Act 6 Intermission 3, Part 3 of 6
Page 5308 (MSPA: 7208) [Openbound: Part 2]
“i hate all of my friends so fucking much”
—Meenah Peixes, 2012
Openbound Part 2 starts with Meenah inside Karkat’s private memories. I’ll cut to the chase and get right into all the characters she meets.
The first troll Meenah meets in Openbound Part 2 is the legendarily despised Cronus Ampora.
So you thought Vriska in the trolls’ arc was bad, huh?
The first three new characters we met in Openbound Part 1 were kind of weird, but this FUCKING guy blows everything out of the water. Just look at him! Through even a cursory glance, you can already tell he’s an ugly asshole who absolutely nobody can stand on any level and has literally no redeeming qualities. It doesn’t help that he has a trace of Vriska’s typing quirk, with capital B’s replaced by 8’s.
I went through all the dialogue options as Meenah, and what the fuck is there to even say????? Cronus is like ten different horrible Internet stereotypes stuffed into one character, and he constantly reminds us he’s doing it all just for attention. Put these two lines side by side:
CRONUS: all these cats and kittens, im telling you. theyre alvways drawvn to the freaks and rejects. you havwe to be 8ROKEN in some vway to get a little concupiscent attention.
#cats #kittens #freaks #rejects #broken
CRONUS: i dont think id be much good in a fight. ivwe been trying to get in touch vwith vwho, or i guess vwhat, i really am, and i think ivwe been making some nice breakthroughs.
CRONUS: im telling you this in confidence, but i think im approaching a kind of avwakening, especially since i first started learning about humans. i think i actually might be…
MEENAH: nope nope nope nopenopenope
MEENAH: stop saying whatever that was do not care
Cronus’s first impression does give off an interesting message, maybe even a moral about Internet stereotypes; namely, that many people who act out completely ridiculous stereotypes online are only doing it for attention and you don’t have to take them seriously.
What the fuck.
At one point Cronus shows off some music he made, which we don’t get to listen to. It’s easy to guess what Cronus’s music is like: him singing in an annoying voice while imitating 50’s country music or something. I’m obligated to mention that one of his songs, titled “Aquasex Renegade”, was made into a real song by a fan. It’s pretty fun and catchy, probably way better than Cronus’s music would actually sound. Most of what I’ve heard from the Beforus fan album isn’t very good, but I’ve been told that for some ungodly reason Cronus’s tracks are all good?????
When Meenah asks about Karkat, Cronus says he made a complicated puzzle to seclude himself from the Beforan trolls haunting his memories, which sets up the goal of this walkaround: you have to find chests containing gems shaped like the quadrant symbols to open Karkat’s door.
Before I move on, I guess I should take a moment to compare Cronus to his dancestor Eridan. He’s a horrifying caricature of how fans perceive Eridan, expanded to the point where he is almost nothing like Eridan. Going by memory, that describes a large portion of the Beforan trolls compared to their dancestors—I guess I’ll see for myself whether it’s true with the other alpha trolls we’re yet to meet.
The memories Meenah explores are rife with stray wigglers, monotone Alternian architecture, and chests with familiar items from the trolls’ arc. It’s a pretty fun way to explore the Alternian atmosphere; I kind of hope we get more stuff like that in Hiveswap Act 2, though it’s hard to get as excited about Hiveswap as I am with Homestuck material.
For old time’s sake, this walkaround has a small Problem Sleuth-related easter egg. If you go south before meeting Mituna, you’ll find three familiar-looking figures…
Is it… could it be???
IT IS! IT’S PROBLEM SLEUTH, ACE DICK, AND PICKLE INSPECTOR, IN THEIR ORIGINAL PROSPITIAN ATTIRE! YOU KNEW IT! YOU KNEW YOU WOULD FIND THEM EVENTUALLY! IT’S SO GREAT TO MEET …
This is not Problem Sleuth, Ace Dick, and Pickle Inspector. These are just some random Prospitians who are similarly proportioned.
#proportioned prospitians #……..
You’re beginning to think you’ll never run into them.
This scene was probably a HUGE gut punch for serial readers who had read Problem Sleuth and absolutely hated the direction Homestuck was going in.
When Meenah crosses a bridge made of Prospit and Derse memories, Mituna Captor makes a skateboarding dramatic entrance just like Latula did…
… then falls flat on his face. A fitting character establishing moment, I must say.
> Examine Mituna’s lusus
This custodian really has his hands full, taking care of that guy. You kind of feel for the hideous monster.
Or at least that’s your observation if you’re being Meenah right now. If you’re being Mituna, you beg your enormous parental unit for some mind honey. The huge beast grunts dismissively and bops you on the helmet. You fall on your ass and throw a tantrum.
#but what if im cronus? #lets not worry about that ok
Mituna doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Sollux, but he does have some traits inverted. As we can see here, one such thing inverted is his relationship with his lusus. Sollux’s lusus was a big dumb monster who always wanted mind honey; Mituna’s is a proper bicyclops dad who always feeds his troll child mind honey.
I took this screenshot from Let’s Read Homestuck.
When Meenah talks to Mituna, it turns out his dialogue is formatted way differently from the rest and is completely incomprehensible. It’s supposed to be formatted like 4chan, but it looks like the move to homestuck.com changed that. I can’t even think of anything to say about his unreadable speech. I guess it’s an exaggeration of Sollux’s lisp and mood swings to the point of unrecognizability? Mituna constantly goes back and forth between dumping aggressive language on Meenah and genuinely sad “1M 50RRY”.
Meenah asking Mituna to join leads to one of the most obnoxious scenes in the entire comic. It starts off with her confused that he is still rather incoherent:
> Meenah, ask Mituna to join
MEENAH: hey tuna you want to help me go kill haha i cant even finish this question while staying serious
MITUNA: N0 8U7H WH47 1 D0 W4NK
MITUNA: 17H 70 M4N741N7 PR3C4R10U5 8U7 M057HL3Y 5U5741N3D 84L4NC3 0N MY 71GH7 4ZZ F4LLD0WN 5L47
MITUNA: M4YF3 GR1N D0N 50M3 5H17
MEENAH: what will you grind on
MITUNA: 1 V0LUN733R
MITUNA: 7H47 7H1NG 70 83
MEENAH: gross bro
MEENAH: dunno how latula even deals
MITUNA: 1M 50RRY
MITUNA: 8U73 4L50
MITUNA: FUCH Y0UR 4ND Y0UR FUCKY CHUMPHY 5UCKYFUCK FR0NGHUMPH1NG 8R1ND3 573M R1G7H UP3 Y0UR 5H17F7Y PH3L5M504K3D PR083CHU7H3 71L7 1Z 5UCK 4ZZ 8171CH 15 5UCKKY 5UCHY FUCK37Y 5UCKH0L3 FUCKY FCUK3Y FUCK FUCK FUCK
MEENAH: holy mackerel
MEENAH: them was sick fires mostly
#at least the parts that were actual words
MEENAH: hey isnt the afterlife supposed to heal people or
MEENAH: i dont undersand
MEENAH: why is it that pyrope still cant smell
MEENAH: and you still got horrible brain problems
#dont tell me leijons still deaf
MEENAH: i give up on figuring out the existential mysteries
Meenah is right, it makes no sense that the Beforan trolls all kept their disabilities in the afterlife. I think part of the deal with dream logic in Homestuck is that characters’ dream or ghost selves keep their disabilities if they’re an integral part of their being; for instance, dream Terezi is still blind but dream Tavros has perfectly functioning legs, while half-ghost Sollux is only half-blind. So why did none of the Beforan trolls have their disabilities healed? There’s no good in-story reason for that not to be the case, as Meenah points out. I guess it’s not a huge issue, because most of the Beforan trolls are joke characters anyway.
MEENAH: )(-EY FUCK YOU!!!
KANKRI: I feel I sh9uld jump in here at this m9ment, 6ef9re this escalates any further, and we start thr9wing ar9und hateful rhet9ric that we can’t take 6ack.
#aw shell no
KANKRI: Mituna, I kn9w y9u 9ften struggle with this, 6ut y9u just used an extremely der9gat9ry and hurtful caste-specific slur, which as y9u pr96a6ly kn9w was 9nce c9mm9nly used t9 disparage sea-dwelling mem6ers 9f 9ur s9ciety, 9r land-dwelling castes wh9 were especially c9mplicit in furthering the 9ppressive Fuscia-D9wn p9wer structure. N9w, we all need t9 realize that R9yal-Vs and th9se rare few wh9 are even higher such as Meenah, as mem6ers 9f the arist9cracy enj9y a tremend9us p9siti9n 9f privilege 9ver 9thers, and theref9re we cann9t view such ver6al transgressi9ns against them as equivalent t9 th9se targeting the underprivileged, 6ut it needs t9 6e p9inted 9ut that such radi9active language is a6s9lutely the w9rst kind 9f well-p9is9ning which is n9thing 6ut c9unterpr9ductive when 9thers are trying t9 pursue an h9nest dial9gue a69ut critically imp9rtant s9cial pr96lems.
#slurs #hurtful #struggle #radi9active #well p9is9ning #c9unterpr9ductive #pr96lems
Oh my FUCKING GOD. Right when Mituna uses an insult that angers Meenah, Kankri comes out of nowhere and rubs ten tablespoons of salt on a wound that could have easily healed in just a few seconds.
KANKRI: And Meenah, while I can understand y9ur frustrati9n 9ver 6eing ver6ally assaulted under any circumstance, it is incum6ent 9n me t9 remind y9u that Mituna requires a certain am9unt 9f special c9nsiderati9n and m9re than a little patience. Please try t9 resist taking his 6ait, which I’m guessing is m9stly well intended(?), 6ef9re its c9ntenti9us undert9w pulls y9u further int9 an exchange laden with deeply pr96lematic expressi9ns 9f a6leism, a6leist slurs, and 9ther such manifestati9ns 9f unc9nsci9na6ly unchecked a6ility privilege.
#a6leism #a6ility privilege #6ait #undert9w #are the aquatic terms helping?
MEENAH: vantas what the actual fuck are you doing here
MEENAH: how are you even in this chat yo
MEENAH: you arent even remotely in the same corporeal vicinity as us like i literally do not understand how you just jumped into the conversation like that
MEENAH: can you maybe get lost?
#make like a clam and scray
KANKRI: 9n the 9ther hand, if I’m 6eing h9nest, I’ve f9und Mituna’s entire existence t9 6e a pretty pr96lematic impediment t9 the advancement and 9verall awareness 9f a6leism and its painful manif9ld c9nsequences f9r una6ilitied pers9ns. The speech impediment, frankly, I c9uld d9 with9ut, and I’m 6y n9 means ecstatic 9ver his t9rrential 6ig9try and h9stility. 9n the 9ne hand, I want t9 6e sensitive t9 him as a pers9n and as a friend, 6ut 9n the 9ther, what kind 9f message d9es his 6ehavi9r send? And frankly, I’m n9t crazy a69ut the helmet, either.
MITUNA: W4LT5 WR00NG W17H MY H4ML37 8(
KANKRI: N9thing, friend, it’s a really c99l helmet and it’s a g99d l99k f9r y9u. 6ut are we n9w t9 assume that all th9se wh9 are stricken with y9ur particular disadvantage9n will 6e similarly pr9ne t9 require such headgear, due t9 falling d9wn and hitting their heads frequently?
MITUNA: 8U7H 1 D0 F4LL D0WN 4ND H157 MY H34D FR3QUN3UN74NY
KANKRI: 9h, I kn9w y9u d9, and I think y9u sh9uld c9ntinue wearing it f9r y9ur safety, particularly if y9u c9ntinue t9 insist 9n fl9undering a69ut 9n y9ur danger9us t9y. It’s m9re a69ut the unf9rtunate message y9u are sending 9verall, with certain aspects 9f y9ur pers9nality and existence, that’s all.
MITUNA: 1M 50RRY
KANKRI: As a friend, I w9uldn’t want t9 change anything a69ut y9u, well, n9t m9st things. I just think y9u may n9t 6e d9ing y9urself 9r th9se wh9 are similarly disadvantaged any fav9rs with, what I’m h9ping, is a perfectly inn9cent array 9f traits and mannerisms. 8ut again, I say this with all due sensitivity.
And it just gets worse from there. Kankri is treating Mituna like he’s a FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTER. The implications on how Kankri sees the rest of his “friends” are unbelievably messed up to even think about.
MEENAH: vantas youre being a shit dont talk about him like that
KANKRI: Anyway, I didn’t mean t9 derail. I’ll 6e 9n my way. Please c9ntinue y9ur discussi9n, and try t9 keep s9me 9f the issues I descri6ed at length in mind.
Poor Meenah. She doesn’t deserve suffering through all her friends’ tepid nonsense. And nobody ever deserves suffering through Kankri’s nonsense, especially not Mituna.
After talking to Mituna, you can play as him for a while. If you talk to Meenah, you get even more of him alternating between angry swearing and “1M 50RRY”. As much as I roll my eyes at the weird fans who take the Beforan trolls seriously as characters, I won’t deny that Mituna’s slumpy apologetic state is endearing.
I am not looking forward to this.
[5 or so minutes of reading exhausting torturous words later…]
Cronus fucking sucks the smelliest shit to ever exist. He rambles to Mituna about all his fake stupid imaginary problems, but all Mituna wants is for Cronus to stop touching him.
[10 or so minutes of thinking about Cronus’s exhausting torturous words later…]
Like Kankri, Cronus has quite a bit in common with his dancestor if you read between the lines. He and Eridan both have a few teammates they genuinely find attractive and charming, but they both find reason to hit on just about anyone. Cronus exaggerates that trait of Eridan’s, mixed in with some obnoxious stereotypes and insane self-aggrandization, and minus any of Eridan’s slight semblance of redeeming qualities.
Did I ever mention Eridan has some slight semblance of redeeming qualities? Which is to say, he is capable of compassion for people—definitely Karkat, and maybe also Feferi and Kanaya depending how you look at it. Cronus doesn’t have even the slightest trace of compassion for any living being ever. I don’t think he’s capable of feeling anything positive about people other than finding them sexually attractive.
In his lengthy monologue, Cronus says a few interesting things about Mituna. He talks about Mituna’s matespritship with Latula which we already knew about, as well as his moirallegiance with the mysterious Kurloz who fans can reasonably presume is Gamzee’s dancestor, which we didn’t already know about. Both of those relationships hint at something deeper behind Mituna. Cronus mentions rumors that Mituna is much more coherent when speaking to Kurloz; similarly, I think Latula deep down has a bright sharp mind like Terezi, which may be why she sees more in Mituna than most do. These hints about Mituna lead to another fundamental flaw with the Beforan trolls: the line between real plot points and silly one-offs is tenuous at best. Around the time the Openbound games came out, it was popular for fans to theorize about all the stuff we learned about the Beforan trolls other than Aranea and Meenah and how that could be relevant to the plot. Mituna in particular was the focus of quite a few popular theories. While lots of things we learned in Openbound became relevant to the greater story, especially regarding the plan to fight Lord English, most of what we learned about the Beforus trolls’ backstories didn’t turn out to be relevant. I don’t have a huge problem that their backstories didn’t have greater plot relevance, but I can easily see that as a reason the Openbound games are so hated.
Cronus proceeds to talk about trying to win Meenah’s heart, and doesn’t want Mituna to tag along because he sees Mituna as a sex obstacle. Why does this guy fucking suck so much???
Now it’s time to play as Cronus… I guess.
Cronus asks Mituna to stay put while he works his “magic” on Meenah. He mentions his wizard phase where he had a crushing revelation that magic isn’t real; I’ll discuss it in more detail when Aranea tells more about that story.
… And Meenah disappeared. The dialog box tells you to go back to Mituna and grill him. Oh fuck no. I’m REALLY not looking forward to this.
I am absolutely speechless. Cronus claims it’s Mituna’s fault that Meenah went away and scolds him for “not staying put”. Every insult he throws at Mituna is an accurate description of himself, like only playing out his stereotypes for attention and being a reject among rejects nobody could ever have real feelings for.
I love Mituna’s scribbled sad face so much.
Mituna’s reaction to those horrible insults is rather adorable. It’s a perfect reaction image for not just when someone takes out self-loathing on you, but whenever something doesn’t go the way you hope.
Amidst this brutal grilling, Meenah suddenly reappears. Mituna laughs at Cronus for this miserable failure and then insults him more, and rightfully so. Might as well talk to Meenah as Cronus now.
CRONUS: you knowv, youre being a bit hypocritical here, dont you think?
CRONUS: taking me to task for ripping captor a sorely deservwed newv nook.
CRONUS: like you arent evwen more guilty of abusing the poor fella.
MEENAH: youre such a glubbin liar
CRONUS: oh am i?
CRONUS: tell me, pray tell, vwho vwas it exactly, in vwhich alternate univwerse, that used growvnup captor as a livwing vwarp drivwe in her spaceship for millenia?
MEENAH: hey that wasnt me
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: not yet… uh
MEENAH: alternate ways
CRONUS: oh sure. no grub sauce on your hands!
MEENAH: wow you did it
MEENAH: ampora you totally changed my mind about you lets start makin out immediately
CRONUS: just admit it. you havwe it vwithin you to be just as harsh to our behelmeted buddy as i am, if not more.
MEENAH: a girls gotta have fuel for her pimp ride know what im sayin
MEENAH: i probably took care of him good
MEENAH: you know how it is someones gotta take care of the guy anyways
MEENAH: and… yeah
… Wait, uh,
Cronus’s conversation with Meenah just took a turn for the unexpected???? He points out that Meenah abused Mituna in the post-scratch universe, making him (the Helmsman) her eternal psionic slave. Though she is visibly sad to realize that, Meenah has no good comeback and claims her adult self must have taken deep care of her Helmsman.
When Meenah brings up that Cronus constantly claims to be “humankin”, Kankri suddenly appears again and the conversation takes a turn for the just plain stupid. Meenah immediately leaves.
KANKRI: Listen, I was d9ing y9u a fav9r. Y9u d9n’t need t9 6e dating any9ne wh9 can’t appreciate y9u f9r wh9 y9u really are, 9r m9re imp9rtantly, which fantasy versi9n 9f y9urself y9u m9st str9ngly identify with.
CRONUS: yeah, youre probably right. she doesnt appreciate me. so fevw of you cats do, really.
#evwen the ones vwho literally identify as cats
At this point it isn’t even surprising the Beforan trolls have a member who identifies as a cat. That’s how deep we are in this putrid trench of joke characters.
Kankri ends up supporting Cronus’s claims that he identifies as human, and Cronus thanks him, which is stupid but only makes sense knowing Kankri’s extremely warped morality.
FINALLY, back to Meenah. The scenery in this area is pretty cool; it looks to be memories of the alpha trolls’ Skaia, ridden with lily pads we glimpsed at in the beta trolls’ Skaia and saw plenty of in the Rex Duodecim Angelus fan animation.
Anyway, next in line for Meenah to meet is the mysterious Kurloz Makara.
> Meenah, talk to Kurloz
MEENAH: yo freak remember me
MEENAH: so what kinda conversation could we even have that wouldnt be weird and awkward
MEENAH: i sea
MEENAH: got anyfin for me other than an eerie glare and a gross stiched up smile
MEENAH: whats the wicked word these days
KURLOZ: [middle finger]
MEENAH: shit be cold home skillet
> Meenah, ask Kurloz to join
MEENAH: so i guess i want you to join my army
MEENAH: if you promise you aint gonna be too capricious or clown ass batshit or whatever
KURLOZ: [shakes head]
MEENAH: well least your honest about it
MEENAH: got any crazy chucklevoodoo tips on how to kill a cherub?
MEENAH: nothing to say as usual then
KURLOZ: [gestures lips sealed shut, then smiles]
MEENAH: its awesome we had this talk
Turns out Kurloz doesn’t talk; his mouth is stitched and he only communicates in vague gestures. Those gestures seem mostly harmless and friendly, but he does hint that he’s an extremely devout clown worshipper who might be in league with Lord English.
On the way to meet the next troll, Meenah finds some chests containing items that remind us what sort of person Nepeta is: her Wolverine claws, a tea pot, and an olive potion. It’s useful to remind readers what Nepeta is like…
Meulin looks kind of like an anime schoolgirl now that I think of it.
… because it turns out her dancestor, Meulin Leijon, is an ABSOLUTE FUCKING LUNATIC.
Just to be clear, I don’t know anything about Sailor Moon. I got the names of the characters in the GIFs from readmspa.org’s transcripts.
… On the topic of anime, I absolutely fucking NEED to watch Nichijou. (EDIT 11/23/2019: I have now seen all of Nichijou.)
As with most of the other Beforan trolls, what is there to even say?! Meulin is like a horrifying enthusiastic Tumblr girl combined with some fanfiction’s hilariously inaccurate rendition of Nepeta. She somehow communicates reaction GIFs from assorted cartoons using sign language.
MEULIN: [gif of Marceline of Adventure Time holding her head and swaying happily]
MEULIN: [gif of Stephen Colbert dancing]
MEULIN: [gif of Usagi Tsukino and Minako Aino of Sailor Moon with hearts for eyes]
MEENAH: can we plz cool it on the shitty mimes tho
MEENAH: seriously cant understand what your tryin to say half the time
#the literal worst form of communication ever
I agree with Meenah so much. Reaction GIFs are fun and all, but overusing them is just pure chaotic nonsense.
MEULIN: (=^･ω･^=) < WE HAVE TO CATCH UP RIGHT AWAY. YOU MISSED OUT ON SO MUCH WHILE YOU WERE GONE!
#”CATCH” #!!! #LIKE A FISH! #S33 I’M YOUR FRIEND!!!
MEENAH: did i really
MEENAH: to be conchnest that sounds mad unlikely
MEENAH: you would not even believe the boring conversations i just slogged through with some a you glubbin windbaggers
#even ones where i technically wasnt even “being me”
MEULIN: (=^･^=) < YOU SOOO DID THOUGH. WE’VE ALL B33N THROUGH A LOT TOGETHER SINCE WE DIED. I BELIEVE WE’VE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS IN DEALING WITH OUR PURRSONAL ISSUES AND PUTTING OUR OLD DIFURRENCES BEHIND US.
#ETERNITY HAS ONLY STRENGTHENED MY COMMITMENT TO CAT PUNS!!! #:33
MEENAH: dont sound like you put much time into your fightin skills though
MEENAH: yall do realize you might be on the verge of dying AGAIN right?
MEULIN: (=^･ｪ･^=) < AND THE SHIPPING!!!!!!!!!
MEULIN: ＼(=^‥^)/ < OMG M33NAH, THE SHIIIIIIIIIPPING! (=；ェ；=) ヾ(=ﾟ･ﾟ=)ﾉ (^・ω・^ )
MEULIN: (^・ω・^ ) < YOU WON’T EVEN _BELIEVE_ WHO GOT TOGETHER OVER THE SW33PS. AND THE QUADRANTS! THE QUADRANTS THEY PAIRED UP IN… IT WILL _BLOW_. _YOUR_. _MIND_.
MEULIN: (=^･^=) < I DON’T THINK I CAN EVEN CONVEY HOW MUCH… I JUST…
MEULIN: (^・x・^) < I CAN’T.
#NO #THAT’S IT
MEULIN: └(=^‥^=)┐ < I AM COMPLETELY UNABLE TO CAN RIGHT NOW.
#HAVE EXACTLY ZERO CANS
Meulin’s obsession with shipping makes Nepeta seem like a kind of normal person. Nepeta liked shipping her friends because she was extremely lonely and especially wanted a way to express her attraction to Karkat. Meulin is just a fucking stupid fangirl who is artificially obsessed with her characters’ relationships, OH WAIT that’s every fan of every media ever.
Meenah asks Meulin to join, and her reason not to is probably the most disappointing yet: she’s busy shipping all her friends, old and new alike. Meulin derails the conversation further when she talks about Meenah’s attraction to Karkat and offers to set the two up. There’s some reason to believe Meulin is an extremely good matchmaker, being a heart player and all. Perhaps she’s the one that keeps Mituna’s relationships with Latula and Kurloz steady and fluid? Or maybe she’s the one that got the doomed dream Nepeta together with the doomed god tier Karkat (rest both their souls).
Olive Rogue slaps so hard, I love it.
> Meulin, talk to Meenah
MEULIN: (=^･ω･^) < OH!!!!!!!!! I MEANT TO ASK…
MEULIN: ヽ(=^･ω･^=)丿 < HAVE YOU MET THE HUMANS YET?
MEULIN: (=^-ω-^=) < OMG AREN’T THE JUST SO PERF???
MEENAH: dont see what the big deal with em is
MEULIN: (^・x・^) < M33NAH, NO.
MEULIN: (^-人-^) < THEY ARE ALL SO PERFECTLY ADORABLE.
MEULIN: (^・ω・^ ) < EACH IS LITTERALLY MORE PRECIOUS AND PURRFECT THAN THE LAST.
MEENAH: if only you could hear how bonkers you sound
MEULIN: ~(=^‥^)/ < M33NAH. M33NAH. NO.
MEULIN: (^._.^)ﾉ < YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
MEULIN: ヾ(=ﾟ･ﾟ=)ﾉ < THEY ARE MY BABIES.
MEENAH: wtfs a babie
MEULIN: (=^･^=) < THEY ARE MY PERFECT PRECIOUS GAY LITTLE BABIES!!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: whats gay
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < IT’S A THING THAT HUMAN BABIES ARE SOMETIMES I THINK!
Meulin is just, holy shit. She’s obsessed with the humans just as if they’re fictional characters, kind of like a louder Calliope. I’d go so far as to say she’s treating the humans like they’re cute anime girls, which is weird because I’m pretty sure none of them are anime girls. Well, Dirk basically is an anime boy but that’s a different story.
Now, if the humans were cute anime girls, then I couldn’t blame Meulin for reacting to them this way. I love anime girls so much.
MEULIN: (^･o･^) < OH AND DO YOU EVEN HAVE THE SLIGHTEST IDEA WHAT THE SHIPPING IMPLICATPUNS ARE???
MEULIN: ヽ(=^･ω･^=)丿 < BY ADDING THE HUMANS INTO THE PICTURE, BOTH PRE-SCRATCH AND SCRATCH-POST, IT HAS INCREASED THE PAIRING PAWSIBILITIES EXPOUNCENENTIALLY!
“Scratch-post” is the only good cat pun in all of Homestuck.
MEENAH: hate to change the subject
MEENAH: but i kinda side stepped past kurloz back there whilst granting him a wide berth
#didnt wanna get tangled up in his hair
MEENAH: he obviously wont say a thing to me which is probs for tha best
MEENAH: but since he actually talks to you maybe you can answer stuff
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < LIKE WHAT!
#HAIR POOFING TIPS?
MEENAH: like do you know if hes god tier
MEENAH: im building this army and its going horribubbly so far and im sure it would be unimaginably horrendous havin him along but i needs all the muscle i can get know what im sayin
MEULIN: (=^‥^) < I ACTUALLY DON’T KNOW!
MEULIN: (=^･ω･^=) < YES WE ARE PRETTY CLOSE, BUT YOU KNOW HOW HE IS. HE’S STILL VERY SNEAKRETIVE AND STILL LOVES MAKING RIDDLES OUT OF EVERYTHING.
MEULIN: (=^･ω･^=) < HE’S B33N VERY EXCITED LATELY. HE F33LS THAT SO MANY OF HIS SPOOKY RELIGION’S PROPHECIES ARE ON THE VERGE OF COMING TRUE, AND THE STARS ARE COMING INTO FELINEMENT.
MEULIN: (=^･ω･^=) < REMEMBER HOW HE USED TO GO ON AND ON ABOUT THE MESSIAHS, ANGELS OF DOUBLE DEATH, AND ALL THAT WACKY STUFF?
Going by Meulin’s words, Kurloz is kind of a parody of Gamzee, but really more of an extrapolation of what Gamzee must be like now. Gamzee has hardly spoken a word so far in Act 6 and we can only surmise from the scene with him selling potions to Jane that during or after the meteor journey he began playing the role of a wise, jocular sage; Kurloz’s character so far extrapolates from the fact that we know very little about what Gamzee’s been to.
MEENAH: please dont take this for interest in shippin talk
MEENAH: but you and he arent a red item anymore right
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < OH NO NO NO THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < WE’RE JUST REALLY GOOD FRIENDS NOW. WE HANG OUT AND JOKE AROUND ALL THE TIME. HE EVEN HELPS ME WITH MY GRIDS!
MEULIN: ~(=^‥^)ノ < GENERALLY I STICK TO THE RED MATCHUPS WHILE HE ADVISES ON BLACK. HE’S 33RILY TALENTED AT PICKING BLACKROM PAIRS! PROBABLY EVEN BETTER THAN ME…
Meulin interestingly suggests Kurloz has genuine wisdom beyond just being a clown worshipper, with his eerie talent at picking blackrom pairs.
Upon Meenah’s suggestion, Meulin talks to Kurloz…
… or rather, exchanges a series of absurd Tumblr GIFs with him? This alien language they’re communicating in is kind of cute in a weird way.
I still can’t believe the epilogues canonized Jane x Gamzee, of all ships.
Kurloz interrupts the silly GIF exchange by using sign language to signify that he needs a purple codpiece for Gamzee’s new ensemble. That’s really funny if you think about it: Kurloz is excited that all his religious prophecies are coming true, and surely he’s going to fulfill important plot stuff and solve some mysteries, right? Nope, turns out the only plot mystery Kurloz plays any part in is how Gamzee got his ridiculous fake god tier outfit. Clown nonsense, I’m telling you. It haunts all our minds whether we like it or not.
Meulin opens a dream memory and finds a chest containing Gamzee’s codpiece. Supposedly it’s an exceptionally rare treasure she found during the A1 session while exploring Skaia? Yeah, sure, that makes sense, why not. I like how the codpiece is one of few actual plot points to come out of the Beforus session.
Meenah gives Kurloz the codpiece and…
Purple Bard also slaps hard.
HOLY SHIT, THIS IS A HUGE MOOD SWITCH. The music changes, the dialogue format is haunting and creepy, and Kurloz can talk now! He speaks through psychic powers in a skeleton font, and mind-controls Meulin to do the same.
KURLOZ: EXCELLENT WORK, MY MAGE
KURLOZ: WITH THIS MOST RIGHTEOUS MOTHER FUCKIN PELVIC APPAREL, THE WICKED ENSEMBLE IS NOW COMPLETE
KURLOZ: IT MUST BE DELIVERED TO THE BARD OF RAGE AT ONCE, SO THAT HE MAY CONTINUE OUR MIRTHFUL MOTHER FUCKIN WORK
MEULIN: (=ﾟ･ﾟ=) < ALL HAIL THE ONE TRUE MESSIAH.
#OTM #RYDAS AND NINJETTES REPRESENT
KURLOZ: LONG LIVE THE ANGEL OF DOUBLE DEATH
MEULIN: (=ﾟ･ﾟ=) < MAY THE BARD’S RIOTOUS CHUCKLEVOODOOS INSPIRE NIGHTMARES IN ALL WHO WOULD OPPAWS CALICORN, AND MAY THE JOCULARKITTY OF HIS VAST HONK RING LOUD AND MOTHER FUCKIN TRUE ALL THE WAY TO SHANGRI LOL.
#MUCH CLOWN LOVE
KURLOZ: CHURCH. OK, THATS ENOUGH OF MOTHER FUCKIN THAT PIOUS NOISE
KURLOZ: TIME TO RENDEZVOUS WITH MY HOMIE KILLA AND DROP THE SPECIAL SCIENCE ON HIM
MEULIN: (=ﾟ･ﾟ=) < MAY THIS LUDICROUS PAIR OF SHORTS ASSNIFFST HIS HOLY MISSION, AND FLUMMOX ALL WHO WOULD CATST THEIR UNWORTHY GAZE PON ITS FRESH FUCKIN BULGE.
KURLOZ: AY MOTHER FUCKIN MEN, MY WICKED KITTYBITCH
This is a beautiful way to reveal Kurloz’s true colors. The moment Meulin gives Kurloz the codpiece, he thanks her for her work and communes with her through his psychic powers, confirming that he is a devout worshipper of Lord English.
I remember at one point years ago, I started thinking more deeply about Kurloz’s crazy juggalo religion and couldn’t stop laughing to myself. Though Kurloz is legitimately spooky with his whole pious speech about Lord English, it’s worth keeping in mind that all this is just for the sake of completing Gamzee’s fake god tier outfit—nothing more, nothing less. It’s all a bunch of stupid clown nonsense.
After that conversation is over, you can talk to Meulin as Kurloz again. Kurloz reverts to his usual silly Tumblr GIF self and convinces her through gestures everything’s fine and normal. He then conveys to her that he has to go run an errand.
If you approach Meenah as Kurloz, he breaks the fourth wall and tells readers there’s no reason to talk to her:
KURLOZ: THERE IS NO NEED TO APPROACH THE YOUNG MISGUIDED EMPRESS
KURLOZ: SHE REMAINS BLISSFULLY UNAWARE OF THE MACHINATIONS WHICH TRANSPIRE BETWEEN THE HEROES OF RAGE
KURLOZ: LET HER TRY TO RAISE HER PATHETIC ARMY OF SOULS. SHE WILL BE DOUBLE SLAIN BY OUR LORD LIKE ALL THE OTHER MIRTHLESS HERETICS
We now know that the alpha trolls have every reason to fear Kurloz. Turns out he’s a dutiful pawn of Lord English’s who carries out all sorts of mysterious duties undercover.
As Kurloz, you can open the dream bubble northwest of Meenah and you get an interesting dialog box.
> Kurloz, examine bubble
You’ve kept many secrets from your friends. Secrets to you were always the most beautiful miracles of all. They are the private answers to a bunch of riddles no one ever asked.
But since this place is made of memories, you’ve had to be extra careful with your secrets. You’ve carved out an extensive network of virtual catacombs throughout the bubbles, leading to hidden treasures, black recollections, and perhaps one or two illicit dropoff points.
Kurloz’s method of keeping secret memories is rather frightening, especially because passwords and puzzles are nowhere near enough to keep others out of Karkat’s memories. You can really tell this guy is dedicated to his craft.
> Kurloz, open left-hand chest
You got a JUJU BREAKER!
This is an extremely rare, dangerous, and particularly blasphemous item. The thought of destroying a precious juju makes your blood boil. This must be guarded carefully. You cannot let it fall into the wrong hands.
> Kurloz, open right-hand chest
You got a JUJU CHEST!
Only a cherub can open it. You would be double-dying of curiosity to know what’s inside, except for the fact that it would be heresy to even wonder. And you would bite your tongue for having the thought, if you hadn’t already chewed it off long ago.
These two dialog boxes demonstrate Kurloz’s dedication to his cherub religion very well. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us much we don’t already know, especially not what’s inside the juju chest. I like how that whole juju chest plot point’s lack of resolution is itself a plot point in the epilogues—one of the main factors in John’s dilemma between meat and candy.
At the end of the hallway, Kurloz meets Gamzee. They have a short exchange:
KURLOZ: I COME BEARING THEE FINAL JOLLY ACCOUTREMENT MY FAITHFUL INVERTEBROTHER
KURLOZ: THY BARDLY REGALIA IS DONE AND FUCKING DUSTED BY THE SPECIAL STARS THEMSELVES
KURLOZ: ON THIS DAY THE DARK CARNIVAL REJOICED AND SAID IT WAS MONEY
KURLOZ: NOW BRING TO LIFE OUR WICKED RUSE WITH APLOMB MY NINJA
KURLOZ: OUT LORD AWAITS YOUR SERVITUDE AND TUTELAGE AT ONCE
KURLOZ: WE SHALL NOW BUST OPEN THESE BITCHIN ELIXIR FORTIES
KURLOZ: AND POUR SOME SWEET SWILL OUT FOR THE SOULS WHO SOON WONT BE NO MORE
KURLOZ: [zips lips]
Gamzee’s single line tells us absolutely nothing about his motives, other than an extreme investment in finally getting his codpiece. I would talk more about the notion of clown nonsense, but what is there to even say about it? It’s a ridiculous running gag that obliterates the line between hilarious and horrifying.
With Kurloz’s codpiece mission complete, we go back to playing as Meenah. If you find all the card suit-shaped gems, you can use them to open the door and enter a memory of Karkat Vantas’s respiteblock.
What a nostalgic sight this is. You can really see why Karkat wants to keep all this to himself. It must freak him out when others intrude on his memories of simpler times.
> Meenah, talk to Karkat
KARKAT: HEY, GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY… OH. IT’S YOU AGAIN.
KARKAT: SORRY, FOR A SECOND I THOUGHT ERIDAN’S AWFUL ANCESTOR FOUND HIS WAY IN HERE.
KARKAT: I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT WAS POSSIBLE TO BE MORE OF A SHITBAG THAN THAT GUY, BUT SOMEHOW AMPORA TEEN-SENIOR PULLS IT OFF?
KARKAT: I WOULDN’T HAVE BELIEVED IT IF I DIDN’T ABSORB IT WITH MY OWN AGGRAVATION SPONGE. JUST INCREDIBLE.
MEENAH: yeah vantas im gonna clue you in on somefin
MEENAH: mosta my crew is hecks of dreadful to be around
KARKAT: I KNOW!!!
KARKAT: HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO SUCK SO MUCH, WHEN THEY’RE PRESUMABLY ALMOST GENETICALLY IDENTICAL TO A BUNCH OF PEOPLE I LIKE?
KARKAT: MAYBE IT’S THE AGE DIFFERENCE? OR THE FACT THAT THEY ALL GREW UP ON A PLANET FOR LAME PANSIES WHO ARE CIVICALLY OBLIGATED TO WET THEMSELVES DAILY.
Are you ready for a hot take?
If a work of media I am consuming has a section that’s just plain nonstop obnoxious suffering, if characters later talk about how horrible or stupid that part was it usually redeems the whole thing for me. I know many people don’t feel that way about media or don’t think characters lampshading how much something sucks is a fair excuse, but in plenty of media, especially Homestuck-related, I find that effect done incredibly well. Not just in the Openbound games, but also in the Candy Epilogue whenever John talks to Terezi, cool and new web comic whenever we hear from an “enhanced” character, and countless other fanfictions I’ve read. It’s just a weird effect that I really enjoy seeing. In this case, after meeting four completely bonkers Beforan trolls it’s incredibly refreshing to hear from Karkat again, who throws some choice insults at Meenah’s old teammates. They aren’t even using hashtags anymore.
2021 EDIT: I can’t say I feel quite the same way about cool and new web comic as I used to. Though it has some good scenes here and there, the comic has frankly long overstayed its welcome. Still, my point about media redemption stands.
KARKAT: I HAVE TO ADMIT, MEETING ALL OUR ANCESTORS LIKE THIS HAS BEEN KIND OF OVERWHELMING.
KARKAT: I KIND OF HAD TO GET AWAY FROM EVERYONE AND BE ALONE FOR A WHILE. HOPEFULLY I’LL JUST FUCKING WAKE UP SOON.
MEENAH: oh uh
MEENAH: you want i should step off
KARKAT: NO, THAT’S OK.
KARKAT: YOU’RE ACTUALLY FINE, MOSTLY. I JUST COULDN’T TAKE ANOTHER ENCOUNTER WITH RED SWEATER GUY.
KARKAT: HE’S LEFT MY HEAD SPINNING, AND NOT JUST BECAUSE HE NEVER SHUTS THE FUCK UP.
KARKAT: FOR A LONG TIME, I DIDN’T EVEN BELIEVE WE HAD ANCESTORS. I THOUGHT EVEN THE CONCEPT OF ANCESTORS WAS JUST SUPERSTITIOUS, EGO-STROKING ARISTOCRATIC BULLSHIT.
KARKAT: BUT NOT ONLY DOES IT TURN OUT YOU’RE ALL REAL, BUT APPARENTLY YOU HAD THIS WHOLE DIFFERENT CULTURE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE BEFORE US? SORRY, THAT’S A LOT TO TAKE IN.
I find Karkat’s reaction to learning ancestors were real all along very interesting. He’s extremely disappointed by this revelation in a somewhat metafictional way. It seems like learning about the Beforan trolls’ adventures has put him in a bit of an existential crisis as to where he stands.
KARKAT: OH, NO. NO, FUCK ME. HOLY FUCK.
KARKAT: “BEFORE US?” GOD DAMMIT. I *JUST* GOT THAT.
KARKAT: SEE? THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. MEETING YOU GUYS HAS MADE ME HAVE LITTLE INFURIATING REVELATIONS LIKE THAT ALMOST CONSTANTLY.
KARKAT: LIKE, NOW IT CASTS THE NAME OF MY OWN PLANET IN A WHOLE NEW STUPID LIGHT. ALTERNIA? AS IN, ALTERNATE? ALTERNATE TO WHAT. TURNS OUT IT IS THE *ALTERNATIVE* TO A PLANET CALLED BEFORUS! THE PLANET WHICH CAME *BEFOOOORE* US. HAHAHA! GET IT?
KARKAT: WHATEVER JOKERS NAMED THESE PLANETS WERE COMPLETE FUCKING MORONS.
Karkat also hates noticing all these cosmic connections between the Beforan and Alternian trolls, which is amusing considering many of Homestuck’s fans adore that sort of stuff. I get slight Caliborn vibes from Karkat meta complaints.
MEENAH: well fwiw
MEENAH: alternias da bomb compared to my planet
MEENAH: and im not just saying that because grownup me ran the joint 38D
KARKAT: HEY, DON’T LET ANYONE KID YOU. ALTERNIA WAS FUCKING GREAT.
KARKAT: I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT MY BLOOD MADE ME A PARIAH. IT WAS WORTH TO IT LIVE ON SUCH A BADASS PLANET.
KARKAT: SOME PEOPLE LIKED TO TALK SHIT ABOUT THE EMPRESS. AND IT’S TRUE, SHE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE CULLED THE SHIT OUT OF ME ON SIGHT. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I ALWAYS RESPECTED HER AS A STRONG LEADER.
KARKAT: SHE KNEW HOW TO GET SHIT DONE AND DIDN’T PUT UP WITH DISSENSION FROM WORTHLESS IDIOTS. AND ALL SHE DID WAS, YOU KNOW… TAKE OVER THE ENTIRE FUCKING GALAXY. NOT TOO SHABBY.
KARKAT: I USED TO HAVE THIS KIND OF EMBARRASSING FANTASY THAT I WOULD GROW UP ONE DAY AND BECOME A THRESHECUTIONER. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS?
KARKAT: THEY WERE LIKE THE DEADLIEST SQUAD OF INTERSTELLAR FIGHTERS UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE EMPRESS. THEY HELPED CONQUER MORE PLANETS THAN ANY OTHER IMPERIAL FORCE. BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO MAKE THE CUT, BECAUSE OF MY BLOOD. SO I USED TO THINK OF ALL THESE ELABORATE SCENARIOS TO HIDE MY BLOOD COLOR. OR IN THE MORE RIDICULOUS FANTASIES, MAYBE I COULD EVEN PROVE MY WORTH AS A SOLDIER? LIKE JUST BE SO AWESOME WITH A SICKLE, THEY WOULD JUST HAVE TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION. MAYBE EVEN BE LIKE A FOLK HERO AND RISE THROUGH THE RANKS TO BECOME THE LEADER. HAHA.
Now here’s an interesting passage. Karkat reveals that when it all comes down to it, he is proud to be an Alternian. This discussion initiates a subplot that is put on the backburner for a long time, but gloriously revisited in the epilogues. Karkat’s character arc in Candy centers around his Alternian pride, starting with the speech he gives a year into the story about how unfairly trolls are treated on Earth C. From that point onward, Karkat secludes himself from most of his human friends except presumably Rose, being married to Kanaya and all. Together with Meenah, he gradually initiates a full-scale rebellion and finally lives up to his ancestor’s legacy.
… Wait, I’m just stating facts again, god damn it. I’m still just so happy Homestuck finally has two actual, official epilogues! God damn is it easy to ignore that I’m technically talking about two different versions of Karkat here, pre-retcon and post-retcon.
KARKAT: THOSE WERE OBVIOUSLY JUST SOME CHILDISH DAY DREAMS. I’VE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT WHAT BEING A LEADER REALLY MEANS SINCE THEN. MAINLY THAT IT’S A LOT HARDER THAN EVERYONE THINKS.
KARKAT: SO I GUESS I LEARNED TO RESPECT WHO YOU TURNED OUT TO BE ON MY WORLD EVEN MORE THAN I DID ALREADY, BECAUSE OF THAT.
MEENAH: the leadership thing is hard as globes
MEENAH: could barely get anyone to lift a flippin finger in my session
MEENAH: and now its like that all over again trying to raise this army
MEENAH: i reely dunno how sexy bitch grownup me pulled it off
KARKAT: OH YEAH. HOW IS THAT GOING?
KARKAT: HOW MANY RECRUITS DO YOU HAVE?
MEENAH: want to take a guess
KARKAT: OH. STILL ZERO, HUH? YEAH, THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT. SERIOUSLY, FUCK LEADERSHIP.
MEENAH: i know!!!!!!
Karkat and Meenah’s bonding over the difficulty of leadership is extremely heartwarming, as is their mutual amazement at the Condesce’s leadership style. It’s kind of crazy to see the Condesce of all people portrayed in a sympathetic light.
Karkat proceeds to offer to join Meenah’s army next time they meet. Meenah’s reaction is as follows:
I have to say, Karkat and Meenah have a really interesting somewhat testy dynamic with some lopsided romantic tension. Meenah is in love with the cool Alternian shouty kid; Karkat respects her on some level but doesn’t know how to feel about her advances.
KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW WHY EVERY TIME I TURN AROUND, I’M UP AGAINST AN INVINCIBLE DEMON OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. I GUESS THAT’S JUST THE IMPOSSIBLE KIND OF THING PARADOX SPACE WANTS ME TO DO TO PROVE I’M NOT SOME HORRIBLE MISTAKE OF NATURE.
I feel bad for Karkat again. He doesn’t like being treated as a pawn who constantly needs to prove his worth as a hero against invincible demons; when his own pride as a troll is at stake, that’s when he becomes the hero he was always meant to be. Karkat had one last speaking scene in the Candy Epilogue where John and company are 39 years old; it was short, but it its job at showcasing this incredible hero. I wish Meenah also had such a speaking scene, but maybe it makes sense for her to be put in the background.
After this conversation, you can now play as Karkat, who lets Meenah chill out in his memory respiteblock. Karkat’s theme in this walkaround is a slower orchestral arrangement of his theme from the Act 5 Act 2 walkarounds, appropriately somber for his overwhelmment at meeting all the alpha trolls.
“Overwhelmment” is totally a real word, don’t let spell check fool you.
Karkat explores some nostalgic scenery we haven’t seen in a long time: a bright colorful Alternian forest. In the forest, you can see various possessions of Terezi’s that will easily remind you of the goofy colorful fake lawyer girl we’ve always loved.
Terezi might have had her eyesight healed at this point, most unfortunately.
In the memory forest, Karkat encounters a rather depressed-looking Terezi Pyrope. Are you ready for one of the most touching scenes in the entire comic? You better be.
> Karkat, talk to Terezi
KARKAT: TEREZI, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE ASLEEP.
KARKAT: WHY ARE YOU HERE ALL ALONE IN THE WOODS? OR THE PRETEND WOODS, I GUESS.
KARKAT: AND WHY DO YOU HAVE YOUR DRAGON COSPLAY PULLED DOWN LIKE THAT? IS SOMETHING THE MATTER?
TEREZI: 1M F1N3
KARKAT: YOU DON’T SOUND FINE. DON’T BULLSHIT ME LIKE THAT, I KNOW WHEN SOMETHING’S UP WITH YOU.
TEREZI: K4RK4T PL34S3 JUST L34V3 M3 4LON3
KARKAT: OK, I GET IT IF YOU WANT SOME ALONE TIME. I MEAN, I ACTUALLY JUST GOT DONE SULKING THE FUCK OUT MYSELF JUST NOW.
KARKAT: BUT IT REALLY HELPS TO TALK TO SOMEBODY. YOU CAN TALK TO ME ABOUT STUFF, YOU KNOW THAT RIGHT?
TEREZI: Y34H, 1 GU3SS
KARKAT: IS IT DAVE? DID HE DO SOMETHING DOUCHEY AGAIN?
KARKAT: DID HE BREAK UP WITH YOU? HE BROKE UP WITH YOU, DIDN’T HE. I KNEW IT, I COULD JUST SEE THE WRITING ON THE WA…
TEREZI: H3 D1DNT BR34K UP W1TH M3!!!
TEREZI: 1T H4S NOTH1NG TO DO W1TH D4V3
KARKAT: OK THEN WHAT
TEREZI: MY 4NC3STOR
KARKAT: YEAH? WHAT ABOUT HER.
TEREZI: SH3S JUST
TEREZI: R4D1C4L >:[
Kind of crazy that the first time Terezi appears in this intermission is not jamming it out with all the wacky dancestors, but sitting alone and depressed about hers. Terezi’s reaction to meeting the Beforan trolls is quite a sad subversion of expectations.
TEREZI: 1 JUST D1D NOT KNOW 1T W4S 3V3N POSS1BL3
TEREZI: TO B3 SO R4D
TEREZI: 1 4LMOST C4NT H4NDL3 1T K4RK4T
TEREZI: TH3 R4DN3SS
TEREZI: HOW DO3S SH3 DO 1T?
KARKAT: WELL, LET’S SEE. SHE RIDES A FUCKING SKATEBOARD. AND THAT’S IT. PRETTY MUCH END OF THE EXPLANATION.
TEREZI: 1 TH1NK 1T 1S SO MUCH MOR3 TH4N TH4T
TEREZI: 3V3RYON3 LOV3S H3R
TEREZI: SH3 1S SO S4SSY 4ND FUN, SH3S TH3 B3ST 4T G4M3S, 4ND 4LL H3R STUNTS 4R3 1NCR3D1BL3
TEREZI: HOW 4M 1 SUPPOS3D TO M34SUR3 UP TO TH4T?
KARKAT: OH COME ON
KARKAT: DON’T TELL ME THIS IS GOING TO BE A THING WITH YOU NOW.
TEREZI: WH4T TH1NG?
KARKAT: A SELF ESTEEM THING.
KARKAT: YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT, IT’S JUST SO UNWARRANTED.
TEREZI: W3LL TH4TS HOW 1 F33L, SO TOO B4D!!!
As Terezi explains, Latula’s girl persona has many merits that make her popular and loved among the alpha trolls. She arguably raises a good point describing Latula’s popularity like this.
KARKAT: TEREZI, I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. YOU ARE *NOT* IN ANYONE’S SHADOW.
KARKAT: LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT OUR ANCESTORS.
KARKAT: THEY’RE ALL ASSHOLES!!!
TEREZI: SH3 1S NOT 4N 4SSHOL3
KARKAT: NO, SHE IS. TRUST ME.
KARKAT: THEY ALL ARE. AT LEAST THE VAST MAJORITY.
KARKAT: THEY PRACTICALLY AREN’T EVEN PEOPLE. THEY’RE WALKING, TALKING, LIKE…
KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUT IT. ALMOST LIKE LIVING PARODIES OF HORRIBLE, CLICHED BEHAVIOR PATTERNS.
TEREZI: WH4T, YOU M34N L1K3…
KARKAT: BUT IT’S MORE THAN JUST THAT. TAKE MY ANCESTOR FOR EXAMPLE.
KARKAT: TOTAL ASSHOLE! PROBABLY THE WORST ASSHOLE THERE IS.
KARKAT: YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE I GUESS HE DOESN’T YELL AT PEOPLE LIKE ME? BUT THAT PROBABLY MAKES IT WORSE.
KARKAT: HE JUST GOES ON AND ON ABOUT THE MOST SANCTIMONIOUS, INCOMPREHENSIBLE GARBAGE YOU EVER HEARD. HE THINKS HE’S BETTER THAN EVERYONE BUT THEN DRESSES IT UP IN THIS BOGUS HYPER-ACADEMIC HUMILITY. HE TRIES TO DEFEND PEOPLE WITH “PROBLEMS” BUT JUST WINDS UP INSULTING THOSE PEOPLE IN BACKHANDED WAYS. HE LECTURES PEOPLE ENDLESSLY, AND WHENEVER HE RISES TO THE “DEFENSE” OF HIS FRIENDS HE USUALLY ENDS UP GIVING THEM A BIG FUCK YOU BY BEING IMPLICITLY JUDGMENTAL.
KARKAT: I COULD REALLY GO ON FOREVER ABOUT HIM, BUT I WON’T, BECAUSE THEN I’D BE STOOPING TO HIS LEVEL.
After a funny bit where Terezi compares horrible cliched behavior patterns to “teenagers”, Karkat uses his ancestor as an example of how terrible the Beforan trolls all are. This is more of the media redemption effect I talked about during Karkat and Meenah’s conversation. I think that if there’s anything people can agree on about the Openbound games, it’s that Karkat’s criticisms of Kankri are extremely on-point.
KARKAT: AND YOUR ANCESTOR? YEAH, SHE’S “FUN” I GUESS. BUT TALK ABOUT A PHONY.
KARKAT: OH AND I DON’T GIVE A *FUCK* WHAT ANYONE SAYS, LOSING YOUR SENSE OF SMELL IS NOT A REAL DISABILITY!!!
KARKAT: HER RAD GIRL THING IS SUCH AN OBVIOUS ACT. SHE’S CLEARLY WORKED FOR SWEEPS ON PERFECTING IT, AND QUITE APPARENTLY REVELS IN THE ATTENTION IT GETS HER.
KARKAT: BUT THE FACT THAT SHE WORKS SO HARD ON IT IS EXACTLY WHY YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
KARKAT: YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO TRY TO BE THE GOOD PERSON YOU ALREADY ARE.
KARKAT: SEE, YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN AND BE LIKABLE BY JUST BEING YOURSELF. IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE PART OF SOME OVER THE TOP SCHTICK TO IMPRESS PEOPLE. WHEN SHE DOES THE RAD GIRL THING IT’S LIKE A DISGUISE, PROBABLY COVERING UP SOME PART OF HERSELF SHE’S UNHAPPY WITH. BUT WHEN YOU WITHDRAW AND COVER YOURSELF UP LIKE THAT, YOU’RE ACTUALLY JUST PREVENTING PEOPLE FROM SEEING SOMEONE WHO’S ALREADY BEAUTIFUL.
And here’s where it gets REALLY touching. Karkat provides the perfect counterargument against Terezi’s feelings of dancestor inferiority!!! It’s that Terezi is already cool and fun without having to go over the top, and covering herself prevents people from seeing that. I completely forgot just how touching his words to Terezi were and was moved by his speech rereading it.
A Vantas leaving a Pyrope speechless was kind of cute the first time, but mind-blowing the second time.
KARKAT: I KNOW I COMPLETELY FUCKED UP WITH YOU. THIS ISN’T, UH… OK. I’M NOT LIKE TRYING TO REDEEM MYSELF HERE. I MADE MY RECUPERACOON AND NOW I HAVE TO WRIGGLE AROUND IN ITS SLIME. I TOTALLY ACCEPT THAT. BUT AS YOUR FRIEND I REALLY DON’T WANT YOU TO START FEELING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF BECAUSE OF ONE OF THESE SHALLOW, TWO DIMENSIONAL DIPSHITS. BUT I TOTALLY CONCEDE THAT YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE ABOUT ME, AND I RESPECT YOUR DECISION. I JUST WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY IS ALL.
KARKAT: OK, I’M PROBABLY JUST STICKING MY FOOT IN MY FUCKING TALK BLASTER YET AGAIN, AND I’M PROBABLY MAKING YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. I GUESS I’LL GO BACK TO MY ROOM NOW. I HOPE YOU TAKE AT LEAST SOME OF WHAT I SAID SERIOUSLY THOUGH.
KARKAT: UM. YEAH. OK, BYE.
What a hearty load of FEELS this whole scene was. It was so beautiful that it arguably redeems the entirety of Openbound Part 2. Might as well play as Terezi and go through the little that’s left of this walkaround.
Oh man, more nostalgia. I don’t know about you, but I badly miss the old Terezi. Goofy mind game Terezi makes a glorious return during the retcon quest in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, which is a part I’m rather excited to get to. Unfortunately that’s almost two thousand pages from now.
> Terezi, talk to Meenah
TEREZI: OH… H3Y
TEREZI: 1TS YOU
TEREZI: WH4T 4R3 YOU DO1NG 1N MY H1V3?
MEENAH: shit pyrope dont sniff at me
MEENAH: i was standin around in shoutkats place when it all dream switched on me outta nowhere
TEREZI: D1D YOU S33 H1M COM3 1N H3R3?
MEENAH: wait you lookin for him now too?
MEENAH: good luck with that the guys slippery as a goddamn eel
MEENAH: spent all day tracking him down myself
MEENAH: but i finally caught up with him a while ago
MEENAH: and i think
MEENAH: we might be goin on a date later?
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: i dunno if im misreadin his intent there
MEENAH: you might know better than me
Terezi’s conversation with Meenah is brief and a bit sad. Meenah accidentally rubs a bit of drama in Terezi’s face due to her extreme enthusiasm over Karkat.
TEREZI: WH4T D1D H3 S4Y?
MEENAH: well whatever the case is later hes goin to hop off the meteor and fight lord invincible with me
MEENAH: whatta you think am i readin too much into shit or
TEREZI: SHRUG >:|
MEENAH: yeah guess well sea
MEENAH: anyway im out
MEENAH: this hive you got is craycray pyrope
MEENAH: can appreciate a girl with a gaudy sense a design
Karkat and Meenah’s romance arc is a bit testy, I must say. Meenah is all the way into it, Karkat appreciates a lot about her but isn’t quite as much into it.
After this conversation ends, you can play as Meenah again.
> Meenah, talk to Terezi
MEENAH: ps ur dragon outfit rules
This is another short, but surprisingly sweet compliment. I’m glad to see Terezi and Meenah’s exchange end on a positive note.
Meenah leaves the memory of Terezi’s hive and encounters Aranea once again in her exposition booth.
> Ask Aranea about Cherubquest.
ARANEA: Still haven’t found her quite yet.
MEENAH: any leads or
ARANEA: Not really.
ARANEA: She’s apparently very well hidden!
MEENAH: um yeah sure
MEENAH: have you even really been lookin
MEENAH: or have you been fucking around with your lil exposition stand
ARANEA: I have 8een dividing my time efficiently. 8ut thank you for your concern.
MEENAH: it wasnt even that long ago we talked about other boring stuff
MEENAH: you had to drag your stand over to the top of this tree
MEENAH: like all waitin for me up here
MEENAH: how long did that take
ARANEA: Never mind a8out that!
ARANEA: And yes, I did stop along the way to explain some important things to people.
ARANEA: People are curious a8out information, Meenah. They want to KNOW things, alright?
MEENAH: they want to know…
MEENAH: or you want to tell them?
MEENAH: ok lemme ask this
MEENAH: did you pay them so you could explain stuff
In the last walkaround Aranea poked at Meenah in the last walkaround for her insatiable love for money; now it’s time for Meenah to poke at Aranea for her insatiable love for telling stories. Aranea’s exposition fetish is so funny, I don’t care what anyone says.
MEENAH: so how long would you estimate you spent cherub hunting in between your splainins
ARANEA: Look. Finding this cheru8 was always going to 8e a slow 8urning quest. It is an intricate, layered mystery that can’t 8e rushed. I’m working up to it!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: aranea serket i have somefin to explain to you at no expense
MEENAH: i find your humorously ineffective approach to this quest to be max adorbs
The cherubquest was only introduced in the last walkaround game and it’s already turned into a pointless joke. Aranea still doesn’t know she’s looking for the wrong version of Calliope, and neither do we.
Oh yeah, here are my introduction paragraphs for the four trolls we met in this walkaround:
- Cronus Ampora is a joke character.
- Mituna Captor is a joke character.
- Meulin Leijon is a joke character.
- Kurloz Makara does one thing arguably relevant to the plot but is otherwise a joke character.
(I’ll recap and evaluate these characters in earnest at the end of this post.)
> Tell me about Cronus Ampora.
ARANEA: The 8ard of Hope may seem a little jaded these days, 8ut he once had a deeply a8iding faith in magic, and dedicated himself to 8ecoming a great wizard. He 8ecame convinced he was hatched to defeat an extraordinarily evil magician, one he swore the angels foretold of. Though when pressed for the name of the man, he would not say it, claiming it was too dangerous to even enunciate. Part of his self-aggrandizing mythos was that this magician once somehow from afar tried to strike him down at a young age, so he would never have to face him. 8ut the evil spell was deflected, sealing the magician’s spirit away in a series of unassuming vessels until he could find some other cunning way to enter our universe.
I find Cronus’s wizard backstory to be very interesting and not because it’s a blatant Harry Potter ripoff. Cronus’s old belief in magic sounds to me like a rival religion to the Makaras’ clown religion. Most religions and mythologies in Homestuck center around real characters, like the Handmaid or the Subjugglators, and Cronus’s old religion is no exception. Cronus’s period of believing in magic was probably during their Sburb session, because Aranea mentions angels which were also found on Eridan’s planet and evidence shows the Beforan trolls’ planets were mostly the same as the Alternian trolls’ planets. Aranea suggests that the angels Eridan massacred may have been prophets of some sort, only befitting of a Hero of Hope. The Prince of Hope outright destroyed those angels; the Bard of Hope, on the other hand, indirectly allowed his faith in angels to be destroyed.
ARANEA: The attack supposedly left him with his distinctive scar, which he was not reluctant to point out when trying to hit on me. Uh, I mean, he wasn’t reluctant to mention it in casual conversation.
I wonder if Cronus viewed his post-scratch self, Orphaner Dualscar, as a figure in his religion. If the angels knew about Lord English, then it isn’t far-fetched to assume they knew about Alternia. Maybe when Cronus got his scar, he was reminded of Dualscar and hoped that pointing his scar out to Aranea would echo Mindfang and Dualscar’s black relationship. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for everyone else), just because two people were in a relationship on one side of the scratch doesn’t mean they are in any way “fated” for each other.
ARANEA: 8ut at some point he 8ecame disillusioned with magic. If there ever was any truth to his far fetched vision, the legacy of defeating the evil magician would have to 8e passed on to his descendant, or if his descendant proved to 8e as much of a failure as he did, then perhaps on to some other Hero of Hope.
“Some other Hero of Hope” is obviously Jake, who we now know dealt Caliborn his first defeat. Cronus’s visions did indeed have some truth to them, but he didn’t realize that a whole different Hero of Hope was fated to face Lord English. Cronus’s whole childhood encounter was probably a slip-up on English’s part.
ARANEA: I’m unsure why he suffered this crisis of faith, aside from the o8vious reasons having to do with an overall lack of character, or any other redeeming qualities. Perhaps someone talked him out of his 8eliefs. May8e a friend close to him. Or, if one is to 8elieve his fantasy held any water, perhaps someone who was in league with the evil magician.
Someone who was in league with the evil magician? Yeah, that was probably Kurloz. It only makes sense that English’s loyal worshipper brutally cancelled the Cronus vs. Lord English plotline long before the story started.
ARANEA: Whatever the case, it was pro8a8ly for the 8est, since pretty much everyone who had half a think pan thought it was all a 8unch of ridiculous nonsense.
MEENAH: serket why do you got to hate on other peoples religions
MEENAH: dont you kno they just as much a load of crackpotty bunk as all your spiritual bullfuck
ARANEA: 8ut I……..
ARANEA: Yes, I guess I was out of line.
ARANEA: Sorry, I was just trying to riff with you little on a mutually disliked acquaintance. Is that really so 8ad? Why do you have to take every opportunity to knock my personal 8eliefs?
ARANEA: You can really 8e so mean sometimes.
MEENAH: can i have my money now
ARANEA: Yes. Here.
Meenah calls Aranea out for making fun of Cronus’s old religion when she has absurd spiritual beliefs too. Meenah raises a surprisingly good point about Aranea’s hypocrisy considering everyone hates Cronus.
> Tell me about Mituna Captor.
ARANEA: The Heir of Doom was once a powerful psionic. He was gifted with vision twofold, and had strong prophetic insights wherever a 8leak future was concerned. He had much to say when it came to warning us a8out the path of doom and destruction we were all headed for, 8ut no one took him very seriously. 8ut one day he lost all those a8ilities when he 8adly overexerted himself. It’s hard to get any specifics from him, 8ut indications are that he applied every last 8it of energy he had toward some great act of heroism, saving us all from some looming threat. Not only did his exertion permanently 8urn out his psychic a8ilities, 8ut it left him somewhat… er. Incoherent.
Mituna’s backstory is an obvious echo of Sollux’s with a much more tragic ending. Sollux’s doom visions played an important part in the plot—remember the whole thing where Aradia lied through omission to convince him to develop Sgrub? Mituna’s doom visions unfortunately weren’t very useful, because none of his friends took him seriously and then he lost all his powers after saving them from a looming threat.
MEENAH: yeah i always wondered what happened there
MEENAH: anyone ever get to the bottom a that
ARANEA: No. The entire incident is shrouded in mystery. From his limited and scattered accounts of what happened, it seems very likely that Kurloz was with him at the time, as the only eye witness. And of course it’s impossi8le to get any relia8le information out of him. I guess we may never know, sadly.
MEENAH: hey this was actually kinda interesting
MEENAH: it was W-ELL worth taking the money youre givin me to put up with it
ARANEA: Agreed! ::::D
Aranea’s exposition on Mituna’s backstory is accompanied by yet another hint that Kurloz was an unseen hand in the Beforans’ session. It really seems like Kurloz was the ultimate secret manipulator among the alpha trolls (for now).
The exact details of Mituna’s accident are to this day a mystery. I suspect that when the Homestuck book containing this act comes out, Hussie’s book commentary will give a thrown-together idea or two of what it might have been, but given the rate the books are coming out that probably won’t happen until at least two years from now. So for now I’m going to guess that knowing Kurloz, the looming threat Mituna saved the alpha trolls from probably involved either Lord English or your usual run-of-the-mill clown nonsense.
> Tell me about Kurloz Makara.
ARANEA: Prince of Rage actually used to 8e quite talkative. That is, until he had a nightmare which prompted a 8izarre incident, after which he would never speak again. He took a sort of spiritual vow of silence, which I’m sure was pro8a8ly related to his esoteric faith. Thereafter he 8ecame infuriatingly enigmatic. I’ve found it impossi8le to get any info out of him, 8etween his am8iguous mimes and penchant for riddles. It’s very frustrating, especially for someone like me, who has a passion for gathering as many facts a8out our story as possi8le.
Kurloz’s god tier title is the same as Gamzee’s, but active instead of passive. It makes sense because Kurloz serves Lord English in more straightforward ways than Gamzee’s complicated time loops. You could almost say that Gamzee is an exaggerated version of Kurloz, not the other way around.
ARANEA: Want to know a secret? Please don’t tell anyone, 8ut I really can’t stand the guy.
ARANEA: It’s pro8a8ly unfair to him 8ecause he is o8viously such a sweet and harmless fellow. 8ut something a8out him ru8s me the wrong way. I guess I can just 8e a little petty sometimes.
MEENAH: wow serket
MEENAH: just wow so rude
MEENAH: poor clown
ARANEA: Don’t give me that! I seem to remem8er you having more than a few unkind words for him 8ehind his 8ack.
MEENAH: yeah im messin witchu he sux
MEENAH: conversation over?
The funny thing is, Aranea could well be right about Kurloz being sweet and harmless. When it all comes down to it, Kurloz and Gamzee’s religion really does seem to be nothing more than clown nonsense. Wait, let me correct myself now that the epilogues are a thing. As long as dear sweet Roxy of all people isn’t sucked into that cult, Kurloz and Gamzee’s religion is nothing more than clown nonsense.
> Tell me about Meulin Leijon.
ARANEA: Mage of Heart as you know is an ardent disciple of the romantic sciences. She has a well earned reputation as a miracle worker when it comes to match making. 8ut her own romantic history ironically has 8een riddled with trou8le and heart8reak.
ARANEA: Once, well 8efore our session 8egan, she and Kurloz were in a very loving matespritship. It really seemed to everyone they were made for each other. One day, they fell asleep together. Kurloz then had a nightmare so terrifying, he released the most dreadful sound imagina8le. It truly echoed the horror of the Vast Honk itself. The noise was so loud and so awful, Meulin went completely deaf, and her hearing never recovered. Kurloz was undou8tedly devastated 8y what he’d done to her. He was so distraught, he sewed his mouth shut, and has never spoken a word since.
ARANEA: Though they drifted apart as matesprits, Meulin never held it against him, and even seemed to take delight in learning new ways to communicate. They continued to remain very close to this day. May8e a little too close, if you ask me. It’s clear that her sympathies have 8een gradually swayed in support of the High8lood’s cult. She stays private a8out her 8eliefs, 8ut now and then I’ll notice she lets some tenet of mirthful doctrine slip out.
The story of how Meulin went deaf is surprisingly unsettling, especially compared to the farce that was Latula’s loss of her sense of smell. It really seems like Kurloz was behind everything in the alpha trolls’ session that wasn’t a complete joke.
ARANEA: I suppose I shouldn’t 8e too concerned though, since it’s almost certainly a lot of harmless superstition.
ARANEA: Honk honk! ::::)
MEENAH: lol im glad we can both agree that clowny fuckin soda cult is the dumbest shit ever
ARANEA: Yes. Now here is your money. Thanks for listening!
MEENAH: serks do you even know how silly yall are
The dramatic irony is obvious to first-time readers. But if you’re rereading knowing Damara’s backstory it’s kind of double dramatic irony, if that’s a concept that makes any sort of sense. In Openbound Part 3 we learn all about Damara’s role as in the alpha session; after that point, I think Kurloz can be reevaluated to only have taken part in events directly related to his clown religion while Damara was the real unseen hand behind their failure.
… And that’s the end of Openbound Part 2! Final verdict: it’s considerably more flawed than Part 1. The new characters are much more obnoxious than last time, with hardly even a semblance of not being joke characters. However, the last portion of the walkaround with Meenah, Karkat, and Terezi is spectacular and arguably makes up for the entire thing. Especially Karkat’s encouraging conversation with Terezi about their ancestors; if you didn’t get EXTREME FEELS reading that part then you are a stone cold liar.
I don’t know if I’d call myself an Openbound Part 2 apologist like I am with Part 1, but I will say the final part of the walkaround is nothing to sleep on and cannot be experienced without trudging through the four new trolls we meet.
See you next time as John and Vriska reunite at long last. And see you next time after that for Openbound Part 3! This has been a productive month for my post series.