[S] GAME OVER and the rest of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3
^ This image is how I feel about Karkat wearing short sleeves.
Time to finally analyze [S] GAME OVER, a flash that came out on October 25, 2014, the third anniversary of [S] Cascade. As the title may suggest, the flash consists of most of Homestuck’s living main cast either dying or getting critically wounded, so that they may soon be replaced with post-retcon versions of themselves. This retcon character replacement is a very controversial move and for many people weighs down Act 6 in its entirety. I’ve always been bothered by it myself, but a major goal of mine in these posts is to see if it’s really that bad in retrospect.
A cool detail in the Unofficial Homestuck Collection’s version of this flash is that the browser interface switches color schemes along with the website’s background.
Game Over alternates between taking place in Act 6 Act 6 Act 3 (John fighting Caliborn) and Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 (everyone else in the alpha session fighting each other). The flash begins on an incredibly silly note, with a callback to John’s mental breakdown when he discovered his father wasn’t a clown, and his further mental breakdown when he discovered Betty Crocker made Fruit Gushers. The callback is very fitting, because John has mental breakdowns over the absolute stupidest things.
The manga drawings surrounding John clearly indicate that they’re his principal source of anger at Caliborn, which is both amusing and fitting. Honestly, it makes more sense to be angry about those drawings than whatever impact he had on the kids’ story as Lord English, because as Dave said in A6A6I1, he’s responsible in some ass backwards way for them all existing.
Yes, this is what the Unofficial Homestuck Collection looks like. Wonderful, isn’t it?
I’ll just call it the Homestuck Collection from here on out.
After bimbo manga Nepeta smushes John’s face, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 begins with eight shots of characters in the scene, synced with the music (a total BANGER called Carne Vale): Gamzee, Karkat, Terezi, Kanaya, the Condesce, Jane/Aranea, Rose, and Jake. The names are color coded by the art style they’re drawn in. I’ve chosen not to show all eight shots here, which is why I did that color coding. Game Over has a weird mishmash of various art styles that I can’t say works as well as Cascade does. The mix of art styles in these eight shots is awkward here, because most of them are in the same style except for the more crudely drawn Condesce, and Rose who is drawn in a style more like late Homestuck. I wish they were all in the same style that most of them are in.
It’s not very often that I critique the art of Homestuck, since I’m not much of a visual artist. I enjoy reading critiques of Homestuck’s art, which is something that my post series definitely lacks. I figured Game Over was a good excuse to critique the outsourced art that’s so prevalent in post-Gigapause Homestuck.
I can’t help but reminisce on how John was the only beta or alpha kid who went god tier the normal way. He was always the one who played patterns straight, so as to introduce them before the others (especially Jade) subverted them.
After this scene, Dave faces off against the dogs, Aranea lifts the sword and flings Jane off her back, and Kanaya runs up to face Gamzee directly. Not much new here, until THIS happens:
Not shown: Jane’s sleeping body outside the boundaries of the flash.
No, I’m not talking about Karkat suddenly wearing short sleeves (though that does bother me a lot). I’m talking about him outrunning Kanaya, something he’s managed to accomplish despite her rainbow drinker fastness because he’s so determined to kill Gamzee. A major feat on his end before, well…
~~~ PROOFREADING RANT INTERLUDE ~~~
How the fuck did the artists who worked on Game Over (and Hussie, for that matter) not notice the inconsistency with the length of Karkat’s sleeves?! Did the artist working on Karkat’s poses in that scene lose their project files and everyone decided, welp, it’s too late now? It may seem like a trivial thing to complain about, but come on. Long sleeves are an integral part of Karkat’s character; they help convey that deep down (not at all deep down) he’s a dorky nerd obsessed with romance movies. Without long sleeves, he’s not Karkat. That’s like stripping the glasses away from a glasses girl, or the tights away from a tights girl—you can’t just DO that!!! No joke, getting rid of Vriska’s glasses is one of the things I hate most about Homestuck^2, right along with undoing her parenthesization in favor of renaming Earth C’s Vriska to “Vrissy”.
This jarring error regarding Karkat’s sleeve length raises an important point regarding collaborative media: if multiple people are collaborating on media, then please proofread it! Proofread it over and over, a million times over, until you’re sick of proofreading. It so clearly shows that Homestuck^2, or at least the writing, was hardly proofread at ALL, with its numerous grammar mistakes, continuity errors, words that the characters would normally never use, and worst of all, inconsistency with typing quirks. And no, I don’t give a FUCK if any of those mistakes are intentional as I’ve so heard. If you have to say something is bad on purpose, then you’ve failed at making it bad on purpose. “Bad on purpose” is actually the most annoying fucking thing, but I could rant about that some other time.
~~~ END PROOFREADING RANT INTERLUDE ~~~
It’s quite generous of the story to give Karkat one last proud achievement (outrunning Kanaya) before he’s mercilessly killed.
Welp, there’s that. Goodbye, Karkat. 😦
Looks like some of Gamzee’s wounds have already started to heal.
… Gamzee kills him, in a callback to Vriska killing Tavros. He stabs Karkat in both the holes of his zodiac symbol, just as Tavros was stabbed in the one hole of his symbol. The biggest difference is that Karkat was killed with someone else’s weapon (Terezi’s canes), not his own. Almost every death in this flash occurs through a cruelly ironic weapon. In Karkat’s case, his murder weapon was that of his dear friend Terezi, which is much more cruel than Tavros getting killed with his own weapon.
Karkat’s death leaves Terezi in tears, no doubt feeling like an especially miserable failure right now. But this won’t stop her from acting revenge; far from it, in fact. It only hardens her desire for utter justice.
How could Karkat die with any expression other than this one?
To ensure there’s no way anyone could possibly revive or heal Karkat, his body falls into the lava, which has the bonus of being completely heartwrenching. Even though Jane had already used up her revival powers on Karkat as a demonstration, I’m sure there would be plenty of other ways to heal him with the characters’ vast arrays of god tier powers. Or there would have been, if his body wasn’t getting burnt to a crisp.
Hey, Karkat’s sleeves are the correct length again!
The last we see of this timeline’s Karkat is his arm, in a callback to an iconic scene near the end of the trolls’ arc where he almost opens the victory door before being interrupted by an at the time mysterious demon. This is certainly one of the more unusual callbacks in this flash; the only things this scene has in common with Karkat reaching for the door are that (1) they’re soul-crushing and (2) they involve Karkat.
Also, I must say Karkat was a very effective first choice for who to kill in this flash, for the exact opposite reasons as Jade before Game Over began. Karkat was easily the most vulnerable of the characters in the scene, having no special powers or other forms of resilience. With him gone, all bets are off as to what will happen to everyone else. The question is not who will die, but who will survive.
I like how Jake extends past the flash’s boundaries, to emphasize his interruption of the scene.
After Kanaya lashes out at Gamzee, it’s time to see what Aranea is up to. As Aranea is about to kill Jane, Jake steps in and does something only he would do: put himself in the way of the sword attack so that it kills two people instead of one. A rather foolish move that I’ll offer three interpretations of.
Interpretation 1: Jake tried to do the cool action movie thing of taking the bullet for a dear friend. Unfortunately for him, Aranea didn’t fire a bullet at Jane, but rather a sword. This is a simplistic interpretation that fits with Jake’s love of action movies, but maybe not with how he sees the best in everyone.
Interpretation 2: Jake wanted to stop Aranea from killing Jane. He thought Aranea was misguided in thinking Jane was evil and wanted to tell her Jane is a good friend of his just like any other. I like this interpretation because Jake always sees the best in everyone and I doubt he would suddenly perceive Aranea as a villain so shortly after recovering from his Super Saiyan form. The main problem with this interpretation is that it might not match his death’s verdict as heroic as well as the others do.
Interpretation 3: Jake knew he couldn’t stop Jane from being killed, but he decided that if Jane goes down, he should go down with her. Matches with his death’s heroic judgement, but I’m unsure he would think that far ahead.
Among these interpretations, I think I like the second one the most, but they’re all pretty plausible to me. One thing is certain: this was an extremely Jake thing to do.
The musical timing in Jake’s death is very interesting. While Karkat’s death was drawn out over most of an entire section of Carne Vale, Jake is impaled the moment the music moves onto the next section, which effectively shows that Karkat was merely the first of many more casualties to come.
In this image, you can still make out Jack Noir’s characteristic surly expression.
Dave starts a fight against the dogs, who finally drop Jade’s body. One of the dogs was at one point the main antagonist of Homestuck; the other was at one point a friend of his beloved Mayor. Pretty weird that these two dogs—Jack “Bec Noir” Noir and PM which has stood for three different things—are such longtime rivals, but now they’re both pitted against Dave. But it makes sense that Dave’s mindset would shift to that. He doesn’t act as a hero simply when people tell him to; he does when someone he cares about is at stake, in which case he’s ready to face off against anyone antagonizing them. In a way, this makes him the opposite of John, who has a long-running pattern of doing what others tell him to.
Way to go, Jake. You’ve just gotten yourself into an alpha kid kabob.
The same section of Carne Vale that starts with Jake’s death ends with Jane’s death. Since I didn’t say it when Jake died, I’ll talk about the weapon that was used to kill these two: Brain Ghost Dirk’s sword. It’s another one of these weapons whose use in Game Over is symbolic in a rather upsetting way. I view the sword’s use as symbolic of the unfortunate thing about Dirk: his splinters all instigate doom, whether he likes it or not. Keep in mind that the definition of a prince includes one who destroys using their* aspect, which fits Dirk well as a heart player oh god did I just do some actual classpecting please forget you read that and move on.
* I used to deny it, but now I believe that gender-exclusive classes are some nonsense Calliope made up, just like the whole passive/active scale thing. That’s why I said “their” instead of “his”. And unlike what I said in a post from 2015, I no longer see any problem with “they” as a gender neutral pronoun. In fact, I heavily encourage it over “he or she”.
Also, holy shit that post from 2015 was exactly 100 posts ago.
Flipping back to Act 6 Act 6 Act 3, Game Over switches to an incredibly silly tone with John fighting Caliborn. It’s interesting that the alpha session’s portions of Game Over are in varied art styles while John and Caliborn’s sections are entirely in Hussie’s style. This artistic difference helps contrast the two sides of the flash tonally. Such is the benefit of Homestuck using outsourced art mostly just in dramatic flashes; it helps those flashes feel more special and provides a humorous juxtaposition with Caliborn’s portions of Game Over.
Both sides of Game Over, however, are filled to the brim with visual callbacks, which helps unite the sides despite their contrasting tones. The image above is a callback to Brobot punching Jake’s glasses off his face, and I think it’s also a callback to Doc Scratch beating up Spades Slick? Lots of scenes in Homestuck are callbacks to Doc Scratch beating up Spades Slick, if that’s even the first scene of that nature, I really can’t remember.
Disregarding the labyrinthine whereabouts of callbacks, John and Caliborn’s fighting is hilarious and needs little commentary. It features such textual gems as “egbert kick!” and “dudebro slap”. However, when John and Caliborn wrestle over the latter’s gun, we get an interesting glimpse at the outside of Caliborn’s command station:
Caliborn’s gun is strong enough that its bullets can pierce through the roof of his command station.
It’s really interesting how Caliborn’s session heavily messes with the usual patterns of a Sburb session, shifting the common setpieces around to put them in new contexts much like the hard mode of a video game might do. In this case, just as Caliborn’s home planet (Earth) is the same planet where his adventure takes place, his command station isn’t used by any sort of exile, but rather the player himself to mess around in. Such differences remind you (by which I mean remind me) that Sburb is still a video game despite it all and does things video games are prone to do.
I also must say, the design of Caliborn’s command station based on Lil’ Cal is really cool. It integrates elements of the Sburb symbols very well to still be recognizable as Cal, even including the missing tooth. The spirograph cheeks are an especially nice touch.
I tried and failed three times to screenshot this scene at the right moment, so I gave up and used a YouTube upload of Game Over. Hope that’s OK.
Caliborn slaps John, John responds by biting his arm, Caliborn responds to that by pulling his underwear, and John responds to THAT by ripping his cape. The altercation cuts off here, on a victorious moment for John. It’s a good pacing choice to end this section with a moment of triumph before we resume the alpha session’s cast dropping like flies.
How on EARTH did she…
Well, I guess she was just that angry at him for killing Karkat.
The Murderstuck callback pile doesn’t stop from getting taller. But before I talk about the callback pile’s persistently increasing height, I’d like to talk about Gamzee’s headache-inducing clown nonsense.
When Kanaya saws Gamzee in half, half of him smiles and the other half frowns, which is reminiscent of the weird split self thing that Gamzee had going on in that pesterlog with Karkat when he first turned evil, but then never again. The return of Gamzee’s apparent split personality right as he’s (probably???????) killed demonstrates something Hussie has talked about in his book commentary: everything involving Gamzee works in whichever way is currently most convenient for the story, and his motives often are completely incomprehensible. He is the complete antithesis of logical sense and reason; a fallback character who interestingly parodies the concept of plot devices. Homestuck has such a complicated plot that I kind of can’t blame Hussie for using Gamzee whenever he doesn’t know how to resolve a plot point. Not that Gamzee splitting in half is a plot point; it just reminded me of the unfathomable nature of clown nonsense.
Remember when Kanaya said she was done with trying to kill Gamzee?
How foolish to think she’d resign that plan.
Now it’s time to talk about the callback pile which, in case you forgot, doesn’t stop from getting taller. Kanaya looks even more furious here than she did when she was about to kill Eridan. Her killing Gamzee is just a more extreme reprise of her killing Eridan: the purple-blooded troll is far more despicable, killed someone far closer to Kanaya, and got a far more brutal payback with far more blood.
Even Terezi is shocked at all this blood. She seems surprised and probably a little grossed out that Kanaya had it in her to do this. Terezi’s narration remarked that Tavros’ brown blood smelled completely stinky in his murder scene so long ago; I wonder how Gamzee’s blood smells to her right now? Certainly not like delicious grapes. Maybe more like pungent ink and rotten plums, plus a dash of painfully mediocre Faygo. (Well, it’s been years since I last drank Faygo, so maybe in the future I’ll drink it and suddenly really like it, but I’m not counting on it.)
Meanwhile, Dave is putting a respectable fight against Noir and the Monarch. Not one, but two notoriously tough carapacians with first guardian powers and various other abilities granted by all their prototypings. Bec Noir has always been a tough opponent, with Rose, an envisioned Vriska, and John the only ones managing to put up a fight against him without first guardian powers. The Monarch is a tough opponent even to Noir, and yet Dave is holding up against both, at least for the time being, all for the sake of his good friend Jade.
The Condesce contributes to the mayhem by unleashing her eye beam attack, which Aranea narrowly avoids. At this point, it’s strangely relieving to see her survive an attack, because so many others have been mercilessly killed. As I said earlier in this post, Game Over is now a matter of who will survive.
Caliborn would be very surprised that in this scene, only some of The Bitches remain.
This image shows how much the cast has been decimated not even halfway through the flash. It’s already a lot more sparse than it was at the end of A6A6I2 and some of them haven’t gotten their chance to shine yet.
Terezi is knocked back by the force of the Condesce’s beams. Kanaya, on the other hand, is hit directly. The beams hit Kanaya right as the melancholy interlude section of Carne Vale begins, providing readers some time to absorb all the deaths before the action resumes. It’s a fitting point to pause the action, because Kanaya’s death is easily the hardest hitter yet, both for the character being killed and the reader. Much like Karkat, Kanaya needed an especially brutal death to ensure no one could revive her; even more with her because of rainbow drinker immortality or whatever.
The background of the website darkens to accompany the verdicts of the god tier players’ deaths thus far. First off is Dave, whose death at the hands of both dogs is another hard hitter, but not a massive surprise—it was two against one after all. I think it was a surprisingly logical choice to have both of the dogs stab Dave at the same time, so that his death is neither solely at the hands of Noir nor of the Monarch. If only Jack killed him, readers would perhaps criticize PM for being useless; if only PM killed him, they would no doubt go all like, “PM you BASTARD, how could you DO that to Dave, he’s friends with your BEST FRIEND, the MAYOR, AAAAAAGH”. Both the dogs killing Dave perfectly conveys the dogs’ unexpected alliance and Dave’s unexpected rivalry against them both, all for the sake of trying to save Jade.
Dave couldn’t beat those power players, but he made a noble effort. As such, it’s no surprise his death is ruled heroic. I can only think about his heroism arc, his whole thing of not even wanting to be a reluctant hero. His reluctance was merely a result of not caring about whoever people say he’s supposed to fight. Instead, he cares about protecting his friends at whatever cost. We saw this when he risked his life to save the Mayor from falling into lava, and to less successful results now when he took on two first guardians to try to save Jade.
As Kanaya is vaporized, Rose is driven to tears. Not often is she driven to tears; the last time I think was when her mother was killed, and you know how she reacted to that. She’s outgrown grimdarkness by now, so it’s no surprise that this time her retaliation is in pure Lalondian vengeance.
While the website’s background remains dark, a few other scenes pass by and twirl the flash’s mood around. First a lapse of humor with John punching Caliborn, then a bit of “Jake why would you do that” with his and Jane’s bodies falling down, followed by a dose of “FUCK YOU ARANEA” with Terezi confronting her.
And to finish the interlude of Game Over, Jake’s death is judged heroic, and Jane’s death is judged just. These rulings were quite a bit more controversial than Dave’s and led to debates to the point where Hussie wrote a news post explaining the reasoning behind all their judgements when Rose’s death was judged heroic some time after Game Over. While it’s always a joy to read Hussie’s commentary on his work, or anyone’s commentary on their work for that matter, I think it’s more interesting to give my own insight into these rulings, death of the author and all.
As for Jake’s judgement, he clearly intended something good when he jumped in the way of Aranea’s attack—I had offered three interpretations as to what that something was. Although he didn’t accomplish what he intended to, I don’t think a miscalculation on a god tier player’s part would prevent them from being judged heroic, and Jake’s blunder was rather average by his standards.
As for Jane’s judgement… there’s a lot you can take away from the fact that her death was judged just instead of neutral. It strongly implies that her actions as Crockertier Jane were not entirely out of the Condesce’s volition. She quite clearly did a lot of bad things that she may have deep down wanted to even without the tiaratop. Think of it like uncovering her true worst intentions, locked under a sweet and kind exterior no longer. She certainly did a lot more bad than Grimbark Jade, whose death was maybe influenced by Aranea’s psychic powers.
Not shown: the planets extending past the boundaries of the flash.
A tall white pillar is nowhere to be found on LOLAR, which implies Rose’s built-up house was at the center of this crash.
And with that, the website’s background changes back to normal and the second half of Carne Vale begins. Faced off against the still resilient Terezi, Aranea crashes LOLAR (Rose’s planet) into LOFAF (Jade’s planet, where the chaos is taking place). This planet collision is considerably more of simple spectacle than the first half of the flash, but if you watch this flash attentively you can eliminate the two planets that aren’t crashed into each other and catch some delicious foreshadowing of who survives this destruction.
With her battleship wrecked, the Condesce intervenes in the situation. While Aranea is about to crash LOCAH (Jane’s planet) into LOFAF to finish Terezi off, the Condesce makes it crash into LOHAC (Dave’s planet) instead. Now a bunch of planets are dropping like dead flies, which is very reminiscent of Murderstuck.
Unlike Rose’s house, Dave’s house is outright shown crumbling, along with miscellaneous structures from LOHAC to emphasize the utter destruction.
Speaking of Rose…
When Rose of all characters makes this face, that’s how you know she means REVENGE. She’s one of those characters where if they make an extreme expression, it’s a reliable indicator that the situation presently at hand is really, really bad. It’s much unlike more actively emotional characters like John who gets aggravated at stupid things, Karkat who gets aggravated at everything, or even Roxy who is much more outwardly expressive than her mother/daughter.
While Rose confronts a major villain for killing her loved one, Terezi lashes out at a Serket to bring justice to her fallen friends. Sound familiar? These two seers are subject to plenty of circumstantial simultaneity.
Unlike Vriska, Aranea has the upper hand here and controls Terezi into stabbing herself. Both Serkets have managed to kill, uh… a troll whose name starts with T using their own weapon? Yes, it’s totally an intentional parallel. We all know Serkets HATE the letter T.
For real though, pretty interesting that Aranea ends up killing the first character she talked to onscreen, in the introductory scene where she was all like a friendly version of Vriska.
Instead of using her imprecise eye beam attack again, the Condesce throws her trident at Rose in an act of self-defense. She sees Rose as a danger, perhaps reminded of the rebellious novelist who knew many things she shouldn’t have, and thus repeats what she did to grown-up Rose.
The moment Rose is stabbed, her expression shifts to a stunned one reminiscent of the Murderstuck victims who didn’t resurrect. It’s the type of murder that makes you go “OH SHIT” rather than “NOOOOOOO NOT HER”.
Aranea slams Terezi into the ground, knowing well that Terezi isn’t easy to kill. At this point, the more blows are dealt on Terezi, the less surprising it is how long she lingers.
The Condesce gets ready to finish Rose off with her eye beams and—wait just a moment. Did… did Rose’s corpse (yes yes I know she’s not technically dead yet) close its eyes??? That makes for two jarring inconsistencies in Game Over. It’s not as painfully aggravating as Karkat’s short sleeves, but it’s aggravating no less. I’m actually surprised I only noticed two mistakes; it seems like Game Over was proofread quite well aside from the corpse inconsistency and, for reasons I may never understand, Karkat’s sleeve length.
I guess since Rose isn’t quite dead yet, she could have closed her eyes after getting forked, but that doesn’t make this difference less jarring. Oh whatever, enough nitpicking. Let’s move on to the AWESOME scene that follows.
Roxy’s appearance is such a jaw-dropping surprise. She was asleep for most of A6A6I2 and Game Over, but here she’s finally woken up—perhaps Aranea was too distracted with planet crashing to keep Roxy asleep?—and now she’s ready to be AWESOME. The musical timing helps too: the Condesce blasts out her eye beams during an intense buildup section of Carne Vale, and Roxy’s appearance syncs with the introduction of a tense guitar to lead to the buildup’s climax. Roxy wasted no time trying to process what happened—she noticed Rose was in danger and immediately sprang to action.
Roxy’s expression as she approaches Rose indicates a mix of determination and fear. She’s very determined to save Rose, but also worried it won’t work. She’s risking her life to save Rose, acutely aware of the massive risk she’s taking.
One of the most satisfying scenes in all of Homestuck.
And it works! Roxy exits the scene with Rose’s body using void powers, right as the music releases from its tense buildup; perfectly executed musical timing. Roxy’s expression as she disappears is not relief, but pride in outsmarting her nemesis, the Condesce. At least that’s how I interpret it, which is, you know, the entire point of this post series.
Thanks to Roxy, the Condesce’s beams miss Rose, which is very satisfying. This begins the concluding section of Carne Vale’s second half, where we see what the few remaining survivors are up to.
By pulling her sword out of her chest, Terezi demonstrates that she’s among the survivors. Not that that’s surprising for someone as resilient as her.
Meenah warned you, Aranea.
She WARNED you about her post-scratch self.
But you didn’t listen, did you?
The Condesce grabs Aranea by the neck and screams at her, which just… man. Even other villains hate Aranea, which goes to show how terrible her whole plan was.
We finally return to John and Caliborn and… wait, why does Caliborn have a fedora now? Where did his fedora come from? What in the world could his fedora possibly be symbolic of? Ah, you see, the fedora clearly symbolizes John’s heavy hatred towards mockery of his father, which is why he punches it right off Caliborn. I have not included the punching scene above for, oh, let’s say financial reasons. The fedora’s origin story is completely mysterious, which means it undoubtedly involves the enigmatically nonsensical Gamzee. Gamzee’s involvement is fitting because we all know his chucklevoodoo powers are responsible for John’s dad pretending to get into clowns, which John likely still hates being reminded of. Not just that, the fedora is a dark gray version of Problem Sleuth’s hat, which clearly indicates, uh… fuck, what do I put here… well, you see, it totally, uh…
THIS IS STUPID
Yeah, let’s just get through what little is left of Game Over.
THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR ALL THESE HORRIBLE MANGA DRAWINGS! YOU HAVE DRAWN FAKE DAVES FOR THE LAST FUCKING TIME. YOU HEAR ME, YOU ASSHOLE???
TAKE THAT. AND THAT! AND A LITTLE BIT OF THAT!!! OH YEAH, REAL GOOD. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, YOU SHITHEAD?
John proceeds to beat the shit out of Caliborn in a truly shocking scene. This guy gets actual blood out of that fiendish cherub, all because of annoyance at his manga drawings. The prior humor has been washed away in favor of pure shock.
And then, just like that, John zaps away involuntarily. He had to return to the alpha session at some point, and this is a fitting time to do so.
The ending of Game Over is executed SO perfectly. It’s Caliborn lying on the ground in defeat, in suitably ironic proximity to some plastic horses, trying to process what the FUCK just happened. The music helps a lot: it’s a reprise of the intro of Carne Vale, except now it’s in the same key as the rest of the song, rather than a different key. The key change between the beginning and ending of Carne Vale helps cement the ending’s tone as, well… look at the images above. It’s nothing short of incredible how much his reaction mirrors the reader’s reaction, something Karkat (rest his soul) has also done on plenty of occasions. It’s one of many things Caliborn and Karkat have in common.
I have to say, I find John beating up Caliborn just as worthy of a shocked reaction as everything else that happens in this flash combined. It shows full force that John won’t hesitate to beat up anyone who either he irrationally hates, or is in some way connected to his father’s death (in this case, both). His absurdly muscular father would be so proud of him for what he just did.
The last three notes of Carne Vale are synced to Caliborn reaching for his mouse and closing the curtains, ending Game Over and Act 6 Act 6 Act 3 with one last bit of clever musical timing.
Holy shit, I had a LOT to say about Game Over. Even more words than I had to say about Cascade, which is three times as long as Game Over! Yes, I did a word count because I was curious: 5168 words for Game Over, 4199 words for Cascade (give or take 100 or so depending on how much is counted). Game Over is without a doubt the single flash I commented on the most extensively in my post series so far (unless you count the Openbound games) and I doubt Collide and Act 7 will surpass it, since neither of those are anywhere near as densely packed with content. I’ll give my overall thoughts on Game Over at the end of this post, when I recap A6A6A3 and A6A6I3, but for now it should be clear I had an absolute blast analyzing every last second of it.
I guess LOTAK (Dirk’s planet, where this scene takes place) and LOMAX (Jake’s planet) colliding wasn’t shown in Game Over after all?
Ah well, you know what I meant with the foreshadowing of which planets aren’t destroyed.
With Game Over finished, we resume A6A6I3 to see the final face-off between Aranea and the Condesce. Interesting that this face-off occurs after the flash. I feel it successfully heightens the tension not to have Aranea’s fate in the flash, so that her death sticks out compared to everyone else’s.
With Aranea headlocked, the Condesce flips the Ring of Life right off her hand. Knowing all her sick powers and Meenah’s forewarning, as well as the fact that she’s an alternate version of Meenah in the first place, the Condesce is a very fitting adversary to take down Aranea.
With the Ring of Life gone, all the Condesce has to do now is snap Aranea’s neck. Death by eye beams or a trident would be much too dignified for someone like her.
The Condesce lets go of Aranea, leaving her to fall into a pit of fire. I bet Aranea thought she would go down with more dignity than THAT. Perhaps even die a heroic death, if she were to fail.
And this is the last we EVER see of Aranea. Her eyes fade into white as the flames consume her, symbolizing a proper removal from the story; an obliteration of her daydreams of relevance. Such an erasure is much worse than a character’s death typically is in Homestuck.
ARANEA IS GONE!!!
(imagine the text is surrounded by GIFs of crabs)
And that’s that. Aranea’s death is judged just, which is easily the least surprising ruling of any god tier death in Homestuck. I’m going to borrow a quote from The Acts and Pages of Homestuck that describes Aranea’s legacy far better than I could:
By the end of Homestuck, the whole multitude of troll ghosts joins in a degree of heroism and importance that will not extend to Aranea. She is never seen again.
SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO BE RELEVANT. KEEP DREAMING BITCH!
(yes, the recontextualization of Caliborn’s line is also part of that quote)
John zaps into the scene and boy, did he miss out on a lot. So much destruction, so many deaths, and a feisty spidertroll who thought she was going to be relevant. He drops an iconic one-liner:
JOHN: what the fuck happened here?
These are the only words anyone says in A6A6I3, and I like it that way. It’s a laconic reaction to all the absolute mayhem that just went down; a perfect juxtaposition against the much more dialogue-filled A6A6I4 and A6A6I5.
The usual back button on the bottom left corner is replaced with a picture of Caliborn frowning.
And with that, the curtains close on John’s uneasy expression, ending A6A6I3. Unlike the last few times, Caliborn’s curtains move smoothly towards the center, while still drawn in the same crude style. This variance in curtain transitions demonstrates Caliborn’s artistic experimentation very well, as well as his insistence on keeping some things the same.
Time for an act recap x2 combo!!! Much like the one I did with A6A4 and A6I4.
Act 6 Act 6 Act 3 centers upon an important milestone in Caliborn’s artistic evolution; he’s finally gotten into specific artistic styles, namely manga, and considerably improved while keeping his morbid and sexist sense of humor. The act concludes with John interfering into the scene, which is an important milestone in his rivalry against Caliborn that ends with John giving him an impressive beatdown.
Most of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3’s material is in Game Over, a flash shared between the act and intermission (but mostly the intermission). Retcon complaints or not, Game Over is a fantastic flash that brings out something special from every character involved. All the characters show their most heroic or most vile selves as they either die or, much more rarely, survive the chaos. The act ends with John finally returning to the scene and giving us a memorable one-liner. I used to be annoyed a lot that A6A6I3 was so much shorter than the other Act 6 Act 6 intermissions, but now I like that that’s the case. Sometimes acts don’t need to be hundreds of pages of walls of text to be effective divisions of the story.
This post was quite the doozy! See you next time for, uh… whatever happens in Act 6 Act 6 Act 4. I don’t remember it very well, but my next post will definitely be much shorter than this.