Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 103: Mobster Reformation with Additional Throwbacks

Introduction

< Part 102 | Part 103 | Part 104 >

Pages 6111-6242 (I think I’m going to stop listing the MSPA page numbers, just makes it more cluttered and I already forgot to do so the last few posts)

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 5 of 5

John’s triumphant face represents me finishing my posts for part 3 of Homestuck.

I’m officially putting my Homestuck post series back in the swing of things once again! The reason why has to do with two circumstances: (1) the coronavirus pandemic that’s affecting the entire world and causing so much to go on lockdown and forcing everyone to be homest-*gets shot* and (2) me finishing a musical project and getting burnt out on making musical stuff, which led me to get back into this project that isn’t about making music. The first 40% or so of this post I wrote back in January of this year, but the rest I wrote just yesterday over the course of a few hours because I was kind of bored. Right now I’m in an extended spring break, and the rest of this spring semester will be all online classes which is still difficult for me to even process.

Anyway, now that I’m done with Part 3 of Homestuck (A6A1 to A6I5), I’m going to roughly list out my plans for Part 4 of Homestuck:

  • A6A6A1: 1 post
  • A6A6I1: 5 posts
  • A6A6A2: 1 post
  • A6A6I2: 4 posts
  • most of the rest of A6A6: up in the air
  • [S] Collide and following pages: 1 post
  • Act 7 and credits: 1 post

I’ll also go ahead and confess that I’m really, really looking forward to covering a certain part of A6A6I1 that introduces us to a certain token heterosexual romance (John/Roxy if it wasn’t obvious). I’m very glad I didn’t get to that part before the epilogues dropped.

I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE.

Act 6 Intermission 5 Intermission 5 starts off with a humorous callback to a memorable scene from the Midnight Crew intermission, where Hearts Boxcars was swamped with clones of Eggs and Biscuits (which is how he ended up spending the majority of the intermission). It’s also a humorous way to demonstrate Caliborn’s ever-changing names for the Felt’s species.

Puppet people?
PUPPET PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!
You’re just calling them different things every time to bug me.
THEY ARE PUPPET PEOPLE.
Why are they puppet people?
I thought frog men was going to be your preferred headcanon.
BECAUSE THEY ARE LIKE BIG ALIVE PUPPETS.
How so?
THEIR SKIN IS SOFT.
Soft?
What do you mean.
Soft as in smooth to the touch, like a baby’s behind?
NO.
MORE LIKE. FUZZY.
AND SQUISHY.
What?
LIKE PLUSH.
YOU KNOW.
LIKE A GOD DAMN PUPPET.
Hold on.
Are you telling me these fuckers are literally made of felt???
WHAT’S FELT.
It’s the fabric they put on pool tables.
Kind of soft and fuzzy.
OH. THEN YES.
EXACTLY LIKE THAT.
Well that’s weird.
I guess you learn something new every day.

These sub-sub-intermissions are convenient ways to learn new things about the Felt just for fun. I’ve really been enjoying the throwbacks to the early acts throughout Act 6 Intermission 5.

Speaking of which, I suppose you’ll want me to tell you what these two frog puppets can do?
NO!
No?
THE ABILITIES OF PURPLE STRIPE HAT. AND ORANGE STRIPE HAT.
ARE AS PLAINLY SELF EVIDENT. AS THEY ARE IDIOTIC.
Patience.
In time, you will grow to love them as if they were two very special sons.
NO WAY.
Yes you will.
I can tell you kind of like them already, but you’re just pretending you don’t to be cool. Like you always do with members of your dark carnival.
I notice you aren’t actually trying very hard to escape from the crowd there.
Looks to me like you’re enjoying your time in the puppet mosh pit, frankly.
SCREW YOU!
I’m going to tell you their powers anyway.
NO! 
Purple stripe hat has an egg timer juju which makes him time travel whenever it rings.
But he’s too stupid to use time travel sensibly so he ends up making way too many copies of himself.
Orange stripe hat has a magic oven which he can hide inside.
And that’s it. It serves no purpose other than that. Also he’s just as dumb as Eggs.
I mean purple stripe hat. Forget I called him that again.
Also pretend I didn’t call the other guy Biscuits.
YOU DIDN’T CALL ANYONE BISCUITS.
I didn’t?
Oh.
Damn.
Then pretend I didn’t say I did.
I DON’T CARE!
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY OF THIS!
ALL OF THAT WAS OBVIOUS!
I HAVE GROWN WEARY. OF YOUR EXCESSIVE DIVULGENCES!

Hussie’s gratuitous exposition reminds me of Aranea, with the way he explains every detail of everything even if Caliborn doesn’t want him to.

Yeah, my divulgences haven’t been too popular lately.
I can’t seem to catch a 8r8k.
A WHAT.
A 8r8k.
WHAT’S A 8R8K.
Nothing.
Just something an old flame used to say a lot.
Well, not so much an old flame as someone who callously spurned my extraordinarily inappropriate advances one time.
She really blew it though. She could have been the star again, if only she said yes.
Things are pretty passive aggressive between us now.
WOMEN. Am I right?
NO, DON’T DO THIS.
I DON’T WANT US TO BOND OVER YOUR FEMALE PROBLEMS.
STOP TRYING TO BE BROS WITH ME!

… which is a fitting leadup to Hussie’s self-insert playing the role of the obnoxious sadboy who moans about his bad luck with ladies just like Eridan did back in the day. It’s pretty obviously supposed to be humorous satire, but I think that sort of humor has worn thin ever since Cronus happened. Caliborn is very much right to be annoyed with this conversation.

You know how it is.
Sometimes a guy just wants to take a look at what an adorable salamander is up to, and scrutinize that situation carefully.
Like really see what’s going on with that, you know?
Is that so wrong.
So what if I want to watch a young salamander spend several hours naming skeletons?
It’s my right to do that. I should be able to watch Bubbles name a million fucking skeletons if I want.
I should be able to do that without a spiteful attention hog stealing back the spotlight while she does something “important”.
Who cares about important stuff?
Important stuff is so overrated, IMHO.
I STOPPED LISTENING!
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. BECAUSE I’M NOT READING IT ANYMORE.
YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND BABBLE ALL YOU WANT. ABOUT MEANINGLESS TRASH.
I’VE TOTALLY CHECKED OUT OF THE CONVERSATION. SO BYE.
I wonder what Spades Slick is doing right now.

Thankfully, Hussie immediately cuts this awkward conversation about romance off with an abrupt perspective shift to a version of Jack Noir, just like Brain Ghost Dirk had done with the alpha kids’ Jack at one point which feels like an eternity ago because it was shortly before I put my Homestuck post series on an enormous pause.

I’ve abstained from trying to analyze the Vriska/Hussie arc because there’s already way too much to say about Vriska.

Spades Slick’s arc starts with Vriska telling Hussie through mind control to leave her alone, which is good because Slick is a huge fan favorite and the grand treasure chest reveal arc is finally finished.

There was some commotion up here earlier. That guy flipped your bed over this balcony and you fell in the water like a thousand feet below. You had to climb all the way back up, sopping wet. You think he said something about English? You don’t see any sign of the rival mob boss though. You’ll have to investigate.

Man, I feel bad for Spades Slick. Hussie treats him like a special precious fan favorite character (which is exactly how fans perceive him) without caring that Slick’s goal in life is to kill Lord English.

You might not have much time to find him though. The sun is setting on the horizon. What are all those things floating over the water? You can’t quite make them out, even with your awesome cyborg eye, which can probably make you see better. Maybe. I’m not sure. I don’t actually know anything about cybernetics to tell you the truth. I just gave you a red eye because I thought it looked cool.

Spades Slick’s portion of Act 6 Intermission 5 is kind of a throwback to the Midnight Crew intermission, but with the meta stuff laid considerably thicker. Slick’s justifications for staying around in the story get stupider and stupider as it progresses—Hussie admits he doesn’t know anything about cybernetics, and shouldn’t Slick’s robot body have gotten badly damaged in the water?—but everyone loves this guy anyway and complains only when he is killed off (I still don’t like that Dave killed him, in all fairness).

Looks like this asshole in the white wig is dead. Yes, the same asshole who nursed you back to health even though he didn’t have to, and even though he kind of promised he wouldn’t do stuff like that by way of some vague pledge involving a yellow ruler. But he saved your life anyway because his heart was just that big. You’re welcome.

I’m glad Hussie admits in-story to have broken his promise of limiting his narrative influence to one yard. It only makes sense that he’d shamelessly break that rule just to keep Slick alive. This passage also suggests that Slick’s robot design was mainly done to give him a feature that stands out just like the other two versions of Jack, with dog powers and Lord English powers respectively.

You weren’t listening to any of that because you don’t care.

This line helpfully indicates that the narration on this page is just Hussie talking, not Slick’s actual thoughts. The very few instances of second-person narration after Act 6 Act 5 tend to break the fourth wall a bit too much for my tastes, but it’s good to have any of it.

> [A6I5] SS: Take wand.

You’re not gonna take the wand because obviously magic is fake. Come on. What sort of buffoon would try to wield that thing under any circumstance?

You will however take the horns. They’ll make a nice trophy. You always thought taking trophies from guys you killed was a cool idea. Or at least from guys you wish you killed, who you happen to find dead.

I love it whenever the comic takes a moment to indirectly reference a character’s alternate self, especially when it’s a version of Jack Noir. When writing this page, I bet Hussie was surprised in retrospect that Slick didn’t loot trophies from his murders other than items useful for his schemes like Die’s doll.

This appears to be the murder weapon. Looks like English was the trigger man, then ditched the weapon by the body for some reason. You’ve never seen the guy, but you heard he carries a big overpowered gold machine gun.

Pretty garish in your view. The man has no subtlety whatsoever. You and he sure have different styles when it comes to running an organized crime outfit. You honestly think he might be some sort of huge manchild.

And I honestly think you might be right.

It’s rather tragic that neither Calliope nor Caliborn got to properly mature into a fully grown adult cherub; Caliborn cheated his way up as he progressed through his Sburb session, while Calliope’s resurrection with the Ring of Life did not allow her to grow up like a regular cherub either. Even god tier Calliope’s narration in the epilogues has some of her childish cherub wonder slip through the cracks.

It’s been a long time since we last saw the item/weapon duality thing in action.

(This statement is a lie. Calliope and Caliborn showed off their ever-transforming weapons when we first got to know them not long ago.)

You take the GOLDEN CUESTAFF. Holy crap this thing is huge. Good thing you have robot arms now. The weapon weighs several hundred pounds, but to a hulk like him it’s light as a feather. And to a cyborg like you, it’s light as a slightly heavier feather.

This passage establishes that cyborg Spades Slick is extremely strong, which Hussie probably intended to be of use when he enters the alpha session but nope, it’s more important that Dave just kills him off. How wasn’t Slick able to lift the alpha kids’ Jack and slam him straight into the ground after getting him into a headlock? Is that version of Jack also extremely heavy? I sure can’t think of a better explanation.

Man, how sweet would it be if you could use his own weapon against him when you get your reven… HEY! WHO GOES THERE!

Ah. Of course. It’s the cute little dame who tended to you while you were bedridden. Her soup was so delicious. Whoa, what are these dumb horns doing on your head? Those don’t belong there. You toss them on the ground and stomp on them nonchalantly.

She’s shaking like a leaf! She must be terrified. You assure her there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore. Everything’s gonna be ok. The asshole in the white wig is dead.

Slick’s embarrassment that Ms. Paint saw him wearing troll horns is reminiscent of his embarrassment that Snowman saw him goofing around and pretending to ride a horse, but in a lighter, less hateful manner, which is obvious leadup to a ship that will be canonized on the next page.

Now that you’ve settled her nerves down, which you haven’t actually, you ask her where the guy who did this went.

This sentence perfectly encapsulates the nature of this Spades Slick subplot: it shows occasional traces of its roots in Problem Sleuth, but in a self-satirical manner as shown with phrases like “which you haven’t actually”.

She says she doesn’t know. She’s been hiding since he smacked her across the face with his cane. You say he did WHAT, why I oughta! She says she thinks he’s probably gone now. You say oh. Any idea which way he went? She says no. You say hmm. Any idea what she might be doing later? She asks what do you mean? You say any dinner plans or…

Hey! Slick! What exactly are your intentions toward Ms. Paint??? You could at least wait until the blood is dry before making your move. I know you’ve always had your shitty cybernetic eye on her. Yes, the same eye that’s probably just a useless piece of red glass overlapping an otherwise perfectly healthy eye. Yeah, that one.

Oh fuck it. Who am I to stand between you two? You obviously make an adorable couple. Why should I let my rotten luck with the ladies rain on your parade. That’s it, I’m calling it. I’m declaring your ship to be officially canon.

Now don’t fuck this up, Slick.

In a rare gesture of kindness towards shippers, Hussie’s self-insert realizes there’s no reason to dance around making Spades Slick x Ms. Paint canon and asks Slick not to fuck it up. This is one of many bits that’s sad to read after what happens to him in Collide and Ms. Paint goes to help the beta kids’ Jack instead.

Upon Slick’s polite request, Ms. Paint walks him over to where his box of personal items from before he became a robot is stored and hands it to him, making the intermission throwback arc miles easier to execute than it otherwise would have been.

It’s very refreshing to see this guy wear his hat again.

The hat was a little worse for the wear, but she took it to the tailor to have it repaired. Tailor, what tailor you say. The one that appears when you pull his pin from the little doll. She said she put the pin back though because the man was rather grouchy and unpleasant.

Wait a minute…

Of course. The doll!

Here’s where we get to see why the Caliborn sub-intermissions have been so focused on recapping the Felt’s abilities: the Midnight Crew intermission was so long ago, chances are readers at this point barely remembered a thing about the Felt and would have absolutely no idea which tailor Ms. Paint is talking about. But thanks to Caliborn and Hussie’s conversations about the Felt, readers getting to this page will easily think back to their argument about whether Stitch being a tailor counts as a superpower.

You knew you decided to hang on to this thing for a reason.

English has no idea what he’s in for. You can’t wait to see the look on his face. Even though the look on his face is always pretty much the same, since he’s a skull monster.

Uh, yeah, better leave the black one in though. Pulling that one could have some really weird consequences.

To this day, we have no idea what the really weird consequences would be if Slick brought back Snowman. It’s probably best left to the reader’s imagination—would bringing back Snowman cause the troll universe (and with it, maybe Doc Scratch) to reappear and shrink the Green Sun to half its size? Or would it create a metafictional rift of newly unsolved plot points that can only be tied back together with retcon powers? I can’t possibly imagine what usefulness bringing back Snowman would have to the plot, since Cascade tied up all but a few plot points from the first five acts and we left all that behind so long ago. Maybe the mystery of who flipped the frog switch, but that’s a very tenuous maybe.

Slick crowns himself the new leader of the Felt, who we now know well are a bunch of minions that easily latch onto a loyal leader. Upon Slick’s request, Ms. Paint fills the eighth spot and puts on a stylish black dress.

Aurthour 2.0 didn’t stop being a thing or anything.

You say hey you. Wise guy in the maroon hat. What was his name again? Some weapon shaped like a seven. Boomerang? No that wasn’t it. Your memory’s failing you. Might of taken one blow to the head too many when that universe exploded. Hey, why did that universe explode again? Can’t recall for the life of you. Crowbar. What? Crowbar‘s his name, the guy says. Oh yeah, that’s right. Now you remember, you used his crowbar a while ago to smash a priceless clock to pieces. You have his crowbar he asks?? No, you lost track of it. Any idea where it is? No clue you say. Damn he says.

It’s both amusing and logical that Slick doesn’t remember the names of any of the Felt’s leprechauns anymore. He’s a carapacian from the beta trolls’ session, which means he’s programmed to remember very specific plot details rather than his rival gangs in his post-exile mobster adventures. It also makes sense he doesn’t remember why the trolls’ universe exploded; black queens of Sburb sessions usually don’t have this special power.

You ask him how they can get out of here. Go somewhere to regroup and make some plans. Hatch some schemes. Maybe draw a map or two. Preferably in a hideout. He says he can lead you back to one of the gang’s old haunts. You say after you then. He says hey. Yeah? What happened to the old boss he wonders. Is he dead or something? You say none of your damn business. Now get moving.

The Felt all seem to easily accept that Doc Scratch doesn’t exist anymore, which again matches their nature as loyal minions.

Through here Crowbar says.

Hey what’s this thing Clover asks? Nothing you say. You think the idiot who used to live here was doing some sort of science experiment. Pretty much, Ms. Paint says. Don’t touch it you say. Could be a deathtrap. Clover pulls his hand away quickly. He looks worried.

There are probably some readers who got to this page and forgot that behind the curtain is where John and Jade lived for three years (or three nanoseconds, from these guys’ perspective). “Science experiment” is a surprisingly accurate description of what Hussie was up to in there, because he made a robotic self who tried and failed to influence the battleship crew’s storyline beyond mild confusion at the very beginning of the trip.

Die asks if he can have his doll back. You say of course not, shut up. He looks crestfallen.

This line feels like a throwback probably the most out of anything in this Slick subplot so far. The Felt members still have their own quirks and items they’re concerned with, but Slick is the leader now and only a few of their items are useful for his schemes.

Doc Scratch’s apartment didn’t stop being a thing or anything. Intermission 2 showed that it was warped to the Green Sun for Lord English’s self-fulfillment schemes.

I like how Doze is lagging all the way behind in the background.

Slick and friends go through the fifth wall, which also didn’t stop being a thing or anything. They enter the Handmaid’s childhood room, which is so easy to forget that the next page outright reminds readers as much (You leave Damara’s room and great Caesar’s stab wound what is even going on here.)

Crowbar reveals that Scratch’s scorching hot apartment is inside the Green Sun now, knowing full well it defies all scientific logic that his crew isn’t burned to a crisp in there. If this was Problem Sleuth, I bet there’d be a whole crazy complicated justification for why they aren’t burning that comes in handy in the story’s final battle. But I don’t mind that this oddity is just humorously pointed out here.

He says if you don’t want to stay, that’s fine. There are contingencies in place. Contingencies you say? He says Doc’s suite had an emergency exit which the gang could flee through whenever things got too hot to handle. Circumstances, he says, which never once presented themselves, until now, in the most literal way possible. Yeah. Yeah you say. Because of the sun. Yes he says. Because of the sun.

Crowbar is telling us that Scratch’s apartment had a secret exit the whole time, hence the myserty—the myserty being how Slick could possibly enter the alpha session. I like how this is the only part of Slick going to the alpha session that Hussie had to come up with on the spot; everything else was excellently reused locations and methods of travel from Act 5.

Here’s where the story does some amusing meta things with the panel style. When Slick enters Scratch’s hallway, the panels are in the much thinner shape we saw in the website banner during the Doc Scratch intermission. Back then, those skinny panels were used for dual storytelling at a few points; now, the skinny panels appear on their own to call back to those days, and maybe also because Hussie didn’t want to redraw the hallways in the usual panel aspect ratio.

That was not the right door. (narration)

Slick executes a callback to an amusing Hussie scene in the Doc Scratch intermission while the rest of the Felt watch in confusion. While Hussie was scared shitless of the wolf head then, Slick simply remarks that wasn’t the right door and instead goes straight to the exit.

Itchy, the fastest of the Felt, is of course zooming way ahead.

Doze is again barely visible way in the back.

You lead the mob through a few more of these weird skinny panels.

This sequence of “weird skinny panels” (all on one page) is amusing because it faithfully recreates the storytelling feel the banner panels had in the Doc Scratch intermission: gradual leadup to something cool happening while the main storyline proceeds as usual.

Some of the guys get distracted over there in the lounge. Just a quick match of TABLE STICKBALL, a fun game they made up which is based on their hats. You tell them to quit playing pool and get over here. They start laughing their asses off at the noob who doesn’t know a game of TABLE STICKBALL when he sees one.

Even when he’s not introducing trolls to the story, I can tell Hussie deeply enjoys coming up with strange pseudo-alien terms for everyday concepts. “Table stickball” could easily pass as a troll word for pool, and it doubles as an amusing meta joke about the Felt’s pool ball motifs.

Hussie’s narration needles at Vriska (who responds with mind-control keyboard mashing) when Slick examines the clock he smashed in the Doc Scratch intermission, then we get this bit:

How are you supposed to exit through this thing? Guess you have to open it? Yes he says. How you say. He says oh you know. Gotta pry it open. If only they had a tool with which to pry. Perhaps a tool which is notorious for its prying ability, which also happens to be its sole purpose. You wouldn’t happen to know where such a tool might be, would you, he asks? No, he supposes not. There he goes again with that smart mouth. Nothing but sass from this guy. You’re starting to miss your old right hand man. At least when he got sick of your shit, he would just turn around and light a cigarette.

The mention of Slick’s old right hand man (Diamonds Droog) reminds me of a character reunion idea many people had that sadly never happened: Slick meeting up with the alpha kids’ Dignitary and Droll, who are now in their Midnight Crew attire thanks to Dad Crocker’s fashion trends. It’s really a shame we never see those two alpha session agents again after Act 6 Act 5—they both easily could have played a role in the session’s final battle.

Slick punches the clock open, revealing the secret exit, and quickly comes up with a way to fit everyone through it:

Where’s the guy with the oven. Hey! Oven! Get over here! Crowbar whispers his name is actually Biscuits. You don’t give a fuck. Biscuits seems to understand he is being summoned, and waddles over. Yep, there’s his magic oven. Wow what a dumb juju. Should come in handy for once though.

I really love the way Slick makes use of a few Felt members’ abilities in this story arc. He finally gave us a legitimate use for Biscuits’ oven: can fit a lot of items (or people) into a small space, which comes very much in handy for time travel like a support ability of sorts. Biscuits was the laughing stock of the Felt for so long, but now he’s proven himself useful after all.

And one by one, every Felt member enters the oven with Doze lagging behind and entering last. Slick amusingly struggles to remember the Felt’s names as he tries to list them all.

NOTE: Everything starting from the last sentence above was written yesterday, rather than two months ago.

Then for old time’s sake, the item-weapon duality gimmick from Problem Sleuth happens and Biscuits’ oven turns into a 13 of stars card, which Slick finds confusing but quickly dismisses.

And again for old time’s sake, he dumps oil all over Scratch’s apartment as a posthumous fuck you to the smug cueball man.

For a moment I thought the flashing light bulb stabilized to orange to represent Biscuits, but then I realized it was only flashing shades of orange anyway.

When Slick hops into the clock, he exits from a server in the Furthest Ring and at first thinks he got pranked by his green minions…

… but then sees something suspicious and realizes that he’s finally ready to finish off his mission of killing the Felt once and for all. Or at least kill poor man’s Lord English, as Hussie put it in one of his most recent books’ commentary. (Lord Jack is still a lame name, well I mean it makes sense because he’s kind of a lame villain.) It’s not an unpopular opinion by any means that I have major qualms with the conclusion of Slick’s Felt killing arc, but I’ll save complaints (about the obvious and less obvious) for the revisitation of his arc in Act 6 Intermission 5.

Looking at this image, you can tell there’s room on the top left corner for one last mysterious thing alongside Dirk, the alpha kids’ Jack, and Spades Slick. It’s clearly meant to invite readers to try to guess one more character about to enter (or re-enter) the alpha kids’ session. Maybe readers at this point guessed that empty spot will be taken by the beta kids’ Jack, which would be correct. It hypes up readers for seeing two versions of Jack Noir meet up, which is kind of put on the backburner for a long time in favor of the retcon plot and all the long conversations in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5.

Meanwhile in the waking world, John is still drooling asleep on the couch until his waking self zaps away, worryingly leaving the Ring of Life behind and leading to a second nostalgia trip.

The first place John zaps to is the city-looking structure in the background of post-apocalyptic B1 Earth from the iconic flash [S] WV: Ascend. As I said in I think it was one of my rewritten Homestuck posts (I really need to continue that project!!!!), it’s interesting that when we get a closer look at that structure in this scene, it looks completely blank and undetailed, because it suggests that Hussie completely forgot what he might have intended that area to look like up close. This revisitation of the background city is an interesting way to lampshade early installment weirdness.

I really need stop writing like a TV Tropes page, god damn it.

The next place John zaps to is his 13-year-old self exploring the Land of Wind and Shade, giving us quite an amusing juxtaposition of older and newer art styles. After giving his past self a confused look, he zaps to something that he no doubt finds even weirder:

Rule number 1 of John Egbert (or maybe rule number 2 or 7 or, uh… 9?), is that from the very beginning of Act 5 Act 2 onwards, he thinks about Vriska far more often than he would ever admit to anyone, including himself. I can’t even begin to imagine his sudden flood of thoughts about Vriska as he stands next to her unconscious body.

If Vriska with her arm blown off didn’t weird him out enough, we have this scene that doesn’t feel like very long ago:

This is EXACTLY what I imagine when I read the line in the epilogues, “John makes a disgusted face as Gamzee grabs the two trolls by a horn each and mashes their faces together.”

Jake kissing Dirk’s head looks a lot less cool when viewed from behind. It’s definitely not a strong first impression of the alpha kids.

The weirdness escalates even further with the next scene he zaps to:

I love how the hiss is written in Kanaya’s typing quirk.

This scene is an interesting instance of John interacting with the narrative: he visits a seemingly still and peaceful panel narrated by Doc Scratch as if shown from a long distance, but ends up encountering the Dolorosa up close and the art style shifts to something I can only imagine Hussie had a fun time making.

“god, why are troll girls so weird?”, I can almost hear John thinking.

Next up, John zaps to another distantly narrated ancestor scene, this time grown-up Dave dueling the ICP. Judging by his facial expression, he has no doubt what’s going on anymore and can’t bring himself to care. That’s just the kind of person he is: if things get too bizarre for him to handle, he can’t help but zone it all out in vague disapproval.

And then for the grand crown jewel of John’s retcon trip so far, he zaps into the canon of a different work of media entirely, namely Con Air. Because he’s a dork obsessed with 90’s movies, this is giving him an enormous existential crisis where for now he can do nothing but cry solemnly about the movie he shat all over a year prior.

Next up is Act 6 Intermission 5 Intermission 6, which is the final A6I5 sub-intermission and the only one that’s more than one page long.

I DID IT!
I CONQUERED THE MAROON STRIPE PLANET. THUS UNLOCKING. THE FINAL AND MOST POWERFUL TOAD GOBLIN OF ALL!!!!!!!!!!!
WOW, HE’S SO PERFECT. SO HUGE. SO *STRONG*.
I LOVE HIM BEING STRONG.
FINALLY. THE IDEAL MINION. WITH THE TYPE OF POWER I ADMIRE THE MOST.
WHICH IS. BEING A HUGE STRONG GUY WITH ENORMOUS POWERFUL MUSCLES!
YESSSSSSSSSSS.
OH YEAH. I ALSO GOT GREEN STRIPE HAT. HE’S GOOD TOO.
IN THAT HE IS ALSO LARGE. AND RELATIVELY STRONG. AND MEAN.
HE FLIPS A COIN TOO I THINK. WHICH IS ALSO COOL.
OH, AND DON’T TELL ME WHAT THEY DO.
ALL I CARE ABOUT IS THAT THEY’RE BIG AND STRONG.
DO NOT SPOIL MY MOMENT OF TRIUMPH WITH MORE OF YOUR HUMAN MONKEY EARTH BUSINESS.

Caliborn is gleeful to have unlocked his final two minions, and for once gets their abilities right (more or less). He’s right to be happy about unlocking Cans, because Cans was one of only two leprechauns the Midnight Crew wasn’t able to defeat due to his enormous strength. As for Quarters, flipping coins is a decent enough summary of what he does.

Detail I never noticed: Jack Noir having just stabbed Gamzee, to frustratingly little effect.

WHAT.
NOTHING TO SAY?
YES. THIS IS GOOD. YOU’RE FINALLY LEARNING WHO’S BOSS.
AND SOON. EVERYONE ELSE WILL TOO.
NOW I HAVE TO CONQUER THE BLACK PLANET.
THIS ONE IS A DIFFERENT THING FROM THE OTHERS.
MY SOURCES TELL ME. BY WHICH I MEAN. THE CLOWN TELLS ME.
THAT THIS PLANET HAS BEEN CLAIMED BY THE BLACK QUEEN HERSELF.
I WILL NEED TO OVERTHROW HER TO WIN.

Kind of interesting that despite the extreme disparity between Caliborn’s dead session and normal Sburb sessions, the black queen does exist and overthrowing her is a necessary part of beating the session. Hussie obviously decided to make that part of the session to call back to Snowman’s identity as the trolls’ black queen, but I find that quite an oddity no less.

AS SUCH. IN A STROKE OF BRILLIANT CLEVERNESS. MY BRAIN DEVISED AN IDEA.
I HAVE RECRUITED JACK NOIR TO HELP SETTLE OUR MUTUAL SCORE.
REALLY. GETTING JACK TO DO VIOLENT THINGS FOR ME. ALWAYS STRIKES ME AS SUCH A GOOD PLAN.
SO I MIGHT AS WELL JUST DO IT ALWAYS. RATHER THAN ALWAYS THINKING OF NEW STUFF. WHICH IS HARD TO DO. 

God, I love the ways Caliborn works around his subpar intelligence to accomplish anything he wants to. He’s quick to realize Jack Noir is good for violent tasks, but also quick to realize the danger of having a loose cannon around:

HE WOULD MAKE A GOOD FRIEND. IF THE CONCEPT OF FRIENDSHIP WASN’T HORRID AND MEANINGLESS TO ME.
THEREFORE. I WILL THINK OF A WAY TO DISPOSE OF HIM ONCE HIS USEFULNESS IS OVER.
IT’S BAD FORM TO LEAVE STRAY NOIRS WANDERING AROUND.
(DON’T TELL HIM I SAID ANY OF THIS.)
(MY TREACHERY TO HIM. IS MEANT TO BE A SURPRISE!)
(HA HA HA HA HA.)
(HA HA.)

Amusingly enough, no other character understands the danger of letting a Jack Noir linger like Caliborn does. He’s indirectly telling us that his version of Jack will not appear in the alpha session like the other three.

UH.
………..
HELLO?
WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GO.
AREN’T YOU GOING TO TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF MY GREAT PLAN.
OR DERIDE ME IN SOME FASHION. FOR MY JUVENILE CONDUCT AND POOR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.
WELL, YOU UNSPEAKABLY PUTRID AND FATUOUS BLABBERMOUTH???
I DEMAND THAT YOU TALK TO ME!!!
OK. I SEE HOW IT IS.
YOU HAVE DECIDED YOU WILL NO LONGER ALLOW ME. TO BROWBEAT YOU. INTO HELPING ME. THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF PETULANCE.
IT MAY SURPRISE YOU TO KNOW. I AM JUST AS CAPABLE OF RESPECTING THAT. AS I AM OF THROWING A TANTRUM ABOUT IT.
I DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE.
I DON’T NEED ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!

The disappearance of Haru—er, I mean Hussie’s self-insert helps make this scene feel somewhat conclusive, which makes sense because it’s the final Caliborn scene before the beginning of Homosuck. It kind of feels like it’s meant to ease the transition into the new style of Caliborn’s scenes.

Caliborn gets rid of his Caltop in a callback to a Hussie scene (correct me if I’m wrong*), but then notices John who just zapped into the scene. The two proceed to have an intense staredown spread across six panels, which serves to introduce a newfound rivalry between Caliborn and John. Just by looking at each other, these two immediately recognize they are each other’s absolute worst enemy.

* “correct me if I’m wrong” is a figure of speech here. You don’t actually have to correct me, I just mean I’m not 100% sure if I’m right.

This page wasn’t originally a gif, Flash is just getting progressively harder and harder to access in its final months. I know someone who’s working on a new way to read Homestuck as it was originally intended, you should keep an eye out for news on that.

After a page where John flying is the mouse cursor (which is a fun gimmick I’m glad to see surviving the death of Flash), he zaps back to the planet he landed on in flat confusion.

John panels calling back to Jake panels gets me kind of emotional for some reason, probably just because I’m a massive fan of John.

JOHN: what.
JOHN: does this mean…
JOHN: we’re here?

And here John is, all alone on LOMAX, realizing but not fully processing that he’s finally arrived in the alpha session. I can easily imagine this realization taking an incredibly long time to sink in for him.

JOHN: hello???
JOHN: is anyone there?
JOHN: jade?
JOHN: nanna??
JOHN: jaspers???
JOHN: dave sprite????
JOHN: …
JOHN: … regular dave?

I find it endearing that after John shouts out the names of all the people he traveled on the battleship with, he’s immediately reminded of the version of Dave he misses so badly and shouts his name too.

JOHN: where IS everyone?
JOHN: this sucks.
JOHN: …
JOHN: sigh.

After searching in vain for all his friends, John lets out a weary sigh in the spirit of his ecto-father.

You chance upon the SLAB OF THE JADED FOOL’S ENNUI. You don’t know the slab is called that, but that’s what the slab is called.

Looks like a good spot to decompress after your strange ordeal through canonspace.

And to make this scene even weirder, second-person narration briefly returns to give a name to something that nobody ever would have thought needed a name. Second-person narration really feels like the good old days and I’m still happy about the return of narration in the epilogues, and I feel… a certain way about the attempts at mixing narration and dialogue in Homestuck^2. I’m still overall not a fan of that post-(post-?)canon continuation, but I suppose at parts they at least try to be like old Homestuck? This isn’t the time to mull over the new, rather reflect on the oldish.

And there we have it: three Jacks and one Dirk (plus the Monarch of course) surrounding the diagram of the alpha kids’ session, with the trolls’ meteor blazing its way still with Aradia and Sollux’s blood colors. The circle of… something is complete.

These are interesting images that contrast heavily with how the meteor crew looked at the start of their journey. Rose and Kanaya are latching onto each other, Terezi is staring up with her normal functioning eyes, Dave is looking a bit more gloomy than before, the Mayor is now fully integrated into the meteor friend group, and Karkat…

DAVE: so
DAVE: has anyone figured out how were actually gonna stop this meteor
DAVE: or was three years not enough time to solve that problem
KARKAT: NO, WE HAVEN’T.
KARKAT: OH MY GOD.
KARKAT: WE’RE STILL TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT, AND WE ONLY SEEM TO BE PICKING UP STEAM!
DAVE: i dont think thats possible dude
DAVE: in fact im not sure we were ever traveling at light speed
DAVE: i think maybe theres been some bogus science in circulation that we been chumped into gettin behind
KARKAT: WHAT?
DAVE: just saying
KARKAT: NO.
KARKAT: *I’M* JUST SAYING.
KARKAT: WE CAME ALL THIS WAY, AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!

… well, he’s the same old Karkat. Concerned with rational matters, but incredibly neurotic and panicky about it.

KARKAT: I DON’T BELIEVE THIS.
KARKAT: HOW COULD WE NOT HAVE THOUGHT THIS THROUGH BETTER!
KARKAT: IT’S LIKE THE RECKONING V 2.0. OR 3.0. OR WAIT, MAYBE 4.0 IF WE’RE COUNTING THE BEFORUS SESS… UGH, FUCK THIS SENTENCE I’M SAYING.
KARKAT: HOW COULD IT ALL BOIL DOWN TO *YET ANOTHER* METEOR HURTLING TOWARD SKAIA SERVING AS THE HARBINGER OF OUR IMMINENT DEMISE?
KARKAT: EXCEPT THIS TIME WE’RE *RIDING* THE FUCKING HARBINGER.
KARKAT: WHICH IS IRONIC WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT! WE WERE BROUGHT INTO THIS LIFE RIDING A METEOR. MAKES SENSE THAT’S HOW WE’LL ALL GO OUT! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Karkat’s signature pessimistic melodrama is in full light right here. All he can think about is how history is repeating itself all over again in this reality he resents so much.

DAVE: man pull it together
DAVE: this thing has to have some escape pods or something
KARKAT: WHERE! I NEVER SAW ANY!
KARKAT: MAYBE THEY WERE BEING STORED IN THE HYPER GRAVITY CHAMBER!
ROSE: We have a hypher gravitoy chambHIC. Ber?
DAVE: or i guess maybe we could
DAVE: just sort of
DAVE: hop up
DAVE: and
DAVE: like…
DAVE: fly away?
KARKAT: WHY YOU ABHORRENT COLUMN OF SMARMY FILTH. YOU ALWAYS DID KNOW HOW TO
RUB SALT IN THE WOUND.
KARKAT: WHAT ABOUT THOSE OF US WHO CAN’T FLY! YOU *KNOW* I CAN’T FLY, AND YOU *KNOW* IT’S A SORE SUBJECT FOR ME!
DAVE: i swear to god
DAVE: this meteor needs one of those baby on board things on the back
DAVE: but like a grub instead of baby for max fidelity to the gag because TROLLZ
DAVE: i know you cant fly dude obviously i would just carry you or something
KARKAT: I’D RATHER FUCKING DIE!!!!!!
ROSE: Don’ot worry guy,s
ROSE: I’ve vave a fealing evvvvvery thinks gogna work out. 😉
DAVE: rose shut the fuck up
BARK

It says a lot that about the meteor crew’s dysfunctional state of affairs that Dave and Karkat are the only ones actually talking about how to get off the meteor outside of offhand remarks. The sudden BARK without a name preceding it is a cool way to convey the meteor crew’s confusion as to who could possibly be barking, which Homestuck barely does at all now that I think of it. The comic simply doesn’t need to go out of its way to conceal who exactly is talking in pesterlogs or dialoglogs (with a notable exception above).

DAVE: dude did you just bark
KARKAT: WHAT? NO I DIDN’T BARK.
KARKAT: I THOUGHT THAT WAS YOU.
DAVE: why would i bark
KARKAT: WELL WHY THE FUCK WOULD I BARK???
DAVE: because youre having a mental breakdown
KARKAT: WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A MENTAL GO FUCK YOURSELF?
KARKAT: OR! OR WAIT! THEN USE YOUR ALLEGED “TIME POWERS” TO MAKE A COPY OF YOURSELF AND TURN THIS AUDACIOUS PHANTASY INTO A SENSUAL REALITY!
DAVE: nah

I like how Karkat brings up the idea of Dave having sex with a copy of himself knowing the ambiguously ambiguous directions their relationship later goes in. By ambiguously ambiguous, I mean it’s ambiguous whether it’s ambiguous or not. If you stop and look without confirmation bias, there’s fairly shippy Dave/Karkat lines abound even before the retcon.

BARK
KARKAT: THERE IT WAS AGAIN!
KARKAT: THE BARK HAPPENED AGAIN!
DAVE: wasnt me
KARKAT: WHO THE FUCK IS BARKING.
DAVE: kanaya did you bark
DAVE: you fuckin with us maryam
KANAYA: (hisssss…)
KARKAT: TEREZI, WAS IT YOU???
TEREZI: (grrrrrr…)
KARKAT: WHAT IS IT? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?
DAVE: maybe the mayor barked
DAVE: mayor was that you
DAVE: haha i bet it was
DAVE: god i love the mayor hes so full of surprises

Wild speculation over who could have possibly barked a second time is the very last thing Dave and Karkat talk about before this happens:

Grimbark Jade is SCARY.

JADE: hey guys
JADE: long time no see

Yeah, I don’t think this scene needs any words. Other than that Dave and Karkat are definitely a badly forced ship that makes no conceivable sense whatsoever.

Next up is an all-time favorite flash of mine that unfortunately doesn’t have a name other than “the end of Act 6 Intermission 5 flash”, or I guess “the fourth anniversary flash”. Even more unfortunate is that as of March 2020, enabling Flash in browsers seems to be hidden in options that are nightmarishly hard to find, which leaves me with no choice but to watch the flash as a disgustingly low-quality YouTube mirror that you can’t screenshot while pausing without covering the top and bottom with the YouTube interface. Basically, it really really sucks what’s currently happening with the Homestuck website and my understanding is that the team behind its current official media are frustrated too but can’t do anything about it, only Viz Media can.

Anyway, let’s get through this flash which ISN’T THE SAME WHEN YOU’RE NOT WATCHING IT AS A FLASH, THIS IS REALLY BAD.

Deepest apologies for the Sburb logo on the bottom right. I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it.

The A6I5 ending flash opens with John sitting on the Slab of the Jaded Fool’s Ennui in extreme boredom, reminiscing about his friends in an image that perfectly encapsulates what I like about him: his simple-mindedness is rivaled only by his sheer earnesty.* His perception of the meteor crew is exactly the same as it was at the start of the journey, except now he knows Vriska is dead.

* “Earnesty” totally is a real word. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be, “honesty” is a real word too.

YES

After laying down in mind-numbing boredom for a while (momentarily greeted by Erisolsprite’s middle finger), John gets up and decides to do a bunch of fun things by himself in a montage that’s both hilarious and genuinely exhilarating, thanks to the EPIC music. A Taste for Adventure is an 8-minute professional tier orchestral track that had three different portions of it used at various points in the comic, the last one most excellently used of all in this flash right here.

Instead of putting a red 8 card where it belongs, John puts down an ace to spell out his birthday, 4/13. This is very obvious symbolism of how John has finally moved past thinking about Vriska all the time and is now his own person once more, spitting in the face of the spider girl who so naively thought she could possibly have another shot at…

… yeah, who am I kidding. Hussie isn’t good at math, that’s all this image means, nothing more.

HELL YES

HELL
FUCKING
YES

The rest of this montage is mostly a mix of recognizable old callbacks and John doing newer, weirder things like ironing his pants, wearing a determined expression the whole time showing he means nothing but BUSINESS. His father would be very proud of him.

And now comes the thrilling conclusion to John’s crisis over Con Air: giving it a rewatch a year later shortly after zapping into the movie’s canon, he loves it once more and seems to have forgotten he ever hated it. This is the kind of thing that would be wrapped up at the end of the episode where the crisis happened if Homestuck was a TV show, but since it’s a serial webcomic we had to wait quite a bit for this wondrous catharsis.

That moment is followed by something even more triumphant: John builds a house of cards shaped like the Sburb logo, and the logo flashes on the screen just like it sometimes did in the early acts. John is having the best time ever all alone and managed to recreate the dramatic feel of the early acts’ flashes just by goofing around in the middle of nowhere.

And if there was any shred of doubt remaining that this is the absolute best day of John’s life, this suddenly happens:

Is there any better way for John to reunite with his long-lost friends than having them appear one by one out of nowhere and all land together on the grass? I sure as hell can’t think of any. This is just such a fun flash that ends in a great wordless resolution, very much worthy of the comic’s fourth anniversary.

The curtains close in on John’s big goofy smile, which is a simple but incredibly fitting ending to part 3 of Homestuck. Though there’s still a few pages left before the start of Act 6 Act 6 (which is where I’ll end this post), I’m going to go ahead and recap Act 6 Intermission 5 right now.

All in all, Act 6 Intermission 5 of Homestuck is a very fun act that has a variety of content mixing wrap-ups of story arcs with more humorous content and introductions of new plot points like retcon powers and the mysteries of Caliborn’s session. All this is mixed with some cool throwbacks especially towards the end with Spades Slick’s and John’s storylines. It’s a very good conclusion to the first half of Act 6 and leaves readers excited for what follows next—perhaps a little too excited, which I’m sure was the point because things go very bad for our heroes not long after.

This recap was really short and probably would have been longer if I hadn’t paused my posts like three times since I started doing A6I5 posts, not that I really mind it being short. In the next few pages, the reader/player tries to insert disc three of Homestuck, perhaps with the idea that every two years of Homestuck’s run takes up one disc. But we’re greeted with this image instead:

… And that concludes my Homestuck blog post series! Thank you everyone for reading my posts over the years, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It was a fun ride for so long, since September 2015 (can you believe it’s been this long??? I sure can’t) but I knew I had to reach the end at some point. I’m very glad to have finally finished my Homestuck posts so I can take this blog to new heights that were merely a daydream for so many years. Now let us stop and appreciate this image of Caliborn having gloriously concluded Homestuck:

Isn’t it so satisfying to finally reach the end?

Even though I’ve finally finished Homestuck, this post series isn’t quite over yet! My next post will be the first in a brand new series where I thoroughly dissect Caliborn’s awe-inspiring postmodernist reinterpretation of Homestuck, called Homosuck.

>> Part 104: BEDROOM SCREWAROUND SESSION, REIMAGINED.

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