Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 121: sup


< Part 120 | Part 121 | Part 122 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, Part 4 of 8

Pages 7100-7162

Yes, “sup”. That’s what I’ve chosen to title this post.

Sorry this post took so long! Schoolwork has been ramping up this semester, so don’t rule out the possibility of me continuing to be slow.

It’s so weird to process that John completed his planet quest at long last.

The Pipeorgankind flash is followed by a callback to the Myststuck games, with John exploring his newly cleared planet that he warped into the middle of nowhere. The fireflies are no longer confined by the fourth wall and now fly about through the screen’s space, which is quite a charming sight.

All the old setpieces from LOWAS, like the Parcel Pyxis and the salamander village, are still there, which must be a strangely nostalgic sight for John. Not an unwelcome one, though, because he still has plenty more adventures to go through.

Even his dad’s old car is still there, which John surely finds bittersweet. His dad may be long gone, but his legacy—and the Aimless Renegade’s legacy, for that matter—will not be forgotten. He probably feels weird but not too disturbed revisiting these scenes.

This image calls back to the whole Google Maps thing Terezi did in Act 4, which symbolizes how much of a trip down memory lane this must be for John. All his memories of exploring LOWAS are flooding back to his mind (and to my mind). I may find this character just a little unnervingly relatable.

… and then he encounters Roxy, leading to an incredibly silly callback to the final part of Myststuck.

The music playing here isn’t just Elevatorstuck. Rather, it’s Elevatorstuck (with Meows). It’s a very crudely sped up remix of Elevatorstuck, with the intro looping twice with a blatant gap in the audio, followed by silly meows playing to the tune of Elevatorstuck, and then some of that signature blatantly fake guitar that Toby Fox littered all over the second half of the Undertale soundtrack (*cough cough Hopes and Dreams*). It’s a beautifully comedic song for a beautifully comedic scene.

You find a spunky babe in a cool blue outfit hanging out on your planet. She doesn’t belong here! What the hell is going on you wonder loudly.

I imagine John would be less flummoxed if he saw Jade’s grandpa in the scene than he is now, because old man Jake did spend some time in the beta session that John so clearly remembers. Everything on this planet is exactly how John remembers it, so why on earth would Roxy of all people suddenly appear here? This is an absurdly confusing scene for John, with his reaction amplified by his gigantic crush on this girl.

You interrogate the rogue teen babe for answers. You mean girl. Rogue teen girl.

This narration line is a callback to Jake talking about a certain irrelevant spidertroll, if memory serves me. In case it wasn’t obvious enough that John is head over heels for Roxy.

John’s mind goes all weirdly into video game mode, where he can’t help but interpret Roxy as an attractive saleswoman who wants to sell him some potions. His brain screws up what would be a friendly greeting from a cute girl who likes him back and turns it into a bizarre freaky interface haunted with bright pink copies of the word “sup” everywhere he looks. He probably even thinks all the salamanders and fireflies are saying “sup”.

JOHN: roxy???
ROXY: sup

Man, John gets caught off guard by the most ridiculous things, doesn’t he? In this case, he’s surprised by the presence of Roxy. His immediate reaction isn’t relief or excitement that she’s alive and well, but rather completely unwarranted shock.

Roxy probably finds it hilarious how flabbergasted John is at her presence.

JOHN: what are you doing here?
JOHN: i thought you were going to see your denizen!
ROXY: i did
JOHN: you did?
ROXY: yeh
JOHN: how did it go??
ROXY: it went ok
JOHN: yeah?
JOHN: what happened??
ROXY: oh u know
ROXY: ventured to spooky subterranean lair 4 a bit of cathartic and life altering monster realtalk
JOHN: ok, that is a funny way of putting it, but yeah, me too!
ROXY: yup i figured ur monster quest happened
ROXY: i mean once the gross black shit disappeared and the wind started blowing like a motherfucker
JOHN: what did ur monster say?
JOHN: i mean your.

“what did ur monster say?” is one of those gags in Homestuck that could not conceivably work over speech, only over text, which I find rather beautiful. I imagine it was a typo Hussie made by accident and then decided to keep because it was just such a funny instance of Roxy rubbing off on John.

ROXY: hey maybe we shoud try to be more respectful abt our god monsters…
ROXY: her names nix!
JOHN: right…
JOHN: what did nix say?
JOHN: did she speak in the weird babbley language that you could still understand somehow, even though it made no sense?
ROXY: fuck yes
ROXY: was downright incomprehensible in the most mysteriously understandable way
JOHN: ha ha.

John describes something in his clumsy but matter-of-fact way, Roxy describes the same thing in her snappy way, and then John laughs. Or Roxy describes something her way and John describes the same thing his way, and Roxy laughs. That’s what at least 25% of John and Roxy’s interactions amount to and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

ROXY: she told me this riddle thing
ROXY: that basically spread it all out for me
ROXY: like what my options were and what would happen if i did the options and like the metaphysical and moral consequences of doing those options
JOHN: yeah.
JOHN: typheus pretty much did the same thing with me.
JOHN: typheus was the name of my snake monster, by the way.
ROXY: oooh u had a snake monster?
JOHN: yes, he was awesome.

It’s only characteristic of eager video game hero John to describe his denizen as awesome. Although Jade was the one who narrated his planet quest, it’s clear that he found it an enthralling adventure of awesomeness from start to finish.

JOHN: so, did nix give you some sort of challenge to overcome, which by doing so, you could get in touch with your powers?
ROXY: uh
JOHN: which enabled you to appear here, by doing like this incredible voidey thing, that let you phase out of existence, and magically appear with me in this weird plane of reality?
ROXY: lol no
ROXY: she p much just told me to fly to your planet
ROXY: so i did
JOHN: huh.
JOHN: you mean, like…
JOHN: you just… wrapped up your conversation with her. left her lair…
JOHN: and then flew to lowas?
ROXY: yes
JOHN: ohh… kay?
ROXY: lmfao
ROXY: i know right, wow wat a quest!

John is very confused that Roxy’s denizen meeting wasn’t as grandiose as his. There could very well have been more to that meeting than Roxy said, but much unlike John, she summarizes her stories into humble minimal bullet points. Though to be fair, the alpha kids probably never had proper planet quests to complete, being void session players and all.

They’re not just standing next to each other.
They’re… they’re WALKING next to each other.

ROXY: but when u think about it it was the totes obvious thing to do
ROXY: i didnt know it at the time but you were gonna make your whole planet disappear
ROXY: so if i wanted to keep persisting thru your history altering hijinks then all i really had to do was uh
ROXY: come along for the ride
ROXY: no monsterly NITE MAGICS needed!
JOHN: yeah, that makes sense.
ROXY: there were stipulations though
ROXY: mad stips if u will, vis a vis buttloads of opaque goddess riddles
JOHN: right. you mean the “choice” thing?
ROXY: yes
JOHN: what were the mad stips?
ROXY: she said
ROXY: keep in mind i am paraphrasing
ROXY: if paraphrasing is even a thing you can do with stuff said in unfathomable monster jargon
ROXY: that either i could stay behind and vanish into nothingness forever, and everyone in the new reality would inherit all the bigtime responsibilities, including a version of myself who had no memory of any of this and never experienced all the loss and sadness i just went through
ROXY: or
ROXY: i could go with you
ROXY: but in doing so, everyone i loved would know that loss instead
ROXY: w/e that means……

Roxy’s surprisingly uncertain what it means to make others experience the same loss she did. She probably doesn’t consider it a priority to know what that means and isn’t well-versed in the concept of alternate selves anyway. I wouldn’t doubt that she finds it valuable to keep her knowledge of the worst way the alpha session could possibly go down, so that she can help the session succeed this time around (and take down her number one alien queen nemesis).

JOHN: yeah!
JOHN: typheus gave me almost the exact same sort of choice
JOHN: something about other people feeling the loss i felt, if i accepted his challenge.
JOHN: which i’m sure is probably… not good?
JOHN: but, i mean, what else was i going to do?
JOHN: i couldn’t just let things stay the way they were.
ROXY: yes exactly
ROXY: her caveat sounded ominous as shit
ROXY: but
ROXY: there was somethin that didnt sit well with me about doing nothing
ROXY: accepting her terms just felt right u know?
JOHN: yes.
ROXY: sooo
ROXY: here i am
JOHN: yes!

Roxy and John quickly stop knowing what to say to each other, given that they both described identical scenarios they went through. Their dynamic is fucking magical. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s magical.

They’re looking at each other. They’re LOOKING AT EACH OTHER!!!
Why, oh why, does the token heterosexual couple have to be so genuinely cute together???

JOHN: i’m glad it worked out like this.
JOHN: i was fully prepared to do this alone… to hop around and change things in whatever way.
JOHN: and i would get to see my friends again, even if they don’t remember all the same stuff i do.
JOHN: which was a lonely feeling, if that makes sense?
JOHN: but now i’ll have someone else to remember the way things originally went.
ROXY: word
JOHN: yes. word indeed.
ROXY: but i know what you mean
ROXY: its nice to have uh
ROXY: like a witness i guess?
ROXY: someone to authenticate the rough shit u went through
ROXY: even if we never end up talkin about it again
ROXY: the fact that at least SOMEONE else knows
ROXY: makes it feel like it didnt all mean
ROXY: nothing?
JOHN: right.

John is relieved in a somewhat metafictional way to have someone else to remember all these messed-up events that took up a significant portion of the comic, and so is Roxy. This discussion serves to remind us that the events of the pre-retcon timeline did not by any means unhappen—just that only two members of the surviving main cast come from that timeline, and the rest from the post-retcon timeline. This preservation of Roxy and John’s pre-retcon selves strengthens their already strong bond, which as I’ve said before makes the directions their relationship goes in post-canon media gut-wrenching.

ROXY: because even if it all gets erased and put back all better
ROXY: i dont think the stuff we went through and the feelings we had meant nothing
ROXY: imo the feelings themselves
ROXY: and the way they shaped us
ROXY: that all means…
ROXY: somethin
ROXY: hahaha forget it
ROXY: talkin out my ass here
JOHN: no, it makes sense.
JOHN: and anyway, if nothing else, everything that happened brought us here.
JOHN: the stuff we’re about to do, whatever it is, wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
JOHN: and that feels pretty important, if you ask me!

These two truly understand each other like no one else does, right? This mutual understanding hammers their bond even further. Perhaps during the epilogues, a big reason for John’s disconcertment* towards Roxy is because he expects to just naturally understand her motives without having to talk things out. The same may well be true on Roxy’s end, which might be why they never have an honest discussion about their lives until their post-divorce reunion.

* Yet another word that’s totally real, despite what spell check might tell you.

This image shows LOWAS from the same perspective we saw it in at Act 4’s opening walkaround, and it beautifully indicates how far John has come since then. He’s completed not just his planet quest, but a special version tailored to his new retcon powers, with a real, actual love interest who perfectly complements his personality by his side at long last.

These two panels are also great. Please appreciate them before moving on.

ROXY: so
ROXY: all that wind
ROXY: that was you right
JOHN: yes.
ROXY: hmmmmm
ROXY: i dont see any glitchy trash
ROXY: guess your humongous blowy spell did away with all that grody nonsense?
JOHN: oh.
JOHN: yeah, i guess you’re right.
JOHN: i didn’t even notice until you just mentioned it, but yeah, i guess that dumb problem is finally busted.
JOHN: thank god!

John doesn’t know it, but when he says “thank god”, he’s referring to himself because he was the one who cleared out all those glitches. He is the god. It’s him.

ROXY: fo real
ROXY: i heard music 2
ROXY: did u hear music?
JOHN: yes, that was me too.
JOHN: i was playing a magic organ.
ROXY: oh relay
JOHN: yes, see, there’s this huge organ…
ROXY: that is almost certainly what she said
JOHN: oh, shush. :p
JOHN: anyway, this huge PIPE organ…
JOHN: it let me play the breeze, so to speak.

Sorry John, but “this huge PIPE organ” still has approximately an 80% chance of being what she said. A chance that may as well be certainty if you’re a troll. He and Roxy have such a distinct flavor of jocular bicker that you don’t get in any other pair of characters. John and Terezi also have a signature form of bicker, but it’s very different from with Roxy.

JOHN: i think that was the only way to get rid of all those clouds, and let the fire flies go home.
ROXY: this is their home huh
JOHN: i guess so?
JOHN: i am surprised by how my quest turned out too, to be honest.
ROXY: it is kinda bittersweet
ROXY: seeing all of twinkly herberts bros and sisters going home
JOHN: twinkly who?
ROXY: my pet firefly
ROXY: im guessin this is where he was from
JOHN: oh.
ROXY: they all seem happy though
ROXY: look at em all blinkin away
ROXY: into the blank ass yonder
JOHN: heh.

Roxy is quick to connect the dots on the origin of Serenity/Twinkly Herbert, whose origins aren’t made explicit but are obvious to anyone with a brain. Contrary to what a certain song may suggest, Roxy is indeed believing her eyes. Maybe there are only one million fireflies on the planet instead of ten million? Who even knows.

I get the feeling these two may soon tire of counting sheep…

ROXY: why is the sky blank btw
JOHN: it’s blank because it’s…
JOHN: nothing.
ROXY: nothing
ROXY: why is it nothing
ROXY: where even are we
JOHN: it’s nothing because we are literally nowhere.
ROXY: uh
ROXY: ok how can you tell its actually a field of nothingness
ROXY: as opposed to just a bunch of regular empty space that happens to look vaguely neutral
JOHN: how can i tell?
JOHN: i guess i just can.
ROXY: no but how
JOHN: why don’t you ask yourself!
JOHN: you’re the one who asked me why it was blank in the first place.
JOHN: so why did you choose the term “blank” in your question?
ROXY: …..
ROXY: owned @ the philosophies
JOHN: so owned.
JOHN: you will find i am the best there is at those.

Passages like this show that John can be much smarter than he lets on. He just knows that he’s in the middle of nowhere and proves through a contradiction involving the word “blank” that Roxy knows the same.

ROXY: is true
ROXY: im always gettin owned at those by you and ur kin
ROXY: recently your crazy dog sister was schoolin me on perfectly generic cubes
JOHN: you mean generic objects.

By remembering the name of perfectly generic objects, an entity that appears in Act 1 and then never again for thousands of pages, John demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge of the canonical events of Homestuck that rivals even the biggest archetypical nerd characters like Calliope. This memorization of canon is an interesting difference between John and Roxy.

ROXY: generic fort blox :p
JOHN: yes.

This reminder of John’s attachment to canon is followed by a humorous retort from Roxy, demonstrating their jocular bickering.

ROXY: now u are droppin truth bombs about blank skies on me
ROXY: shouldnt i be like innately stellar at this sorta stuff as a void player
ROXY: must be comin off slow as fuck on the uptake here arent i
JOHN: not really.
JOHN: you seem pretty smart to me.
ROXY: i do
JOHN: yeah.
JOHN: you have a funny and snappy way of talking, like dave.
JOHN: but unlike that knucklehead, i sense that behind all your jokes, you are probably some kind of brainiac, like rose.
ROXY: whow
JOHN: don’t get me wrong, i meant knucklehead in a good way.
JOHN: dave is actually the best dude, you would like him.
ROXY: i bet you are correct

John is exceptionally quick to tell what sort of person Roxy is compared to the other girls he’s met. He does a good job comparing her to his friends and perceives her as a fun new friend who happens to have some traits in common with his old friends.

ROXY: so dave…
ROXY: hes uhhhhhh
ROXY: my son right??
JOHN: argh!
JOHN: i mean. yes, pretty much.
JOHN: honestly, it gets weird to think about all our relations in that way sometimes.
ROXY: i getcha
ROXY: like when i think about u and wolfjade being the kids of jane and jake i…
ROXY: i…
ROXY: omfg
ROXY: that SO CUTE :3
JOHN: um.
ROXY: so what is it u thinks weird about dave being my son?
JOHN: i think we should just change the subject!
ROXY: ahaha alright

When Roxy reminds us it’s no coincidence she has traits in common with Rose and Dave, John gets rather uncomfortable. Perhaps he’s reminded of all the crude and vulgar jokes he traded with Dave back in the day—I imagine he feels much weirder about dating Dave’s mom than dating Rose’s mom. His request to change the subject is yet another instance of trying and completely failing to hide his crush on Roxy much to her amusement.

ROXY: what were we talking about again
JOHN: we were talking about blank skies and fort blocks and such.
ROXY: oh yis
JOHN: and you thought you should know more about things like that as a void hero…
JOHN: which reminds me.
JOHN: do you think you are any closer to making that alien egg?
ROXY: hmn
JOHN: i mean, after seeing nix.
JOHN: did you feel, like, a power boost or anything?
ROXY: a power boost???
ROXY: like mega man or
JOHN: no, not like mega man.
JOHN: i mean, like…
ROXY: youre askin if she taught me to do the voidey thing
JOHN: well, did she?
ROXY: naw dude
ROXY: i told you
ROXY: we did our chat in some horseshit elven baloney tongue
ROXY: and she just told me to come here
ROXY: like thats literally it
ROXY: “go to planet if u want to live”
ROXY: so i did
ROXY: there wasnt really any soul searching or gettin in touch with my inner miracles

John still finds it surprising Roxy’s denizen meeting wasn’t as grandiose as his. Perhaps that’s because he says in A6A6I5 that he feels like Roxy has always been one of his friends, so he expects her Sburb story arc to be as heroic and exciting as the beta kids’ arcs.

Could it be that denizens have a slightly different role in void sessions from regular sessions? I think that just might be the case. While Typheus put John through his exciting planet quest, Nix merely told Roxy to go to John’s planet. Maybe in void sessions, denizens do nothing more than provide simple, brief instructions for what to do next. Maybe Dirk’s version of Yaldabaoth would have provided especially brief instructions that he must interpret in exactly the right way.

JOHN: oh.
JOHN: well that’s kind of a bummer.
JOHN: i hope you weren’t shortchanged out of an important mystical and spiritual process of self discovery.
ROXY: pfffahahaha
ROXY: pfhehehehehehehehe
JOHN: what?
ROXY: sorry its just
ROXY: sometimes you sound so much like jake its rly quite uncanny

John and Jake are the same person sometimes, aren’t they? They’re easily the most similar of any beta/alpha kid pair in Homestuck. Their similarities are very obvious, like their tendencies to say the cheesiest things with a straight face, but they’re just the right degree of similar that their differences sharply stand out. Jake’s relentless optimism contrasts with John’s flavor of cynical melodrama, but that’s a matter better discussed when the two of them meet.

ROXY: but yeah i dont care about that really
ROXY: it was either take an uneventful and nonspiritual trip to a wind planet, or just stop existing altogether
ROXY: i think ill be fine without the self discovery part
JOHN: yeah.
JOHN: or…
JOHN: wait.
JOHN: what if this was part of it?
ROXY: part of what
JOHN: your quest?
JOHN: like, to be here, and learn to use your powers better?
JOHN: we are kind of in a realm of literal nothingness right now.
JOHN: maybe you will be able to draw energy or inspiration from the void, or whatever?
ROXY: why u sly old bitch
JOHN: does that make sense?
ROXY: it kind of does
ROXY: it kind of LOADS of does
JOHN: oh, sweet!
JOHN: i was just grasping at straws there, but now that you agree, i’m suddenly a lot more confident in my theory.
ROXY: heheh yeah (…jake)

Even though Roxy insists her denizen meeting wasn’t much of note, John manages to hypothesize a potential purpose of that meeting related to her void powers. Still more of him being admirably quick-witted, which is exactly what he does when he has a cool heroic adventure to go on.

JOHN: so why don’t you try it out again?
ROXY: what
ROXY: the egg?
ROXY: like right now?
JOHN: sure?
ROXY: meh tbh im a bit sick of tryin to summon that ugly damn egg
ROXY: how about later??
ROXY: i would rather just keep bee essing with u for a while rather than get right down to freakin business
JOHN: i guess there’s really no hurry.
JOHN: not in this place at least.
JOHN: i don’t think this place has any bearing on other time lines.
JOHN: it’s almost like…
JOHN: like taking a time out from our canonical lives.
JOHN: so if you wanted, you could take as much time to practice here as you need.

The realm of nowhere is truly a fitting place for John and Roxy to take an absurdly shippy breather* from their adventures. It’s John’s planet in a place connected to Roxy’s void aspect—a special place that only they have been to, at least among the creators who make it to Earth C. Three sprites secretly made it here as well.

* A breather within the void, if you will. Fuck, that sounds so cheesy.

ROXY: im down as heck with that
ROXY: could use a breather from my canonical life
JOHN: me too.
JOHN: even though…
JOHN: i’m not sure i have one anymore?

This was quite an interesting line to end this update on—I say “update” because I sharply remember it all those years ago. It’s something you can interpret many different ways; I interpret it as symbolic of John’s freedom from the rules of canon. This relates to both his heroism here and his spiral into severe self-absorption in the Candy Epilogue where he starts thinking he’s the only person on Earth C who’s real.

ROXY: hmm
ROXY: well since we already talked about MY quest…
ROXY: and like spiritual mega man style power boosts and all
ROXY: what about yours
ROXY: howd that go
JOHN: how’d it go?
JOHN: pretty well, i’d say.
ROXY: no but
ROXY: i know you blew away some clouds and blanked out the sky and all
ROXY: but the point was so you could learn to control your zappy powers
ROXY: did you?
JOHN: i think so.
JOHN: but i haven’t really tried a controlled jump yet.
ROXY: i c
ROXY: well when you do
ROXY: where do you think youll jump to first
JOHN: i have no idea.
JOHN: the thought of changing the time line is still mind boggling to me.
ROXY: well if nothin else
ROXY: u really should go grab that ring
ROXY: before the smug troll can take it
ROXY: i mean there was lots of problems already but her comin back to life really fucked us over to the shittiest max possible

Back to planet quest discussion, it’s now time for Roxy to give another smart idea. Unlike John, she got to witness a fair bit of Aranea’s actions in the alpha session heads-on, so it’s no surprise that preventing her from entering the session would be the first idea on her mind. Especially because of the idea of using the ring to revive Calliope which they had prior talked about.

JOHN: that’s right!
JOHN: i definitely wanted to go back and get the ring off my couch before i lost it.
JOHN: at the very least, that way you can use it to help your friend.
ROXY: yup!
ROXY: any other ideas?
JOHN: not yet.
JOHN: so much has happened, it’s hard to even think about.
JOHN: and it’s not even limited to what i’ve been through, either.
JOHN: i’ve seen a lot of other crazy stuff, just from my random jumps.
ROXY: like what
JOHN: like…
JOHN: like the last place i was, actually.
JOHN: just before i came back, to find your session in ruins.
JOHN: haha. i actually got into a pretty serious fight.
ROXY: o?
JOHN: with this guy.
JOHN: a skull kid.
JOHN: he’s a huge asshole, and a horrible artist.

When John brings up Caliborn, I find it amusing that his description of that guy is that he’s a huge asshole AND a horrible artist. Normally I’d say the “horrible artist” part demonstrates John’s bizarre standards for what sets him off, but given that he’s talking to Roxy about it, it’s clear he’s taking a sense of lighthearted humor in emphasizing Caliborn’s agonizingly bad art. It’s further clear that he intends to bond with Roxy by bringing up something she might know Caliborn for.

ROXY: u saw the skull kids drawins?
JOHN: unfortunately.
JOHN: in fact, i was in his drawings once.
JOHN: it was a true nightmare come to life.
JOHN: i am pretty much convinced he is the guy behind all of the problems we ever had, even though he is a complete ignoramus.
ROXY: then you mean
ROXY: it was callies bro
JOHN: yeah, probably.
JOHN: i have a feeling some day we will all have to take him down.
JOHN: but…
JOHN: probably when he grows up to be his adult self.

I think we can safely chalk up John’s ability to tell that the skull kid is young Lord English to his Egbert Sense. What’s Egbert Sense, you may ask? It’s Pinkie Sense, but with John Egbert instead of Pinkie Pie, and it’s totally not just a term I made up to shoehorn yet another reference to colorful cartoon horses into my Homestuck posts. It’s John’s occasional ability to just know things without a clear scientific explanation why.

(Real talk, I love how Pinkie Pie has such a consistent tendency to defy all rules of narrative logic and physics, even breaking the fourth wall at times. If she wasn’t a pink horse, she might be right at home in the cast of Homestuck.)

… yeah, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has really started to fuck up my brain. Let’s go back to pretending it hasn’t, at least just for the sake of this post.

JOHN: when i beat him up, he was just a teen scamp, like us.
JOHN: but with a skull for a head, a robot leg, a cape which i ripped to shreds, and a pair of dumb suspenders.
ROXY: you beat him up????
ROXY: daaamn
ROXY: yall must be STRONG
JOHN: meh, not particularly.
JOHN: i was just really angry, and i caught him off guard drawing some shitty animes.

John is very much right that his beatdown to Caliborn doesn’t so much demonstrate his strength as it demonstrates the extreme degree of anger he reaches when something sets him off. Only in Game Over did he finally get the chance to exert that anger on someone else, and it led to mind-blowing results, all because he didn’t like Caliborn’s manga drawings.

ROXY: ahahahahaha
ROXY: fuck his animes
JOHN: they were quite literally the worst animes i have ever seen.
JOHN: i hope i hurt his drawing hand, and he never does any more ugly art for the rest of his stupid immortal skull monster life.
ROXY: yeah
ROXY: i know that guy
ROXY: he used to troll my friends all the time
ROXY: wait no
ROXY: used to “jeer” us
ROXY: he was a tool

Roxy and John are quick to realize that resentment of Caliborn is another thing they can bond over and another problem they can figure out how to solve together. I’m reminded of how John has hated major villains for irrational reasons since Act 1, when he had this extreme grudge against Betty Crocker because he was slightly overexposed to cake—the very same Condesce who Roxy has always viewed as her supreme nemesis.

JOHN: hmm, it just occurred to me…
JOHN: aside from fixing the time line, there’s another benefit to my new power.
JOHN: once we all decide we’re ready to fight him, i can just zap us all right to him.
JOHN: we could take him by surprise again.
JOHN: i really doubt he’d be able to handle us if we all clobbered him at once!

John takes a moment to foreshadow Caliborn’s Masterpiece, which is something I never noticed until today! It’s funny how I keep discovering new things about Homestuck years after it ended.

Just kidding, this is one of those lines that’s been drilled into my head to the point of oblivion. I’ve seen it quoted countless times in debates about where the kids from Caliborn’s Masterpiece came from until the epilogues provided a post-canon answer to that. Everyone seemed pretty convinced that all the kids from Earth C would gather up to fight Caliborn and leave the trolls behind, but I always got the feeling they were more likely from some alternate timeline, perhaps an alternate version of the pre-retcon timeline. And I was 87.5% right! Seven points for me, one point for them. Fair, I guess.

ROXY: thats pretty good thinkin
ROXY: but um
ROXY: maybe were getting ahead of ourselves here
ROXY: makin plans 4 rumble royale with mangaka dudebro, lord of the shitwanks
ROXY: we should probably focus on bringing our loved ones back to life first

Roxy’s reminder to prioritize bringing back their fallen friends transitions us to a memorial for someone who’s long dead, like for real actual 100% dead.

With Roxy staring intently at the sword, I can tell she just got the PERFECT idea for what weapon to use to kill the Condesce.

ROXY: is uh
ROXY: is that dirks anime sword
ROXY: whats up with that
JOHN: this is where dave’s bro died a few years ago, probably while being heroic and cool.
JOHN: jade made his body disappear to bury him, but i guess she left the sword here.
JOHN: she and dave sprite and i gathered around where he was buried and dave sprite said some stuff about him.
JOHN: stuff that was really funny and rambly but also weirdly poignant…
JOHN: i guess it was a bit like a funeral?

I’ve always found the years-late reveal that the battleship crew held an impromptu funeral for Dave’s bro to be a very poignant scene. Like, what’s there to even say about it? Aside from being yet another instance of Davesprite getting up to cool things offscreen and doing things Dave doesn’t get to do while still being forgettable. Controversies about Bro Strider or not, I just think we should appreciate this scene for what it is and perhaps try to imagine what Davesprite must have said about him. It’s something best left to the imagination.

ROXY: a funeral u say
JOHN: yeah.

Roxy doesn’t say it, but I can tell that part of her is bummed out she didn’t get to participate in this funeral for an alternate version of Dirk who she no doubt still considers to be Dirk. She can tell from John’s description that the funeral wasn’t extravagant at all, which is a surefire indicator she had no involvement in it.

Roxy takes a moment to do something Dave couldn’t do back in Act 5 Act 2: use her void powers to grab the sword out of LOWAS with a spoken “yoink!” so it can finally be put to good use instead of just sitting there. She knows exactly what she’s going to do with that sword but doesn’t reveal it until Collide.

Look at this face. John is so ready to be a hero.

JOHN: anyway…
JOHN: you’re right.
JOHN: taking a break from the mayhem is nice and all.
JOHN: but i should probably get going.
JOHN: i have a lot of responsibility now.
JOHN: i hope i can live up to it.
ROXY: well to quote an extremely wise and hunky dude i once knew…
ROXY: oh man he was so so wise i hope i dont butcher his quote but
ROXY: i think it goes a lil somethin like
ROXY: you can handle it john
ROXY: i believe in you!
JOHN: aw, thanks!

Just like how John has been considerably more positive and encouraging with Roxy than with anyone else, Roxy takes a moment to divert from her usual snappy self to provide John some straightforward but very heartwarming words of encouragement.

JOHN: remember what i said too, about practicing voidey stuff.
ROXY: i will
JOHN: good.
ROXY: alright cool
JOHN: yeah.
ROXY: yeah
JOHN: cool.
ROXY: dammit
JOHN: what?
ROXY: were doin this again
JOHN: doing what.
ROXY: being awkward instead of getting our shit in gear
JOHN: haha. whoops.
ROXY: too bad grouchy scarf troll aint here to coordinate another stilted goodbye
JOHN: yeah.
JOHN: it’s just as well though.
JOHN: there is no need for goodbyes.
JOHN: if i really can control it now, i should be able to come back here any time i want.
JOHN: which means i won’t be gone long!

These awkward exchanges of short, stilted lines are such a perfect way for John and Roxy to give goodbyes. It demonstrates the lighthearted humor of their interactions and how much the two friendleaders have in common. John follows it with a reminder of the funny thing about time travel: goodbyes are superfluous as long as you don’t fuck anything up.

ROXY: k i will be here
ROXY: waitin
ROXY: trainin
ROXY: partying with those yellow lizards
JOHN: those are salamanders.
ROXY: fuck
JOHN: later, roxy.

And so, this conversation ends with one last reminder of John’s thorough memory of his world’s canon—a trait Roxy no doubt finds very impressive and charming, at least at this point. During their marriage in the epilogues, I can easily imagine Roxy started to get peeved at how much John would fall back to rambling at her about his long-gone memories.

John waves goodbye with an adorable smile and then flies away from LOWAS in an oft-reused callback. He zaps away, making the screen fade to white in a cliffhanger of sorts.

“What?!” I said out loud to myself on this page, having briefly forgotten how many times I’ve reread Homestuck. John seemed so confident he’d be able to get through this retcon adventure smoothly, but here he is now about to interfere with one of the most crucial moments of the story.

The screen starts shaking in this panel, demonstrating how untouchable and crucial this scene is.

God, just look at this juxtaposition of past and present John. To the left is the protagonist of a spiritual successor to Problem Sleuth filled with video game satire and dry computer science jokes; to the right is the protagonist of a legendary work of media that people are infamous for screaming at each other about. And yet, the guy on the right is just a fleshed-out version of the guy on the left. He’s still at heart a nerdy boy obsessed with random 90’s movies, just now those basic traits have been expanded upon to get the John Egbert we know today. The contrast between art styles demonstrates well how John’s character has developed and how Homestuck as a whole has developed.

John zaps away in the nick of time, inadvertently retconning “[S] John: Take bite of apple” with his silhouette. If you rewatch the flash’s retconned version, you can see how EXTREMELY close he came to toppling the meticulously arranged house of cards that is Homestuck’s plot. It’s like John is a fly about to hit a card with just enough force that the whole thing falls apart, except the fly changes its mind and backs off at the last second. The house of cards is already a little shaky with the whole “who flipped the frog switch” thing and the retcon is about to make it shakier. Not shaky enough to comically fall apart in an avalanche of cards though.

JOHN: i shouldn’t mess around with that moment.
JOHN: it is WAY too fundamental.

John’s managed to keep it together despite almost ruining the entire plot of Homestuck, which exemplifies his forward-thinking, adventurous nature. His reaction to revisiting his last moments before entering the Medium was nothing more than a lowercase “yikes!” and here he is now quick to realize how bad of an idea it is to go this far back. His usage of the word “fundamental”, a word which falls at the periphery of his usual vocabulary, demonstrates yet again his encyclopedic memory of canon.

JOHN: let’s try this again.

His expression determined, John is fearless and quick to give this a second shot.

I wonder what this scene is like for first-time readers who committed the blasphemous crime of skipping the intermission. They’d probably think these exact words:

JOHN: wow, no.
JOHN: what ever is going on here…
JOHN: this is completely useless to history.

Or maybe there’s a hair-thin chance that a first-time reader who skipped the intermission would reach this page and go, “ohhhh, THIS must be the intermission that I skipped, hold on, let me go back and re-read it.” And then they’d be like, “oh WOW, everything makes so much sense!”

OK… this probably hasn’t happened to anyone. It’s basically impossible to absorb all of Homestuck’s plot after reading it just once anyway. Still, though, skipping the intermission is basically the worst thing you could possibly do.

Unlike Act 1’s ending flash, this scene wasn’t altered with a silhouette of John. Maybe Hussie found this moment too sacred to lay a finger on?

If that’s the case, then I can’t blame him. Hearts Boxcars eating Eggs’ head is still such an amazingly memorable scene.

It’s pretty fun to see the Midnight Crew and Felt briefly rendered from a different perspective, especially now that we’ve met so many alternate versions of them. We now know the three Midnight Crew members shown here as the dignified foil to Jack Noir, the strong guy who’s only ever used to demonstrate how strong other characters are, and the goofy guy who kills people in the most ridiculous ways.

John makes a disgusted face at the scene, saying the words I quoted a few pictures above. Clover is surely exhibiting a complex, rapidly rotating array of leprechaun romance feelings for him.

In an interesting throwback to the early acts’ art style that isn’t an outright callback for once, John decides a better idea would be to think of something while zapping…

Look at Clover’s hands on his face. He’s definitely lovestruck, or rather, balloon-moon-rainbow-struck.

… namely, one of his pals. The thought bubble above is sure to bring back memories of the last time John saw Dave, with the latter bursting into hysterical tears about his ironic selfies. It’s not too hard to guess where this is going.

I wonder which combination of leprechaun romance symbols corresponds to your hat falling off your head? Maybe it’s balloon, moon, rainbow, and pot of gold.

It’s now time to see the confrontation between two versions of John from the older and wiser John’s perspective. It feels like so long ago now, probably because I went through this part last year.

When we first saw this scene in A6A6I1, the staredown alternated between past John and future John, starting with past John. Now in this revisitation of that scene, the alternation occurs in the opposite order, starting with future John and then alternating between him and past John. And yet, the MSPA reader has the exact same thoughts all over again, having already accepted that things will never stop from keep happening constantly. The vision of John and John kissing is one of those things that it’s laughable to think it would ever stop from keep happening constantly. The MSPA reader says they can’t take it anymore, but they prod onwards, knowing they have no choice but to continue reading this mind-screwing comic. If they don’t, then they wouldn’t be the MSPA reader anymore.

JOHN: stop fooling around and go find roxy, you dumb goof!

Is John acting out the same lines he remembered hearing his at the time future self say? Or did he briefly forget those words and improvise the scene? Assuming it’s the latter, I’ll directly quote the post where I first went through this scene:

[Present] John makes it abundantly clear through the tone of his words that meeting Roxy was arguably the best thing to ever happen to him. I’ve always found interesting the implication that John’s feelings for Roxy originated from a stable time loop—if that’s the case, then it’s a rare example of a time loop willed by John, rather than Lord English or any of his subordinates.

I’m afraid I don’t have anything to add to my past self’s words.

JOHN: who’s roxy?

I’ll quote my past self again:

Meeting Roxy has imbibed [present] John with a fresh new sense of purpose and drive for keeping the girl of his dreams safe, which [past] John doesn’t have as you can tell by his confusion followed by shouting “OW!”

Now that I took my sweet time analyzing a shippy John/Roxy conversation, it feels like John isn’t just trying to keep her safe. He’s actively trying to make her happy and let her have the best, most fulfilling experience she possibly can. This love interest adds to his already strong heroic motivation.

JOHN: wow, i can’t believe how naive i was…
JOHN: like… a day ago?
JOHN: hmm.
JOHN: it feels like it’s been longer than that.
JOHN: hard to believe!

Of course John would say it feels like it’s been longer than just a day. He’s the one with a direct attachment and methodical memory of all the events of canon after all. But I think I’ve said plenty about this aspect of John’s character by now.

JOHN: i was so confused when that happened.
JOHN: i was sure the other me knew so much more than i did at the time.
JOHN: which is kind of true… but also kind of not?
JOHN: like, if i traveled back here, and altered reality in a non time travely way, then why do i remember doing it?
JOHN: did i just make some sort of stable retcon loop?
JOHN: does that even make sense??
JOHN: i think i did the right thing though, zapping my other self out of there.
JOHN: it was like… a retroactively preemptive continuity adjustment.
JOHN: retroactively preemptive???
JOHN: what am i even talking about.
JOHN: this power is kind of complicated…
JOHN: i need to be more careful.

John is having trouble making sense of his accidental fulfillment of the scene where two of him faced off. You know when a TV show or movie has a character get a foreboding message from their future self and they get caught in a bunch of mishaps trying to prevent that alleged bad future until they become that future self and travel to the past, fulfilling a stable time loop? John has no doubt seen a fair share of movies do things like this and is confused to find himself in a similar such scene.

It’s starting to dawn on John how much power he has over the story’s narrative, so he decides the best course of action is to ask a friend for help. He considers Dave and Rose for help first, but then something finally clicks:

Just look at this bright smile. Very symbolic of his humorously conflicting feelings about Terezi, whose meaning Karkat will later spell out to him.

JOHN: wait a minute.
JOHN: i think i understand what she was trying to do now!
JOHN: she was trying to give me a way to come back.
JOHN: like, zero in on her thought signal, or something.
JOHN: terezi, you’re a genius!
JOHN: i mean, you’re a weirdo! but you’re also a genius!!

John comes to realize that Terezi’s mind is always a step ahead of everyone else’s. She knew well that John wouldn’t be able to do all this on his own, so she did him a favor of creating a point in time he could easily go back to using a memorable phrase. She knows that John is the type of person to latch on to specific memories, which is why she created a new one that even a dork like him could figure out what to do with.

John concentrates on the scene and recites his chosen phrase attached to it, “there’s no place like home”. The picture of Terezi’s face on his forehead shows that her crazy mind powers are right about to work just as she hoped.

The comic provides a visual tutorial for how the password system works and then goes back to the page where Terezi tried to do a mindy thing. This time when selecting [???????], the reader knows exactly which password to enter and can proceed with the story.

The password system adds a new layer of interactivity to the story that’s pretty rad if I say so myself. Terezi’s password hint is a clever barrier for new readers, but not a fully impenetrable one. I’ve seen some first-time readers correctly guess one of Terezi’s passwords and accidentally spoil themselves on later parts of the story, but it’s honestly their faults for not heeding the password hint.

Password hint discussion aside, it’ll soon become apparent that Terezi and John are working together to fix the story and allow Homestuck to have a proper conclusion. I remember the retcon arc being a total blast to read and reread and hopefully I’ll retain this sentiment through my Homestuck posts, regardless of what it leads up to.

After entering the password “HOME”, John encounters yet another past self of his, this time from earlier in A6A6I4. Their wordless meeting clearly has both of them thinking, “oh jeez, another encounter with myself”, and leads to this satisfying panel:


Through finally zapping to a place he intended to go, John has unlocked the good ending of this scene! A perfect point to end this post.

See you next time—could be in a day or two, could be a month or more—as John’s retcon adventures kick into high gear. Wait, I mean H1GH G34R.

EDIT: It was just under a month.

>> Part 122: Chalk Outlines and Reunion Interceptions

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