Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.2: Where Making This Transpire

Introduction

< Part 12.1 | Part 12.2 | Part 13 >

Pages 1100-1153

Act 3, Part 5 of 5

Link to old version

Finishing Act 3 in my rewritten posts was long overdue.

Been a while, hasn’t it?

I figured with me going back and continuing on reformatting my posts before I moved this blog from Blogger to WordPress, now would be a good time to resume my rewritten Homestuck posts, or at least finally finish Act 3 of those, especially as I’m taking yet another break from my regular Homesuck posts. And especially considering my next regular Homestuck post would be number 122, which is 12.2 without the decimal point.

Anyway, I’m going to pick up where I left off like nothing ever happened. Where were we?

Time to be the Aimless Renegade, who is a very well-loved character by those who remember he exists. He’s one of the few characters who is killed off for real as the story goes on, with no resurrection or alternate self relevance and therefore no screen time in the increasingly controversial sub-acts of Act 6. His per-exile obsession is law and justice, which is played out very humorously as exile obsessions tend to be.

… Yeah, I must sadly admit I don’t have a lot to say about AR’s subplot so far. We learn that he harbors the Dersite hatred towards frogs and that Grandpa Harley had this absurd collection of guns and ammo that AR has been making use of. Grandpa Harley has absurd collections of everything though, which I suppose comes as a result of combining his status as a guardian with his status as a page with his fully realized potential.

Is that supposed to be a wig made of bullets? Never realized that.

After spying on the other two exiles supposedly breaking the law, AR makes his equivalent to Can Town using the various supplies in the frog temple: a makeshift courtroom made entirely out of guns and bullets. Weird that he doesn’t end up wearing his bullet wig as a regular accessory like WV with his mayor sash; maybe he felt that thing looked exceedingly goofy.

Jade’s eclectic bass is jamming the elevator, preventing AR from being able to go down into the juicy stuff the rest of the frog temple has to offer, like those transportalizers to Prospit and Derse that we don’t get to see until Jake explores his version of the frog temple. I always found it a little confusing why the bass was predestined to stay there—Jade’s Pictionary modus refused to recognize the bass when she tried to captchalogue it—but now it’s pretty clear this was done to prevent the exiles from messing around with the lotus time capsule and transportalizers and whatever else is down there. Predestination is cruel sometimes, by which I mean always.

You put John’s present down in just the right spot, along with a letter you prepared a little while ago after a particularly interesting series of dreams.

Should be any minute now…

Now it’s Jade’s turn to continue fulfilling plot points by remembering the very most specific details from her dreams, infallibly following Skaia’s orders to the letter. The text above shows that back in the early acts, fulfilling plot points was all she ever did. Her early role as a plot device provides a stark contrast to her role later on as a cool and fun character with a secretly tragic backstory.

You guess you could swim.

Maybe you can think of a better way across though.

Jade shoots the zipline she had made and then the story puts the next step in the readers’ hands once more. Hussie is admitting here he has no idea how Jade should go to the frog temple and lets fans think a way to do that.

I love how Jade draws arrows as ==>. Demonstrates her relationship with the meta narrative.

PM reads a letter from Jade that cleverly foreshadows what will happen to her exile station next. It’s easy to guess AR creates the second hole in the station and topples the pillar, but that raises the possibility of an unexpected twist in this explosion.

Look at good old Sentry Worm poking outside PM’s station.

And it turns out both those explosions are caused by the Aimless Renegade living up to his name. His inability to aim firearms conveniently keeps all the exiles alive for the time being as they continue to fulfill plot points.

Jade asks PM to be grateful in this letter, which I suppose helps convince the mail lady to play her part in fulfilling time loops.

At the bottom of the letter is a series of coordinates along with further instructions.

You know what you must do.

The coordinates are of course conveniently obscured by the panel’s boundaries, with only a few digits readable. The time to send the package to is also obscured, helping entice this mystery much like WV’s coordinates in WV: Ascend.

Liberty. Reason. Justice. Civility. Edification. Perfection.

Sendificating John’s present to Jade fits perfectly with PM’s exile obsession, which of course is mail. It’s not surprising these exiles have obsessions so pivotal to creating a civilized society, given that they’re meant to repopulate a desolate planet. However, on B1 Earth these exiles’ obsessions are instead used for plot point fulfillment, and only two of them get to rebuild society on Earth C in the end.

Meanwhile in the past…

What a character establishing moment this is for Grandpa Harley. Jade’s grandpa isn’t so much a character as he is a pastiche of absurd stereotypes Hussie likes to joke about; he’s somewhat like the Beforan trolls in that regard. The stereotype old man Jake is demonstrating right now is the proud badass hunter, who absolutely DEMOLISHES an innocent butterfly with his gun.

Today is your BIRTHDAY. Your grandfather has decided to celebrate by introducing you to THE THRILL OF THE HUNT.

Hussie has a long-running pattern of putting his perception of common archetypes and works of media everyone knows into his comics. In this case, his perception of the thrill of the hunt is mindlessly blasting random animals for no reason, which is pretty spot-on if you ask me. He did similar such things with Rose’s mom and her obsession with wizards and with his many jokes about horses and clowns.

Is that the Topatoco logo on the little strip in Jade’s shirt? Interesting and rather dated shout-out.

Bec takes young Jade to retrieve her birthday present from John the very moment it appearifies. The presents are fairly inconsequential to the story’s plot, but John’s letter to her is a WAY different story.

John’s letters to Rose, Dave, and Jade all have a crude drawing on the top right, which I find endearing.

dear jade,

happy birthday!!!

it’s hard to thank you enough for your friendship over the years. heck, if it weren’t for you i wouldn’t even have met rose and dave, so that is like, THREE TIMES the friendship! that is almost like, TOO MUCH FRIENDSHIP. ha ha.

Here’s the big reveal that Jade was the one who got all the beta kids to become friends. This reveal probably isn’t too surprising given her role as a plot point fulfiller, but it’s still a really cool way to demonstrate how far back that role goes.

i only wish i could get you something for your birthday that could remotely make up for what you’ve given me, but of course that’s impossible. so here are a couple silly things anyway!

Unlike with Rose and Dave, John finds it difficult to express how much Jade’s friendship and influence means to him, so he figured it was best to give her a few silly things. John can’t seem to come up with a good message to give Jade about what kind of friend she is, which perhaps indicates that at this point she’s still a plot device above all else.

i went to a weird asian store the other day and saw this rad shirt, so i got it and i’m wearing it now! but there was a blue one too which was way more awesome, and i wanted you to have it. i know you like green a lot, but maybe you’d like to try wearing blue sometimes? i bet you’d look like a million bucks!

Here’s a contrived explanation for why John and Jade’s shirt symbols don’t match with their text colors like all the other kids and trolls. This inconsistency was probably just an oversight at the time, but Hussie ended up using it as a demonstration of John’s sweet and selfless side. He let Jade have the cooler of the two shirts he found and is encouraging her to branch out in style and expression much like with his other two friends.

also i know you’ve been frustrated lately about how your pumpkins keep disappearing. well, i can’t begin to explain why that’s happening! all i can do is give you these so you can plant some more. don’t give up, jade! wherever those dumb old pumpkins went off to, i’m sure you know the fun is in growing them and taking care of them until they’re ready!

Jade’s interest in pumpkins originated from itself because of course it did. The narrative role of pumpkins in Homestuck is a testament to its humble roots in Hussie’s prior comics, particularly Jailbreak and Problem Sleuth. Homestuck gives pumpkins an exemption from the restrictions of predestination, allowing them to freely appearify and deappearify across universes and Sburb sessions.

whew, got to head out to the post office now so this doesn’t get to you TOO late! talk to you soon!!!

~ghostyTrickster
(john)

It’s quite thoughtful of John to include his (at the time) chumhandle at the end of his letter to Jade. Aside from raising questions about whether the beta kids knew each other more by their chumhandles or real names, this inclusion allows Jade to find John on Pesterchum and gives her the spark needed to connect all the beta kids together despite living so far apart.

Young Jade processing the letter provides an extremely abrupt transition to John’s dad fighting Jack Noir. Homestuck has many different forms of transition devices; while I’ve always had a soft spot for Skaian cloud transitions, I don’t often appreciate transitions through juxtaposition like this.

You bear the vicious brunt of this story transition directly in the face.

You are getting really tired of this feisty man and his busy fists.

As Jack’s narration states, the abruptness of this story transition helps convey Dad Egbert’s extreme fatherly strength. Can you think of a more unusual way to demonstrate a character’s strength?? I sure can’t.

Jack almost uses his signature knife to kill John’s dad, but Dad retaliates with the following:

… which leads Jack to free this prisoner. Dad resolved this situation not through strength but through wits, which is pretty awesome and a demonstration of a side of him we don’t see as often as his strength.

This panel is interestingly split in half, not elongated like it would be later in Homestuck. Reminiscent of the split screen part of Act 6 Act 5.

Crudely drawn renditions of Jade as various animals are secretly one of the funniest things about Act 3.

In what I’m guessing was a reader-submitted command, Jade plays her bass to summon lily pads and make it to the frog temple. It seems like this is the suggestion Hussie liked the most, which makes sense because it’s a good use of an ability we previously saw in her advanced bass solo flash, not a new ability randomly introduced out of nowhere.

This is a rad panel whose art style is something of a predecessor to the so-called Hero Mode.

And so Jade enters the frog temple, finally ready to peek at what’s inside after Bec prohibited her from entering for so long.

Dave finally installs the Sburb beta, leading to this memorable snappy exchange:

TG: alright im installing this game finally
TT: Where doing this man?
TG: yeah
TG: you could almost say
TG: where making this
TT: Go on.
TT: What is it where making this?
TG: TRANSPIRE
TG:
TT: Excellent.
TT: Let’s make shit take place.


God, I love this subverted Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff reference so much, you don’t even know. There’s a reason I kept my old post’s name for this post—”where making this transpire” is a downright beautiful phrase.

Now it’s time to go through Act 3’s wonderful ending flash, [S] Enter.

[S] Enter is a rare example of a flash that’s awesome before it even begins! The loading screen isn’t just your usual Sburb logo, but rather an edited version that cleverly symbolizes the escalating situation going on at Rose’s house.

The loading screen fades into the normal Sburb logo, which itself transitions to Dave and Rose setting up their client-server connection. Dave shows his endearing side as he pops open his bottle of apple juice—the same bottle brought up in the comic’s very first pesterlog—while he waits for the game to install. He cherishes his beloved favorite drink and knew well that he shouldn’t imbibe it right away, rather do so at a climactic time where he feels worthy of this delicious drink.

This four-way shot shows us why this flash is called [S] Enter and not [S] Rose: Enter. All four beta kids are entering something, each undergoing a step forward in their Sburb progression. John into his first gate, Rose into the Sburb session, Dave into the Sburb server, and Jade into having copies of Sburb in the first place (oh yeah, and into the frog temple).

The flash then lapses into humor with Dave working on his SBaHJ comics while waiting for the game to install. Moments like this show that [S] Enter hits that sweet spot of having good amounts of humor, but not too much humor to detract from the flash’s tension.

Sometimes Rose is downright ADORABLE (like now).

Rose lets her silly side slip too by indulging Vodka Mutini in some yarn play, which further elevates [S] Enter to that humorous sweet spot. What good is an awesome action scene in any media without a humorous lapse or two?

Dave sets the quality of his drawing of Hella Jeff to low, which shows how he goes out of his way to make his comics as shitposty as possible. It’s pretty amazing that this demonstration of his sense of humor is squeezed into Act 3’s climactic ending flash.

As the music leads up to its first climax, Jade notices the lotus time capsule about to bloom, which heightens the tension alongside Dave’s server copy and Rose’s client copy of Sburb finishing their installation.

And once those installations finish, the music takes a very brief break and the word “SBURB” appears on the screen. This is some stellar timing, helped by how much of an awesome song Sburban Jungle is.

With Rose’s house rapidly approaching evisceration by meteors, it’s time for Dave to get her into the game. No time for dicking around, both in-universe and in a meta sense—all the wacky Sburb device placement stuff is condensed into this flash.

I like to think Rose isn’t angered at the loss of her bed, but rather the sock she was knitting.

Perhaps she intended for that sock to be part of one of her ironic mind games with her mother.

Dave isn’t hesitant to sacrifice Rose’s bed or otherwise screw around with her house. It’s impressive that Rose’s house isn’t screwed around with much more haphazardly than other houses are, considering how time is constraining her entry.

Dave puts the totem lathe in the free space left by Rose’s bed, and the cruxtruder in her observatory. Another case where time constraints don’t worsen the already subpar forethought of Sburb players serving those about to enter.

Jade patiently waits for the time capsule to bloom. Unlike Dave and Rose, all she has to do right now is wait, which is reasonable given how much crazy stuff she got up to throughout this act.

Dave puts the alchemiter on Rose’s rooftop, much to her frustration. Her visual reaction (and drawn-out utterance of Dave’s last name) says more than a pesterlog of blathering purple text ever could.

It’s easy to imagine what’s going through Dave’s head as he uses grown-up Roxy’s colossal wizard statue to open Rose’s cruxtruder. He probably takes a sense of humor in this choice and no doubt has a massive flood of comedic descriptions of all those wizards running through his brain.

The wizard statue mostly withstands the impact of the fall, save for its hand. The statue’s sturdiness suggests it must have cost an astounding sum of money and indicates the great lengths Rose’s mom went to try to please her daughter. The statue’s hand gives attentive readers a hint at a mystery that’s about to be solved: namely, the greater story behind WV’s command station.

Rose’s cruxtruder has now been opened! Dave probably wasn’t sure how much force was needed to bust it open, so he went for the biggest item he could find and used that, and hey, it worked.

Jade sleeps through all the action because of course she does. What more would you expect from her?

Look at this expression of utter bravery.

While Dave helps alchemize Rose’s entry item, Rose remembers why she got Sburb in the first place: to bring back Jaspers, her dead cat. She does so the first chance she gets, which is an admirable demonstration of her bravery, plus a reversal of Nannasprite’s creation (first a doll, then a dead family member).

Blah blah blah, cruxite entry item symbolism, yada yada yada, holy shit I really couldn’t give less of a fuck about that. Entry item symbolism is the one part of Homestuck that I vehemently refuse to discuss in my blog posts, because what is there to say about those things that hasn’t been said a million and a half times? Nothing, that’s what.

And then Sburban Jungle starts its tense bridge section.

I love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those raindrops synced to four notes of Sburban Jungle, right after the song’s instruments are washed out and before it enters some more tense buildup. Absolutely genius music syncing that didn’t need to be a thing, but is a thing anyway.

Dave prepares to do the extremely predictable doll prototyping, something that doesn’t need to happen onscreen because it’s so obvious.

Even the wizard statue’s hand is quite large.

Rose gets ready to do a leap of faith, which probably is more boring obvious symbolism that I don’t care about. All I care about is that the leap of faith she’s about to do is AWESOME.

Nannasprite reveals that she wrote the inscription in John’s copy of Sassacre’s after becoming a sprite, not before—the same inscription we read right before Act 3’s proper beginning, which makes for clever bookending. This answers one question but raises a lot more questions. How was the book sent back to the past? Who sent the book back to the past? What was used to send the book back to the past? It’s characteristic of Homestuck to solve a mystery by starting a whole bunch of new mysteries.

Dave can’t help Rose right now because he’s busy being assaulted by a bunch of crows, which is a humorous way to debunk an obvious solution to her predicament, and a great way to sprinkle another dash of humor into this flash.

Another proud, brave expression characteristic of early acts Rose at her best.

Rose doesn’t display the slightest trace of fear or hesitation to retrieve her purple bottle. She performs a glorious leap of faith synced to glorious music, which is just plain awesome, no further words needed.

As Sassacre’s falls, the clouds clear up to provide a glimpse of the land John entered. Another mystery raised by a mystery’s solution.

Jaspersprite reveals himself in all his glory as he rescues Rose with his new long tentacles. Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, this scene is just plain awesome. [S] Enter as a whole is just plain awesome.

I never noticed before that the two countdowns are there for a reason: the one on the left is on Rose’s cruxtruder and the one on the right is on the lotus time capsule. How do I STILL keep noticing new things about Homestuck???

The clocks count down in leadup to the grand final moment of Rose’s entry. As they tick, WV’s command station is revealed to be the cork of a bottle, which is a cool demonstration that even [S] WV: Ascend didn’t quite show us the full picture.

Rose enters the Medium when the timer hits zero and the music appears to hit its final climax, but the flash isn’t over yet! John has been neglected from this flash, so its true last section is dedicated to him getting a turn to be awesome…

… but not before Jade’s time capsule blooms, revealing Dave’s Sburb discs and allowing her to play the game. Another question answered, another multitude of questions raised. I love that [S] Enter does so much of this.

John clobbers imps upon imps and ascends through his built-up house using all his new hammers. I think you know the drill here. It’s awesome, end of story.

John even manages to defeat ogres using his Telescopic Sassacrusher. He’s become a very fast learner with his hammer weaponry and wields more than two hammers at once thanks to his ghost arms.

Below John is a vertically elongated “BOING”.

After punching one more imp and sacrificing his Cosbytop to get rid of another one, John does an epic hammer jump to enter his first gate, and THAT’S where [S] Enter ends.

My god, what a fantastic flash [S] Enter is. It’s easily my favorite of all flashes in the first four acts. I’ll let past me give overall thoughts on the flash:

I love this flash so much. It perfectly intertwines badass scenes, plot thread tie-ups, and funny moments into three-and-a-half minutes of kickass music, features all four kids roughly equally (with Rose getting more screen time than the rest), and condenses Rose’s process for entering the game into a single animation (which isn’t done that way for the other three kids). It fills numerous holes in the plot: what Rose prototypes into the sprite, that WV’s command station is the cork of a bottle just like PM’s is the apple of a tree, how the wizard statue lost its arm, that Nannasprite wrote the note in Sassacre’s book, and part of how Jade gets her discs of Sburb.

I’d like to add on to my past self’s words and say that [S] Enter does a great job at introducing new mysteries—mysteries that won’t be solved until Act 4, which comes right after the Midnight Crew intermission.

A zoom-out from John’s house leads to this wham shot:

END OF ACT 3

… which is what the curtains close in on. All the early acts in Homestuck end on big shockers like this, in this case the reveal that John was transported to a whole new planet. And all those shocking reveals are followed by switching the focus to something completely different: WV after the end of Act 1, Jade after the end of Act 2, and then Act 3 is followed by the most extreme shift of all: the Midnight Crew intermission.

Time for a brief recap of Act 3.

Overall, Act 3 is in some ways the opposite of Act 2: paced much more briskly with lots of scene switches, to a somewhat overwhelming degree. Not very much dialogue, but plenty of plot reveals (especially in Jade’s house and Rose’s Skaianet lab) and a gentle introduction to time shenanigans with all the exile appearification stuff. Time shenanigans will be blasted in readers’ faces in the intermission that follows, then featured in a less extreme fashion through the rest of the comic. Act 3 also gives us plenty of indications that Hussie came up with much of Homestuck’s broader plot at this point, particularly with the first appearances of trolls and even subtle hints at the alpha kids. It’s a fun act but pales in comparison to Act 4, which hits a perfect middle ground in terms of pacing and dilly-dallying.

(If you want a longer recap of Act 3, read the old version of this post. My early Homestuck posts had absurdly long-winded act recaps for some reason.)

If you’re eagerly awaiting a rewritten analysis of the intermission, I have good news: I already did that two years ago! Just click the link below to read my intermission analysis. At some point in the future, I plan on continuing my rewritten Homestuck posts with Act 4 and Act 5 Act 1, but that isn’t a priority for now—I have plenty of other projects I’d like to work on, one of which is my non-rewritten Homestuck posts. For now, I like having my rewritten posts finally cover everything up to the end of the intermission.

Next => Part 13: Avenging the Fallen Casino

Next (chronological) => Part 15: Ditzy Dreamers and Exile Cookouts

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