Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 2 of 4
It’s over 6000!
I’m getting so close to the Gigapause, which is kind of scary to think about. I’ve been working more on music stuff lately than this post series, which is why my posting schedule hasn’t been too fast lately despite being done with finals.
Picking up from where we left off, Jane notices Jake’s hope field and has a villain-to-villain confrontation with Aranea, which as I said in my last post is a good indicator that this timeline is going way off the rails.
Still in his prison cell, Jane’s father watches the scene in stern fatherly confusion. This is the point where it starts becoming clear that Hussie is having a lot of fun throwing in humorous callbacks and early act throwbacks into all these action scenes, which further implies a burnout on writing Homestuck the way he had done shortly prior. I could complain about how the retcon that follows made so many story events arguably pointless, but I’ve come to accept that it’s more fun to analyze Homestuck in a matter-of-fact fashion.
The field of pure blinding white hope is an exaggeration of how I imagine Hussie sees Dragon Ball Z: cool-looking action scenes with absolutely no substance behind them.
Grimbark Jade tries to warp Jake to the Furthest Ring and gives us a glimpse at her massive overload of powers when she does a finger frame thing calling back to one of her very most triumphant moments in [S] Cascade. This callback reminds me of an observation people have made about shafting god tier Jade. You know when a video game has an upgrade or playable character that makes the game so much easier that it’s more fun not to use it? Hussie has admitted in his book commentary that that’s what he did with Jade after she went god tier, claiming that not every character has to get the same amount of screen time throughout the whole comic and making an analogy to differently shaped arcs. It kind of sucks because Jade is a totally cool character, but thinking of her as an overpowered character at least makes sense.
A visual gag involving yellow underwear leads to Jake about to do what TV Tropes calls the Worf Effect: a character demonstrating their extreme power level by defeating someone who we thought was powerful.
Jade and Jake never get to have a proper conversation in canon Homestuck; this is one of several times where that opportunity is brutally missed, and it stings pretty damn hard if you ask me.
JANE: What’s the hold up?
JADE: my powers…
JADE: cant seem…
JADE: to penetrate…
JADE: THE HOPE FIELD!!!
JADE: *pant pant*
I can’t help but read this passage in the overdramatic hyper-masculine voice of someone from Dragon Ball Z, and I’m sure that’s what Hussie intended.
Villain against villain: who would you root for? I imagine that if I was reading this for the first time and actually paying attention to anything, I’d probably root for Jane.
ARANEA: I thought you said you were going to su8due me.
ARANEA: I’m w8ting, miss Crocker.
JANE: What game are you playing, troll?
JANE: State your designs on my future husband.
ARANEA: Don’t worry. I am only 8orrowing him temporarily as an equalizing force.
ARANEA: And once he has finished equalizing, I will tear your empire apart. ::::)
JANE: You will do no such thing.
ARANEA: Then it would seem the next move is yours.
ARANEA: I trust your weapon is not just for show.
ARANEA: Or did Her Condescension see fit to equip her heiress with a training fork?
JANE: My calculations say that it is highly probable you are enticing me into a trap.
ARANEA: It’s no trap, I assure you.
ARANEA: I simply cannot 8e killed.
ARANEA: You see, as long as a certain charm remains in my possession, I am immortal.
ARANEA: Even more immortal than usual!
JANE: More immortal than usual??
JANE: That’s stupid.
Though Aranea and Jane in this scene are both stone cold evil, Jane at least has the dignity to stick to a mandated order of business. Aranea is just using this confrontation to gloat about her augmented immortality. “Even more immortal than usual” does sound stupid, but the implication is obvious if you stop and think about it: the Ring of Life prevents the possibility of dying a heroic or just death.
Amusingly enough, Jane and Aranea do agree that Jake’s cornball exclamations are obnoxious. More like Corn Ball Z, am I right?
I’m pretty sure Derse is a lot smaller than LOFAF, so why is the hope field the same relative size? Maybe it’s a shift in visual perspective, or his field immediately grew in size when the planets were swapped. Or maybe Hussie was just lazy.
Jade proceeds to do something cool with her space powers for the first time in forever: she swaps locations of the planets so that the showdown is now taking place on LOFAF instead of Derse. Hussie is having a lot of fun with this deliberately rare opportunity to use Jade’s space powers.
Jade has always taken a shining to science, and it’s interesting to see that trait adapted into her villainous form. She’s now very haughty about her scientific knowledge in a comical pseudo-smug way.
It feels weird to see Karkat and Kanaya again after this crazy action scene. It’s worrying to invite them into the picture, especially Karkat because he’s always been the one without any magic superpowers.
It’s also weird to see Dave again, who had not long ago gone on this whole crazy speech about not wanting to use time travel powers. The walkie-talkie thing on his wrist seems to be alchemized from puppet ass and humorously indicates that he’s been having a hell of a time hanging out with the Mayor in his old apartment—I’m mostly sure that thing didn’t exist before Act 6.KARKAT: DAVE
KARKAT: COME IN DAVE.
KARKAT: DO YOU FUCKING READ ME.
It’s been too long since we last saw Karkat rendered so crudely.KARKAT: I SAID WE MAY HAVE A REALLY BIG FUCKING PROBLEM OVER HERE!!!!!!
DAVE: im on my way
Dave and Karkat’s conversation ends up as a humorous semi-subversion of this act’s pattern of a mouth closeup accompanied with a way to say “we have a problem”.
I wonder if the lava is forming rocks when it’s colliding with water? I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s how lava works.
This image shows us that Jade’s volcano is now erupting (not long ago it just had lava inside), which would normally indicate that it’s more than ready to have two rings thrown in to finish the process of universe creation. However, in this action scene the lava serves as an active threat, which is one of many things going on that you can tell aren’t exactly supposed to happen.
I think that’s supposed to be invisible Roxy on the left.
While Jade tells Jake to stop powering up and Aranea expresses her approval of Jake’s insane hope field, I can’t help but notice that Jake’s enormous old man interjections are still written in his typing quirk, as indicated by the lack of an apostrophe on “BOBS YOUR UNCLE”.
Jade unleashes the power of the Green Sun and for a moment, it looks like she’s finally in the lead.
This scene doesn’t entirely consist of panels with the same LOFAF background imagery. I just happened to omit all the panels that show the scene closer up.
Unfortunately, Jade lands straight in the water and realizes it was a bad idea to swap Derse with her planet. Her memory of her Sburb session isn’t quite as sharp as she initially believed: there were eight other planets she could have used, which are the other seven kids’ planets and Skaia.
Her power field shrinking, Jade has now accidentally created a crater in a callback to the absolute classic flash, [S] WV: Ascend. She’s right to realize it was a bad idea to make this showdown take place in one of the most pivotal locations in the Sburb session. It similarly makes sense that Jane would be frustrated with this destruction while Aranea doesn’t care at all.
And with that, Jake’s hope field has officially surpassed first guardian powers, which is kind of a big goddamn deal. It’s now starting to make sense why he was prophesized to be the one to defeat Lord English, which is eventually fulfilled in Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
Jade skips over the lava and skids to a knockout in her tracks, ending this scene with a callback to her death right before [S] Cascade. The “ko’d.” is written in her ridiculously goofy handwriting, reminding us what sort of person she was at the start of the comic: a “silly girl” with a bizarre daily life and eccentric but harmless interests.
With Jane frustrated at what was done to her loyal partner in crime, Aranea uses a psychic single reacharound to wreak further havoc and finally take Jade out of the picture:
I love how some of old man Jake’s portraits of blue ladies and trophies spill out when Aranea topples Jade’s house. A hell of a throwback right there.
Huh, the trail Jade left behind when she was knocked out is much shorter than I thought it would be.
This is the first of several panels in A6A6I2 that show with humorous close-ups where everyone in the scene currently is. This panel style is memorable largely because such a panel was the very last one before Homestuck went on pause for an entire year.
The remains of Jade’s house form a bridge over the lava, useful for an epic showdown that leads to numerous tragic deaths.
And with that, Jade is crushed to death in a Wizard of Oz reference. It’s been a longtime tradition for me to follow a character death with a paragraph commenting on it, so I suppose I can do that right now.
Jade is the first to die in the pre-retcon timeline after Aranea interferes, and my god is she a fitting choice. She was always touted as one of the most powerful characters in the entire comic, and just when we were about to see for ourselves how strong she is, Jake’s hope field defeats her and Aranea finishes her off. Losing someone so powerful this early on makes this scene much more intense from here on out and invites worry (or in Aranea’s case, hope) for what will happen to everyone else.
This death scene is followed by a SBaHJ reference that I knew was going to be there but still cracked me up:
I love the humor value in this joke explanation. The reference to the Wizard of Oz is so painfully obvious that explaining the joke immediately afterwards SBaHJ style makes it a lot funnier.
Jade’s death is followed by a flash where the god tier clock ticks, and Aranea possibly uses psychic and/or luck powers to force her death to be judged “Just”. Just like Vriska long ago had her death’s true judgement obfuscated by Spades Slick banging on her clock, Aranea managed to do put the same ambiguity on someone else’s death. Serkets have a longstanding history of tampering with the meta narrative to mixed results.
This death cementation is followed by a goodbye speech to the Mayor that is surprisingly short by Dave’s standards (but fairly long by A6A6I2 standards):DAVE: alright mayor
DAVE: ive got to go now
DAVE: not sure why but
DAVE: i have a really bad feeling about all this
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: i dont wanna scare you or come off as too dramatic or anything
DAVE: if i never see you again i just wanted you to know
DAVE: its been real man
DAVE: you were always there for me
DAVE: you shared my darkest hours
DAVE: my deepest secrets
DAVE: and ill never fucking forget it
DAVE: goodbye mayor
This speech indicates that Dave somehow knows things are going wrong, which is an indicator of his heroic senses that he claimed were long gone in his argument with Jade about fighting Lord English. He’s totally capable of being a hero when it concerns people he cares about, making his speech about Lord English a bit misleading.
DAVE: i love you
Dave having to say goodbye to the Mayor and kiss him on the forehead shows us once again that this timeline is going in a very bad direction.
The Seven Gates didn’t stop being a thing or anything.
This emotional scene is followed with an instance of the mouth close-up running gag that’s even funnier than the last one:DAVE: rose come in rose do you read me over
DAVE: you might want to get your ass in gear
DAVE: shits going down on lofaf
ROSE: Could you elaborate?
God, I forgot about that pixelated mouth.DAVE: theres problems
ROSE: Then let us bounce.
This scene reminds me of Dave and Rose’s short but memorable conversation before [S] Enter that ended in subverting a SBaHJ reference, and I don’t think this scene needs any further words. Just appreciate this funny moment for what it is.
Jane sets off to resurrect Jade, and Aranea descends to the remains of Jade’s house and notices Roxy, who’s been standing in invisibility throughout A6A6I2. It’s interesting to think she’s one of two characters to make it out of this mess alive (not counting sprites), because right now the reader is sure to worry about the fan favorite alpha kid’s safety.
Unfortunately, Gamzee didn’t stop being a thing or anything either.
Jane tries to resurrect Jade, but is interrupted by Gamzee flying out of nowhere. This scene seems at first like simple slapstick juggalo humor, but soon after, a scene that I remember being hilarious makes it clear what Aranea is using the clown for.
Roxy makes herself visible and takes some time to converse with Aranea, whose evil deeds are of direct concern to Roxy.ARANEA: You might as well come out of hiding so I can see you.
ARANEA: Ah yes. There you go!
ARANEA: Don’t you look nice. I always did like the rogue outfit. And needless to say, I’m quite partial the void color scheme.
ROXY: im so fuckin flattered
ROXY: whore you
ARANEA: I 8EG your pardon?
ROXY: u heard me bitch
ARANEA: “Who ARE you.”
ARANEA: Yes. Ha ha.
After having seen Roxy comically snark at Grimbark Jade and be incredibly lighthearted and inviting to John, it’s quite a change of pace seeing her go stone cold at the sight of Aranea. We’re right about to see why that is.
These portraits of blue ladies are now accompanied by two more blue ladies. Thematically fitting if I say so myself.ROXY: i been spying on ya
ROXY: and eavesdropping on all your smug trash
ROXY: and i couldnt help but notice that ring youre wearing
ARANEA: What a8out it?
ROXY: thats johns ring aint it
ROXY: for real though we were gonna give that ring to callie
ROXY: callie my goddamn bffsy from space
ROXY: shes a ghost and i wanna save her from her bro
ARANEA: Ah yes. The female cheru8.
ARANEA: I am perfectly familiar with her plight, as well as the relevance she purportedly has with respect to her 8rother’s downfall.
ARANEA: In fact, I was one of the first ever to theorize a8out that! :::;)
ARANEA: 8ut the situ8tion has changed. That is all ancient history now.
ARANEA: I’m sorry, Roxy. 8ut I have no use for your cheru8 friend in my plans.
ARANEA: She will not 8e playing a role of any significance.
ROXY: oh man
Roxy continuously calls out Aranea for being smug until the conversation topic switches to Calliope. At that point, we’re reminded of what the plan for defeating Lord English originally was. I have to give Aranea credit for finally admitting that she doesn’t care about the lost cherub plan at all, because in the Openbound games she repeatedly insisted she’d eventually do it.
ROXY: oh man
ROXY: i way hate you
ARANEA: Come on, now. Don’t say things you can’t take 8ack.
ARANEA: I’m actually very nice!
ARANEA: We are just getting off on the wrong foot here.
ROXY: no no
ROXY: no no no no
ROXY: oh man i rly hate you
ROXY: i cant even explain it i never hated somebody so much by just a few smarmy words outta their grody chew hole
ROXY: eugh yechh ick ick blarff!
ROXY: so yeh um
ROXY: now that i buttered you up and all gimme dat ring!!
Remember when Act 6 Act 5 set up an arc of the Condesce being Roxy’s absolute number one nemesis? Well, it turns out she hates Aranea a lot more. Aranea is posing a threat to Roxy’s friends so severe and direct that it makes the Condesce seem as lame as Lord English in comparison. It also makes sense that the Condesce eventually kills the one person Roxy hates more than her.
Aranea annoys Roxy with talk about black romance to make her more despicable, not going to bother analyzing that part. She hints at Brain Ghost Dirk becoming relevant with this line:ARANEA: I cannot have an invisi8le, intangi8le trou8lemaker tiptoeing around trying to sneak this ring off my finger.
Then, with surprising efficiency, Aranea takes Roxy out of the picture by putting her to sleep. This is an economical decision perhaps done because many people currently in the scene care enough about Roxy to want to confront Aranea directly if she were to be killed.
Roxy being put to sleep transitions us to what may at first seem to be a dream bubble reunion between her and Calliope.
Calliope talks to herself in utter loneliness, wishing to have someone to talk to instead of being stuck in the dream bubbles forever. Unfortunately, I’m not in the mood for Calliope character analysis just yet, or any character analysis for that matter. Instead, I’ll talk about the cool visual stuff that happens in the following pages.
A stage appears behind Calliope and the road turns to yellow, with the imagery behind the curtain subtly hinting at who could be here. This sets Calliope’s next few scenes up for some cool art style experimentation (if memory serves me, largely drawn by different artists from Hussie). I remember the art style in the dream bubble scenes with Calliope, Jade, and later Jane being a fun change of pace from the gloomy session ruination scenes.CALLIOPE: whoever is there…
CALLIOPE: don’t come any closer!
CALLIOPE: (please don’t, please don’t.)
CALLIOPE: (i’m so scared and so miserable and so so lonely.)
CALLIOPE: i said don’t come any closer!
CALLIOPE: i’m a powerfUl magician, i swear! [note: typo fixed by me]
CALLIOPE: a magician who wants yoU to leave her alone!
CALLIOPE: PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE GIRL BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!!
In her sudden panic, Calliope executes an endearing callback to Caliborn’s narration shenanigans from Act 6 Act 6 Act 2 (which is also a callback to Hussie’s robotic self-insert shenanigans from Act 6 Intermission 1). Just as Caliborn hid John behind the curtain, Calliope is hiding herself behind the curtain. Could this perhaps be a hint at passive/active role inversion??? Oh god, I bet someone has actually theorized that at some point.
Oh yeah, “pay no attention to the [man/girl] behind the curtain” is symbolic of meta narrative stuff too. That’s probably the most obvious thing anyone could ever say, but I still somehow feel obligated to point that out.
Non-Grimbark Jade shows up, waving her hand and greeting Calliope.JADE: hi!
JADE: its ok i wont hurt you. im a friend!
JADE: you can come out now
JADE: youre safe i promise!
As funny as Grimbark Jade is, I have to say I missed regular Jade. I’m looking forward to analyzing her later scenes in Act 6 Act 6, and also complaining about how post-retcon Jade had it so bad. It feels weird acknowledging that this is post-retcon Jade, almost like acknowledging something from post-canon material and treating it as fact. But I shouldn’t get carried away with complaining yet—it is my goal in this post series to see if the retcon really is as bad as people say.
Calliope recognizes Jade as she comes out of the curtains, having changed into her trollsona. I’m not really sure what I think about the whole arc of Calliope’s appearance insecurities, especially because she’s eventually relegated to being Roxy’s sidekick which I’ve never been a huge fan of. I think Calliope had a lot of wasted potential after coming back from the dead just so Roxy has an excuse not to get together with John. But I don’t want to get too much ahead of myself, especially since this scene makes for a good stopping point to end this post.
See you next time as Jane and Gamzee
The rest of this sentence can remain blank. For now, just know that Jane x Gamzee cracks me up because of how stupid it is.