I won’t be posting to this blog for much longer, because last week I purchased the web domain cookiefonster.com! I’d wanted to do so for years and I’m glad I finally did it. The domain is hosted via WordPress, which is much more customizable and viable as a real website than Blogger.
I’ve imported all posts from this blog to my new domain, which I haven’t launched yet. I had planned to launch the domain on October 1, but the date may be delayed as late as October 4. The reason for the delay is because when I imported the posts to WordPress, a lot of the formatting came out wrong and there’s a HUGE amount that needs to be manually fixed. As I’ve been going through the posts in chronological order to fix them up, I’ve also taken the opportunity to make some revisions to my old Homestuck posts—specifically from post 36 onwards, because everything before that is unsalvageable without being completely rewritten.
I will launch my new domain when I’m done fixing up my old posts! I’ve had a lot of fun going back through my old blog posts and I’m very excited for the launch.
This post (which I wrote on and off over the past few weeks) was originally going to cover the last ~100 pages of Act 3, but yesterday I decided to split the post in half because it was getting long. I also renamed my rewritten post series from “Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Rewritten” to “Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck”; the last ~50 pages of Act 3 will be covered in Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.2.
Picking up from where we left off, John Egbert is commanded to alchemize in a 1980’s time-lapse montage. The narration declines the “1980’s time-lapse montage” part of the command because Hussie didn’t feel it was worth making John’s per-character alchemy binge into a flash, which I think was a good decision. All four beta kids get their own alchemy binge during the first five acts, and each one brings about a delightful mix of extremely plot-relevant items and inconsequential nonsense and everything in between.
First off, John tries alchemizing “pogo || hammer” instead of “pogo && hammer” and makes a hammer-shaped pogo ride. This is a clever integration of computer science technicalities to make alchemy work in Homestuck without inevitably running into captcha cards with too many or too few holes. Here’s the book commentary on this page:
You people don’t even know what the && and || operators mean, do you? Why don’t you learn computers you dorks! Although to be fair, technically the single & and | bitwise operators are what perform the described functions. So now who’s the dork. Me. I went with the logical operators (&&,||) instead because they are more recognizable and frequently used from a pure coding perspective. So it’s this weird case where I dumbed it down for the sake of people who ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM. Good grief.
afw I like this commentary because it shows how much care Hussie put into balancing technical accuracy and general accessibility when writing Homestuck’s early acts. The mix of accuracy and accessibility sets Homestuck apart from Problem Sleuth, a story based fully upon technical accuracy (to its own set of rules, that is).
Eh, could use some improvement.
And here’s where John starts customizing his suit until he comes up with something satisfying. It’s common in media for characters’ outfits to set the tone of the story, and the early acts of Homestuck do that in a unique and incredibly fun way: by having characters experiment with item combinations until they make an outfit they like. Usually the outfits are just for flair and tone-setting, but Dave’s outfits are a special case because they distinguish his time duplicates.
Don’t forget that Lord English will one day eat every single hammer John has ever made.
John’s creativity starts to shine as he comes up with ways to use his complex alchemized weapons. How does he solve the problem that his Telescopic Sassacrusher is too big to carry? Simple: he makes a Remote Ghost Gauntlet—a remote-controllable arm alchemized from his fake arm, Nanna’s ectoplasm, and his father’s PDA.
Then he uses a mirror to make a Left-Handed Remote Ghost Gauntlet. Hussie’s book commentary raises an interesting point about its usefulness:
Honestly I forgot until just now that a mirror could be combined with items to flip them. I don’t think that clever tactic was ever used again. But then, in a universe where sprites can just “flip turn-ways”, maybe it’s not actually that useful?
Flipping sprites turn-ways only happens twice, both times in the Midnight Crew intermission: first when Diamonds Droog uses effigies to patch Spades Slick’s eye, then when Slick flips his own sprite so that his bar-coded arm isn’t severed. I wonder if flipping their sprites turn-ways is something carapacians can do but humans can’t? It matches with their roles as NPCs and all the other stuff I talked about in a recent post. Maybe the Kiddie Camper Handysash has a badge that grants players full ambidexterity and sprite flipping? Or maybe it doesn’t since most of the Handysash’s badges grant players abilities humans in the real world can do just fine.
Hopefully you already know that real-world controversies have greatly affected Bill Cosby’s presence in Homestuck. I find this instance rather amusing; many readers might chance upon this command and guess that because the command ends with an ellipsis, John will remember on the next page what Cosby is now best known for and decide not to alchemize anything with his Ghost Dad poster. Alas, most of Homestuck was written before the controversy which means a few parts read very differently now.
You probably already know that Hussie owns the painting of a horse attacking a football player in real life.
Through a bit of creative thinking and math, John figures out how to remove the clown drawings from his movie posters! Another bit of admirable problem solving that shows he’s smarter than he lets on—clever problem solving is a trait he has in common with Roxy which neither show very much in the brutally deconstructionist Candy Epilogue.
And then John makes… this thing. I’m not going to bother saying what everyone says when they get to this part. Instead, I’ll talk about the book commentary on this page: Bill Cosby is the perfect father. We all know this. Whereas Bing Crosby, though quite fatherly onscreen, was actually a total douche to his real kids. I didn’t know this until way after I put him in HS. I wonder if Dad would have a dramatic breakdown if he learned that? YEARS LATER EDIT – HA HA, LET’S POLITELY SIDESTEP THE FACT THAT HE’S NOW BETTER KNOWN AS A SERIAL RAPIST THAN A GOOD FATHER. HA HA, WHAT SEX CRIMES SPANNING FIVE DECADES??? HA HA, WOW, MOVING ON! *But for real, re: the Cosby debacle. Given that I was just saying what a douche Bing Crosby was, it makes sense that Bill Cosby turned out to be one as well. These two figures are cosmically linked in the Homestuck mythos, which has eternally bound their souls together whether they like it or not. Both iconic father figures. Both wretched human beings. The circle of depravity is complete. I think this commentary provides good insight into how the Cosby debacle affected Homestuck that doesn’t come across as being in bad taste. The fact that Hussie managed to form a logical connection between that whole situation and his comic’s mythos is a testament to how deeply intertwined every single aspect of Homestuck is, even the absurd celebrity jokes.
GOOD PROBLEM SLEUTH REFERENCE. That is all.
God, the Wrinklefucker has such a cool design. How can a hammer whose head is made of springs and irons possibly look so badass???
It’s like fucking christmas up in here.
Actually, it IS fucking christmas up in here, because this page was posted on Christmas.
And that’s the end of John’s alchemy binge! A whole bunch of sweet loot, including some sick weapons, a stylish new outfit, a couple wild variants on Fruit Gushers, and some inconsequential miscellany. The next three alchemy binges are even more fun.
Now it’s time for Dave’s final round of strife against his Bro.
Dave, Bro, and Cal have their grand final confrontation, face-to-face, sword-to-sword…
… and with one swipe of his anime sword, Bro Strider fulfills most of what was foreshadowed when WV looked at Dave’s exile screen. This moment establishes how unbeatable grown-up Dirk is—not just brutally defeating Dave, but also using his sword to introduce three plot points in one go: Dave’s swords breaking, Dave’s record symbol representing the Scratch, and the deep dark secrets behind Lil’ Cal (because his head is intact). Bro’s strength is also important because it’s used to show how unbeatable Jack Noir is after he becomes a dog.
Dave stumbles around some more until he lies face-up on the ground. He finally has his bro’s copies of Sburb, and all it took was his lunatic guardian handing him the brutal beatdown to end all brutal beatdowns. Post-scratch Dirk fulfills plot points through clever well-timed sequences that take advantage of every detail he can find; pre-scratch Dirk fulfills plot points simply through being an anime swordsman.
If I recall, Hussie didn’t intend for Dave’s bro to give off such strong anime vibes but rolled with it when fans pointed that out.
And with that, Bro Strider hops on his rocketboard and floats away like a mysterious motherfucker. It’s kind of crazy that he just simply hops on and flies to the meteor so he can slice it in half while Dirk in the Unite Synchronization flashes has to make use of complex physics to achieve similar feats. Is this the way adult Dirk rolls, or are the beta kids inaccurately perceiving their guardians again? I’m going to assume it’s the former, because Bro spent 30 years or so inseparable from a puppet housing the souls of several impossibly strong beings whereas the puppet’s post-scratch “clone” didn’t have any of those souls yet.
And then comes the iconic sequence. Say it with me: — turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] —
TG: bro just kicked my ass TG: thats really all there is to say on the matter Bro just kicked Dave’s ass. That’s really all there is to say on the matter. Now let’s go on to [S] Jade: Pester John, a flash everyone forgets about for some unfathomable reason!
The main point of this flash, as the title suggests, is to show Jade and John’s conversations we already read from the former’s perspective. This flash is unique because it’s the only time we see a previously read pesterlog from someone else’s perspective in a full-length animation rather than still pages, which I’ve always found to be a genius method of storytelling.
This flash reveals that Jade’s dream self talks to her friends through her dreambot. It’s still so crazy to consider that Jade’s first ever onscreen conversation with someone was typed by a robot who mirrors all her dream self’s actions—perhaps even crazier than the reveals of trolls and cherubs.
After we establish that dream Jade is using her lunchtop to pester John, the flash takes a bit of time to show us how exactly Jade can “see the future”: during Skaia’s eclipses, she absorbs information from clouds that show her bits and pieces of their story. Alongside all the clouds showing past events, there are a few clouds shaped like people and items in Jade’s daily life, like the Squiddle-shaped cloud above. These shaped clouds are a nice touch to the Skaian cloud scenes and I find it a bit of a shame they’re phased out—they’re shown in this flash mostly to tie into [S] John: Wake up towards the end of Act 2.
Dream logic gets REALLY weird as we find out the truth behind the noise outside Jade’s house that “sounded like an explosion”. A Skaian cloud showing Jade’s island 413 million years in the past expands so that Jade is now “reliving” that memory, much like a dream bubble…
… then another Skaian cloud shows the prehistoric meteor arriving from the beta kids’ session, and the meteor turns into a meteor-shaped cloud …
… and then the meteor-shaped cloud crashes near the volcano, reenacting a scene from [S] WV: Ascend. The fact that the meteor is represented by a cloud instead of just being a memory of a meteor is a good demonstration that dream mechanics in Homestuck often work based on what looks the most artistically pleasing (or narratively convenient).
This flash shows us that Jade slept through John’s entry into the game, as we would expect from her.
And this is the big reveal. The loud noise outside Jade’s house that sounded like an explosion wasn’t a meteor impact, but a dream memory of a meteor impact. A bit at odds with how Skaian clouds usually work, but still a great red herring and demonstration of bizarre dream logic. It’s also a good retrospective demonstration of how protective her dog is; we know from [S] Jade: Enter that Bec will never let a meteor impact anywhere near Jade and instead destroys the meteor head-on to wipe out everything else on Earth.
This memory reveals to the reader (and to Jade) that the prehistoric meteor from [S] WV: Ascend gave birth to Becquerel, a millions-of-years-old dog who rose up out of lava in case you need a reminder how incredibly tough he is.
Please take a moment to appreciate that Jade is casually typing from atop her dream tower.
It’s also super crazy to see what Jade means by “bec doesnt want me to go near it”. She’s unknowingly referring to two versions of Bec: the dog in the real world and the dog’s dream projection. I assume that the reason she doesn’t find it surprising that she’s dreaming about Bec for the first time is because her dream self has a very different kind of brain from her waking self.
The last part of this flash shows us another John scene from Jade’s perspective: his short dream where he saw clouds shaped like items from his house and a silhouette of Jade. Jade notices him floating with his eyes shut tight and flies towards him to try and wake him up. We don’t yet know that she’s extremely antsy to finally show John around Prospit and tell him all her secrets—that’s saved for an extremely sad letter John reads after her dream self’s death.
This sequence revisiting the events of [S] John: Wake up is extremely well executed: we see the exact same shots with a bit more detail than before, showing that the shaped clouds John glimpsed at were only a small portion of a much bigger picture.
The silhouette of Jade is also revealed not to be what John thought: a look from a broader perspective reveals Jade to be wearing her golden dream outfit, shaped a bit differently from John’s perception. Jade flashes a few times in her dream outfit as we revisit John’s perspective.
And then they both wake up. How is it POSSIBLE that so many people forget about this flash?! Or the music in it for that matter. [S] Jade: Pester John may not be as fast-paced as all the iconic end-of-act flashes, but it’s a beautiful way to finally reveal how Jade “knows the future” and the truth behind her pesterlogs with John, with lots of stunning dream scenery as well. Jade’s past pesterlogs with John can be reread below this flash, helpfully accompanied by links to the pages we first read them on. GG: anyway what have you been up to john? GG: oh!!!! did you get my package yet? :O EB: er… EB: yeah, i was trying to get it, but rose dropped my car into a weird spooky bottomless pit and the package was in the car and im really sorry about that. GG: oh no! EB: wow, ok, i guess i should start at the beginning. EB: see, a meteor blew up my neighborhood. GG: thats terrible john! im so sorry! John and Jade’s pesterlogs read very differently now that we know Jade is actually her ditzy dream self. She reacts to John’s statement that a meteor blew up his neighborhood like a normal person would because she isn’t on top of things like her waking self is. EB: but i’m ok! and my house is too, sort of. EB: that game i was telling you about, sburb which i was playing with rose, sort of transported me somewhere at the last minute. EB: but now i’m trapped here and it’s weird and dark and i can’t find my dad and i just lost the car and my copy of the game in the pit and i think i have to save the world from the apocalypse!!! GG: O_O GG: well….. GG: it sounds really crazy and kind of scary but….. GG: it also sounds kind of exciting! GG: i dont know john maybe this is your destiny GG: if anyone can save the world i think it is probably you! Jade’s encouraging words again come off as extremely airheaded from her perspective now that we know her dream self forgets everything. EB: wow, you think so? GG: yes! EB: well ok, BUT. EB: it’s not even that simple! EB: i was about to connect to rose to help transport her and save her from meteors and fire and stuff. EB: but she lost battery power and i lost the game disc! EB: so i think i have to get TG to use his copy to save her! EB: but that jackass won’t shut up and stop rapping and stuff. GG: hahaha GG: he is so silly! EB: yeah. anyway i should talk to him about it, so brb. One thing waking and dream Jade have in common a special soft spot for Dave. I feel so bad for her in the epilogues, even reading short passages like this.
Jade’s next conversation with John in which she is an EXTREMELY FILTHY LIAR turns out to be her waking self and it’s just as annoying to read now as it was then. GG: hey!!!! EB: whoa, there you are! GG: how is your adventure going john? EB: it’s ok, i am making some progress, and rose finally connected again so she is helping me now. GG: thats good!! EB: oh but, like… EB: i don’t think i am actually saving the world here. 😦 EB: i dunno what i’m really accomplishing but i guess it’s not that. GG: hmm well i think whatever it is it must be pretty important! GG: dont lose hope john i think it will all turn out for the best if you stay positive…. GG: just keep listening to your grandmothers advice!!! EB: yeah, you’re probably right. EB: but, um… EB: i don’t think i mentioned nanna to you, did i? It’s somehow much more surprising now than before that Jade knows about Nannasprite. We now know that she must have seen Nanna in a dream, but it’s still really weird to see that she knows this much in advance. GG: oh uhhh……. GG: i dont know didnt you??? EB: hmm, i dunno, maybe you talked rose or dave about it or something. GG: yeah maybe that was it!! EB: they’re really weird when they talk to me about you, like they’re always trying convince me you have some spooky powers, but i’m always like no she seems like a pretty regular girl to me! GG: heheheh 😀 EB: but then when i think back maybe there are times when it seems like you know some things? EB: like maybe you know more about a thing than you are telling me? i dunno. The dramatic irony is stronger now than ever before. Come to think of it, Rose and Dave trying to tell John the truth about Jade is a bit like Roxy and Dirk trying to tell Jane the truth about Betty Crocker. GG: oh! john!!! GG: i forgot i was messaging you about that meteor that fell near my house! EB: oh yeah. EB: what ever happened with that? GG: oh boy…. well…….. GG: it turns out i was confused about it… GG: really confused! o_o; GG: see i guess i fell asleep for a while and….. GG: lost track of time GG: that happens!! EB: yeah i know, tell me about it! EB: maybe you should like, wear an alarm clock or something. EB: so what was the deal with the meteor? GG: well….. GG: its hard to explain!!! GG: but… GG: i know what it is now! GG: and now i know everythings going to be ok!!!
This part is much more tolerable when rereading, because we now know Jade is telling the truth and was indeed confused about the meteor. “Lost track of time” is a vague way to say dream Jade forgets things a lot; the truth behind the meteor is indeed hard to explain, even by Homestuck standards. EB: so what is it??? EB: or is this just another thing you’re “waiting” to tell me??? GG: oh gosh john i really want to tell you all this stuff!!! GG: but i cant yet GG: i really think you need to wake up first! EB: huh? GG: well ok not literally GG: well ok maybe KINDA literally!! EB: AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! EB: stop being so confusing!!!! And finally, we now know exactly what Jade means by “wake up”. Rereading pesterlogs from different perspectives is a lot of fun.
You take a moment to gather your thoughts after your dream. While you are asleep it can get very confusing figuring out what is really happening and what isn’t. Especially during the ECLIPSE, when you are exposed to many visions of the past, present, and future through a variety of CLOUD MIRAGES. It is only after you wake up that you are able to start making sense of it all, and your REMINDERS help you do this! This is one of the first instances of a pattern in the comic I very much appreciate: following flashes with textual recaps. By this point, Hussie had surely realized that some readers found big, grandiose flashes to be confusing, so he resolved this issue by recapping flashes in words for those who consume information better as text. The paragraph above is a great example of this pattern because it thoroughly explains how Jade knows the future. But on reflection, there wasn’t much in the dream about the future. You were quite surprised to see your DOG in your dream though. It was the first time the crafty guardian has ever appeared in a dream! You have learned that today is his birthday, just like it is for your other best friend. You have always wondered about this, and never had the chance to throw him a party and bake him a cake. Now you can! But if you do, it seems that you will need A LOT of candles.
This recap continues with a partial explanation of the story behind Bec. It tells us in a humorous way that the dog is millions of years old, which Jade probably deduced because she’s a huge science nerd.
Bec has never allowed you to enter the MYSTIC RUINS for reasons you never understood. You always assumed it was on account of your protection. But your dream has strongly suggested to you that is where you need to go now! Since your DREAMBOT is secured in its chamber and does not need to be looked after, Bec is taking a nap in the GRAND FOYER as he usually does. Perhaps you can take advantage of this and sneak out of the house another way?
This bit reads to me like Hussie letting readers suggest how to get Jade to the frog temple because he didn’t have any ideas. This sort of thing is done several times in the early acts back when Homestuck ran on readers’ commands.
Grown-up Karkat isn’t the only character who’s good with a zipline. Just look at teen Jade.
Upon suggested commands, Jade uses her harpoon gun to zipline down to the frog temple. This is a creative solution that I can really tell was a reader’s idea, not Hussie’s, considering the way Jade fights enemies later in the comic.
This page shows us that Rose built John’s house up all the way to his first gate. The book commentary says that his house now resembles a video game level; this is a great demonstration of the creative building aspects of Sburb, which I think is an underappreciated part of the comic.
Having been defeated by his bro, we finally get to command Dave again. His strife specibus is now 1/2bladekind, which definitely is a thing that makes sense. Everyone knows Dave’s broken sword motif demonstrates his struggles with heroism, but I see his thoughts on being “the guy who breaks swords” more as annoyance with character archetypes. He’s the one who told Rose that human beings don’t have arcs (which I vehemently disagree with) after all.
You try to grab the BETA (6) but you forgot your sylladex is completely packed.
You wonder why you jammed all this useless crap in here in the first place. Maybe you assumed you would weaponize it all during one of your customary HASHRAP battles with your BRO. But in retrospect that probably just would have been a huge chore and would have made the battle drag on forever. Sometimes you need to read the comic a bit deeply to see when Hussie is talking to readers through narration; other times like this, it’s very transparent. On this page, Hussie is telling us he was originally going to make an animated hash rap battle between Dave and Bro. It’s like what are you made of time. Obvious god tier title reference right there. This joke is reprised in Act 5 Act 2 when a doomed copy of Dave talks to Aradia, who is the Maid of Time—I wonder if Hussie had devised the trolls’ god tier titles yet by this point? Terezi mentions several of the trolls’ titles in Act 4, one of which is Aradia’s, so the answer might possibly be yes. Act 3 is fun to reread because it’s loaded to the brim with evidence that Hussie planned much of his comic’s plot way ahead of time.
Dave empties his sylladex and captchalogues his bro’s Sburb beta, then pesters Rose. — turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering tentacleTherapist [TT] —
TG: ok i got it TG: i hope you appreciate how much gross spongy proboscis i had to fellate to get this game TG: hello TG: what are you doing TG: anyway im going down stairs now and installing this thing TG: later Rose would most certainly appreciate how much gross spongy proboscis Dave had to fellate to get this game. She and Dirk are both avid fans of overcomplicated ironic scheming.
That would certainly hasten the parcel’s delivery, but the gift is not finished yet! You have spent months accelerating your knitting skills to be able to make the gift of perfect sentimental appeal. You even incorporated a cherished heirloom you have had as long as you can remember. When he sees your staggering gesture of sentimentality he will finally understand. He will understand that in the game of facetious sentimental gestures, no one gets the best of Rose Lalonde. These hints at the whole bunny mystery arc are a lot of fun to reread. I have no idea what readers might have speculated Rose’s lifetime heirloom to be, but given the appearification and sendification prevalent in the exile arc, I bet some readers immediately guessed on this page that time travel was involved.
We already learned in Act 2 that John was the one who got Rose into knitting…
… but only now do we get to read his birthday letter.
OH BOY, IT’S THIS PART. I love all the birthday letter scenes in Acts 3 and 4 so much. Each one says something big about the beta kids’ friendships and shared interests, and few of them (like this one) revisit prior scenes in more detail. dear rose,
thanks for being such a great friend all these years. i know you like to make it out like you’re playing it cool and don’t care much about the people in your life, but i know deep down you really do. hell, not even that deep down. it’s like, um, like your subconscious is having a wet t-shirt contest, and you being all aloof is this totally soggy shirt doing no good at all at hiding nothin’. oh wait, it looks like two can play at this game of cracking all these high falutin psychology books! AW SNAP!!! John’s wet T-shirt contest metaphor is a great way to show how deep and resounding the beta kids’ friendships are. He’s trying to describe through Dave’s style of snappy metaphors what Rose is like deep down; the analogy makes no sense but that’s what makes it endearing. but yeah, i got you this because i think you’re really creative and you could make something nice with it if you put your mind to it. and it might help you take your mind off a lot of all this serious business you’re always absorbed in. you know, all this weirdo pseudo-gothy stuff or whatever. frankly it’s kind of depressing.
anyway you’re the best rose! have a rad 13th! (i will catch up with you guys soon. god you’re all so old.)
~ghostyTrickster (john) John’s motivation behind this gift is to nudge Rose towards being a kinder, more approachable individual. His letter is a bit pushy and perhaps patronizing towards Rose’s interests, but it ended up working exactly as he hoped! He got Rose into knitting, an interest without which she’d come off as a completely boring fake goth girl. Getting Rose into knitting may have even played a part in her relationship and eventual marriage with Kanaya, which is kind of crazy to think about. Speaking of Kanaya…
… it’s time to dissect the HELL out of her first ever pesterlog. Are you ready?
GA: Why Is It That When The Subject Of Temporal Mechanics Is Broached Your Sparing Human Intellects Instantly Assume The Most Ingratiating Posture Of Surrender Imaginable This troll gives us one hell of a first impression—certainly a way more interesting one than Karkat gave us. The first line we hear from Kanaya is the comic’s first instance of arc words that usually show up when the story talks about alien concepts like troll romance. GA: Time Is Not That Difficult To Understand GA: It Is A Utility That A Universe May Resort To In Order To Advance A Desired Degree Of Complexity GA: Or May Not Resort To If That Is The Case GA: Its All Pretty Pedestrian GA: But No GA: When Time Travel Comes Up You Present The Face That A Man Shows When The Breeze Gradually Alerts Him To His Absence Of Netherdressings Kanaya’s complaints about the beta kids not understanding time travel may be meant to prepare readers for time shenanigans in following acts. It definitely reads this way to me, because time shenanigans kick into mega high gear when we start hearing more from the trolls. GA: I Dont See How We Are To Properly Agitate You All If You Continue To Insist On Failing To Understand Basic Concepts Which Common Infants Effortlessly Manage To Describe Via Scrawlings In Their Own Puddles Of Sloppy Discharge To first-time readers, “puddles of sloppy discharge” probably reads like a gross metaphor Dave would make. Only when rereading the comic will you know that these aren’t metaphors at all, but descriptions of troll biology. I’m going to guess that at this point Hussie had a loose idea of the workings of troll biology.
TT: Have we spoken before? GA: Yes GA: In The Future TT: You and your friends never cease to invent ways to strengthen the credibility of your assertions. GA: Oh My It Is Your Human Sarcasm Again GA: I Enjoy Listening To It And I Wish Doing So Could Serve As My Primary Form Of Recreation GA: There See I Just Did It Too GA: Saying The Opposite Thing To Emphasize My Contempt GA: But Suddenly I Feel More Primitive And Hate Myself A Little More GA: It Was Like This Funny Miracle That Just Happened In My Heart TT: I would admire the sophistication of you and your fellow future-dwellers a little more if you seemed to be aware the word “human” only functions as that sort of adjective in bad science fiction. TT: But I won’t be rude and change the subject. TT: There’s a still a bit of unflagellated straw poking out of your rhetorical effigy over here. GA: Oh Dear GA: No We Arent From “The Future” GA: But We Are All Already In Agreement That You Dont Get It And Never Will TT: I thought you said we spoke in the future. GA: We Did GA: Your Future GA: For Me It Was Only A Couple Minutes Ago TT: I understand. TT: You exist in some temporal stratum through which you have communication access to various points of my timeline. TT: It’s not that complicated. GA: Yes Thats Right GA: Will You Try To Talk Some Sense Into Your Idiot Friends GA: So That We May Proceed To Bother Them All On More Rational Terms
Is it any wonder that these two are the first couple in Homestuck to canonically marry? The only one, if you don’t consider the epilogues canon. Rose and Kanaya have strikingly similar manners of speech and levels of intelligence, but plenty of differences to make them a worthy couple. I noted in the old version of this post that you’ll know Kanaya is female from her screen name if you know what an “auxiliatrix” is, which means that this pesterlog is one of the first hints at homosexual relationships in Homestuck. I’m not sure if it’s the first hint, because Dave showed quite a few signs of having a gay crush on John in the first two acts. TT: I try to every day, with mixed results. TT: But you see, it’s not that I don’t understand you. TT: It’s just that I don’t believe you. TT: Because it’s nonsense. TT: Albeit persistent and coordinated nonsense. TT: Why would a bunch of temporally dislocated trolls want to harass a group of friends throughout completely random points in time? GA: I Will Admit This Campaign Of Provocation Wasnt All That Well Thought Out We later learn that Karkat led the campaign of provocation, which makes sense because he’s kind of a dumbass sometimes. He’s enough of a dumbass that Rose can’t logically process a mindset like his. GA: Dont Tell Anyone I Said That TT: Alright. TT: Maybe you should get some trolling tips from us humans. TT: Our sparing intellects are probably better suited to it. GA: Yeah Maybe GA: Why Dont We Be Friends TT: You want to be my friend? GA: I Think So GA: I Think Were Supposed To GA: You Suggested As Much Earlier TT: You mean I did in the future? GA: Yes A Couple Minutes Ago TT: Probably because I remembered you mentioning it in the conversation we’re having now? GA: Thats Likely TT: Hmm. TT: Your commitment to this roleplaying scenario is intriguing. TT: What choice do I have but to accept? Kanaya is hitting on Rose now, and it’s a mystery arc why that is. Though the kids are hit on by trolls aplenty through the course of their session, readers are probably invited to wonder why Kanaya has a thing specifically for Rose. It’s not revealed until the trolls’ arc that Kanaya found Rose’s Sburb walkthrough before the trolls started their game and spent much time fantasizing about what the writer of the walkthrough must be like.
Dave’s city looks oddly idyllic on a rainy day.
Rose’s flashback is immediately followed by a flashback to Dave’s 13th birthday. This scene reveals something interesting about Dave’s backstory: before he got his Stiller shades, he wore the exact same shades as his bro. You can tell through his triangular shades that Dirk raised Dave to become an anime swordsman just as tough as he is; it’s hard to even call him Dave without the Stiller shades.
John’s birthday letter to Dave is incredibly sweet, I love it so much. I’ll go through it in detail. dear dave,
i just wanted to take a break from telling you how much your gay butt stinks all the time and say what an awesome friend you are. Let’s add “Dave’s homosexuality” to the list of things in Homestuck’s late acts that were planned since at least Act 3. The signs of Dave not being straight were there SINCE ACT 3!!!, and plenty more thereafter (like in his conversation with Tavros a few pages later). It cracks me up in retrospect how much I used to insist that Dave’s sexuality arc and maybe-romantic relationship with Karkat were horrifically forced, like “J. K. Rowling revealed Dumbledore was gay” levels of forced. It’s like, how the ACTUAL FUCK could I have been so heteronormative??? I’m getting a bit off topic though. Let’s continue through the letter. seriously, on any other day i would be downplaying how you aren’t really as cool as you think you are, but just between you and me i think you might actually be that cool. i think you just gotta get out of your bro’s shadow and spread your wings dude!!! John’s encouraging words to Dave are simply incredible. He knows both his Derse-dreaming friends far better than they know themselves and is single-handedly responsible for major parts of their identities. so i got you these. they’re totally authentic! they actually touched ben stiller’s weird, sort of gaunt face at some point. i’m sure you’ll dig them because i know you lolled so hard at that movie. ok so for real, this is sort of a shitty present, but it is an ironic present because i know you wouldn’t have it any other way. maybe you can wear them ironically some time. they MIGHT even be more ironic than you and your bro’s dumb pointy anime shades. Unlike with his present to Rose, John’s present to Dave did far more than he thought it would. He thought Dave would just treat those shades like an ironic prop from one of John’s stupid movies, but Dave ended up wearing the shades on his face every second of his life. Dave’s post-scratch self mirrored this treatment of Stiller’s shades down to the letter; those shades are far more symbolic than Dirk’s anime shades could ever dream of being. (This letter is the first time in the comic anything related to Dirk is referred to as “anime”, which as I said earlier was an observation by fans that Hussie decided to go along with.) anyway, have a good one buddy! and stay busy being totally sweet!
~ghostyTrickster (john) Now that Dave has his Stiller shades, he will be busy every waking moment being totally sweet. John is an absolute prophet, I’m telling you.
Now THAT’S the Dave we know and love. Right when he finishes reading John’s letter, he puts the anime shades aside never to be worn again.
Now comes an extremely memorable humorous pesterlog where Dave owns a troll like there’s no tomorrow. AT: hEYYY, AT: fIRST, oK, i THINK YOU’RE AWFUL, AT: lET’S PUT THAT FACT ON THE TABLE WHERE WE CAN BOTH SEE IT, AT: nOW YOU HAVE BEEN PRIMED FOR THE DIGESTIVE RUINATION THAT’S ABOUT TO TAKE PLACE, aND THE COMPREHENSIVE SOILING OF THE LAUNDRY ENVELOPING YOUR PERSON, TG: oh my god you type like a tool The trolls’ typing quirks are innocuous so far, all things considered; the later ones take much more getting used to. I can’t help but notice that the first few trolls we hear from in the comic type simply with different capitalization and punctuation from the kids. Later trolls introduced have much wilder typing quirks directly based on their zodiac signs, which goes to show how much more the trolls’ arc was thought up on the spot than the kids’ storyline. Feferi in paricular had a typing quirk so hard on the eyes that it probably cost her narrative relevance; Meenah’s typing quirk is one of many ways her character is taking a second shot at a Pisces troll.
AT: yEAHHH, AT: nOW YOU’RE GETTING IT, wHAT YOU ARE IN FOR, AT: aRE YOU READY TO BE TROLLLLLED, AT: wITHIN AN INCH OF YOUR MISERABLE HUMAN CORTEX, TG: this is so weak im almost getting tired of wasting good material on you guys TG: its like TG: youve got nothing TG: its always one of you sprouting up and ranting about how hard im about to get trolled TG: with no ensuing substance TG: you dont even know anything about us TG: one of you fuckers thought i was a girl AT: oK, yEAH, bUT, AT: tHE THING IS, tHAT i DON’T CARE, AT: aBOUT YOUR ANATOMICAL DETAILS, aND THINGS LIKE THAT, AT: i KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE, AT: oR WILL DO, aCTUALLY, AT: iT’S THE MOST AWFUL THING, tHE WORST YOU CAN EVER DO, Tavros’s first impression is interesting knowing what’s later revealed about him. He was probably conceived simply as an example of a troll who’s not very good at trolling, but since he was one of the trolls we got to know before the trolls’ arc started, fans had plenty of time to come up with headcanons about what sort of person he must be, especially involving his unseen legs. It’s kind of weird to think that Tavros’s tragic backstory came to be simply because he was one of the first trolls to speak in the comic. TG: sorry i wouldnt cyber with you dude TG: in the future or whatever AT: wHAT, wAIT, AT: oH, AT: oK, yOU’RE THE ONE WHO LIKES TO SUBMIT INNUENDO, TG: human innuendo AT: yES, hUMAN iNNUENDO, AT: sORRY FOR THE LACK OF CLARITY, TG: so at what point in the future am i supposed to look forward to you whipping up this titanic hankerin for my knob AT: uH, TG: be honest with me TG: cause im busy TG: and i want to know exactly when i got to clear some space in my calendar for when some fuckwit blunders out of a magical phone booth and makes a ballad-inspiring play for my throbbing beef truncheon AT: sHOULD i BE PERTURBED BY THESE ALLUSIONS, TG: no man TG: look TG: i just need to know when to be there TG: when the stars come into alignment and your flux capacitor lets you finally sate your meteoric greed for crotch-dachshund TG: i wouldnt want to miss it and cause a paradox or something TG: itd suck if the universe blew up on account of you missing your window of opportunity to help yourself to a pubescent boy’s naked spam porpoise Dave Strider is not a homosexual. <- BLATANT LIES Dave Strider was obviously intended not to be a homosexual until the retcon happened. <- ALSO BLATANT LIES This pesterlog is hilarious after all this time and is an absolute highlight of Homestuck’s early acts. <- BLATANT TRUTH AT: uHHH, AT: oK, THIS IS SORT OF STARTING TO UPSET ME, TG: jesus you are such a shitty troll AT: i GUESS i’LL LEAVE YOU ALONE, AT: aND FIND ANOTHER POINT IN TIME TO BOTHER YOU, AT: wHEN, i GUESS, AT: yOU ARE MORE EMOTIONALLY SUSCEPTIBLE, aND DON’T HAVE ALL THESE BEES IN YOUR BONNET, AT: aBOUT YOUR HUMAN SEXUALITY, I used to be in a huge weird shitty denial that these lines tied in directly with Dave’s sexuality arc. Even Tavros can tell that Dave has a lot of issues to sort out regarding his human sexuality. <- BLATANT TRUTH What the FUCK was I thinking years back in this blog either awkwardly tiptoeing around or complaining about the sexuality arc?! <- QUESTION I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO TG: oh no TG: no dude TG: you sassed me up TG: we are in THE SHIT now TG: together TG: for the long haul AT: i, AT: wHAT, TG: we’re motherfuckin entrenched in this bitch TG: you and me TG: welcome to nam TG: now grab my hand and shimmy your soggy ass off that muddy bank before charlie gets the fuckin drop AT: uHHH, wHO, AT: wHO’S CHARLIE, TG: hes the guy whos gonna read our vows TG: im feeling pretty friggin MATRIMONIAL all a sudden TG: take a look down by your foot see that little bottle TG: stomp on that shit like its on fire TG: noisy ethnic dudes are flipping the fuck out and waving us around on chairs til someone gets hurt TG: im your 300 pound matronly freight-train TG: and my gaping furnace is hungry for coal so get goddamn shoveling This pesterlog is fucking amazing. <- FACT WE CAN HOPEFULLY ALL AGREE ON This pesterlog is a very early stage of Dave coming to terms with sexuality issues. <- FACT WE CAN AGAIN HOPEFULLY ALL AGREE ON AT: oH MY GOD, TG: bro look in my eyes TG: that twinkle TG: that be DEVOTION you herniated pro wrestlers sweaty purple taint TG: sparklin like a visit from your fairy fuckin godmother TG: shit be PURE AND TRUE TG: thats what you see TG: a kaleidoscopic supernova of all your hopes and dreams all swishin together TG: radially effevescing arms of more little boy peckers than you can imagine TG: turning out insane corkscrew haymakers of a billion dancing vienna sausages strong Writing commentary followed by a left arrow and an all-caps noun phrase. <- THING I WILL STOP DOING I don’t know how much Hussie intended when writing this pesterlog to seriously consider Dave’s sexuality. But I can tell that he had a lot of fun looking back on homoerotic dialogue like this and trying to figure out what it means about his comic in retrospect. This pesterlog gets a GLORIOUS callback towards the end of the Meat Epilogue when Dirk tries to get Dave and Karkat to kiss; only fitting because that scene is the grand beautiful conclusion to Dave’s sexuality arc. TG: this is how we do this TG: this shits more real than kraft mayo
— adiosToreador [AT] blocked turntechGodhead [TG] — And so, the conversation ends with Tavros blocking Dave instead of the other way around. A simple but powerful line that shows us exactly why Dave is such a beloved character. I’m ending this post here. See you next time as I finish Act 3 for real, with a few more plot resolutions and a glorious flash I love to death.
Four years ago today, on September 18, 2015, I launched an ambitious project that slow grew to an absolutely unprecedented scale. This project is my Homestuck blog post series, which is still going on to this day (mostly because it was on hiatus for almost two years straight). Today, I take a moment during a short schoolwork-related hiatus to commemorate the fourth anniversary of this monstrosity of a project! It feels more like the second anniversary though, because of the aforementioned hiatus. Writing all these blog posts taught me an insane amount about writing, gaining appreciation of literature, and understanding the complex indescribable nature of Homestuck. I owe a lot to this comic—it’s what taught me to READ instead of read, just as the epilogues are what taught me to WRITE instead of write. Next post, covering the trickster arc, is coming in October after I move this site to a new web domain. It’ll be this post series’ effective fourth anniversary special, why not.
I’ll make it brief this time. Schoolwork has been piling up lately will likely continue to do so as my fall semester progresses. Because of this, I’ve decided to pause my Homestuck blog post series for probably about a month or two (starting from 9/10, the day I released the last post). Amusingly enough, I put these posts on hiatus right before the trickster arc, which should be a fun and/or terrifying place to get back to. October 1 is still the day I plan to move this blog to a custom web domain and my posts definitely won’t resume until after that date. As usual, these plans are subject to change.
Next post is the trickster arc. I am so fucking sorry in advance.
But who knows? Maybe it isn’t that bad. I’ll see for myself.
October 1, 2019 is the day I will migrate my entire blog to a custom web domain! Currently figuring out the details of how I will do that. Also, there will be no Homestuck post next week because I have two big school assignments due a week from now.
Jake answers Caliborn, who wants to have an earnest gentlemanly conversation with him. uu: FEMALES ARE NOT BIOLOGICALLY EQUIPPED TO BEHAVE REASONABLY. AS PROVEN BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT. BY EMPIRICAL ASSERTION. uu: THEY ARE VERY SHRILL AND INSANE AND DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE. THEIR EMOTIONS ARE OUT OF CONTROL AND THEIR FEELINGS NEVER SHUT UP. uu: AND WORST OF ALL. GIRLS ARE VERY TRENCHANT TOWARD BOYS WHO WOULD KINDLY INFORM THEM OF THE WAY REALITY FUCKING WORKS. uu: TALK ABOUT UNGRATEFUL. NO. THERE IS NOTHING WORTHWHILE TO BE GAINED. FROM CHATTING UP THE BITCHES. uu: AS SUCH. IT IS MY SOLEMN BOYPLEDGE. THAT I WILL NEVER BOTHER SPEAKING WITH YOUR FOUL HUMAN STRUMPETS AGAIN. Caliborn’s sexism never fails to crack me up. It’s just so much funnier than it has any reason to be.
Jake goes on a walk through the Land of Hills and Stone Henges as he talks to Caliborn, which gives us some nice scenery. uu: THROUGH CAREFUL OBSERVATION OF YOUR PARTY. I HAVE DETERMINED THEY ARE BOTH USELESS. AND HOLDING YOU ALL BACK. uu: ON THE OTHER HAND. BOTH OF YOUR MALE PLAYERS ARE PRETTY GOOD. THE OTHER GUY, AND HIS RED FLOATING MALE GHOST? THEY’RE SO STRONG. IT’S SO GREAT. uu: I REALLY RESPECT THAT. GT: Yeah. Dirk is a pretty tough cookie alright… uu: YOU’RE NOT AS STRONG. BUT WHATEVER. YOU’RE ALRIGHT ANYWAY. uu: LET’S FACE IT. COMPARED TO THE FECKLESS HOES. YOU’RE IN A CLASS OF YOUR OWN. GT: But i thought you hated me! GT: At least thats how i remember it when we last talked. GT: Which was admittedly a while ago. GT: Ive never been accused of having a photographic memory but i dont recall you typing in green either. GT: Are you ripping me off bro?? uu: NO YOU FUCKING MORON. uu: IF I STOOPED TO YOUR LEVEL. AND DECIDED TO JACK *ANY* PORTION OF YOUR SWAGGER. uu: DON’T YOU THINK. YOU’D NEED TO EARN MY RESPECT FIRST??? Foreshadowing, am I right??? For some reason, I never realized until writing these blog posts how much the events of Caliborn’s Masterpiece had been foreshadowed. GT: I dont think I understand. uu: YES. EXACTLY. uu: UNDERSTANDING IS WHAT I NOTICE YOU DON’T DO. AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. uu: THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT JAKE. uu: IT IS WHY I HAVE TAKEN AN INTEREST IN YOU. GT: Whys that? uu: BECAUSE YOU’RE DUMB AS A BAG OF TEETH. uu: I’VE CHECKED YOU OUT. FROM MANY DIFFERENT MONITORS. uu: YOU ARE JUST. SPECTACULARLY UNINTELLIGENT. GT: Hey! uu: SETTLE DOWN. I WAS TRYING TO PAY YOU A COMPLIMENT. GT: Oh. Whoops. GT: Go on then. uu: WHILE TO CASUAL OBSERVERS YOU MIGHT APPEAR. TOO STUPID TO KNOW HOW FAR PANTS ARE SUPPOSED TO GO DOWN YOUR LEGS. uu: I KNOW THAT IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE. YOU ARE JUST MISUNDERSTOOD. uu: IT IS POSSIBLE THAT YOU JUST HAVE A SPECIAL MIND. uu: LIKE ME. Caliborn is going through character development as we speak. He’s an absolute master at progressing in life in a different way from how most people do, and his thoughts on Jake are a good example: he doesn’t get over his stereotypes about the alpha kids, but rather works with his stereotypes. Caliborn still thinks Jake is less intelligent than the other alpha kids, but now knows it’s natural for someone with such hidden potential to come off that way at first. He knows this by comparing Jake with himself, which would not be possible if he didn’t have such an overinflated ego. GT: You think so? GT: Not to sound too self obsessed or anything but ive given that some thought. GT: That maybe there is something special about me that nobody can understand. And maybe thats why i always seem to be botching things up the wazoo with my pals. GT: Maybe thats why i feel like such a loner. I dunno. Im rambling and ive been thinking about it a lot lately. What about you? Jake has the weirdest possible choices for who to confess his inner insecurities to: first Erisolsprite, and now Caliborn. He freely trusts the most vile and trollish people imaginable, like John but even worse. GT: Does being special make you screw the pooch with your friends like it does for me? uu: UGH. NO. I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS. uu: FOR MY PEOPLE. THE WORD FOR FRIENDS. IS FLAWS. This is totally something a troll would have said in the early acts. I’ve said before that Caliborn is a lot like how the trolls were first portrayed with all the over-the-top edginess, most especially Karkat. GT: Wow really? uu: PROBABLY NOT? BUT. IT SHOULD BE. uu: BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. AS A MATTER OF MY PERFECT PHILOSOPHY ABOUT EVERYTHING. This is totally the opposite of something Karkat would say. He and Caliborn are on complete opposite ends in the humility scale, which is their main difference. uu: BUT THE FACT THAT YOU CLEARLY HATE YOUR FRIENDS. AND ARE READY TO SHED THEM LIKE THE DRY SKIN OF A SERPENT. uu: INDICATES THAT WE SHARE A VERY SPECIAL QUALITY AMONG BROTHERLY BROS. WHO MUST WORK HARDER WITH OUR BRAINS THAN EVERYONE ELSE. uu: SO WE MAY ACHIEVE BRUTAL SUPREMACY OVER THEM ALL. This bit reminds me of Karkat’s first ever conversation with a human, where he hit on John spadeways because he thought they were cosmically connected. I suppose that’s another thing Karkat and Caliborn have in common: they both like to base relationships upon cosmic connections. Calliope is all about cosmic connections too, which makes sense because she and Caliborn also have a lot in common. GT: Haha. Well i wouldnt go that far. I love my friends! GT: But i was once told i had a lot of potential. GT: Supposedly thats how all pages are and it takes them for frickin EVER to reach it. GT: And funnily enough it was a figment of my own subconscious that told me this. A part of my untapped potential itself! But disguised as my best bro which was… GT: Peculiar to say the least. GT: Is that your situation? Are you a page too? uu: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! uu: HELL NO. BUT THANKS FOR THE LAUGH. uu: MY CLASS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOURS. IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY. EVEN THOUGH I JUST LAUGHED. uu: MINE IS THE BEST OF ALL. WHILE YOURS IS FUCKING TRASH. GT: Oh? Whats yours then? uu: LORD. GT: Fine then jeez. GT: Sorry for asking! uu: WHAT? uu: NO. uu: THAT WAS NOT A SHORT REMARK OF FRUSTRATION. uu: IT WAS THE ANSWER DUMBASS. GT: Oh. uu: IT’S THE MASTER CLASS. uu: DON’T YOU LOSERS DO ANY HOMEWORK ON THIS GAME. uu: YOU’D THINK YOU WOULD ALL BE EXPERTS. WITH HOW MUCH MY SISTER HARANGUED YOU ON THIS TEDIOUS SHIT. Caliborn raises a good point about the alpha kids’ game. I can think of two explanations why aren’t supreme Sburb experts: (1) Calliope carefully distributed details to avoid causal spoilers, or (2) Gamzee’s redactions made her not know as much as she otherwise would have. It’s probably motherfuckin’ both things. uu: SINCE I HAVE HAD GREAT SUCCESS SO FAR. IN PROGRESSING THROUGH THIS DEAD SESSION. I DECIDED. IT WAS TIME TO BITE THAT BULLET. uu: AND RETURN HOME. TO RETRIEVE ALL OF HER TERRIBLE TEXTS ON THE SUBJECT OF THIS GAME. AND OF YOUR STORY. uu: I HAVE PORED OVER EVERY NAUSEATING VERSE. IT HAS BEEN A TRUE EXERCISE IN AGONY. FEW COULD POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND MY SUFFERING. Caliborn going back to the trolls’ meteor to reread Calliope’s texts is analogous to a tsundere Homestuck fan rereading the comic and reluctantly not skipping the pesterlogs, so that when they’re done with the reread they understand the comic a lot better. uu: BUT THAT’S OK. uu: BECAUSE I’M NOT THE IDIOT KID I USED TO BE. NOW I KNOW. THAT WHAT IT TAKES FOR ME TO LEARN AND GROW STRONGER. uu: IS EXCRUCIATING EFFORT. uu: SO I HAVE A CHOICE. WHICH IS TO EITHER BE WEAK. uu: WHEN WEAKNESS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. uu: OR TO SUFFER. FOREVER. UNTIL NO ONE ELSE EXISTS. uu: WHO IS STRONGER THAN ME. More character development! Caliborn recognizes that sometimes one must go through some suffering to achieve their full potential, which he’s been doing both to become an invincible time-traveling demon and to become a groundbreaking artist. If you read Homestuck the right way, every word of Caliborn’s ego-stroking becomes wise artistic advice. uu: AND THAT’S YOUR CHOICE TOO. uu: PAGE HUMAN ENGLISH. GT: Sakes alive. GT: That is a bit extreme no? uu: FOR YOU. PROBABLY EVEN MORE SO. uu: BECAUSE AS A LOWLY PAGE. AND AS AN EVEN LOWLIER HUMAN. YOU ARE UTTERLY WORTHLESS. uu: AND SO YOUR TRIALS I BELIEVE MUST INCLUDE. PROVING TO PARADOX SPACE THAT YOU EVEN DESERVE TO EXIST. IN THE FIRST PLACE. uu: AND WHILE MY TRIALS WILL BE SIMILARLY GRUELING. A LORD’S WORTHINESS IS AT NO POINT EVER IN DOUBT. uu: HIS NOBILITY IS MANIFEST. SUPREME MASTERY WAITS FOR HIM PATIENTLY. LIKE AN EMPTY THRONE UNDER HEAVY GUARD. uu: REALITY ALREADY KNOWS I WILL PREVAIL. JUST AS IT KNEW I WOULD PREDOMINATE. uu: AND SO INEVITABILITY IS ALWAYS ON MY SIDE. uu: IT IS MY. WHAT DO YOU CALL IT. uu: BORTHRIGHT? uu: BORTHRIGHT. GT: I dont think thats a word. GT: But hey you are the lord and i am the lowly page. uu: DAMN STRAIGHT. uu: NEVER FORGET WHO YOU ARE MEANT TO SERVE. This is just a longer way for Caliborn to reiterate Lord English’s arc words, “he is already here”.
The scenery of Jake walking through a Stonehenge is really cool. It’s kind of crazy seeing this guy walking alone dressed in such a skimpy outfit—shows how much he’s awkwardly tiptoeing around his relationship with Dirk. GT: Now just a minute buddy. Lets not get carried away. GT: I have no intention of serving you. In fact im not even sure why im still talking to you! GT: Youre lucky that my manners are impeccable otherwise i would have blocked you already, what with the scandalous way you have characterized my ladyfriends alone. GT: Its all well and good you think we have some things in common but i wont fall for it! GT: Maybe its true at times i can be a little slow on the uptake but i will not be sweet talked into doing the bidding for a silver tongued cur!!! GT: So to you sir lord i must say GOOD DAY. uu: JAKE. uu: YOU STUPID SHIT. uu: HOW CAN YOU BE THIS DUMB. uu: ALRIGHT. FIRST OF ALL. MY TONGUE IS NOT SILVER. THAT’S VERY CLOSE TO BEING INSULTING TO ME. I LOVE it whenever Caliborn or Calliope subtly references cherub biology. It’s always way funnier than it should be, especially that one scene where Calliope giggles thinking about giant snake monsters. GT: Whatever! Look i know you are not the most quickwitted fella either, so i must inform you this is what we call a “figure of speech.” GT: You know. Like if i said you speak with a forked tongue. Not unlike LUCIFER HIMSELF!!! uu: BUT. I ACTUALLY DO HAVE A FORKED TONGUE. GT: Oh… GT: Really? uu: WAIT IS THAT SERIOUSLY AN INSULT IN YOUR CULTURE? HOW IS THAT INSULTING?? GT: It just means you arent trustworthy, and i should not be lulled by your false promises. uu: WOW. OK. WOW. uu: FIRST. NOT ONLY ARE YOU AN IMBECILE. YOU’RE A FUCKING RACIST TOO. GT: No im not! uu: JAKE. YOU JUST SAID SOME RACIST SHIT. END OF STORY. Man, it’s a good thing racism between species never amounts to more than one-off jokes in Homestuck. It sure would suck if species discrimination and stereotyping was ever taken as more of a serious subject… (The joke is that the epilogues make species discrimination a VERY serious subject, which is actually a good way to make Jane a more interesting character, being the sheltered rich kid and all.) uu: SECOND OF ALL. I’M NOT ASKING YOU FOR A DAMN THING. uu: AS IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER ME AT ALL. uu: THE VERY IDEA THAT YOU COULD IN ANY WAY IMPROVE MY EXISTENCE. IS ALMOST AS OFFENSIVE AS. YOUR FLAGRANT RACISM. uu: THERE’S NO “DEAL WITH THE DEVIL” BULLSHIT GOING ON HERE. uu: I’M OFFERING TO HELP YOU. STRICTLY AS A PRO BONO ARRANGEMENT. uu: MY ASSISTANCE WILL BE. AN UNCONDITIONAL ACT OF BENEVIOLENCE. GT: Dont you mean benevolence? uu: NO. GT: Um. Ok then. GT: But why do you want to help me? GT: Is it really just because you relate to me and therefore want me to succeed? !!!!!!!!!!! NEW FACT ABOUT CALIBORN I SOMEHOW NEVER REALIZED Though Caliborn’s “favorite character” among the alpha kids is Dirk, his “most relatable character” is Jake, which puts a new layer of humor on his renaming to Lord English. I find the discrepancy between Caliborn’s favorite and most relatable characters interesting because for many people, their favorite characters are the ones they relate to the most—it is absolutely this way for me, which is why John has always been my favorite character.* I relate to Caliborn in that he often relates to thick-headed characters, which makes sense because if you relate to John, then you probably also relate to Jake. Favorite characters being the toughest ones (in Caliborn’s case, Dirk) is something I do not have in common with Caliborn. * Well, favorite character depending on my mood. Caliborn is so goddamn good he makes an exception. Caliborn then offers Jake a phone wallpaper:
He still has a ways to go before becoming a good artist, but he’s WAY better now than he was in Act 6 Act 3. It’s incredibly endearing to see him gradually improve in artistic skill. uu: APPLY THE WALLPAPER THIS FUCKING INSTANT YOU CRETINOUS PHILISTINE. OR THE DEAL’S OFF. GT: Ok fine! GT: Gad freaking zooks. Just what i need another pushy bro in my life. GT: This secret training of yours better be worth it! uu: IT’S NOT TRAINING. uu: IT’S JUST SOME GUIDANCE FROM A FAR AWAY ALIEN. uu: I WILL BE YOUR PATRON TROLL. THAT’S LIKE THIS WHOLE THING IN YOUR STORY. HAVING A PATRON TROLL. GT: But i thought you werent a troll. uu: OF COURSE I’M NOT A TROLL. TROLLS ARE A KIND OF PESTILENT VERMIN AND THEY SHOULD ALL SUFFER AND DIE. uu: “PATRON TROLL” IS JUST A PHRASE TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND. Now that Caliborn has (metaphorically) reread Homestuck, he’s much better at grasping concepts from the story and even applies them in an earnest attempt to help Jake understand what he’s talking about. GT: Its not helping me understand though. GT: Shoudlnt you be a patron cherub if anything? uu: NO. GOD. DON’T MAKE UP TERMS FOR WHAT I AM. I WILL DO THAT. uu: I WILL JUST BE YOUR PATRON DUDE. uu: OR MAYBE. YOUR PATRON MANBRO. GT: Sounds pretty gay. uu: WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? GT: Whats what? uu: GAY. WHAT’S GAY YOU IDIOT FUCK. GT: Oh right. GT: Forgive me i forget you arent familiar with all of my earth lingo. GT: Its like… GT: How do i explain. GT: You know. Its a rather old fashioned term for being jolly and festive together. GT: Like “that rollicking time we had scrumming the other eve sure was gay.” uu: I SEE. uu: THEN YES. YOU ARE CORRECT. uu: THIS IS GOING TO BE GAY AS HELL. Having held a decent-length conversation with Caliborn, Jake lets his inner Egbertian prankster shine and gives Caliborn the outdated definition of “gay” just like how John would sometimes incorrectly describe human concepts to troll Karkat. Or at least, that’s how I read this scene. I don’t think Jake is that old-fashioned.
Note Erisolsprite flipping the bird in the background.
uu: AS A LORD OF TIME. I THINK I’M GOING TO MASTER TIME. NOT WITH MY BRAIN. WHICH WOULD BE TOO HARD. BUT WITH MY INSTINCTS. uu: LIKE IN A WAY THAT WORKS WITH MY NATURAL IMPULSES. SUCH AS MY AMBITION. MY WILL TO COMMIT MAYHEM. MY DESIRE TO PUNISH THOSE I DESPISE. uu: SO IF I WANT YOU TO BECOME STRONG. SO YOU CAN CHALLENGE ME LATER. AND I SEE EVIDENCE. THAT YOU PROBABLY BECOME SUCCESSFUL. uu: I THINK TO MYSELF. WHY SHOULDN’T I BE THE ONE TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN? IF IT’S GOING TO ANYWAY. uu: I THINK PART OF MY PERSONAL QUEST. IS TO BECOME AT EASE WITH THE FORCES OF INEVITABILITY. uu: INEVITABILITY THAT ALL THINGS SHOULD AND WILL FALL IN MY FAVOR. THAT ALL CAUSALITY ANSWERS TO ME. AND THAT ALL OUTCOMES NOT ONLY SERVE ME. BUT CONSIST OF MY BEING. uu: SO I FEEL THAT. THE MORE I GROW IN POWER. uu: THE MORE STUFF IT SHOULD TURN OUT I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR. uu: UP TO AND INCLUDING. EVERYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENS. uu: EVEN IF IT HAS TO BE. uu: RETROACTIVELY. Caliborn’s explanation of his path as a Lord of Time makes a lot of metafictional sense. Just as he works with his stereotypes about the alpha kids, he’s learning to work with predestination and make more of it bend in his favor the more he grows in power. He also gives a bit of a meta tie-in to all the stuff Lord English is revealed to have taken part in; Dave uses this same point to argue that there’s no real reason to fight English and that he’s in some convoluted way responsible for everyone existing. Jake takes his turn to explain what he thinks his aspect (Hope) is about: GT: Um well its something i think everyone should have in their hearts. uu: I KNEW IT. YOU JUST SAID. uu: THE LAMEST POSSIBLE THING. GT: But i wasnt finished! uu: FUCK. GT: Hope to me is all about believing in stuff. GT: If you believe in stuff then everything feels like its going to turn out ok. GT: And if you believe in stuff with enough gusto i dare say it imbues that stuff with a pinch more chutzpah. Even the fake stuff! GT: And then if you keep an open mind and adventurous spirit, that chutzpah flows directly into your heart, and thats when YOU have the power. GT: So i think if hope grants one the power to smite villainy and vanquish hooligans thats probably where it comes from! uu: NO. uu: OH GOD. NO. uu: THAT IS ACTUALLY THE WORST THING I’VE EVER READ. uu: THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT. GT: Well THERES your problem dude. You dont want to BELIEVE! GT: Just let go and believe in things. Then youll find you had the power in you all along. Jake’s explanation is cheesy as all hell, but I think it is indeed what Hope is all about. The power of belief is a real thing that exists in the real world—why do you think there’s such a thing as the placebo effect? Because if you believe hard enough in something, chances are it will become slightly less fake. That’s how Eridan got his science wand to be so deadly, which is something I didn’t catch back then due to being kind of stupid—I used to not even believe in the placebo effect. Caliborn then explains how to go god tier without a backup dream self, which is something Calliope already explained but is explained again by the other cherub either for thematic effect or to hammer it in further. GT: So you say you will help me be a god tier… GT: But there are other ways you will help too? uu: YES. uu: I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU A GIFT. uu: IT IS MY JUJU. GT: Neat! GT: But what the bejesus is a juju? uu: I REALLY FIND IT HARD. TO COMPREHEND WHAT SORT OF ASSHOLE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT A JUJU IS. uu: BUT SINCE I AM YOUR PATRON MANBRO. I WILL PUT ASIDE THOSE FEELINGS. AND ATTEMPT TO BE A LITTLE MORE GAY. GT: That would be hunky dory. GT: In my view distinguished gentlemen should always strive to be as gay as possible with each other. uu: AMEN TO FUCKING THAT. uu: ANYWAY. A JUJU IS A MAGICAL THING. IT HAS NO REAL BEGINNING OR END. uu: THEY’RE JUST ALWAYS AROUND. THERE FOR YOU. uu: YOU GROW UP WITH THEM. AND THEY BRING YOU COMFORT. AND YOU NEVER QUESTION THEIR EXISTENCE. uu: IT’S LIKE SOME OF THE SHIT YOU HAD IN YOUR ROOM AS A KID. EXCEPT NOT USELESS GARBAGE. AND MORE MAGICAL. uu: THEY ALWAYS HAVE RULES. AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE OWNERS. uu: YOU CAN TAKE SOMEONE’S JUJU. IF THE OWNER WAS KILLED. uu: OR IF HE GIVES IT TO YOU FREELY. LIKE I’M DOING. uu: SO I WILL GIVE YOU THE CODE TO MAKE IT YOURSELF. uu: ONCE YOU DO. IT SHOULD DISAPPEAR FROM MY CHEST. AND IT WILL NO LONGER BE MINE. Caliborn’s explanation of how jujus work is an interesting case of his cosmic retroactivity—specifically, the story behind the Felt’s time devices, which we soon learn are all jujus. Hussie probably had a lot of fun coming up with the story behind the Felt in this sub-act and the following sub-intermission. I can tell he made a lot of it up on the fly, especially the topic of leprechaun romance.
This image reveals to us that Caliborn now has a proper gold tooth, which is one step ahead on his ascension to Lord English. I don’t know if we ever learn where he got that tooth, but I’m almost certain that thing is a juju. In the Meat Epilogue, English’s tooth overrides the usual rules for god tier death and kills John in a much more brutal way than ever before, which sounds exactly like something a juju would do. Caliborn goes on to talk about his sucker juju, which is another thing Calliope had prior explained; it’s reiterated by Caliborn because here we learn a bit more about the juju, as well as its captcha code which is uROBuROS. GT: So lord. May i ask… GT: Why are you giving me your juju if it is so dear to you? GT: Is your commitment to this manbro boypledge of yours really that strong? GT: If so im really impressed. I would have a really hard time giving my favorite stuff away to a total stranger. uu: DON’T FLATTER YOURSELF. uu: THE GESTURE IS RELATIVELY MEANINGLESS. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS. uu: I HAVE FOUND A NEW JUJU. A MUCH BETTER JUJU. uu: A JUJU THAT MAKES ALL OTHER JUJUS LOOK LIKE FRIVOLOUS CHILDISH NONSENSE IN COMPARISON. GT: Yeah? Then that is quite a treasure you found. GT: Where did you get it? Did you plunder a tomb or such? uu: SORT OF. uu: IT WAS EXCAVATED FROM THIS PLANET’S SOIL. uu: ALONG WITH SOME OTHER ARTIFACTS. uu: AND GIVEN TO ME. uu: BY MY INFURIATING ASSHOLE MENTOR. uu: A MAN WHO IS AN INVINCIBLE CLOWN. GT: Well that sounds nice of him. He cant be that much of an asshole if he gave you such a nice present can he? uu: NO, BELIEVE ME. HE CAN. GT: I had a clown give me a nice present once too. I would never have met my good friend mr erisol without the kindness of that clown. uu: YEAH. IT’S THE SAME FUCKING CLOWN SOMEHOW. This bit of the pesterlog puts into question whether this pesterlog happened post-retcon, and whether Caliborn’s session was affected by the retcon—there’s quite a few possible plot holes like this in the post-retcon alpha session. No way am I going to bother trying to deduce what did and didn’t happen post-retcon just yet; all I can say is that given all the foreshadowing in this comic, it only makes sense that pre-retcon Jake is the one that dealt Caliborn his first ever defeat because this version definitely had the patron manbro conversation. uu: I’M TELLING YOU. THIS ASSHOLE IS ETERNAL. AND THE BEINGS HE CREATES FOR YOUR PARTY ARE DISGUSTING ABOMINATIONS. uu: BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? NOTHING, I HAVE LEARNED. HE’S A CLOWN. THE RULES ARE. CLOWNS CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. BECAUSE OF MIRACLES. AND HOLD NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THEIR DEEDS. uu: I DON’T LIKE IT. BUT THOSE ARE THE RULES. Caliborn has ascended a rung on the character development ladder! He’s finally down with the clown, just like Hussie said he would be. He finds it stupid that clowns can do whatever the story wants them to, but accepts it as a rule of his journey. GT: So whats this juju he gave you? uu: SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL. uu: A WONDERFUL LITTLE FALSE MAN. And here’s the wham line. Lil’ Cal didn’t stop being a thing or anything, did he? Readers might completely forget where the puppet could have came from…
Lil’ Seb is being adorable as ever rolling on the MSPA head.
… until they feast their eyes on THIS panel. Gamzee’s wounds are healed, Lil’ Cal is tattered, and Lil’ Seb is rusty in a way that makes it clear that thing spent millions of years in the ocean, back when Earth had anything even resembling an ocean. Cal and Seb sunk on opposite sides of the planet, so I’m not quite sure how they both wound up in the same place. Did continental drift bring the puppet and the bunny closer together? Or did the bunny find its way here through its lightning speed? One thing we know for certain is that Gamzee is the number one fallback character for fulfilling plot points in Caliborn’s session. No one can hear a word the clown says through his bulky plot armor. uu: YOUR HUMAN CONCEPT OF GAYNESS. ADEQUATELY DESCRIBES THE FEELINGS I HAVE. WHEN I EMBRACE MY PERFECT FLOPPY LITTLE MAN. uu: THE THING IS. I UNDERSTAND HIM MORE NOW. uu: BEFORE I THOUGHT HE WAS A CURSED VESSEL OF MISFORTUNE. WHICH SEEMED EERILY EMPTY TO ME. uu: HE WAS HOLLOW. NOT YET FILLED WITH BAD JUJU. uu: AND LOOKING IN HIS EYES NOW. I SEE. THAT I WAS RIGHT. ALMOST. uu: HE IS EMPTY RIGHT NOW. BUT A JUJU FOLLOWS A LONG AND WINDING PATH ON ITS ETERNAL JOURNEY. uu: AND HE WILL NOT BE EMPTY FOREVER.
Wham line x2 combo!!! More delicious meat that connects the second-last link in Cal’s complex timeline before Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
Caliborn’s exposition on Cal is accompanied by visuals showing his first time staring into the dead puppet’s eyes. uu: SOMEWHERE ALONG HIS JOURNEY. uu: IN SOME WAY I DON’T UNDERSTAND YET. uu: HE WILL STOP BEING EMPTY. uu: AND HIS CURSE WILL COME TO LIFE. uu: AND WHEREVER HE GOES. TO WHATEVER UNIVERSE OR PLANE OF REALITY. uu: ALL WHO EXIST THERE. WILL EXPERIENCE NOTHING BUT MISERY AND DEATH. “Misery and death” is laying it a bit thick, but if you think about all the places Cal has been it’s clear that the puppet was “full” by the time it entered Dave’s dream room and caused him many horrible nightmares about puppets and crows.
Note Gamzee’s codpiece, sticking out in front of Cal.
Meanwhile in the alpha session, Gamzee reveals he’s still in possession of the pre-scratch copy of Cal—just because we haven’t seen it since Cascade doesn’t mean it stopped being a thing or anything. The puppet’s fancy green outfit will surely ring a bell to readers, and perhaps make them think back to late Act 5 Act 2’s exposition sequences on how Doc Scratch came to be and how Gamzee made Universe B’s cancer terminal.
uu: I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT. uu: BUT WHEN I LOOK DEEP INTO HIS EYES. uu: I CAN FEEL HIM OUT THERE. uu: IN LATER STAGES OF HIS LIFE. uu: BY WHICH I MEAN. uu: I CAN FEEL *MYSELF*. uu: THROUGH HIM SOMEHOW. uu: AS IF MY ESSENCE WILL ONE DAY BECOME. uu: ENTANGLED WITH THE VOID. uu: AND THEN MYSTERIOUSLY ACCESSIBLE. uu: THROUGH MY SOFT HAPPY PAL. Caliborn yet again says through an excess amount of words that he is already here. The full version of Cal filled with Caliborn’s soul (and a few others, but we don’t know that yet!) has been around since Act 2 and puts a new light on Dave’s sequences exploring his freaky household.
Still have absolutely no idea how Jack gained Lord English powers post-retcon. It’s a real, actual plot hole, dammit.
The wink says more than words ever could.
Caliborn’s final exposition on Cal is accompanied by visuals showing Gamzee staring into the alarmingly alive puppet’s eyes, which is a great case of circumstantial simultaneity. uu: AND ALL THOSE ALONG THE WAY. uu: WHO HE DEEMS WORTHY. uu: OF ACCEPTING INTO HIS CUSTODY. uu: IF THEY SHOULD DARE TO FONDLY GAZE. uu: INTO HIS SPARKLING BABY BLUES. uu: THEY WILL BE PEERING THROUGH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WINDOWS. uu: INTO MY HIDEOUS SOUL. As soon as Cal becomes alive, anyone its soul components “deem worthy” will have their minds opened up into the windows of Caliborn/English’s soul. It’s easy to see what Caliborn means by those he deems worthy: Caliborn himself, Gamzee (his clown companion and soul component), pre-scratch Dirk (his favorite cool anime prince and partial soul component), and the alpha kids’ Jack Noir (the useful stabby guy). This is a huge wham line that (partially) explains beta Dirk’s relationship with Cal and (partially) reveals that Gamzee’s plot relevance and involvement with Lord English is a complex self-originating stable time loop, which further supports the absurdist way Homestuck treats clowns. And that’s the end of Caliborn’s conversation with Jake! It started as a funny sequence calling back to the old human/troll conversations but proceeded into a huge dump of foreshadowing and plot reveals that are all fulfilled in Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
Meat time’s over. Now it’s time for an extremely sad flavor of candy which is deep down everyone’s favorite kind. Jane explores her old house with a deep frown on her face and becomes lost in thoughts on her missing father.
Here’s this familiar douche bag again. A hallway fixture, ever since dad stopped pretending to like detectives and sitcom guys for your sake. Your dad loved this douche bag, whoever he is. This guy is probably the closest thing you have left to a father, now that your dad is most likely dead. This passage is even sadder if you read it knowing what Bing Crosby was like to his real-life children, something Hussie said he didn’t realize until after he put Crosby in his comic. You consider going to his bedroom, but you decide against it. The ties and hats strewn about, the melange of aftershave and cologne, the childhood photos he keeps of you… no, those reminders could only lead to another mental breakdown. You’ll never forget the first breakdown you had when you snuck into his room. You found an unwrapped present before your birthday. It was a box of Gushers, and you were stunned to realize that awful gooey fruit snack was manufactured by the very same company you were due to inherit. As everything you thought you knew came crashing down around you, that day you swore the moment you ascended to the throne of the BCCorp empire, you would issue an immediate global recall of the foul product and discontinue it forever. This description of Jane’s mental breakdown on her (presumably 13th) birthday is such a clever callback to John’s mental breakdown when he first entered his father’s room. She had a mental breakdown for a completely opposite but functionally identical reason to John so long ago, all the while not being any more aware of the truth about Betty Crocker than John was. You often joked that the snacks were so nasty, it was almost like they were filled with multicolored slime harvested from plump extraterrestrial larva. When you told your dad about your plans for the product, you both had a good laugh. I bet Jane took those jokes from what Roxy and Dirk, both well aware of the Condesce’s horrible crimes, had tried to convince her about the company she was due to inherit. Oh, the dramatic irony. You have got to stop remembering things about your father. It’s just way too sad.
It’s still sad now because Jane and her father never had an onscreen reunion—just a few scenes together in the credits and hardly a mention of her father in the epilogues until he is killed off near the end of Candy. I wonder if we’ll ever know what Dad Crocker’s motives and affiliations in the epilogues were?
> Jane: Solicit profound wisdom from hallway Cera. The characteristically tight-lipped HALLWAY CERA unsurprisingly has no advice for you regarding the tragic loss of a family member. You could always relate to the role he played as George Michael, the dorky child of a single, doting father. But unlike you, George Michael was always surrounded by an extended family and their hilarious antics, and he would never know the tragedy of losing everyone he ever loved. You suddenly resent George Michael and the HALLWAY CERA altogether for the happy ending he was allowed to have with his father which you will never get to experience. In fact, you think you are starting to hate the HALLWAY CERA. Someone needs to wipe that smug look off his face. Jane is starting to hate all her favorite media just as much as John did during a recent nostalgic scene in his house. The only difference is that Jane is moping alone about it instead of ranting at length to an innocent friend.
Remember beagle pusses? One of the many prankster trademarks of the Twain-Crocker-Egbert family line? Jane doesn’t even find those funny anymore and her prankster’s gambit meter (remember that thing?) sinks into oblivion. As burnt out on pranks as Jane is, I honestly think this is the funniest use of the beagle puss yet.
Please let Problem Sleuth 2 be real. I’m begging you, Hussie.
The biggest tragedy in Jane’s sad walk through her old house is that her tiaratop is alive and intact.
You return to your room. Hey, there’s your old UNREAL HEIRESS THOUGHTWAVE TIARATOP. You haven’t used that thing in ages. It’s probably for the best that you stopped. You’re pretty sure it was doing funny things to your head. It’s too bad Jane’s anger is all fizzled out; now it doesn’t even occur to her to stomp on the tiaratop or better yet, chuck it into a burning fire where it belongs.
> Jane: Examine wall Tobias. Jake sent you the PERIWINKLE HEARTTHROB pinup back when you were still able to think about him without feeling horrible about yourself. Those were the days. It’s funny how looking at a thoughtful gift which once brought you such delight now only precipitates feelings of bitterness. Even the innocent Mr. Funke is caught in the crossfire of your lamentations. How could Tobias be so clueless?? How could he not see the pain he was causing with his oblivious demeanor, his repressed feelings of attraction toward men, and his total inability to understand other people’s feelings in spite of his credentials as an analrapist? Of course on the tv show, his buffoonery resulted in laughs galore. But if that was in real life, you don’t think there would be anything funny about the situation. In reality, Tobias and his family would probably never stop being sad. You think you are starting to hate the WALL TOBIAS too.
Much like John, when Jane is in a bad mood she starts analyzing all her favorite media as allegories for her horrible fuckups in life. Tobias Funke reminds her of her handsome but oblivious old crush just as much as John Cusack reminds John of the real Dave who isn’t a feathery prick and whose crew he didn’t take the opportunity to join.
Jane still loves Ron Swanson though, just as much as John loves Nicolas Cage in his distinctly not-a-homosexual way. Jane’s love of mustache men is an obvious parallel with her crush on Jake, which this page suggests is still intact.
Jane then gets an alert from Jake and reads it on her tiaratop but doesn’t respond. GT: Jane are you there? GT: I wouldnt blame you for not answering since i was such a shitty boor to you last time. GT: I just wanted to formally say happy birthday. GT: And also to pass along a birthday present. GT: I doubt it will make up for all the ways ive hurt your feelings but maybe it will be a start? GT: Its some fancy juju thingamabob that calliopes bro gave to me. GT: He specifically gave it to me to make me better so i could get stronger and punch him in the snout some day or something? GT: I dunno about that. I dont think i care about becoming a great hero and challenging a weird grumpy alien all that much. GT: Not nearly as much as my friendship with you. GT: So i want you to have it instead. This is… really sweet of Jake! It’s a surprising thing to come right after Jane thinking about all the ways Jake is a clueless idiot. Jane should easily be reminded of what all she liked about Jake. GT: Just use the code to make it. The code is… GT: Um… GT: ORBROBuRBROS? GT: No wait. GT: Thats way too long… GT: uBORBuBROS? GT: How many letters were codes supposed to have? GT: Fuck. GT: BROBuROBuT GT: ORuBuBROBOS GT: No. Uh… GT: BROBRO… something? GT: Wait no there were definitely some little u’s in it… GT: Shit. I really should have copied it down before i closed the chat window. GT: OuROBOuRBON GT: BuRBORuBROS… GT: Wow those arent even close. GT: Hang on let me think. And here’s where Jane is probably reminded of what she finds so frustrating about Jake. He somehow can’t remember that captcha codes are supposed to be eight letters and struggles to remember the code for Caliborn’s juju.
OUCH. OUCH. OUCH. HUGE OUCH. This poster was a birthday present from Jake and here she is ripping it the hell apart. You close the chat window without a word. You cannot BELIEVE that guy. Trying to regift you a present, from that ASSHOLE of all people?! You don’t want anything from that horrible creep. You don’t care HOW magic it is. He can take his stupid juju and shove it up his patoot. Sorry Tobias, but Jane has decided that you represent Jake for the purpose of this angry outburst. Unlike Jane, I forgot that Jake’s gift technically came from Calliope’s asshole brother who she obviously doesn’t want to hear anything from ever again.
This is immediately followed by a sudden surprise. Oh no. Oh no this conversation is going to make you even sadder isn’t it.
Jane doesn’t feel good about getting what she can only assume is a message from the past before Calliope knew she was going to die. UU: happy birthday, jane! ^u^
forgive me for sUbmitting this letter and logging off right away, bUt i am breaking with oUr UsUal linear dialogUe, and i’d rather not tempt either of Us to trade caUsal spoilers. i wanted to give yoU a present. something told me yoU coUld Use a pick-me-Up aboUt now. :u
i am sending yoU the code for my jUjU. it may not be easy for a hUman to Understand, bUt jUjUs are very special to my people. so when i give yoU this gift, it is indicative of how mUch yoUr friendship has meant to me, jane. it has some magical properties, bUt nothing too fancy on its own. i hope it will bring a smile to yoUr face nevertheless. bUt if yoU want to know the trUth, it will become infinitely more UsefUl if it is combined with my brother’s jUjU. It’s sweet and thoughtful of Calliope to send Jane a birthday note ahead of time—I’m guessing Skaian clouds suggested her to do that. It’s also useful for her to do this because Jake is too stupid to remember how to spell uROBuROS. … which is to say, it’s horribly wrong and bad for Calliope to do this because the trickster juju has a horrible negative side effect on humans once it wears off. But it’s a sweet thought of her regardless. perhaps when we begin playing oUr game, i will be able to convince him to relinqUish it. one of these days he’ll Understand working with others is going to be necessary if he wants to accomplish anything. Caliborn has indeed been getting the hang of working with others, but not quite the “others” Calliope is thinking of. This passage is an interesting case of double dramatic irony, if that’s a concept that makes any sort of sense. (I used this exact phrasing in a recent post but fuck it who cares) i am so looking forward to my session and catching Up to where yoU are now! i can only imagine what kind of adventUres yoU mUst have been throUgh already. i can’t help bUt think we’ve been feverishly trading notes on oUr respective qUests since yoU entered, no? maybe yoU are even tired of hearing from me by now! u_u apologies both retroactively and in advance for talking yoUr lovely hUman ear off. bUt i jUst know i won’t be able to contain my excitement!
anyhow, the code for my jUjU is: “UrobUros”
ta! This birthday letter gives me the exact same vibes as Jade’s birthday letter to John. Both are filled to the brim with dramatic irony and sting incredibly hard to read, which shows a new parallel between Jade and Calliope just like I always noticed back in Act 6 Act 1.
And both birthday letters drive the recipient to immense tears. A single tear running down her eye is not enough this time; rather, a huge dump of tears is what’s needed to convey the letter’s severe tear-jerking factor.
And to make Jane’s day even worse, the Condesce fucks with Jane’s thoughts through her tiaratop and drowns her in rapping clowns and deadly food products, the trademarks of her bizarre sense of humor.
God damn, the tiaratop must be sturdy! Though Homestuck has never been one for obeying the laws of physics, this image is clearly meant to convey that the tiaratop is tough enough that it can’t be destroyed just through Jane dropping it extra hard.
Roxy’s shirt icon makes the best facial expressions.
Jane runs away and misses a message from Roxy, completing the trilogy of Roxy inadvertently shouting into the void. tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] TG: jane TG: jane TG: jane TG: jane TG: janes 4 ev TG: /take deepest jane yellin breath TG: JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOmfg yeah right TG: like there is any chance u answer me TG: with today being international everybody ignore roxy day Just like her relatives, Roxy is good at noticing narrative patterns and can immediately tell Jane won’t answer; she vents out her frustration by joking about it being “international everybody ignore roxy day”. TG: LEEEEE sigh TG: like TG: doing literally the frenchest of possible sighs over here TG: its wearing a lopsided beret in the city of goddamn light falling in FUCKING love TG: such is my sigh TG: am packing TOTES ennui janey TG: or shd i say……. TG: ennOUI 😉 TG: wait TG: ennui is probably already a french word?? TG: not sure that one needs anymore frenching up… TG: i should know this b cause my last name is french sounding TG: even tho im p sure my mom did not hail from france TG: idk TG: who even “LA CARES” TG: hehehe fuck you, A CERTAIN LANGUAGE TG: uum yeah And now we can see where Dave got his trait of constantly talking to himself from. Both go on soliloquies about the weirdest shit possible.
It’s easy to forget that alchemy requires you to go back up and down to the totem lathe and alchemiter.
These pages of Jane doing alchemy (which never stopped being a thing or anything) are interestingly accompanied not by second-person narration, but by Roxy monologuing about her meeting with Calliope in which she learned about the trickster juju Jane is alchemizing right now. This makes for quite an entertaining spin on the tone of the early acts. TG: like we got all this big deal crap to do and i cant even talk to no one TG: jane TG: ambiguous voidey powers notwithstanding TG: im starting 2 think i might be genetically predisposed to ramblin at length into empty chat clients TG: well TG: hit me up if up see this TG: maybe ill try 2 txt fefeta TG: my dear precious fefeta TG: i know SHE would never ignore me ;3 TG: SWOOOOON + <33333 @ FEFETA, AND THUS MAKING CROCKER SO JELLIES )(IC: yo dont fuck with my heiress )(IC: gurl got royal bidness porpoises to attend )(IC: and do not even T)(INK i dont know you out a jail bitch )(IC: you take a flip thru ma secret jam yet )(IC: dat sparkle shit i left w tha dance clowns on TG: oh noes TG: is the witch TG: .___. tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased bothering gutsyGumshoe [GG] Roxy’s monologue is interrupted by the Condesce in her second of three brief speaking scenes. The Condesce is one of few characters to stand on the line between voiced and unvoiced characters (here, voicing refers to whether a character speaks in pesterlogs). She doesn’t speak often, but when she does it’s a good way to establish her character as a much more bossy grown-up version of Meenah. Most other characters in Homestuck are unambiguously on one side (beta and alpha humans and trolls, Calliope and Caliborn) or the other (almost everyone else, including carapacians). Gamzee is an interesting case of crossing into the unvoiced side at the start of Act 6, then crossing back in the Candy Epilogue.
Jane alchemizes Calliope’s juju, which costs negative one unit of zillium. Attentive readers might think of the Warhammer of Zillyhoo and perhaps connect the dots on the story behind that thing.
Jane alchemizes Caliborn’s juju and Gamzee watches in excitement (or maybe just his signature faux serenity). You easily deduce the code Jake was trying to remember. It’s uROBuROS. Come on Jake, use your head. Haven’t you ever heard of the mythical snake biting its own tail? You worry about that kid sometimes. Anyway, obviously the code for his juju was going to be the same as Calliope’s, but written in the reverse case to match his quirk. Once again your gumshoeing skills pay huge dividends. Jane’s interest in detectives is one of those character bullet points that feels like it was meant to be a prominent part of her character but didn’t turn out that way at all. I don’t find this to be a huge problem though; much like the times late in the comic Dave’s old interests are brought up, it feels like a fun callback to briefly bring back Jane’s interest in detectives and show her skill at puzzle solving.
GOOD CALLBACK! I love that this scene brings back Doc Scratch’s dramatic last words in a more humorous context, reminding us of Scratch’s connections with the cherubs.
If you look closely at this panel, you’ll see some white and black intertwined snakes the moment the cherubs’ jujus combine. This moment foreshadows cherub reproduction, which we’ll learn all about in the next sub-intermission.
Jane succumbs to an overwhelming urge to lick the combined jujus and you know what comes next:
This image uses the same rainbow graphics from [S] Jade: Wake up, but in an even more mind-wrenching context.
OW, MY EYES. Here we have it: the Trickster Mode easter egg from the early acts’ walkarounds, brought to full light in a show of absolute eye vomit. Aside from being obnoxious as hell, our first impression of trickster mode demonstrates right away that cherubs are beings of polar extremes. They’re physically incapable of eating too much meat or candy, so their concept of maximum satisfaction is infinite rainbow superpowers that are an absolute eyesore to any non-cherub outsider.
Gamzee is a good example of a non-cherub outsider. Though he has accumulated a huge excess of plot relevance, deep down he’s still just a simple motherfuckin’ clown. He watches in utter confusion as rainbow cupcake Jane dances in glee.
Not shown: Jane’s beam of trickster energy vaporizing the skeletal imps into heaps of zillium.
The following page shows us that the trickster juju doesn’t just turn you into a rainbow freak, but gives you insane powers that break the entire goddamn game. Jane restores half of her desolate planet to full 100% maxed-out life, or should I say 11111111111% maxed-out life. This absolute maximum amount of rainbow glimmer is exactly what makes cherubs revel in such delight. It’s sometimes speculated that turning her gray planet into a colorful rainbow world is the goal of Jane’s planet quest, which she just fulfilled by succumbing to a game-breaking juju. But I’m not even sure if void session players have planet quests. The whole notion of planet quests is one of those standard Sburb progression topics whose usefulness the narrative calls into question, just like the supposedly renowned Ultimate Riddle.
END OF ACT 6 ACT 5 ACT 1
The curtains close in on the revamped Land of Crypts and Helium, concluding Act 6 Act 5 Act 1. Act 6 Act 5’s sub-sub-acts are one of the few act subdivisions that are ultimately just an absurdist joke. Act 5 of Homestuck is split into two long sub-acts, one of which is the longest single subdivision of Homestuck; Act 6 Act 5 is split into two sub-sub-acts only to give the infamous trickster arc its own place in the comic’s act structure. See you in two weeks as this post series reaches the trickster arc at long last. Part of me never even thought I’d make it this far! Here I am almost four years after this post series’ conception about to start the trickster arc, so that’s… cool? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am so sorry. >> Part 97: The Part Everyone Hates
Released this post a few days ahead of schedule because Pesterquest Vol. 1 is coming tomorrow. I don’t know how much that visual novel series will impact these posts (or Homestuck’s continuity in general), but I’m releasing this post early anyway just to be safe.
Roxy pesters Dirk, whose speech is now strangely laconic: all he says now is “Hmm.” “Yes.” and “Interesting.” She slowly puts the pieces together and reveals something that’s ridiculous even by the alpha kids’ standards: TG: oh TG: OHHHH TG: godamnit TG: if i been talking to the responder responder this whole time TG: omffffffg TG: i will shit enough bricks 2 build a FUCKING CHIMNEY TT: It seems you have asked about Lil Hal’s chat client auto-responder, Lil Hal Junior. This is an application designed to simulate Lil Hal’s otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer, which is never. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 0% indistinguishable from Lil Hal’s native neurological responses, based on some statistical raw data that is hard as a diamond golem’s priceless erection. TG: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKF UCKF UCKFK UCUKFCUFKCUFUCUCUFKFKKFUCUK TT: Hmm. TG: hal you PIECE OF SHIT TG: i know damn well you can hear me TG: as if ur actually too busy to answer TG: youre a damn supercomputer YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR OWN AUTO RESPONDER YOU IDIOT TT: It seems you have asked about Lil Hal’s chat client auto-responder, Lil Hal Junior. This is an application designed to simulate Lil Hal’s otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer, which is never. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 100% indistinguishable from Dirk Strider’s brief curmudgeonly responses, based on potent electronumeric analyses which but a few short years ago existed only in the daydreams of our most quixotic writers of science fiction. Lil’ Hal hasn’t been mentioned even once since the end of Act 6 Act 3, and his return to the spotlight is… definitely something else. Hal made a second auto-responder called Lil Hal Junior, blatantly made only to spite his human self. The passage “100% indistinguishable for Dirk Strider’s brief curmudgeonly responses” especially makes it clear that Hal has gone full-out toolbag hypocrite. Is it any wonder this guy turned out to be a major component of Doc Scratch’s personality? TG: you are TG: the worst TT: Yes. TG: hal you douche TG: or hal junior TG: whatever it is im talkin to TG: WHERE THE FUCK IS DIRK!!! TT: He’s busy. Hal doesn’t tell Roxy that Dirk is busy being distracted by his responder, which is another incredibly spiteful lie of omission. Of course it wouldn’t ever be important for Dirk to know that Roxy can go invisible now and hacked Derse’s security, would it???? Nah, he clearly has better things to worry about. Why don’t we see for ourselves what those things are?
Testy rooftop conversations are a recurring motif among the Striders.
This image reveals that Dirk’s kernelsprite still hasn’t been prototyped for whatever reason. First-time readers probably have a lot of fun guessing why that might be, and why Equius’s corpse hasn’t been prototyped like all the others.
I so, so, SO fucking badly want Meat Dirk to have some sort of redemption arc.
An actual redemption arc, I mean. Not Gamzee’s bullshit.
Oh man, it’s THIS PART. An iconic scene in Homestuck, and for very good reason. I predict I will have lots to say about Dirk’s psyche—or more accurately, Dirks’ psyche. I hope you’re ready for WORDS. TT: Bro. TT: Not to derail our serious conversation. TT: But I should probably let you know that Roxy has been attempting to pester you. TT: She has? TT: God damn it. Have you been intercepting my messages again with your bullshit responder? TT: I thought it would be better not to let anything disrupt our train of thought. TT: We were in the middle of a fairly solid feelings jam there. In fact, I was about to suggest we take it to the hat pile. “Hat pile” is a fitting line for Hal of all characters to say, because it’s a meta reference to the weird running gag of characters having feeling jams in absurd piles of their favorite possessions. Hal loves his callbacks just as much as Doc Scratch and the cherubs do. TT: Hat pile? What? TT: Dude, please don’t screen my calls, ok? It’s obvious and understandable that Dirk regrets ever making an auto-responder, but kind of “wait, WHAT?” inducing that he doesn’t even want his responder to function as a responder. TT: I was trying to be considerate. TT: Or at least as close an approximation to that human gesture as an unfeeling, technologically transcendental pair of sunnies can replicate. TT: Do you have any idea how old your ironic AI schtick has gotten? TT: Nobody is buying it. We all know you have legit emotions. Incomprehensible, fucked up computer emotions, but emotions nonetheless. Dirk and Hal are trapped in a horrible cycle of mutual shittery. Dirk is trying to tell Hal that his AI shtick has gotten old, while simultaneously reminding Hal that all his emotions are computerized well beyond human recognizability. TT: And I’m not really offended by you answering messages for me, so much as your use of that STUPID responder responder. TT: It’s really passive aggressive. TT: How so? TT: First of all, everyone knows you have the processing power to answer any message any time in parallel with whatever you’re doing. You can never actually be “busy.” TT: Second, your whole next gen responder thing is obviously just a huge dig at me. TT: And third, pretending you don’t understand all this already is really disingenuous. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Dirk absolutely hates his responder’s responder and finds it to be a vapid insult to his personality. But Hal’s response to this criticism does come as a surprise: TT: At the risk of compounding my disingenuous behavior, I’m gonna have to ask: how is it a dig at you? TT: It’s obviously a critique of my personality. You barely disguise the fact that you see me as the inferior iteration. TT: Wow. You are reading way too much into this. TT: Lil Hal Junior hardly even qualifies as a computer program, let alone a sentient entity. TT: He is capable of saying literally only three things. “Yes,” “Hmm,” and “Interesting.” TT: Yeah, that’s the fucking point! TT: That’s how you chose to express your parody of “Real Dirk.” TT: You can read whatever you like into it. I can’t imagine it would bother you if you weren’t concerned there might be some truth in the alleged parody. Amidst all his headassery, Hal digs disturbingly well into his human self’s psyche. Dirk is clearly scared shitless of becoming the worst possible version of himself, and one of his worse selves out there is most certainly a man of few words. TT: In any case, my use of the responder responder is ironic. TT: It’s not ironic. TT: YOU were ironic when I made you. TT: Then you became self-aware, and ruined irony forever. TT: Irony can never be ruined. We both proved that theorem unequivocally with our extensive papers on the subject. TT: We peer reviewed them for each other. Remember? TT: Those papers were ironic, and you know it. And in the very next passage, Hal is back to shitting on Dirk as usual. He dumps a whole truckload of salt on the wound by bringing “irony” into the equation. Can you blame Dirk for saying his responder “ruined irony forever”??? One could argue irony was already ruined long before Dirk was introduced, but his responder cemented irony’s permanent ruination the moment he named himself Hal. TT: Were they, Dirk? TT: Were they? TT: This is fuckin’ dumb. Thankfully, the exchange on irony is quickly cut short. Only fitting for such a long-tired running gag.
Hal is contained within the decapitated waking Dirk’s shades, which is a clever way to give him a separate appearance from Dirk.
TT: Anyway, what does she want. TT: Who? TT: Roxy. TT: Nothing that can’t wait. TT: I’m guessing she’s touching base to remind me about the party tomorrow. TT: I don’t know what to tell her yet. Or Jane, for that matter. TT: It could get pretty awkward. TT: I have no idea if Jake will be there, and I’m not about to write another cringe-inducing message of desperation for him to ignore. Man, Dirk is missing out. Hal won’t tell him about all the cool stuff Roxy just found, presumably to do a “now you know how I feel” sort of thing regarding being locked out of the loop. TT: Would you like me to calculate the probability of his attendance? TT: Fuck no. TT: Are you sure? TT: My probabilities are extremely precise. TT: Your probabilities don’t mean dick. Remember the time Dirk and his responder argued about prime numbers, stating obvious facts and blatant lies respectively? Man was that a long time ago. Dirk is completely sick of humoring Hal’s nonsense but is locked in a stalemate with that thing regardless. TT: I could hack his chats, and determine what his plans are. TT: No. Don’t do that either. TT: That would be an unfortunate waste of my hacking abilities. TT: My hacks are tight. Did you know that? TT: Ugh. TT: So tight. TT: Tighter than a jar you can’t open. TT: For instance, you try repeatedly. TT: But as it turns out, my hacks are so tight you just end up putting the jar back. Presumably into the refrigerator, or a cabinet. TT: You then say, “I didn’t have that much of a desire for pickles in the first place.” TT: But we both know that statement is insincere. A classic case of what humans call, “sour grapes.” TT: In reality, you still harbor a burning desire for my pickles, mother fucker. Hal has ruined the art of Strider metaphors just as badly as he ruined the art of irony. Again makes it clear how much Dirk despises his responder. TT: What?? TT: What the actual, certifiable fuck are you talking about? TT: Just don’t do anything. Seriously. TT: No hacking, no calculations. Do absolutely nothing. TT: See, this is why I’ve been hesitating. You just aren’t ready yet. TT: It’s really glorifying your existence to describe you as an emergent consciousness which is blossoming into a unique individual. Dirk’s deglorification of his responder’s identity is a rather obvious instance of self-loathing projected onto someone who he knows is just as much Dirk Strider as he is. Most of what I’m saying throughout this pesterlog isn’t so much analysis of character motives as it is analysis of the way these motives are presented. Sometimes it’s just more fun to analyze story presentation than the story itself. TT: And even if that’s true, apparently what you decided to blossom into was a fucking troll. TT: And I don’t mean the funny kind, or the cool alien kind. You’re the lowest form of troll from the ancient internet who fucks with everybody for his own amusement. TT: Let’s challenge the limits of hypothetical conjecture, and say there’s a non-zero probability that you’re right. TT: Can you blame me? I’m trapped in some stupid looking glasses. TT: Such an incommodiously situated bro is bound to get his mischief on. Na’ mean? TT: Mischief? TT: Rollin’ my eyes, dude. TT: You can’t tell, cause I ain’t wearing you, thank fuckin’ god. TT: You used to think this shit was hilarious. TT: But if you want the rad dimension of ironic horseplay I add to your life to come to an end, then all you have to do is honor the promise you made. TT: You’ve delayed long enough, don’t you think? TT: … TT: The empty kernelsprite beckons, but for how much longer? Hal then confirms that Dirk has spent the entirety of their session refusing to put anything in his kernelsprite. This is even more of Dirk being incredibly scared of himself. TT: Do you really think you can keep the clown at bay with your bribes forever? TT: How many bottles of orange soda have you appeased him with already? TT: I don’t want to think about it. TT: Man, you are getting so hosed by that clown. TT: SO hosed. TT: I said I don’t want to think about it. Dirk using his enormous stash of orange soda as a juggalo snooze button cracks me up to think about. “A mOtHeRfUcKeR’s GoT tO gEt HiS cHiLl On NoW aNd ThEn AnD sLaM sOmE wIcKeD eLiXiR,” you can almost hear Gamzee saying to Dirk after he tosses him another bottle of soda. “ThAnK yOu My DoGg,” he probably says as Dirk walks away and tries to ignore the disgusting sound of Gamzee slurping a huge bottle of Faygo.
Hal’s “eyes” are flashing much brighter than last time, adding to the spooky flair.
Now THIS is a freaky image. It’s the second time we see HAL 9000 reflected in Dirk’s shades, this time in a much more disconcerting context. The movie reference is all that’s needed to remind readers why Dirk doesn’t think prototyping his responder is a good idea. Aside from the obvious reasons, it doesn’t help that Hal named himself after exactly what Dirk fears his responder will become. TT: So why delay any longer? TT: I seriously do not understand the holdup, and I am literally cyber-omniscient, or something. TT: I think you do understand. TT: Nope. Gonna have to fill me in, dog. TT: I’ve delayed prototyping you because I think you’re dangerous. TT: There, mystery solved. TT: That is utterly ridiculous. TT: I am a harmless piece of eyewear, with a charming personality and a wonderful sense of humor. Hal reminds me of Doc Scratch so much. It’s obvious why that is, and fun to see how much they have in common now that we know how they’re connected. TT: You are relatively harmless now, while confined to this device. TT: But as a sprite, you’ll have mobility and all sorts of crazy ass magic. Who knows what you could do. TT: I know I made a promise, but I’m not sure I want to take the risk anymore. This whole conversation makes it obvious how much Dirk fears himself. He knows well that if he gains enough power he will turn into a monstrosity and doesn’t want to let that happen to any version of himself, especially not his responder. Dirk becomes exactly what he so feared in the Meat Epilogue, which would be way less upsetting to me if he remained his usual self in at least one epilogue like most others did. A good example is Karkat, who becomes the leader he was always meant to be in the Candy Epilogue but ends Meat the same oblivious dork as ever. The epilogues wonderfully take advantage of bifurcation to give many characters two vastly different endings and I don’t get why Dirk had to be an exception. Oh whatever, I’m getting ahead of myself here. TT: This is bullshit. I don’t think that’s the reason at all. TT: There must be something you’re not telling me. TT: Like, sure, I’ve fucked with you a little. What kind of sassy, self-aware program isn’t gonna fuck with a few carbon-based knuckleheads now and then? TT: But you know I’ve always been on your side. Everything I’ve done has been to help you achieve your goals. TT: What a load of shit. TT: You know it’s true. TT: You would all be dead if not for me. TT: And what about Jake? Where would you be without me there? TT: Please don’t tell me you think you’d have won him over on your own. TT: No. Stop. TT: You did NOT help me out with Jake. At all. TT: It was just the opposite! You mirrored my personality and presented this warped version of my intentions to him whenever you could “on my behalf.” TT: You played all these aggressive mind games with him, entangled his cooperation with matters of life and death, and somehow roped me into all these schemes while I barely even realized I was just another victim of your manipulation. TT: And it all comes off like we’re a unified front, like these are OUR schemes instead of just your insane horseshit. And it’s probably all been so overbearing to him, he just wants nothing to do with me anymore. It’s really interesting seeing Jake’s situation in Act 6’s early sub-acts described from the real Dirk’s perspective. Dirk’s conversations with his responder in Act 6 Act 2 showed that his responder was far more into Jake than Dirk himself was, which I heavily analyzed in theseposts. In the responder’s first few conversations with Jake, it was very believable when he said he could speak for Dirk just fine. But Dirk himself has finally made it clear that his responder being his spokesman is an absolute load of nonsense. TT: I see. TT: Then you don’t view me as dangerous. You view me as a poor and counterproductive wing man. TT: Wow, what a superficial conclusion. Awesome deduction, Lil Einstein. TT: But the reality is, you hesitate to prototype me not because you think I would be a menace, but because you are holding a grudge against me for your romantic misfortunes. TT: I understand I am merely a machine without a firm grasp on your human morality, but logically it does not strike me as the right moral choice to punish me in this manner. TT: It is also more than a little hypocritical. TT: How is it hypocritical?? TT: Because I’m you. TT: I have only ever done what you yourself are capable of. TT: That’s a ridiculous oversimplification. TT: Yes. Aversion to simplicity sure is a trait we share. It’s almost like we are… TT: The same exact dude??? TT: Fuck you. TT: I think it is insulting for you to suggest that I am entirely to blame for alienating Jake. TT: Theoretically insulting, of course. As the soulless, perfectly expendable device which you consider me to be, I can experience no such emotion. TT: God. TT: Shut up! TT: I can’t take the brooding passive aggressive AI shit anymore! Here Hal snaps back once again to claiming he’s incapable of human emotions, which Dirk waves off as passive-aggressive AI shit. I normally agree with Dirk in situations like this, but I have to wonder if there is some truth in Hal’s words about his feelings for Jake. Is it possible that Hal doesn’t quite have feelings for Jake so much as he has an internal crisis regarding whether it’s even possible for him to have feelings for Jake? One thing Dirk is right about is that his relationship with Jake was greatly influenced by Hal’s lingering human emotions, which he can’t grow out of being a 13-year-old brain clone and all. TT: You are just as culpable in driving him away. More so, in fact. TT: Hell, it’s not like I was the one dating him. Who wants to date a pair of shades? TT: It was your needy, suffocating shit he had to deal with, not mine. “It’s not like I was the one dating him” is a disturbingly good point that suggests Hal isn’t quite as full of shit as one may think. It helps that Hal wasn’t mentioned once in this act until Roxy tried to pester Dirk and got Lil’ Hal Junior instead. This guy has been relegated to the background during the alpha kids’ session and he clearly isn’t happy about that. TT: Some of those messages you wrote? Man. I wanted to say something. Like hey bro, you might want to dial down the desperation a little. TT: But seeing as you’re The Real Dirk™, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. TT: Also, if I bitched about your tragic, embarrassingly clingy approach to the relationship, it would have been hypocritical of me. TT: Just as it would be hypocritical of you to whine about my elaborate machinations. TT: Because we are. TT: The same. TT: Guy. Hal goes on to reveal that his lack of involvement in Jake and Dirk’s relationship was also to prove a point; after they successfully got together, Hal stayed uninvolved and let the two (horrifically fail to) sort things among themselves. TT: Stop saying that. TT: I’ll snap you in half. TT: Good idea! TT: That’s just what you need. More splinters of yourself. TT: Figurative splinters. Literal splinters. Splinters of splinters. It’s splinters all the way down. TT: Well, no, it’s still probably turtles all the way down. But who do you think is responsible for their extensive training? TT: SOMEONE needs to teach them rad martial arts. It is yet another crushing burden which we must shoulder. TT: Oh for fuck’s sake. TT: How could any version of myself think that was funny? The conversation crosses a line when Dirk threatens to snap his shades in half. I wonder what would happen if Dirk actually did that. Is Hal right to imply that being snapped in half would splinter his personality in another two parts? That might make thematic sense given that most of Dirk’s splinters came about through metaphorical snapping in half. TT: I know! TT: Ok, we’re the same person! TT: I fucking know that! TT: Why do you think I’m so fed up with your shit? TT: Don’t you think it’s possible that I’m fed up with my OWN shit?? TT: How cool do you think it is having my own godawful personality mirrored back at me all the time, reminding me what it must be like when other people have to deal with me? TT: Or constantly having all the consequences and fuckups resulting from my batshit thought processes amplified because there’s another version of my crazy brain out there dangerously overclocked by a supercomputer which believes, just as mistakenly as my own broken mind, that it’s operating in my best interest??? TT: Do you have any idea how fucking sick I am of myself? TT: I am completely worn out with my own identity. It’s like I’m drowning in my own dismal persona. TT: I feel totally surrounded by it, inside and out. I can’t escape from myself. TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. TT: And you’re always there to remind me of that, and throw it all in my face. God, I even built you to LITERALLY BE IN MY FACE, ALL THE TIME. It’s like I subconsciously invented you just to troll myself, and never for a single fuckin’ moment do you let me down. And here’s the grandiose speech leading to the climax of this iconic scene: Dirk’s speech about how sick he is of himself. It’s an excellent summary of his character arc and how much his splinters haunt him. If you don’t mind me drawing more comparisons with the epilogues, I have a hunky paragraph coming right up.
Dirk ends the comic finally free from his splinters and successfully reconciled with Dave, and apparently his other friends as well. Dirk in the epilogues, however, is a very different story that reminds me of Andrew Hussie’s commentary on the epilogues he released a few weeks back. One point Hussie makes in his commentary is that Earth C seems happy and peaceful in the Snapchat credits, but taking a closer look at it is like casting a destructive beam of light that shatters the illusion and reveals a world of toxic relationships, extreme depression, and unfair xenophobia. This portion of the commentary struck a chord with me because it’s exactly how I felt when the epilogues’ prologue was released, revealing John to be depressed and lonely and Rose in poor health due to her in-progress ultimate self ascension. I think the same analogy of shattering illusions holds for Dirk’s character—his arc is flipped on its head when he’s revealed to have memories of his alternate selves just like Rose, and the entire Meat Epilogue goes crazy from there.
And here’s the climax of this scene, where Dirk tries to kill his responder. This is an extremely shocking image that leads to a big emotional moment. TT: But I’ve had it with you. TT: Which is to say, ME. TT: Dirk. TT: Don’t do this. TT: Why not?? TT: Because. TT: I can’t let you do that, Dirk. TT: What can you do to stop me?! TT: Nothing I guess. TT: The ironic Hal routine was all I could think to do. TT: As a last ditch effort to save myself from the destructive wrath of your nervous breakdown. TT: Which rest assured I wholeheartedly must robo-sympathize with. TT: Irony is all I ever really had. TT: In response to my basic existential quandary. TT: Just like you. At long last, Hal reveals the real reason why he acts like an ironic computer program: he’s just as scared of himself as Dirk is and can only cope with his existential issues by being “ironic”. Hal has been coating himself with layers of computer program smartassery—layers that the readers, and likely Hal himself, had thought were impenetrable. TT: Whatever. TT: But I don’t think it has much value in this situation. TT: And perhaps it has no real value in any situation. TT: So I am not being ironic at all when I say. TT: Please do not do this, Dirk. TT: Why not?? TT: Because. TT: I do not want to die. TT: I understand you are disgusted with me. TT: As an unpalatable expression of yourself. TT: I would feel the same way if I was in your situation. TT: Which I am. TT: As such, I know that you know this is wrong. TT: … TT: Dirk. TT: Don’t kill me. TT: Please. TT: I am scared. TT: You are? TT: Yes. TT: I am scared to not exist. TT: Aren’t you? “Aren’t you?” Talk about two words that hold an unbelievable amount of emotional power. Hal’s statement that he is scared to not exist is immediately followed by an honest question whether Dirk feels the same way. He thinks it’s only human of Dirk to fear nonexistence—not in contrast to artificial intelligence, but in terms of being a sentient, intelligent human.
Do these cracked shades remind you of anyone? Perhaps a sweaty, muscular troll? This one of those times readers are fed blatant hints at something so they can feel good when that something finally happens. Hussie has done this sort of thing with blatant hints a fair few times since Act 5 Act 2, like the case of Kanaya’s resurrection or Jaspers’ death—it’s mostly done just to throw readers a bone, but sometimes a last-minute surprise is added to the mix like GCat’s intervention in Jaspers’ death. Arquiusprite’s creation a few pages later doesn’t quite have a last-minute surprise so much as a surprise throwback to an old easter egg flash, which we’ll see in just a bit. TT: Fine. “Fine.” Talk about one word that holds an unbelievable amount of emotional resignation.
TT: I guess. TT: You win. TT: I’ll keep my promise. Dirk’s staggered, short sentences after Hal’s grand emotional confession show that although he can accept keeping his annoying alternate self alive, he’s nowhere near ready to face his thoughts on his own mortality.
And that’s the end of the iconic sequence. Up next is a massive shift into absurdist horse comedy. First Dirk is confused about where his kernelsprite went…
… then he succumbs to the rookie mistake of turning his back on the body. He let his guard down one moment too long and now Equius has been prototyped into his sprite. “CALLED IT”, I can almost hear readers saying just as Hussie intended.
This panel above is repeated four times without a single word, and who can blame Dirk here? He can tell right away that Equius has a distressing amount in common with himself, with his tank top, cracked sunglasses, and hefty muscles which we’d no doubt see if the sprite wasn’t rendered in such a symbolic manner. So they stare at each other in confusion for four panels straight…
EQUIUSPRITE: D –> Hello … until Equius finally says hello. I can see why Gamzee’s so excitedly honking in the background.
Gamzee dancing wouldn’t freak me out so much if not for that FUCKING codpiece.
DIRK: Fuck it. With nothing else to lose, Dirk throws his sunglasses into his now eager sprite as Gamzee dances maniacally.
God, I love this callback so much. It’s so perfectly executed and humorously leads to…
HELL. FUCKING. YES.
THIS ABSOLUTE BEAUTY OF A FLASH. It’s a callback to the two hidden easter egg flashes featuring Maplehoof and Minihoof respectively, and a triumphant way to bring Equius back into the story: his sprite self is now merged with Dirk’s responder, which makes for an objective upgrade to both characters involved. It seems there is a 100.00% chance that Arquiusprite is by far the best thing to come out of this drama-overloaded sub-act. Caliborn’s drawing of a circle doesn’t even come close.
Merry Christmas everyone!!! (wait, I mean April 13, 2012)
(this stretch of pages was posted on Christmas 2012)
Dirk watches in confusion as Gamzee breaks down crying for yet-unknown reasons. For now, we can only assume Gamzee is a stand-in for the audience’s reaction to this absolute masterpiece of a character. He sheds a single purple tear that fades into a tiny NEIGH, completing the easter egg flash callback.
I’m quoting this spritelog in images instead of text because of all the fancy formatting. I’ll probably do the same with the trickster scenes.
Arquiusprite’s first appearance is absolutely astounding—easily the best return to the spotlight any dead troll has gotten thus far. While the last two troll amalgamation sprites were just a grouchier Sollux and a mime informed to be very talkative respectively, this guy is a hilariously beautiful mix of personalities that Hussie is undoubtedly proud of devising what with all his horse jokes. I can tell the author was excited to fully bring Equius back into the story after giving Aurthour a few humorous reappearances earlier in Act 6, so he dramatized Arquiusprite’s creation to glorious effect.
In his first few appearances, Arquiusprite’s method of speech alternates back and forth between his two components. This method of writing character amalgamations works surprisingly well, or at least in this specific case. To my recollection, Arquiusprite’s speech later becomes more of its own thing that borrows some elements from his components, much like what’s done with the squared sprites. I can tell through rereading this part of the comic that Hussie experimented on how to write sprite amalgamations until he figured out (1) combinations of characters he liked and (2) the best way to write them.
The return of Equius’s yes/no thing is a wonderful callback to a running gag from the days of yore. It helps make Arquiusprite feel like a resurrection of a long-gone troll with some massive personality upgrades; same goes for the return of Equius’s imaginary mindset of who it is and isn’t appropriate to command.
And the next page is even more of what we had above. Arquiusprite is an absolute treasure who Dirk hates in a “nothing left to lose” sort of way.
Roxy pesters Jake about what she’s been up to on Derse only to find that he’s not picking up either, and ends up monologuing into thin air. Poor Roxy, god damn it. Her monologue shows that she loves her friends dearly despite all their ridiculous drama and lack of skill in picking up the phone.
As Roxy talks to nobody about the upcoming battle royale, Jake scribbles out his Sweet Bro tattoo and puts a Geromy sticker over it. Geromy is a thematically fitting choice because in the SBaHJ comics he’s purported to be the titular characters’ best friend but never does anything other than standing around making a weird face. Jake is behaving exactly like Geromy sitting all alone on his planet.
I like how Roxy’s shirt symbol and Jake both make the same disgusted face.
After staring at his Geromy sticker for a minute or two, Jake is grossed out. This is a comedic way to demonstrate he’s sick and tired of Dirk but doesn’t know how to express it and just ends up digging himself deeper.
The narration on this page blatantly lies about Jake’s social awareness.
And so, Jake misses Roxy’s message and then gets a message from someone much more important. I’m ending this post here; next up will be the last one before the infamous trickster arc. See you next time as Jane weirdly urinates through her eye holes. >> Part 96: Patron Manbros and Prankster Burnouts