Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 98: The Part I Absolutely Love, as an Act 6 Apologist

Introduction

< Part 97 | Part 98 | Part 99 >

Act 6 Act 5, Part 6 of 6 (Act 6 Act 5 Act 1 x2 COMBO!!!)

Pages 5778-5926 (MSPA: 7678-7826)

This image cracks me up every time I see it.

My Homestuck posts are in a rather slow spell right now, which may get in the way of my goal of finishing Act 6 Intermission 5 by the end of 2019. Maybe I’ll do a short stream of posts written extremely quickly in December like last year? Or maybe I’ll just speed up my posting schedule again now?

Also, I REALLY need to finish fixing up my posts that got messed up on the move to the new domain. I’ve been insanely slow on that side project lately.

Following the absurdly long Santa nose zoom-in flash, the narration goes back to Act 6 Act 5 Act 1 and proclaims never to speak of Act 6 Act 5 Act 2 again. However, Caliborn interferes and has a very interesting conversation with Hussie’s self-insert about the narrative flaws of trickster mode.

Please don’t type in the narrative prompt.
YOU CAN’T FUCKING DO THAT.
Do what.
GO BACKWARDS.
This isn’t backwards stupid. It’s forwards.
After all the trickster shit happened.
NO. I MEAN.
BACKWARDS BY AN “ACT”.
OR I GUESS. AN “ACT ACT ACT”?
ARGH. I HATE THE THINGS I’M FORCED TO SAY. AND ACKNOWLEDGE AS REAL. BECAUSE OF YOU.

Caliborn’s disgust at act act acts is somewhat prophetic because Act 6 Act 6 is divided into act act acts and act act intermissions galore which fans must acknowledge if they wish to meaningfully discuss late Act 6’s subdivisions. It’s part of why many fans don’t even bother and just refer to whatever portion they’re talking about as “Act 6” which sucks and is bad. As this post’s title would imply, I don’t think most of Act 6 is as bad as people say, but I am rather irked by its lengthy subdivision names near the end.

I can go back all the act act acts I want.
The act act acts are kind of meaningless anyway.
Besides, trickster mode was getting obnoxious.
NO IT WASN’T!
Yes it was.
NO.
Yes.
NO.
Let’s not do the Equius yes/no thing.
IT WAS GREAT. IT WAS THE BEST THING I EVER UNLOCKED. FROM YOUR BULLSHIT MONITORS.
DON’T ERASE THE ONLY AWESOME THING. I EVER SAW THESE ASSHOLES DO. ASIDE FROM DYING.

I would talk about how trickster mode connects to the cherubic theme of polar extremes, but I did that plenty in my last post so I won’t reiterate it. Pretty sure you get the message by now.

What are you talking about? I didn’t erase it. It was still a thing that happened.
Do you really think I have the power to make something unhappen??
I would have to be a wizard to do that. And as we both know perfectly well, magic is fake as shit.

Oh man, now here’s a line I have strong memories of conversations about, specifically on the MSPA forums (rest in peace). The weird thing is, I can’t remember if the reason people talked so much about this line was because of the implications it has on the narrative effects of retcon powers or because of the connections to John and Roxy’s relationship (because Roxy likes wizards). But regardless of my memories of debates lost to the sands of time (or rather, lost to Syrian hackers), I think this line could also be read as a disclaimer about retcon powers: even if an event is retconned, it’s still part of the story’s continuity and by no means “unhappened”, because the real-life Andrew Hussie isn’t a wizard. This point about event erasure is taken advantage of in the Meat Epilogue, where adult John gathers the other seven kids from the pre-retcon session to fulfill the events of Caliborn’s Masterpiece much like I had predicted. It only makes thematic sense.

One could also read Hussie’s statement about unhappening powers as a tongue-in-cheek reference to his then-recent retconning of the controversial line referencing the trickster’s skin colors. I don’t know, both interpretations make a lot of sense to me.

I WANT TO SEE MORE CANDY ANTICS YOU AWFUL FUCK.
SEND ME BACK FORWARD TO THE NEXT ACT ACT ACT.
No way.
And incidentally, I didn’t authorize you to send that lollipop.
OH, WHAT. YOU DON’T APPROVE OF MY JUJU?!
Approve of kids doing something kinda like drugs and making dumb plans to get quadruple married and have babies?
No, I don’t approve of that.
Besides, that’s no way to make progress.
You don’t just give the heroes some cheap game breaking candy let them blast through the whole adventure and all their personal issues.
That’s some deus ex machina shit you were trying to pull.
YEAH RIGHT. MORE LIKE.
DELICIOUS EX MACHINA!
Lame.

“Delicious ex machina” is a wonderful pun. This passage reads very differently after the retcon which unfortunately was a deus ex machina played straight, but I think I’ll refrain from bothering much with retcon talk until I get to the section of the story where it happens.

Caliborn responds by banging on the command station thing again, causing the trickster juju to come back into his possession and amplifying Jane’s massive hangover. Hussie remarks that he should have killed Gamzee a long time ago, which amusingly implies that the reason he repurposed the clown into a preposterous unvoiced chunk of plot armor is because he missed the opportunity to kill him off.

FINE. NOW WHAT.
Caliborn, first let me explain something to you.
I guess it falls on me to teach you these life lessons, because as unpleasant as the idea is for both of us, I am the closest thing you will ever have to a father.

Speaking of Gamzee, this line is a continuity error because of what we learn about the cherubs’ backstory in the following intermission. Hussie says that he is the closest thing Caliborn will ever have to a father, which means that at this point the author hadn’t yet thought of making Gamzee the cherubs’ father. Lines like this one make it very clear that most of Gamzee’s narrative relevance in Act 6 was thought up on the spot, further cementing his role as a narrative fallback character.

You see, teenagers are sensitive and beautiful creatures.
Well, not you. You are repulsive. But most teenagers, I mean.
You can’t just force them to settle all their issues with insane psychotropic game powerups.
They have to face all those issues themselves, or they will never learn and grow as people.
WHO CARES??
Well, you don’t. But human beings do.
The journey itself is more important than the destination.
The struggle is what builds character and teaches us about ourselves and about life.
BULLSHIT.
I DID THEM ALL A FAVOR. BY GIVING THEM MY JUJU.
THEY WERE GOING NOWHERE. AND BEING STUPID.
AND DOING LITERALLY NOTHING WHATSOEVER. EXCEPT FOR WALLOWING IN GROTESQUE EMOTIONS.
LOOK HOW MUCH GREAT STUFF THEY GOT DONE BECAUSE OF ME!
Of course you think you were doing them a favor. You’re an alien.
So is your sister. She thought the juju would be a great boon for them as well. But she was wrong.
See, you cherubs are predisposed to love all this trickster crap. All that goofy squeaky candy coated nonsense is a critical part of your people’s mythos.
That sugarized zillyjunk sort of embodies a unified field of absurd Platonic ideals to the cherubim, so when you see expressions of it in reality of course you’re gonna go apeshit.
But that kind of stuff is freakish and disturbing to humans. Those aren’t our ideals.
WHAT.
Furthermore, that could only be seen as a boon from an asocial species.
You never have to deal with other people. So if you lick a magic lollipop that flips a switch in your brain that says “all my problems are solved,” I guess maybe that’s fine for cherubs, but if you’re a human you haven’t actually solved anything.
By the same logic it’s not much of a boon to a human’s physical journey either.
Using an item that lets them start maniacally powering from point A to point B isn’t doing them any favors.

Oh man, this part. I love this part. Hussie’s speech comparing human narratives against cherub narratives really speaks for itself. Reading it now, I’m taking it as an exploration of alien morality and the unusual way it was conveyed to readers: through a massive stream of grating eye vomit. I think the trickster arc conveyed messages about the bizarre workings of cherubs better than most people give credit; it’s suffering, but not suffering without a purpose.

It’s like when Mario gets the star.
You know when Mario gets the star?
WHO THE FUCK IS MARIO.
He’s a small Italian plumber who goes on sideways adventures.
He jumps on stuff and bops bricks with his head to save a princess.
WHAT’S ITALIAN.
WHAT’S A PLUMBER.
Never mind what an Italian is. It’s just a kind of guy on Earth.
And a plumber is a guy who fixes load gapers.
WHAT’S A LOAD GAPER.
Shut up.
Anyway, sometimes when Mario’s running sideways he gets a star that makes him magic and invincible.
OH. YOU MEAN HE BECOMES TRICKSTER MARIO.
Yes, but less stupid.
So for a while he becomes flashy and hyperactive and nothing’s challenging anymore.
He just starts barreling over mushrooms and leaping over pits as fast as he can, then gets to the end and jumps on the flagpole and that’s it. Mario “wins”.
But the point is, he didn’t really win. That magic star was actually devastating to his development as a human being.
UH.
Well, I don’t know. Maybe Mario isn’t the best example.
Like I’m not sure if Mario really even has a soul?
He’s just kind of a one-dimensional friendly cartoon plumber.
So maybe this stuff doesn’t quite apply to him.

The Mario analogy is really interesting to me and would be a perfect equivalent to trickster mode if it was about, say, a version of Super Mario Bros. where the star powerups lasted much longer. Why do you think some video games are criticized for having glitches or exploits that take away the challenge? Why do you think such glitches or exploits are often referred to as “game-breaking”??? Because real people, whether experiencing real life or playing video games, do not enjoy long doses of the utmost extremes.

But these aren’t one-dimensional plumbers we’re talking about here.
These are TEENS.
And as we all know, teens have BIG FEELINGS.
I CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE OF THIS.
THE DISCOURSE WITH YOU HAS BEEN EVEN MORE GRATING AND UNPALATABLE THAN USUAL.
YOU SAID YOU’D HELP ME SPEED UP MY QUEST. BUT ALL YOU DID.
WAS TRICK ME INTO HEARING ANOTHER CONVERSATION. IN WHICH YOU INDULGE YOURSELF TO AN EXTENT. WHICH I CANNOT EVEN BELIEVE.
I’M GOING TO HIT THINGS WITH MY CROWBAR AGAIN.
No don’t!
Jane is still nursing a wicked hangover you ass.
THEN BE USEFUL TO ME.

Hussie’s humorous statements that teenagers have FEELINGS are cut short by Caliborn asking him how to be useful, and here’s where things get fun.

Hussie explains that the next step in Caliborn’s journey is to unlock two screens at once, and Caliborn freaks out when he realizes that he can’t do so without something called “teamwork”.

But he soon accepts that difficult steps like this must be taken in a journey as heroic as his, leading to a surprising moment of character development for our lovable green skull monster:

3, 2, 1 countdown not shown.

And that, my friends, is how Caliborn learned the importance of teamwork. After all the time he spent brutally shooting the clown, it’s quite stunning to see the two cooperatively initiate the split-screen section of Homestuck.

Welcome to Act 6 Act 5 Act 1 x2 COMBO!!!

… or as I like to call it, the Alpha Kids Redemption Arc.

Oh, holy FUCK. This split screen section looks so cool I don’t even know what to say. It opens with Jane telling Dirk that she dropped the trickster juju never to be seen again, much to his approval.

When characters’ HAIR looks different from usual, that’s how you know things have gone off the rails.

golgothasTerror [GT] began pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]
GT: Roxy?
TG: yynnnnnrrnrng wat
GT: I take it by that disgruntled series of letters that youre feeling about as cruddy as me and jane right now.
TG: yea jake
TG: welcome to hangover city
TG: population
TG: some extra chumps besides me 4 a change
GT: Well you know what they say about misery. And how it supposedly enjoys company.
TG: hrrrnngh
TG: no it doesnt
TG: it enjoys a wet towel draped over its head
TG: and less talkin
GT: Hiyoooo!
GT: Point well taken.
TG: omg stop being so chipper dude do u feel like shit or not
GT: Indubitably. Rest assured it feels like a brood of anxious vermin is making its most valiant effort to escape from my skull.
TG: lol jake english w a hangover everyone
TG: slow clap

After a whole bunch of drama bullshit before the trickster arc, for once Jake is being genuinely honest and endearing, and Roxy is, well, the same good old Roxy. This conversation between him and Roxy is making me smile damn hard and reminding me of the alpha kids’ redeeming qualities (which are more than most people say).

GT: Pardon?
TG: im just sayin if youre hung over for the 1st time pls do the experience some justice
TG: ur giving suffering a bad name
GT: I will say the multicolored lights from my computer strobing directly into my eyeballs arent helping the matter one freaking bit.
TG: SMH
TG: (not literally cuz ow)
TG: jake here is some sage advice from a veteran of substance abuse and its deleterious consequences
TG: dont use your fuckin skulltop when you got a hangover u dork
GT: Well i wouldnt but i just gave jane my only other device.

Letting Jane use his phone is quite an act of selflessness on Jake’s end, which one could see as real non-trickster character development.

GT: I dont know how many times ive told her to keep more than one computer on her no matter what in case of situations just like this.

This line is a great and fitting callback to the early acts, reminding us of Jade’s computer-keeping wisdom she so kindly passed to her grandfatherson. 

TG: oh
TG: whys she want a computer
TG: is that who dirks talking to now
GT: I dont know. Maybe.
GT: Shes not exactly talking to me at the moment.
GT: Not that i can blame her.

And that humorous moment is immediately followed by the start of an honest discussion about the alpha kids’ difficult relationships, which I can already tell is going to be a wild ride to reread.

Dirk and Jane’s feelings jam is similarly cathartic, if somewhat weird to read after the epilogues. Jane is embarrassed about what she said to Jake as a trickster, while Dirk admits to some of his own weaknesses and resounding appreciation for Roxy.

GG: At least, it did at the time.
GG: I only wish I could have stayed as lucid as you during our…
GG: Transformation.
GG: How did you manage that?
TT: It wasn’t on purpose. Actually if I had a choice, I probably would have just said, fuck it. Sugar shock my brain, please.
TT: Suffice to say, I have trouble escaping from myself. It’s kind of a problem. Let’s not talk about it though. Please continue.
GG: Okay.
GG: So instead of keeping my cool like you, I just started gushing over him like a lovestruck loon, surrendering any sliver of dignity I might have earned by telling him off earlier.
GG: I just cannot believe some of the things I said. Oh God. I told him I wanted to get married and have babies!!!
TT: Yeah but to be fair, by the time you came looking for me, all three of you were saying that to anything that moved.
GG: I know! But…
GG: It’s one thing to write off something you say to an altered state of mind. But what makes the admission so mortifying to me is…
GG: I actually MEANT it.
GG: And I’m sure he must know that by now.
GG: And now I feel so humiliated I just want to die.
GG: I would ask him to shoot me right here, if I could bring myself to say a word to him.
TT: Somehow I don’t think he’s up to the task.
TT: Which is doubly unfortunate, since that’s literally what we all came here to do.
TT: Speaking personally, I’d probably run this sword through my own dick before I could bring myself to kill Roxy. Even for her own good.
TT: So.
TT: When the chips are down, I guess that’s how much of a badass I really am.
GG: Woo!!!
GG: We are all such WINNERS.
TT: Yeah, our moxie’s off the fuckin’ charts.

What did the epilogues even fucking DO to Jane?! All her development from this sequence was mercilessly erased seven in-story years later. I can’t even decide whether I’m more confused on the Jane side or on the Dirk side. Probably more on the Jane side, because Dirk did go through an ultimate self transformation or whatever the hell all that was.

In itself, this entire feelings jam sequence is marvelous. It’s the relation to what comes after that bugs me.

Anyway, back to the other two.

GT: Rox?
TG: wat
GT: Am i an asshole?
TG: no j
GT: I think i might be an asshole.
GT: All of my friends hate me now.
GT: Are you sure im not just an asshole and never actually realized it?
TG: well maybe youre an asshole sometimes but its always on accident and most people are accidental assholes a lot of times anyway so who cares

Aw man, Roxy is so sweet. She only ever sees the best in her friends, which can be heartwarming, disgustingly sappy, or “what the fuck whyyyyy”-worthy depending on the context; in her conversations with Jake, it’s generally the first of the three.

GT: I cant believe i was so oblivious to the feelings of all the people i care about.
GT: How could i not see that jane was in love with me? I really am a dope.
GT: I guess i did know deep down at some point… but then i somehow convinced myself otherwise?
GT: I cant even imagine how she must have felt all this time i was seeing dirk. And all those times i talked her ear off about our relationship! Oh goodness.
TG: yuuup
GT: I wonder what things would be like if she told me?
GT: Maybe its better she didnt in the end.
GT: I probably would have just broken her heart like i did with dirk.

Jake is such a prophet, oh my god. His relationship with Jane in the epilogues turned out to be a massive trainwreck on every possible level, partly caused by all her Crocker perfectionism.

GT: I should say something to her but im not sure what to say. I dont think she wants to hear anything from me to be honest.
GT: Maybe you could tell her im sorry for me?
TG: why cant you just tell her
TG: shes right there
GT: I dunno. Shes obviously so mad at me. I cant bring myself to say anything.
GT: Im also just really fucking chagrined over how i treated her.
GT: If i was brave i could face that feeling and just talk to her and try to make us square.
GT: But i dont think i really am brave.
GT: Im not brave and i dont think i love adventure either.
TG: wow… jake…
GT: You know how you think you know these things about yourself?
GT: Like all these personal attributes about you as if theyre written down somewhere like a sort of mini biography so they have to be true.
GT: So you just believe them and hope that the believing is what makes them true.
GT: But then you spend so much time believing those things and taking their truth for granted that you somehow forget to MAKE them true with your words and deeds.
GT: How can i truly love adventure when i never even knew what it was?
GT: I dont think its raiding tombs and clobbering scoundrels.
GT: That stuffs fun and all but thats not what adventure is.
GT: Adventure is…
GT: Its something else.
GT: Its doing the things im genuinely afraid to do.
GT: But cant.
GT: Because im a coward.

Jake’s speech about loving adventure tugs straight at the heartstrings. For all his thick-headedness, this guy can be incredibly wise and heartfelt when he needs to be. His massive outpour of extreme honesty is a beautiful dissection of his supposed trait that he “loves adventure”, and more importantly, the very notion of defined character traits. His “mini biography” analogy gives his speech a layer of metafictional meaning.

TG: ok ok stop shittin on urself ill tell her for you

Oh boy. Get ready for more of Roxy being incredibly sweet.

These two images look incredibly sweet paired together: it shows that despite their drama, the alpha kids are ultimately a quartet of friends just as close as the beta kids. Jake is talking to Roxy, Roxy is talking to him and Jane, and Jane is talking to her and Dirk.

TT: Jane, you know,
TT: We probably should have talked about this Jake stuff a long time ago.
GG: Tell me about it.
TT: I don’t know if I was kidding myself all those years that there was a conflict of interest between us, or what.
GG: Same.
TT: Maybe I was just pretending your feelings for him weren’t a factor because my pursuit of him was already overcomplicated enough.
TT: Or maybe it was more like I was aware of them, but on some level decided they shouldn’t matter, because I felt like you had a natural advantage over me.
TT: Cause you know. You’re like.
TT: Not a dude.
GG: But I always felt you had the advantage over me too!
GG: Because you’re… YOU.
GG: You make things happen, and I don’t.

Jane and Dirk admitting to their longtime conflict of interest and bonding over regrets about Jake is rather touching (and again, makes their roles in the epilogues extremely confusing). Both had legitimate reasons to think the other had an advantage, which led to some unfortunate mutual equivocation.

TT: Yeah well. Turns out maybe that’s not such a good quality if you wanna make a relationship last longer than three seconds. At least not in my case.
TT: I know I ripped into him pretty hard when I had the clown hair and the little soda can on my head.
TT: But the truth is I was pretty goddamn overbearing.
TT: Sometimes I look back on stuff and think I might have essentially bullied him into a relationship with me.
TT: Actually, it’s more complicated than that. Parts of me were operating independently from myself.
TT: So it’s like I was bullying myself into bullying him into liking me. If that makes sense.
GG: It doesn’t really. But that’s fine. :B

It’s rather sweet how forgiving Jane is to Dirk. She doesn’t understand a lot of what he talks about, but enjoys talking to him anyway. These two often read to me as longtime friends who trust each other a bit too much for their own good.

TT: Anyway, my insanity scared him right the fuck off. There were times when I basically treated him like shit without even realizing it, and I regret it.
TT: I should probably tell him that, but given how I just called him an asshole while wearing orange suspenders, I’m probably the last person he wants to hear from now.
GG: Clearly we both used some poor judgment.
GG: Looking back, it seems crazy to me that we both jeopardized our friendship over a mutual infatuation with, let’s face it, one spectacularly goofy kid.
TT: Can we both at least agree we may have overrated the allure of Jake English?
GG: YES.

Regardless of later events in the comic’s continuity, Jane’s big, strong “YES” is one of the most satisfying lines to read in Homestuck. She and Dirk have FINALLY gotten over their teen hormone-induced crushes…

TT: Maybe if we could have talked to each other about him it would have helped. Like talked about why we felt that way about him.
TT: At least maybe it would have helped us knock English down from the ludicrous pedestal we put him on.
GG: Yeah. That might have saved us a lot of grief.
GG: It’s not like I hate him now, even though that’s probably what he thinks. He’s still my friend.
GG: But the extent to which I centered my whole life around a childish fantasy about him is just painfully embarrassing in hindsight.
GG: I wonder if I’ll ever be able to look at him again without feeling miserable about myself?
TT: So does that mean we’re both totally over him now? I can’t really tell.
GG: Me neither. :\

… for now, at least. The last two lines here hint that this may not be the end of the alpha kids’ romantic entanglements, suggesting that this sequence is merely phase one of their reconciliations. It’s possible the author had intended to write a phase two before ending Homestuck, but whatever plans he may have had completely fell through by the time he did the retcon arc.

TT: I guess the real problem is our clique was too small.
TT: Poor Jake was the only viable romantic target. I mean, considering our respective orientations.
TT: Maybe we just never knew enough people?
GG: Perhaps.
GG: Or maybe we just don’t need anybody.
GG: As anything other than friends, I mean.
TT: In the interest of appeasing the bitterness gods, let’s go with the latter.

What’s interesting (and tragic) is that when their clique is expanded to include the beta kids and a few others, Jane and Dirk don’t get many new viable romantic targets. By eliminating Dirk’s relatives, all of the girls, and John “not a homosexual” Egbert, Dirk’s only viable romantic partner other than Jake is Karkat of all people. Similarly, Dave and Karkat are the only ones other than Jake left after eliminating all of Jane’s relatives, all of the girls, and Dirk “not a heterosexual” Strider. Given that Dave and Karkat fell into an ambiguous relationship with Jade well before the start of the epilogues, maybe it isn’t surprising after all that Jane set her eyes on Jake once more. And maybe that’s why Jane hooked up with Gamzee after his addition to the friendgroup and started ignoring Jake.

(Fucking hell, I still can’t believe the epilogues canonized Jane x Gamzee.)

On the other half of the split screen, Jane answers Roxy. First Jane declines Roxy’s offer to relay apologies through convoluted “tell him/her I said” chains, then they bond over the horrors of trickster mode and struggles with inaction. After that, Roxy brings up a recent tragedy:

TG: jane u know what im sad about
GG: Hm?
TG: fefeta exploding
GG: Yeah. 😦
TG: whyd she have to die again like that
TG: she was so sweet and perfect and my friend
TG: she would always just talk and talk about the funniest things from her life as two troll ladies and it always lifted my spirits

It’s rather sad that only after her death do we learn how much Fefetasprite meant to Roxy. This emotional factor is a benefit of not making Fefeta a voiced character; if she did talk onscreen, readers probably would have been too happy they got to hear from those two dead trolls again to be impacted much by the sprite’s death.

TG: am i cursed or somethin jane?
GG: Cursed?
TG: yeah
TG: its like
TG: i always seem to accidentally kill my cats
TG: or my half cat girls
TG: ummm
TG: who are part sea princess and also an alien ghost
TG: i dunno maybe this line o speculation has no particular coherence
TG: jane
TG: after we go god tier you want to help me have a funeral for her
GG: Of course, Roxy.
TG: i would like that
TG: i always wanted to go to a funeral
TG: is that weird? maybe thats weird i dont know
TG: i mean not like in an especially morbid or gothy kinda way i just think it would be cool to honor her memory
TG: i never did that for frigglish but i should have

Roxy’s existential talk about funerals gives some surprising insight into her character. Each of the Derse-dreaming kids has a morbid existential side, which in Roxy’s case manifests as a love for funerals. I really can’t describe why, but I think this trait is a spectacular fit with Roxy’s character.

Oh man, HERE’S where things get fun. The material in the visuals diverges from that of the pesterlogs, making for parallel storytelling much like the Doc Scratch intermission. In this case, we get meat in the panels and candy in the pesterlogs.

Jake asks Roxy to relay his apologies to Dirk like she did with Jane, but Roxy says that she isn’t talking to Dirk either. Here’s a bit worth quoting:

GT: But you are talking to jane yes?
TG: y
GT: Well…
GT: Seeing as shes presumably talking to dirk…
GT: And youre relaying my apology to her already…
GT: Why dont you relay my apology to dirk through her?
TG: omfg jake
TG: jake no
TG: lmao
GT: Why not!
GT: Shed probably be a sport about it.
GT: Hell they could probably bond over what an absolute douchemuffin ive been to them both.

I find moments like this, where Jake shows he isn’t quite as selfish as people tend to think, to be very endearing. He’s totally fine with the idea of Jane and Dirk bonding over his “douchemuffininess” as Roxy puts it when she talks to Jane again.

In her conversation with Jane, Roxy rounds out the issues between alpha kid pairs by revealing that she and Dirk haven’t said a word to each other, and she’s about to explain why.

Remember the alpha kids’ Jack Noir? He didn’t stop being a thing or anything. These images don’t technically show us anything new, but their placement is sure to entice first-time readers.

Anyway, here is Roxy’s speech about regrets:

TG: cause im a shitty disgrace
TG: and hes probably so ashamed of me he can barely stand being inside the same moon w me at this point
GG: Why would you think that?
TG: because
TG: you heard what he said
TG: about how i fell off the wagon
TG: you could just tell how disappointed he was
TG: and he was right to be
GG: But you weren’t in your right state of mind though!
TG: i know
TG: but you said it yourself
TG: about the confessions you made to jake
TG: sure you were trippin balls on a cherub pop
TG: but that really just enabled you to do what you really wanted to do deep down
TG: so whatd i do the moment jake snuck up and owned me with that magic pumpkin?
TG: i was like YO LETS GET SMASHED AT MY PLACE
TG: i hardly wasted a second before giving in
TG: and here i thought i was actually over that
TG: but the second im given the slightest justification to drink again i say fuck it
TG: so it turns out i didnt stop wanting to like i told myself
TG: but that i still wanted to while pretending i didnt per some bogus tough girl act
TG: like i thought i was better than the problem
TG: or more like i thought i was too cool and too strong to admit it was actually really hard
TG: but the truth is i was not strong + cool
TG: i was weak + lame all along
TG: and now dirk knows that too and for some reason letting him down feels like the worst part??
TG: which is equally lame and weak cuz i should care for my own sake not for how it makes a dude see me but it still just really bothers me ???

Here is OUCH, followed by OUCH with a dose of MORE OUCH. Roxy feels like trickster mode made her discover some upsetting truths about herself that she thought she had worked so hard to get over. Sort of like what I talked about with Jane earlier, this speech might possibly justify that Roxy has issues with how boys see her and self-presentation all over again in the epilogues, which she resolves in vastly different ways depending on John’s initial choice.

Damn you, Gamzee.

Meanwhile in the panels, Jack Noir receives a pumpkin containing Cal, a crowbar, and a set of tools. This scene’s frightening factor is done through a sequence of visual callbacks to the beta kids’ Jack Noir and Spades Slick, some of them not shown here.

GT: Roxy?
GT: Rox! What is she saying?
GT: Talk to me roxy!!!
GT: Please dont leave me hanging here.
GT: I cant take it i cant bear having two of my closest chums hate me and then having you shut me out on top of that!
TG: ok sheesh jake calm ur microshorts
TG: im here
GT: Ah there you are.
GT: Im sorry for being a pest but i just see jane there pecking away at conversations with you and dirk and it feels like youre all kind of leaving me behind.
TG: no jake nobodys doin that
GT: Ok yeah im probably being paranoid…
GT: But ive done such a bangup job of alienating my other friends.
GT: So youre the only one i can talk to for now.
GT: Wait i havent alienated you yet have i?
TG: nah dont worry we are still humanated
GT: Are you really sure roxy? Are you sure youre not just trying to spare my feelings?
GT: You can be honest with me! If you hate me now too please just say so.
TG: SWEET GUY FIERIS FAT LAUGHING GHOST JAKE

Roxy assuring Jake they’re still friends no matter what is very sweet, and one of the few things about the alpha kids that isn’t brutally torn down in the epilogues. In fact, their friendship stays intact at the end of both epilogues, which, coincidental or not, is an impressive feat.

This is just a screenshot. The bottom-left Cal’s eyes are rapidly flickering between red and blue.

Taking advantage of circumstantial simultaneity, Caliborn stares into Lil’ Cal and the puppet’s past/future self stares back into Jack, making his eyes go wild and even causing him to drool a little.

GT: Sooo then. What else is there we can chew the old fat about?
GT: Really bond over together in an emotionally fulfilling manner?
TG: dag you are an extra silly guy
GT: Well??
TG: dunno j why dont u tell me what youre thinkin an we go from there
GT: Alright.
GT: So. That sure was a doozy of a kiss you gave dirk there huh?
TG: LOL fuck
TG: yeaaaahhh
GT: How was it?
TG: it was
TG: uuuummmmm
GT: Go on!
TG: it was fuckin INAPPROPRIATE!!!!!
TG: and yet
TG: and yet………
TG: omg it was so choice
TG: but wrong!
TG: wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong
GT: I dont know. It seemed innocent enough to me.
GT: What was so wrong about it?
TG: a whole host of things…
TG: not sure in how much detail i wanna spell out why exactly it wasnt cool
TG: but like
TG: jake ur a pretty simple guy and i mean that as <3ways as possible
TG: it just wasnt right
GT: No disagreement there. But like i said im here to talk about whatever you feel like.
TG: ok see this is just another embarrassing thing from my past
TG: when i was more out of control
TG: with dirk i was just
TG: waaay too aggressive
TG: i hassled him all the time
TG: pretty much every day just like he said
TG: about
TG: me and him
TG: like
TG: GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!
TG: U KNO LAST MALE & FEMALE ON EARTH OOH HES A HUNK! IS DREAMZ COME TRU TIME 4 REPOPULATE!!!

Roxy admits that kissing Dirk as a trickster felt amazing and feels awful about it. This is some wonderful character development, which I think is only made stronger by the fact that she admits to still finding Dirk incredibly handsome and cool.

Jack stares into Cal, who now has pool ball eyes—we now know that this is because Caliborn’s soul was sucked into Cal after he got his pool ball eyes.

TG: yeah
TG: so not cool lookin back on it
TG: and i had no excuse i always knew he was just
TG: SUCH a gay dude
TG: and i guess maybe hitting on a guy who dont like girls once or twice maybe is alright or even flattering but after so long it was probably just pissing him off or messing with his head or something
TG: it def wasnt what he wanted to hear from a friend
TG: let alone day in and day out through garbled drunktexts
TG: so when i fuckin harassed him into kissin me…
TG: it just brought back some low rent shit i thought we put behind us
TG: just another way i completely humiliated myself in front of him
GT: So is that why you cant talk to him now?
TG: mmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm
GT: I certainly have no trouble relating to that.
TG: yep
TG: i dont even know why really
TG: hes like taciturn to the max about everything
TG: but theres somethin about him
TG: that just makes it hurt to feel like you let him down

Ah, yes. Roxy is explicitly talking about the thing with Dirk’s character: he’s cold and unapproachable to the point where people actively seek his inner warm heart and feel awful if they fail to do so—a trait that is explored heavily in the epilogues without any ultimate reconciliation.

GT: You really love him dont you?
TG: siiigh
TG: yeah jake i guess
TG: the answer is
TG: a categorical unapologetic fucking ‘yeah’
TG: but
TG: i dont think that was much a secret
TG: and the fact that it was so LOUDLY not a secret exemplified my stupidity on the matter

As I said before, Roxy’s admittance of a persistent infatuation with Dirk comes across as a movement of strength just because of how willingly she admits it.

GT: Its fair to say i never came close to feeling as strongly about him as you.
GT: I envy you actually. Ive actually worried at times that i just wasnt capable of feeling that way about anyone.
GT: And maybe thats why i was just meant to be alone.
TG: ehh you aint missin much
TG: love is a brutal shitninja w/ turds 4 nunchucks
TG: be grateful that stank ass motherfuckers flippin out nowhere near you

D’awwww.

Speaking as someone who doesn’t understand anything about romance, Roxy’s words just put the warmest smile on my face.

As Jake brings up the ring Roxy almost slipped on Dirk’s finger, Jack does… this. Probably confusing to first-time readers, but you should already know what this leads to.

The next page gives us some teasers of Jack Noir’s new terrifying form, much like was done in [S] Jack: Ascend and [S] Jade: Enter with the beta kids’ Jack. This is where the visual storytelling style takes a turn for the brilliant: these split screen panels showcasing Jack’s transformation make for a worthy substitute for your usual flash animation.

TG: man
TG: that ring tho
TG: what happened to it do you remember?
GT: Not really.
TG: god damn it
TG: must of lost it when i was a FUCKING trickster
TG: sflkjfslkfj
TG: *shakes fist @ all trxstrs*
GT: Did you need it for something?
TG: need it?
TG: not really
TG: i just really liked that ring
TG: kinda spoke to me in a way
TG: hehe
TG: want to know something lame?
GT: Yes.
TG: the moment i first saw that ring
TG: i was like in my head
TG: thinkin
TG: some day i want to give that ring to the person i marry
TG: whoever that is
GT: Daw.

Here’s where Roxy talks about using a ring to propose to someone, much like John did a few hundred pages prior. This is some blatant ship foreshadowing that turns out to be a red herring, foreshadowing her relationship with Calliope instead, because Roxy later gives the Ring of Life—speculated by some to be a time duplicate of the Ring of Void—to Calliope in a callback to John giving Roxy the ring. I see all the leadup to John/Roxy ending in Calliope/Roxy instead as a brutally well-crafted fakeout, one that stays in place for several years both in-comic and out-of-comic until the epilogues finally readdress that situation.

GT: Thats not lame thats nice.
TG: nah its pretty lame but w/e
TG: shows what sorta one track mind i got
TG: god i am obsessed with findin somebody to kiss arent i
TG: it is rly quite pathetic
TG: although the funny thing is the ring turns you invisible
TG: which might be my subconscious telling me something about my lovelife
TG: like i find a guy of my dreams
TG: slip it on his finger
TG: and POOF he disappears!
TG: bye bye hubby
TG: o well dont matter
TG: the ring is gone
TG: and with it so too
TG: are my lame, lame dreams ;(

Roxy follows her red herring foreshadowing with an interesting metaphor for her relationship with John: first in the credits (John stops spending time with her in favor of moping around at home), then in the Meat Epilogue (John promptly leaves to fight Lord English and is never seen again). In the Candy Epilogue, this metaphor sort of works in reverse (Roxy turns out to be nothing like the fun, snarky, contrarian girl John remembers).

I never noticed until just now that the explosion of rainbow powers resembles the Light aspect symbol.

With his soul now infused(???) with Lord English’s, the alpha kids’ Jack upholds the tradition of versions of Jack Noir destroying Prospit. The A2, B1, and B2 versions of Prospit were each destroyed with a different form of powers: first guardian powers, the Red Miles, and Lord English powers respectively.

In her conversation with Jane, Roxy tells the deeper story behind her alcoholism and how she got over it. It starts with this:

TG: i was gonna say why i finally quit drinkin
TG: i mean if you want to know
GG: Yes.
GG: Actually, once you did stop, it made me finally realize it was a problem for you for a long time.
GG: And I didn’t say anything at the time, but it made me wonder if I wasn’t doing the right thing before.
GG: By failing to point out you might have a problem? Or just going along with it and participating in lively banter any time you clearly had too much to drink?
GG: Was I just being a bad friend?
TG: nah it wasnt your responsibility to fix my shit
TG: and anyway i think i made it hard for anyone to come at me like it was a real problem
TG: i was always joking around so much and havin a good time like kind of overzealously so
TG: that i probably just made people feel like a shitty wet blanket for even mentioning it
GG: How long do you think it’s been a problem?
TG: i dont know its hard to say exactly when i started getting real carried away
TG: just at some point i discovered a load of my moms centurys old booze in the house
TG: and i didnt have much to relate to her by except her books
TG: so i felt like drinking was a way to be more like her
TG: or be closer to her kinda
TG: and there was nobody around except the silly chess people
TG: who in a way just made me feel more alone
TG: cause they reminded me i was only one of two humans left and the other was an ocean away
TG: so little by little
TG: i got out of hand
TG: and one of the only things i had to look forward to was the idea that the game was supposed to be able to bring my mom back
TG: assuming i even decided to help the batterwitch out by playing at all

Roxy’s speech about wanting to relate to grown-up Rose demonstrates something Rose has in common with Dirk: through their imposing manners of speech and instruction, they both inadvertently implant in their friends, descendants, and other relatives a strong desire not to disappoint them or let them down.

Jack Noir’s destruction of Prospit spanning across both halves of the split screen may be an instance of the pattern of villains in Homestuck interacting with the meta narrative, which Hussie has talked about plenty in his book commentary.

GG: But it turned out you couldn’t bring her back. At least not the way you thought.
GG: So what was it that made you finally decide to give it up?
TG: well
TG: thats pretty much what it was
TG: when i first went to lopan i saw my sprite there
TG: so i got out my bottle of momslime and was all ready for the bestest most poignant reunion ever
TG: and thats when the juggalo struck
TG: and i just knew the witch had fucked me over AGAIN
TG: cause what other hag is insane enough to get juggalos to do her dirty biz nigh exclusively???
TG: NO HAGS BUT HER
TG: and i was so pissed and so distraught about that goddamn clown squandering my sprite
TG: so i got crazy drunk and felt the super sorriest for myself i ever did

This passage hurts to read knowing how positively Roxy treats Gamzee in the Candy Epilogue after his completely bullshit “redemption arc”. I’ve always thought she was respectful to Gamzee because she got used to Calliope’s strange, alien ways of thinking—a possible negative side of her maybe-romantic relationship with Calliope.

TG: but little did i know there would be a lovely silver lining to the debacle
GG: Dear, sweet, precious Fefeta!
TG: :3
TG: she became a great friend
TG: and whats more was she told me not to worry
TG: that my mom would be comin anyway and all i had to do was wait a while
TG: and i believed her cause she knew stuff + was THA BEST
TG: so thats when i decided to clean up my act

It was a smart narrative choice of Hussie to preserve the Roxy from the pre-retcon timeline for several reasons, not the least of which is that she was the one who learned valuable lessons about life from Fefetasprite. Who knows if post-retcon Roxy got over alcoholism a similar way, if at all?

TG: i didnt want her to meet a sloppy embarrassing mess of a daughter
TG: even if she did like to drink at some point it was kind of a childish idea that doing so myself would make me closer to her or help us bond or whatever
TG: anyway i think i might of overestimated her drinkin habits
TG: she sure didnt look like no drunk

Turns out Roxy used the imposing trait Rose has in common with Dirk to get over her alcoholism, which is probably the best possible use of that trait. Incredible character development right there; also a bit of dramatic irony, because a few hundred pages prior we were treated to an extremely bizarre drunk Rose, who will return in the following sub-intermission.

TG: oh!
TG: jane did i mention
TG: i saw her in a dream today!
GG: No!
TG: shes real young tho
TG: like our age
TG: and she looks so pretty and happy
TG: not like a girl w booze challenges
TG: i think her fav color must be orange just like dirk
TG: she was wearin the same sunny orange nighty deal i caught a glimpse of her in v briefly another time
TG: and oh…
TG: she also called me mom?
GG: Huh?
TG: huh is right
TG: u know im really not sure if shes actually my mom
TG: but i do know were totes genetically related somehow
TG: i just think theres more to it than we know
GG: I guess we’ll find out!

The prospect of Rose and Roxy meeting is now more tantalizing than ever before—it’s clear now that both of the Lalondes are somewhat intimidated by the other and are at different stages of trying to come as their very best to them. We don’t know yet that both are going to experience their mother/daughter’s tragic death one more time before the grand reunion.

And there he is in full view: Union Jack, Jack English, Lord Noir, whatever you want to call him. That is an incredible shot drawn at six times the level of detail of most Homestuck panels. Hussie didn’t need to draw Jack looking this cool, let alone split him across six panels, but he did so anyway just to make this put this sequence’s hype level on par with the very best flashes.

… wait, are you telling me this version of Jack has a canon unique name? “Lord Jack”?! Oh come on, that name is so lame. Fuck you Vriska for making such a lame name that most fans now use without questioning. I’d rather just keep calling him “the alpha kids’ Jack”.

Was Jane’s dream tower rebuilt over the five months after the ball drop, or did Hussie just forget a little detail?

The shots of Derse and Prospit after Jack’s explosion are important because they tell attentive readers that we’re in the process of fulfilling the foreshadowing when we saw the full view of Jake’s island. First the destruction of Prospit’s main body (shown above), the destruction of both planets’ moons, and finally the arrival of the beta kids’ planets.

After Jane guesses the trembling she just felt was probably just regular planetary forces, the split screen zooms into Derse to show the other side of the HOLY SHIT HYPE. The pesterlogs have Jane and Dirk talk about Roxy in an extremely memorable sequence.

TT: Have you and Roxy been talking?
GG: Yes.
TT: Is she pissed at me or something?
TT: She won’t talk to me.
GG: No, not at all.
TT: Then what gives.
GG: She was wondering the same about you.
TT: What?
GG: Are you disappointed in her?
TT: Why would I be?
GG: It seemed that way to her earlier.
GG: When you chastised her for drinking again.
TT: Well, yeah. I was upset she fell off the horse.
TT: Or the wagon. The horse wagon. Whatever.
TT: The thing you ride around on when you ain’t drinking.
TT: But so what. There was cotton candy in her hair, and she was being stupid. What do you expect? It was a moment of indiscretion.
TT: I’m not mad at her and I’m not disappointed in her. That’s ridiculous.
TT: Want to know what I really think of Roxy?
TT: I’m proud of her.

TT: She’s the only one of us who could face her problems and then get down to business and actually solve them.
TT: No endless hand wringing or suffering in silence or any of that bullshit.
TT: She saw she had an addiction. And then decided to fucking fix it. Just like that.
TT: She’s probably stronger than the other three of us put together.

Dirk’s positive words towards Roxy, man. The heartwarming factor is OFF THE CHARTS. It’s a perfect payoff for fans of Roxy’s character that has a distinctly conclusive feel—specifically, as a conclusion to the alpha kids’ arc (more on that when I reach the end of Act 6 Act 5).

Here is a short ~~~CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC INTERLUDE~~~:

A lot of readers seem to think that Dirk’s narrative misgendering of Roxy in the Meat Epilogue takes an enormous dump on this heartfelt speech about how great she is. I heavily disagree with that sentiment; though he was certainly more than a little forgetful on this matter when narrating Roxy and Calliope, he does feel bad about it and explicitly tries to talk positively about Roxy when he starts wearing the Strider Shades, much unlike how his narration talks about most other characters. Considering that people transitioning typically takes some amount of getting used to, I don’t think it makes sense to read Dirk’s forgetfulness as any form of intentional malice—certainly not on the level of the way he starts talking about Jake.

~~~END CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC INTERLUDE~~~

Remember the Condesce? She didn’t stop being a thing or anything. In fact, her thinginess is at all-time high in this sequence. Her flashing red and blue eyes and the appearance of Sollux’s zodiac symbol in her tiara a few pages later warn you that SOME SHIT is going to go down.

TT: Remember way back before this started, we were talking. You and me.
TT: And I was rambling at length about leadership, like I actually had a clue what I was talking about?
GG: I remember.
GG: You said I would be the leader of our team, in name and in spirit.
GG: Although I never really felt like it.
TT: Yeah. That’s kind of the point.
TT: I guess in a way, I was right. But not how I expected.

Dirk does his indulgent leadership and puppetmaster stuff all over again in the Meat Epilogue—his ultimate self ascension really did erase all his character development, didn’t it? I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be the point, not to say that doesn’t feel incredibly wrong. Kind of weird that the alpha kids’ relationships went back to where they started at the beginning of the epilogues.

TT: See, to be perfectly honest, we are a party of losers.
TT: Heroes make shit happen. But that’s not what we do, or what we’re even SUPPOSED to do.
TT: We wait.
TT: We wait for literally everything. We wait for other people to reach out first so we can fix our relationships. We wait for these legendary heroes to arrive and bring competence and promise to a futile situation.
TT: Even now. Look at us. What are we waiting for?
TT: To kill ourselves? For someone to come along and do it for us?
TT: It doesn’t even matter.
TT: As the four nobles of the void session, we do what we were created to do.
TT: We sit around on our asses.
TT: Waiting.

Dirk admits that the alpha kids barely accomplished anything over the course of their session, especially compared to the beta kids. This probably is cathartic both to those who enjoyed Act 6 so far and those who hated it. It’s clear buildup to a masterfully done conclusion to the alpha kids’ story arc.

TT: We were all designated for a session that was utterly inert.
TT: A place where the mechanisms for success never even existed to begin with.
TT: In such a place it makes sense that the formal leader would be neutralized, to made feel unempowered and static.
TT: And it seems particularly fitting she would be the noble of life in a realm of the dead.
TT: A realm that foretold of a life player who felt lifeless, a hope player who felt hopeless, and a heart player who was just a stone cold motherfucker.

Are you ready for a ~~~CLASSPECTING INTERLUDE~~~??? If you’re not, then that’s fine, I definitely can’t blame you. I don’t do this often so please forgive me.

Dirk explicitly mentions his, Jane’s, and Jake’s aspects when describing their lack of roles in the session. It makes sense in his and Jake’s cases, being a prince (the destroyer class) and a page (the untapped potential class) respectively. But what about Jane? Does it make sense that a Maid of Life would start her session feeling lifeless? You could take Dirk’s description as a hint at the definition of the mysterious Maid class; maybe it makes sense to say that maids start their sessions feeling a severe lack of their aspect and embracing it over time—certainly true in Porrim’s case, with her resentment of the common practice of Beforan motherhood. Aradia is an oddball character regarding role in the Sburb session, but after becoming a robot she definitely embraced the hell out of her role as a time player.

~~~END CLASSPECTING INTERLUDE~~~

TT: When we talked about leadership, and I was all on my high horse telling you how shit would go down…
TT: I also said I would be the one “pulling the strings.” Remember? That I’d be the functional leader of our party.
TT: And there might have been something to that, in a different session.
TT: But what good is a “man of action” in a place where action itself is intrinsically fruitless?
TT: So it’s occurred to me that by some tragic flaw in its design, our session was meant to be leaderless.

Let’s go back to talking about Homestuck without making everything about the classpect system (which is something I severely worry Homestuck^2 will fail to do). The bolded line quoted above draws an interesting distinction between regular plain old Dirk Strider and all his maniacal splinters. When Dirk refers to a “different session”, he’s unknowingly referencing the beta kids’ session and possibly also the cherubs’ session, which had strings secretly pulled by Dirk splinters aplenty—pre-scratch Dirk, Lil’ Cal, Arquiusprite, you name it.

TT: And I’d feel safe concluding that. Except for a feeling that’s been gnawing at me.
TT: It’s the feeling that it would make perfect sense if a session like this had a dark horse leader.

TT: A leader who was invisible to us all along. Fittingly, a void player to lead a void session.
TT: She would be a leader not in name or in spirit or in function, whatever that means.
TT: But more of an emotional leader, who would selflessly try to hold everyone together while the rest of us did our best to fall apart.
TT: And Roxy has been that for us every step of the way, going unnoticed and unappreciated.
TT: Think of how much shit she’s had to put up with from all of us.
TT: She never complains, never turns it around and makes it about her problems.
TT: She just works her ass off making sure we all stay friends.
TT: If that isn’t a leader, I don’t know what is.

If this portion of Dirk’s speech isn’t heartwarming as fuck, I don’t know what is. Dirk right here is redefining what it means to be a leader in a uniquely heartwarming Homestuck way. This speech is just such a powerful moment, regardless of what nonsense may come after. I can appreciate the way Dirk describes Roxy as a leader and the “oh wow he’s RIGHT” factor perfectly fine, without thinking about the extremely sugary oversaturation we get of that flavor of Roxy in A6A6I5, and then the deliberate extremely sugary oversaturation of her trying to be that way in the epilogues.

Some readers criticize this part for being pretty much just Dirk telling readers “Roxy is good, the rest of us are bad”, or read it as him retreating to his usual self-loathing while he praises Roxy. I could imagine myself feeling that way if any negative feelings weren’t overwritten by how powerful this speech is. I certainly do have criticisms with good chunks of A6A6I5 in a similar vein to the qualms some people have with this scene.

There’s Sollux’s zodiac symbol on her tiara. I find little callbacks like this to be a great demonstration of the shafted trolls’ legacy.

TT: So that’s how crazy it is for her to think I’m disappointed in her.
TT: The truth is, she’s the most amazing person I ever knew.
TT: She’s everything in a human being I wish I could be, but can’t because I’m in my own way.
TT: Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’m worthy of dying next to her.

Oh MAN, this part is so goddamn sad. Only now are we made aware of how Dirk truly feels about Roxy. I do wish these strong positive feelings were addressed more outside of this pesterlog, like maybe in Dirk’s conversations with Dave. What can I say, powerful moments are powerful moments.

TT: I think she probably felt bad for hitting on me all those years. Like I was getting fed up with her, or something.
TT: But all it really did was make me feel guilty.
TT: That I couldn’t give her what she wanted.
TT: Like, settle down and have a couple weirdo goddamn kids with her some day.
TT: I guess there were times I thought about it. Being all alone on Earth with her and stuff.
TT: I couldn’t though.
TT: Have to stay true to myself.

Another criticism some people have with this scene is that Dirk could be read as wishing he could just succumb to the usual, standard heterosexuality. Which is a valid and understandable criticism! I actually somewhat agree with that take, but strong emotional factor again overrides these nitpicks for me.

TT: Still, she would deserve it.
TT: Nobody deserves to get all the things they always wanted more than she does.
TT: And it suddenly seems kinda stupid that I think these things about her but she doesn’t even know it.
TT: I guess I should tell her all this some time.

So many potential reunions and reconciliations got brutally scrapped after the retcon, I’m telling you. Though I think Dave and Dirk’s INCREDIBLY emotional reconciliation makes up for this case.

GG: I think that would be nice.
GG: Of course, she IS right there, you know.
TT: I know.
TT: I’m a little reluctant to drop all that on her.
TT: Looking at what I just said, it’s…
TT: Kind of overwhelming?
TT: I feel like in a way you can destroy somebody with effusive praise.
TT: Or maybe I’m just projecting how I would feel about that kind of intense positivity coming at me. I dunno.
TT: But I still think confessions like that can change stuff between people. Like the way they act around each other.

Dirk raises an interesting point about not telling Roxy all the stuff he just said to Jane, with an honest attempt to think about how real people behave. What he says sort of reminds me of how Roxy and John’s relationship went in the epilogues, where Roxy laid adoration for John extremely thick and he was absolutely weirded out in a sort of guilty way.

GG: Maybe it’s worth it?
TT: Maybe.
TT: Or maybe it’s better to just say…
TT: Not so much of it?
TT: Like all at once.
TT: Maybe it’d be better for now if you could pass a short message to her for me.
TT: If only to help kill this awkward silence between us.
GG: Like what?
TT: Could you just tell her,
TT: I love her?
TT: No wait!
TT: I mean.
TT: Not in that way though.
TT: More like…
GG: Dirk, I know what way you mean!
TT: Ok. Good.
TT: Yeah.

Jane knows Dirk well enough to create occasional surprisingly sweet moments like this.

Dirk lets out a few more words to Jane about how truly good of a person Roxy is, but they’re interrupted the Condesce and Jack Noir simultaneously destroying Derse’s moon and Prospit’s moon respectively—in this case, both circumstantially and the usual definition of simultaneously.

Ah, Yeah! This is happenin’!

After a bunch of stunning panels I skipped over because screenshotting is boring and unfun, the colorful moon light thing on Jane’s planet explodes and the alpha kids ascend to god tier, which looks just as stunning as it would if this was a flash—as I’ve said several times before, it’s all thanks to the split screen gimmick.

We get close-ups of each of the alpha kids as they ascend to god tier, much like we got with other characters in a few flashes, and it LOOKS SO COOL. These close-ups make Dirk’s goofy prince outfit with the poofy pants look pretty goddamn badass if I say so myself, especially with his hood up and his signature anime sword.

Next up is Jane, whose god tier outfit looks super sick (and familiar if you remember Aradia’s ascension). Kind of a shame late Act 6 Act 6 has made me associate that outfit with being basically a non-character because it does look awesome and befitting of her personality.

Jake’s new outfit starts off looking awesome too, but ends with a moment of humor zooming in on his ridiculous yellow underpants. This lapse of comedy is a good example of how Homestuck tends to stick bits of humor into even its most serious sequences.

And finally, rounding out the group, is ROXY MOTHERFUCKING LALONDE. I don’t think I need to explain why it’s satisfying and extremely smile-inducing to end this series of shots of the alpha kids’ god tier outfits with Roxy’s proud, heroic face.

And with that, the newly ascended alpha kids are ready to KICK SOME ASS…

… or are they? With two dangerous foes in the way, what could possibly happen next?

Not shown: John and Jade’s battleship blasting through Jake’s fourth wall.

JADE MOTHERFUCKING HARLEY. That is what could possibly happen next. It’s crazy super goddamn satisfying to see her DOING STUFF, IN ACTION, with a stern face that shows she’s ready to kick some serious ass.

Right as Noir is about to attack Jane and Jake, Jade zaps him away and saves them both. How’s that for being awesome??? Seriously, this is just… man, it’s such a shame Jade doesn’t get a single other moment in Homestuck after this to shine as a hero.

Jade says hi with her friendly doggy girl smile; Jane and Jake are humorously confused. This is definitely not how Jake expected his first meeting with his teen grandma penpal to go.

JADE: are you jake?
JAKE: Um.
JAKE: Yeah.
JADE: hi jake!
JADE: im jade
JADE: its nice to finally meet you!
JAKE: Wow.
JAKE: Ummm.
JAKE: Yeah.
JADE: and you must be jane?
JANE: Me?
JADE: mm hm!
JANE: Oh.
JANE: I…
JANE: Yes.
JADE: its nice to meet you too jane
JANE: Yes.

Jane and Jake are both stuttery and confused, which is again more than understandable. This was supposed to be a badass action pseudo-flash sequence, but now we’re treated to this clumsy attempt at the fabled guardian reunions.

JADE: so uh…
JADE: jake
JADE: where are your pants?
JANE: 😐
JAKE: 😮

This SBaHJ reference is the very last thing to happen before a page titled )(IC: Spring trap x2 combo, upholding the tradition of preceding flashes (or in this case, a pseudo-flash) with snappy humorous moments.

In a panel calling back to adult Dave and Rose’s face off against the Condesce, the empress’s tiara flashes with Tavros and Vriska’s zodiac symbols which means TROUBLE. I really like this whole motif of reusing the trolls’ signs to show us what wild psychic powers are about to be used.

And since the Condesce is an absolute nasty son of a bitch, she uses those powers on dear, precious Jade and turns her into THIS:

Jake and Jane frown at each other in fear. This is ABSOLUTELY not how Jake expected his first meeting with Jade to go. I’ve seen some readers dislike the narrative choice of Grimbark Jade because they feel it’s a demonstration of a fundamental flaw with making a character so overpowered: that character must be neutralized or villainized in some way, or else they will break the plot with their extreme powers. I won’t discuss my opinion on Grimbark Jade just yet; that’s much better done when she talks a few sub-acts later in some scenes I remember being quite humorous.

I really love the way this scene is animated between two panels—something that wouldn’t be possible (or at least not horizontally) outside of the split screen arc.

The first thing Grimbark Jade does is incredibly nasty too: she finds Jane’s tiaratop which she didn’t chuck into a burning fire like she should have done and turns her into THIS:

Please take a moment of honorary silence for Jane’s character arc. Cyborg Crockertier Jane is a truly terrifying culmination of this surprise plot twist. I’ll again save my opinion on this brainwashed version of Jane for when she starts talking a few sub-acts later; I’ll discuss my (highly positive) opinion on this spring trap x2 combo plot twist at the end of this post.

Dirk is about to prove his worth as a hero and attack the Condesce head-on, but then THIS happens:

Jade, why would you do this??? I mean, I know why, but still.

Look at that sinister grin on Jane’s face. As if trickster mode wasn’t bad enough…

And with that, Dirk is just as out of the picture as the alpha kids’ Jack is. This guy is going to get shafted for a much longer time than he deserves (though not quite as bad as Jade).

Jade and Jane grab Roxy and Jake respectively, taking them both to Derse to serve the Condesce’s plans. Roxy is blankly confused; Jake is scared and teary.

God, I love this shot. This five-way group picture, complete with a perfectly placed callback to Doc Scratch’s final words, is one HELL of a way to kick off the fabled merged beta/alpha session. All five characters’ facial expressions capture the mood perfectly: cross-eyed confusion, cyborg servitude, dog voraciousness, tearful shock, and smug pride in executing her plan without a single hitch.

END OF ACT 6 ACT 5

This hilarious image, complete with a kiss on the website’s screen directly from the Condesce (fits the theme of villains breaking the fourth wall), is an absolutely fucking PERFECT note to end Act 6 Act 5 on. You know what time it is now: RECAP TIME!!!

What can you say about Act 6 Act 5? It was Act 6 Act 5.

THIS IS WHAT THE REFRANCE

… okay, okay, I’ll be serious here.

Act 6 Act 5 is the concluding act of the alpha kids’ arc, which starts with their romance drama more messed up than ever before, feeds breadcrumbs of plot points along the way, interrupts all that with a bizarre eye-grating trickster adventure through cherubs’ minds, and follows all the suffering with an extremely cathartic series of redemptive pesterlogs and an INCREDIBLE action sequence that leads up SO WELL into Act 6 Act 6 (which will come right after one more sub-intermission). It’s a bit of a shame that what follows is so sloppy, but the alpha kids’ post-trickster conversations are incredible in their own right no matter what weird bullshit may follow. Those conversations make for an excellent conclusion to the alpha kids’ storyline that I think makes it well worth including them (especially Roxy) into the story, a narrative decision many readers have some rather extreme hangups about.

This sub-act is unusual among Homestuck’s acts because it does not end with a dramatic flash, but instead a sequence of split-screen panels that plays the same role as a flash: an incredible action sequence loaded with plot twists, humorous moments, and just plain stunning art. Three new antagonists—Union Jack, Grimbark Jade, Crockertier Jane—are brought about in this sequence, all through a horrifically successful plan the Condesce had cleverly kept up her sleeve. Act 6 Act 5 may have long portions of annoying suffering, but I am more than grateful it holds the tradition of ending acts on stunning notes.

I guess that’s all I really have to say about Act 6 Act 5. Not quite as many thoughts as the last few sub-acts. See you next time as I begin Act 6 Intermission 5 with a typical humorous Dave/Karkat conversation.

>> Part 99: 3*(2+50)weekium Meteor Mindfuckery

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