Act 6 Act 6 Act 5
Because “CLAYMATION REVELATION STATION” wasn’t spicy enough.
Since I’m bored out of my mind, semester finished and all, there’s no better time than now to start the last leg of my Homestuck blog post series! Not to mention that I have all the rest of the season 1 posts for a different post series queued and ready to release… Before we begin, let me quickly recap what all is left in my Homestuck posts:
- Act 6 Act 6 Act 5: 1 post (126)
- Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5: 12 posts (127-138; last one covers everything post-Omegapause before [S] Collide)
- [S] Collide and following pages: 1 post (139)
- Act 7 and credits: 1 post (140)
I had said in earlier posts that I planned to immediately follow the ending of my Homestuck posts with a full-out epilogues analysis in the same style, but I don’t really feel like doing so anymore. My Homestuck blog post series has been going on for five and a half years already, and I’d rather give it a clear-cut ending than continue with its further media. I already made quite a few posts talking about the epilogues anyway, including my epilogues review post. And there’s no way I would ever want to do blog posts analyzing the absolute trainwreck that is Homestuck^2. If I keep a reasonable pace of about five Homestuck posts every month, I’ll finish this post series around the middle of August! It’s going to feel so amazing finishing these posts, but to get that feeling, I actually have to, you know, finish these posts.
Now, let’s begin Act 6 Act 6 Act 5, or as it’s better known, Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 of Homestuck begins with a flash, featuring Caliborn’s crudely drawn curtains fading into the same design pasted on somewhat more realistic-looking curtains. This shows how far Caliborn has come as an artist while retaining at least some of his roots and his bizarre sense of humor… which is to say, Hussie’s bizarre sense of humor.
Speaking of Hussie’s bizarre sense of humor, I’ve been meaning to play Psycholonials, which will perhaps allow me to put a brand new layer of analysis on my Homestuck posts.
The curtains open to reveal a stage that parallels Calliope’s stage in the dream bubbles, with a purple spiral drawn with Caliborn’s old jagged art style instead of a smooth, artistic yellow spiral. Well, the purple spiral is artistic too, just in a different way. There isn’t much of a story behind the stages, and I don’t think there needs to be; they’re both just suitable places for each of the cherubs to tell stories.
And so begin the claymation Vines. I remember back in 2015—on 4/13, as it so happened—when several images Hussie had posted to his Twitter, as well as hints within the comic, led to this of all things. I was a little confused but eagerly anticipated what plot-relevant stuff would occur, as Hussie had promised in a news post that this would be the most plot-relevant of Caliborn’s acts. Only now am I stopping to think how much fun Hussie must have had making all this claymation, with an enormous deviation in storytelling style from anything else in Homestuck and probably anything else he ever made.
As for the claymation being presented as Vines, this is yet another instance of late Homestuck parodying more modern social media, which really isn’t that different from early Homestuck with its social media the more I think about it. Social media satire is integral in Hussie’s work, or at least it is from what I know about Psycholonials. I’m sure that the more years pass, the more late Homestuck’s social media satire will come off as humorous in retrospect.
Not shown: clay Caliborn’s rainbow eyes.
THE FRUITS OF MY ARTISTIC TOILS ARE FINALLY AT HAND. YOU’RE WELCOME IN ADVANCE FOR THE NARRATIVE MAJESTY YOU ARE ABOUT TO WITNESS. IT COST LITERALLY MILLIONS OF CALCOINS TO PRODUCE. AS WELL AS MOST OF MY ATTENTION SPAN FOR ANY FURTHER CREATIVE ENDEAVORS. BUT YOU WILL PROBABLY AGREE, TEARFULLY. THAT IT IS WORTH ALL OF THIS EXPENSE, AND MORE. TO SEE MY TINY ACTORS OF LIVING PUTTY, *DANCE*.
GET READY. TO GET DAZZLED. AS I FUCKING DESTROY THE TRANSCENDENTAL BOUNDARIES OF “UNCONVENTIONAL MEDIA”.
Oh boy, more Kickstarter and digital currency satire. I’d prefer not to get into a tangent about Hussie’s bizarre style of directing projects, because all the development hell Hiveswap has gone through is a rabbit hole in itself. It’s fitting that I use the phrase “rabbit hole” here, because soon after Caliborn’s Masterpiece, Homestuck has quite a few references to Alice in Wonderland.
(THAT JUJU CHEST SHOULDN’T BE MOVING. SORRY. I BUMPED IT.)
I imagine that Hussie really did accidentally bump the chest when swapping out the little clay dots representing Caliborn’s rainbow eyes, then decided to keep that error in as something that Caliborn acknowledges and endearingly apologizes for. Caliborn is lowkey adorable, especially in his apologetic moments.
In-universe, Caliborn decided to sacrifice the detail of his rainbow eyes when animating this scene.
Out of universe, Hussie did the same sacrifice.
THE TALE MY MASTERPIECE DESCRIBES, IS BASICALLY A SPOILER TO THE ENDING OF THINGS. IT TAKES PLACE IN A FUTURE MOMENT. LONG BEYOND WHEN WE, YOU, OR I HAVE ANY BUSINESS SEEING WHAT HAPPENS.
Here’s where Homestuck touches upon the concept of post-canon, an idea that Hussie would later elaborate on in news posts, interviews, and finally in the epilogues. Even though I find the meta elements in Homestuck’s post-epilogues media grating and tiring, the epilogues do some really cool things with metafiction, especially Rose’s explanation of the concept of canon in the prologue. It’s clear that Hussie has his own philosophy as to what “canon” means, and he suggests in this passage that post-canon refers to content after the end of the story that readers have no business knowing about; an invasion of the fictional characters’ privacy, you could say.
BUT I FOUND OUT AND LEARNED OF THIS SPOILER. I SAW IT ONCE, ON ONE OF MY PLANET’S MANY SCREENS. THE LAND OF “COLOURS”. AND THE LAND OF “MAYHEM”. IT KNOWS ALL. AND IT WILL SHOW ANYTHING TO ANY MAN. WHO IS WILLING TO FIND THE RIGHT KEY. AND IT TURNS OUT THAT JUST SUCH A MAN. IS THE MAN THAT IS ME!
And here’s the reveal of Caliborn’s planet’s true name: the Land of Colours and Mayhem. No, it’s not the Land of Colors and Mayhem. The U is important! I’m not sure how strictly the cherubs adhere to British spelling conventions and speech—Calliope certainly more than Caliborn—but it makes sense that they wouldn’t match those conventions perfectly, especially because Calliope has a penchant for roleplaying and is thus bound to slip up.
I skipped a page that I don’t have anything to say about. What are you going to do about it?
I WILL TELL YOU WHAT I SAW IN THE SCREEN. BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY, THAT IT HAPPENED PRECISELY AS I SHOW YOU HERE. SHOT FOR SHOT.
The Meat Epilogue’s tie in to Caliborn’s Masterpiece shows that this statement isn’t quite true. Perhaps Caliborn knows that he’s telling a simplification of the events that transpired and wants readers to let themselves believe it is 100% accurate for the sake of his dramatized storytelling, much like how when you watch a movie you let yourself forget you’re watching actors recite scripted lines.
THIS TAKES PLACE AFTER I GET THE MAGIC RAINBOW EYES. AND YET, STILL BEFORE I AM HUGE AND WEAR A DAPPER TRENCH COAT FOR WINNERS. BUT AS YOU CAN SEE. AT THIS POINT, IN MY RISE TO DOMINANT INVINCIBILITY. I’M FEELING PRETTY CHUFFED ABOUT MYSELF. MY POWER IS SICK, AND MY SPECIAL EYE BALLS ARE GNARLY AS CAN BE. I WOULD TELL YOU I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO BE THIS COOL, BUT AS YOU KNOW. I AM A MAN OF PATIENCE AND APLOMB.
Caliborn is the opposite of patient, and he knows it—remember when he got Jack Noir to kill his sister’s dream self before his predomination, permanently stunting his cherubic maturation? Again, perhaps he wants us to believe he is patient for the sake of his glorified storytelling persona. Much like how he told lies of omission in Act 6 Act 6 Act 4 to make himself come off as more sympathetic.
I’VE GOT MY JUJU CHEST THERE. WHICH I WILL WIN AS SOME CHOICE BOOTY, FROM VICTORIOUSLY SLAUGHTERING MY DENIZEN. KING YALDOBOB. INSIDE IS A MIGHTY WEAPON. WHICH WILL COME INTO PLAY A LITTLE LATER. IN MY THEATER OF WOBBLING PUPPET DRAMA. IT’S LIKE THEY SAY ABOUT THE THEATER. IF YOU SEE A JUJU IN ACT ONE. THEN THE JUJU WILL PROBABLY BE USED RIGHT AWAY IN ACT ONE. TO MAKE EVERYTHING MORE EXCITING, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Caliborn humorously subverts the idea of Chekhov’s gun with this explanation. He’s well aware of common narrative tropes but spits in the face of them because he would rather tell things his way.
I’M NOT SURE HOW I COME ABOUT THIS LATER. MUCH LIKE THE CLOCKWORK LASERS, AND PRIMO FASHION JACKET. IT’S A RING, THAT FOUND ITS WAY TO ME SOMEHOW. A GOLDEN RING OF VOID. IT BECOMES MINE ONE DAY. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING, I NEVER KNEW I ALWAYS WANTED, YET SOMEHOW, PREEMPTIVELY COVETED.
Caliborn owning the Ring of Void parallels Calliope owning the Ring of Life after Roxy gives it to her in A6A6I5. It’s left to the reader’s imagination how Caliborn got the ring, but the mystery thematically fits with the Ring of Void.
IT LETS ME STAY CLOSE TO THE DARKNESS. TO VANISH, AND APPEAR AGAIN, IN PLACES I HAVE NO BUSINESS FUCKING WITH. FULL OF PLUMP AND MEATY PEOPLE. ALIVE AND LIVING. WHO ONE DAY, WILL PLEAD WITH THE GODS. BEGGING THEM TO CURSE MY NAME.
I never realized before that the Ring of Void is how Lord English was able to go so many places like Hussiespace, the trolls’ universe, and countless other universes if Doc Scratch’s exposition is reliable. How do I keep learning new things about Homestuck five years after it ended???
> HERE I AM LORDING IT OVER MY MINIONS.
THE CLASSIC HONK FRIEND. MY RABBIT PAL FOR LIFE. AND MY FLOPPY PUPPET BUDDY. I’M BOSSING THEM AROUND, BEING THE SHIT, AS ALWAYS. WHATEVER.
Caliborn refers to Gamzee, Lil’ Cal, and Lil’ Seb all as his friends, which is some subtly heartwarming character development.
Obligatory mention that this is the first time all four beta kids are seen together in person. Weird, right?
> WHEN SUDDENLY.
EIGHT ASSHOLES SNUGGED UP IN THEIR GOOFY PAJAMAS APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE, FOR SOME WRESTLING ROYALE WITH YOURS TRULY. THEY ALL STEAL A RIDE WITH THE WIND PRICK’S SNAPPY GHOST MAGIC, TO CATCH ME UNAWARES. IT WORKED! JUDGING FROM MY SKULL EXPRESSION, I WAS REALLY REALLY SURPRISED.
This right here was big reveal nearing the cliffhanger ending of the 4/13 update, and it immediately made a whole bunch of theories about what would happen after Universe C’s creation spring up. I already discussed this in an A6A6I4 post, but to add on to my past self’s words, I think it’s neat that in the epilogues, Rose comes up with her own solution to this long-gaping plot hole and sends John on a mission to bring himself and expendable pre-retcon copies of the other kids to fight Caliborn.
Caliborn goes on to say that the kids looked psyched to take him down, and that they could have perhaps beaten him if he hadn’t gone right ahead and used his secret weapon; this ended the first of three updates that constituted Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
ALL JUJUS HAVE RULES. THE COOLER THE JUJU. THE TRICKIER THE RULES. FOR ONE THING. THIS WEAPON COULD ONLY BE USED AGAINST FOUR GUYS AT A TIME. BECAUSE ITS SHAPE HAS. LIKE FOUR SLOTS OR SOMETHING. SO I CHOOSE MY TARGETS CAREFULLY.
As villainous as he is, you can never say Caliborn breaks rules. He always works with whatever constraints he’s presented with, often taking advantage of exact words, but in cases like this he simply works strategically.
I SELECT THE FOUR OF THESE JOKERS, WHO I DEEM THE GREATEST THREAT TO ME. THE BLUE PHILISTINE WITH THE BELLIGERENT FISTS, OF COURSE. SO HE CAN’T OWN ME AGAIN, WITH HURTFUL INSULTS TO MY ART. AND ALSO THE ALPHA MALE AND HIS SMOOTH WAYS, SAY GOODBYE TO HIM TOO. I COULDNT RISK MESSING WITH HIS SWORD, WHICH I UNDERSTAND TO BE THE ONLY THING IN REALITY THAT IS POISON TO MY INVINCIBILITY. BECAUSE OF AN ILLEGAL INGREDIENT, A WHITE ROUNDCIRCLE OF TOTAL KNOWLEDGE.
Dave is an obvious choice for who to take out of the picture because of his Welsh sword, but Caliborn’s motive for choosing John is largely because his insults have genuinely left an impact on Caliborn’s work. When you’re an artist, not letting insults get to you is easier said than done, and it seems Caliborn knows as much, though John’s retcon powers and sheer anger at Caliborn for his misogynistic comics do make him a strong threat regardless of any emotional rivalry. When John gets angry at something, no matter how trivial it is, he becomes BRUTAL.
OH, I TARGETED THEIR TWO CORRESPONDING FEMALES AS WELL, BECAUSE WHY NOT. THE DOG ONE IS A NIGHTMARE OF POWERS, AND THE ORANGE ONE PERTURBS ME WITH HER DICTIONARY BLITHER.
Jade is an obvious choice to take out because of her first guardian powers, but I bet that the real reason Caliborn chose to also take out Rose was because of his cherubic affinity for patterns. Much like Calliope, Caliborn takes delight in rigid, mechanical knowledge and workings of reality, he’s just a little tsundere about it.
GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD TEENS!!!
I remember this line, specifically the “teens” part, raising some questions about the many theories surrounding the tie-in to Caliborn’s Masterpiece. Some readers (like me) took it as a hint that the beta and alpha kids did not all go fight Caliborn immediately after the credits, since the credits end with John 20 years old. According to the Meat Epilogue, John is 23 in this scene and the others are all 16, so in that case Caliborn isn’t quite right to refer to them all as teens, but this line can be interpreted in many ways regardless.
THIS SOLVES ONE PROBLEM FOR ME. BUT STARTS ANOTHER. THE JUJU WHEN ITS SHAPES ARE FILLED. CHANGES IN NATURE. IT STOPS BEING A WEAPON I CAN USE, EVER AGAIN. IT’S WEIRD, AND A BIT LAME, BUT YOU CAN’T BE TOO PICKY ABOUT AWESOME JUJUS. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD.
Caliborn reminds us once again that he accepts and works with his constraints, rather than trying to defy them. He knows how the rules of paradox space work better than anyone else does, which probably matches with fans’ interpretation of his classpect (Lord of Time).
ONCE I USED IT…
> IT BECAME MYSTERIOUSLY INTANGIBLE.
LIKE A HOLE. A GAP, IN THE TEETH OF MY STORY. THAT NOW EXISTS, AS A DANGEROUS LIABILITY TO ME PERSONALLY. IT CAN ONLY EVER BE USED AS A WEAPON AGAINST ME, FROM NOW ON. SUCH IS WHAT YOLOBROTH, THE GREAT LEWD SNAKE, WILL TELL ME ABOUT THE JUJU WHEN WE MEET. SO AFTER USING IT, IT MADE ME NERVOUS.
> SO IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.
I TRAPPED IT BACK IN THE CHEST! AND BANISHED IT AWAY, WHERE NO ONE WOULD EVER FIND IT. DEEP IN THE BOWELS OF THE FURTHEST RING. USING MY RING-BASED COMMUNION WITH THE VOID. POOF!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD LUCK DIGGING THAT ONE UP, HATERS. IT IS *NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN*.
We already know that an indeterminate amount of time ago/from now, a certain spidery troll will find/already has found the juju chest. Vriska (ghost Vriska, to be specific) finding the chest that Caliborn gloated no one would find is an admirable act of bravery, given Caliborn’s reveal of how he hid that chest. Perhaps there’s a better place he could have hidden it, but he didn’t think of it because of his haste and nervousness.
WITH THE FIRST FOUR BANISHED, THE TEAM OF HEROES WAS CUT IN HALF, TO BE MUCH EASIER FOR ME TO DEVASTATE. A SMUTTY SWORDSMAN, AN UNDERPANTS WIMP, AND TWO FLIPPANT BIMBOS? I WOULD CALL IT A CAKE WALK. BUT WHEN YOU ARE THIS COCKY AND BRASH. YOU DON’T WALK. YOU STRUT. NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF DESSERT YOU FIND UNDER YOUR FEET.
Caliborn’s perceptions of the alpha kids are intact as ever, indicated by how he lumps Jane and Roxy together under “two flippant bimbos”. He probably considers them and Jake to be indeed weak, but his sparing of Dirk is likely because he perceives Dirk as “the only tolerable character”, which is just a tsundere way of saying “his favorite character”.
> I SHOULD ALSO RELEVANTLY MENTION.
I AM STILL IN POSSESSION OF THE SWORDMAN’S JUJU. HIS FLOPPY FRIEND OF CHILDHOOD. THE ONE WHICH I RECOGNIZED TO BE AN EMPTY HUSK. HE DEMANDS FROM ME, THAT HE WANTS IT BACK. PRESUMABLY FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. I CAN IN NO WAY BLAME HIM.
KEEP AN EYE ON THIS ONE. THE FORESHADOWING OF HIM, IS PRE-IMPORTANT FOR LATER.
Caliborn makes it clear here that we’re about to complete the lengthy, convoluted timeline of Lil’ Cal, which is something I remember seeing diagrams of before this update was posted. Those diagrams had quite a few points of question, and it’s pretty awesome to see this mystery solved in what is by far the most plot-relevant of Caliborn’s acts. He’s gracious enough to present the solution to a long-running plot mystery (how Cal stopped being empty) by plucking it from the tenuous world of post-canon and bringing it down to canon, presenting it in claymation form.
As Caliborn beats up the alpha kids, he claims that he’s been dealing equal damage on them no matter their gender so as to redeem his misogynistic ways, which is another thing probably done just for the sake of his narrative persona. We also see that Gamzee has been sliced in half, presumably by Dirk with his anime sword. I remember being quick to pick up on this detail and reminded of Gamzee’s personality (or at least his facial expression) being split in half when Kanaya killed him in Game Over, back when I thought Gamzee’s motives were anything other than deliberately inconsistent nonsense.
IT’S NOT A CONTEST. THEY ARE A BUNCH OF PITIFUL EMOTION CHILDREN, AND I AM A PREMIER, INVINCIBLE TITAN OF ROUGHHOUSE BRUTALITY. IT’S TOO EASY. SPEEDO BOY IS DOWN FOR THE COUNT, BECAUSE I SLAPPED HIM GINGERLY. THE MASKED FLOOZY IS LOOKING A BIT… WOOZY (HA HA.) THE CAKE MAID TOOK ONE DRUB TOO MANY AND HAS TO LIE DOWN FOR AN OVERWEIGHT NAP.
The underlined text I remember provided an additional layer of mystery to where the beta and alpha kids in the Masterpiece came from, because we saw Roxy take off her mask in A6A6I4, implying that this may not be the same Roxy we saw then, I guess because people didn’t think she would put the mask back on? She does indeed put it back on after Collide, but according to the epilogues, the Masterpiece’s Roxy came from before she ever took it off.
THIS LEAVES ME, MANO & MANO, AGAINST THE ANIME PRINCE AND HIS NONSENSE TROUSERS.
> IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD FIGHT BETWEEN US.
BECAUSE HE’S STRONG, AND I ADMIRE THAT. WHY SHOULDN’T I LET A BATTLE HAPPEN FOR LONGER, WHEN TWO TOUGH DUDES ARE INVOLVED, STRUTTING THEIR STUFF. BUT IN THE END, HIS SHARP GLASSES AND SWORD MACHISMO WEREN’T ENOUGH. I GOT THE SUPREME DROP ON HIS POWERFUL BODY WITH MY WRESTLING MOVES.
Caliborn’s fanboy-like admiration of Dirk hasn’t gone away one bit here, and his perception of masculinity hasn’t fully subsided. He treats his fight against Dirk like a decent, manly duel…
“Subsided” is a good word. Or at least a decent word.
> MY OVERCONFIDENCE, WAS MY ACHILLES DOWNFALL THOUGH.
… and admits that this mindset got the better of him. I wonder how Caliborn knows what an Achilles’ downfall (or Achilles’ heel) is? My guess is that he learned the term in an offscreen conversation with Hussie’s self-insert, where Caliborn claimed “Achilles’ heel” was a stupid term but decided to incorporate it into his vocabulary nonetheless.
I MADE, ADMITTEDLY, THE AMATEUR’S BONER. I TURNED MY BACK ON THE BODY.
This is such an awesome way to incorporate the common phrase in Homestuck, “don’t turn your back on the body”. Caliborn is using an outdated definition of “boner”, much like how Jake taught him an outdated definition of “gay” in Act 6 Act 5. I’m pretty sure a Paradox Space comic with Jake and Dirk made this joke one time? The joke about using “boner” as a synonym for “mistake”, that is. I’m guessing Caliborn learned that definition from Jake as well.
This page ended the second of three updates constituting Caliborn’s Masterpiece.
THE CRYBABY IN THE YELLOW PANTIES GOT UPSET WITH ME. THAT I WAS WAILING SO EXCELLENTLY ON HIS INCREASINGLY BATTERED PRETTYBOY NINJA STUD.
> AND BY UPSET.
I MEAN HE THREW A FULLY FLEDGED TANTRUM OF *PURE HOPE*.
This is the first and only time in Homestuck where we see Jake activate his hope powers naturally, without influence from Aranea’s healing powers. He is enacting the same prophecy Aranea had talked about before, all because of the brutal beating of his good friend Dirk, and what a sight it is. There’s probably a whole bunch of anime archetypes that can be used to describe Jake’s act of vengeance and pure hope; maybe even a character from Dragon Ball Z that parallels Jake’s situation. Caliborn’s stint as a manga artist probably increases his shock at Jake’s hope bubble.
> THE HOPE… MY GOD.
IT WAS BLINDING. BEAUTIFUL EVEN.
OK, MAYBE THE COTTON ISN’T DOING IT JUSTICE. HMM.
OK, YEAH, MAYBE THAT JUST LOOKS STUPID.
YOU KNOW, YOU TRY THINGS. AND SOMETIMES. IT JUST LOOKS LIKE SHIT. LET’S CALL THIS. MY ONE AND ONLY FUCKUP IN HISTORY.
I know what Caliborn means by trying things that turn out to look like shit. It’s a natural part of artistic experimentation for some things you try to simply not work out. Perhaps on a meta level, Caliborn knows it’s not a big deal that he didn’t do the hope bubble justice, because we’ve seen Jake do a hope bubble already in A6A6I2.
> WELL, MY SECOND MAYBE.
SECOND ONLY TO UNDERESTIMATING THIS SAD SACK WUSS OF HOPE. WHO KNEW THAT SUCH A SIMPERING CHARLATAN. HAD SUCH AN OUTBURST STOWED IN HIS GIRLY BOSOM. CLEARLY, NOT I. EVEN THOUGH I HAD THE INFORMATION WELL IN ADVANCE. IT WAS JUST *THAT* SURPRISING.
After comedically describing his failure to convey the glory of Jake’s hope bubble as his only fuckup in history, Caliborn poetically transitions to a genuine statement on how he underestimated Jake’s power, perhaps due to his simplistic ideas of masculinity. His statement that he had the information well in advance shows that he’s gone through quite a bit of character development and has now willfully read up on the same cosmic lore regarding Homestuck’s reality that Calliope has always obsessed over, which he said he did in his conversation with Jake in Act 6 Act 5.
I really wish more people would think of Act 6’s subdivisions as their own separate entities, rather than lumping them all under “Act 6”.
(sighs) Such is the difficulty of being an Act 6 apologist.
I’M SURE AT THIS POINT. I TURN TO THOUGHTS OF RESPECT. RESPECT FOR THE PANSIED ASS, PRETTY LEGGED PAGE. AND HIS MAYBE ACCIDENTAL PROWESS. I UNDER MISESTIMATED HIM, AND ADMIRATION HAPPENS IN MY BREAST. MAYBE I’LL JACK HIS SWAGGER TOO, AS HE ONCE DID MINE. MAYBE AFTER A LIFETIME OF UTTERLY DESERVED HUMILIATION, SOBBING, AND SPONTANEOUS URINATION. HE’S EARNED THAT MUCH.
(THE CLUE HERE IS THAT I STEAL HIS NAME. GOD. YOU THICK, STUPID FUCKS. WHY DO I BOTHER WITH SUB TEXTS, OR FINE LITERATUREY NUANCE. GOD. FUCK! GOD. I TAKE HIS NAME LATER. ENGLISH. THAT’S ME LATER. THAT’S MY NAME. YOU STUPID BRAINLESS FUCKS. HOLY SHIT, YOU ARE DUMB AS BOZOS COME. GOD!!!)
There’s been many times where a major plot reveal in Homestuck has flown over readers’ heads because of obtuse phrasing. As such, Hussie decided to make the reveal that Lord English named himself after Jake English as foolproof as possible by following an implicit prose description with an explicit description that insults readers for their thick skulls.
I’m willing to bet that the origin of Lord English’s name was planned as far back as when English was first conceived, around the time of Act 3 or the intermission. In Act 3, we get some hints here and there of the alpha kids, particularly in the Skaianet lab Rose explores; the intermission is where we first learn of Lord English, with some vague hints at his identity. English stealing his name from someone else is foreshadowed by Dirk and by Caliborn* in Act 6 Act 3. This reveal was a long time coming, but it caught many readers off guard; it sure as hell caught me off guard. Like many other readers, I quickly realized Lord English’s name is a time paradox, because post-scratch Jade changed her last name to English in reference to Lord English as a jab at the Condesce, Jake inherited the name, and Caliborn named himself Lord English in honor and admiration of Jake, meaning that the name has no true origin. English’s name being a paradox is very fitting, because he’s the Lord of Time and all.
* Caliborn’s foreshadowing is spread across three pages, the first of which I linked.
These horses fulfilled the foreshadowing in one of Hussie’s Twitter posts.
On the next page, they’re recolored to look like metal horses.
Dirk gets ready to use his pink soul removal spell, which like Jake’s hope bubble is another ability that we have already seen in an arguably illegitimate context—not because it was in the Game Over timeline, but because it was Brain Ghost Dirk. But then, a bunch of robotic horses appear, leading Caliborn to remark about the unmistakable sense of doom one experiences when in (ironic) proximity to horses. Caliborn’s Masterpiece is the culmination of many of Homestuck’s running gags and prophecies, which I admire. In his very first pesterlog, Caliborn complained endlessly about callbacks, but now he’s putting it in his own hands to give some of those callbacks a worthy sendoff.
And then comes Arquiusprite’s sudden entrance. Buckle your seatbelts, because I’ll have a LOT to say about it.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE IS. OR WHERE HE CAME FROM.
I guess the writings on the trolls’ meteor, like Rose’s journal or whatever else there is, did not mention Arquiusprite? It’s suggested that all the lore the cherubs learned in their youth only accounted for the pre-retcon timeline, and there’s a general theme going on of the retcon disrupting the comic’s progression and catching villains like the Condesce* off guard. But the thing is, Arquiusprite did exist pre-retcon, it’s just that he didn’t do anything plot-relevant then, just like all those other troll amalgamation sprites—Gamzee was given free rein to put whatever he wanted in the alpha kids’ kernelsprites since nothing was predestined to be put in there. I suppose Arquiusprite’s pre-retcon irrelevance is probably why Caliborn has no idea who he is. I don’t know, just speculating here.
As for where Arquiusprite came from, that’s never quite explained, but we can just chalk it up to sprite magic and call it a day.
* OK, I really only mean the Condesce.
JUDGING FROM THE FACE OF THE GUYS, THEY DON’T EITHER.
“The guys” refers to Jake and Dirk, meaning that this line suggested to some readers that the kids were from the… pre-retcon timeline? Post-retcon? I forget. It becomes a moot point in Vriskagram when we learn Arquiusprite exists post-retcon, but I remember this line stirring speculation no less.
NOBODY SEES THIS COMING. IT IS A TOTAL AMBUSCADE, AND MY SKELETON JAW IS DROPPED AS SHIT. HE PINS ME IN PLACE WITH HIS RIPPED MUSCLES, AND I’M COMPLETELY IMMOBILIZED.
This line suggests that part of Arquiusprite’s intention for entering the scene (or at least the Equius half) was to make up for his failure to stand up to Nepeta and take down Gamzee. Equius failed to move a muscle as Gamzee strangled him to death, but here as Arquiusprite he’s using his extreme strength to catch Caliborn in a headlock, doing something heroic at long last and seemingly counteracting his nature as a gag character.
PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE *STRENGTH*, BUT ALSO DUE TO MY AWE AND ADMIRATION. I JUST CAN’T MOVE.
Caliborn seems to see a sense of kinship and admiration in all of Lil’ Cal’s soul components, and Arquiusprite is a good example of this. This is almost building up to be an inverse of Equius’s murder, where Caliborn is the one who’s so awed that he can’t move a muscle.
I remember playing with those little bendy fabric things a lot when I was a kid.
Say, what are those things called anyway? I just realized I have no idea what they’re called.
2022 EDIT: Pipe cleaners!!!! How could I possibly have forgotten that?
Caliborn lets his poetic narration slip when he refers to Dirk by his first name, as Dirk uses his heart powers in a valiant attempt to destroy Caliborn’s soul. This could be a subtle indicator of Caliborn’s admiration of Dirk… or it could just be Hussie not thinking too hard. Either way, something bad is about to happen with Dirk’s spell.
> I THINK HE THOUGHT HE COULD DESTROY MY SOUL.
BUT HE BIT OFF MORE THAN HIS FLESHY SKULL COULD CHEW. SO HE USED HIS “IRONY” AGAIN. AND STUCK MY SOUL IN HIS JUJU. EXACTLY THE WAY. I STUCK HIS BUDDIES IN MY JUJU. THE ONE I GOT FROM YODELBOOGER. IT’S LIKE POETIC JUSTICE I GUESS. EXCEPT PUPPETRY, INSTEAD OF POETRY. SO PUPPETIC JUSTICE. OH YES. I LIKE THAT.
Here’s the reveal that Dirk was an unintentional instigator of doom by transferring not just Caliborn’s soul, but also Arquiusprite and half of Gamzee, into Lil’ Cal. Dirk is an unintentional instigator of doom a lot of the time, especially through his morally dubious splinters. The sad thing is that Arquiusprite only had the best intentions, and now he’s stuck in a demonic puppet with Caliborn and half of half of his murderer. Just to be clear, “half of half of” is not a typo.
Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about Caliborn’s humorous nicknames for Yaldabaoth. Those nicknames show that Caliborn is bad at remembering names but can work with this disadvantage and still make it clear who he’s talking about.
THE MUSCLE GHOST CAME ALONG FOR THE RIDE. AND I GUESS HIS SOUL GOT TRAPPED IN THERE TOO? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS. HONESTLY IT IS DISTURBING AS HELL. AND I’D PREFER NOT TO DWELL ON ITS GREATER RAMIFICATIONS TO MY LONG TERM EXISTENCE. MAYBE IT’S GOOD? OR MAYBE IT’S DUMB. MAYBE IT’S. GOOD AND DUMB. OR SMART AND BAD. THERE ARE SO MANY WORDS THINGS CAN BE WHEN YOU’RE CONFUSED.
I imagine that although Hussie had long planned for Arquiusprite to be a component of Lord English, only now are the implications about English having horse fetishes and hemospectrum arousal and whatever other freaky shit Equius likes sinking in for him. It’s clear that Hussie would also prefer not to dwell on those aspects and would rather let readers take some time to reflect on the origin of English’s extreme muscles and resilience, as well as Doc Scratch’s lies of omission and smartassery. In fact, a few pages from now is a flash where the MSPA reader reflects on all those revelations and experiences a mental breakdown.
> AT THIS POINT.
HIS BELOVED JUJU IS NO LONGER A HOLLOW VESSEL. IT IS VERY MUCH CROWDED IN THERE, CHOCK FULL OF SOULS, BELONGING TO HARDCORE BRAWLING BRUTES. AND HE KNOWS IT. HIS PUPPET IS NOW A PROBLEM TO DO AWAY WITH, JUST LIKE MY JUJU WAS. SO THEY DO THE SAME BASIC THING. THEY GET THEIR DRUNKARD SORCERESS OF VOID TO BANISH THE PUPPET ONCE AND FOR ALL, INTO THE DARKNESS. NEVER TO BE FOUND AGAIN BY PROBING HANDS OF MEAT.
Due to his cherubic nature, Caliborn is quick to notice parallels between him dealing with the juju chest and the alpha kids dealing with Lil’ Cal. It’s abundantly clear that deep down he loves narrative parallels just as much as his sister does.
It’s also worth noting that with Roxy banishing Cal into the void, Jane is the only alpha kid who doesn’t do anything significant in Caliborn’s Masterpiece. People have made observations regarding Jane’s subdued portrayal compared to the other alpha kids, and I won’t deny that it would have been cool if she also fulfilled a plot point here, but honestly what can you do?
Even though Cal has been banished, Caliborn knows that the puppet will resurface, which is to say it has already resurfaced, which is itself another way to say Lord English’s arc words: he is already here.
And so, Act 6 Act 6 Act 5’s curtains close in on a SBaHJ reference indicating Caliborn knows the next step after the Masterpiece is for him to become muscular—the last step needed before he becomes the Lord English we’ve always known. The curtains’ closing is accompanied by some closing remarks from Caliborn.
> AND NOW, IF YOU WILL EXCUSE ME.
I MUST PUT DOWN THE TOYS AND WAYS OF A CHILD. AND CONFRONT THE BIG THINGS OF BECOMING A HUGE MAN. BY DUELING THE SUPREME BEAST OF MY LEGEND LAND, HIS SERPENTINE EMINENCE, YOGURTBONER HIMSELF. I’M ABOUT TO GO FIGHT HIM NOW, SO THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU WILL EVER HEAR MY EXCELLENT VOICE.
Caliborn’s character has developed enough that he now has the courtesy to give his character arc a proper sendoff. It was insanely fun analyzing all his pesterlogs and narration, and I’ll dearly miss doing so. Caliborn is hilarious and I’ve always loved him for being hilarious, but now my appreciation of his character goes well beyond just humor. I’ve thoroughly analyzed his surprisingly resounding character arc and inspiring progression as an artist, not to mention his representation of fans of a work of media who are in denial about it, which is something I strongly relate to. Even readers who vehemently hate Act 6 seem to enjoy his character, probably especially them. And even though I am a defendant of Act 6, I won’t deny that at times Caliborn carries it.
I WILL DUEL AND CRUSH MY SLITHERING SEXUAL SNAKE BOSS, TO FINISH WHAT I STARTED WHEN I STEPPED MY METAL FOOT INTO THIS CHILDREN’S FARCE. I WILL DO THAT BECAUSE I WANT TO, AND WHEN THAT IS SAID AND DONE, AND YOU SEE ME AT THE PEAK OF A MOUNTAIN OF TROPHIES, RESTING ON MY THRONE OF PRIZES, I WANT TO GET TO TELL YOU THAT I DID WHAT I WANTED TO DO. SO IF YOU REMEMBER JUST ONE THING I SAY, OF SO MANY GREAT THINGS SAID BY ME, THEN PLEASE REMEMBER THIS.
I WANTED TO PLAY A GAME.
I love that Caliborn’s very last words in Homestuck (not counting his brief appearance in the credits) are a reprise of his first words: a reference to an iconic line from Saw. Caliborn did indeed want to play a game—a game that cherubs were never meant to play, but he persevered through all the absurd challenges the game presented him. He stomped all over his sister’s idea to do a two-player session and instead played a much harder dead session, and that added difficulty didn’t deter him one bit. And because of that game, he’s progressed both as an artist and as an all-powerful time traveling demon. All this only happened because Caliborn wanted to play a game!
Between the end of Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 and the start of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 is a flash called [S] MSPA Reader: Mental breakdown, which I’ll go through before I recap Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 at the end of this post.
When I first watched [S] MSPA Reader: Mental breakdown back in 2015, I noticed a few new revelations and connections shown in it but otherwise didn’t think much of it, since it mostly just recaps other panels—I do remember extensively listing all the characters shown though. But rewatching the flash now, I see it as a handy recap of Lil’ Cal’s convoluted timeline with several reveals of evidence that Hussie planned these revelations from the start. It’s also worth noting that this flash is an oddball in terms of music because it doesn’t use music specifically made for Homestuck, but rather “Hello Zepp”, the theme of the movie Saw.
Ah, the good old days when Gamzee was genuinely terrifying instead of a perpetually smiling farcical clown.
To start the recap, an indeterminate amount of time after its banishment into the void, Lil’ Cal resurfaces in dream Dave’s bedroom through Gamzee’s chucklevoodoo clown powers. The whole chucklevoodoo thing immensely confused readers when it was revealed in the Doc Scratch scrapbook panels and continues to confuse new readers from what I know, and it’s clear Hussie felt in retrospect that this reveal wasn’t telegraphed well. As such, he’s chosen to clearly show here that Gamzee brought the puppet back from the void into the beta kids’ Derse.
I imagine a decent portion of first-time readers rewatched this flash multiple times, possibly more than any other flash.
There are many mind-blowing revelations in this flash, but the AR/AR connection (Authority Regulator and Auto-Responder) is just plain silly—these characters were merely two among dozens involved in the path of Cal. I get the feeling that this connection between two characters with the same acronym is a humorous coincidence, especially because it’s followed by a satirical reference to the “Illuminati Confirmed” meme:
I won’t lie, I had completely forgotten that the Illuminati Confirmed meme even existed! Unlike “over 9000”, this meme was still quite popular in 2015 from what I remember, so its presence in Homestuck as opposed to references to SBaHJ or random 90’s movies feels a little out of place. But it’s amusing now to reflect and think about all the memes of the mid-2010s. It feels kind of like digging up a time capsule to see those memes again. Illuminati Confirmed is used several times in this flash to go with the sillier and more tenuous connections, as opposed to the genuinely big reveals.
Also, while I’m here, how did I never notice that this flash is similar in spirit to the likes of [S] Frigglish: Fast forward to Jaspersprite or [S] Terry: Fast forward to Liv? Maybe because I don’t tend to think about those fast forward flashes much.
I’m not sure why Hussie’s version of Cal is featured in this flash. There doesn’t seem to be any plot explanation for Hussie’s Cal beyond just being a reference to the real life version of Cal that a fan mailed to him, if I remember right. Ah well, it’s not a big deal.
Skipping ahead some, the flash quotes a pesterlog that shows that Hussie had planned Lord English’s soul components since at least Act 5 Act 2:
TT: That’s a little creepy.
No it’s not.
TT: Yes it is.
No it’s not.
TT: It kind of is.
Equius ended up plot-relevant after all, but not in the way he wanted.
I remember being uncertain whether Doc Scratch doing Equius’s yes/no shtick was true foreshadowing or just retroactive foreshadowing, but now it seems obvious that Hussie intended this the whole time. In my post analyzing that pesterlog, I even said I wasn’t sure if it was retroactive foreshadowing. I’m not sure why I thought it may have been retroactive; Equius DID already exist at this point. I guess my understanding of Homestuck was a little different five years ago.
I skipped over a few other Illuminati Confirmed references.
Skipping some more, the flash takes a moment to remind readers that the alpha kids’ Jack Noir has been infused with Lord English’s soul or whatever, which is the current state of pre-scratch Lil’ Cal (which is itself just the future version of post-scratch Cal). It’s a good reminder because the alpha kids’ Jack was shafted shortly after he became Union Jack or Jack English or (grumble grumble) Lord Jack or whatever you want to call him, and Vriska is soon to give plans for how to deal with him.
Here’s another Doc Scratch quote revealed to be foreshadowing of his soul components:
There should be no reason for you to feel uncomfortable with this interaction. Try to think of me as one of your kindly human uncle figures.
What a perfect image to accompany this astounding revelation.
As with the Equius foreshadowing, it’s abundantly clear to me that the “uncle” foreshadowing with Lil’ Hal as one of Doc Scratch’s components was completely intentional. I’m again not sure why I thought of it as retroactive, because the alpha kids were planned to exist at least as far back as Act 3. It’s cleverly subtle foreshadowing that Hussie knew fans wouldn’t realize on their own, and if they did they’d brush it off as coincidental, so here he’s making it clear that this foreshadowing was not a coincidence. It also makes sense now that Arquiusprite’s debut was in a drawn-out flash with robot horses and Gamzee shedding a tear; the sprite’s existence was the culmination of this subtle foreshadowing, or at least part of the culmination. And as a cool bonus, we get a canonization of the popular fanmade human depiction of Lil’ Hal!
Near the end of the flash, we go back to where we started with a recap of Caliborn’s Masterpiece. This recap ties everything together and reminds us of the circularity of many of Homestuck’s plot lines, especially those involving cherubs.
And then four Illuminati symbols collide, leading to a “TRUTHSPLODE” that feels like a refreshing throwback to Act 5 Act 2 with its many “-splode” explosions. Or was that solely an Act 5 Act 2 thing? I think early Act 6 had a bit of that as well, but it’s a fun throwback no less.
I remember being uncertain whether this arm was Karkat’s or Vriska’s. I leaned towards Karkat for some reason.
Vriska uses a record player to cut the flash short, cleverly transitioning us to Vriskagram, but that’ll be next post. Before I end this post, I’ll recap Act 6 Act 6 Act 5.
Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 is a series of stunning plot revelations told through claymation, and it’s the perfect sendoff for Caliborn’s character.
There, that’s my recap. Now here’s where I would say “see you next time as Davekat is maybe canonized”, but I have one more thing to say about my Homestuck posts.
I will not start going through Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 until I play through and finish Psycholonials, a visual novel by Andrew Hussie that was sequentially released earlier this year. The reason I’m doing this is because I’ve heard Psycholonials contains a lot of discussion on the topics of gender identity and sexuality, and it would be interesting to compare those with the discussions on those same topics in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, especially Dave’s monologue about sexuality which I remember feeling incredibly queasy about. But I’m also just interested in checking out Hussie’s first major non-Homestuck work in over a decade, because despite everything, I am a MASSIVE sucker for his writing style and sense of humor. Back when I started my Homestuck posts, I thought “gender identity” was complete nonsense and didn’t even understand what it meant to be transgender, but now I think about that topic far more often than I’d like to admit. I’m looking forward to inevitably doing a gigantic blog post (or maybe a medium-sized blog post) reviewing Psycholonials and then continuing my Homestuck posts.
Alright, now I can say it. See you next time as Davekat is maybe canonized.