Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 135: Pleasant and Unpleasant Alternate Self Meetings

Introduction

< Part 134 | Part 135 | Part 136 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 9 of 12

Pages 7766-7811 (partly not in order)

Contrary to the post’s title, the unpleasant alternate self meeting comes first.

With this post released, I have only five Homestuck posts left!!!!! I’m rapidly approaching the end, and boy is it an enticing feeling.

Time for the tenth and final section of the fake character select screen! But first, let’s go through some of the hover options on the select screen. First off, Dave and Dirk round 1 finally shows them talking instead of sitting silently, which is very refreshing. They’re facing each other instead of sitting side by side, trading stories of their respective bros. Both of them seem to have greatly lightened up, talking about the more humorous sides of each other’s adult selves.

Meenah is dressed like the Condesce in this fantasy, in case it wasn’t clear enough that they’re the same person.

Meenah’s final fantasy (in no way a pun on the video game series) reminds us that after all this time, she’s still interested in killing Lord English—not out of narrative self-importance like the Serkets, but simply because she enjoys fighting and being badass. This makes a good leadup to the Vriskas’ verbal confrontation after the select screen ends.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what Jasprose is about to do.
In fact, Sherlock Holmes probably thinks there will be a twist to her prototyping Nepeta because it’s so obvious.

Dave and Dirk round 2 shows us even more of them trading stories about their adult selves, and what a sight it is. We’ve seen Dave simultaneously laughing and crying before, but Dirk simultaneously laughing and crying—hell, him even smiling at all—is an extraordinarily rare sight. It’s heartwarming to see both of them laughing about the stories they trade now that they’ve gotten past their difficult relationships.

Alright, time for Roxy and Kanaya’s conversation. After a humorous exchange where Roxy repeatedly says “hey” and asks Kanaya to guess what she’s about to give her, she presents Kanaya with this bombshell:

Yeah, you know the drill here. This is even more of the whole “positive likable Roxy” thing being laid RIDICULOUSLY thick.

The hummingbird perched on Roxy’s shoulder is the leadup to one final Con Air reference before Homestuck concludes.
Well, semifinal, if you count the Con Air reference at the end of the credits. I could be forgetting something else.

KANAYA: I Didnt Think
KANAYA: It Would Be This Easy
KANAYA: I Mean
KANAYA: Not That It Was Easy For You By The Sound Of It
KANAYA: What I Mean Is I Thought It Was Going To Involve An Arduous And Lengthy Process For Myself To Undertake In Order To Figure Out How It Was Even Possible To Reconstruct The Orb Let Alone Actually Do It
ROXY: nah
KANAYA: Nah?
ROXY: nope!
KANAYA: So Instead Of All That
KANAYA: Its Just
KANAYA: Handed To Me
KANAYA: Like A Nice Present
ROXY: yes
KANAYA: I Dont Know What To Say
KANAYA: This Changes So Much
KANAYA: About Everything I Thought I Had To Do

I can’t blame Kanaya for being surprised that a human who she didn’t meet until today ended up taking the reins on the matriorb’s creation. The responsibility that Kanaya thought for so long was hers ended up being Roxy’s instead, and Roxy provides some sappy words to tell Kanaya that resurrecting the troll race is still her duty:

ROXY: does it?
ROXY: the way i see it is you shouldnt have needed to worry about makin the thing
ROXY: i think it will be challenging enough like…
ROXY: hatching it??
ROXY: and tending to all the stuff that comes next
ROXY: isnt that basically being responsible for the preservation of an entire race of people?
ROXY: like not even a simple kinda people that all go about havin their own babies by themselves n such
ROXY: u have to set up and deal with this huge creature that does it all herself right?
KANAYA: Yes
KANAYA: Thats How It Works
KANAYA: And Yes That Will Be
KANAYA: Probably Very Challenging

ROXY: yeah so just focus on that!
ROXY: im sure you will have help if you need it
ROXY: i mean… after all this shit is over obviously

Roxy is basically telling us that Kanaya’s job of raising the troll race will happen after the story ends—a little bit in the credits, and then the negative side of hatching the matriorb after 5000 years of ectobiologically reproducing trolls in the epilogues. That’s a little bizarre, but I guess it makes sense considering the priority right now is defeating the villains? Still, it’s odd when thought of in terms of character arcs.

ROXY: hey speaking of which
ROXY: howd it go here? did you do the thing?
KANAYA: Yes I Think We Did The Thing
KANAYA: Our Frog Should Be Good To Go

ROXY: we?
ROXY: oh yeah karkat came too didnt he
ROXY: where did he go?
KANAYA: Oh
KANAYA: He Um
KANAYA: Hes Still In The Cave
KANAYA: Uh
KANAYA: Meditating

ROXY: meditating huh
KANAYA:
KANAYA: Yes
KANAYA: It Was A Very Spiritually Uplifting Encounter With The Denizen
KANAYA: It Really Uh
KANAYA: Blitzed Our Chakras
KANAYA: He Needs Some Time To Clear His Head

ROXY: heheh ok

OK, here’s a much more interesting passage. Kanaya refuses to admit she knocked out Karkat, which is humorous but also says something about her motherly instinct and dutiful agreement to Echidna’s deal. She knocked Karkat out to be 100% sure he will be alive and safe in time to enter Earth C and lead the troll race, and she probably doesn’t want to admit she did that because she doesn’t want to uphold her reputation as the meddlesome troll. Or maybe because it would make her sound like she doesn’t believe in Karkat when the truth is she very much does.

After confirming that she is Rose’s girlfriend, Kanaya talks a bit about the three-year meteor journey.

ROXY: man… three years was it?
ROXY: thats crazy!
ROXY: for a whole bunch of people who only just met including humans AND aliens
ROXY: or i mean trolls whoops sorry if thats rude
KANAYA: We Call Each Other Aliens All The Time
ROXY: haha
ROXY: but then you all IMMEDIATELY have to hunker down together for three years
KANAYA: That Is Very Much What Happened And What We Had To Do
ROXY: it sounds fun!
ROXY: kinda wish i could have been there
ROXY: i guess i had my own less long stint with people in my session
ROXY: only like half a year tho
ROXY: which was cool in its own way but it wasnt nearly as… social as your scene sounded?
KANAYA: It Was Pretty Social Yes
KANAYA: But We Also Had Little Groups Who Generally Convened With Each Other More Often Than The Entire Ensemble Crowded Together For A Singular Noisy Affair
KANAYA: Such Events Were Pretty Rare So Maybe Not As Social As You Are Picturing
KANAYA: In Fact It Was Quite A Subdued Situation Compared To The Crowd I Was Formerly Accustomed To Congregating With

Here, Kanaya outright acknowledges the post-retcon meteor crew’s buddy system, which I remember not having a very positive reaction to. While I’m still not sure if I find the buddy system believable, you could also interpret this passage as Kanaya simply being modest about what the meteor journey was like. The pre-retcon meteor journey similarly had buddy systems going on, just that the groups shifted around a lot more and went in less healthy directions.

KANAYA: There Were Twelve Of Us Back Then
ROXY: yeah WOW!!!
ROXY: i remember hearing about that from a friend
ROXY: who…
ROXY: never even existed from this frame of reference 😦
ROXY: i guess thats another weird thing about my lil sojourn to get to this point…
ROXY: it is all made of memories now that didnt even happen for other people

KANAYA: That Does Sound Like A Lonely Predicament In Its Own Particular Way
KANAYA: A Sort Of Sacrifice Youve Had To Make Yes
ROXY: yeah
KANAYA: Sacrifice Abounds It Would Seem
KANAYA: I Dont Know Of Anyone Presently Alive Who Hasnt Had To Trade Something Very Important To Them In Exchange For Continuing To Be A Material Seeker In This Endeavor
KANAYA: You Were Forced To Trade Something Too But In Return Youve Been Able To Do Something
KANAYA: Something So Wonderful That
KANAYA: I Guess Im Judging Your Accomplishment From An Especially Personal Vantage
KANAYA: But No Matter What Else You Have Been Through
KANAYA: I Believe You Can Say Youve Done Something As Important As Anyone Could Ever Hope To Do

Roxy having to sacrifice the memory of Fefetasprite to join the post-retcon timeline is quite tragic indeed. It sounds like a joke, but it really is tragic how Roxy is now the only surviving character who remembers Fefetasprite—Feferi and Nepeta can’t catch a break, can they? They’re both just shafted to irrelevance land. Well, given events not too long later, maybe Nepeta can catch a break after all.

KANAYA: It All Sounds
KANAYA: Really Daunting Actually
KANAYA: Not Even Just The Propagation Of My Kind But Managing To Do It Responsibly
KANAYA: Just Causing Millions Of Beings To Exist For The Sake Of Doing So
KANAYA: And Dismissing Responsibility For What Sort Of People They Become
KANAYA: That Isnt Good Enough For Me
KANAYA: I Think Echidna Was Right
KANAYA: Ill Need Him
ROXY: who
KANAYA: Oh
KANAYA: Nobody
KANAYA: Lets Say It Was A Figure Of Speech
KANAYA: Ill Need Everyone
KANAYA: Whoever Is Good And Wishes To Have A Hand In The Way Our World Is Shaped

Here’s more of Kanaya amusingly refusing to admit the extreme importance she places in Karkat. If someone were to find out that she knocked out Karkat but also finds him so important to the resurrection of trollkind, they would probably get some bizarre mixed signals, and Kanaya would be very embarrassed. But maybe through the process of elimination, Roxy could easily figure out that Kanaya is talking about Karkat and just doesn’t want to say it.

Roxy then gives Kanaya some encouraging words about the fight against the Condesce.

ROXY: none of this next gen troll stuff is even going to matter if we dont win this fight
ROXY: so we have to prioritize beating all these goddamn villains
ROXY: specially the witch!
ROXY: any extra edge is going to help
ROXY: and tho i admit i dont know much about you i am feeling prrrettyyy confident in my assessment that u are probably some sort of sick deadly bitch
KANAYA: Who Told You My Secret
ROXY: i knews it 😉

Roxy may well have some backing evidence that Kanaya is, as she puts it, a “sick deadly bitch”. Perhaps Fefetasprite told her the tale of how Eridan killed Feferi and tried to kill Kanaya, but then she came back as a rainbow drinker and sawed that guy in half. Or perhaps she witnessed Kanaya sawing Gamzee in half during the events of Game Over. But it’s far more likely that she can just tell Kanaya is a sick deadly bitch.

ROXY: in fact i would BET
ROXY: that you could USE your concern for all ur future space pups to be WAY extra deadlier in this fray
ROXY: maybe youd make the whole difference??
ROXY: the point is we need you now just as much as anyone in the future will
ROXY: and we are ALL riskin stuff and ALL in this together and if youre with me and rose and john, dont worry we aint gonna let anything happen to you
ROXY: i promise!!!!!

KANAYA: Dang
ROXY: dang?
KANAYA: That Was Really Motivational And I Feel Very Inspired Now
ROXY: for real?!
KANAYA: Yes
KANAYA: A Little Corny But Definitely Genuine And Moving
KANAYA: And Now Im Suddenly Psyched Again To Go Dunk A Narcissistic Fish Woman Into A Sea Dumpster
ROXY: FUCK YES
KANAYA: Not To Project Myself As Someone Fickle Or Lightly Swayed On Big Decisions
KANAYA: Maybe It Was Just A Roughly Thirty Second Spell Of Cold Feet And I Just Snapped Out Of It I Dont Know
KANAYA: But You Really Do Seem To Have A Way With Motivational Words
KANAYA: You Must Be A Natural Leader
KANAYA: I Think Your Group Was Lucky To Have You

Kanaya knows a good leader when she sees one. It’s heartening that she can easily tell Roxy has a knack for leadership…

ROXY: me?? nuhhh
ROXY: im not naturally good at that at all
ROXY: i mostly just yelled at my friends cause they were such a gaggle of frustrating bozos
ROXY: i guess im just feeling way inspired by the fact everyone is here together and we are all about to try and do something huge and important
ROXY: ive also watched john in action a bit and he is VERY good at that stuff
ROXY: hes actually so good at being inspiring hes inspired me to try and be… more inspiring? that sounds dumb as hell but is true as shit
ROXY: i also love how hes got NO IDEA how good he is at leadery stuff, its
ROXY: it
ROXY: it is so inspirationally friggin adorable
KANAYA: 🙂

… but Roxy downplays it once more, crediting John for inspiring her in a heartwarming bit of John/Roxy ship teasing. Call me biased, but it’s nice that A6A6I5 has given us a bit of John/Roxy tease from Roxy’s end. Between John, Roxy, and Karkat, the story clearly conveys that humility is an important part of being a good leader, though with Karkat, obstinacy may be a better word.

And so, the two head off, ready to resume their adventure and take down the Condesce.

… oh no. It’s mood whiplash time, isn’t it?

Yep. Mood whiplash time it is.

Oh my god… I’m really here. I’ve finally made it to perhaps the most controversial Vriska scene in all of Homestuck. The scene where alive Vriska absolutely brutalizes dead Vriska, and Meenah ends up joining alive Vriska, leaving dead Vriska and Meenah both in tears. I won’t lie, getting to this scene hit me like a bus. I was not prepared at all to analyze it, and now that I’m at the scene, I think I’ll be doing something a little different with it—different from prior Vriska scenes, that is. Since I’ve written so many lengthy rants about Vriska throughout this post series, I’ve already said most things I would have wanted to say about this scene. So instead, I will analyze the scene in more of a big picture sort of way: how the scene fits into Homestuck’s progression and what Hussie intended to do with Vriska’s character.

As I just said, the scene starts with Vriska brutally tearing into (Vriska). A6A6I5 has gone very back and forth with Vriska’s character—one scene, she seems to have gone through positive character development, the next scene, she’s a total asshole all over again. It’s obvious that Hussie fully intended to make Vriska so controversial, and in scenes like this and Vriska tearing into Jake and Tavrosprite earlier, the author laid the asshole side of Vriska EXTREMELY thick, and it can be pretty grating. But on the other hand, in the context of Vriska tearing into (Vriska), maybe it makes sense for her to be so over-the-top aggressive towards her ghost self, if you interpret Vriska as repressing her insecurities. When seeing her ghost self being all chill and happy with a total punk makeover, Vriska is incredibly uneasy with the idea that to live a happy, fulfilling life, she must shed all the traits that define her character—her bravery, her ambition, her strategic way of getting things done—and go through a total appearance makeover. It’s a hell of a lot to process, and Vriska is trying to deny that her alternate self is still her. She’s refusing to accept the idea that her hatred could possibly be towards herself.

Now, it’s extremely easy to feel bad for (Vriska). Uh, obviously? She’s being torn into by someone who looks exactly how she used to, only a bit older, completely out of the blue. Feeling bad for Vriska takes more intensive analysis of her insecurities; perhaps also a read through one of my favorite scenes in the epilogues, which is Vriska Serket and Vriska Lalonde’s heart-to-heart. Amusingly enough, in that scene, Vriska Lalonde is Vriska and Vriska Serket is (Vriska), which symbolizes the inherent difference between the identities of Vriska and (Vriska).

Vriska goes on to tell (Vriska) that she’s being selfish by loafing around instead of doing anything relevant. Though Vriska’s statement about selfishness is obviously absurdly hypocritical, it’s in a way sad that Vriska doesn’t realize how selfish she is being. She’s so caught up in her glamorous heroic fantasies that it’s tragic if you think about it.

VRISKA: It’s just plain narcissism, the worst kind you’re capa8le of. A total renunci8tion of any responsi8ility for contri8uting to the gr8ter good.
VRISKA: And it makes me FUCKING SICK.
(VRISKA): No, that’s not what it’s like!
(VRISKA): You don’t understand. You haven’t…
(VRISKA): Like, 8een through…
VRISKA: 8een through WHAT?
VRISKA: I’ve 8een through plenty. Don’t get p8tronizing with me.
VRISKA: How did you die, again?
VRISKA: Weren’t you 8eing stu88orn and insisting on going off to fight Jack, even though that was o8viously an ill-conceived plan that was going to get everyone killed?
VRISKA: There it is again, making it all a8out you, even when trying to 8e heroic. You let that need 8lind you and you did something really stupid, 8asically leaving NO OTHER OPTION 8ut for you to get killed.
VRISKA: So since you started your journey as a ghost with that little feat of self-a8sorption, is it any surprise that after however many pseudo-sweeps floundering around as a lost soul, THIS is where you end up? A shamelessly self-indulgent, punk-ass NO8ODY?

Due to her refusal to talk things out with her ghost self, Vriska jumps to conclusions about her origins: she thinks (Vriska) died trying to fight Jack Noir and comes up with a ridiculous explanation for how she ended up the way she is now. Apparently she doesn’t know that in the pre-retcon timeline, she was killed by Terezi? Or she thinks that retcon powers overwrote that ghost’s existence. In any case, although Vriska’s words about the ill-conceived plan to fight Jack are obviously hypocritical, I can see why she thinks she isn’t falling into the same trap with planning to kill Lord English. She made a detailed plan for all her friends to defeat the villains and do the little that’s left to win Sburb and settle Earth C, then decided to fight Lord English herself with no risk of killing any of her friends. She’s fully convinced this time that defeating English is for the greater good and not any heroic fantasies, leaving her blinded all over again—she cares much more about the big heroic moment than settling on Earth C. Even her promise to Terezi that the two will see each other again once all this is over felt like a hasty afterthought to her grand heroic moment.

Speaking of falling into traps, I’ve fallen into the trap of writing my usual essays about Vriska, even when I said I wouldn’t. But hey, at least Vriska doesn’t have a lot of speaking scenes left… right? Oh, who am I kidding. Rants about Vriska are a universal constant.

(VRISKA): W8… are you saying you didn’t try to go fight Jack?
(VRISKA): What happened? How… how are you the version that’s still alive? I don’t…
VRISKA: Different shit happened!
VRISKA: And from that point on, I started making 8etter choices, unlike you.

Vriska doesn’t feel a need to explain how she’s alive and (Vriska) isn’t. She’s never one to care for details that don’t directly relate to her heroic goals, so she treats the difference between the two Vriskas as pointless trivia, even though (Vriska) would really like to know the story.

VRISKA: Hey, did you…
VRISKA: Did you GAIN W8, too????????
(VRISKA): What?!
(VRISKA): No!
(VRISKA): I didn’t… I’m not…
VRISKA: Yes you did. I’m not 8lind, you know.
(VRISKA): I’m not fat!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Sure, tell yourself whatever you want.
VRISKA: Whatever lets you 8e “at peace” with your “new life”! Hahahahahahahaha.

Somehow, it isn’t until now that Homestuck had a direct reference to Hussie’s “fat Vriska” meme—a meme that I believe was in reference to Vriska taking up an absurdly huge portion of Homestuck discourse. Hussie integrated the meme in a way that’s possibly humorous for readers who know it, but completely crushing for those who don’t. I have to appreciate his seamless integration of that meme.

(VRISKA): Why are you saying all this stuff to me?
(VRISKA): What did I ever DO to you????????
(VRISKA): I don’t under-
(VRISKA): *Sniff.*
VRISKA: Holy shit.
VRISKA: This is actually getting to you, isn’t it? Un8elieva8le.
VRISKA: Well, that tears it. You really are 8eyond any sort of redemption.
VRISKA: Fucking incredi8le. What ever happened to having a thick skin? Letting stuff roll off your 8ack?
VRISKA: Not letting shit get to you, 8ecause you always knew you were 8etter than the one slinging it?
VRISKA: I guess this is what you call happiness now? Letting a few tiny little 8ar8s shatter your self esteem?
VRISKA: You aren’t happy. You’re a hilarious trainwreck com8ined with a sad punchline, and I’m ashamed to share an identity with you.

Vriska is extremely unsettled by her ghost self’s open, unconcealed sensitivity. While it’s certainly a good thing to have a spine, Vriska is severely downplaying the intensity of her words to (Vriska). She thinks that all she’s saying is honest, objective facts, with only minimal insults, and her lack of self-awareness is more tragic the more you think of it. She also expects (Vriska) to know she’s better than the one insulting her, even though they’re the same person.

Here’s where tears start coming out of (Vriska’s) eyes. She can’t begin to process the fact that her alternate self could be so brutal, and she’s no doubt reminded of all the horrible things she had once done. While tears had just welled up in Kanaya’s eyes in a more positive scene, here (Vriska’s) tears are about to go much further.

VRISKA: Time to go get some awesome shit done, and gra8 the reins on a relevant, proactive existence.
VRISKA: Shit, I’m feeling more adventurous and worthwhile as a person just thinking a8out it!
VRISKA: Anyone who feels the same way is more than welcome to join me.
VRISKA: Say, how a8out you, punky-lookin’ Peixes?
VRISKA: Does that sound like it might 8e the cut of your ji8?
(VRISKA): DON’T T8LK TO HER!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): SHE DOESN’T WANT ANYTH8NG TO DO WITH A PI8CE OF SHIT LIKE YOU, 8ND NEITHER D8 I!
(VRISKA): TAKE YOUR STUP8D TREASURE, AND Y8UR SMUG GAR8AGE A8OUT “R8LEVANCE”, AND GET TH8 FUCK OUT 8F HERE!
(VRISKA): COME ON, M8ENAH! LET’S DITCH TH8S EVIL HAG AND GO FIND SOM8THING ELS8 TO DO.

It’s been a while since any version of Vriska last used her stressed 8’s, huh? The last time was back in Act 6 Intermission 5, when she was exasperated at Hussie yanking the narrative from her in favor of a Viceroy Bubbles Von Salamancer. Here, the stressed 8’s are showing up in a brand new context: instead of frustration at others impeding upon her self-importance, she’s frustrated at someone else impeding upon her lack of self-importance. And yet, she uses those 8’s the same way as ever, showing that despite everything she’s still a version of Vriska.

Since Meenah isn’t an anime character, it isn’t humorous to see her holding a hand behind her head.

And here’s the REALLY crushing part. Meenah had been spacing out and fantasizing throughout this conversation, and now she’s finally speaking up.

(VRISKA): Meenah……..?
(VRISKA): What’s wrong?
(VRISKA): Come on!
MEENAH: yeah uh
MEENAH: vriska
MEENAH: um
MEENAH: listen

(VRISKA): …
(VRISKA): What?
MEENAH: iiiiii uh
MEENAH: …
MEENAH: aw fuck
MEENAH: dunno how to say this

(VRISKA): What is it??
MEENAH: i think i might go actually
(VRISKA): ?!?!?!?!
MEENAH: with
MEENAH: vriska
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: that one

Oh man, oh man, oh man. Meenah’s faltering and stuttering show she’s an absolute mess of conflicting feelings right now. We just had seen her going through all sorts of heroic and glamorous fantasies, demonstrating that she has an inherent desire for power and glory. She knows that about herself and knows that can’t be changed, especially considering the stories she’s learned about the Condesce, which makes it difficult for her to end her relationship with ghost Vriska. That’s the tragic thing about Meenah right there: she considers herself villainous at heart and is very self-aware about it, leading her to have tons of morality struggles, especially right now. She sees Serkets going through all sorts of heroic and glamorous things, and it pains her to know that they’re doing it out of wacky contrived ideas of self-importance. It happened with Aranea, it happened with Vriska, and it’s happening again with—you guessed it—Vriska.

Though Meenah doesn’t bring it up in this conversation, her and (Vriska’s) age difference is also quite a problem. She clearly feels it isn’t right to date someone who’s so much younger than her, but the breakup still hurts HARD.

MEENAH: im just sick of sittin around
MEENAH: not being a part of anything
MEENAH: i want to see some action ya know?
MEENAH: wanna go kill a BAD GUY
(VRISKA): Ok! Yeah! I get that!
(VRISKA): Hey, me too! Look, see?
(VRISKA): I do too! Forget what I said, we can go fight him together!
(VRISKA): Just, not with her, ok? I couldn’t handle that. It can just 8e you and me!

MEENAH: yeah seaaa
MEENAH: i dont
MEENAH: i dunno about that
MEENAH: the thing is
MEENAH: i think what im sayin here is
MEENAH: as great as its been
MEENAH: like R-E-ELY great
MEENAH: i think this has gotta…
MEENAH: be…
MEENAH: it
(VRISKA): It??
MEENAH: 38(

As a last-ditch effort to get Meenah back, (Vriska) tries to take back all her mellowing out. She’s really trying to push herself into wanting to be a grandiose hero again if it means keeping Meenah by her side now, since Meenah is the only friend she has left.

(VRISKA): *Sniff…*
(VRISKA): Meenah, you have to stay!
(VRISKA): I don’t know what I’ll do if you’re gone!
(VRISKA): I…
(VRISKA): I don’t have anyone else out here.
(VRISKA): I’ll 8e all alone in this fucked up place.
(VRISKA): I never told you this, 8ut… it’s terrifying here.
(VRISKA): It’s terrifying 8eing dead, and having to live through memories forever, and dealing with the fact that nothing really means anything.
(VRISKA): It’s infinite, and dark, and it’s all 8eing ripped apart…
(VRISKA): And you’re the only one who ever made me feel good a8out 8eing here.
(VRISKA): You’re the only one who made me feel good a8out 8eing ANYWHERE.
(VRISKA): Please, don’t…
(VRISKA): Meenah.
(VRISKA): *So8!*

Man, what a tragic end this is for a version of Vriska who was for a long time THE Vriska. Over the course of Act 6, at first she was irritated about her narrative shafting, but then she found a new opportunity for narrative relevance in the form of defeating Lord English. But despite everything, she always knew there was no way for her to live a happy and relevant life while being dead. She came close to getting revived by the Ring of Life, but when she had that opportunity, John’s opinion on her was approaching the bottom end of the cycle, so he refused. While Vriska was in a sense revived by John’s retcon powers, the dead version of Vriska was left behind, and now Meenah is all she has left. She doesn’t care about importance anymore, but she still wants to live a fulfilling and vibrant life, not the repetitive blur of dream bubble memories; Meenah was the only one who could make that a pleasant experience. She was (Vriska’s) last remaining connection to relevance, and the last we see of (Vriska) is her reuniting with pre-retcon Terezi at the end of [S] Terezi: Remem8er—one hell of a bittersweet end for both the pre-retcon Scourge Sisters.

MEENAH: euurrrgh
MEENAH: vriska
MEENAH: dam!!!
MEENAH: why…
MEENAH: whys this shit so hard?
MEENAH: not even lyin this is like the hardest shit i ever did
MEENAH: i cant even fully explain
MEENAH: its just how i think its grotto be

I can really see it, why this breakup is so hard for Meenah. For her, conquering planets and galaxies with the power of armies is a piece of cake compared to a breakup with a mellowed-out version of Vriska. Sort of reminds me of Dirk’s statement that battles are so much easier than emotional reunions—both are characters naturally poised for fighting, not emotional conversations.

(VRISKA): 8ut it doesn’t!
(VRISKA): You don’t have to do this!

MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: i think
MEENAH: on that point
MEENAH: we just gonna have to algae to disalgae
(VRISKA): …
(VRISKA): I cannot…
(VRISKA): 8ELIEVE
(VRISKA): You are doing the fish pun thing while you’re 8r8king up with me.

MEENAH: sorry serk
MEENAH: tis the way of my peeps

The bolded lines here call back to Eridan and Feferi’s pale breakup in the trolls’ arc, and this time it’s in a FAR more pivotal and crushing context. I really doubt most Homestuck fans remember very much of the Alternian seadweller trolls’ conversations—I, for one, can hardly remember a word from them aside from the line that (Vriska) called back to. I reread Eridan and Feferi’s breakup conversation just now; when Eridan said the lines I bolded, he came off as humorously overdramatic and pathetic, but when (Vriska) says it, it really feels like she’s being spat in the face. To (Vriska), fish puns amidst the breakup rub salt in the wound and feel like Meenah doesn’t care for her or take her seriously, even after Meenah says that fish puns are just the way she talks.

MEENAH: heres the thing
MEENAH: i dont think
MEENAH: any of that shade just thrown at ya was true
MEENAH: i like you a lot an all
MEENAH: but like
MEENAH: she has a point on one thing
MEENAH: which is
MEENAH: you changed a lot
MEENAH: not better or worse or anyfin
MEENAH: i aint squallified to make that call
MEENAH: just different
MEENAH: from the way you were when we met
MEENAH: happier i guess??
MEENAH: dunno man if you say so then yeah
MEENAH: what i see though is
MEENAH: somebody who gradually turned like
MEENAH: vulnerable as S)(-ELL
MEENAH: and that
MEENAH: is
MEENAH: scary to me
MEENAH: because
MEENAH: of
MEENAH: the way i am
MEENAH: i dont think im reely…
MEENAH: the sorta person
MEENAH: to be…
MEENAH: trusted with those kinds a feelings?
MEENAH: sea the prob is
MEENAH: you dont actually know me very well
MEENAH: nobody does
MEENAH: and the main thing about me is
MEENAH: um
MEENAH: that you gotta account for
MEENAH: or i guess
MEENAH: *i* gotta account for
MEENAH: on behalf of the feelings
MEENAH: of people i dont wanna see get hurt
MEENAH: is
MEENAH: uh
MEENAH: how do i say this
MEENAH: what you need to know is
MEENAH: like
MEENAH: …

When you see someone typing

like

uh

like… this,

it means that

they’re going through

a pretty big emotional crisis…

or otherwise are just

like

having real big trouble

figuring out what to say

OK, I’ll cut it out. What I’m saying here is, even though Act 6 Act 6 only sparingly has typed conversations, the effects of presenting Homestuck’s dialogue akin to a chat client prevail: the spacing of Meenah’s lines perfectly shows she has difficulty figuring out what to say to (Vriska), and that she has a huge mess of emotions to sort out during this breakup. You couldn’t get quite this effect if the dialogue was transcribed more conventionally, like with ellipses instead of line breaks, and with the text all lumped into one big paragraph.

MEENAH: im

MEENAH: bad

These two images and two words are all you need to know that despite everything, Meenah does not think of herself as a good person. And though she’s normally fine with this mindset, there are occasional moments where this train of thought, her thirst for power that she knows is immutable, bites her HARD, even driving her to tears. She was driven to tears when talking to John about the Ring of Life in Act 6 Intermission 5, and she’s similarly about to be driven to tears here.

(VRISKA): No, Meenah! W8!
(VRISKA): I don’t care if you’re 8ad!
(VRISKA): I mean, I don’t even think that’s true!
(VRISKA): 8ut I don’t care if it is!
(VRISKA): Please, don’t do this!
(VRISKA): Don’t go! At least not right away!
(VRISKA): Can you just stay a little longer so we can talk a8out this?

This scene is one huge OUCH. (Vriska) sees the best in Meenah and doubts she’s truly bad, but Meenah feels that no one truly understands what sort of person she is at heart, or rather that no one truly understands that deep down she’s just like the Condesce.

Vriska’s smug expression is a great way to rub salt in the wound.

… or is she?

One word: OUCH.

Meenah’s last words to (Vriska) are “im really sorry”, which probably seem lackluster to the deserted ghost, especially as the dream bubble fades to black to symbolize the void she’s been left in. Tragically, (Vriska) has broken down crying so hard that she can’t see that Meenah is also crying. And Meenah probably doesn’t want her ex to see her broken down like this either.

Vriska, meanwhile, doesn’t care that either is crying. Her last words in the scene are:

VRISKA: You’ve made the right choice, Peixes.
VRISKA: Now let’s go round up that army.

Meenah is probably too overwhelmed with tears to process Vriska’s words here. She didn’t just make the right choice—she made the only choice she had it in her to make. All around, this is an incredibly tragic scene with a lot of tragic insight into all three characters involved: Vriska, Meenah, and (Vriska).

*takes a deep breath*

Let’s try this choice thing again, one more time. This time only with two choices, nice and easy. Hey, works like a charm. Two sweet simple choices for two sweet simple kids. There you go, one last gluttonous chomp at the free will pie before you all say goodbye. Don’t say this website never did anything for you. DON’T YOU DARE.

It’s time for Homestuck’s final character select screen! In the spirit of circularity, the options are the same as in the comic’s first character select screen*, right at the start of Act 6: Jane and Jake. The text accompanying the select screen hints that Homestuck is nearing its end, saying that this is the last select screen Homestuck will ever have. When this update came out, I remember that hint flying over my head, and then when people pointed it out, I was all like, “no, this can’t be it, there has to be more”. I wasn’t able to face the facts: we aren’t going to get every character reunion imaginable, and Hussie just wanted to wrap up Homestuck once and for all.

Again in the spirit of circularity, I will go through the select screen in the same order as Act 6’s first select screen: first Jake, then Jane.

* Not the first select screen in general. That would be the scrapbook panels in the Doc Scratch intermission.

Jake’s portion of the select screen is a conversation with Tavrosprite where he pretty much just says a bunch of hogwash about how he’s done with having romantic relationships or even friends. I’m not really sure what the point of the conversation is, or why Jake doesn’t at least see John as a new friend? Maybe just to establish that Jake and Tavros are both ridiculously pathetic and wimpy right now, setting up the contrast against pre-retcon Tavros. Jake lays his old man speak thick in the conversation, which suggests to me that he’s in especially strong denial about his true feelings, as we’ve seen in many conversations with Jane. He also comes up with “Tavvy” as a nickname for Tavrosprite, which reminds me of Tavros Crocker in the epilogues—I always imagined that Tavrosprite was the inspiration for Jake to name his and Jane’s son. This then leads to a storm of far more ridiculous nicknames:

Even though this Jake/Tavros conversation feels weird and pointless, I can’t stay mad at all those Tavros nicknames—they’re just too good. Especially as Tavros starts sneezing while Jasprose approaches. That’s a perfect context for Jake to unleash a tornado of goofy nicknames, presumably with zero self-awareness.

I also can’t stay mad at the storm of corny old man interjections rapidly cycling through Jake’s head—the same ones that his Super Saiyan-esque form shouted through most of A6A6I2. It’s an incredibly fun callback, need I say more?

Now Jane’s section… this one’s more interesting. This is the last time I’ll ever get to significantly analyze Jane’s character in my Homestuck post series unless I were to shoehorn a ridiculous tangent about her, so I better make this count.

NANNASPRITE: There you are!
NANNASPRITE: I have been looking forward to meeting you, dear. :B
JANE: You have?
JANE: Who are you?
NANNASPRITE: I’m you!
NANNASPRITE: But most know me as John’s Nanna. Hoo hoo!
JANE: Oh, yes!
JANE: He told me about you.
JANE: Gosh!
JANE: Pleased to meet you… Nanna, I guess I should call you?
NANNASPRITE: Suits me!
JANE: Calling you Jane might feel a bit strange.
JANE: Also, perhaps disrepectful?
NANNASPRITE: And why is that?
NANNASPRITE: It is my name after all.

To start things off, it’s quite pleasing to have an explicit confirmation that Jane has the same given name on both sides of the Scratch. That makes three of the beta and alpha kids to have this confirmation within Homestuck: the other two are John and Jade, whose post-scratch selves were confirmed to have the same names in Act 6 Act 1. The others’ names are only confirmed in external media like Hiveswap, Skaianet Systems, and the book commentary, but I think the pattern is quite clear at this point.

JANE: Yes, but,
JANE: You are my senior by many decades, I gather.
JANE: And you have so many more years of life experience, and wisdom, and you…
JANE: Seem to be dressed like a clown?
NANNASPRITE: :B
JANE: Not to disparage your fanciful attire. I quite like it.
JANE: I just mean that…
JANE: You’ve been through more than I can imagine.
JANE: I couldn’t call you by my name. It would feel wrong and flippant to treat you like my equal.

I think Jane’s choice not to call Nannasprite “Jane” says something about how different the two are. Even disregarding post-canon media, pre-scratch and post-scratch Jane are already significantly different characters. Pre-scratch Jane lived a humble and quiet life owning a joke shop and raising a family, and kept secrets about the Condesce all to herself so she could underhandedly use them when the time comes. Post-scratch Jane, on the other hand, grew up as the sheltered heiress to CrockerCorp, which led her to have a distinct personality of firmly believing she knows what’s right and often being stuck up about it. The stuck-up side of her personality is usually kept subtle, but in her occasional mental breakdowns as well as becoming Crockertier Jane, it shines as sharply as possible. Nannasprite’s humility demonstrates how the contrast between them was not caused by any inherent genetic differences (because there aren’t any!), but because of their upbringings.

Man, Jane Crocker is a much more nuanced character than fans give credit. Her general manner of speech says a lot about her character: she talks all prim and proper with a moderately advanced vocabulary, about a rank or two below the likes of Rose or Dirk, and it matches well with her supposed “good girl” personality and how she thinks she always knows what’s best. I feel like many times in my post series, I didn’t analyze her quite as thoroughly as I could have, which is why I’m trying to make this opportunity for analysis count, even though this conversation is more about Nannasprite than about teen Jane.

NANNASPRITE: But really, Jane, the honor of meeting you is all mine!
NANNASPRITE: I have been looking forward to it so much since I learned of your existence.
NANNASPRITE: Ever since I spent that one day helping John through his session, there haven’t been many reasons for me to feel particularly worthwhile.
NANNASPRITE: Yes, I tended to him and his sister for several years, baked for them, lent a sympathetic ear when needed…
NANNASPRITE: But in a way, it’s been a lonely life for me since my ashes fell in this silly old sprite.
NANNASPRITE: I’ve been strictly an auxiliary actor, there only to serve others even during my greatest moments to shine!
NANNASPRITE: So when I heard of you, a version of myself who was a true hero, so young, empowered, and set to embark upon a life filled with consequential deeds…
NANNASPRITE: I was absolutely giddy. I knew that we had to meet!

It’s easy to see where Nannasprite is coming from here. She got quite a bit of screen time in Acts 2 and 3, but as soon as John entered his first gate at the end of Act 3, she was basically sidelined—in fact, this is the first time in Act 6 where she even talks. It must have indeed been pretty lonely for her on the ship, and it turns out she was also patiently waiting to meet her younger post-scratch self. Three long years of waiting, and the payoff is very much worth it. This is even the pre-retcon version of Nannasprite we’re hearing from, the same one who we heard a bit about here and there in the battleship scenes, adding to the impact here. She knows she’s merely a supporting character, and she’s much more humble about it than teen Jane could ever be.

JANE: Oh… my!
JANE: You,
JANE: You really feel that way about me?
NANNASPRITE: Yes, Jane!
NANNASPRITE: I do not mean to suggest I regret the way my life has gone, of course.
NANNASPRITE: I lived a very humble life, as free of intrigue and adventure as possible, by choice.
NANNASPRITE: You see, I grew up in dangerous circumstances. I knew how cruel the woman who raised me could be, and what she might do to me or the people I loved if I made waves, or demonstrated any sense of defiance.
NANNASPRITE: So I lived simply. I started a family, and operated a quiet joke shop. Though I always knew trouble was brewing, they were the best years of my life.
NANNASPRITE: Yet I always had a little more knowledge than I ever let on, and used my understanding in subtle ways to help those to whom the torch would be passed in this great fight.

Another point of contrast against Jane and Nannasprite: Nanna always knew the truth about Betty Crocker, and she kept that knowledge on the downlow until the right moment struck—the right moment being now, of course. It makes sense for her to stay quiet about that knowledge, because if you tried telling everyone that Betty Crocker is run by a vicious alien queen, who would think it’s anything more than a ludicrous crackpot theory? Not Jane, that’s for sure. Roxy and Dirk kept trying to tell her the truth about Crockercorp, but she would always dismiss their statements as drunken tomfoolery and ironic humor respectively. Jane has a far easier time accepting other bizarre things about her world, which shows that she’s strongly subject to unconscious double standards. Nanna Egbert, on the other hand? She wisely chose to keep her knowledge a secret, especially as she grew older, and now the time has come to use that knowledge.

NANNASPRITE: But then, I made the transition from knowing some things in life, to knowing a great deal more in death. Being resurrected as a sprite endowed me with a very deep knowledge of the game and its broader circumstances. I was in peak form, a true harlequin wisewoman, and there was nary a question I couldn’t answer.
NANNASPRITE: And then, the dear kids scratched their session, and cast themselves into the unknown.
NANNASPRITE: I ventured with them, and so I too lost my bearing on the nature of what lay ahead.
NANNASPRITE: I went from my prime, a state of all-understanding, to a state of absolute uncertainty. For the first time in about as long as I could remember, I had no idea what to expect next.
NANNASPRITE: It was quite freeing in a way! I had a wonderful three years on that ship with those lovely children. I thought little of what challenges were ahead.
NANNASPRITE: But when I did, my thoughts would always drift toward you, Jane.

Here’s a passage with some really interesting implications about the limitations of sprites. Sprites’ knowledge seems super mighty and all-encompassing early in Sburb, but it doesn’t extend anywhere beyond a singular Sburb session, not even its scratched counterpart. For that reason, everything about post-scratch Jane beyond the fact that she exists was left for Nannasprite to imagine, which must have been both freeing and poignant for her. The limitations of sprite knowledge have always been a little murky, but here it’s made clear that sprite knowledge is humble in the grand scope of things. At this point in the comic, if you want a sprite who can truly teach and accomplish rad new things, you’ll have to go a step further and make squared sprites, which has been done once and will be done again!

NANNASPRITE: Thinking about you, and this adventure you were about to begin, it made me feel like a child again.
NANNASPRITE: It gave me the feelings I used to have for the limitless potential of life, before my stepmother snuffed them out, confronting me with the reality that life would have to take a considerably more limited shape if I wished to survive.
NANNASPRITE: So when I look at you now, I see the potential I had as a child finally being realized.
NANNASPRITE: But in a much more special way than I ever would have imagined back then!
NANNASPRITE: It makes me so proud to see you as a heroic young woman, ready to make a difference, and forge your own destiny.
NANNASPRITE: I just wanted to tell you this before you go off to battle!
JANE: Oh jeez.
JANE: Nanna, I don’t know what to say.
JANE: Thank you so much for those inspirational words!
NANNASPRITE: Hoo hoo!

Nannasprite seems to agree with Jane that they’re very much two different people. Unlike many other pairs of alternate selves, the only life experiences they have in common are the first few minutes (or hours?) of their lives, as babies created by John pressing buttons in a lab. Instead of any weirdness about alternate selves, Nannasprite sees nothing but pride in her teenage self, while Jane sees her elder self as a source of inspiration and wisdom.

JANE: I think John was really lucky to have you as a sprite. Not to mention, a grandmother, of course.
JANE: It’s no wonder he appears to have his act together.
JANE: Maybe I would have been better off if I had someone like you to advise me from the start of all this.
JANE: Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so lost.

It’s interesting that Jane thinks Nannasprite’s wisdom is why John has his act together. While she certainly helped him along the early stages of Sburb, the real reason John presently has his act together is because he has a goal ready to achieve, which allows him to be in a positive mood. Without a visible goal, that’s when John becomes cranky and depressed, and even Nannasprite couldn’t stop him from being that way. Still, Nanna did a great job guiding John through the start of Sburb, and it’s clear that Jane didn’t get the same opportunity at the start of her session.

NANNASPRITE: It’s normal to feel lost, though.
NANNASPRITE: And believe me, needing to find your own way in time will make you a lot wiser than having an old lady around to spoon feed you all the answers.
NANNASPRITE: In any case, you have me now!
NANNASPRITE: I think it’s been quite a long time since John has needed my guidance.
NANNASPRITE: The boy has grown so much since he clobbered me with a joke book on that fateful day.
NANNASPRITE: From now on, I’d be pleased if you would consider me your sprite. :B
JANE: Wow! :O
JANE: Oh my goodness, yes, please!

Nannasprite then demonstrates some refreshing flexibility regarding the rules of sprites. She may technically be John’s sprite, but there’s no rule in Sburb saying that a sprite can’t help and guide other players. This reminds me of Dave taking over as Jade’s server player in the beta kids’ session when John was unavailable—another example of flexibility and thinking outside the box.

NANNASPRITE: In fact, I heard from the cat girl that you and she are on healing duty in this spectacular fray coming up.
NANNASPRITE: It so happens that healing is my specialty. Next to baking of course. (And pranks.)
NANNASPRITE: Why don’t I assist?
JANE: That would be great too!

In a nice instance of alternate self parallelism, teen Jane and adult Jane will be sharing healer roles in the grand final battle. It’s always fun when a character’s alternate selves align like this.

And to cap things off…

If post-retcon Nannasprite is here, then what happened to post-retcon Jaspersprite?
Maybe Hussie had no good ideas for what to do with him.

NANNASPRITE: Oh! And Jane, one more thing.
NANNASPRITE: Just so you know…
NANNASPRITEx2: There are actually two of me!

Nannasprite wasn’t kidding when she said she was the master of pranks. She hid the fact that there were two of her until the perfect moment struck to catch Jane off guard…

Gotta love the way Jane’s shoes go flying off her feet.

The plop is reminiscent of Vriska plopping after getting punched in the face.

It’s a certified fact of life that you can never go wrong with throwing a pie in someone’s face. It’s humorous no matter the context, and the Nannasprites executed that prank perfectly. After a heavy, emotional scene with the Vriskas and Meenah, it’s nice to end this post with a lighthearted scene instead.

See you next time as Tavros finally gets to have a successful character arc.

>> Part 136: The Tripling of the Feline Sprites

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