind telling me I’m about to pick up Cal, and thus causing that to happen. 
TT: So I guess you similarly wouldn’t mind telling us about more significant outcomes? 
uu: IT’S NOT THAT I DON’T MIND. IT’S THAT I FAIL SPECTACuLARLY TO GIVE A SHIT. 
uu: THERE IS SuCH A BIG DIFFERENCE. 
uu: AND THE FACT THAT I MIGHT NOT CLuE YOu INTO YOuR FATE ALL THE TIME. 
uu: DuE TO MY AGGRAVATED APATHY OVER THE MATTER. 
uu: IS AN IMMuTABLE FACT. I AM STATING FOR THE RECORD. 
uu: IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT GIVING A SHIT IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE HERE. 
TT: I feel like you’ve said something like that before. 
TT: Different statements, but in that exact syntax. 
uu: OH. YOu KNOW WHAT ELSE I HATE? 
uu: WHEN THAT FuCKING HAPPENS. 

Caliborn just reiterated a recurring callback (the whole “immutable fact” thing) that, unlike the other running gags in the comic, isn’t even close to being funny. It’s a thing that’s just kind of there, and the comic just full out lampshades it, and even makes it kind of funny.

TT: Hey, you know… 
TT: For someone who has such strong opinions about long winded people, 
TT: You’ve kinda been talking my ear off. I do actually have shit to do. 
uu: uGH. 
uu: YEAH. 
uu: SEE HOW YOu PEOPLE SuCK ME INTO YOuR BuLLSHIT? 
uu: I SHOuLD HAVE KEPT IT BRIEF. AND SuRLY. LIKE I WAS GOING TO. 
uu: LIKE JuST SAID. 
uu: “HELLO DIRK.” 
uu: “I WANT TO PLAY A GAME.” 
uu: AND THEN LIKE. 
uu: “BRO.” 
uu: “ROOF. NOW.” 
uu: “BRING JuJu.” 
uu: AND THAT’S IT. 
uu: YEAH. THAT WOuLD HAVE BEEN GOOD. 
uu: COLD FuCKING BLOODED. TO THE POINT. DAMMIT. 

Once again, instead of directly calling back to the note Dave received, Caliborn remarks that’s what should’ve happened. All this basically serves no purpose other than to establish Caliborn’s character.

TT: Anyway, let’s wrap this up. 
TT: You’ve stolen enough of my time. I didn’t even get a chance to try plugging in that window. 

If only Dirk got the chance to plug in that window sooner than this, things would have gone pretty much infinitely better. Roxy would’ve landed in his apartment right next to him which would’ve been a CRAZY pleasant surprise.

And so, this scene (and pesterlog) ends with a familiar situation: Dirk carrying Cal just the way Dave did long ago. All this is setup for the act’s concluding flash, which consists almost entirely of callbacks.

Roxy punches Meenah out of the way and jumps to the fenestrated plane and don’t tell me how the fuck that’s possible. Is it because of weird workings of gravity or something? I don’t think it’s just because she can do the impossible because that’s kind of mostly Dirk’s thing. It probably is indeed weird gravity shit.

Callback to [S] Enter again.

Text above Roxy says “LASS SCAMPER!”

We’re almost done with Act 6 Act 2 now.

And so, the whole part with Roxy in the Skaianet lab also ends with a familiar image: a callback to WV entering the small confined space to switch rooms in his command station. Once again this is setup for a flash filled with callbacks.

Lil’ Seb looks through the telescope and sees another familiar image—no wait, the EXACT SAME IMAGE we saw near the end of Act 1, even though it later turns out to be something completely different. Compared to other mystery teasers in the comic, this one is extremely vague and serves not to hint at something, but set up a surprising plot twist.

You have no idea what you’re looking at here. What are you supposed to do with THIS? 

Oh well, might as well get started. It’s not like there’s anything left to do besides embarrass yourself over Pesterchum some more. You’ve already done enough of that today to last a lifetime.

This is basically the alpha kids’ equivalent of Dave and Rose’s confident “alright let’s do this thing” right before [S] Enter. I’m noting this because exciting leadup to a major flash is something the comic does sometimes (particularly with WV: Ascend, Enter, and Collide), and this page is an interesting subversion of that pattern.

Might as well get started with [S] Jane: Enter. It’s not like there’s anything left to do besides delay these posts some more. I’ve already done enough of that to last a lifetime.

Nice attention to detail with the fridge still outside the house.
And also with the mailbox suddenly resurrected.

Piles of things have a tendency not to stop from getting taller, and the callbacks in this flash are no exception. The zoom in to Jane’s house is similar to [S] John: Take bite of apple, and the way a lot of the classic Sburb stuff—opening the cruxtruder and alchemizing the entry item—is consolidated into this flash reminds me of how [S] Enter does the same. In this case, it’s because a lot of this stuff is the predictable course of action in Sburb but is still worth showing because the alpha kids’ session isn’t a weirdly fast forwarded narrative. And because much of it is subverted later on.

Another parallel to [S] Enter.

The parallels are not just to the major flashes, but also to some other smaller flashes from the early acts, which I think is kind of cool. For Dirk it’s this flash, for Roxy it’s that one.

When GCat appears and teleports Poppop’s body into outer space before it can be prototyped, it’s the exact thing that happens in [S] Jade: Enter in several ways. A first guardian warps the dead body of a grandfather into space before it can be prototyped because it would interfere with what’s destined to be prototyped; in Jade’s case it was Bec, and in Jane’s case it’s nothing. In both cases why that had to happen is a mystery arc that’s answered later, but in this case it’s especially confusing that nothing ends up prototyped in Jane’s sprite.

Jane’s entry item is just a tree, and she apparently isn’t supposed to do anything with it? She’s just as confused about it as we are. While the previous hints of this being a void session were a little suspicious, this one is flat out confusing.

First time we see a player entering the game right as it happens, not right after or before it happens. It just looks so cool seeing Jane entering like that.

And it turns out the “meteor” is actually the Condesce’s battleship, with its shadow shown above. Though the Condesce being on Earth is not a surprise, her revealing herself to the world like this is very much unexpected through the story purporting it as a meteor and has a dramatic impact.

Among the animations this flash calls back to, [S] WV: Ascend is saved for last.

Come on, I shouldn’t have to tell you what the Alternian text says.

Following the Condesce revealing herself is a montage of her turning Earth into an apocalyptic wasteland. This is similar to the montages in [S] WV: Ascend, but with a much stronger impact. Instead of just being endless deserts after the global apocalypse, we see humanity’s destruction before our very eyes, with the suspiciously peaceful world turning into, well, this. The impact is also stronger here because we’re getting a full view of where two of this story arc’s four main characters live, not just where a few side characters live.

By calling back to Act 6’s opening flash, these scenes reveal the truth about where Dirk and Roxy live in an utterly terrifying way, explicitly showing us that flash didn’t exactly show us the full picture.

Much like Act 2’s ending flash, Dirk and Roxy are both set up for a brutal face-off with a bunch of imperial drones, the same ones that were teased in a flash just before this sub-act started.

Not shown: Meenah very briefly glimpsed.

Reiterating the creepy stuff we saw at the start of Act 6 with the Condesce in full view and ending with her trademark icon? Now this is one hell of a way to end an act. It shows us every suspicious thing from Act 6 so far with the full knowledge of what’s behind the scenes and lets us know that everything is going to be massively messed up.

Time to briefly recap Act 6 Act 2.

Overall a lot of cool stuff happened in this act, including this flash above. While Act 6 Act 1 set up the alpha kids’ remastered narrative, Act 6 Act 2 revealed so much about what’s really going on, and despite the relationship drama is overall enjoyable to read. Some of the characters, Jane in particular, were kind of a rollercoaster regarding likability; meanwhile, getting to Caliborn’s debut was every bit worth the wait. For some reason I can’t bring myself to complain too much about the relationship shit because enough cool stuff happens; besides, I’m not yet at the stage when the comic starts falling apart.

See you next time as the beta kids stop being 13 years old.

>> Part 72: Gray and Purple Plot Dumps

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