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Intermission, Part 2 of 2
Pages 1265-1357 (MSPA: 3165-3257)
Hold still, Slick.
Keep in mind that after this post, I’ll stop jumping around with my rewritten posts and go back to the start of Act 2. Those Act 2 posts should probably be quick and easy!
2/24/2019: I’ve been working hard on post 4 rewritten! It’s quite the doozy. Also I have now updated the page numbers to homestuck.com numbering up to post 50.
The Inaugural Death of Mister Seven is good, go read it.
I hope it gets continued at some point…
Crowbar’s alive again. And a whole bunch of other stuff is different.
You forgot this gang almost seems halfway competent when he’s running the show.
When Spades Slick makes it to a timeline where Crowbar is alive, the Midnight Crew and Felt are putting up a decent fight! The contrast between the Midnight Crew kicking the Felt’s asses and the giant gunfight with Crowbar around is super well executed. I’m glad the story took some time to flesh out Crowbar’s character when we revisit Slick and the Felt much later on; the story strongly benefits from this change.
Next up is a flash where we meet the mysterious Snowman (8).
Turns out the Felt’s number 8 is not a green guy at all! She’s a stylish black-and-green femme fatale who goes around teleporting, carrying something that looks like a knife.
Hey, where did all the gunfire go?
And Snowman’s character establishing moment is simple but effective: she stabs Slick in the eye, then walks away without a trace. This introduces us to the relationship between Jack Noir and the Black Queen, which is an important plot point later on. The intermission’s development of characters from the human session continues to be brilliant. And getting stabbed in the eye—does that sound familiar?
And then comes the wham line:
Everyone always ceases gunplay when Snowman’s around.
If you kill her you destroy the universe.
The green guys are a bunch of idiots with powers they can never make good use of, but the gang’s other members? Those are some of the scariest characters we’ve ever heard of! First off we learn that Lord English is an invulnerable mystery man who there are only the faintest rumors on how to kill, and now we learn the reason why Slick won’t kill Snowman. Do the Felt have some kind of deeper story behind them? We’ll find out soon enough, just give it about four thousand pages. For now, many readers are probably content with thinking this is a completely different story shoved into Homestuck just for fun.
Snowman, like Slick, owns items that spontaneously turn into weapons and back.
Sawbuck (10) has one of the strangest and most inconvenient powers yet: when you hurt him, you and he are both sent to a random point in time. Here we’re sent to a point in the past where the Felt are… setting up the gunfight scene? Crowbar seems to be in charge of setting it up, aware that this fight’s going to happen because he is actually able to deduce things like a smart person.
Crowbar deflected the card and thus played a part in hurting Sawbuck, which is why he’s also sent back.
After Stitch is killed, Slick is sent way into the past and…
A SCURRILOUS STRAGGLER eyes impromptu desert skirmish.
WHAT IS THIS? Slick in the past is dressed a lot like WV and the other exiles, going by a name reminiscent of the titles “Wayward Vagabond” and such with narration matching appropriately. When the exiles first appeared, they were mysterious entities following a foreign new story arc. Way too much can be gleaned from this image; it’s probably easy now for readers to guess that he lives on an alien world (he doesn’t recognize humans, there’s pink aliens) with a situation similar to Earth (WV and co. live on Earth).
Do I need to keep saying the way the intermission foreshadows things is brilliant? I feel like I do, so I’ll keep doing so. The way the intermission foreshadows things is brilliant.
Through smashing Crowbar in the head, Slick gets his crowbar (not capitalized) and makes progress on the mission of killing everyone.
In the intermission, timelines outside the alpha work on more of a retcon principle than a stable time loop principle. In the future, the battle during which Snowman entered the scene never happened.
Back in the main timeline, it turns out Crowbar isn’t quite dead, and so he and Slick demonstrate their rivalry in action. When Slick says the Felt is his rival gang, he mostly seems to mean Crowbar is his rival and Snowman is his hatewife.
Let’s see… sorry to… no… time’s running… no wait… fuck.
Slick meets his past self and asks him for help on a time-based one-liner, but then leaves with Sawbuck. His narration on the next page says:
Just as you hear your past self asking what happened to your eye, you jab Sawbuck with your BUTTERFLY EFFECT KNIFE. You remember a little while ago asking yourself about your eye, and not giving yourself an answer just before disappearing. Maybe if you stopped and thought about it for a second, you could have warned yourself and avoided the whole mess, albeit in the process of creating a paradox. But your strict policy of stabbing first and answering questions later prevented it. You’re sure your past self understands/understood. You are sure of this because you very clearly remember understanding/understooding.
Turns out that when we weren’t following Slick, he encountered his future self who is suspiciously missing an eye. I like the way this past moment is revisited; it gives a humorous justification as to why there was no time paradox or self-fulfilling loop here: it’s because Slick prioritizes stabbing things over anything else and thus didn’t think about how to prevent himself from getting stabbed in the eye.
OK yeah, the narration on this page explains that all this happened when we weren’t following Slick, just like I said. Glad that’s confirmed. It’s always fun to see past moments revisited with more detail.
And that was how that stuff happened. Usually this would happen with an absurdly sped-up animation, but here it’s only about 20 pages so I guess it makes more sense to do it this way.
Spades Slick goes to a point in time with a LOT of blood and I’m going to skip to how the blood happens:
Hate to chop all of your heads off with this sword. Real sorry about that. My bad.
Through a subversion of a Problem Sleuth callback, Slick kills off three Felt members at once. We get a rather humorous update to his hit list:
Slick doesn’t really understand all these nitty-gritty time details; he just wants these green assholes DEAD. So to him, alternate timeline versions make the dead ones extra dead and make the alive ones “sorta dead”. And as far as he’s concerned, Doze and Trace are dead, even if they haven’t quite been blown up yet.
Let us not forget Snowman, who is a HUGE BITCH (BLUH BLUH). Take a wild guess which character this is foreshadowing.
That’s right! The humans’ Black Queen, as you know, has a relationship just as contentious with their Jack. It’s really cool that Hussie foreshadows the queen this way, and it’s super awesome that this isn’t a hint at some dumb troll girl who likes the number 8 and doesn’t exist in any capacity.
Droog catches up on Slick, just as Deuce here is keeping Stitch on hold with his bull penis cane.
You check up on Slick’s status. Slick says he killed Crowbar again, Sawbuck twice, and Stitch once. You ask him if it was an alternate timeline Stitch. He says he guesses so. You say that doesn’t count. You’ve got the real one here. He mutters some foul language you can’t quite make out, but you tell him never mind and hurry down to meet you at the vault.
Just as the intermission prepares us for time travel in the following acts, it also prepares us for the concept of alternate selves which we’ll also be seeing more of. It’s the first instance of versions of a character from the main timeline being referred to as the “real” one, something which becomes a bit of a moral issue with Dave and Davesprite and many other pairs of characters.
Also, Droog’s stern statement that the doomed timeline Stitch “doesn’t count” makes me wonder where the Midnight Crew would be without this guy? Jack/Slick needs his moirail to function as a kind of normal person. Yes, I used a troll romance term because there’s no more normal-sounding term I can use in this case like “hatewife”, unless you’re a big idiot and think “moirail” is a funny word for “best friend”.
Next mission: patching up Slick’s right eye.
Wait fuck, wrong eye.
THERE we go. This little gag where Slick has to flip his sprite to have the correct eye fixed is an interesting variant on breaking the fourth wall: it’s kind of an in-universe fourth wall with video game mechanics, except the fourth wall is about the video game mechanics being used in unusual ways rather than questioned outright. If it’s not a complete fourth wall break, is it only a third wall break? The second third wall perhaps? Let’s say it’s the second third wall, sounds good to me.
Preparing to face Cans head-on, Slick does something fun!!!
You can’t BELIEVE she saw you horsing around like that. You will never live this down.
Is Slick… embarrassed? This is where the “wife” part of “hatewife” comes into play. Lousy stupid goddamn troll romance.
The other two shoot Eggs and Biscuits’ clones and then…
… yeah, they’re stuck in too now. How is anyone supposed to handle these fuckers?
I need to reread Problem Sleuth.
SLICK SAVES THE DAY!!!!! Why is the way Stitch is killed so funny to me, I can’t explain it. I mean, aside from being a blatant Problem Sleuth callback.
Not shown: Doze and Trace getting blown up at this present moment.
Then he destroys Eggs’ egg timer with the crowbar, another important item whose use is first shown in this act.
Eggs’ death is still the best death in the intermission by far. Maybe in the entire comic. Nobody seems to think it’s weird; they just think, “yup, Boxcars just ate someone’s head off, let’s move on.”
Biscuits hides in his oven, and Clubs follows by putting a bomb in it and wheeling it off. Thanks for all your help Mr. Deuce; hope we meet again.
Slick is about to open the safe with the crowbar, but Clover asks to reconsider, offering for more riddles. What a cute little green guy! Is he even a villain in this adventure? While most of the green guys are just plain morons, Clover is quite intelligent; it’s just that he’s super horny every second of his being, which overcomes any villainy.
Droog first holds Clover at gunpoint, but then remembers his extreme luck and exploits it by holding him at newspaperpoint instead.
(The newspaper is actually DD’s porn, the Gray Ladies. Wait, are you telling me that the Midnight Crew has a character who actually gets off on actual people who look attractive?)
Before much more can be done…
Oh fuck it’s Cans (15)!!! The last member of the Felt. His first appearance does not disappoint.
He’s far more dangerous than any of the other Felt members could hope to be! Diving straight to the point, he punches Droog into next week…
… and Boxcars into some kind of horse calendar. My god, what has this turned into.
With nothing left to lose, Slick pries open the vault, cutting this final showdown short.
With Clover and Cans being the Felt’s last survivors (among the green guys that is), I think ahead to how we see the remaining Felt members defeated later on; that is, the two shown above, plus Crowbar, Matchsticks (11), and Quarters (14), the three who were dead to begin with.
Crowbar is not really defeated at all; he is elevated in character status to Slick’s rival, with a big backstory which we’ll revisit maybe in the epilogue or something? I hope? I consider the document detailing the Condesce’s story we got to see on Skaianet Systems to be the first part of the epilogue—it’s supposedly a multimedia project after all—so maybe it makes sense that The Inaugural Death of Mister Seven is continued there.
Matchsticks and Quarters are revisited in the Doc Scratch intermission or whatever I’m supposed to call it, where we see that there was a bit more to their deaths than we thought at first.
As for Clover and Cans, I think it makes sense that the last two Felt members, those on the extreme ends of the size scale, are finally defeated in Collide. Clover is defeated by Karkat, the party member with the least physical strength (but possibly the most non-physical strength). Cans, meanwhile, is beaten cold by Dad Crocker, the party member with the most physical strength.
Wait, didn’t I say I was going to link to the intermission timeline this post?
Oh whatever. Look up that timeline on Google or something, it’s not that obscure.
Through Slick prying open the vault, he makes it to a future where all of the Felt and Midnight Crew, except for himself, Lord English, and of course Snowman, are dead.
When Slick enters the vault, the background art resembles the Midnight Crew adventure considerably more. Maybe this is how the Midnight Crew adventure ties into canon, in an alternate timeline or something? That’s definitely my best guess.
There’s nothing in here except an opening in the floor. There is a door with a keyhole, and you have a feeling you know how to open it.
You only wonder why English’s treasure would be locked behind a door with a spade on it.
In the old version of this post I said something that’s actually kind of insightful, so I’m going to copy-paste it with a bit of the nonsense truncated. Maybe my idea of calling my revised Homestuck posts the “abridged version” was a little accurate after all?
In retrospect, now that we know who Lord English is, there’s a lot of open questions about his vault—why exactly did he put it there for Slick? I think what’s most likely is that Caliborn likes Jack Noir, having used his session’s and the alpha kids’ session’s iterations of him for his good, so he hopes to use the trolls’ Jack Noir (Spades Slick) to his advantage as well. But why would he build the secret vault on top of a command station? We don’t see much of what Slick did with the trolls as an exile, other than helping the trolls exile the black queen (later known as Snowman), who in turn used Terezi and [redacted] to exile him back. Maybe Caliborn hoped that directing yet another version of the useful stabby guy to a command station might help him; he’s been established to be incredibly persistent, but not particularly intelligent.
Item/weapon (not really weapon) duality comes into play again when the keyhole turns into a barcode scanner. Never noticed that, somehow.
Slick gets ready to use his rules card to enter when all of a sudden…
As Hussie says, Snowman’s motives are unclear here. If she works for Doc Scratch and English, then why doesn’t she want Slick in English’s vault? Answer according to book commentary: when in doubt, assume it’s just to fuck with him. I think we all know which character this is foreshadowing. It’s the one character that “you-know-who” is most likely to refer to, I’m not even going to make a fakeout joke about it. It’s just that obvious.
Losing an eye and an arm. Sounds familiar? You better hope so. This scene foreshadows many characters at once, not the least of which is Slick’s other self.
Though Slick is now locked in the vault, not all is lost, thanks to flipping his sprite turnways again.
A wild SPIROGRAPH LOGO appeared! I hope every first-time reader who got to this page flipped the fuck out. This logo is probably the last thing you’d expect to see in the Midnight Crew intermission. It serves to tell readers that the intermission was related to the main plot of Homestuck the whole time, hence the myserty. And we’re about to see how it’s related.
This looks familiar…
This guy again?
Been a long time.
This is where readers are supposed to go “OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK”.
I kind of hate that the trolls are in a way the icon of Homestuck now, but if they weren’t so iconic I bet this page wouldn’t have quite the shock factor it does. Many people reading the comic for the first time are sure to be caught off guard, definitely more now (now = 2012 onwards) than back then. This is probably the last place they expected to first see the trolls!
Even if you don’t know who the trolls are, you can already see now that this guy has captchalogue cards, a sprite, and seemingly the sickle as a weapon of choice. And the best part is, Slick apparently recognizes him! Perhaps as more than just some weenie kid.
All this reveals that there is some group of twelve aliens that play Sburb just like the humans do. Jade said that there were twelve trolls in a prior pesterlog; in addition, their usernames are all zodiac related if you pay close enough attention, so it’s no longer all that hard to put the pieces together.
> hey kid
> yeah you
Zooming in further, we get a better look at this kid’s weapon of choice, as well as a cruxite dowel to hammer in that he is a Sburb player.
The intermission’s curtains close in on a Homosuck drawing of this troll guy. Easily the most surprising act ending yet!
Were you expecting a recap of the intermission here? Too bad, I don’t feel like doing that at all.
Instead, I’ll tell you guys that my next rewritten Homestuck post will cover the start of Act 2.
Once I get to the end of Act 3, I’ll make a post recapping the intermission, with probably additional thoughts as I go over it in relation to its surrounding acts. It’ll probably be called something like “Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Parts 13+14 Rewritten Redux: Suitblood Stravaganza” and won’t be all that long, but good to have before I advance to Act 4.
See you next time as I actually start Act 2, for real, no jokes or switches to the intermission. I hope.
Next => Part 15: Ditzy Dreamers and Exile Cookouts (includes intermission recap, changed my mind about puttting it in a separate post)
Next (chronological) => Part 4: Haunting Voices and Coolkid Mishaps