Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 76: The Weirdest Apocalypse Ever Told

Introduction

Part 75 | Part 76 | Part 77 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 2 of 8 or so

Pages 4841-4861 (MSPA: 6741-6761)

NOTE: The title isn’t that fitting because I haven’t even gotten to the part about juggalos yet. But I kind of came up with it at the last minute because I finally figured out that there’s no use in delaying these posts more than I already have. Also I’m bad at post titles regardless.

NOTE 2: I hope this is the only time such a gigantic delay ever happens.

Jake lying unconscious in the frog temple transitions us to another dream bubble scene which is mostly this huge worldbuilding and exposition dump, but not before an introductory section of sorts to set the stage pretty much.

timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT] 
TT: Happy 13th, bro. 
TT: I have something for you. 
GT: Whoa nelly! 
GT: You are too kind my friend. What is it? 
TT: It’s no big deal, since it’s nothin’ I wasn’t planning on giving you anyway. 
TT: I just sort of happened to finish it today. 
GT: I think i catch your drift. 
GT: So my new tin comrade finally gets a head on his shoulders eh? 
TT: Yeah, assuming I can actually send it today without another untimely paradoxification. 
TT: If not, then hey, you get a sick grill full of birthday slime instead. 
GT: Oh hell no. HELL no man. 
GT: Well listen. If youre going to send anything to me slime or otherwise can you please at least not make the shit appear directly over my head this time? 

I think my uncertainty about what stuff with Dirk’s sendificator was predestined might be answered now? This conversation reveals that several times prior Dirk tried to send Jake parts of Brobot but destination wouldn’t let him. But now, later on Dirk successfully sends Jake the robot’s head in a way that makes it seem like a birthday present, which ends up causing those regular robot strife battles to happen. And it turns out that stuff served the ultimate purpose of driving the rabbit subplot which we basically already saw now.

GT: The last thing i need on my bday is another installment of and i quote manbro bukkake theater. 
TT: You still don’t actually know what that means, do you. 
GT: Not really? Its your friggin figure of speech man. I gathered it just meant getting slimed like in ghost busters or somesuch. 
TT: Kind of. I told you to look it up. 
GT: Yeah yeah. Im a busy fella dirk! 
GT: Wikipedia is a lot of letters to type in a thing for a man of action on the go. 
GT: Im always doing adventures remember? 
TT: That is such bullshit, you sit in your little jungle globe watching movies all day. 
GT: Well yes. But ok i have a LOT of movies to bone up on. There are so many good ones i still havent seen. 
TT: You think literally every film you watch is a masterpiece. I’ve never felt so much vicarious shame through someone else’s atrocious taste in awful garbage. 
GT: Screw you i have IMPECCABLE standards! Its just theres so much good stuff out there and ive really been on a roll with my picks lately. 
TT: Do you even hear yourself, dude? 
TT: Your “picks” are everything, and “lately” is always. 

Here we get some casual discourse between Jake and Dirk about movies, and I’m reminded of the beta kids’ banter in the early acts, particularly between John and Dave, and to an extent between pretty much anyone and Rose. In a weird way the comic mimics the conversation style of the early acts pretty well, which makes sense because those two are both 13 years old in this scene.

GT: Say heres one im pretty excited about. Have you heard about this avatar jam? Its coming out next year. 
TT: You mean the blue furry shit? 
GT: No man it is not blue furry shit far from it. Get this. It is about this paralyzed fellow who is down on his luck and longs for adventure. And he finds it! 
GT: But it is far away on an enchanted planet rich with coveted treasures. And adventure is not all that he finds oh no. He also finds romance. 
GT: A beautiful blue woman from the wild teaches him the ways of her savage culture and also the ways of alien love. Together they frolic in the forest whilst sharing primal intimacy through magic sexual escapades. 
TT: Ahahahaha. 
GT: Whats so funny wise guy? 
TT: To borrow from one of the more benighted sectors of your zeitgeist, that was “so gay.” 
GT: Excuse me but i fail to see what could possibly be gay about some huge elegant blue men and women having really spiritual intercourse with their tails or something. 

Here Jake talks about Avatar in a way that straddles the line between deliberately dated references and commentary on current events. To continue a tangent I went on in a post months ago, in the early days of the comic there were a lot of programming jokes and references to 90’s movies mean to appeal to the comic’s audience at the time, which the comic’s present audience isn’t as likely to get. Now, in a page released in 2012, we get a reference to Avatar that would probably be similar to if the comic were to update today with a reference to Frozen.* It just barely doesn’t count as referencing “fads of the moment” so to speak, which is a thing many people don’t like that much.

The weird thing about that is, despite its references to more recent media, the alpha kids’ story arc still sticks to the comic’s roots in referencing old movies like Con Air and Weekend at Bernie’s, the latter of which is mostly referenced after Act 5. I believe those serious references to old movies constitute part of the comic’s charm because it’s such an unusual thing to do. As for referencing Avatar, even that reference is fairly nostalgic rather than being a current fad sort of thing, which is especially true for the comic’s more recent audience. Though the effect certainly isn’t as strong in this case, I was only ten years old when Avatar came out so you can see where I’m getting this from, even though I still haven’t actually seen it aside from some snippets.

* Only as in characters talking about that movie, nothing like someone unironically saying “do you want to build a snowman?” (dear god please no)

TT: Here, let me send you the rest of this robot already. 
TT: You’ve spent too long alone on that island as it is. I kinda worry about you. 
TT: A man can only spend so much time in the middle of the damn ocean with nothing but popcultural detritus and his own thoughts to keep him company. 
GT: Alrighty. 
GT: I hope it wont be as difficult to finish building as the rest was to assemble. 
TT: No, just screw the thing on and it’s ready to go. 

You have to wonder what Dirk was thinking when he made Jake this robot. His pesterlogs have generally made him seem like a well-intentioned guy, mainly in comparison to his responder—it’s clear that he ultimately is. Even his first pesterlog with Jane showed us he was a lot more straightforward than that robot clone. However, we still aren’t sure why he did all the things he did, especially since this was before his responder came to be—more on that a little later.

TT: Oh cool. It worked. 
GT: Hehe. You nerd. 
GT: Hes got your slick japanese spectacles and everything. 
GT: Why is this a metal man before me or is it none other than dirk strider himself in my room?? 
TT: One thing at a time, bro. I haven’t quite figured out a way to get myself there yet. 
GT: It almost sounds like this is something youve given some thought… 

[…]

TT: Well, I wasn’t sure about doing this today, but if it’s true that you do believe in me, then I guess fuck it, why not. 
GT: Why not what? 
TT: I guess call it an extra birthday present. But instead of a present that’s awesome, consider it more like a weird confession that may change the way you feel about me. 
GT: Whoa uh… 
GT: Dirk are you… uh… 
GT: Saying what i think? 
TT: What? 
TT: What do you think I’m saying here? 
GT: Uh never mind sorry for interrupting. 
GT: Should i sit down for this i dont know what to do. 
GT: Wait i already am sitting down. Maybe i should stand up? 
TT: No, just chill out. Stand up, sit down, whatever. Here’s the thing. 
TT: You know all these painfully obvious hints I’ve been dropping? That always seem to be flying over your head? 
GT: Ummmmmmmm. 
GT: Maybe? 
GT: I think i need a towel or something. 

Here Jake picks up on some hints at Dirk having a thing for him in a way that gets you wondering about how oblivious to stuff he actually is. If this was the first onscreen conversation between Jake and (a version of) Dirk, or if it wasn’t just in a flashback scene, this would come off as shippy as all hell. But instead it just sort of makes you think about both characters involved.

TT: I actually have so much to do and think about, one of my current projects hopefully will address that very issue. 
TT: Gonna make an AI replica of my own mind. He can share some of the load. As well as make a decent intellectual sparring partner, ideally. 
TT: Not that my conversations with you aren’t uniquely rad. But you know what I mean. 
GT: See again i think you are downplaying a pretty neat accomplishment if you ask me. 
TT: Shrug. We’ll see. 
GT: Does that mean I’ll have to deal with two dirks? 
GT: One who is MORE MACHINE THAN MAN… 
GT: And another who is a computer program you made hahahahahahaha. 
TT: That’s a super joke. 
TT: But I’m guessing you won’t be hearing much from the program. It probably won’t play a significant role in either of our lives. 
TT: I have my doubts it’ll be a successful project, but who knows. 

Here’s another thing about Dirk we aren’t totally sure about. Dirk later admits that he isn’t sure why he created his responder and all that, and when you consider that we have even less of an idea what Bro’s motives were I guess that’s sort of the thing with him, being mysterious and all that.

2019 EDIT: God, these posts are starting to kind of suck again. Makes sense because it’s one of the last before my massive pause.

TT: You know all these painfully obvious hints I’ve been dropping? That always seem to be flying over your head? 
GT: Ummmmmmmm. 
GT: Maybe? 
GT: I think i need a towel or something. 
TT: About me being from the future. 
GT: Oh! 
GT: Oh. Yes. 
GT: I think so. 
TT: Well those weren’t jokes. It’s true. 
GT: What? Oh man are you actually serious?? 
TT: Yes. 
GT: So like… 
GT: You ARE from a century in the future. 
TT: No. More like four centuries. 
TT: The year 2422. 
TT: Or as we say contemporarily, 411 P.C. 
TT: Post Condescension. 

Sequences elaborating on what happened in flashes (in this case Jane: Enter) didn’t stop being a thing or anything. This reveal kicks off a big exposition sequence that is similar in a way to the ending credits: both go in depth through worldbuilding about changes in civilization that were just sort of touched upon in a preceding flash.

GT: WOW. 
GT: I must say this is not the announcement i was expecting. 
GT: So you are a time traveler from 2422 here to help me build robots or something? 
TT: No, I can’t time travel. I can only send things through time, occasionally. 
TT: I actually live here in the future, alone in my apartment. I can send messages to you in the past though, like I’m doing now. 
GT: How? 
TT: Years ago our alien friend sent me a special chat client. It’s basically just Pesterchum, with some sort of alien technology embedded. 
TT: It’s specifically wired to communicate with your time period. As hours go by for me, the time it sends messages to also increments by the same amount, so we communicate in lockstep. As if we both existed in the present. 
TT: She said it was important for Roxy and I to begin communicating with you and Jane. This is how we all became friends. 

Here’s yet another thing Calliope and Jade have in common: they both got their groups of friends together (the parallel pile will never stop from getting taller). Except in Calliope’s case it’s a little weird because she’s almost inserting herself in the alpha kids’ story by making them become friends and all that.

GT: So whats the far flung future like? Some sort of crazy robo paradise? 
TT: Not quite, but there are definitely robots. 
GT: Oh man what are your movies like in the future?? I bet there are some real cinematic humdingers. Like holographic stuff? Or shit you plug directly into your brain pod right? Wait you do have brain pods right? 
TT: No. We don’t have brain pods because those aren’t a thing, you just made that up. And there are no movies in the future. 
TT: There are no humans either. They all went extinct. 
TT: Roxy and I are the only ones left, as far as we know. 
GT: Well shit. 
GT: Dirk this story got so much less awesome. 

[…]

GT: So how does humanity fuck up? Is it the nuclear holocaust? Or is it robots? Gotta be the robots right? As per the terminator. 
TT: No, it’s more of a gradual decline in population than that, due to an insidious power grab by an aquatic alien empress. 
GT: Oh the old alien overlord story? Got it. When does she show up? 

Amusingly, Jake asking what the future is like basically amounts to asking what movie he can match it up with.

GT: There he is finished. 
GT: Look at this spanking iron friend from the future. He is perfect. 
GT: Oh shoot dirk he just got blurry and disappeared! What the actual fuck? 
TT: Don’t worry, that’s normal. 
TT: Upon activation he goes into Stalking Mode. 
GT: Stalking mode?? 
TT: Yes. He will stalk you in the jungle and strike when your guard is down. 
GT: What? Thats crazy why would i want that! 
TT: Didn’t you want someone to get in scrums with? 
GT: Well yeah but… man. 
TT: He will give you all the scrums you can handle. Trust me, this will sharpen your combat skills. 
GT: I guess youre right. 
GT: I was just picturing a little good honest rough housing… why does the whole thing have to sound so sketchy and nerve wracking! 
 

It’s weird how immediately Jake regrets having a robot to fight with, as if his relationship with Dirk wasn’t already messed up enough. If you consider that the real Dirk in present scenes has hardly said a thing about this situation—closest besides his responder is stuff he’s said to Jane—suddenly the whole thing of Bro being mysterious kicks into full view again.

TT: She’s already there, in your time period, hiding in plain sight. She has been for anywhere between fifty and a hundred years. 
TT: She’s the Baroness of Crockercorp. Jane’s company. But of course Jane has no idea. 
TT: The Baroness has been using subtle strategies to manipulate the human population through her company for a long time. 
TT: On November 11th, 2011, she finally made her presence known to the world, along with her agenda for global domination. 
GT: Jeez that is pretty scary. So in a few years she will be in charge of everything? 
TT: No, not quite. That’s just when the world finally sees her for the threat she is. She would continue to gain power by exploiting various institutions and the media from within. 
TT: It would take the next several decades for her to claim the throne as Earth’s absolute ruler. Her march to domination was facilitated by a number of scumbag sympathizers, and opposed by a few brave rebels, including my ancestor. Roxy’s too. 
TT: I think your ancestor qualifies as one too. In fact I’m sure she must have been the first member of the covert opposition movement. 

And so, the worldbuilding meter starts blasting through the roof. While Jane: Enter basically gave us a montage simply of the world being destroyed, now we’re going into some crazy deep details. I’m not going to lie, it’s some pretty delicious worldbuilding right there. And also pretty horrifying.

Wait a minute isn’t that Jane’s neighborhood?

TT: Nobody at the time knew what the fuck she wanted to accomplish or what her actual motives were. 
TT: But in retrospect it became clear she was trying to essentially restore the conditions of her old home world, which she used to rule over as well. 
TT: She began instituting these crazy laws. First of all, people weren’t allowed to reproduce. She found our usual method of procreation revolting, and anyone who engaged in it was punished by death. 
TT: But she still needed an ongoing population of subjects to abuse, so to propagate the race she set up this weird system. 
TT: At random intervals every citizen would be required to supply their genetic material to drones. That DNA would be collected and combined in some way. 
TT: Many years later, long after the original donors had died, clones would be spawned from their DNA. So no one would ever be able to know who their “parents” were, or be able to trace their lineage. 
TT: It was only through a bit of good fortune that Roxy and I were able to discover who our ancestors were. 
GT: They were the rebels you mentioned? Are they alive right now? 
GT: I mean in my time? 
TT: Yes. 
GT: Oh! I am very curious about them and also my grandma. 
TT: I’ll get to them, don’t worry. 
TT: Anyway, “Her Imperious Condescension” turned out to be especially cruel to her human subjects. I’m sure her rule was no picnic on her home world, but I think she resented humans’ biological incompatibility with the ideal empire she envisioned, and became frustrated. 
TT: Humanity wasn’t even really her first choice for rule. There are reports that she attempted to clone members of her own species and replace the human population with them. But they all died. 

From Dirk’s exposition, it’s clear more than anything that the Condesce took over the world purely out of hunger for power, which is something I never really thought to think about: in other words, she is a fucking crazy bitch.

As much as Dirk elaborates on all this, we still don’t totally know the deal with this thing or where it came from.

Did I mention that the comic is yet again doing the thing where it accompanies exposition with pictures of relevant scenes? This one shown above is a little mysterious thing we saw in Jane: Enter, shown so that Dirk can elaborate on the deal with it, which is an obvious example of clarifying things that happened in prior flashes.

GT: What happened to them? 
TT: The rumors say it was her own “pet” who killed them. 
TT: See, she traveled from her world to Earth in this huge red space ark. 
TT: In it she had gathered thousands of creatures from her planet, I’m guessing to save them from extinction. 
TT: This more than anything has led me to speculate that some cataclysm happened on her home world, and she moved on to greener pastures to rebuild her empire. 
TT: She bred all these creatures in secret, increasing their numbers, preparing for her eventual takeover. 
TT: Each monster, or “lusus naturae,” was meant to be kind of a caretaker of the young. You can see where the dramatic schism between our species and hers begins, and also why she had a reputation for being quite insane. 

And so we finally understand the deal with the trolls’ lusii being around Jake’s island, in a way that reveals there’s more to that—multiple things even—than meets the eye. It turns out that when the Condesce traveled to Earth, somehow, she brought these creatures with them which explains everything in a surprisingly convenient way. Well, everything except Gl’bgolyb being alive again.

TT: But she also happens to have this one humongous sea monster lusus that is like her own personal bodyguard, and kind of a secret weapon. 
TT: But it turns out the thing is kind of an enigma. Sort of a double edged eldritch horror. As much in her service as it is calling the shots, in some unfathomable way. 
TT: Every time she tried to resurrect her race, it would slaughter them all psychically. As if it was keeping her ambition in check. 
TT: Or so the story goes. 

It turns out that Gl’bgolyb was behind the Condesce not being able to bring back the troll race. So that thing is one of the Horrorterrors, right? You know what that means: it’s further proof that Earth’s population going dead was predestined. I already went over why that needed to happen, because it’s why Dirk and Roxy were sent to the future and the alpha kids had no choice but to start up Sburb. Seems like even the witch is ultimately a slave of predestination, which is of course embodied in the form of Lord English.

GT: Wait… these beasts tend to the young?? 
GT: I can tell you from first hand experience that monsters are totally rotten at taking care of kids! 
GT: They do a bangup job of making em scared though. 😦 

During this whole sequence, we have plenty of moments like this when Jake knows exactly what Dirk is talking about (see also the prior time I didn’t quote when Jake talked about what his grandma told him about her childhood). Those all seem to indicate how the Condesce really does have this sort of omnipresence thing going on.

TT: Later she instated a lusidroid system to serve the same function, as she began phasing in more robotic solutions in favor of all this ill conceived biotech nonsense that always did nothing but backfire. 
TT: Even drones were replaced with robotic versions. I imagine they were just easier to produce and control, since she’d given up hope of perfectly mirroring her own civilization in all its convoluted symbiotic glory. 
TT: But not without a good fight, and not without taking her frustrations out on the human population. 
TT: She attempted to enforce “blood casting” through efforts to genetically alter people’s blood color. That was an ugly chapter. Lotta fuckin’ people died from that debacle. 

Through this example of how the Condesce destroyed humanity through trying to install troll culture, I think it’s clear that the hemospectrum is more than anything a symbol of troll civilization and how messed up it is, since it’s been repeatedly proven that it doesn’t actually mean anything.

TT: Over the last four hundred years, the population just got smaller and smaller from these atrocities piling up. But she clearly didn’t give a shit. 
TT: All the while, the amount of dry land kept shrinking due to the gradual flooding. 
TT: Soon there was hardly anywhere left to live, and then, that was that. No more people. 
GT: Damn. 
GT: Wait… 
GT: Flooding? 
TT: Oh. Yeah, I probably should have mentioned this up front. 
TT: One of the first things she did while in power was begin melting the ice caps. 
TT: It took a while, but eventually the whole world flooded. 
TT: That’s how it is now. It’s totally soaked up in this bitch. 

While it was obvious that the Condesce’s priorly mentioned actions were to try to bring back troll society, we don’t even know why the she flooded the world or anything like that. Did it make her feel at home to live in this big water world or something? I’m sure there’s a mysterious reason for that, but who even knows.

GT: Wow like the epic kevin costner film? 
TT: Almost exactly. Especially by the same degree of shittiness. 
GT: Oh man does that mean you have to drink your own pee?????? 
TT: You get used to the taste. Welcome it, even. 
TT: That takes about 15 days in a row of hard piss drinking though. 
GT: Ewwwwwwwwwwww no dude. No ew. 😦 
TT: Relax, I don’t drink any goddamn piss, ok? 
GT: Oh ok. Whew. 

Right in the middle of a serious discussion on the world being destroyed, suddenly we get a callback to the very first pesterlog in the comic. It doesn’t have too much of a point besides giving a sort of nostalgic taste, but due to its wording it isn’t a precise callback and it (probably) takes a bit of a sharp eye to catch.

GT: I guess your lusis droid thingy sees to it that you have fresh water? 
TT: Nope. Those stopped being a thing a long time ago too, once humans went extinct. 
GT: Oh i thought… 
GT: Hm. Well who raised you then? 
TT: Nobody, man. I raised my damn self. 
GT: ! 
GT: Jesus christofer kringlefucker and here i thought i was rugged! 
TT: You’re still pretty rugged. You’re just a fucking dork about it. 
GT: Thats true. 
TT: I guess I did have Cal looking after me. 
TT: Let’s not discount the rad service of the C-man, ok? 
GT: Heaven forbid. 

Dirk having raised himself is something that Hussie has waved off as nothing more far fetched than the crazy stuff Bro did, like slicing a meteor in half. At this point it’s more or less fitting though since we’ve now been acquainted with what’s basically the deal with Dirk: being mysterious and somehow able to do crazy things.

At this point it seems like we’re revisiting pretty much every scene in the second half of the prior sub-act’s concluding flash and revealing what really happened beyond just that montage.

GT: And what about roxy? 
TT: Pretty sure the Carapacians took care of her when she was young. 
GT: Wait the whatsits? 
TT: Right. Another thing I forgot to mention. 
TT: There are a lot of these humanoid creatures with hard shells. Some black, some white. 
TT: As humanity was dwindling due to an increasingly whimsical and psychopathic Condesce, she began introducing more of these Carapacians on to the scene. 
GT: Are they aliens too? 
TT: Uh… 
TT: Sort of. They are definitely from other planets, so, yeah. Really the deal with where they came from is a whole other story for another time. 
TT: But the bottom line is at some point, somehow, she started herding a bunch of them from their home worlds on to Earth and multiplying them. 
TT: Something like a hundred years ago it became clear she favored these guys more than humans as her subjects. 
TT: They’re very loyal and seem genuinely dedicated to serving her. Must be what they were bred for. She still treats them like shit though, unsurprisingly.

When the Condesce finally found a species she could decently rule over, all hope was lost already so I guess it makes sense that was allowed to happen through predestination and all that.

TT: All these colonies started sprouting up. Like these modular cities floating on the water. 
TT: It probably sounds cooler than it is. But they’re basically slums. That’s where they tend to live in large numbers. 
TT: Roxy lives in one of these colonies. It’s about 2000 miles from where I am. 

Yet another example of Dirk clarifying the events of that apocalyptic montage, by actually describing the deal with those mysterious compound floating structures we saw Roxy live in.

GT: Good gravy. Those are exotic circumstances! 
GT: And here i was thinking i had the most exciting and adventurous life. It turns out im just some chump on boring ass monster island in the silly old PRE apocalypse. 
TT: For what it’s worth, I think it’s gotta be more interesting living in the 21st century than the 25th. 
TT: Like it’s really no contest. 
GT: Youre probably right. 
GT: Id be really keen on talking to roxy about this too! 
GT: Im very curious about her experiences as a future lady with all the whatsits. The hard shell folk. 
GT: I must say it turns my previous perception of your lives right on its friggin ear. 
TT: Man, she would love to talk to you about all this. 
TT: She hates keeping secrets. It’s been killing her not to spill all these fucking beans way the hell prematurely. 
GT: Like what is even your day to day business like in sea hitlers water apocalypse?? 
TT: Well, I mostly shit around in my apartment all day, building stuff, reading about history, and flipping out with my sword. 
TT: Sometimes I go fishing and check out the underwater ruins. 

Here Dirk gives a quick but thirst-quenching description of what his everyday life is like in a way that almost feels weirdly quaint. It’s yet another thing that somehow feels crazy satisfying compared to later content, in this case how weirdly vague a fair portion of the credits are on the kids’ lives as I discussed in that post giving thoughts about them. For quite a long time now, I’ve probably spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about just how weird the problems with the late comic are. Right now these posts are still actual commentary and thoughts on the comic but I can actually see these posts turn into full out criticism once I hit a certain point. I’m not quite there yet, don’t worry.

I like how this image gives a live demonstration of what Roxy’s life is actually like without switching focus to her.

TT: She does plenty of useless fucking around too, but at least she’s got a neighborhood. 
TT: She also uses one of her gadgets to gank vegetables and stuff from the past. 
TT: She tries to feed the hungry neighbors whatever she can scrounge up. 

I guess I was wrong about Roxy appearifying pumpkins being a mystery arc for attentive readers. Here Dirk gives a clear answer to it that solves a question in a surprisingly emotional way.

GT: Wow i still have so many questions.
GT: Its incredible that this is all going to happen right around the corner! I dunno if im ready…
TT: Like I said, the changes will be a little more gradual than that. More clandestine. She’ll exploit the fear caused by her revelation to the world to create intended reactions within governments and media, and her agents embedded on the inside will help nudge things in the direction she wants.
TT: Then, twenty-some years down the road, without anyone suspecting a thing, she’ll suddenly be in complete control. And Earth will be fucked.
GT: I want to join the opposition!
GT: Fuck this witch i have lots of guns and reckless bravado and i want to stop her. Ill pick up where my grandma left off!
TT: Well, aside from the main reasons that won’t happen, which I won’t get into…
TT: It still wouldn’t be a good idea.
GT: Horse shit why not?!
TT: Cause people way better at this than you tried and died? 

Jake doesn’t even consider that he already knows the world is going to be destroyed in the future when wanting to go against that which seems to me like someone not thinking in terms of predestination; in a weird way that’s kind of an admirable thing to see characters say, even if it’s coming out of Jake’s mouth.

While the scenes from when Jade was little were generally bright and sunny, just look at what’s going on here.

For some reason I never noticed the Condesce’s battleship being in the sky in this scene.

Next Jake recounts the day he found his grandma dead and let’s talk about how heartwrenching this scene is. When we learned how Jade’s grandpa died, she immediately started talking about how traumatizing it was for her which made for a sudden deep mood switch. But Jake’s equivalent scene is inherently sad and presented that way all on its own.

Then we see that Jake had to burn his grandma’s body which is also depressing. While Jade having stuffed her grandpa was only mentioned offhand and is mostly kind of creepy, this preservation feels a lot more bare boned. Jake even says he stored her ashes in the ruins in his attempt to honor her.

GT: I would have loved to give her a proper and dignified memorial like janes granddad got. 
GT: God jane is so lucky every day in her household must be like weekend at bernies! What a riot it must be im so jealous. 
TT: Yeah, what a fucking treat. 
TT: A living room corpse party every goddamn day. 
GT: I know right!!! 

… and then, suddenly this scene is ruined by Jake being ridiculous. Way to litter black comedy all over a sad scene yet again. I don’t even think Jake realizes that the two guys in Weekend at Bernie’s were desperately trying not to get in trouble, not just goofing around with a guy’s corpse for humor value.

Also that movie’s premise took way too long to set up.

GT: I sure miss my grandma though she was the best. 
TT: She was definitely very brave, if the stories are true. Downright audacious, I’d say. 
GT: What did you hear? 
TT: Well, like I said. She was raised by the Baroness. It was probably a worse childhood than either of us had. 
TT: She wasn’t related obviously. Ain’t nobody’s related to a damn fish alien. Except other fish aliens probably. 
TT: She had an adoptive brother too. Life must have been miserable for both of them. 
GT: Yes i vaguely remember her mentioning him. 
GT: Cripes the things she told me now that i think about it. She said the witch even killed her dog! 
GT: Is that true? 
TT: I don’t know, but wouldn’t doubt it. 

[…]

TT: Anyway, your grandma managed to run away when she was quite young. Maybe it was a traumatic event like dog murder that prompted her to flee, who knows. 

Here, Dirk echoes the story of Nanna and Grandpa in a way that’s basically the same, but once again naturally more upsetting because of Jake mentioning what happened to their dog this time around. And also because of young Jade supposedly having legitimate reason to run away, not just liking adventure or whatever.

TT: Whatever the case, her bro stayed behind. The guy must have been seriously immune to witnessing fucked up shit, because he went on to be a famous comedian. A real kindly old cornball. A nicer guy you couldn’t hope to meet, they say. 

Meanwhile, John staying behind is attributed to his stranger character traits: as Dirk says, being “seriously immune to witnessing fucked up shit”. That aspect is probably one of the stranger parts of John’s character, and ultimately I’m not totally sure how true it is, whether he really just chooses not to think about stuff to hard or what. Right now I’m kind of antsy to hear from him again, but for now at least we know his scratched self led a happy life.

TT: There are other urban legends that she did a lot of experiments on animals and people. Mostly to do with mind control.
TT: Like figuring out ways to unlock all of her psychic alien potential, to increase her power.
TT: Not sure if that’s true, or if it was actually successful though. 

Here the Condesce suddenly gains an extra layer of power that’s revealed in a kind of offhand way, as something that Dirk doesn’t actually know about. It’s a weird way to introduce such powers but I guess it makes sense to do it amidst this whole sequence.

Did I mention that Skaianet is ominous in a considerably more blatant way this time around?
I probably did but I don’t care to check.

TT: That kid kept the family name but obviously your grandma didn’t.
TT: She must’ve held a grudge against the Baroness her whole life. She started by taking a different name she knew would stick in her craw.
GT: Oh! I remember this.
GT: I believe she said the witch used to be married to a terrible man named english.
GT: So because the witch really hated that guy she took on his name as sort of a big ole fuck you to the woman?
TT: That’s probably close to the truth, but it sounds like the kind of story an old lady tells her young grandson in a way he would understand. Or at least wouldn’t scare the shit out of him.
TT: What I’ve read is something much more sinister, as usual.
TT: There’s supposedly only one thing the Baroness fears, and your grandma learned of this somehow.
TT: It wasn’t an ex husband though. It was her superior. Some kind of demon, or another alien, no one really knows. But he went by the name English. He’s supposedly even more brutal than she is, if you can believe that. 

Here we’re finally learning the deal with the ominous stuff we saw on Jake’s side of things, stuff that didn’t get as much focus as the whole Betty Crocker stuff (Jane being more focused on than others, how weird is that???). The deal with that, and Jake’s last name for that matter, wasn’t as blatantly suggested beforehand so this is certainly pretty new.

GT: So im named after a demon? What kind of demon is named english anyway?
TT: What kind of alien is named Crocker? It’s probably just a name he stole from someone else, like the Baroness did. 

Man, the foreshadowing here is unreal once again. The best part is that it’s completely offhand and forgettable. I remember once finding that bit of foreshadowing while searching through the comic, but then I completely forgot about it until just now.

I’m not going to comment on this image at all other than that there’s no way in hell that it didn’t make readers go wild with theories.

TT: Lalonde took a more maternal view of her ancestor.
GT: The lady who wrote all the dreary wizard books i presume?
TT: Yeah, the CotL series. Ever read it? 
GT: No i tried its too depressing. And also uh kind of impossible to understand?
GT: I told roxy i liked it though i didnt want to hurt her feelings so dont say i said that.
GT: I think ill wait for the movies to come out i bet ill like those better.
TT: You don’t say?
GT: I do say! Hey you mustve seen them what being in the future are they any good?
TT: They are not.
GT: Phooey to that. Like i even believe you!
TT: The books are pretty interesting though, if somewhat dense.
TT: They’re supposedly heavily allegorical. Veiled representations of cosmic events surrounding the witch and her boss and how all this came about.
TT: It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t pick up on unless you were someone who understood what happened, like the Condesce, which was kind of the point. I think it was her way of letting the witch know, “I’m on to you.” 

In the prior act, we got a bit of a taste of what sort of weird allegory stuff is in adult Rose’s books; now Dirk explains that as a retelling of the Condesce’s life and all that. Now here’s something right there that’s very different when you reread the comic. The first time reading the comic, the descriptions of those wizard stories probably just seem like a bunch of weird fluff. But they’re a lot weirder when rereading if you stop to think about it, and you really get the effect of everything being symbolism you can’t quite pick apart. It’s an effect that stays even after you come as close as you can to fully understanding the comic.

OK this isn’t a great stopping point but I’ve delayed these posts for way too long. See you next time as I guess I start going over more about the Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff movies? 

>> Part 77: What Is “Actuality?”

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