Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 129: Four More Massive Walls of Text

Introduction

< Part 128 | Part 129 | Part 130 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 3 of 12

Pages 7502-7514 (not in order)

This is the sort of bullshit that happens when you turn your back on the body.

As the Homestuck franchise continues to collapse in on itself due to yet another storm of fandom drama, Homestuck itself is here to stay, waiting to be read or reread by anyone who just wants to enjoy a good webcomic by Andrew Hussie. As for me, I just want to get my Homestuck blog post series done, and then I never have to think about Homestuck again! Of course, that doesn’t mean I will never think about Homestuck again, just that I will never have any reason to. I have only 11 posts left. Only 11 posts. ONLY 11 POSTS!!! And I’ll finish what I wanted to for the rewritten posts… oh, I don’t know, some other time.

Continuing from the last post, it’s time to go over the bottom half of the eight-way select screen: Roxy/Dave/Rose, Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, Arquiusprite/Vriska/Terezi/Dave, and John/Jake. I think I’ll start with Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, starting the post with a conversation consisting solely of trolls just like last time.

Ah, the two trolls whose zodiac symbols are fancy-looking M’s.
It’s been forever since they last conversed!

This is honestly one of the weirder conversations in the selection screen. It’s not much of a long-awaited reunion or new strong relationship between two characters, but rather like, “OK, this exists I guess”. I feel like I can mostly skim through this conversation and pick out interesting bits here and there.

First, Vriska talks about how wildly enthusiastic all the humans are to have their reunions, setting this conversation as one largely about comparing humans and trolls. Vriska brings up Rose as an especially good example, because her long-awaited motherly reunion has washed away her usual dry and aloof demeanor.

VRISKA: 8ut I don’t think I’ve ever seen [Rose] like that. 8y which I mean, making no discerni8le effort whatsoever to disguise the fact that she’s happy.
VRISKA: Well, ok. May8e there were a couple times.
KANAYA: Is That In Reference To How You Like To Flagrantly Spy On Us Sometimes
VRISKA: I don’t “spy” on you!
VRISKA: That is such an unfair characteriz8tion.
VRISKA: Would you can it with that shit already??
KANAYA: Ill Never Understand Your Ongoing And Apparently Unironic Use Of The Phrase “Can It”
KANAYA: And In Particular Why You Always Seem To Direct This Expression To Me And Seemingly No One Else
KANAYA: I Just Think It Is Such A Peculiar And Amusing Way To Tell Someone To Be Quiet

Since Vriska and Kanaya hadn’t conversed onscreen since the trolls’ arc (technically since Alterniabound, but their conversation was very brief), it’s easy to forget that this isn’t the first time Vriska told Kanaya to “can it”, nor is it the first time Kanaya pointed out how amusing it is for Vriska to use that phrase so much. This passage shows that when writing this passage, Hussie’s memory of early (or medium-early?) Homestuck was still rather sharp.

VRISKA: What! Why?
VRISKA: No, that’s a normal way of putting it!
VRISKA: I mean… it’s a pretty normal thing to say, right? When you want… someone… to pipe down?

Here’s one of several times A6A6I5 calls back to another line from A6A6I5. I remember finding the usage of callbacks in A6A6I5 excessive and a little lazy, and this is a good example of one of those callbacks I felt weird about. This callback still is a weird one to me, and I guess the main purpose it serves is to give Vriska an endearing side.

VRISKA: I guess I’ll have to accept your sass as a compliment then.
VRISKA: And no, I don’t SPY on you. I just…
VRISKA: Check in with you sometimes! To see how you’re doing.

KANAYA: Okay If Thats How You Want To Put It
KANAYA: You Involve Yourself In Many Private Matters Without Even Offering The Pretense Of Doing Otherwise
KANAYA: To Think That At One Point I Was Regarded As The Meddlesome One

[…]

KANAYA: I Have To Admit To Being Impressed With Your Uh
KANAYA: Strangely Natural Proficiency With Auspisticism
KANAYA: It Is An Incredibly Difficult Quadrant To Master And Very Emotionally Taxing I Find
KANAYA: In A Way That Conflicts With The Pursuit Of Relationships In Other Quadrants
KANAYA: I Cant Ignore That During Our Trip You Probably Diffused A Lot Of Unpleasant Situations Before They Started

What I’m getting from this is that Vriska has overtaken roles previously held by Kanaya and Karkat. She’s also taken over Gamzee’s role with troll sprite prototyping and Jade’s role nabbing Earth from the beta universe, but her taking Kanaya’s role as a meddler and auspistice is especially interesting to me. Maybe this makes sense on a meta level given her classpect role as a Thief of Light—”light” could be interpreted as “spotlight” here—but I’m not sure her stealing Kanaya’s role is a logical story development. Maybe it’s sort of logical, due to her implications of meta knowledge, but it’s weird no less.

Vriska goes on to claim that she’s forsaken relationships in the heart and spade quadrants, due to all the irons she has in the fire. Then she and Kanaya talk about the weirdness of human families.

VRISKA: So what are they talking a8out?
KANAYA: What
VRISKA: All your 8uddies over there!
VRISKA: We were still talking a8out that. It’s ridiculous how easily we all get sidetracked 8y romantic 8lither.
KANAYA: Oh
KANAYA: “Family” Stuff Mainly

VRISKA: It’s pretty fascin8ting. Sociologically speaking, I mean.
VRISKA: Their idea of families.
VRISKA: The idea of si8lings is strange enough. People who are genetically similar and grow up together.
VRISKA: Spending all that time with Dave and Rose, you started getting a sense for it. Like, the logic of it, how it must have shaped Earth society. 8ut also its inherent ridiculousness.
VRISKA: Sharing a residence with your near-clone while growing up? So preposterous.
VRISKA: 8ut then you add the idea of parents, and suddenly it’s complete madness.
VRISKA: Our society was so individualistic, and that all seemed so normal and reasona8le.
VRISKA: So I look over there, and see two Lalondes and a Strider, and there’s a whole OTHER Strider on the way, and…
VRISKA: A human family starts striking me as not so much a social unit, so much as like, an INFEST8TION.

Here’s more of Hussie using his characters to get philosophical about the ways of human society. In the long run, I view late Homestuck’s discussions on human society as a precursor to the much more intense discussions in Psycholonials. I don’t have much to say about this specific discussion other than that it’s interesting to see human families described from an external point of view (on an in-universe level, of course).

Kanaya then brings up her doubt about being able to hatch a new mother grub and resurrect the troll race, which I guess reminds us that the whole matriorb arc didn’t stop being a thing or anything… oh boy. Oh boy. I’m rapidly approaching the parts of A6A6I5 where Roxy is weirdly extremely perfect and smiley. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I guess that’s what I signed myself up for when deciding to analyze the entirety of Homestuck, but still… OH NO. Anyway, this is where Karkat interjects into the conversation.

VRISKA: Anyway, try not to get down a8out it. I have a good feeling. ::::)
KARKAT: GET DOWN ABOUT WHAT
KANAYA: A Particular Obligation I Have Yet To Fulfill
KANAYA: I Sense She Possesses Some Intelligence On The Matter She Wishes To Be Cagey About So I Guess That Part Of The Conversation Has Been Concluded

KARKAT: OBLIGATION?
KARKAT: VRISKA, HAVE YOU BEEN DISHING MORE DIRT ON OUR STRATEGY BEFORE FORMALLY BRINGING OUR MEETING BACK TO ORDER?
KARKAT: PRETTY SLOPPY LEADERSHIP MOVE, IF YOU ASK ME.

I guess Karkat is back to caring about leadership now?? He weirdly goes back and forth on whether he wants to be a leader in A6A6I5, and I have no idea if this was intentional or a result of Hussie being lazy. I’m inclined to say it’s laziness, because later in A6A6I5 Karkat has a lengthy and memorable conversation with Kanaya about not wanting to be a leader.

Karkat and Vriska go on to exchange some smack talk that Vriska construes as pointless black flirting.

KARKAT: DON’T LISTEN TO HER, KANAYA. IT’S LIKE THIS RUNNING GAG SHE DOES ALL THE TIME, TO OWN ME.
KANAYA: What
KARKAT: IT’S THIS FUNNY THING WE DO. OR MAINLY, SHE DOES.
KARKAT: ALWAYS IMPLYING THAT I’VE BEEN SPADES-CRUSHING ON HER, AND GETTING SHUT DOWN. IT NEVER STOPS BEING HILARIOUS!
KANAYA: …
KARKAT: FIRST OF ALL, AS IF SHE CAN PROVE ANYTHING.
KARKAT: SECOND, IF WE’RE BEING *TOTALLY FAIR* HERE, MORE THAN A FEW OF HER SNAPPY COMEBACKS ARE ARGUABLY MORE TINGED WITH THAT SORT OF EYEBROW-COCKING HOSTILITY THAN ANYTHING *I’VE* EVER SAID TO HER.
KARKAT: MAYBE MAKES ONE A LITTLE SUSPICIOUS, NO? THAT MAYBE THERE’S SOME PROJECTION GOING ON HERE. JUST SAYING!!!

The whole thing of Karkat fake black flirting with Vriska is basically a weird one-off. It’s hard to pin down post-retcon Karkat’s true opinion on Vriska, especially considering that he never seems to provide one. I guess it’s some sort of mix of jealousy and annoyance? I’m really not sure.

When Vriska leaves the conversation, Kanaya and Karkat are left to their own devices, the former providing us some interesting Vriskanalysis.

KARKAT: KANAYA, YOU WEREN’T TAKING THAT PATHETIC JOKEY UNREQUITED BLACKROM STUFF SERIOUSLY, WERE YOU???
KANAYA: Lets Imagine That My Attitude Toward The Joking Or Non Joking Status Of That Is Perfectly Neutral
KANAYA: While I Just Say These Things
KANAYA: Aside From The Fact That She Literally Just Got Finished Telling Me She Wasnt Interested In Any Non Pale Relationships
KANAYA: I Think That Would Be A Blind Alley Regardless
KANAYA: I Admit This From Experience
KANAYA: And Not Without Chagrined Hesitation
KANAYA: But Only Frustration And Heartbreak Are Down That Road
KARKAT: OH??
KANAYA: Shes Turned Out To Be A Tremendous Partner In Pale Relationships
KANAYA: Maybe Even Um
KANAYA: A Bit Freakishly So?
KANAYA: But Anything Stronger Than That I Think Would Probably Be Disastrous
KANAYA: She Is Way Too Focused And Self Absorbed To Maintain Such Strong Feelings For Long
KANAYA: She Would Need To Learn To Let Go Of Some Of Her Ambition And Figure Out How To Prioritize The Feelings Of Other People
KANAYA: She Might Even Figure Out How To Be
KANAYA: Happy
KANAYA: *Shudder*

I never realized before that on a meta level, Kanaya is alluding to pre-retcon Vriska. I don’t know how I didn’t realize that before; it’s a very interesting discussion on the fundamental problem with Vriska. As Kanaya says, Vriska puts ambition and egotistical goals first, and only by setting those aside can she truly become happy. Setting her Serket ambition aside also is what turns Vriska into (Vriska), which is done in A6A6I5 with pre-retcon Vriska and in the epilogues with post-retcon Vriska. “But didn’t Homestuck^2 rename her back to Vriska”—no it didn’t. Homestuck^2 never happened, OK?

It’s also cool to see Kanaya analyze Vriska’s character from firsthand experiences. Her putting ambition first has prevented heart and spade relationships from working out. It’s probably why her red relationship with the doomed John from Davesprite’s timeline didn’t last long, and maybe even why her black relationship with Eridan ended before the story started. The same goes for Vriska’s turbulent relationship with Tavros, which Kanaya has witnessed the worst parts of firsthand—remember the time she made a dress for Vriska and broke into tears after seeing why she wanted that dress?

KARKAT: YEAH, WOW
KARKAT: A CHILL JUST RAN UP MY POSTURE POLE, TRYING TO IMAGINE THAT.
KARKAT: YOU KNOW…
KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE EVER TOLD YOU.
KARKAT: BUT YOU HAVE A REALLY IMPRESSIVE GRASP OVER ROMANTIC ANALYSIS.
KANAYA: Well I Have Read A Lot Of Novels Too
KANAYA: I Just Dont Brag Much About It
KANAYA: Because It Would…
KANAYA: Literally Be Preposterous To Do So

KARKAT: WE SHOULD BE JAMMING ON THIS SUBJECT MORE. MAYBE EXPLORE SOME OF MY MORE ADVANCED THEORIES.
KARKAT: WE’RE SURROUNDED BY AMATEURS IN THIS FIELD, SO IT GETS A BIT FRUSTRATING.
KARKAT: WELL, THE MAYOR’S A GOOD SOUNDING BOARD AT LEAST. WHEN I WANT TO BOUNCE SOME OF MY MORE “OUT THERE” IDEAS OFF SOMEONE.
KANAYA: Why Dont We Schedule An Academic Conference Some Time
KANAYA: Just You Me And The Mayor

KARKAT: OH FUCK YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s nice to see Karkat and Kanaya still be good friends, unlike pre-retcon when they drifted apart due to Kanaya’s relationship with an increasingly alcoholic Rose. Karkat still respects Kanaya a lot, and his conversations with her are a lot more calm and civilized than with anyone else. This ends the conversation on a positive note.


Next up, how about John/Jake? Vriska’s rude words to Jake and Tavros could really use a palate cleanser.

It’s really sweet seeing the two near-identical Harleybert boys face to face.

JOHN: hey!
JOHN: mr. jake harley i presume?
JAKE: No…?
JAKE: Its english actually.
JAKE: Twas my grandmas surname.

JOHN: oh. my mistake!
JOHN: so then, is it just a coincidence that she had the same name as an invincible super villain?
JOHN: are coincidences even real??
JAKE: I dunno.
JAKE: The history is a little murky to me.
JAKE: I heard she took the name from a nasty fellow to spite a wicked baroness.

Caliborn’s reveal that the name Lord English came from Jake only implicitly mentions that Jake’s last name came from Lord English. This passage makes it clear that the name “English” is a stable time loop from Caliborn to post-scratch Jade to Jake and back to Caliborn, in case any readers hadn’t put the pieces together already. It’s a good way to let that mind-wrenching time loop sink into readers’ brains before we get into the meat of John and Jake’s conversation. And by the meat, I of course mean the candy. This character select screen is a whole bunch of candy.

JOHN: ok.
JOHN: good to know!
JOHN: it’s been interesting to learn how even though we are all pretty similar, we all had a lot of really different life details.
JAKE: I guess so.
JOHN: like, there are all these things i take for granted about jade’s childhood, which in theory is similar to yours.
JOHN: but not really… she had a super powerful dog you didn’t have. and also a grandpa you couldn’t have had, because… that was grown up you!
JOHN: i’d be really curious to hear about all the differences in your life some time, if you don’t mind.
JAKE: Sure.
JOHN: hell, i’d be REALLY curious to hear about the differences in my alt-life, so to speak.
JOHN: but jane is asleep!
JOHN: i’m guessing she grew up in a similar situation i did, but with… a bunch of differences???
JOHN: guess i’ll just have to wait!
JAKE: Well…
JAKE: She was a good friend.
JAKE: I know lots of stuff about her life.
JAKE: What do you want to know?

Since he’s the protagonist of Homestuck, John learning about his post-scratch life is all but obligatory—same goes for all the other beta and alpha kids,* but especially John. It would make sense for John to learn about his life under the Crocker name from Jane, but for the sake of narrative convenience and not having too many lengthy conversations, he learns it from Jake instead, which is just as logical. In addition, one could argue that John/Jake is a just as obligatory of a conversation than John/Jane is—maybe even more so if you’re a reader who shamelessly overlooks Jane—because it’s no secret that John and Jake are extremely similar characters.

* Sadly, Jade is robbed off this opportunity, at least onscreen. But I guess she already learned about her post-scratch self plenty from her letters with Jake.

JOHN: oh! hmm.
JOHN: let’s see.
JOHN: so i was her grandpa, instead of her being my nanna?
JOHN: i’m not sure if that statement made sense, but you know what i mean.
JAKE: Yeah she had a poppop.
JAKE: He was a really funny and beloved old time comedian so i guess that is the guy you grew up to be.

JOHN: cool!

I’ve said before that John Crocker, better known as Poppop Crocker, is an odd one out among the post-scratch beta kids. Unlike the other three, he played no role in the rebellion against the Condesce and preparing the alpha kids for Sburb. Instead, he lived a happy life as a comedian and actor famous for being an earnest and kind-hearted person down to the core. I’ve also said that Poppop’s lack of narrative relevance relates to a unique trait that sets John apart from other characters: his relevance is restricted to his main self, not any alternate selves like so many other characters.

However, something I haven’t said before is that Poppop’s lack of involvement in the rebellion may relate to John’s tendency not to do anything heroic unless others tell him to, which balances out the overwhelming powers that he tends to fall headfirst into. Since nobody told him to be a rebellious hero, and since he never gets angry except for hilariously stupid reasons, he decided to stick to his usual interests and pursue a career in comedy. It’s easy to imagine that his humor and good spirit made him an inspirational figure for later generations in his timeline, maybe even for post-scratch Dave.

JOHN: cool!
JOHN: i never knew my nanna growing up, except as an urn of ashes above the fireplace.
JOHN: i only met her as a sprite.
JOHN: was i dead? or… was he?
JAKE: Yep but he wasnt ashes they had a different way of preserving him which i think was arguably more dignified.
JOHN: how?
JAKE: Have you seen weekend at bernies?
JOHN: no.
JOHN: i’ve heard of it though!
JAKE: Oh man you HAVE to see it!
JAKE: Its about a couple of knuckleheads who parade around with a funny corpse trying to pass him off as a living friend and good time charlie over a series of escapades.

JOHN: sounds incredible.
JAKE: I still have it if you want to see it some time.
JOHN: definitely!

It’s still hilarious that the idea of taxidermying a human corpse doesn’t weird Jake out in the slightest, but rather reminds him of Weekend at Bernie’s. That alone is a good indicator of his obsession with movies, which is like John’s but more extreme.

JOHN: so you like movies?
JAKE: DO i?????
JOHN: haha, i love movies too.
JOHN: there are a whole bunch i’d want to show you, assuming you haven’t seen them already.
JOHN: i love talking about them with people! i think my friends usually just humored me about the movies i liked, but i have a feeling you’d really dig them!
JAKE: Oh i GUARANTEE you i would.
JOHN: awesome, i can’t wait to show you some.

It’s heartwarming how quick John and Jake are to realize they have something in common: not just that they love movies, but that they would genuinely enjoy each other’s favorite movies, much unlike most of their other friends. John is happy to meet someone who he can jam about movies with without a trace of sarcasm, and though Jake doesn’t have as much self-awareness about his tastes in movies, he’s clearly excited to know John loves movies as well.

JOHN: so… that means jane had an old man corpse version of me around somewhere? like in her house?
JAKE: Yes.
JOHN: ok, that sounds pretty preposterous to me…
JOHN: but i guess she must have grown up thinking it was normal.
JAKE: Not… really. She was always pretty put off by it to be honest.
JOHN: heheh. poor jane.
JOHN: i’ll have to apologize to her for freaking her out from beyond the grave.

John here is no doubt reminded of how Jade grew up with her grandpa stuffed by the fireplace. As such, it’s a fair assumption for him to think that Jane similarly grew up thinking it was normal. Jane and Jade’s respective perceptions of living with a stuffed grandfather are an interesting point of contrast between their characters, showing how Jade grew up thoroughly isolated from human society. It’s also funny to think that it probably hasn’t occurred to John that Jade stuffed her grandfather herself—that’s one of many things he doesn’t think too hard about.

JOHN: what was her life like otherwise?
JAKE: Pretty typical id say.
JAKE: She always characterized it as boring.
JAKE: But i never agreed really she got to live on the main land with access to all kinds of things i didnt have.

Jake is providing some interesting insight into Jane’s character here. Jane’s characterization of her life as boring interestingly contrasts against John, who had easily the most pedestrian childhood of any of the beta kids. I’d argue that Jane’s childhood was one of the most unusual of all eight kids, since she grew up as the sheltered and protected heiress to CrockerCorp, and she was brainwashed into thinking all the company’s crazy schemes had nothing to do with a tyrannical alien queen. Jane thinking of her childhood as dull matches well with her “rich girl who is oblivious to how rich she is” archetype, which she truly grows into in the epilogues. I feel like this conversation doubles as a way for John to learn about Jane’s life, killing two birds with one stone.

JAKE: Plus she lived with a cool and manly father who cared about her a lot and seemed like a standup gent.
JOHN: oh, she lived with her dad too?
JOHN: do you know anything about him?
JAKE: Not much other than what i just said and a few things she told me.
JAKE: I think he was stern and fatherly and dressed well if memory serves he was a private detective at one point.

JOHN: a private detective???
JOHN: wow.
JOHN: it sounds like he must have been a completely different kind of dad from the one i had.
JOHN: all these differences are so interesting… some are subtle, but some are drastic, like this one apparently is.

I love the dramatic irony here, where John is led to believe Jane’s dad was very different from his dad. John is unaware that Dad Crocker’s stint as a private detective is an example of what both dads loved to do: excessively pander to their child’s interests. The main difference is that Dad Crocker pandered to his daughter’s real interests and eventually stopped doing so as she grew older, while Dad Egbert pandered to what he mistakenly thought were his son’s interests.

JOHN: do you know what happened to him?
JAKE: Im not sure i kinda lost track of him for a while…
JAKE: I think he might be in jail?

JOHN: jail??
JAKE: Yeah on derse.
JAKE: I THINK. I could be wrong though.

JOHN: i’ll make a mental note to check on him some time soon.
JOHN: i bet jane would want to too, when she wakes up. i’ll ask her about it.
JAKE: Good idea!

It’s quite weird that John ends up stealing the fatherly reunion from Jane after [S] Collide. Jane is shafted in A6A6I5, but not quite as badly as Jade. Hussie at least decided there was one lengthy conversation involving Jane that was worth writing, namely her meeting Nannasprite, but it still would have been nice if he did more than one.

JOHN: you know jake, at first you seemed pretty shy…
JOHN: but you don’t really seem that way at all now?
JOHN: you just strike me as a nice regular dude who likes movies and stuff.
JOHN: i’m glad we are getting a chance to talk!

John is refreshingly non-judgemental to Jake. He sees Jake as an ordinary friend like any other and seems to know that’s what he’s like beneath those insecurities.

JAKE: Yeah me too!
JAKE: Ive been feeling way out of sorts since i got sprung from the big house and dragged along to this here frog stage to suddenly bump gums with WAY too many people…
JAKE: But you are really good company john and you know how to make a guy feel at ease.
JOHN: heh, yeah, it is a lot of people.
JOHN: i’m having trouble keeping track of everyone myself!

JAKE: They all seem like decent folk and all but…
JAKE: I guess everyones catching me at a bad time.
JAKE: This wasnt how i pictured things going at all.
JOHN: how were you picturing it?
JAKE: Naively i suppose.
JAKE: Its not that i was expecting differently of anyone else…
JAKE: More that i had spurious visions of my own conduct.
JAKE: Remember the letter i sent you?
JOHN: yes.
JAKE: All the excitement and swagger you heard from me in those words…
JAKE: Thats the man i thought id be when you met me.
JAKE: A man of action and gumption… hell when i wrote that i thought by now maybe people would even have come to see me as a leader!
JAKE: What a laugh.

Now it’s time for Jake to open up about his feelings and insecurities in a way that feels more sincere on the author’s part than in his conversation with Tavrosprite. It’s cool to see Hussie to be kinder to one of his “punching bag” characters for a change.

JAKE: The bravado in that letter was fake ive realized lately.
JAKE: Ive realized a lot of things.
JAKE: That i could never be a leader or a people person or probably ever have a quality relationship with someone.
JAKE: So its hard to get up a lot of moxie for a big moment like this even though im as excited about it as everyone else.
JAKE: Tavrosprite already tried cheering me up and hes nice but i dont think it worked.
JAKE: Like by saying maybe all that stuff ISNT true and maybe im actually really great in all the ways i dont think i am?
JAKE: Its a nice thought but also it weirdly just doesnt make me feel any better.
JAKE: John you seem like the kind of guy who likes trying to cheer up a pal so i guess…
JAKE: I guess just so you know someone already tried telling me i was wrong and it didnt work.
JOHN: i don’t think you’re wrong though!
JOHN: well, i don’t know.
JOHN: we just met! what could i know about you other than what you tell me?
JOHN: i believe you about all that.
JOHN: really, it just sounds to me like you are going through a lot of changes.
JOHN: changes are good!
JOHN: especially if you understand that’s what’s happening to you.
JOHN: i think that’s how we grow and stuff.
JOHN: i think i’ve changed in a lot of ways.
JOHN: some ways that weren’t easy.

This conversation also serves as some character development for John: since his old days of being goofy and mildly snooty, he’s learned to give genuine, encouraging words to others. He’s done this plenty with Roxy, a fair bit with Vriska depending on his mood, and now he’s doing it with Jake. Anyone who thinks John did not get any character development aside from changing his opinion on Con Air (and changing it back) should seriously reconsider things.

JAKE: Yeah?
JOHN: sure!
JOHN: so you’re realizing you like being by yourself, it sounds like.
JOHN: big deal!
JOHN: i like being alone a lot of times too. it helps me think.
JOHN: if that’s who you are, there’s nothing wrong with that.
JOHN: jade’s grandpa liked being by himself too.
JOHN: so much so, that he moved to an island as far away from civilization as possible.
JOHN: but he still did adventurous stuff and was super successful and also raised a cool grand daughter, who was actually his daughter, and i guess also yours.

John goes on to provide some interesting analysis about Jade’s grandpa that portrays him in a kinder light than usual. Hussie probably hadn’t thought too hard before about why old man Jake moved to a remote island, but when he wrote this passage, I imagine he realized that ties in with how Jake enjoys being by himself. I remember similarly realizing how much sense that comparison makes when this update came out.

JAKE: Huh.
JAKE: Yes i guess youre right.
JOHN: and if nothing else…
JOHN: at least you have a cool costume.

JAKE: You…
JAKE: You really like it?
JOHN: hell yes!
JAKE: Wow thanks.
JAKE: Sometimes i worry that i might look a little silly.
JAKE: And feel kind of… exposed maybe?
JAKE: Like im on sexy display or such and people dont see me as a person.
JOHN: i wouldn’t worry about that.
JOHN: i love the god tier pajamas, and yours are badass.
JOHN: you look like a super hero!

JAKE: Really???
JOHN: yes.
JOHN: well…
JOHN: maybe a plucky side kick, at LEAST.

JAKE: Heheheheh.

John goes on to compliment Jake’s god tier outfit, and it turns out not to be just empty praise. As it turns out, John would never say something nice to someone if he didn’t truly mean it. He provides an interesting analogy to help Jake see his god tier outfit in a new way:

JOHN: side kicks are really under rated anyway.
JOHN: i think in some cases they might be the real stars.
JOHN: like, you know bat man?
JOHN: truth be told, i think he might just be some kind of gallivanting idiot.
JOHN: he’s got all the money and skills in the world, and what does he do?
JOHN: he buys a fancy car to drive around in, then jumps out and starts punching crooks with his bare hands.

It’s very interesting and fun to see Hussie use John as a vessel to analyze and snark about media, instead of one of the Striders. Compared to his tirade in Act 6 Intermission 3 about how Con Air makes no sense, this conversation shows that John has gotten much better at analyzing media and gleaning new things from it.

JOHN: then, when he gets horn swoggled by a wily clown with NO powers, and a LOT less money, who has to bail him out?
JOHN: his side kick of course.
JAKE: Yeah youre right!
JOHN: what is bat man even trying to prove? being all serious and “cool” looking.
JOHN: his side kick looks like he has a lot more fun, and smacks of confidence and self assurance, trotting around in his underpants.
JOHN: bat man probably doesn’t even care much about stopping crime, it’s more about walloping thugs and getting to feel cool.
JOHN: if he really cared about stopping bad guys, he’d probably use his fancy money to buy guns, and at LEAST show the criminals he’s packing, to make them scared, if not surrender outright.
JOHN: i bet his side kick probably just has to wait for bat man to bungle things up with his stupid karate, and when he gets in trouble, the side kick just guns down all the crooks from a safe distance like a sensible person.

And here’s where John defends the concept of sidekicks, portraying them in a surprisingly positive manner. I had brought up Batman’s unending rivalry with the Joker in the last post; I can easily their relationship as an eternal stalemate until Robin comes around and bails his leader out of trouble. In that sense, you could argue that the sidekick is the crucial factor in the hero and villain’s rivalry; the one who gets things done and stops crime without acting all serious or disguising the fact that he loves being a hero.

Come to think of it, do villains ever have sidekicks??? Probably not as often as superheroes do. Villains having sidekicks is quite a novel concept compared to heroes having sidekicks, but I can easily imagine the villain’s sidekick being more dangerous and much more of a cunning mastermind than the villain is. That’s probably the reason heroes win in stories so much: the hero has a sidekick, but the villain doesn’t. I don’t know, it’s just fun to think about the narrative importance of sidekicks.

It’s also worth noting that Jake’s grand heroic moment in Caliborn’s Masterpiece is a perfect example of a sidekick stealing the show. If you consider him to be Dirk’s sidekick, then Dirk’s fight against Caliborn is matches nicely with John’s Batman metaphor. Dirk puts up a swordfight against Caliborn and is beaten cold, only for Jake to respond with an astounding hope bubble, fulfilling his prophecy of heroism and even inspiring Lord English’s name. I had never connected the Batman metaphor with Caliborn’s Masterpiece before.

JAKE: Well i do love guns!!!
JAKE: ALSO fisticuffs.
JOHN: see? there you go.
JOHN: you’re better than bat man already.

John saying Jake is better than Batman already is a fun line to end this conversation that’s heartwarming in a very John way. Or at least, this line ends the portion of the conversation that’s John and Jake getting to know each other. The rest is some hints at external events, some of which we are yet to see in other parts of the select screen.

KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER)
KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER)
JOHN: hold on…
JOHN: shh, listen.

JAKE: …
KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER mayor)
KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER can town?)
KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER but where? WHISPER WHISPER earth WHISPER)
KARKAT: (WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER to scale?? don’t see how WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER)
KARKAT: (if you’re really going WHISPER WHISPER WHISPER build WHISPER WHISPER)
JOHN: (ha ha.)
JOHN: (he’s talking to the mayor again.)

JAKE: (so it seems.)
JAKE: (they really appear to have quite the rapport.)

JOHN: (i just love how he talks to the mayor.)
JOHN: (it’s like he made up this whole language.)
JOHN: (of like minimal talking and hand gestures.)
JOHN: (it’s so cute!)

The snippets of Karkat talking to the Mayor about building a full-scale Can Town on Earth C are like a fun little extra conversation that’s not substantial enough to get a whole place on the selection screen. These bits of dialogue serve as foreshadowing of Act 7, which features a full-blown Can Town as the start of Earth’s new civilization.

KARKAT: *AHEM*
KARKAT: EGBERT, WHAT THE FUCK.
KARKAT: WERE YOU EAVESDROPPING?!
JOHN: no!
KARKAT: THIS IS A FUCKING PRIVATE CONVERSATION.
KARKAT: STOP BEING RUDE GARBAGE.
JOHN: i wasn’t eavesdropping…
JOHN: you just happened to be like… right there.
JOHN: and you’re a really loud whisperer!

KARKAT: OH!!! OK THEN! HERE, HAVE AN EXCESSIVELY *QUIET* (shut the fuck up)
JOHN: sorry!
JOHN: go back to your cute mayor conference.
JOHN: we’ll mind our own business.

It’s strangely endearing how Karkat can be sensitive and earnest one second, and aggressive and profane the next. It’s like he switches between those moods unconsciously, going into the latter mood whenever something sets him off.

TAVROSPRITE: aCHOO!,
TAVROSPRITE: aaaCHOO!!!,
JOHN: oh man.
JOHN: what’s going on now?
TAVROSPRITE: aCHOO!,,,
JASPERSPRITE: Meow. :3
TAVROSPRITE: aCHOOOOO!!!!!
TAVROSPRITE: wHY,
TAVROSPRITE: aCHOO,!
TAVROSPRITE: wHY, dOES YOUR LUSUS NEED,
TAVROSPRITE: aCHOO,!,,!
TAVROSPRITE: tO BE HERE,,,
TAVROSPRITE: aCHOO!!!,
TAVROSPRITE: mY ALLERGIES, }:(

This portion of the conversation raises a new plot point no matter which order you’re reading the selection screen in. Well, it doesn’t technically raise a new plot point—Tavros offhandedly mentioned his cat allergies in a conversation with Nepeta from the trolls’ arc (in fact the only time he and Nepeta have ever spoken). I wonder if Hussie had intended for Tavros’s cat allergy to be a Chekhov’s gun from the start?

JOHN: jaspers??
JOHN: what are you…
JOHN: wait a minute.
JOHN: rose, is that you?!
JASPERSPRITE: Meeeeeow!

“rose, is that you?!” is an enticing mystery line if you read this conversation before the one where Rosesprite is revealed. I wonder what readers would guess about John is referring to? The line is vague enough that it’s probably hard but not impossible to connect the dots that pre-retcon Jaspersprite went ahead and prototyped pre-retcon Rose into post-retcon Roxy’s kernel.

JOHN: oh my god.
JOHN: i turn my back for two seconds, and something stupid happens.
TAVROSPRITE: aaaaCHOO,!!!

John’s last line here is such a perfect summary of what it’s like to read Homestuck. It’s also a good description of what it’s like to be a Homestuck fan and follow news related to Homestuck and Hussie’s work. Stupid things happen whenever you turn your back, and that’s just a fact of life.

Next up, let’s do the four-way conversation with Dave, Arquiusprite, Terezi, and Vriska. I think it will be fun to save the one that ends in Rosesprite’s reveal for last.

DAVE: hey am i interrupting anything
VRISKA: Hey, Dave. No, Arquius and I were just exchanging some notes 8efore I 8ring the meeting to order again.
DAVE: ok i just thought i would
DAVE: saunter over here
DAVE: things are getting pretty lalonde heavy over there
VRISKA: It really is an awful lot of fucking Lalondes, isn’t it.
DAVE: two was ok or actually cool even but this
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: time to see whats up over here

Ah, here’s another hint at Rosesprite, enticing the mystery for those who are yet to read the fifth conversation in the select screen. It’s fun how this conversation select screen teases different mysteries depending on the order in which you read it.

Arquiusprite’s role in this conversation isn’t much significant: he mostly just serves as a vessel for Dave to obtusely vent about how nervous he is about meeting Dirk, all the while saying some humorous Arquiusprite things. It’s basically just hinting at Dave’s deep insecurities about how his bro raised him and the idea of meeting a teen version of his bro.

DAVE: when is [dirk] supposed to get here btw
VRISKA: Relax, Dave.
VRISKA: He’s scheduled to arrive around the same time as all the other 8ad guys.
VRISKA: You still have time.
VRISKA: I could have expedited his arrival, 8ut I knew that meeting him was going to 8e a 8ig deal for you, so I decided to let you have some space while we made some plans.
VRISKA: See? I’m always thinking a8out what’s good for you guys, and what’s 8est for the overall strategy.
VRISKA: Keeping everyone in high spirits is important!

DAVE: what do you mean
DAVE: ‘expedited’
VRISKA: Never mind that.
VRISKA: Just chill out!

Vriska is indeed being strategic with her choice of when to expedite Dirk’s arrival. She has the fenestrated wall gun that she presumably stole from Roxy and could bring Dirk to the frog platform at any moment, but she’s choosing to do so at a time that’s convenient to the narrative and doesn’t disturb matters too much. Specifically, it’s the last thing she does before she storms off to the Furthest Ring, so that Dave doesn’t spend any more time being all awkward with Dirk than he needs to. Post-retcon Vriska in A6A6I5 is all about strategic thinking, which is as admirable as it is morally dubious.

Dave then brings up the fridge, leading to an exchange about Gamzee:

DAVE: somehow i forgot that we literally just established that you had gamzee locked in there for some reason
DAVE: you sure we shouldnt maybe
DAVE: let him out
TEREZI: >:\
DAVE: he could suffocate in there
TEREZI: H3’LL JUST R3V1V3
TEREZI: GOD T13R STYL3, R1GHT?

DAVE: hes not a fuckin god tier
DAVE: hes faking it he just made that fuckin suit from scratch or something

This passage serves mostly to confirm that Gamzee still has his fake god tier suit post-retcon. It’s a good way to confirm that fact, and important since we’ve seen an ambiguous iteration of Gamzee throughout Caliborn’s Sburb session, but I’m not sure why Dave knows the god tier outfit is fake and Terezi doesn’t. Could it be that Vriska refused to let Gamzee come anywhere near Terezi since she knew how about their disastrous pre-retcon black relationship? Now that I think of it, that’s not an illogical explanation.

DAVE: i know hes complete trash but maybe we should just let him out
DAVE: whats the harm its not like he can cause much trouble
DAVE: we all way outnumber him and have way more powers and shit
TEREZI: UM…

It’s a little weird that Dave considers letting Gamzee out of the fridge, but maybe it makes sense that he doesn’t know much about the clown and thus doesn’t think he could cause much harm. The main point of this passage is to lead to a callback that effectively shows how Vriska feels about Gamzee:

VRISKA: No.
VRISKA: Oh, wow. No.
VRISKA: We will not ever 8e hearing from him again. No.
VRISKA: Never, never, never again. Never.
VRISKA: Wow.

This page, both the text and image on it, calls back to Aranea regretting letting Gamzee speak. It’s a bit of a strange callback, and I’m not sure it makes sense for Vriska to have such an extreme, repeated reaction to a mere suggestion from Dave. But credit where it’s due: this page effectively shows how Vriska thinks of Gamzee on a meta level. She refuses to let the clown play any part in the alpha session’s victory because she knows all he will do is cause a bunch of stupid bullshit to happen.

DAVE: so youre just gonna let him suffocate in there then
VRISKA: Dave, give me a little more credit than that.
VRISKA: Gamzee is supposedly relevant to some stuff that’s going to happen in the new universe.
VRISKA: He’s still got some “plot armor” or some shit.
VRISKA: So when Earth is resitu8ted, I’m just going to drop the fridge in the fucking ocean or something, and let him find his own way out.

DAVE: ok thats fair
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: firm
DAVE: but fair
DAVE: well maybe not that fair but i guess i dont care

Despite this, Vriska has accepted that Gamzee has a lot of unresolved narrative relevance, and thus she’s decided to do the bare minimum to take care of it. Even though it’s quite gracious of Vriska for her to prevent Gamzee from doing anything, her measures are so extreme that they even weird the other heroes out.

And then the conversation derails into Dave being thoroughly unable to pretend he doesn’t think Jane is extremely hot. Likewise, I’m thoroughly unable to pretend that I have anything meaningful to say about the “hot mom” portion of the conversation, so let’s just move on to the conversation between Dave, Roxy, and Rose.


This is the last conversation on the select screen to go through.
I’m doing it. I’m slowly but surely getting through A6A6I5!

ROSE: Dave, we were sort of in the middle of something here.
DAVE: in the middle of what
ROSE: A series of heartfelt conversations of a personal nature.
DAVE: oh
DAVE: i guess im in the middle of those now too
DAVE: im feeling heartfelt as fuck somebody bone me up on the shit

ROSE: One cannot simply be boned up on shit such as this. You had to be there.
DAVE: come on
ROSE: Wizards, Problems, Feelings. It was your standard tale of two estranged mutual mothers.
ROSE: Any questions?
DAVE: yes lots
ROSE: Ok.
ROSE: Can you maybe sit over there for a while and write them all down?
DAVE: um

Many things have changed post-retcon, but Dave and Rose’s flavor of banter sure hasn’t, and I’m glad it hasn’t. Their banter never ceases to be hilarious; you don’t get conversations like this from any other pair of characters.

I think I’ll take the skimming route for analyzing this conversation: just pick out some bits here and there that I have something meaningful to say about. Because a lot of Dave and Roxy’s dialogue, as funny as it is, I don’t have much to say about.

DAVE: so mom
DAVE: im just going to jump right into the fuckin frying pan here
DAVE: like tape off a no bullshit zone for a while
DAVE: if thats ok
ROXY: a frying pan in the no bullshit zone??
ROXY: sounds intense
ROXY: who is manning this pan and who gave him clearance for the no bs zone

DAVE: captain Serious is at the pan and he got the go-ahead from lieutenant Doesnt Fuckaround of the Heartattack Armada
ROXY: isnt lieutenant a lower rank than captain
ROXY: who put this dude in charge of such an important pan

DAVE: um i dont know maybe it is?
DAVE: ok like its cool that you even know that fact but this is exactly the kind of fuckery the no bs zone doesnt cotton to no matter what sorta cookware is involved or which pseudomilitary organization regulates its borders
DAVE: i just have some questions about you and about stuff in general so rather than mumble through a conversation that sounds mostly like the stuff we literally just got done sayin, sweet though that would be, im gonna machine gun some shit at you lighting round style
ROXY: a machine gun lightning round in a frying pan!!!!!
ROXY: god………DAMN

Just like how Roxy pointed out how similar Rose and Dirk are, it becomes clear in this conversation that she’s sort of like a girl version of Dave who’s much less reluctant to smile. These similarities are fun to notice and give off a vibe similar to two of the same character talking.

DAVE: i heard something about wizards
DAVE: you hells into wizards like rose?
ROXY: YES
DAVE: ok well that is a predictable if somewhat bland fact
DAVE: lets see if we can dig a lil deeper
DAVE: dont get me wrong wizards are ok i guess
ROXY: oh yeah? well maybe YOURE ok
DAVE: yeah, im alright
DAVE: wizards are better at magic than me
DAVE: but im better than wizards at rap
DAVE: so i guess it breaks even
DAVE: or it would if i was a pretend jackass in silly robes and a dumb beard
DAVE: so point goes to dave
ROSE: (Sigh.)

This passage reminds me of Hussie’s longtime jokes about wizards. It’s clear through reading this passage that while some of Homestuck’s characters care for wizards, the author himself does not. Dave’s second-last line in the passage above is an accurate description of what Hussie thinks of wizards, and it’s not far off from what I think of wizards. They’re just not my cup of tea, that’s all.

DAVE: what was the future like
ROXY: watery
ROXY: fulla chess people
ROXY: lots o pumpkins
ROXY: u kno
ROXY: usual dystopian stuff

DAVE: i see
DAVE: and it was just the chess guys and you
DAVE: like alone
DAVE: no other people except for bro
DAVE: who i guess was way off somewhere?
ROXY: yup
DAVE: sounds like kind of a bummer
ROXY: yeah
ROXY: i talked to my friends a lot though
ROXY: via computers n shit

DAVE: thats cool
DAVE: me too
DAVE: maybe when it comes down to it our lives werent that different
DAVE: except for the extinction of humanity part
DAVE: my humans were just
DAVE: imminently extinct is all

Dave’s remark that his and Roxy’s lives weren’t that different is interesting on a meta level. It shows that despite their vastly differing upbringings (or all eight kids’ upbringings, for that matter), their childhoods went down pretty similarly: being part of a small group of friends who talk to each other on the computer. Sort of says something about how antisocial they all grew up, don’t you think?

DAVE: i didnt have chess guys around though
DAVE: theyre actually good company
ROXY: yeah!!
DAVE: my best best best best best friend is a chess guy
DAVE: hes the mayor
DAVE: ill have to introduce you to him soon
DAVE: youll love the mayor everybody loves the mayor
ROXY: wanna meet the mayor!
DAVE: dont worry ill put in a good word for you pretty sure we can find an opening in his schedule

I like these moments in conversations where characters realize an unexpected thing they have in common; perhaps something even Hussie didn’t realize they had in common.

DAVE: aside from cat breeding how else did you pass the time
ROXY: ummmmmmmm
ROXY: writin
ROXY: um
ROXY: a FAIR amount of uh
ROXY: lets say recreational liquid intake
ROXY: and uhh
ROXY: oh um hacking
DAVE: haha seriously
DAVE: like actual hacking

ROXY: yeah!
ROXY: well computer programming rly
ROXY: hacking is just what u call it to sound cool
ROXY: there wasnt even much shit around to “hack”
DAVE: so kinda like john
DAVE: except
DAVE: i think he pretty much sucked at his codes

ROXY: hahahahaha really
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: he seemed to find it frustrating mainly
DAVE: his bitching about it is literally my only point of reference for his degree of proficiency
DAVE: youre good though right
DAVE: i bet youre good

ROXY: tha BEST 8)
DAVE: knew it
ROXY: maybe i could give him some pointers on the leet haxx
DAVE: fuck yes
DAVE: hed be all about that
DAVE: or i think he should be which is all that matters
DAVE: do that and insist on it if he gets weirdly obstinate or like tries to pretend he doesnt like programming anymore

ROXY: ok

Aw man, Roxy teaching John how to program would have been so fun, not to mention adorable. That ended up never happening, not even in external media, but it’s fun to imagine regardless. Dave’s line about John getting weirdly obstinate suggests that mental breakdowns like the one about Con Air are more common than one may have thought.

God dammit, I know Roxy and John are a token heterosexual couple, but their dynamic is adorable. It’s so adorable. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s extremely adorable.

DAVE: what else
ROXY: oh umm
ROXY: idk dave i might be runnin outta shit to say!

DAVE: you sure
ROXY: iiii
ROXY: liked to play games?

DAVE: what games
ROXY: uh mostly…
ROXY: the nintendos

DAVE: i see
DAVE: which nintendos
ROXY: a whole bunch of nintendos!!
ROXY: like lotsa diff systems n titles
ROXY: i dunno if the ones i associate strongly with would have the same meaning like culturally speaking for you
ROXY: because to me they were all like cool ancient relics that kept me somewhat in touch with a world that was long gone

DAVE: that makes sense
DAVE: thats mostly the relationship i have now with garbage romcoms
DAVE: largely because karkat likes watchin em
DAVE: so these godforsaken flicks have helped keep me grounded in our dead civilization in a weird way

It’s obvious from these conversations what topics Hussie is and isn’t interested in. He doesn’t know much about Nintendo games, and probably only a minimal amount of things about romcoms…

DAVE: but re: games…
DAVE: i didnt have nintendos
DAVE: my bro had xbox so i played that sometimes
DAVE: but he mostly had all these shitty skating games
DAVE: and like 20 different tony hawk titles
DAVE: i would mainly just play them to fuck around
DAVE: like find spectacular ways to crash and flop around like a douchey ragdoll
DAVE: or figure out ways to get halfway stuck inside concrete fixtures and obstacles
DAVE: and watch all these cool fratty bros twitch and flop ad infinitum
DAVE: like struggling valiantly and earnestly forever against the shitty and deeply flawed physics of their confining virtual prison
DAVE: i saw them as tragic figures

… but I can tell that Hussie, too, was once thoroughly exposed to absurdly glitchy and janky skating games. I love Dave’s description of those games, especially considering I have some vague childhood memories of similarly watching glitchy skateboard game shenanigans. It’s also poignant to think of the characters in those games as tragic figures. Like, sure, they’re fictional characters, but it’s tragic no less for what could well be iconic and beloved characters to be stuck in a completely trashy work of media.

ROXY: rose please dont think im excluding you!
ROXY: jump in the convo any time k?
DAVE: meh shes fine
ROXY: :p
ROSE: I’m perfectly happy serving as a spectator and occasional officiator of this conversation.
ROSE: It’s quite entertaining to behold, really. I love watching how different personalities collide with each other upon meeting.
ROSE: Neither of you is failing to disappoint.

In this passage, Hussie demonstrates that he isn’t immune to accidental double negatives. “Neither of you is failing to disappoint” shows would mean that Dave and Roxy are both disappointing, but at the same time, double negatives whose meaning is the same as single negatives are commonplace in many languages… whatever, this is a very silly tangent.

ROXY: lmao
ROXY: god is EVERYONE in this family tree a psychoanalyst???
DAVE: yo thats been like
DAVE: her EXACT top preoccupation since she was a fuckin baby
DAVE: didnt she tell you

ROXY: haha no
ROXY: but yeah makes sense
ROXY: but like, youre all mr funny interrogation right now, rose is quite possibly a literal therapist in training i guess?? and uh dirk is dirk
ROXY: just makes ya think is all

Dave’s statement about Rose loving psychoanalysis since she was a baby is not an exaggeration. I wonder if Dave knows how literal he is being here? Maybe he thinks he’s exaggerating, but he’s not. Four-year-old psychoanalyst Rose is adorable, and I insist you appreciate how adorable she is.

ROXY: here comes da lightning
ROXY: u got to imagine it comin out my fingertips
ROXY: wherein i am an almighty wisard
DAVE: ok currently imagining that
DAVE: hmm not bad
DAVE: not bad at all

ROXY: pCHOO
ROXY: um
ROXY: what
ROXY: is your favorite rap guy
DAVE: thats a dead tie
DAVE: between me and snoop
DAVE: also MAYBE obama but to be fair i dont think he raps irl that is mainly just a headcanon i have about him
DAVE: but come on
DAVE: you werent actually curious about that were you

ROXY: im trying to think of stuff to ask jeez!

Despite his supposed love of rap music, Dave’s knowledge of rappers is humorously sparse. He just likes making beats himself, is a fan of Snoop Dogg (whose presence in Homestuck is carried over from Problem Sleuth), and has a massive treasure trove of headcanons about Barack Obama. His obsession with Obama is still incredibly funny after all this time.

ROXY: gimme a sec…
ROXY: kay
ROXY: howwww did
ROXY: you become a god tier
DAVE: rose and i went on a suicide mission piloting a moon through the furthest ring
DAVE: the moon had a cosmic mega nuclear bomb in its core but also our quest beds by surprise
DAVE: when it blew up it created literally the biggest fucking sun in existence which also happened to be the exact same sun we thought we were going out there to destroy
DAVE: but we also died and resurrected as god tiers and i guess due to immortality rose up through the surface of the fuckin sun all glowing green and wearing pajamas and shit

ROXY: HOLY CRAP
ROXY: THAT IS SO RIDICULOUSLY INSANE AND COOL!
ROXY: AND SO SO SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN WHAT HAPPENED TO US WOW!

Not even Dave’s humorous descriptions can make his and Rose’s ascension to god tier seem anything less than awesome. Cascade is just that much of a shining moment, and I can’t recall a single time I watched the flash (other than maybe the first because I didn’t know what was going on) and didn’t get chills down my spine.

DAVE: why how did you do it
ROXY: god its almost embarrassing to even describe
ROXY: especially compared to that!
DAVE: go on
ROXY: um we all had a hangover from magic candy
ROXY: and woke up on our god slabs
ROXY: and like
ROXY: talked for a while
ROXY: have u ever seen the breakfast club
DAVE: no
ROXY: ok well it was like that
ROXY: but probably shittier
ROXY: then we all sorta randomly died on accident
ROXY: due to surprise villain attacks

Roxy, on the other hand, is very good at underselling her heroic feats. She compares the alpha kids’ feelings jam to a worse version of The Breakfast Club, which I presume from this passage is a movie that Hussie likes. I’ve seen the movie and I remember it being quite a powerful story about kids stuck in high school detention, but I unfortunately don’t remember specifics about it.

Roxy goes on to ask Dave if he’s kissed anyone, which he awkwardly refuses to answer—I already discussed Dave and Karkat’s ambiguous relationship in the last two posts. She then gives Dave a bit of a teaser for his inevitable reunion with Dirk by bringing up SBaHJ comics, which I also don’t have much to say about.

ROXY: do you like orange soda
DAVE: no
ROXY: NO??
DAVE: hell no
ROXY: then whats your poison
DAVE: aj
ROXY: huh?
DAVE: apple juice
ROXY: thats fuckin cute
DAVE: pretty much

Roxy is right to be surprised that Dave doesn’t like orange soda. She knows that post-scratch Dave left a ridiculous amount of orange soda in his apartment for Dirk, and thus would presume that Dave loves orange soda and would hope his young bro/son/father/descendant would also enjoy it. But instead, it appears that this humongous supply of orange soda is part of Dave’s shitposty sense of humor, and his true favorite drink is a far more adorable choice: apple juice.

This is the face of someone who’s obviously never had anything even remotely resembling a romantic entanglement with Karkat.

Dave is visibly uncomfortable after being asked if he has ever been in love, and he changes the subject to create a tie-in to a different character conversation:

DAVE: i think the lightning rounds over
DAVE: why dont we have a distraction to seal the deal
DAVE: hey mom i think harleydad over there is talkin about you

ROXY: jake?
ROXY: hehe yeah i think ur right
ROXY: gotta go catch up with him soon…
ROXY: ill wave hello for now
DAVE: i dont think hes noticing
ROXY: dammit jake look over here u goof
ROXY: gonna start a fire here will all this friendly wavin
DAVE: nope hes completely out to lunch
DAVE: just like all the harleyberts

ROXY: HIIIII JAKE
ROXY: JAKE
ROXY: JAKE DAMMIT HI
JAKE: Oh.
JAKE: Um sorry.
JAKE: H… hi roxy.
JAKE: Youre with us again and… and… i like that.

ROXY: 😀

These little tie-ins between different character conversations, which every conversation on this selection screen has at least one of, are a super fun touch and add quite a bit of flavor to this selection screen. It’s interesting seeing Jake’s awkwardness depicted from an external perspective, where he seemingly fails to notice Roxy’s greeting until he stammers something out.

DAVE: thats it?
DAVE: hes right back at it with the bull guy
DAVE: whats with him
DAVE: he reminds me a lot of john but really quiet which is very unjohnish
ROXY: jakes great!
ROXY: but yeah hes not like that all the time
ROXY: he is p gregarious 1 on 1 but i guess he doesnt like crowds much
ROXY: he became sort of a hermit after a few months in our session
ROXY: he mainly hung out with dirk until he eventually sorta shut him out too
ROXY: dude just likes his lonesome time i guess?

DAVE: ill try gettin to know him some time
DAVE: maybe trap him like a shy woodland creature
DAVE: then brutally harangue him with my typically rad shit and become airtight bros
DAVE: right there in the fucking woods
DAVE: exactly how nature intended
ROXY: omg yes
ROXY: i will help u rig your jakesnares
ROXY: maybe leave some hunky dudebait, like a trail of microshorts sprinkled thru out the forest

As Roxy reminds us that she sees the best in all her friends (including Jake), Dave brings up the idea of him getting to know Jake. I presume the reason Dave and Jake didn’t get a conversation in canon is because they aren’t one of the “essential” pairs of characters to have a post-retcon conversation, and A6A6I5 is super fucking long already.

DAVE: awesome thanks mom
DAVE: roxy i mean
ROSE: Dave, even I’m having less trouble referring to Roxy by her name consistently, and I was the one who grew up knowing her as my literal mother.
ROSE: What is going on with you?

DAVE: nothing
DAVE: its just like semi accidentally replacing a word with another word in a majority of instances
DAVE: why do you need to read things into everything
ROSE: You’re right. How could anyone possibly read anything into that sort of repeated slip-up.
DAVE: exactly
ROSE: What if you’re making her uncomfortable?
ROXY: its fine really!
ROXY: i think it is sorta endearing

I’ve already said most of what I wanted to say about Dave’s new habit of calling Roxy “mom”. The fact that Roxy is perfect OK with that, and even with his slips of the tongue that reveal he finds Roxy attractive, goes to show how open-minded and easygoing she is. I’m sort of reminded of how the epilogues portray her as open-minded to a fault, which is an interesting negative expansion upon a normally positive trait.

ROXY: man
ROXY: arduous long term processes of complete and utter humiliation are basically my aesthetic
ROXY: anyways you are a silly dude and its ok if u keep callin me mom on “accident” 🙂
ROSE: I hope it is similarly ok with you if I make the conscious decision to refrain from calling you that ever.
ROSE: Unlike Dave, I’ve taken great pride in the meticulous maintenance of my internal filter.
ROSE: I don’t think I have the same luxury he does.
ROSE: Humiliation just makes my demons angrier.

ROXY: yeah rose call me whatev!
ROXY: but um lmao you got a way of makin that sound legit scary

Even though Dave calling Roxy “mom” is meant to be adorable, I find it just as endearing for Rose to firmly decide to never call Roxy “mom”. Her explicit statement to simply know Roxy as “Roxy” shows how strongly she wants a fresh start for her relationship with her mother. I imagine that thinking of her as “Roxy” ties in with Rose’s desire for a fresh start and helps her separate teen Roxy from adult Roxy.

The conversation then delves into a discussion on psychology and how good each of the Strilondes are at psychoanalysis, with Rose acting modest about how much psychology she knows. Then Dave’s long-lost interest in paleontology is brought up for the second time in Act 6 Act 6:

ROSE: Cringeworthy rap notwithstanding,
ROSE: I do recall hearing him babble about wanting to be a scientist on more than one occasion.
ROSE: If the world hadn’t ended.
ROSE: What was it? Archeology? Paleontology?

DAVE: yeah i dunno
DAVE: one of those things
DAVE: whichever involved more dead shit
DAVE: maybe
ROXY: paleontology!!
ROXY: u wanted to study that?

DAVE: i sincerely mumbled about the idea once or twice sure

Dave’s interest in paleontology is another thing about him that’s meant to be endearing, but I think it fits surprisingly well with his character, especially considering the characters he’s genetically related to. All four Strilondes have a morbid side that they exert through an interest of theirs: Roxy with funerals, Rose with eldritch abominations, Dirk with his splinters, and Dave with paleontology. This interest of Dave’s was sidelined for a very long time, and as much flack as Act 6 Act 6 (especially A6A6I5) tends to get, I’m thankful that this interest of his was brought back. I can easily see Dave finding the study of dead organisms to be a fascinating and even therapeutic hobby.

Skipping a bit further…

DAVE: what about your quest
ROSE: Hm?
DAVE: the shit with your planet and the rain and stuff
DAVE: wasnt there still something to do there
ROSE: I… guess so?

[…]

ROSE: I’m not sure if I have the inclination, and realistically, there isn’t even much time for that, is there?
ROSE: We’re supposed to be fighting adversaries imminently.
ROSE: I can’t squeeze it in before the battle.
ROSE: And after, we’ll have supposedly “won”, so what would even be the point of doing it then?

DAVE: shrug
ROSE: Something always rubbed me the wrong way about “My Quest”.
ROSE: I don’t even like the phrase. It’s uncomfortably formal, and a little foreboding.
ROSE: I think the regimentation of it all always struck me as unpalatable.
ROSE: Like consigning personal growth to the completion of a glorified, myth-heavy rat maze.

DAVE: yeah i know why you feel that way
DAVE: youve got big problems with authority
DAVE: you always have and you probably wouldnt even put it that way cause it sounds really Teen of you and gauche or whatever
DAVE: but its true

The conversation’s turn to the topic of planet quests can be interpreted on a meta level as Hussie clarifying something that he felt readers didn’t quite understand: the true nature of Rose’s planet quest with the playing the violin and restoring the life of the oceans or whatever. Given that Dave was established to have a moderate portion of Dirk’s psychoanalysis genes—not as much as Rose, but still some—he serves as a good character to clear up the narrative purpose of Rose’s quest.

DAVE: she sees this quest all neatly laid out for her wrapped in a bow
DAVE: fuck it even looks like its made for little kids with like pink turtles and rainbows and shit
DAVE: like here you go princess its babys first quest
DAVE: almost like it was designed to piss her off
DAVE: sburb says here, self improvement delineated and made comprehensible enjoy your cookie cutter odyssey
DAVE: so because shes rose she goes no fuck my quest
DAVE: literally starts wrecking shit
DAVE: and maybe that itself was always her quest

Dave has analyzed Rose’s quest for me, which is good because it makes my job a lot easier! While some readers surely realized that Rose’s quest was always a red herring, others started to hope that by some strange twist of fate, Rose WOULD end up doing her planet quest, which is kind of funny in retrospect. How would that even be shoehorned into our heroes’ remaining goals before they beat the game? Maybe the quest could have tied in to the Ultimate Alchemy, but Arquiusprite takes the reins on all of that in a way that perfectly symbolizes hacking the game of Sburb. And from the author’s perspective, Hussie just wanted to finish Homestuck already. Do you think he would have WANTED to make a flash with Rose playing the rain??? I sure don’t think so.

VRISKA: If I may interject…
DAVE: oh awesome vriska was eavesdropping
VRISKA: Not for very long!
VRISKA: I just heard you talking a8out Rose’s quest is all.
VRISKA: I don’t have any opinion on whether you do it or not, Rose. That’s your 8usiness.
VRISKA: 8ut my advice is, if you see your denizen, just make sure you kill her fast.
DAVE: what
VRISKA: 8elieve me, Cetus is a HUGE 8itch.
VRISKA: If you give her an inch, she’ll try to sucker you into a whole 8oring convers8tion, mostly involving a 8unch of curmudgeonly riddles.
VRISKA: Don’t give her the chance! Just go for the jugular and end it as soon as you can.
VRISKA: Gra8 her loot and call it a day. That’s what I think, at least.
VRISKA: Assuming you 8other going to see her at all. Couldn’t really 8lame you if you didn’t though.

And here’s where this conversation starts to go off the rails—easily the most off the rails of any conversation in this select screen. Vriska interjects and tells us a bit more about Cetus, who is both her denizen and Rose’s denizen… except the conversation says a lot more about Vriska than about Cetus. Cetus surely has a wealth of denizen lore to be experienced, but neither Rose nor Vriska care one bit about it. Maybe the challenge with Cetus is taking time to listen to her stories and figuring out the plant quest, and very few light players have the patience to do so? Ugh, sorry, this went into classpect analysis territory there. I’m sure classpect theorists have more interesting things to say about Cetus than I do.

ROSE: I probably won’t.
ROSESPRITE: Won’t what?
VRISKA: Oh now what the FUCK is this????????
JASPERSPRITE: Meow.

The last few lines on this page perfectly lead to a big surprise reveal. A certain “Rosesprite” speaks, and Jaspersprite appears too; one can easily connect the dots.

Yes, I fixed Jaspersprite’s text color myself.
What are you going to do about it?

Now this is quite a game changer. While most of the dead pre-retcon players were left behind in the ruined session, pre-retcon Rose has been prototyped into a sprite, much to post-retcon Rose’s chagrin. It’s weird as hell that the Rose we’ve known for most of Act 6 went through this fate, but I think I’ll save further discussion of this topic for another time. Perhaps when Jasprosesprite^2 becomes a thing?

ROXY: FRIGGLISH!
ROXY: oh my god you cheeky bastard
ROXY: oooomg
DAVE: um
DAVE: what exactly the fuck

ROSE: …
ROXY: frigglish
ROXY: i cannot believe this
ROXY: you dug up her body!!!!!
JASPERSPRITE: :3
ROXY: omg that is SO BAD!
ROXY: but also sweet of you to bring her back but also WOW BAD!!!!!

Roxy has very conflicting feelings on the resurrection of the version of Rose she hosted a funeral for. She’s relieved and aggravated at the same time, and it appears that those two feelings cancel each other out to create Roxy’s standard expression in the panel above.

ROSE: Wait.
ROSE: Dug… up?
ROSESPRITE: I’m a little unclear on that myself.
ROSESPRITE: Jaspers hasn’t been especially descriptive.
JASPERSPRITE: Meow!
JASPERSPRITE: Yes both roses i dug you up!

ROSE: From… where?
ROXY: um
ROXY: johns planet
ROXY: remember the funeral i mentioned?
ROXY: frigglish was there too
ROXY: orrr um jaspers?? our dumb departed beautiful idiot cat!!
ROXY: haha i guess i made a novice mistake
ROXY: i turned my back on the body

Roxy is quick to realize she fell victim to a common motif in Homestuck, showing awareness of tropes reminiscent of Dave. When it all comes down to it, Jaspersprite is a simple-minded cat, which makes the idea of toddler Rose psychoanalyzing him hilarious and ties in perfectly with his decision to prototype pre-retcon Rose. Imagine Hella Jeff saying “I WARNED YOU ABOUT STAIRS”, but with “STAIRS” scribbled out and overwritten with “TURNING YOUR BACK ON THE BODY”.

ROSESPRITE: You had a funeral for me?
ROSESPRITE: That was nice of you.

ROXY: yeah!
ROXY: so um…
ROXY: HI!!!!!
ROXY: wow haha this is confusing!
ROXY: welcome back youre alive again hey come here!
VRISKA: LALONDE DON’T YOU FUCKING TOUCH HER!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Fucking incredi8le.
VRISKA: Am I the ONLY one here concerned with making sure we don’t cre8te freakish mutant people-com8os?!

ROXY: wha
VRISKA: She’s only 8een single-prototyped!
VRISKA: Don’t go near her.

ROXY: ohhh
ROXY: heh right

Here’s where Vriska starts to realize her plan to use the empty kernels as backup lives has backfired. As cunning as she’s been with her strategic schemes, she’s still fallen into the mercy of paradox space: her decision to leave Jake’s and Roxy’s kernels empty paves the way for the creation of Davepetasprite^2, a key component in the defeat of Lord English.

VRISKA: It is a8solutely astounding how much you all need me around to keep your shit str8.
VRISKA: Even then it’s a constant up hill 8attle to keep you all from fucking up!
VRISKA: I let my guard down for one second and this 8rainless animal wastes one of your precious resurrection slots on someone who’s ALREADY ALIVE!

Alternate selves are a moral issue throughout Homestuck, and Vriska makes her stance on this issue quite clear. By her standards, if one version of a character is alive, then that character is alive, and there’s no reason for two of them to be up and about—that’s just redundant. I’d say this matches with her style of getting the kids on board to beat Sburb while she gets her grand heroic moment and defeats Lord English.

VRISKA: Well, congratul8tions. You’re down to one empty kernel.
VRISKA: 8e sure to use it wisely!
VRISKA: Not that there’s much hope of that at this point.
VRISKA: See you chumps. I’m out of this convers8tion.

Vriska realizes the empty kernel backup resurrection plan won’t work out after all, and she seems to reluctantly accept that. She doesn’t let the frustration get to her, and maybe part of her feels relieved that she has one less thing to worry about with helping the kids beat Sburb.

DAVE: so
DAVE: what does this even mean
DAVE: theres two roses now like
DAVE: what the fuck
DAVE: what are we supposed to do with this information and unfolding set of circumstances
ROSESPRITE: I don’t know, Dave.
ROSESPRITE: I have advanced seer powers, and the newly acquired insight of a mystical guide.
ROSESPRITE: And even I’m stumped about this turn of events.

DAVE: ok then
DAVE: good to know im not dumb and this literally is inherently irrational
DAVE: thanks ghost cat great job
JASPERSPRITE: :3 :3 :3
DAVE: so what now
ROSESPRITE: Well,
ROSESPRITE: It’s nice to be back, after such a spectacular sequence of tragic events.
ROSESPRITE: Even though I have no memory of having been gone for long.
ROSESPRITE: But I also understand I am now the Subordinate Rose.
ROSESPRITE: So with respect to my ongoing role, I will have to defer to Real Rose.
ROSESPRITE: I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
ROSESPRITE: Then again, I don’t have feet anymore.

ROXY: lol

Rosesprite on the surface seems to easily accept that she’s no longer the Rose Lalonde. However, after becoming Jasprosesprite^2, she’s far more open on these matters and how she’s bummed out about not getting to be with Kanaya. Her lack of a strong reaction to being the “Subordinate Rose” as she calls it goes to show how much Rose keeps emotions on the inside.

ROSESPRITE: It’s also worth pointing out that my programming as a sprite informs me that I exist at the pleasure of the player who released my kernel.
ROSESPRITE: So, Roxy. What do you think I should do?
ROXY: um wow
ROXY: i dunno!
ROXY: hahah man i only JUST met um… alive rose here
ROXY: and that was after JUST buryin you and saying goodbye and all which was this um
ROXY: emotional thing and now ur back cus of a silly cat! and
ROXY: idk im confused haha
ROXY: rose what do you think

ROSE:
ROXY: rose
ROSE:
ROXY: yo rose…
ROXY: hello?

ROSE: THIS IS SO STUPID!!!

Rose’s reaction to Rosesprite is truly something else. Her stoic, calculating demeanor has been shattered, revealing a massive pile of baffled laughter underneath. She’s so used to interpreting and analyzing story events that it totally breaks her to see something that she simply cannot make any sense of.

ROSE: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
ROSE: I’m sorry! I can’t sit here and pretend to take this seriously!
DAVE: rose
DAVE: you ok

ROSE: I guess so???
ROSE: Yes. I’m FINE! This is just SO DUMB!
ROSE: My powers let me see fortuitous outcomes, but I didn’t see this coming AT ALL.
ROSE: It doesn’t register as fortuitous or otherwise. You know why?
ROSE: Because it’s COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS!
ROSE: HAHAHAHAHA!

Rose’s tolerance of bizarre story developments has hit its breaking point, and this is what has become of her. I guess it’s meaningful in some way that this step in the creation of Davepetasprite^2 eludes even Rose’s meta knowledge? Squared sprites are something she never thought to consider was possible, perhaps because they never were a thing before the retcon came along. Maybe it’s like how Vriska’s presence post-retcon caught the Condesce off guard because she only knew about how things were meant to go pre-retcon? This speculation is probably a little stupid, but so is the fact that I decided to make a blog post series analyzing the entirety of Homestuck.

DAVE: i mean
DAVE: sure
DAVE: i thought so too when bird dave happened
DAVE: but that turned out to be like
DAVE: a whole thing
DAVE: and important stuff happened as a result… kinda

ROSE: NO!!!!!
ROSE: THIS ISN’T LIKE THAT!
ROSE: Trust me, Dave. I’m not grasping at straws here.
ROSE: My abilities tend not to leave such things to speculation.
ROSE: This development makes absolutely NO SENSE!
ROSE: Not for us as a group, and DEFINITELY not for me personally, or HER for that matter!!!
ROSE: How could this possibly mean ANYTHING for my growth or personal development in ANY WAY?
ROSE: This almost makes it official.
ROSE: I have no comprehensible path. There’s nothing to overcome, no lesson to learn, no cathartic light at the end of this preposterous tunnel.
ROSE: Not for me, at least!
ROSE: I seriously have the DUMBEST arc anyone could conceivably imagine.

Here, it’s made abundantly clear how strongly Rose thinks of this whole adventure in meta terms. Perhaps thinking of Sburb in meta terms is typical of light players, as we’ve seen with Vriska and Aranea. But still, only through reaching her breaking point do we finally see how much Rose has always thought of her and her friends’ lives in meta terms. I must say I find Rose’s form of meta awareness (which carries on to the epilogues) rather endearing. Rose in general is a VERY endearing character, but in a much more subdued way than, say, John or Karkat.

DAVE: rose we dont have fuckin “arcs” we are just human beings

Ah, this line. What a way to end Dave, Rose, and Roxy’s portion of the character select screen. I’ve seen this line brought up far too often in debates about Homestuck’s character arcs and the many arcs that arguably weren’t properly finished, and some people I think interpret this line as some sort of meta statement about deliberately not caring about character arcs? That interpretation is probably just a fancy way to phrase “no, no, no, see, it’s BAD ON PURPOSE, therefore it’s good!” which I fucking hate.

I can’t say I agree a lot with that interpretation of Dave’s line about arcs. I really think fans are overthinking it, which is probably wild coming from someone who’s been so intensely analyzing Homestuck. I always viewed this line as poking at Rose on an in-universe level for the extreme stock she puts in meta topics, not much more. I’d also like to say that even when you’re talking about real people, it IS interesting or logical sometimes to think of their actions as character arcs. Fiction and reality aren’t one and the same, but fiction can tell you a lot about reality, and vice versa.


Whew, I did it. I finished the eight-way conversation character select screen. What can I say about it? I generally enjoyed going through this select screen in intense detail. It’s mostly a bunch of heartfelt character reunions, with some miscellaneous conversations between meteor crew members plus a few new plot points thrown in (most notably the existence of Rosesprite). I think the selection screen does a good job putting some amount of plot development in it so that it’s not all just obligatory character reunions; it doesn’t entirely consist of candy, you could say. Also a bit of meat.

My first three A6A6I5 posts have all been super long, each taking me about two weeks to make. Here’s hoping things will speed up a little bit as I prod through the rest of the act, now that the character select screen is out of the way! See you next time as Vriska comes up with the worst nickname for the alpha kids’ Jack Noir ever to be conceived.

>> Part 130: um i guess this is the one where vriska devises the battle plan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s