Act 6 Act 3, Part 6
Pages 4932-4962 (MSPA: 6832-6862)
Bet you didn’t expect a new Homestuck blog post to come now, did you? I wrote this post on a whim in a few hours; explanation coming shortly.
In the no-nonsense spirit of the Draconian Dignitary, the character we’re currently following, I’m just going to comment on interesting things that happen in the comic and act like nothing ever happened. Weird how that was kind of a perfect place to put the post series on hiatus for almost two years.
I don’t know if I’ve said it on this blog before, but I’ve always felt that the Derse agents are an underrated part of the comic. If the trolls didn’t exist, maybe the agents could have gotten more attention; they’re just a fun quartet of four personalities. Though I guess the intermission did serve as a way to characterize those four in a completely alien setting. A bit of a shame they didn’t get much closure in the end, besides the BULLSHIT that the beta kids’ Jack was spared in the end and not the others.
Instead of painstakingly trying to comment on everything, here’s the first thing from this arc focusing on DD that I find interesting:
By now the [prince] is up to his goddamn neck in convoluted gothic architecture. He’s burrowed fuck deep in flying buttresses and purple pointy things. He even stopped by the boss’s CUBICLE OF VIGILANCE and sliced up his FENESTRATED WALLS to make searching for him harder. Cunning bastard.
Dirk’s rebellion against Derse is discussed here. I’d be damned if I remembered what the point of that arc is at all. I kind of want to say it’s another thing that had a lot of untapped potential. I remember thinking years ago that Jade and Dirk secretly have a bit in common, both being longtime dreamers on their planets but with vastly different stories behind them. Jade and Dirk talking was a curveball that I kind of hoped would happen at some point, but it really is too good to be true. Hell, the only beta/alpha kid dynamic that strongly happened that I’d say was a bit of a curveball was John and Roxy, which again didn’t get closure due to BULLSHIT. (Though at this point, the important part was that their cute interactions did happen at all.)
Oh Christ I’m getting carried away here. Maybe that’s a good thing though! I’m right now trying to just write this post, without getting too self-conscious. Anyway the main point here is that maybe if Jade and Dirk talked more, this plot point about Dirk rebelling against Derse would be remembered more, instead of all those ships sticking out like a sore thumb.
There used to be a 4th one, but you don’t know what happened to it. There was a rumor circulating that some old woman made off with it some time ago, before the new queen took over. Whatever happened, it’s nothing to worry about now.
Jade’s grandpa exploring the kids’ universe was this whole background plot that I’m pretty sure confused most readers, but Jake’s grandma exploring was just subtly referenced here. Maybe that was the right way to do it. Post-scratch Jade has always been one of the most mysterious characters in the comic, with her role in history mostly just discussed in the background. What this is a symbol for, I don’t know and I don’t feel like concerning myself with just yet.
After this point, DD goes on to discuss his calm, dignified interactions with the Condesce. He seems willing to do his work, but mostly confused by everything. If I was reading this for the first time, I imagine I would be a little confused as to what his motivations are. But instead, I’m reading this not surprised to know that what he ultimately cares for in life is chilling out with Jane’s dad about businessman stuff.
See, you tell the boss this is his problem. He’s too blunt about his ambitions. Don’t get you wrong. It’s all well and good for a man to keep his eyes on the prize. But he doesn’t always need to step over a thousand corpses and swim across rivers of blood to get there. You remind him there are slicker ways to make your moves, especially when it comes to a lady. Now that you think about it, Slick would be a good ironic nickname for him. Might be good for a laugh, callin’ him that. Or it would if you actually ever laughed.
DD’s dynamic with Jack is something I completely forgot existed! I think it’s made pretty obvious their relationship falls into the moirallegiance (moiraillegiance? god how do you spell that…) quadrant, which is shown with their B1 universe versions too. Those two really fit well as foils to each other. I’m not sure what exactly I’m getting at with this paragraph, other than reminding myself that this dynamic exists.
As for the passage discussing Spades Slick’s name, I think it demonstrates that the characters and names of the Midnight Crew were probably thought up on the spot. Even though after saying that I remembered Slick named himself after Bilious Slick, it’s still pretty fun seeing that oddball arc of the comic revisited. But out of all the parts of Homestuck that need overthinking, this absolutely isn’t one of them, so moving on.
(Damn, it feels great casually going through the comic and talking about it! That hiatus did wonders to me.)
Regal types can be very touchy, even the ones who seem to revel in anarchy. But if you know all the right things to say and do, she will happily hand over the keys to the kingdom, so to speak.
OK clearly I’m a bit out of touch with the comic, though again I think that’s a good thing! I forgot that DD really did want to take over Derse, but without actually being much of a bad guy. I’ll probably revisit this train of thought when he and Jane’s dad turn out to be birds of a feather.
DD puts on the ring, leading to an epic callback to [S] Jack: Asc—oh wait.
You’re not feeling it. That little number was way too big for its britches. You could just tell it was gonna blast off, and next thing you know is everyone’s on their feet cutting a rug, making complete fools of themselves. This ain’t no sock hop.
Why does everything have to be so flashy and frenetic? What’s the big hurry, anyway?
God bless you, DD. I was just starting to not look forward to painstakingly analyzing those long, overcomplicated animations Homestuck loves to do.
Instead we get the best flash in the comic. This post was originally going to be titled “I’m Back (ft. the best flash in the comic)”. You better believe I sang along with the song, the whole way through.
[S] DD: Ascend more casually made me glad I decided to get back to these posts. It’s a lovely recap of what all our favorite characters are up to now, mixed with some old scenes one might remember, all made in the style of an AMV. I memorized the entire contents of this flash by heart at one point and I think I even came up with alternate contents of it for some reason?
I actually don’t remember how many of these scenes are old and how many are new. Well I kind of do, but it’s all wrapped in the back of my head in this weird mechanical manner.
After we get some pictures of DD’s “grey ladies” porn, we’re treated to Jade and Davesprite chilling out, reading their favorite webcomic together. Another nice thing I forgot about; absolutely a nostalgia mine that put a smile on my face.
This scene says to the reader, “Hey guys, if you liked Meenah, then be excited for updates coming soon.” And the scene that follows, with Jake and Aranea meeting Meenah and the meteor crew, sticks out in my head as a fun scene that is legitimately expository in unusual, unexpected ways. I’m looking forward to covering it.
Oh hey there old friend…
And Ms. Paint. Let’s not forget she exists.
What a precious cinnamon roll.
Seeing what Spades Slick, a.k.a. the character everyone unconditionally loves, is up to now, somehow fits perfectly in this flash. I like how Hussie (the author) just took the opportunity to throw in a Slick scene into this chill, lighthearted montage.
After we see that PM is STILL chasing Bec Noir, Jane and Dirk on their dream planets, and Gamzee being wackyzany, here’s another highlight:
Seeing Vriska as a background character is also somehow super refreshing.
I like how this scene could’ve been put right after the DOTA flash, but instead was just thrown into this animation. It isn’t even in the right spot chronologically—we already saw Vriska complain to Tavros about the orange guy earlier. But who cares either way? Who would’ve guessed there could be an actual scene with Vriska in it, where anyone could discuss it without going into a lengthy diatribe about her? The later Vriska scenes are something I am not looking forward to covering.
This scene needs no explanation. It is just there. God bless.
Dirk fights the Condesce’s drones (what were they called again?), Roxy runs away, and Jane explores her planet sporting a nice hat. More scenes that could’ve been set to narration but instead are just there. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the alpha kids for quite a while now, so it’s much more refreshing to see them in a montage.
Is this the first time the Condesce is shown to be mind controlling God Cat/GCat/whatever? I’m going to assume it is; I hope I’m not wrong. I think that this flash shows her mind-controlling the in a short, but sweet, way. I kind of forgot about this whole plot point of the Condesce controlling the cat; I really can’t remember what bad she does with it. It is addressed after the retcon, where he is deliberately made a non-threat. Though I shouldn’t be getting ahead of myself.
Whew, that flash was a fun one to cover! Definitely a change of pace.
Obligatory reminder that this is a big Problem Sleuth callback, in case you forgot.
DD puts on the ring and doesn’t change appearance at all. How’s that for an ultimate subversion?
He uses the ring to become invisible, but that becomes useless. However, that last bit really catches you by surprise:
FINALLY, some action! DD’s style of hunting down our heroes is so much cooler than Jack’s it’s unreal.
This whole subplot fits really well with the alpha kids’ plot’s tendency to subvert expectations. DD replaces Jack’s role, done in a completely different style. ‘Til next time, old dignitary. Looking forward to seeing you dressed up fancy.
Oh hey, now we’re back to Jane. Perfect character to switch back to, being much less wacky than the other three in her group and easy to go through when returning from a long hiatus.
She’s currently in the process of looking for her father, which is another subplot I forgot about. If I recall, Jane is taking a bit of a break from her drama and instead exploring her planet and this intriguing, dead world.
Once again skipping to the first interesting thing: Jane gets her wallet and sees a note from her dad. She thinks her father has so many fatherly notes that sometimes he mixes them up, which she finds endearing.
I actually don’t remember where this arc of Jane looking for her father leads to, if anywhere; all I know is that at some point, her father is revealed to be imprisoned. So I suppose I can read this part as if reading for the first time. And I really have pretty much nothing to say about this; maybe her pesterlog with Dirk’s responder will change that.
TT: Shred it.
TT: you HAVE
TT: the car.
TT: Now shred it.
TT: Turn it into grist.
GG: I am not going to destroy my dad’s car.
This is a hell of a pesterlog to get things back to. A silly SBaHJ reference followed by an actual attempt at advancing the kids’ game of Sburb.
What follows in Jane’s conversation with AR needs little quoting: he claims that Jane should start finding monsters to fight, in order to gain grist and level up. She isn’t feeling it though, and would rather level up on her echeladder or whatever else through innocent means.
TT: This ain’t about whatever stuff you’re apparently fixin’ to twist your shit in a pretzel over.
TT: You just need to get stronger, is all. Don’t you think that’s what your dad would want?
GG: You don’t need to remind me about that. I’m suddenly having flashbacks to a few years ago when he would ambush me almost every day for a pointless round of strife.
GG: Boy does getting swatted with brooms and having cakes shoved in your face get old fast.
Did I talk about this when going through the very beginning of Act 6? I can’t remember if I did, but this passage demonstrates another instance of the early comic being subverted. This time the main reason that is is because Jane is older, but it’s still an interesting subversion.
Jane captchalogues an obelisk on her planet, shreds it, and holy shit that was kind of awesome, and also a moment I completely forgot about. Her grist gutter calculates things quickly, and Jane proceeds to have a moment when she finally realizes the real point of these Crockercorp products. I know she has a mental breakdown about this Betty Crocker stuff later, I’ll save analysis for that point because I’m not feeling up to it right now.
Aaaaaand the door’s locked now.
Looks like that obelisk was important after all. It was lighting up one of those globe switch doohickeys at the bottom of the hole, which was apparently keeping the door open. Just great.
Real nice work there, gumshoe.
This part of the comic really is starting to feel like a throwback to the early acts, where John explores his mystical new world. It’s awesome when our hero does things right and upsetting when he (this time, she) does things wrong. I don’t think I have much need to give specific examples of this happening on John’s side, other than just kind of assuming it happens.
GG: I think I just locked the door with that muttonheaded stunt. And now that mirrored obelisk is good as gone.
TT: I took note of the captcha code to the thing, and recorded a digital flashsnap of its appearance through my photographic silicone memory canals.
TT: Which is to say I looked at eight alphanumeric digits a couple minutes ago, and remembered them.
TT: So give the bunny the wallet. I’ll have him run back to the house and make you a new obelisk with the same grist you just collected from it.
TT: He can stash it in the wallet and run it back to you, and then you can open the door. You shouldn’t be waiting around too long, cause he’s real spry.
TT: Which is exactly why you should wait here. You’ll just slow him down.
This feels like even more of a throwback to the old days! Or rather, a blend of old and new. Jane’s conversations with the responder in Act 6 Act 2 stuck out to me for being short and sweet compared to the romance drama conversations, but here we have longer conversations of a similar kind, with actual content relevant to the kids’ game. I’m not sure where else mechanics like this are explored, but as with a lot of stuff Hussie dropped towards the end, it’s cool we’re getting that stuff in the first place.
TT: I think the Condesce is attempting to force the issue now.
GG: What? What issue!
TT: It’s likely that it’s a coordinated assault. Sending drones both to here and Roxy’s place.
TT: She’s probably trying to get everyone else to stop dicking around and join the game already.
GG: Are you sure she’s not just trying to kill them?
GG: It wouldn’t be her first assassination attempt.
TT: Yeah, but come on. Dirk has been a sitting duck here for years. Roxy too.
TT: She could have wiped them out any time with a swarm much bigger than this one. Or just nuked them.
TT: Her “assassination attempt” on you was pretty weak too.
GG: But it nearly worked!
GG: I would be dead right now if not for the whims of GCat.
TT: Like I trust the motives of that fucking thing.
Aaaaaaaahhhhhh even more real plot stuff. Here the responder explains that the kids are all to the Condesce’s whims, or however you spell that idiom. I like how AR just seems to actually understand the empress’s motives, unlike Jane or probably many of the readers. I also like the way he revisits Jane’s dramatic fake death at the end of her first act and reveals it to have been an enormous red herring, which especially makes sense since, as I assume for the sake of this post, GCat was just revealed to be one of the Condesce’s pawns.
TT: What about your troll friend?
TT: The alien whose name you don’t know.
TT: You could talk to her.
While we’re at the topic of red herrings, here’s the whole ruse that Calliope is a troll. That’s this whole can of worms I don’t think I want to dig through yet again—maybe in her conversation with Roxy when she reveals she isn’t a troll. The bottom line is, right now Hussie really wants to convince readers the mystery alien girl is a troll, through the responder assuming by default she is one.
Time for a Jane/Calliope conversation I don’t remember anything about.
Jane asks Calliope where to find her father, and she leads her in what seems to be the right direction, which I’m sure is a ruse (unintentional on Calliope’s part). But then we get an exposition sequence where Calliope explains that her dreams have been getting darker and Caliborn is trying to get the game to be a competition between the siblings.
UU: he has always been more motivated by the ongoing game between Us.
GG: I think you have alluded to this before, but I never really understood.
GG: What game?
UU: it is simple. we are playing a game together.
UU: we have been forced to, for as long as we’ve known each other.
UU: bUt the rUles are complicated, and often shifting. and they don’t always make sense!
UU: at least, they woUldn’t to yoU.
GG: Try me!
UU: many yoU woUld not recognize as rUles, so mUch as sUperstitions.
UU: a variety of caveats and stipUlations. things that woUld invite misfortUne if i were to break. it woUld be very bad jUjU.
UU: i have not been able to tell yoU my name for this reason.
UU: doing so woUld lead Us all down a very slippery slope! bUt i have wanted to tell yoU so. i hope my relUctance has not compromised oUr friendship.
This is the first part where I’m not totally sure what Calliope is talking about and is describing things I might not remember. However, I do remember that the thing of knowing Calliope’s name doesn’t mean anything. I’m tempted to call it a red herring but it’s more like something the author forgot about.
UU: mm, yes. we have both renoUnced hemotyping Until the resolUtion.
UU: it is in the same vein, pardon the pUn, as a qUirk. it’s the old tradition whereby one types in his or her own blood coloUr.
UU: so he and i have embraced neUtral tones to speak in, for the time being.
UU: most hUmans do not practice hemotyping, presUmably dUe to lacking diversity in blood class.
GG: But your race has varied blood color?
GG: Then what would yours be?
UU: i am a lime blood. UuU
UU: while he’s got the bright cherry blood, jUst like yoU all do.
UU: not that this matters since we are alone here, bUt interestingly, in ancient troll cUltUre we woUld both be considered pariahs.
Oh hey, here’s an actual red herring. Hussie obviously is having way too much fun here misleading readers.
UU: for different reasons of coUrse. those of his blood coloUr were very rare, existing by way of genetic glitch only. they were oUtcasts, having no place in the social order.
UU: on the other hand, those of my blood coloUr were once actUally qUite common! bUt later they were all hUnted to extinction.
GG: Jeez. Why?
UU: details of the genocide are historically mUrky. it’s one of those maddening voids in my Understanding of yoUr elaborate epic.
UU: bUt i have specUlated their extermination had to do with the extremely powerfUl abilities they tended to have, and the threat to aUthority they represented. even more so than other powerfUl lowbloods.
I think this is the first time we get an explicit mention of the topic of limebloods. If I recall, Calliope and Kankri are the only ones who discuss it in detail, which makes the entire topic murky—it’s only discussed by two unreliable narrators. I’m quite sure that topic is elaborated on in Hiveswap media, which I haven’t been in touch with at all. It’s probably the perfect sort of thing to be elaborated there, but I am suddenly scared that the people behind that media probably get everything wrong. Not that it matters much, you can’t consider it part of Homestuck unless you’re desperate.
After this point, Calliope discusses jujus, which I’m pretty sure are a new plot point I’ll discuss when we see them in action. She says that she plans to give Jane her juju as a gift and
oh shit I am going to have to go through the controversial Trickster Mode arc at some point
haha better move on
UU: bUt it’s alright. i love games.
UU: my brother, on the other hand…
GG: Not such a big fan of games?
UU: on no, qUite the contrary.
UU: his passion for games transcends any hUman Understanding of love.
UU: for yoU to Understand it woUld be to fUlly comprehend the meaning of…
UU: how to pUt it.
It’s obvious as hell what this is foreshadowing. Was Lord English described in a similar way to this before? He probably was but I’m not sure I remember all the details.
Anyway this was a pretty fun part of the comic to cover. Lots of actual game conversations, changes of pace, foreshadowing, and some good old red herrings. What follows is a glorious giant dump of Caliborn so I think it’s good to stop here.
See you next time as we get a glorious giant dump of Caliborn. When “next time” is, I cannot say. It could be soon, it could be next 4/13, I don’t know. EDIT: Turned out to mean “tomorrow”!