Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 3 of 4
This is the second last post featuring content released before the Gigapause, which is when I first read Homestuck.
Friendly reminder that among my creative projects, my current priority is making 8-bit covers of the entire soundtrack of Sonic Robo Blast 2 v2.2, which means my Homestuck post series is currently something I do every now and then when I want a break from that.
Also, friendly reminder that I’ve firmly divorced the masterwork that is Homestuck from the bloated mess that is Homestuck^2, so don’t expect me to talk about the latter in this post series unless it somehow becomes good. As for Pesterquest, there isn’t a whole lot I have to say about it because basically the whole thing played it as safe as possible. It’s really a shame this recent Homestuck media hasn’t been very remarkable after the horrifying yet incredibly cathartic epilogues, but that sure isn’t going to stop me from writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about Homestuck. I don’t think of it as “Homestuck 1” or even “the original Homestuck”, I just think of it as “Homestuck”.
A third friendly reminder that I soon hope to no longer use homestuck.com for my Homestuck posts, instead some offline archive or fanmade way to read the comic as originally intended. At some point, I should really get around to editing my old posts to include pages from homestuck.com because the MSPA domain has been somewhat unstable lately.
Anyway, where were we? Looks like I left off right before a panel with Gamzee restraining an aggravated Jane in a geometrically improbable position.
JANE: GET YOUR PAWS OFF ME YOU SHITFUCKING SHITFUCKER AUGH FUCK SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK FUCK.
JANE: YOU SCURRILOUS FUCKSHITTING CAD. UNHAND ME SO I MAY RESURRECT MY ACCOMPLICE AT ONCE.
GAMZEE: honk honk.
JANE: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME THIS TIME YOU DETESTABLE POO ROGERING CHARLATAN.
JANE: I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANYMORE OF YOUR POTIONS. I ALREADY BOUGHT ALL THE USELESS SLOP I COULD EVER WANT FROM YOU, AND MADE A KILLING ON REDISTRIBUTION.
JANE: YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL TACTICS LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. YOU ARE A DEPLORABLE BUSINESSMAN AND AN EVEN SHITTIER CLOWN. GET OFF ME.
JANE: DID YOU JUST TOUCH MY BOOB. DON’T TOUCH MY BOOB YOU FUCKFACED DUNG HUFFING TOILET GUZZLING IDIOT QUIPSTER SHITPECKER DICKLARK.
Hussie has always had a knack for writing humorously verbose insults, and it’s interesting that he’s doing it with Jane of all characters. A6A6I2 has been consistently putting a more comedic light than before on Crockertier Jane, and she’s a fairly understandable choice for someone to plug vocabulary jokes into. Jane’s always been high up on the scale of character vocabulary, not quite as high as Rose or Dirk but still up there. Reading these insults she gives Gamzee, most of the non-profane words are surprisingly in-character for Jane.
Jake is still doing his Dragon Ball Z thing while nobody else is paying attention, except maybe Dave who just entered the scene. I can already imagine him saying hilarious things about the ruckus going on, if it weren’t for the fact that Jade is currently dead.
After watching Jake’s hope field in confusion, Dave reacts to Jade’s death with the following words:
DAVE: ohhhhh noooooooooooooo
This line is something Jade used to say sometimes in the early acts, and it’s a surprising callback for Dave to say this about her. These two have a complicated relationship that I’m sure I’ve said my words about before so I won’t do that now.
DAVE: gamzee what happened here
DAVE: did you see what happened
DAVE: not gonna answer me huh
DAVE: youre just gonna keep manhandling johns evil mom and not tell me what jades doing under this house
DAVE: sweet jesus youre an awful dude
In his panicked confusion, Dave tries to ask Gamzee what’s going on. An understandable choice, because he spent three years on a meteor getting to know what sort of person Gamzee is, and the clown is in plain sight for once.
Next up, Brain Ghost Dirk’s fakeness meter approaches zero until he becomes real. This meter system is a pretty fun callback to some interactive (probably not interactive anymore because Flash is right about to fucking die) pages in the early acts.ARANEA: Where did you come from?
ARANEA: I did not sense your approach.
DIRK: You can’t sense what ain’t real.
ARANEA: 8n’t real?
ARANEA: It seems to me that you are quite real, Dirk.
DIRK: That’s because my buddy Jake just helped me become a whole hell of a lot less fake.
DIRK: You see,
DIRK: He believes in me.
ARANEA: Honestly, Dirk. The convers8tion we are having right now 8ears a striking resem8lance to a8solute nonsense.
ARANEA: I recall once your dream self appeared out of thin air, just as you have done now.
ARANEA: And I did you the favor of helping you on your way. Don’t you remem8er?
ARANEA: There’s no need to thank me. I’m quite 8enevolent 8y nature. I prefer to do the right thing, even in situations where I’m not likely to receive credit for my good deeds.
DIRK: Holy shit.
I do remember Aranea waking up Dirk’s dream self’s dream self, or whatever that was all about. I got to that scene in a post from last year, where I discussed how Aranea is shown early on to have a bit of Vriska in her. Her bringing up that scene again has made it abundantly clear she’s now a severely exaggerated version of Vriska.
DIRK: Can you stop saying stuff?
ARANEA: No need to 8e so rude. I’m just curious.
ARANEA: As an ancient and learned scholar, I’m versed in a wide range of unusual phenomena. However I must say I am flummoxed 8y the nature of your 8eing.
ARANEA: What exactly are you?
Though I’m not normally one for classpect analysis, it makes a lot of sense for Aranea, a light player, not to understand others’ aspects all that well. She thinks she’s mastered the skill of knowing everything, but Jake’s enormous hope powers backfire tremendously, blindsiding her both literally and figuratively.
This reference to whichever movie (I don’t even know if it’s a movie) “you killed my father, prepare to die” came from raises some ambiguous implications about how Jake sees his relationship with Dirk. Does he genuinely love Dirk in a romantic way, or does he think Dirk genuinely feels about him that way which is why Brain Ghost Dirk says “you kissed my boyfriend”? Or maybe it’s just that his maxed-out hope powers make him believe in Dirk far more than he ever has. Booming loud corny old man interjections are all he’s capable of saying in his Super Saiyan form, so it’s dubious how much of Jake’s personality this form preserves—he normally uses a fair share of regular profanity alongside his old man speak.
The next person to appear out of nowhere is none other than Terezi Pyrope, who enters the scene with one of her characteristic unorthodox choices of onomatopoeia (“shoe” in this case).
Come to think of it, why and how did everyone decide that “onomatopoeia” should be the standard English word for “textual sound effects”? Usually, clumpy Greek and Latin words are used in scientific contexts.
Dave humorously comments on this scene, having no idea what’s going on but worrying about Karkat’s safety. He initiates the “johns hot mom” running gag, which I never found to be as hilarious as Hussie apparently did given how often he repeated that joke in A6A6I5. I’ll say more about late Homestuck’s running gags when I get to that act, or I guess sub-sub-intermission, which is a portion of the comic that I to this day have mixed feelings about.TEREZI: D1D YOU R34LLY B3L13V3 YOU COULD RUN FROM M3 FOR3V3R, M4K4R4?
TEREZI: WH4T M4D3 YOU TH1NK YOU COULD COMM1T YOUR CR1M3S, TH4T YOU COULD D3C31V3 M3, D3B4S3 M3, M4K1NG M3 F33L L1K3 R4NC1D C1RCUS TR4SH
TEREZI: ONLY TO SL1NK 4W4Y L1K3 4 F1LTHY CH33S3 CR1TT3R, W1THOUT 3V3R H4V1NG TO P4Y TH3 P1P3R???
TEREZI: D1D YOU HON3STLY TH1NK YOU WOULD N3V3R F4C3 JUST1C3?
TEREZI: WH4T DO YOU H4V3 TO S4Y FOR YOURS3LF?
TEREZI: 4NSW3R M3!!!
TEREZI: JUST 4S 1 THOUGHT
TEREZI: 1S 1T TH3 R3SPONS3 OF 4 R3L1G1OUS Z34LOT, SWORN TO 4 M1SGU1D3D VOW OF S1L3NC3?
TEREZI: OR 1S 1T TH3 R3SPONS3
TEREZI: OF 4 COW4RD!!!!!!!
TEREZI: HOW 1 D3T3ST YOUR HORR1D “F41TH”
TEREZI: HOW 1 LO4TH3 TH3 SOD4 ST1CKY GROUND YOU KN33L UPON WH1L3 YOU B3LCH YOUR VULG4R HYMNS OF M1RTH
TEREZI: HOW 1 R3V1L3 YOUR…
TEREZI: *sn1ff sn1ff*
Terezi rants at Gamzee in true Alternian legislacerator style, having finally remembered what sort of person she once was. It’s a gigantic return to form that seems to be induced by her spending just enough time outside of Gamzee’s presence.
After this, Terezi returns to having a sharp mind and an even sharper nose, which is cool because nobody wants her horns to be the only thing that’s sharp.TEREZI: 1TS H3R
TEREZI: SH3S H3R3!
TEREZI: WH4T 1S SH3 DO1NG H3R3?
TEREZI: 1T W4S SH3 WHO M4N1PUL4T3D M3 1NTO R3STOR1NG MY 3Y3S1GHT!
TEREZI: JUST 4S YOOOUUUU W3R3 TH3 ON3 WHO 1NST1G4T3D MY SP1R4L OF S3LF LO4TH1NG TO B3G1N W1TH
TEREZI: 1 N3V3R WOULD H4V3 CONS1D3R3D H3R S1LV3RY TONGU3D OFF3R 1N 4 M1LL1ON SW33PS 1F YOU H4D NOT PO1SON3D M3 SO
TEREZI: OH Y3S
TEREZI: 1T 1S 4LL TOO CL34R TO M3
TEREZI: YOU 4ND SH3 4R3 1N C4HOOTS NOW, 4R3NT YOU
TEREZI: 4R3NT YOU!!!
TEREZI: 4DM1T 1T, M4K4R4
TEREZI: YOU H4V3 B3COM3 JUST 4NOTH3R LOWLY N1BBL3 V3RM1N SCURRY1NG 4FT3R TH3 S3DUCT1V3 TUN3 OF H3R FLUT3!
TEREZI: YOU 4R3 BOTH TH3 WORST K1ND OF SCUM TO M3. OPPOS1T3, 4ND Y3T 3QU1V4L3NT
TEREZI: 1T 1S L1K3 TH3 L3G1SL4C3R4TORS H4NDBOOK S4YS
TEREZI: THOS3 WHO 4R3 CUT FROM TH3 S4M3 CLOTH
TEREZI: 4R3 F1T TO SW1NG FROM TH3 S4M3 ROP3!
She swiftly puts the pieces together and infers that Aranea has been in cahoots with Gamzee for much longer than we thought, which is a logical deduction that leads to her phrasing in a poetic way that Aranea and Gamzee are equally loathesome.
Terezi barely leaving a dent on Gamzee transitions to several panels of Brain Ghost Dirk barely leaving a dent on Aranea, which shows that frustrating immortality is another thing those two have in common.
The patch of gray skin shows that although Aranea’s dress was damaged, her body very quickly healed.
Undeterred by any of this, Aranea keeps on being smug and talks about the Ring of Life, pretending to give Brain Ghost Dirk a free shot at her for even more smugness points.
Meanwhile, Terezi is aggravated by how Gamzee is just standing there smiling instead of fighting her, executing a series of callbacks to scenes in Act 5 to demonstrate her frustration. Hussie is clearly having a lot of fun using Gamzee as an endless fountain of slapstick humor.
Next up, Jane gets ready to resurrect Jade, but gets interrupted by another surprise appearance:
Yep, that’s right: the beta kids’ Jack Noir and the Prospitian Monarch didn’t stop being a thing or anything. Neither did their supreme dog loyalty to Jade.DAVE: i said put her down!
DAVE: bad anthropomorphic dogs!
DAVE: youre so bad!
DAVE: oh my god
DAVE: you are literally being the worst pair of anthro dogs i ever saw
DAVE: drop that goddamn girl i mean it
DAVE: dont you woof at me
DAVE: you dont think im serious?
DAVE: im serious as a drive to the fuckin vet
DAVE: im not joking you dumb mutts i mean business here
DAVE: see ive got a sword too!
DAVE: its sharp
DAVE: and its awesome
DAVE: its fucking welsh!!!!!
DAVE: ok listen
Dave’s humorous monologue about how difficult Bec Noir and the Monarch are being shows that the dogs’ loyalty to Jade has been exaggerated to the point where they don’t even care about anything else. This isn’t too surprising considering the scene in Act 6 Intermission 3 where Bec Noir briefly got narration from his perspective, which said that all the havoc he caused in Acts 4-5 was just a few routine murders from years ago. He’s long over his old grievances, which has made him succumb harder than ever before to his canine instincts.
DAVE: jack and uh
DAVE: taller white jack
DAVE: clearly you are very loyal to jades corpse or whatever
DAVE: but you arent gonna help her by swiping the torso and growling at me like a pair of mangy assholes
DAVE: just put her down
DAVE: look i got treats!
DAVE: i have snausages
DAVE: ok i dont have snausages
DAVE: i can get snausages!
At this point, it’s rather confusing that the dogs are so fiercely caressing their loyal master’s corpse. Dave thinks they’re just being stupid, but soon we’re about to see what idea they have to bring Jade back—an idea that interestingly demonstrates the limitations of their Sburb construct knowledge.
Jade’s corpse shenanigans transition us to an entirely different version of Jade, not that we’re supposed to know that yet.CALLIOPE: do yoU remember anything yet?
JADE: not really
CALLIOPE: that’s a pity.
CALLIOPE: i was hoping yoU might be able to tell me what my friends are Up to.
JADE: i wish i could tell you
JADE: but im still drawing a blank on everything!
JADE: i dont even remember what i was doing when i fell asleep
JADE: or even
JADE: IF im sleeping
JADE: how are you supposed to tell if youre a ghost or not?
CALLIOPE: ghosts have spooky blank eyes like me.
CALLIOPE: bUt only after they remember they died.
CALLIOPE: so Until yoU recall what happened, i am afraid neither of Us will know.
CALLIOPE: there is one way to be sUre, i sUppose.
CALLIOPE: i coUld Use some of my potent anti-sleeping majyyks on yoU to see if yoU wake Up.
JADE: anti sleeping magics?
JADE: i mean majyyks?
CALLIOPE: bUt i mUst admit i am relUctant to do so, for selfish reasons. u_u
JADE: what reasons?
CALLIOPE: if yoU wake Up, yoU will disappear.
CALLIOPE: and i will be alone again.
Here, Calliope basically gives us an in-story excuse for not revealing whether Jade is alive or dead. It’s always interesting to see the story go out of its way to explain why it’s hiding something that could be easily revealed.
JADE: thats ok im in no hurry to go yet
JADE: or for that matter, to remember why im here
JADE: i cant put my finger on it
JADE: but i have this awful feeling something bad happened
JADE: specifically something that happened because of me
JADE: yeah 😦
JADE: im worried i may have done some things i wouldnt be proud of
JADE: that maybe i could have even…
JADE: hurt some people
CALLIOPE: that is hard to believe.
JADE: i hope its just my imagination
Knowing this is the post-retcon version of Jade, most of her grimbark self’s evil deeds are indeed just her imagination, because a certain someone put her to sleep immediately after arriving in the alpha session. I won’t delve into a lengthy rant about that character just yet, because she and Meenah have a very interesting speaking scene at the end of this post.
Jade and Calliope proceed to talk about trollsonas, which I don’t have much to say about other than that we haven’t seen Jade so enthusiastic about troll roleplaying before, which again might subtly suggest this is a somewhat different Jade.JADE: callie…
JADE: there is something very familiar about you
JADE: are you sure weve never met before?
CALLIOPE: i’m qUite sUre.
CALLIOPE: i woUld certainly have remembered meeting yoU.
JADE: but you did know my name…
CALLIOPE: well, yes.
CALLIOPE: i knew OF yoU.
JADE: i cant shake the feeling that we have spoken before
JADE: maybe in an old dream i cant remember?
Jade obviously isn’t saying Calliope seems familiar to her for no reason. Like, I can’t imagine any reader would get to this point and think, nah, this is all a misunderstanding, no version of Jade could have possibly have met any version of Calliope before, she’s probably just making shit up. This is especially true because Jade has by far the least screen time of the beta kids in Act 6, meaning it wouldn’t be too surprising if we learned that the version of Jade who was crushed to death in a Wizard of Oz reference turned out to have met Calliope in the dream bubbles and she just never told us.* On the other hand, if John met Calliope and said she felt oddly familiar, readers would probably think he’s lying because important events involving him always happen onscreen.
* … FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!!!! I know I said I didn’t want to bring Homestuck^2 up in this post series, but the reveal of Yiffy’s existence, I absolutely hate to admit it, I really do, fits perfectly with how the narrative treats Jade. She has a longtime tradition of having things about her revealed way after the fact, like her trauma involving her grandpa’s death, or her relationship with Davesprite, or hell, even at this point in the comic with the version of Jade we’re seeing here being post-retcon. Fuck, I fucking hate this so much, fuck, fuck, fuck.JADE: what is with this stage?
JADE: is it from one of your memories?
CALLIOPE: i thoUght it was yoUr memory?
JADE: i dont think so
JADE: it would seem to be some sort of imaginary figment that turned into a real object
JADE: i wonder why it looks like a drawing?
JADE: hey why dont you come up here and help me get these curtains open
JADE: since its the only thing weve got in this boring vortex we might as well try to have a little fun!
Jade and Calliope are confused as to why their dream bubble is in an artistic style, but they just roll with it as is standard for Homestuck characters. Dream bubble scenes have always been a way for Hussie to have fun with art styles, now more than ever before.
Jane tries to revive a totally different version of Jade, but Jack doesn’t quite get the memo. It’s clear that he doesn’t know or care about classpect powers, even less so now that he’s a dog.
This, my friends, is the face of pure dog fury.
Jane summons GCat to distract the dogs, and it works perfectly except for the important part, which is letting go of Jade. This scene is reminiscent of a scene in Act 6 Intermission 2, where Jade’s dog instincts get the better of her in an encounter with Jaspersprite; comparing that scene with this scene is one of several pieces of evidence that GCat was created from Jaspers. I’m not exactly sure why Hussie chose not to explicitly show the cat’s creation—maybe he decided it would be fun for readers to put the pieces together, or maybe he just likes having cats be all aloof and mysterious.
Dave asks Jane to confirm she can revive Jade, letting a hot mom joke slip before he flies away to chase the dogs. The panel above shows Dave letting out his true inner heroism, as tends to happen when someone he cares about is in danger. He isn’t “not a hero” or whatever, he just doesn’t have any reason to care about Lord English.
Jane’s brutal cyborg act shatters into a million pieces upon hearing the phrase “johns hot mom”, leading to a one-off gag where she deeply blushes. This scene is funny, but I kind of wish Jane in Act 6 Act 6 had more scenes that weren’t one-off gags. Maybe then, she wouldn’t have turned into an absolute monster in the epilogues, but I don’t know. I’ve already talked way too much about the epilogues in my posts, so maybe I should cut it out for now.
Rose enters the scene at an even more confusing time than when Dave entered. Everyone awake in the scene is currently preoccupied with fighting someone, save for Jane who is taking a moment to process Dave’s Freudian slip, and Jake who is still way up in the sky aggressively believing in Dirk.
Karkat’s horns didn’t disappear, they’re just in a black silhouette like Kanaya’s horns.KARKAT: KANAYA WAIT UP!
KARKAT: YOU KNOW I CAN’T COMPETE WITH YOUR DRINKER FASTNESS.
KANAYA: My What
KARKAT: GOD DAMN IT.
KARKAT: WE’RE MISSING EVERYTHING!
KARKAT: HOW MUCH BULLSHIT IS IT THAT WE’RE PRETTY MUCH THE ONLY TWO ASSHOLES LEFT WHO CAN’T FLY?!
KANAYA: It Really Is Such Bullshit
After Rose observes a few things going on, Karkat and Kanaya enter the scene with their bare feet, with Karkat’s line about lacking any natural fast method of going places inviting worry about what will happen to him. This worry is somewhat rightful knowing the events of [S] GAME OVER, but not so much about him specifically because almost everyone in the scene dies in that flash.
KARKAT: WHAT THE FUCK
DAVE: cant talk chasing dogs
ARANEA: Dirk, how long did you want our standoff to last?
Dave is unfortunately too preoccupied with being a hero to get Karkat up to speed. With Karkat’s own heroic traits, however, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to figure out what’s going on.
ARANEA: Don’t get me wrong. I am flattered you seem to enjoy my company so much.
ARANEA: 8ut you are missing a golden opportunity to sever my arm while I’m preoccupied with overconfident 8lather.
ARANEA: Really, you would 8e doing me a favor 8y taking my arm.
ARANEA: It would 8ring me that much closer to following in the footsteps of my true self.
ARANEA: She was a very successful pir8, you know. She lost her arm in 8attle to a cunning adversary she underestim8ted, much like yourself.
ARANEA: Won’t you help me 8ecome who I was always meant to 8e?
DIRK: Shut up.
DIRK: I’m not going to cut off your arm.
Here, Aranea is clumsily pretending to replicate her post-scratch self’s life in a way that Brain Ghost Dirk obviously won’t fall for. It kind of makes sense that she’d try to do that, because she always knew a great deal about the many correspondences and parallels between the Beforan trolls, Alternian ancestors, and Alternian trolls. She almost comes off as a little desperate here with how blatantly she’s trying to lead Dirk into cutting off her arm, which in a way makes me feel bad for her. She’s just so incapable of functioning as a regular person that she has to make everything about herself to compensate.
DIRK: It’s such an obvious trap.
DIRK: You’ll just put me to sleep or something. With your psychic powers, or maybe a long story.
DIRK: I have a better idea.
DIRK: If I can’t get the ring off your finger,
DIRK: I’ll rip the soul out of your body.
Aranea is woefully unaware of how many people in the scene have cool powers aside from her and Jake, as this image demonstrates:
EB: you screamed in 64 bit.
Vriska has had a longtime pattern of cutting straight to the final boss without caring about specifics, but Aranea takes this to a whole new level that bites her in the ass again and again.
Speaking of Vriska, it’s finally time to write a gazillion more paragraphs about her! But not before we stop to appreciate Aradia sitting on top of the tower, eagerly watching the destruction of paradox space. I can imagine her eating a fresh bag of popcorn, or whatever the troll word for popcorn is. How about “cinema kernels”? I think I like the sound of that, actually. The troll word for popcorn is now officially cinema kernels.VRISKA: To 8e honest, I don’t even want to hear any more.
VRISKA: Next time you have an upd8 on what my ancestor has 8een up to, please just keep it to yourself.
This scene is off to a strong start with this line. Vriska tells us that she feels subjected to self-loathing whenever Meenah tells her what Aranea is up to, which makes sense because she’s quite clearly always thought of Mindfang as a significant part of herself.
This is an endearing panel that plants a seed for a ship that goes in a very awkward direction when Hussie noticed fans pointing out Vriska and Meenah’s age difference. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though, so I’ll just talk about them in a platonic manner. I have absolutely no idea why the name of an ancient Greek philosopher wormed its way into the standard English word for non-romantic friendship, but I guess that’s what we’re stuck with.MEENAH: you sure
VRISKA: It’s em8arrassing!
VRISKA: I cringe every time I think a8out her self-indulgent exploits.
VRISKA: Doesn’t she realize this sort of thing never works?
VRISKA: You don’t just go and insert yourself into the middle of all the action in the most hamfisted way possi8le just 8ecause you can’t stand another second 8eing out of the spotlight.
VRISKA: That always goes horri8ly for everyone.
VRISKA: Even worse, it ends up making you look like an idiot.
VRISKA: And even MORE worse, it’s making ME look like an idiot 8y associ8tion!
VRISKA: Why couldn’t she have thought this through a little more?
Vriska’s words so far mostly speak for themselves, but I disagree with one of her points: I think Aranea’s exploits make Vriska looks like much less of an idiot by comparison. Vriska’s goal was always to confront whoever she thought the final boss was head-on and kill it, not some weird kind of alpha timeline overwriting bullshit. She did successfully deal the final blow on the black king, which naturally means she’d be even more excited to take on the real final boss (first Bec Noir and then Lord English), because following the “final boss” with the real final boss is very common in video games. But now that Aranea is smearing her presence all over the story under the pretense of erasing Lord English from existence, Vriska is completely burnt out on all things heroic.
VRISKA: Why couldn’t she have at least TOLD us first?
MEENAH: shruggin ma shoulders yo
VRISKA: How is it that I understand this and she doesn’t?
For Vriska, Aranea’s evil turn is an enormous betrayal and gut punch. Vriska surely remembers that she never told anyone before attempting to defeat her various purported final bosses, and only after looking into a metaphorical mirror does she realize how messed up that is.
VRISKA: She’s HOW much older than me?
VRISKA: Like a 8ajillion dream 8u88le sweeps or something?
VRISKA: All that experience and wisdom, and she’s out there floundering around like fucking noo8.
I think spending so long in the dream bubbles may be part of why Aranea reentered the waking world so screwed in the head. She could have used that experience to better herself as a person… well, OK, she certainly thinks she’s bettered herself as a person, but you get what I mean.
VRISKA: It’s so disheartening. She wants to 8e like Marquise so much, just like I used to.
I can imagine Hussie writing this line very easily: while writing Vriska’s rant about Aranea, he noticed that “floundering” is a fish-related word, then decided to make it an instance of Vriska picking up on Meenah’s speech habits as the latter quietly points out.
VRISKA: 8ut she is NOTHING like her!
VRISKA: You kind of need to have a fuck ton of experience doing, you know… a lot of ruthless pir8tey shit 8efore you can pull that off?
VRISKA: You can’t just 8e a 8ookish dwee8 all your life, then suddenly decide to flip the 8adass switch and expect people to take you seriously.
The phrase “ruthless pir8tey shit” endearingly shows that despite her love of pirates, Vriska doesn’t really know how they function other than being cool and badass. It’s just like the scene where she gave her pirate ship crew rank names that sound cool without knowing what they mean. Honestly, I think it’s totally fine to just think pirates are awesome and nothing more. Among the many things Vriska almost certainly did wrong, obsessing over pirates isn’t one of them.
VRISKA: Also, to truly pull that off, it MIGHT help to actually 8e a goddamned adult.
Vriska has plenty of experience with nerdy goobers—she learned from Tavros and John that you can’t magically make a bookish dweeb stop being such a bookish dweeb, let alone stop being perceived as such a bookish dweeb.
VRISKA: I know, I must 8e totally off my swaychair for suggesting it. 8ut may8e, just MAY8E, there are certain roles and 8ehaviors which are 8est left to fully developed, grown ass people!
VRISKA: Not to sound like a wet 8lanket, 8ut my ancestor’s journal contained some EXTREMELY mature content!
VRISKA: So now we have yet another stupid kid trying to fill the 8oots of a legendary pir8 queen, and it’s amateur hour all over again.
VRISKA: All I can see in her is me when I used to……..
VRISKA: And it makes me want to……..
MEENAH: stop movin around all angry
Though I have largely been talking about how Aranea is much worse than Vriska so far in A6A6I2, from Vriska’s perspective I can really see why she’d be so disgusted with Aranea’s actions. It hurts to see someone who has a lot common with you turn into such a monster—to Vriska, it must feel like she’s looking in a mirror and seeing only the very worst parts of herself.
MEENAH: you fuckin me up here
VRISKA: I’m just dismayed 8y some of the implic8tions of her actions.
VRISKA: Is this really how I came off when I used to pull this sort of shit?
MEENAH: dunno wasnt there
VRISKA: I have a sickening feeling it was just like this.
VRISKA: No wonder no8ody could stand me.
VRISKA: And here I am, 8itching at my ancestor like I know 8etter, like I’ve evolved 8eyond all that.
VRISKA: Have I really?
VRISKA: Do I go around thinking I’m smarter than I used to 8e, 8ut end up repeating all the same old patterns without even realizing it?
VRISKA: Was the plan to find this treasure and 8uild an army just a rest8tement of my immature, egomaniacal 8ullshit disguised as a more “strategically sensi8le” plan?
VRISKA: If I can apparently keep kidding myself a8out this crap forever, then how would I know the difference?
VRISKA: I guess the thing I h8 most a8out her stunt isn’t that it’s a dum8 plan, or that we weren’t included.
VRISKA: It’s that it’s making me wonder if I can trust any of my own judgments, even after all this time.
MEENAH: thats some baller inward reflection serk
Like I’ve been saying in the last few posts, I think Aranea fits the pattern of Beforan trolls stretching their dancestors’ traits to the point of unrecognizability. But from Vriska’s perspective, Aranea is in the dead center of the uncanny valley. I think her perception of Aranea has to do with how obsessed Serkets are with themselves—she knows herself well enough that it greatly puts her off to see someone so similar to herself wreaking such utter havoc.
VRISKA: I don’t know a8out that.
VRISKA: If it’s so 8aller, why is it making me feel like shit?
MEENAH: thats what its supposed to do i think
MEENAH: but like
“Tempurarily” is a top tier fish pun right there. I like how you only have to change one letter in “temporarily” to make over half of the word fish related; add another R after that and it becomes a mediocre cat pun (tempurrarily).
Fish pun talk aside, Meenah is right about to discuss her shortcomings and how she copes with them, which is led into by her not knowing much about how to do self-reflection.VRISKA: I guess.
VRISKA: What a8out you?
VRISKA: Does any of this reson8 at all?
VRISKA: I know you used to stir up shit with your friends.
VRISKA: You must have done some outrageous things which you thought were necessary for the good of the team. When you look 8ack, do you ever wonder what you were thinking? Or if you ever truly evolved?
VRISKA: Oh, come on.
VRISKA: Don’t leave me hanging in self dou8t lim8o here.
VRISKA: Gimme SOMETHING, Peixes.
MEENAH: i dont know maybe??
MEENAH: sea my thing is
MEENAH: i dont verbally torture my cray schemes like all the serket girls
MEENAH: and that works ok for me
MEENAH: guess i made some mistakes but who really gives a flip
VRISKA: You don’t care if you make mistakes?
MEENAH: not like you and she do
MEENAH: araneas deal is
Meenah demonstrates here that she’s just as capable of straddling the line between hero and villain as the Serkets are, but for the exact opposite reasons. For example, think back to the exposition sequences in the Openbound games where we learn about the crazy relationship drama with Damara that led to the failure of the Beforan session, which Meenah indisputably played a significant part in. However, Meenah doesn’t beat herself up or even think much about that whole situation because of her apathy towards matters that put so many other characters through tumult—she knows that this was all a bunch of predestination nonsense in the end. The Condesce takes that apathy to a much more extreme degree, with her brutal stomp all over human civilization due to not understanding or caring how humans work.
MEENAH: what shes doin now isnt much different from how she always did stuff
MEENAH: the stuff she does is never about the things shes actually doing
MEENAH: its about what those things M-EAN and makin sure everyone KNOWS what they mean
MEENAH: and above all makin sure everyone understands how important she is cause shes obviously the source of all that critical M-EANING without which all action would be pointless right?
This is some very interesting analysis of Aranea! Meenah gives us strong implications that Aranea has always perceived her reality as a narrative in which she is the protagonist, which makes sense considering the expository way she talked about her teammates in the Openbound games. Because of Aranea’s subtly (and now not at all subtly) villainous relationship with the narrative, it makes sense that she didn’t play a major part in the almost entirely inessential* events of the Beforus session, because essentiality the way I see it is all about how important something is to the reader’s understanding of the story. She did bring Meenah’s corpse to her quest cocoon and also ascended to god tier herself, which makes sense because they’re the only two Beforan trolls who play a major role in Homestuck’s story.
* Feel free to refer back to the section of this post where I talk about truth, relevance, and essentiality.MEENAH: but thats not how i rolled
MEENAH: i just
MEENAH: did shit
MEENAH: and the shit i did
MEENAH: meant only the things the shit accomplished
MEENAH: and if that shit accomplished a dumb thing that sucked
MEENAH: then i guess thats what you call a mistake and oh fuckin well
MEENAH: mistakes aint make me feel too bad since i dont really connect results with my shelf worth
MEENAH: ya feel me
Meenah’s explanation of her relationship with mistakes (or lack thereof) gives off a moral of sorts, namely that everyone makes mistakes and it won’t serve you well to perpetually mope about yours. She’s a rather extremist case of not dwelling on your mistakes, which is just as much why she’s a hero as why the Condesce is a villain.
VRISKA: That is so right on.
VRISKA: If you asked me a long time ago, I’m sure I would have insisted that’s exactly how I felt a8out everything I did too.
VRISKA: 8ut I don’t know if that’s true anymore.
VRISKA: In fact, I’m sure that WASN’T true.
VRISKA: I was always invested as hell in the consequences of everything I did, and how it made me look.
VRISKA: And how it made me feel a8out myself especially.
MEENAH: ok i will admit
Vriska reveals a severe disparity between her perception of herself and her true self, which is something she’s only now realizing. It’s clear that Meenah is her new role model, representing everything Vriska wishes she was—the same role that Mindfang played in Vriska’s youth.
MEENAH: i always felt hella bad about decisions leavin me with less gold
MEENAH: glub damn
MEENAH: feel a tide a shame wash over me just thinkin about going broke
VRISKA: Well of course.
VRISKA: Who the fuck wants to 8e poor?
VRISKA: That’s for losers.
VRISKA: Anyway, I have no idea what to do now.
On a more lighthearted note, it seems that Vriska has started to pick up on Meenah’s comical love for money, which is a bonding moment to lead into the next page.
VRISKA: Her ill-advised power play has ruined everything.
MEENAH: we still have this treasure here
MEENAH: why dont we just do the shit without her
MEENAH: you could whip up another ghost army
MEENAH: march it strait to english and start beatin him down
VRISKA: I don’t think so.
MEENAH: why not
VRISKA: If you want to know the truth……..
VRISKA: When we were manipul8ting all those ghosts, Aranea was doing most of the work.
VRISKA: Her a8ilities are a lot more advanced than mine. I guess 8ecause she’s 8een around for so long?
VRISKA: I was kind of riding her coattails, making it seem like it was a true colla8oration 8etween us.
VRISKA: It was actually very nice of her to allow people to get that impression. She didn’t have to.
VRISKA: I should have just told every8ody that. I guess I wanted to 8elieve it too. Like we were equal partners in crime. Ancestor and descendant united at last, and working gr8 together.
When the conversation topic shifts to the plan to kill Lord English, Vriska admits that her dancestor was a true power player who held the entire plan together, as much as she wanted to believe otherwise. She knows well that being powerful comes at the cost of improficiency* in other areas or overwhelming hubris. I’m reminded once again of the two Vriskas’ discussion of John’s incredible narrative power near the end of the Candy Epilogue, which is one of the biggest instance of extreme power stuck in someone who doesn’t know how to use it.
* Totally a real word, just trust me on this.VRISKA: I hope you don’t think that makes me a huge phony.
MEENAH: why would i give a fish about that
VRISKA: You’re right, you wouldn’t.
VRISKA: I shouldn’t 8e saying needy shit like that.
VRISKA: I’m just a 8it depressed, 8ecause it feels like I’m running out of friends all over again.
MEENAH: i hear you
MEENAH: she ditched me too
MEENAH: cant blame her i guess
MEENAH: what can i say girl loves her piratesona
MEENAH: she wanna be dat pirate chick so bad
MEENAH: who am i to fault ambition
MEENAH: she cast her lure into the lake of cute but dumbass dreams
Vriska is very broken up about Aranea, but Meenah, who was her oldest and dearest friend, is much more apathetic. This difference in feelings matches pretty well with the direction their relationship later goes in: by the time Vriska’s name is parenthesized, she’s extremely giddy and clingy to Meenah, while Meenah is extremely bored with all this. Note that I haven’t been deliberately avoiding talking about post-retcon Vriska; it’s just that there’s already plenty to say about this dialoglog without bringing her up.
MEENAH: i think her mindfang ideal is ridic to be lochness with you
MEENAH: that journal man
MEENAH: tales from the pirate who wont shut up
MEENAH: but then
MEENAH: im not one to talk about hero worship
MEENAH: i think my adult self happens to be the best best greatest most perfect beautiful woman —–EV—–ER an if you axed me if i wanted a crack at her job id be like glub yes put me down for T)(AT
MEENAH: so i legit hope it works out for her
MEENAH: but yeah
MEENAH: that dont mean i didnt get ditched
MEENAH: and that just
MEENAH: makes me reel sad
MEENAH: you sure we cant salvage the plan without her
Though Meenah would gladly take an opportunity for relevance just as much as the Serkets, at least she has the decency not to brute force her way into relevance, especially not at the cost of ditching her friends. She also has the decency to admit to idolizing everything about her grown-up self.
VRISKA: I don’t know.
VRISKA: The way I was picturing it, a major feature of the original three pronged approach was to use the army to lead a first wave assault against him.
VRISKA: Then while he was preoccupied 8y all those ghosts swamping him, I would go in for the kill with the secret weapon.
VRISKA: So without an army, I guess we’d need to get close enough to him to use it 8efore he killed us.
MEENAH: like uh
MEENAH: sneak up on him?
VRISKA: I guess.
VRISKA: 8ut I get the feeling Lord English is not the kind of guy you can just sneak up on.
MEENAH: kay what if
MEENAH: i found some way to teleport over to him
MEENAH: and i beat the shit out of him with my wrestling moves
MEENAH: then you bust out the weapon
VRISKA: That would 8e awesome, if somewhat implausi8le.
VRISKA: I guess we can think it over.
VRISKA: 8ut if we’re getting real here, this has all made me feel pretty lukewarm on the plan. VRISKA: Aranea checking the fuck out. And me recoiling at her hu8ris, which is o8viously just……..
VRISKA: My OWN 8ullshit, getting thrown 8ack in my face?
VRISKA: It’s a 8it much.
VRISKA: You have to 8e a8le to trust your own judgment to make good plans, right?
VRISKA: I don’t know if I do anymore.
VRISKA: I certainly don’t right now.
VRISKA: Remem8er when our crew started re8elling against me in that cave, and I was kind of lashing out?
Now it’s Vriska’s turn to admit something: due to having Aranea’s hubris reflected all over her, she’s lost interest in defeating Lord English. She doesn’t even find it exciting anymore, now that she gets to be in an outsider’s shoes and watch a Serket clumsily attempt glory.
VRISKA: I think I might have 8een forcing it a little?
VRISKA: Like that whole dramatic speech I gave when I jumped into the flaming pit.
VRISKA: Was that really a genuine thing, or like, a desper8te last attempt to 8e who I think I should 8e?
MEENAH: that was badass though
MEENAH: i mean yeah you were chewin the scenery an being hammy as fuck but i thought it was cool and kinda funny
VRISKA: It wasn’t supposed to 8e funny though!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Ah man.
When reflecting on the dramatic speech she gave after John doubted her morale in A6I5, Vriska realizes that it probably came off as performative in retrospect. In my post covering that part of the comic, I analyzed that speech as Vriska talking to the reader, so it makes sense that the now mellowed out Vriska would think that whole speech she gave didn’t mean anything at all. It also makes sense that Meenah would find that speech amusing, because it probably reminded her of Aranea’s similarly metafictional flavor of hubris.
VRISKA: I really don’t know what to do.
VRISKA: I’m too depressed to think proactively a8out any of this.
VRISKA: May8e the truth is I don’t even care all that much if anyone stops Lord English.
VRISKA: I think all I really cared a8out was getting to do it myself.
MEENAH: thats a good enough reason if you ask me
MEENAH: but hey if you aint feelin it you aint feelin it
VRISKA: What if we just……..
VRISKA: Gave up on the mission?
MEENAH: gave up
VRISKA: What do you think.
VRISKA: You don’t think that would 8e a wussy move?
MEENAH: well yeah
MEENAH: it would be
MEENAH: if a couple of cowards did it
MEENAH: but that aint us
MEENAH: so we cool to do whatev
VRISKA: That’s a very good point.
MEENAH: nofin wrong with stickin a fork in a shit idea that just makes you miserable
The final section of Meenah and Vriska’s conversation provides a moral of sorts: that sometimes in life, it’s OK to just give up. If you don’t see something through to the end, chances are you’ll have taken a lot away from it regardless, which these two demonstrate perfectly.
MEENAH: hell the best choice i ever made involved givin up
MEENAH: one day i said
MEENAH: fuck da throne
MEENAH: ran off to the moon
MEENAH: thats how this whole crazy mess kicked off
MEENAH: and if i didnt do that
Meenah ends this conversation on a note that at first seems like bragging about how basically everything in Homestuck’s reality came to be…
MEENAH: i wouldnt of met you 38)
… but it ends up as a heartwarming example of the power of giving up. This Vriska/Meenah conversation took up only three pages, but it had an insane amount to digest and several moral lessons to take away from it. It’s also a good place to end this post, since what follows is a return to crazy action scenes.
See you next time as we wrap up pre-Gigapause Homestuck once and for all.