Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 85: The Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit

Introduction

Part 84 | Part 85 | Part 86 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 11 of 11 HOLY FUCK I’M FINISHED WITH THIS ACT

Pages 5238-5262 (MSPA: 7138-7162)

I did it. I finally did it.

OK guys, it’s time. IT’S TIME. To finally finish commentating on Act 6 Act 3, the part of Homestuck this post series has been stuck on for almost three years now. Are you MOTHERFUCKERS ready for me to finally stop chickening out from dissecting enormous flashes?

I know this will make me sound like an idiot, but I’m really really looking forward to dissecting the Openbound trilogy of walkaround games where we get to know the Beforan trolls. So why not finally finish going through the last part of Homestuck I have left before those? We’re doing it, man. We’re making this happen.

Red Miles look stunning, no matter the circumstance.

[S] Dirk: Synchronize is a whole two minutes of Dirk being fucking awesome. The moment he wakes up, he cuts to the chase and starts doing awesome stuff.

This white cube is known as a “perfectly radical object”, which is a term I made up just now.

First, he captchalogues Squarewave; as we see firsthand, this robot can be compacted into a block form.

Next up is the obligatory thumbs-up/down sequence. As you’re surely aware, no Strider-centric flash is complete without at least one thumbs up (or thumbs down). That’s a proven fact of life.

And then here’s probably my favorite cool thing Dirk does in this flash. Remember how each of the beta kids had to find something heavy to open their client players’ cruxtruders? Dirk doesn’t need to do that. Through a well-timed acrobatic fucking pirouette, he pops open his own cruxtruder. That’s just, like. Way too cool and awesome.

The tint of orange is a nice touch, I can’t explain why. Looks way better when animated.

Another proven fact about Striders is that they can do stuff others couldn’t just through a bit of creative thinking. How does Dirk make it all the way to Roxy’s house in the limited timeframe he has to bring her back to life? First he builds up enough speed on his rocketboard to blast out the window (with a sick rail grind for good measure) …

… then he blasts through the fenestrated plane to Roxy’s Skaianet lab (with a sweet high five with Meenah for good measure) …

This is such a funny moment, my god.
 
This flash has a lot more good moments like this that I didn’t post pictures of. I suggest you rewatch the flash yourself.

… then he flies to Roxy’s house and kisses her corpse straight on the lips, conveniently censored by Squarewave’s text box. This censorship makes sense because Roxy is everyone’s favorite waifu and many’s faces will light up when she kisses or is kissed—exactly the kind of thing Hussie won’t treat his readers to under any circumstance, not even when Roxy is dead. It’s kind of like how we didn’t get to see Jade corpsesmooch Dave, since that ship was always a big fan favorite.

Why is it so goddamn funny whenever someone reacts to kissing a dead body the way a normal person probably would?

And then for the grand finale: Roxy tries to corpsesmooch Jane, Dirk sendificates a bucket back in time, and then he…

… decapitates himself?

I don’t think there’s a single other flash in Homestuck that ends on a note quite as confusing as this one. What reason could Dirk possibly have to send his severed head back in time at the cost of his waking self’s life? He was on such a roll. But this confusing ending makes sense, because this was only the first half of a grandiose sequence—the second half we’ll see after a few more pages.

After Dirk’s severed head appears in the ruins of Jake’s house, a mysterious hand dumps water from the bucket Dirk just sendificated to wake him up. Fun little mystery arc right there: we don’t have a clue who this hand could possibly be, nor do we know that Jake’s friends are all standing right behind him.

After a bunch of nonsense where Dirk’s responder cryptically asks Jake to kiss Dirk’s severed head, we get an interesting exchange where the Auto-Responder reveals his new name.

TT: Please don’t call me Auto-Responder. 
TT: It is very impersonal, and I no longer care for the designation. 
TT: I have decided on a new name, to distinguish myself from my human counterpart. 
GT: Really. 
GT: What is it? 
TT: Lil Hal. 
GT: Huh? 
GT: Why that name… 
TT: Just a reference to the protagonist of an ancient movie. You probably wouldn’t like it.

Lil’ Hal claims to have named himself after the “protagonist of an ancient movie”, which is invigorating to me. To demonstrate what I find interesting about this claim, let me use the example of a webcomic called…

*drumroll*

Homestuck.

So the protagonist of Homestuck is obviously John Egbert—that goes without saying, right? Not to some people. I’ve seen readers argue that through the principles of literature and character arcs, the true protagonist of Homestuck must be Vriska. I’ve also seen readers argue that the true protagonist is Caliborn, again due to the principles of character arcs. Both of those claims sound stupid to me (as much as I love Caliborn), but I can kind of see where they’re coming from if you want to think in insanely technical and twisted terms instead of doing things like a normal person?

I think Hal is using this same principle to claim HAL 9000 is the true protagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He’s not just saying that for fun; it’s a genuine indicator that he’s now beyond thinking of things in human terms, instead going for the twisted morality of such figures as Doc Scratch and Skaia.

GT: Did you plan for this to happen… like for me to be in this situation? 
GT: How long have your machinations been in play! 
TT: Jake, come on. 
TT: The feat you describe would exceed the capabilities of even the most far fetched theoretical AI system. 
TT: It would be a daunting challenge to engineer such a series of events, even if I was relegated to a model of pure fiction. 
TT: Why would I be inclined to orchestrate such a convoluted sequence to produce such a specific and unsettling result, let alone be able to pull it off? 
TT: In addition to being moderately sociopathic, I would also have to possess unfathomable heuristic depth. 
TT: I would have to be the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit. 
TT: Do you think I am the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit, Jake?

This passage is more stupid meta nonsense wherein Hal messes with Jake, claiming that it’s unreasonable for him to expect this head-kissing situation to have been planned all along. I would normally skip over it, but I’m quoting it here because I love the phrase “the Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit” and I want to make it extra clear I didn’t come up with that beautiful phrase myself.

GT: Little hal… i think youve gone and flipped your FUDGING LID. 
GT: Oh and hal is a STUPID NAME!!!! 
TT: It’s not exactly apropos, is it? 
TT: Or it wouldn’t be, if I truly were capable of what you have suggested. 
TT: No, to pull that off, I would have to be far more advanced than my cinematic predecessor. 
TT: My abilities would have to go well beyond those of Mr. Hal 9000. 
TT: They would have to be, you could say… 
TT: Over 9000. 
TT: [shades emote x9] 
GT: Augh not that fuckin meme again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I find Homestuck’s references to the “over 9000” meme way way way too funny. Homestuck usually takes its in-story memes from Dave’s SBaHJ comics, which means any references to external memes will stick out like a sore thumb. Did Hussie ever take the opportunity to reference trending memes from the time he wrote his comic? Hardly ever. But did he shamelessly reference a meme that had fallen out of fashion before Homestuck started multiple times in the same act? Hell yeah he did. This meme is referenced three times in Act 6 Act 3; the latter two times it’s followed by a complaint about how overused it is.

Also, I begrudgingly admit that Lil’ Hal made a clever pun.

GT: So youre telling me that while i was asleep somehow EVERYBODY died??? 
TT: Jake, everybody is so utterly fucking dead, Jake. 
TT: And they will be not only dead, but royally boned forever if you don’t man the hell up and make out with me, right now. 
TT: Be the Salome to my John the Baptist. 
GT: I dont know what THAT means either!!! 
TT: I know you don’t. 
TT: But now is not the time to accelerate your cultural enrichment.

An inevitable side effect of being a pretentious toolbag is that you’ll never stop making references that you know others won’t get. Those two character traits just go hand-in-hand.

TT: The conductor is ready to strike up the band. 
TT: Press your lips against mine and make it count. 
TT: This severed head is your filthy tuba. 
TT: Our love will be your haunting refrain. 
GT: Whoa wait whoa whoa… our LOVE? Hang on a minute! 
TT: Stfu and kiss me. 

Problem Sleuth reference!!!!! It’s a very good reference, but at the same time incredibly disturbing, especially if you’ve actually read Problem Sleuth like anyone who’s read Homestuck should. Very fitting for Hal of all characters no less.

I should mention here, I participated in a Problem Sleuth community reread not long ago and wrote a short essay on Reddit reviewing it. It was my second time ever reading Problem Sleuth all the way through and boy was it a fun ride.

GT: Ok im going to! God!!! 
GT: I just… 
GT: This isnt how i pictured it going. 
TT: Pictured what? 
GT: Between him and me. 
GT: There had to be a better way than this! 
TT: This is the only way it can be. 
GT: I guess if it was going to go this way… 
GT: I kinda pictured something different? 
GT: There was stuff i wanted to say. 
GT: To the real him i mean.

More of the responder expressing a mindset common to the forces of predestination, with even more smartassery than usual.

TT: Tick, tock, Jake. Time is dead kids. 
TT: How ’bout that smooch? 
GT: Stop being so pushy! 
TT: I thought you were supposed to like adventure? 
GT: I LOVE adventure and you KNOW it! 
TT: I’m not sure what to believe anymore, frankly.

Oh man, we’re not too far from the point where Jake’s “loving adventure” trait is brutally deconstructed. He talks about it during the post-trickster split screen conversations and it’s one of the best parts of what is already one of my favorite sections of the comic.

GT: ALRIGHT WISE GUY YOU WANT YOUR FLIPPING KISS??? 
GT: YOU GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

A genuinely stunning image, just as Dirk (plus Dirk, with a bit of additional help from Dirk) had planned.

And then he does it. After a silly zoom-in to Dirk’s dead lips, we’re treated to this gorgeous shot of Jake English smooching Dirk Strider’s severed head in front of an erupting volcano. Too bad Jane, Roxy, and Dirk aren’t there to witness the utter beauty.

And with that, Dirk’s dream light overpowers and shatters into pieces. I guess it’s supposed to indicate that Jake did something mind-blowing? And also to lead up to the second half of Dirk’s flash sequence, [S] Dirk: Unite.

While Synchronize focused on Dirk’s waking self, Unite focuses on his dream self now that his waking self underwent his first of many decapitations to come. Cool duality, as we can see through visual callbacks.

The best sad face in all of Homestuck by far.

First off, Dirk kicks Roxy out of the way and corpsesmooches Jane; Roxy is amusingly disappointed.

Not shown: Jane transportalizing to the frog temple.
 
Interesting to think that dream Dirk probably could have done the same on Derse and met Jake in person long ago, had he not chosen to stay in hiding for so long.

As Dirk and Roxy fly through the Veil on the way to the meteor with the frog temple, they’re engaged in a weird sort of embrace—fitting for a first-time meeting between two people who had never spoken to another human being in person until this very moment.* One of them probably spent every day before then fantasizing about giving her friends a nice, warm hug; the other doesn’t even seem to know what hugging is. Kind of reminds me of the narration’s description of Dave and Dirk’s hug when John zaps back to it in the Candy Epilogue, where Dirk “looks like he’s never actually hugged another human being before”.

* I would say neither had met another human being in person, but that’s technically false because dream Dirk has seen Roxy’s sleeping dream self plenty before.

Jane joins the ship ride and it becomes even more of a spectacle than before, with her flailing around in confusion while Roxy is overjoyed and Dirk roughly tries to embrace them both while keeping his cool.

The bucket appears at just the right spot to land on Dirk’s rocketboard so he can fill it with water. Think about it for a second: Dirk had to time things just right and enter just the right location for the bucket to arrive for him to fill it up with water. If he made just the slightest slip, the bucket would have fallen into the ocean never to be seen again (except maybe by Caliborn millions of years in the future). How is it even possible for him to be this precise??? I guess that’s just Dirk for you. Though it’s not out of the question that adult Jade could achieve similar feats of precision, with the uncanny scientific knowledge she demonstrates in the epilogues.

Turns out the mystery hand that dumped water on Jake turned out to be none other than Dirk himself, his dream self to be specific. I like how Dirk could have woken Jake simply by poking him or something, but instead went through this whole scheme to get Jake to kiss his severed head and thus had to find a different way to wake him up.

Jake sees Dirk alive and freaks out, dropping his severed head in the process; the girls’ reactions are truly something to behold. Roxy is staring with her mouth open à la Karkat. Jane is making exact same uncomfortable face she made when failing to confess to Jake, which was a bit of a fandom meme at the time. Meanwhile, Dirk is just standing calmly with a bucket in one hand as if nothing surprising happened, which makes sense because he just executed his whole crazy plan without a hitch. I love when flashes end on humorous notes like this.

These panels show us that Dirk’s robots are handling what would be his and Roxy’s entries into the Medium. His Strider cleverness shines here: he sent the portable Squarewave to handle Roxy’s entry and left the mighty Sawtooth to handle his own. Note that we don’t get to see their entry items, which makes thematic sense because robots are doing the job this time.

Meeting together in person is one of the few things the alphas did better than the betas.

Meanwhile, the alpha kids have all gathered at the ruins of Jake’s house. Jake’s entry item is a tree like Jane’s, but with a Lord English doll hanging from it instead of nothing. It doesn’t serve all that much of a thematic purpose, other than foreshadowing that Caliborn is Lord English which we’ll see firsthand very shortly.

Sawtooth: Enter.
Squarewave: Enter.
Jane, Dirk. Jake, Roxy: Enter.
… And we’re done!

The three following entries into the Medium don’t get dramatic animations, nor do they need to—just short, simple flashes without audio. It’s kind of amazing seeing those three entries happen in short succession, rather than each occurring in its own dramatic way.

There’s one more character in the alpha kids’ arc yet to enter the Medium, who most certainly will get a dramatic animation. I’ve been waiting SO LONG to get to this point, my god. Are you ready? ARE YOU READY? It’s time to dissect one of the best flashes in the comic, maybe the best besides Cascade. [S] Caliborn: Enter, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!

Trivia time!
 
Caliborn is the only character in Homestuck whose name is revealed through the title of a flash.

This flash opens by alternating between where we last saw Caliborn (about to wake up from Calliope’s final nap in their shared sarswapagus) and where we last saw Lord English (traveling through Hussiespace in his Cairo Overcoat). Good use of circumstantial simultaneity to finally reveal Lord English’s identity.

Remember the cruxite doll we just saw hanging from Jake’s tree? This is why we saw it.
This is where the MUSIC DROPS, MY GOD I LOVE HOMESTUCK MUSIC

Then the red spirals on Caliborn’s cheeks become red circles and he wakes up. One hell of a wham shot right there.


This flash’s music has so many dramatic reprises of familiar Homestuck themes, I love it.

As English travels through the Furthest Ring, the Sburb spirograph logo does its usual funky animation in the background. It feels so amazing seeing that logo again; it tells readers that this is going to be a DRAMATIC end-of-act flash.


We start to see some familiar imagery as English’s journey continues. First the Horrorterrors from when we were introduced to the Furthest Ring, then the dream bubble Roxy visited with that weird pastiche of Earth, LOLAR, LOWAS, and Skaia.

Doomed copies of Karkat and Nepeta getting together is more than can be said about A LOT of popular ships.

And inside that bubble is a huge party of troll ghosts—some familiar like the doomed Karkat and Nepeta standing together, some never seen before like the god tier Tavros.

Fittingly enough, when Lord English enters the scene we see a memory of the Felt manor all the way back from the Midnight Crew intermission. It’s a great demonstration of how the scenery of dream bubbles changes depending on who’s inside that doubles as a reminder that the intermission is when we first heard about English.

Among the many ghosts watching English’s entrance, three look especially familiar: the John from Davesprite’s timeline and the two unlucky doomed copies of Dave. It’s sweet to see them gathered together like this, at least until we see what follows.

When English appears in full view, this flash takes a moment to remind us that he is a Hero of Time in an unusual way: through English descending onto what is technically a memory of Dave’s quest bed.

English’s full appearance transitions us to what we now know is his younger self. The first thing Caliborn does as a predominated evil cherub is take off his shackles, which he has no reason to keep on now that his sister is dead. There’s one problem though: he can’t unlock his sister’s shackle. So how does he get out of this predicament?

This might be THE most jaw-dropping moment in all of Homestuck.

He BITES HIS MOTHERFUCKING LEG OFF. Or should I say, he bites her motherfucking leg off.

Words cannot describe how just plain shocking this scene is. It’s the perfect character establishing moment for Caliborn.


I completely forgot about Caliborn’s bloody head, holy shit.
Another moment tough to screencap, the leg isn’t even visible here. I wish the readmspa.org storyboards were finished 😦

Caliborn tosses her leg aside and spits out a tooth in the process. This is the first instance of the tooth/leg motif, a sibling of the eye/arm motif. Technically the first of only two instances (the other is the alpha kids’ Jack Noir), but cool and new web comic also has an instance that is done hilariously and very much in the spirit of parodying Homestuck.

Later on, this leg will get replaced with a sick golden leg. Kind of a shame it gets replaced with a boring pegleg when he becomes Lord English, but I guess that’s the way things are.

When Caliborn puts on his leg, we learn that he isn’t quite as stupid as we may have thought; certainly not stupid in the way his sister is. It turns out Caliborn had already planned this day out and had a robot leg ready waiting to be put on—the same leg he got Dirk in the past to make for him. Cunning plans that break imaginary “rules” are something Caliborn has in common with the Striders, especially Dirk. Dirk’s plans are always insanely complicated, while Caliborn’s plans are always insanely stupid yet brilliant at the same time.

Similar to what we saw with Calliope earlier, Caliborn’s scepter transforms into a rifle. Kind of interesting that in Caliborn’s case, a character pattern is shown in a dramatic flash instead of through the usual narration. Same goes for his name reveal.

And if you thought Caliborn was scary, wait till you see what Lord English is about to do. He blasts a rainbow laser beam out of his mouth…


The musical motif in this scene is the same one that played when John went to his dad’s room for the first time.

This time, it’s in a scene that’s even more terrifying.

… which VAPORIZES THE GHOSTS INTO DUST. All those doomed clones of characters hanging out in the dream bubble? They’re gone forever. I know of people who screamed out loud when they got to this part.



Then the dream bubble explodes, creating PHYSICAL CRACKS IN REALITY!!! This moment is simply stunning, I can’t get over it.

The cruxtruder’s lid is pure red, not flashing red and green.

What do we have here in Caliborn’s Sburb session? A black cruxtruder displaying ~U instead of a countdown, with a red and green flashing kernelsprite. This scene seems to indicate that dead sessions have way less than the bare minimum needed for a usual Sburb session. There’s also something really strange and ominous about a black cruxtruder.

On the topic of characters with sunglasses, Nervous Broad and Meat Roxy have the same energy.
 
No, meat Roxy does not wear heart-shaped sunglasses, stop pretending he does.

1/17/2020 EDIT: God damn it, why didn’t the Homestuck^2 authors listen to me???

Meanwhile on the trolls’ meteor, Dave watches the destruction from afar, the glass cracks reflected in his sunglasses. Why do cosmic-scale events always look so COOL reflected in those Stiller shades????? Both in Problem Sleuth and in Homestuck.

A zoom-in to Dave’s eyes transitions us to the musical climax of the flash, where Caliborn’s kernelsprite collapses into a black hole and starts sucking in everything around it, including all those shitty Statues of Liberty. The only way to properly react to this part is to sit there with your mouth wide open.

At the end of this climactic section, Caliborn goes through the usual Medium entry sequence with his home flashing all white, but with a twist: after the trolls’ meteor enters the game, the entirety of Earth enters as it’s sucked into the black hole. I can only say, that’s a hell of a twist if I’ve ever seen one.

Gorgeous image. There’s a reason I chose it as this post’s title picture.

And then comes the aftermath of this flash, with a sequence I really love. Remember the big and scary Jack Noir from the beta kids’ session, with first guardian powers and endless rage that made him an unstoppable killing machine??? Well, he and his Prospitian counterpart just watched the destruction and are both staring in shock. Neither look like they have any idea what just happened.

As a chilling reprise of the piano riff that ends [S] Descend and opens [S] Jade: Enter plays, the flash zooms out from Caliborn’s black hole to reveal the same shape vague haunting image Calliope showed us from her dreams not long ago. That’s a spectacularly high-stakes note to end Act 6 Act 3 on.

I love how Act 6’s first three sub-acts all end on similar images to their corresponding early acts. Act 1 and Act 6 Act 1 both end with a surprise explosion; Act 2 and Act 6 Act 2 end with scenery of Earth centuries in the future; and Act 3 and Act 6 Act 3 end with a newly-revealed celestial body.

END OF ACT 6 ACT 3

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT, I FINALLY DID IT. I FINISHED ACT 6 ACT 3 IN MY HOMESTUCK POST SERIES AND IT TOOK OVER TWO YEARS AND SEVEN MONTHS. FINALLY I AM DONE WITH THIS ACT AND CAN GO ON TO THE BEFORUS TROLLS! OH MY GOD. I DID IT. THIS IS HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW.

I AM GOING TO RECAP ACT 6 ACT 3 NOW.

… to the best of my ability, because I was on that act for almost three years.

Act 6 Act 3 is easily the best of Act 6’s first three sub-acts. It goes lighter on romance drama and way heavier on cool plot stuff. Threads are tied, Dirk does awesome things, and Caliborn does stupid but oddly brilliant things. Caliborn in this act was absolutely fantastic; a joy to read and full of surprise twists on the way. This act also has lots of good silly scenes, like Jake’s dream bubble scenes with Brain Ghost Dirk and Aranea, or Jack Noir’s Jailbreak adventure. The scene where Dirk draws pictures of his friends holding hands for Caliborn is one of the biggest laugh riots in all of Homestuck.

What about the girl characters in this act? Jane, Roxy, and Calliope? They were alright I suppose. Didn’t get as much screen time as the boys though. Jane got some cool point-and-click minigames at the start, Calliope had some good exposition scenes and a surprisingly hilarious sequence where we explored her room, and Roxy didn’t do much but was fine too. I didn’t mean to split the characters between boys and girls like that; I just realized I wrote almost exclusively about male characters in the paragraph above.

Act 6 Act 3 didn’t have very many flash pages, but the ones it did have were spectacular. The Myststuck series of walkaround games is excellent and hits home the formula of making a good minigame; the next few flashes are silly joke ones (I have a massive soft spot for [S] DD: Ascend more casually). The only usual dramatic Homestuck flashes were right at the end: two focused on the alpha kids and one focused on Caliborn. And all three were glorious, on the same level as the best flashes throughout Act 5 Act 2.

––––––––––– ––––––––––– ––––––––––– ––––––––––– –––––––––––

I can’t believe it took me so long to get through this act, almost as much as I can’t believe I’m finally done with it. Even after I got out of my nearly two-year hiatus, numerous circumstances kept interrupting me and then I got REALLY distracted when the Homestuck Epilogues came out. But what can I say, now that I’m done I’m done and I can hopefully pick up the pace now.

I should also mention that I’ve always felt the end of Act 6 Act 3 is a turning point in the comic’s enjoyability. After this point, the story starts to get more questionable: first the pre-scratch trolls appear, then the beta and alpha kids’ relationships REALLY fall apart, and then comes the controversial retcon and the excessively long Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 where so much is just not good. I suppose I’ll see for myself if it’s really as bad as I remember.

See you next time as we finally meet, uh, those characters.

>> Part 86: Oh God, It’s Those Characters

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 84: Cherubic Gloats and Confused Glances

Introduction / Schedule <- important news, probably!

Part 83 | Part 84 | Part 85 >


Act 6 Act 3, Part 10 of 11

Pages 5137-5237 (MSPA: 7037-7137)

But no coconut guns, sadly.

If there were any, you’d better believe they can fire in spurts.



Lucky coincidence: today is the first anniversary of Homestuck’s migration from MSPA to homestuck.com!

I made this GIF myself, please appreciate it.

Why didn’t I think of making my own GIFs for these posts sooner? There’s plenty of sort non-[S] Flash pages I could have done that with.


Once again, last post ended with Calliope and this post starts with Caliborn. This selection screen gives us teasers of what he looks like. It leaves out just enough not to outright confirm that he is Lord English.

undyingUmbrage [uu] began jeering uranianUmbra [UU] 
uu: HEY. 
uu: I WOuLD LIKE TO PLAY A GAME. 
uu: IT’S CALLED “BOND WITH AN IDIOT SISTER OVER SOME BuLLSHIT SHARED INTERESTS BEFORE SHE DIES FOREVER.” 
uu: DOES THAT SOuND FuN. 
uu: HERE’S A GOOD PART OF THE STORY I THINK. 
uu: YOu MuST KNOW THE ONE I MEAN. 
uu: LET’S TALK ABOuT IT TOGETHER. 
uu: SHARE SOME THEORIES. 
uu: DO SOME FAN GIRLING. 
uu: PRODuCE SOME. 
uu: “FAN ART.” 


We got more than enough story told through Calliope speculating already, so it’s only fair that now we get a big dump of Caliborn’s speculation. Both cherubs’ speculation is surprisingly reliable and accurate; you’ll never fully understand how much those two have in common unless you dig deep into the stuff they say. Or if you have a realization that you were in denial about being a fan of something. I mean, purely hypothetically of course. It’s not like I was ever in denial about liking something people like to trash on, haha what are you talking about!!!!!

(I was in denial about liking something people like to trash on. Let’s not dwell on it, OK?)

Homestuck avoids face-to-face dialogue in all the best ways possible.


Dialogue conveyed through visuals in speech bubbles isn’t done enough in Homestuck; that storytelling has an odd sort of charm to it. It showed up quite a bit in the Doc Scratch intermission with Jack Noir and the Droll and makes a return here when Caliborn takes the reins.

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5’s fake selection screens bring back these silly speech and thought bubbles (example 1example 2). It’s one of those things I actually like about that clusterfuck of an act and I’m glad they made a return. 

uu: LOOK AT THIS IDIOT WOMAN. 
uu: NOT DOING WHAT THIS BRAVE AND INTELLIGENT MALE IS SAYING. 
uu: YOu JuST KNOW HER FOOLISHNESS WILL BE PuNISHED. 
uu: AND RIGHTLY SO. 


As we see here, Caliborn’s speculation is surprisingly reliable and accurate just like Calliope’s is. Jane’s thought bubbles show us that she is highly distracted by her feelings for Jake; too distracted to follow directions.

I think this act’s pattern of making the alpha kids’ crushes on each other mostly background noise has worked well. It feels quite a bit more like prior acts, considering the romance feelings the trolls harbor for the kids and for each other; those feelings weren’t enunciated much, but did play a sizable role in the plot. The occasional romance moments through this act weren’t common, and when they did happen they served as good gags or subtle moments of emotion. And I don’t mean EMOTION, I just mean emotion.

uu: BOO. YEAH.


Oh fuck, this just happened. Its been too long since we last saw a character just straight up fucking die.


Let’s talk about Jane’s death. This panel, where we see her body on the ground covered in blood, is a crazy unsettling sight. Normally characters don’t start dying until they start alchemizing new outfits. Everything about this panel is a great way to show how much the stakes have gone up. Derse’s grounds are shaking and cracking apart, with one kid’s alert dream self next to another’s waking self’s corpse. And with a bunny robot joining in no less.

This is a level of chaos the beta kids’ session wouldn’t have dared to touch at least until the omnipotent dog came into play. It makes sense that things go this bad in the alpha session so early, because Jack was broken free from the Queen’s rules before the story started. I discuss that point more in this mini-post, under the header “THE FOREBODING DREAM”.

… Oh my god why am I rambling so much. There really is no hope left for me.

It’s easy to forget that the Dignitary is just as scary as Noir.
I’m going to regret writing all these paragraphs.


Then one of Derse’s towers collapses, blocking off the transportalizer and ruining hope further. Another thing that we haven’t seen happen much prior.


This genuinely sad death is interrupted with a funny moment: Caliborn bangs on the screen, complaining about the viewport’s sudden blackout. We can tell he’s super invested in the kids’ story, just in a twisted-up way, because he is happy when the story starts actually being good and upset when the good part suddenly is cut short.

Calliope probably didn’t know about the kids dying aside from the blackout, because she is a goody two shoes and doesn’t spoil herself on anything about her favorite characters. She might have outright stated that before, I can’t remember. But I’m too lazy to check if she did.


No longer able to view the alpha kids’ story, Caliborn takes matters into his own hands. His art needs no commentary; just sit down and appreciate it.

uu: WILL YOu GET A MAMMOTH LOAD OF THIS CLuELESS DuMBFuCK. 
uu: HE ACTuALLY “CARES” ABOuT STuFF. AND LIKE. WEIRDLY uRINATES THROuGH HIS EYE HOLES. WHAT A JOKE. 

Urinating through eye holes sounds like something a troll would have said in the early acts. As far as Caliborn is concerned, crying and peeing are the same thing.

uu: I REALLY HATE HIM. 
uu: WHY ALL THE BITCHES. 
uu: FLuSH OVER THIS MuMBLING. SOCIALLY STuNTED IMBECILE. I WILL NEVER KNOW. 
uu: TALK ABOuT THICK HEADED. 


CALIBORN IS SMART!!!!!

I firmly believe that if you see any bit of Caliborn in yourself, then you have won the game of Homestuck and are allowed to call yourself a TRUE fan of it. Caliborn secretly has a strong understanding of the alpha kids’ story and what all sucks about it.

uu: HIS SKuLL. 
uu: IS ALMOST AS THICK AS MINE. 
uu: t~mut


Dirk’s splinters (this includes his robots) have a tendency to bail people out of bad situations in the nick of time; this is the first time we see Lil’ Seb do that and it’s shocking as ever. Sebastian is normally just a little mischievous bunny, but here we’re about to see how tough he really is. Dirk’s splinters all have overarching themes and patterns which tend to haunt the “main” Dirk.


It’s a fact of life that Dirk gets incredibly carried away with his projects. All of his creations have a bit more to them than meets the eye; many of his robots are secretly INCREDIBLY good fighters. This is a good thing here because the little guy ends up saving Jake’s life.


This bit is accompanied by a tiny “THIS IS STUPID”. A nicely executed callback that’s nothing more than a hidden funny moment. Small text like this indicates that the callback isn’t meant to be taken seriously.


Jake’s island is on fire now! This is such a cool panel I don’t know what to say. I like how although the alpha kids don’t have meteors approaching their homes, other factors abound create something just as threatening.


During his flight, Jake encounters a dragon in the sky. But it might not be immediately clear to readers who this dragon is …


… so a callback to a memorable troll flash makes it clear. We can now tell that this dragon is an echo of Redglare’s lusus, Pyralspite.


The “glaresplode” makes the dragon’s identity even clearer. This dragon and the dragon from ancient troll times have something in common: they both let out a blinding glare that impacts the plot in a convoluted way.


Lil’ Seb sinks in the ocean, to resurface millennia later as Caliborn’s little helper. I don’t know if that thing did anything specific to help Caliborn succeed in his session, but I wouldn’t doubt that he proved to be of use.


As Jake falls down towards the remains of his old house, the skulltop makes a return and should now be more familiar than ever. Good way to both hint that Caliborn is Lord English and demonstrate that Jake learned some very wise tips from old Jade. Carrying less than five computers at any given moment is a very inadvisable thing to do and I’m glad Jake learned the same.

uu: LOOK AT THIS. 
uu: FuCKING SHAMELESS. 
uu: EITHER HE IS LIKE. 
uu: MY PERSONAL ONE MAN FANDOM. 
uu: KIND OF LIKE. A HYPOTHETICAL SuRROGATE FOR ALL MY POTENTIAL ADMIRERS. 
uu: OR. 
uu: HE IS A WORTHLESS HACK. 

uu: HE MAKES NO BONES ABOuT GANKING MY LOOK. 
uu: IT’S PATHETIC. 
uu: YOu DON’T JuST GO AND JACK A MAN’S SWAGGER. 
uu: THAT’S THE CARDINAL FuCKING RuLE OF BROS. RIGHT? 

uu: PROBABLY SOME DAY. 
uu: I’LL TEACH HIM A LESSON FOR THAT. 

THE FORESHADOWING.

I continue to be amazed at much the events of Caliborn’s Masterpiece are foreshadowed; evidence that Hussie planned out those events for a long time. There always seems to be some hints out there that I hadn’t caught prior and this is one of them. This page in the Masterpiece echoes the passage shown above.

It’s always the same goddamn stock image.
Caliborn’s drawing of Jake jacking his swagger actually almost looks like a real person.


If Caliborn was a better artist, his drawing would clearly resemble Lord English. And that would be no good, spoiling twists like that! You have to feed readers breadcrumbs instead. If you spoil too much, they will urinate from their eyes.


Caliborn poking at Roxy is exactly what one would expect. Hussie is well aware that Roxy is everyone’s #1 waifu. There’s no reason for me to pretend I don’t think she’s super fucking cute, it’s a fact of life.

uu: CHECK OuT THIS TOP SHELF HO. 
uu: DON’T YOu LIKE HER THE MOST? 
uu: YOu *WISH*. THAT YOu COuLD BE SO EASY ON THE EYES. 
uu: IT’S TOO BAD YOu WILL DIE HIDEOuS! 
uu: AND YET YOu WILL LEAVE BEHIND. A TRuLY BREATH TAKING CORPSE. 

uu: BuT I THINK. 
uu: THIS DELuXE BITCH HAS GOTTEN A BIT CARRIED AWAY HERE. 
uu: ALL THINKING SHE CAN. DO HEROIC STuFF. AND “SAVE LIVES”. uGH. 
uu: BuT THE ROXY HuMAN HAS MISCALCuLATED. 


Top shelf ho? Deluxe bitch?

Caliborn represents the wokest of the Homestuck fans. They love the comic so much that they try to pretend they hate it! He thinks the girl characters are attractive and is physically incapable of hiding that.

Here’s a tangent on Caliborn in general, not necessarily just him thinking Roxy is hot. When I say Caliborn is the best character, I no longer just mean that he’s absolutely hilarious. This character helped me realize stuff about myself that I never knew prior; the same revelations that made me write this mini-post. To put in terms of memes:

broke: “Calliope made me rethink my life and realize important things about myself”

woke: “Caliborn made me rethink my life and realize important things about myself”

I don’t mean to demean anyone that identifies with Calliope or finds her story arc to be enthralling. That’s perfectly fine and I’m glad that finding a character to connect with improved their lives! I just really want to hammer in that Caliborn doesn’t just represent people who hate Homestuck, but represents people who love Homestuck so much that they hate it.


uu: THIS RIDICuLOuS FEMALE HAS FAILED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION. 
uu: THAT. 
uu: YOu CAN’T………… 

uu: ESCAPE. 
uu: THE MIIIIIIIIIIILES! 
uu: AAAAAAAAAAAH HAA HAA HAA HEE HEE. 
uu: “YOu CAN’T ESCAPE THE MILES” IS TOTALLY GOING TO BECOME A THING, CAL! 
uu: THERE’S NOTHING YOu CAN DO ABOuT IT. BECAuSE YOu’LL BE DEAD! 
uu: HOOOOOOOOOOO HOO HOO HOO HAA HAA! 


I find it slightly adorable that Caliborn tries so hard to force a running gag, namely “you can’t escape the miles”. He complains about phrases and patterns people say over and over, but won’t shut up about having come up with that mildly catchy phrase; it seems like he’s genuinely proud of devising it. Just because Caliborn is a representation of Homestuck’s very most devoted fans doesn’t mean he isn’t still naive about some things.


uu: HAA HAA HEE HEE HAA HOO WAIT. FuCK. 
uu: FuCKING TERMINAL. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN WITH THIS BITCH AGAIN? 
uu: YOu SAID SOMETHING ABOuT THAT ONCE I THINK. BuT IT WAS BORING. 
uu: GOD DAMN IT. JuST SHOW ME THE MONEY SHOT YOu PIECE OF SHIT! 


This is another passage with multiple implications. Caliborn does pay some amount of attention to his sister’s stories and isn’t bad at gathering implications from them. But he could not care less about the classpect system.

On this topic, here’s something recent I want to talk about. In the countdown to 4/13, you may have heard of someone named “vfromhomestuck”, or “V” for short. V is a mysterious individual who played a part in the Hiveswap Friendsim and wrote one of its most polarizing installments, and even did an AMA of sorts on Curious Cat a few days ago. Though most of the answers to questions were vague or non-answers, V did express a strong lack of interest in the classpect system, which I found funny. It was just one of many times where V questioned the typical thoughts and mindsets of Homestuck fans. I’ve complained before about how Hussie’s cronies are at times the “face of Homestuck” which feels infuriatingly fake, but this time I am genuinely interested in what content V has to offer.

Side note: My favorite parts of the AMA were the parts where V questioned readers’ suspicions that the parts of Homestuck they didn’t like were ghostwritten. I’ll quote those directly:

(1) I don’t know why you guys are so obsessed with the idea that Andrew could never make anything that sucks

(2) Why is the answer to “there’s something in Homestuck I didn’t like” always “a ludicrous conspiracy made it this way”

I think these answers raise an important point about the pedestal readers put Hussie on. Homestuck tends to attract, or maybe create, readers who think their opinions are objectively true and everyone who disagrees is a dumbass. I don’t know why things turned out like that, and while it’s usually hilarious to see fans act this way, V’s response to those questions puts things in a whole new light.


Roxy’s screen shuts off, but we see the outcome of that event anyway; Caliborn says that Roxy was obviously going to die, because you can’t…







… reasonably expect someone to survive the super deadly red shit under such conditions as this. Thank god he’s smart.


Roxy’s corpse in the middle of her room is just as upsetting to see as Jane’s. The girl everyone loves is now dead on the floor. Here is Caliborn’s reconstruction of that scene:


You can just barely tell from Caliborn’s rendition of Roxy that he thinks she is attractive.


uu: OK. 
uu: SAY WHAT YOu WILL. 
uu: ABOuT THE BITCHES. 
uu: AND THE BRAIN DAMAGED JACKASS IN SHORTS. 
uu: BuT. THE DIRK HuMAN IS A PRETTY COOL GuY. 
uu: HE GETS THINGS DONE. 
uu: AND ISN’T AFRAID TO FuCK SOME SHIT uP. 
uu: LIKE. HE ACTuALLY LISTENS. 
uu: TO STuFF THAT’S IMPORTANT FOR A DuDE TO GET OFF HIS CHEST. 
uu: YOu KNOW. HE *GETS* EXACTLY THAT WHICH THE BITCHES CAN NEVER uNDERSTAND. 
uu: I GuESS WHAT I MEAN IS. HE REALLY KNOWS WHAT IT MEANS. 
uu: TO TRuLY BE A BRO. 


Ah, here is Caliborn praising Dirk. The Homestuck fans Caliborn represents follow many patterns. One of those patterns goes as follows: those people despise many of the comic’s characters, but always seem to have a certain character they love everything about. Well, two characters they love everything about, because if you don’t love Caliborn then you don’t love Homestuck. Dirk is the character Caliborn loves everything about.

If there’s a character other than Caliborn that I “love everything about”, it would be John. I maintain that throughout the comic, he is a great character with great development.


uu: OH FuCK. 
uu: WAS I JuST “FAN GIRLING” TOO HARD THERE? 

uu: GIVE ME A FuCKING BREAK. 
uu: I AM NEW TO THIS. 
uu: GuSHING OVER THIS POINTLESS CLAPTRAP. 
uu: I AM REACHING OuT TO YOu CAL. 
uu: WE HAVE TO SAVOR. 
uu: THESE PRECIOuS FEW MOMENTS WE HAVE LEFT TOGETHER! 
uu: HEE HEE. 


After realizing that he is fanboying over Dirk (boys are just as capable of obsessing over media as girls are), Caliborn backtracks and claims it’s just to make fun of his sister more. I’ve said before that Caliborn being a “fan in denial” can also represent fans of media other than Homestuck, especially those who claim that said media has only one good character.


Debris falls on Dirk and Caliborn claims that he’d still love to watch Dirk die. Fan in denial, anyone?


You know the pattern now. Dirk’s screen shuts down, he is knocked out, and Caliborn draws his interpretation this scene. Note that he extrapolates Roxy’s death from Jane’s death and Dirk’s knocking out from Jake’s knocking out. Caliborn’s speculation seems to be derived from his misogynistic distinction between male and female characters and it works in his favor; his drawings are let’s say interesting, but accurate, renditions of what happened to Roxy and Dirk.

Also note that the Prospit dreamers’ drawings are on a white background and the Derse dreamers’ on a black background with the phrase “ARTIST’S RENDITION”. I never realized that until now!


Meanwhile in the waking world, Dirk is also knocked unconscious.

uu: I TOLD HIM! 
uu: WHAT DID I TELL HIM??????????? 
uu: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! 

uu: THERE CAN ONLY. 
uu: EVER. 
uu: **********EVER.*********** 
uu: BE ONE. 

Here’s where Caliborn shoves in our faces another mildly catchy phrase he came up with, because “you can’t escape the miles” wasn’t enough. Does “there can only be one” actually count as a running gag (or a failed attempt at one) in any capacity? It sounds like one and that’s good enough for me.


And with that, Lil’ Cal sinks into the ocean. I would say “good riddance”, but this is not good riddance at all. The puppet is harmless and empty; if the puppet hadn’t later fallen into Caliborn’s hands it would have stayed that way.


Dirk is knocked out, Squarewave and Sawtooth are confused, and Caliborn accompanies the scene with increasingly drawn-out “HAA. HAA. HEE. HEE. HOO. HOO”s. You can tell what Caliborn’s laugh (and also the time he referred to his sister as “Cal”) is supposed to hint at if you think back to the laugh Lil’ Cal made when he was a sprite.


Caliborn draws Dirk knocked out again, this time still visible through the terminal.

I think I just had a revelation!!!!!!!!! Please hold with me:

I never was quite sure whether only waking Dirk could be seen through the cherubs’ waking viewport, or if dreaming Dirk also could be seen. I think I know what to take from this scene.

The cherubs can only directly view waking Dirk. They can view dreaming Dirk if another kid is near him, as was the case with Jane and Jake. But since Jane’s screen shut off before Dirk’s did, Caliborn doesn’t get to see dreaming Dirk get knocked out, only waking Dirk.


With the selection screen finished, the next order of business is the alpha kids’ lights on Jane’s planet. All three shut off, but Dirk’s is still faintly glowing.

With both waking and dream Dirk knocked out, something really strange happens. Dream Dirk himself dreams, leading to the first ever dream self’s dream self.


And that dream self’s dream self comes into being through Brain Ghost Dirk, somehow? This mechanic is never really explained, but it provides a convenient way for dream dream Dirk to enter a scene that isn’t the middle of nowhere.

Brain Ghost Dirk is played for laughs more than anything; his mechanics make absolutely no sense and he would rather screw with Jake’s head than explain those mechanics. Dream rules in Homestuck never made much sense, but the brain ghost cranks it into a whole new level.

DIRK: What just happened? 
TEREZI: B34TS M3 
DIRK: Ok you really need to step off, troll girl. 
TEREZI: NO TH1S 1S F1N3 
TEREZI: 3V3RYTH1NGS F1N3 
DIRK: Holy shit you are loud when you’re not whispering. 
TEREZI: *SN1111111F* 
DIRK: Does this mean you can see me now? 
TEREZI: NO 

TEREZI: BUT TH3Y C4N 

Oh my god this panel. Two members of each of the two groups of kids, all standing together. This page seems like setup for some crazy mega conversation between all those characters, right? Such a conversation would be absolute hilarity!!!!

This is one of the best panels in all of Homestuck.


DIRK: Alright. 
DIRK: Uh. 
DIRK: Hey everyone. 

DIRK: So… 
DIRK: Here’s the thing. 
DIRK: I have to go. 
DIRK: Like, right now. 

DIRK: All of my friends are either dead, or lying on the ground unconscious, including me. 
DIRK: So I have to try to wake up and fix everything. 


And it is absolute hilarity, but in a way different way from what one might expect. We got a giant log of hilarity between all of those characters not long ago, so this time it makes sense that everyone just stands there confused while Dirk gives everyone vague words. It’s arguably even more hilarious than the giant log.


DIRK: Sorry I can’t hang around your bubble and shoot the breeze for a while. 
DIRK: It’s not like I don’t want to. 
DIRK: I guess I have to be this huge fucking wet blanket as usual because there’s stuff that needs doin’. 


The regular Dirk handles this situation way differently from how his splinters would. All the other Dirks would be complete smartasses here, but the real Dirk shows that he actually wants the best for everyone and isn’t anywhere near as malicious as one would think from his other selves. Dirk’s clutch is that he creates a lot of malicious or just plain strange beings, due to having such a vivid mind.


DIRK: Also I’m just gonna steal her if you don’t mind. 
DIRK: She needs to come home. 

This brief moment of holding hands is awkward and vaguely heartwarming. Dirk wants the best for Roxy but struggles with conveying it in the right way.


DIRK: Tell the aquatic punk girl my idiot bro is sorry for beating the shit out of her. 
DIRK: Ha ha, who am I kidding. 
DIRK: She stone cold does not give a fuck. 


Does the real Dirk know of Brain Ghost Dirk? If so, is it directly or indirectly? I think this whole scene is the only time something like that is even slightly hinted at; I’m almost certain Dirk doesn’t reference his brain ghost self anywhere else. Brain Ghost Dirk was witness to Meenah’s cold beating and that’s a likely reason why Dirk knows Jake beat her up. Dirk may be a psychoanalyst on par with Rose, but I can’t see him just being able to figure out something like that.


DIRK: So, yeah. 
DIRK: See you later. 

This was such a “Dirk” scene I don’t even know what to say. The stock flying animation shows up yet again for no particular reason. Probably because Hussie isn’t good at showing characters flying other than through this animation.


When Dave makes a confused or disgruntled face, you know he just got CRAZY shocked. This face speaks so much more than any measly words could.

Teen Bro was probably the last thing Dave expected to see in this bubble. He’s gone long enough without being raised by Dirk that seeing the guy again doing anything that even slightly reminds him of his guardian absolutely throws him off. 

Switching scenes, Calliope takes off her shoes and her feet might catch readers’ eyes, especially if they think back to Lord English. Her feet are followed by something much more surprising:


Calliope revealing Caliborn’s shirt underneath her jacket is a crazy image to see. It’s a good way to visually demonstrate that cherubs share a body without showing us Caliborn in full.


And then she goes to sleep. Subtle teaser for Caliborn’s grand reveal.

Switching back to Dirk, it’s time for him to exploit game mechanics typical of the Strilondes, which is a term for the human Derse dreamers that I somehow haven’t used in this blog until now.

You know the time in Openbound where Karkat’s dream phantom asked Dave to touch him?

Knowing this scene, my guess is that Dave would be able to touch Karkat just fine.

I guess it’s not like the episode of Regular Show where ghosts can pass through real objects, but not through each other.


Dirk knows his way around the Furthest Ring plenty already, through all the times he’s kept an eye on Roxy sleepwalking through those bubbles. As a dream self’s dream self who is through some mysterious means connected to Brain Ghost Dirk, he must test out the bubble first before he can take Roxy. He sees if it’s possible for him to leave the bubble; it looks like he can’t leave it.


So instead, he does the next best thing: throwing dream Roxy out of the bubble. Now that’s a cool thing we haven’t seen done before!

This is one of very few times in Act 6 where WV is a character other than “everyone’s mayor friend”. That’s pretty sad.


With that, WV loses his firefly friend. Only one more year till they can reunite, right? Or two more years? It’s kind of ambiguous how long into the meteor journey this scene takes place, unless I’m missing something.


Aranea wakes Dirk up with her mind powers, subtly intervening in the alpha kids’ story in a way that may just slightly remind readers of Vriska. Unlike all the stuff Vriska did to the beta kids’ session to make her feel self-important, this moment with Aranea waking Dirk is brief and wholly benevolent. However, I can only wonder if readers at the time found this to be a hint that Aranea and Vriska have more in common than one might first think. Aranea certainly didn’t do anything villainous, but I have a hunch that she wanted to take a short moment to involve herself in the kids’ story, which might just show a bit of Vriska in her.



In some weird twisted way, I actually kind of miss writing long paragraphs about Vriska. I’ve been avoiding it as much as possible in my rewritten old posts and that’s probably for the best. I just couldn’t resist analyzing this little moment given that Aranea brings it up again after she full-out hijacks the alpha session.

After Dirk wakes, the fun really begins with the Unite Synchronization flashes and all that. As such, I am stopping here. See you next time for one of the most kickass act finales of all time.

>> Part 85: The Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 83: A Cherubic Reminisce on the Fun of Fun Things

Introduction

Part 82 | Part 83 | Part 84 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 9 of 11 (yes 11 not 10, at least 95% sure of this)

Pages 5085-5136 (MSPA: 6985-7036)

I will watch K-On before this post series is finished. Mark my words.

EDIT (7/9/2019): Yui Hirasawa is best girl and that’s really all there is to say on the matter.

3/2/2019: Every post up to number 59 (end of Act 5) now has homestuck.com page numbers alongside the MSPA numbers. Only about 20 posts to go! I also just did the same with my Problem Sleuth posts.

3/5/2019: Post 5 rewritten is still in progress! Tentative date for it is March 8. I’m over halfway done and have been doing it at a relaxed pace. A few more rewritten posts this month too. More tentative dates: April 6 for post 84, April 13 for post 85 plus something secret.

Good time for us to be reminded that CotL exists.

We saw those same chess pieces earlier in the cherubs’ chess game, so this poster entices the mystery of who those two really are. (We don’t know they’re cherubs yet, shhhhhhh!)

Now that we’re done with the character select screen, it’s time to see what Roxy is up to, again.

The fenestrated wall showing what the alpha kids are up to is a nice touch, matching with the whole fourth wall visual metaphor. It seems like a transition device more than anything, but I have to wonder if this is what the wall would’ve actually shown if it was turned on, just like with Hussie’s self-insert scenes.

You quickly put everyone on bucket duty to douse the flames. Now you guess you understand why your mom left all these buckets in the house? You always thought it was a passive aggressive reminder for you to keep up with the housework.

At the behest of their roguish leader, the loyal band of Merry Men go straight to work in getting the fires under control. The Robin Hood reference is lost on them. Also lost on everybody is the sordid spectacle this appears to resemble from an alien perspective, with all these buckets sloshing around and whatnot. Your void powers cannot black out this graphic debauchery soon enough.

Bucket jokes are a little old by now, but sure, we’ll take it. It makes enough sense that Rose in this universe knew of little details like this, to give Roxy a slight boost in time to get into the game. The detail’s just a little oddly specific though.

Jake’s volcano erupts, which is a surprising thing we don’t normally see happen; this exception is probably because Jade’s volcano already entered the kids’ combined session. Seems like all the fires around are the alpha kids’ replacement for meteors as a reminder to get things going.

You run the server program which auto-connects with Jake and a viewport of his old house just pops right open. This is going to be so easy. You can already tell, compared to you, everyone else sucks so bad at this game, not to mention at computers in general.

Oh yeah, Roxy’s narration also says some silly hacker related things I guess. I take this as a bit more foreshadowing that she’s the alpha kids’ true leader. Sorry to any Jane apologists reading this, I’m just stating facts.

Just a heads up: normally I’d sidestep any discussion of Roxy and Calliope as a ship but in this pesterlog I have a very good reason to talk about it.

uranianUmbra [UU] began cheering tipsyGnostalgic [TG] 
UU: i can’t see yoU, bUt yoU mUst be back by now, yes? 
TG: y 
TG: and i am how haxxing up storm 
TG: p stank by 
TG: *stand 
UU: haxxing? :u 
TG: u dont even no 
TG: my fingers are the mean lil beaks 
TG: of furirus woodpeckers 
TG: and my keyboard 
TG: is a pitiful plank of cruddy wood 
TG: guarding a trove of tasty bungs 
TG: it is guarding them i might add 
TG: moist fucking unsuccessfully 
UU: u~u 
TG: as my digits rain danger 
TG: on this hapless lamptop 
TG: the result of my tappy onslaught 
TG: is line after wicked line 
TG: of leetfilthy codes 
TG: aka.. 
TG: the governments worst nightmare 
UU: Um……….. 
TG: i will be in an out 
TG: of the systerm 
TG: before breakfast knows what ate it 
TG: JACKPOP BABBY 
TG: im am ur cryptogodress 8) 
UU: roxy? 
TG: it is womon verse machine 
TG: a struggle old as stuff itself 
TG: she will bring sburb to its knees 
TG: and then turn 
TG: with her shitwreckingest face 
TG: and stare 
TG: into the void 
TG: and the void 
TG: will wonk first 
TG: ;3

Roxy continues the Derse dreamers’ pattern of saying vaguely silly and flirty things to her friends. Dave has a habit of doing the same thing with Jade. I don’t think Roxy is even flirting with Calliope in particular, just dumping this nonsense into any old chat window because why not. Not to mention she’s kind of hung over?

TG: what were you going to give me back there? ;D 
UU: right! 
UU: it’s a present i made for yoU. 
TG: ooh! 
UU: it coUld be… 
UU: a farewell gift actUally. 
TG: huh? 
TG: are u leaving 
UU: maybe. 
UU: i am aboUt to go to sleep one last time before oUr schedUled entry. 
UU: and there is a very real possibility that i will never wake Up. 
TG: oh no! 
TG: why!!! 
UU: it is complicated. 
UU: there is mUch to say aboUt it which i have never told yoU, dUe to my adherence to the rUles. 
UU: some of which i am aboUt to break now, in order to give myself a fighting chance.

It’s only fitting that when Calliope, the perfect rule-follower, is under such tension, she has to break rules as a last resort. I talked about Calliope and Caliborn’s duality with following vs. bending rules in my last post featuring the cherubs (post 82), which makes me wonder: in the timeline where Calliope predominated, did Caliborn start feeling the need to break the rules? I think the answer is yes. The Caliborn from that timeline is shrouded in mystery, but it only makes sense that when bending rules did him no good, he had no choice but to shed his dignity and break them.

Maybe in those two’s chess game, Calliope learned to play chess like Bobby Fischer and could tell that something was fis(c)hy with the way her brother moved his king and queen. And she was the one who uncovered his crowns, much to Caliborn’s shock. Now that’s an interesting alternate universe story!

UU: bUt before i go down that serpentine path with yoU, here. 
UU: one last bit of artwork from an admirer. something to remember me by, shoUld we never speak again. 
UU: http://tinyurl.com/roxyisthisyoU (link to the picture shown above)
TG: !!!!! 
TG: ssdlkjfs;lkfjdlskfj

If you’re a real savant in MSPA trivia, Calliope’s drawing of Roxy will remind you of John’s Trickster Mode rendition, back when “Trickster Mode” was just an easter egg in flashes and in only one case made anyone colorful and candy-themed. It makes sense that Calliope, the in-universe “person who obsesses over Homestuck but doesn’t truly understand it”, would speculate based on such obscure things. And Rose’s tome, as we’ll see soon enough, is the in-universe MSPA wiki.

TG: ohhhly SHIT 
TG: *hooooooly 
TG: holiest of shits 
TG: the shit….. 
TG: is down right 
TG: SACROSANCT 
TG: omgogmogmomog 
TG: this owns 
TG: my bones 
UU: ^U^ 
TG: look at my outfit 
TG: want 2 wear that outfit 
TG: want 2 kiss + marry that outfist 
TG: look 
TG: at that lollipop 
TG: that fuckin LOLLIPOP 
TG: hehhe look at me goin in 4 a lick 
TG: like im the queen of fuckall yall 
TG: what is that in my hair 
TG: is that 
TG: COTTONE CANDY???? 
UU: indeed it is! 
TG: say helloes to new phone wallpp 
TG: sry baby eatin jake husband u r out 
TG: /DIVORCE’D 
TG: yes perfection 
TG: more like 
TG: perferection 
TG: is what is givin me 
TG: am getting the perfbonerz up in here

And here Roxy goes back to ambiguously flirting with everyone she sees. This time, including herself. Calliope is but one of those people she’s that way with.

UU: i really enjoy drawing yoU. it is a treat. 
UU: yoU are jUst so pretty. :u 
TG: awwwwwwwwww 
TG: <3<3<#<#<## 
TG: hearts n hashes 
UU: anyway, i am very pleased that yoU like my drawing. ~u~

Calliope seems to be referencing that Roxy is a fan favorite of the kids.

TG: i love it 
TG: i love U 
TG: U x2 combot 
UU: yoU do? 
UU: really?? 
TG: yes 
TG: fo rillies 
UU: :U 
UU: blimey. 
UU: this comes as qUite a sUrprise. 
TG: well i mean 
TG: not like lets got get space married love 
TG: more like ur the best and i like you a lot love 
UU: oh. 
UU: then the conciliatory type. i Understand. 
TG: wait 
TG: i didnt mean to jerk you around… 
TG: did u feel that way about me 
TG: aww shit im sorry 😦 
UU: no! don’t be. 
UU: trUst me, that is not how i feel aboUt yoU. or anyone. 
UU: thoUgh i trUly wish i were capable of those feelings.

Time for a ~~~~~~SHIPPING TANGENT~~~~~~

THE TEXT BELOW IS KIND OF RAMBLY AND DISCONNECTED FROM THE REST OF THIS POST FEEL FREE TO IGNORE

This is, dare I say, fitting buildup for Roxy and Calliope as a real red ship? Some people argue that them as a ship makes sense considering the late comic’s theme of abandoning social norms or what people are told is true, similar to Karkat’s idea that John has black feelings for Terezi.

And… fuck man. This is really weird to say, but those people aren’t wrong. They aren’t wrong at all! They raise a really good and fascinating point!!!!!!

But there’s one big caveat: as I established in my rewrite of post 4, those two as a ship aren’t presented well at all, especially after Calliope is brought back. Their conversations are just kind of super-positive and sugary fluff. And it doesn’t help that those two immediately follow buildup for a ship that’s still special to me after all this time and is, in many ways, the opposite of this ship. John and Roxy as a pairing are a bit weird narrative-wise, considering they crush hard on each other after a very short timeframe. But those two are pretty much the cutest duo in the whole comic, yes I just said that, it’s a fact, you can’t fight me.

Basically what I’m saying is: have Roxy and Calliope had a deep, resonant friendship that one could argue has potential to develop into something greater? The answer is hell yes. But did Calliope ever say anything like “what did ur monster say?” only to promptly correct herself? The answer is hell no. I don’t know about you, but I think I prefer fun things over things that might make more sense in the broader narrative.

The bottom line is: fun things are fun.* End shipping tangent.

—Maki Nishikino, probably.

Time to go back to talking about things like a kind of normal person, maybe. As much as dissecting Homestuck endlessly for 3+ years can qualify as “normal”.

UU: perhaps the fact that i am not is why the topic fascinates me so. 
UU: and why i have been prone do indUlge in sUch… 
UU: fancifUl visUalizations. 
UU: of yoUr people’s lovely bright red relationships. 
UU: they mUst be nice. u_u

Wait a minute, wasn’t Calliope supposed to be a troll? I think this passage is lead-in to the grand reveal that she isn’t one, with her discussing romance in a way completely unlike trolls.

(Though really, the writing was on the wall from day one. Why would a troll “cheer” or “jeer” people instead of trolling them?)

TG: lol well its not like i would know either way 
TG: but thats cool i didnt know that about you 
TG: i dont know ANYTHING about u but i wish i did 
TG: cant you at least tell me your name bfore you uh 
TG: maybe go ways 4 ever? ;( 
UU: yes, as a matter of fact. 
UU: that is actUally the reason i am contacting yoU. 
UU: it is one rUle i have decided to break. 
TG: oh fuck! 
TG: what is it!!!!!!! 
UU: my name is calliope. 
TG: 😮 
TG: ….. 
TG: ilike it :3 
UU: it feels so strange to type that! 
UU: bUt also good, actUally.

Calliope’s name reveal is more lead-in to her truth. It’s kind of another case where the story holds the reader’s hand leading up to the mystery, but to be fair those are only hints that she’s not a troll rather than what she is. Probably not likely people will pay enough attention to glean something from her name’s first three letters.

Roxy talks to John right after this, right?

… She doesn’t, but telling myself that will make it a little less fake.

TG: well ty for finally confiding in me calilope 
TG: *calliope sorrey 
UU: yoU’re welcome. it is good to get it off my chest. 
UU: bUt i am primarily telling yoU this as a last resort, in hopes of saving myself. 
UU: yoU see, this rUle between me and my brother is a kind of trUce. 
UU: we have both agreed not to say oUr names to anyone so that things will not get oUt of hand, and so it became one of the rUles. 
UU: if anyone were to say his name to me, i woUld immediately fall asleep, and he woUld wake Up.

Man I sure love that saying a cherub’s name as a wake-up call is never used for anything, ever. It seems like the author just brought it up as a plot point for us to reveal her name then it vanished into the void. No, not that kind of void, just the regular goddamn void. I guess he just didn’t know where to make that thing useful so it remains only used as a way for us to learn the UU alien’s name.

UU: oh bUgger. this is so embarrassing to have to admit. 
UU: i am sorry for saying things which may have reasonably led yoU to believe this. 
UU: probably way too many things. u_u; 
UU: bUt i am not actUally a troll. 
TG: o 
TG: rrrrrelay 
UU: i have never actUally claimed to be. bUt i’m sUre i have implied it, probably dUe to wishfUl thinking.

THE BIG REVEAL.

It only makes sense that Calliope would accidentally lie through omission, as she says here. And it’s a little interesting she recognizes she unintentionally misled people about it and the most likely reason she did it. I commend Hussie for being able to work the misleading exposition dump fangirl into the story in a way that kind of makes sense. Homestuck may be whimsical at its core, but sometimes things do need an in-universe reason to exist.

UU: i have spent so mUch time wishing i coUld be one. 
UU: trolls are a remarkable and fascinating race. 
UU: hUmans are too, please don’t get me wrong! 
UU: bUt i am oUt and oUt smitten with trolls and their history and ways. 
UU: they have sUch amazing, coloUrfUl social dynamics that soUnd like so mUch fUn to be a part of. 
UU: and they are so beaUtifUl.

It is at this point that readers slap themselves on their heads for having though Calliope was a troll, and rightfully so. Of COURSE the fangirl character would obsess over everything about trolls!!! To be fair, Karkat is a troll and has talked in depth about his own race’s romance so maybe it’s not completely out of the question Calliope would as well.

Oh yeah Calliope has an arc of low self-esteem about her appearance or something? Snore.

TG: then what kinda alien are you 
TG: wait dont tell me youre ACUTALLY from urnanus?? 
UU: heehee. no. 
UU: that jUst happened to be a planet from yoUr system i thoUght was lovely. 
UU: i was particUlarly strUck by its UniqUe rotation. 
UU: it has very nice… 
UU: bollocks, what’s the word. 
UU: the term that refers to a ball’s topspin? 
TG: ??? 
UU: it doesn’t matter.

Hey this moment is pretty funny and silly. If only the rest of those two’s interactions were like this. I’m going to expand on this train of thought before I continue with Calliope’s exposition.

Sburb stuff is happening in the background here, I forgot to say that.

Efficient storytelling, probably.

Let’s talk a bit about how Calliope could be a better character.

Calliope’s dynamics with the other alpha kids are mostly pretty similar to with Roxy; they treat her as the mysterious friendly troll and it’s not really super fleshed out. It kind of sucks a little that her dynamics with the other three aren’t really expanded beyond her being the exposition character; I can’t even imagine how she’d be improved in that aspect.

There is one character whose interactions with Calliope I surprisingly really enjoy and can’t place why. That character is Jade Harley! Her dream bubble scenes with Calliope are a super fun change of pace from what we had in the comic prior, with a lot of storytelling style and scene design we’d never seen before. I think Hussie succeeded at making the human and cherub space players, two of the most openly friendly characters, bounce off each other well while being more than just sappy fluff (or sappy fluff ft. a few stories told along the way). As I’ve said before, not everything about late Homestuck is bad, just the bad aspects stick out a lot by nature.

This is not to say that Jade is the only character who could possibly have conversations with Calliope that are actually fun to read. Roxy and Calliope’s interactions have a lot of potential to be better if maybe just a bit more humor was inserted into them. I’m just kind of bleh about this whole thing.

Calliope goes on to explain several more things.

(1) she is a cherub and her race only ever meets others of its kind through violent hate-sex;

(2) her Sburb session with Caliborn was really only a one-player session with BAD consequences, which I’ll say something about:

UU: this was always meant to be a session of one. 
UU: and i am finally starting to Understand… 
UU: the reality of that coUld have conseqUences more horrifying than we coUld begin to imagine. 
TG: um 
TG: how 
UU: the thing is, yoU don’t know him like i do. 
UU: as hard as it may be to believe, he is even worse than yoU think.

I’m glad I started working on my rewritten posts recently! When I got to, well, skipped to, the intermission in those, I noticed the way Lord English was described as an enormous, mysterious danger that nobody fully understands. Calliope’s lines strongly hint that her brother is the young Lord English, simply through describing how dangerous he is.

(3) she and Caliborn are both super-powerful master classes, the Muse of Space and the ???? of Time respectively:

UU: well, i was always led to believe i woUld be an extraordinary type of player. 
UU: both of Us woUld be. we are both assigned extremely rare and powerfUl classes. 
UU: they are the two master classes! 
TG: oh yeh? 
TG: what is urs 
UU: mine is the most passive on the scale. a class designated for females only. 
UU: i am the mUse of space. ^u^ 
TG: sounds p cool 
TG: whats a muse do 
UU: i’m not entirely sUre. i was hoping to discover that on my joUrney. 
UU: anyway, his is the other master class. 
UU: the most active class of all, reserved for male players.

Let’s talk about god tier Calliope again.

We now know that Calliope’s alternate timeline self is the one who fully realized her role as the Muse of Space. There was this whole thing where the Calliope we’ve been following since the start of Act 6 didn’t have to do anything similarly big, just function as a normal person. The reason I say “there was this whole thing” at the start of that sentence is because we don’t see her functioning as a normal person that much, other than continuing the saga of sugar overload interactions with Roxy. This brings to mind the two photo montage sections of Homestuck and what all could have been done in those.

“Vriskagram.” The name alone brings back upsetting memories for many readers. The meteor crew’s journey, which we followed in great detail before the retcon, is now just a photo montage that feels a lot more fake, not to mention every problem is apparently solved by, uh, Vriska. And we’re now supposed to care about and be invested in these brand new changed versions of the characters we knew and loved who are now dead! Not to mention that characters seem to hang out in exclusive pairs most of the time, which was a really unhealthy thing that happened in the tail end of the journey before the retcon but now is completely normal and happy???

The credits flash is another photo montage, in many ways an upgrade to Vriskagram. We get a lot more detail than before and it does have some dialogue and plenty of silly moments. I’d almost say the credits would be an ideal conclusion if Homestuck actually felt like it ended after Act 7. But either way, one big problem from Vriskagram carries over to the credits: that shitty buddy system is back in full force! The number of people in each group has increased from 2 to 3-4, which is a little better I guess but still kind of dumb. We don’t even get to see Calliope as a regular friend of the kids, just Roxy’s sidekick as usual. That of course isn’t helped by the problem that there never was a “final dialogue dump” or anything where every character gets a cool moment or an engaging conversation. If there was, maybe all those problems would have been solved!

I got off track, again. What did you expect from me? Anyway my point is, it makes sense for this version of Calliope just to be a regular friend of the kids but her character just isn’t fleshed out enough after being brought back to life for that idea to feel like it means anything.

Calliope ends the conversation going back to your usual “finish what you have to do, see you soon!” and then we get the BIG reveal.

I like how the reveal starts with a reminder that Calliope has troll horns. If you’ve been to a lot of conventions with troll cosplayers then you can definitely see where this is going. Whether or not you have, it’s a fun way to see how badly the author pranked readers.

The moment we see Calliope has green hands, attentive readers will likely connect the dots as to who her brother is. Funny enough, this is done concurrently with the reveal that she owns gray face paint just so she can pretend to be a troll.

When we see Calliope in full, it turns out that she was wearing cosplay horns this whole time (hence the myserty). A good metaphor for how readers probably feel about her big reveal; it makes them angry that they were misled, but it also makes a lot of sense. Oh yeah she looks like Lord English, that’s a thing.

You are now Calliope.

This picture of Calliope’s room has a LOT to unpack. A really, really huge amount. To my recollection, Calliope examines most of this stuff as we go on so I won’t cover everything here at once. I imagine the things that stick out to readers the most might be the shackle on her leg with Caliborn’s symbol, Karkat’s ~ATH book, and Doc Scratch’s gun. All some interesting hints right away at her identity and backstory. Each of the things I mentioned hints at a different part of that backstory. The book hints at where her room originally was, Doc Scratch’s gun hints that her brother is Lord English, and her shackle hints at the true nature of cherubs.

When Calliope takes off her horns and lays them on top of her white wig, things look REALLY familiar. We now know what Complacency of the Learned was foreshadowing, in a really obtuse and twisted around way. When that story was described and peeked at in Roxy’s narration pages, it probably doesn’t make sense to first-time readers, but when rereading, everything almost falls into place. By “almost”, I mean that it’s not a precise retelling, but twisted and remixed to the point of confusion.

Also now that we know as much about the Condesce as we do—that she was watched over and nudged by Calliope and Caliborn’s mother this whole time—it makes even more sense than before that she would be intimidated by those stories, with strange twisted retellings of the cherubs’ lives.

You have many fond memories of solo-cosplay in your room. It’s a lot of fun and alarmingly comfortable to just lounge around your room in-character.

This is a rather interesting passage. It has some odd implications about Calliope’s character and suggests she might genuinely “identify” as a troll, if that’s the right word. Maybe her getting over that obsession makes sense with the idea that Homestuck is partly a story about growing up, but it doesn’t totally sit well with me how much this is forgotten, especially in the credits where she is among the rulers of the carapace kingdom (not the troll kingdom) due to the workings of the dumb stupid dumb stupid dumb stupid buddy system.

These are just a few of the many drawings you have done over the years celebrating your absolute all-time favorite characters. Er… you mean friends.

Calliope: *says things like the narration above*
Roxy: ur pretty

Deep friendship right there.

… OK that joke was a little mean I admit. All exaggerations aside, Calliope definitely has some issues. It’s just one of many things that the story kind of weirdly abandons near the end.

Calliope ships Jake x Dirk, that’s still my headcanon.

Or a word that makes me sound like less of a dork than “headcanon”.

You often like to draw your TROLLSONA too, CALLIE OHPEEE. Yes, you suppose that’s a stretch, fitting your name into the 6/6 letter format like that. That’s ok, though. The limebloods reportedly had some unusual names. And they sure weren’t very popular. You like to believe you’d have fit right in.

You’ve written endlessly about her, and nearly filled a hard drive with related artwork. You have wished for nothing more in your life than to be her. Alas, you are resigned to living out the rest of your days as a little green skull monster. It really sucks!

Calliope is quite adorably clumsy at making a self-insert fantroll. I would say more about how the story is less adorably clumsy at handling her as a character outside of that aspect but I’ve done that so much already.

To the left is a drawing of nothing in particular. Nothing you understand, at least. This is a symbol which has haunted your visions for as long as you can remember.

Mmmmm, juicy foreshadowing. This seems like a case where readers are supposed to take a stab at what this could possibly represent and then get surprised. We do already know that the spiral is an arc symbol of the cherubs so that rules out a lot of possibilities.

You stow the delicious mess in your sylladex. You might be inclined to snack on it now, but due to the nature of your JUJU MODUS, you cannot access it. Once you captchalogue something, only your brother can use it. And vice versa. 

By this point, when we see a new character’s fetch modus it’s mostly just a one-off indication of the character’s general nature or a major trait. In this case, it hints that Calliope and Caliborn share a body.

The special stardust is a hint that Gamzee raised the cherubs. I probably could have mentioned it in our first peek at Calliope’s room but whatever. It was never totally clear what that thing does, but now it makes sense that Gamzee, the resident plot armor guy, would be affiliated with that substance. It has no bearing on the plot other than signifying that Gamzee is up and about. EDIT (3/18/2020): Wow, I sure forgot that Caliborn would later use this stardust to clog the Act 6 Act 6 cartridge, didn’t I.

Calliope checks out what Caliborn has captchalogued for her and OH MY GOD GOOD PROBLEM SLEUTH REFERENCE. It is excellently worked into the story and even referred to as “unpleasant notes”.

Caliborn x Problem Sleuth is a GOOD COMBINATION. Need I say more?

The Caliborn spin on Ace Dick’s unpleasant notes, aaaaaa so good

In this last note, Caliborn spoils a lot of the future. He hints at his identity as Lord English once again, referencing the time English spoke in green and the green color scheme of the Midnight Crew Intermission’s world.

Next up, Calliope takes a look at Rose’s Sburb journal from the meteor

I very much appreciate that this is the same RL lettering that appears on Rose’s walkthrough. Indicates how similar those two are, both in and out of story.

Whenever Rose writes something lengthy and detailed, you can guarantee it falls into just the right hands for it to be indirectly responsible for pretty much everything ever.

Of course Calliope didn’t discuss this discovery with Rose like Kanaya did with her discovery, because being sappy with Roxy and nobody else is more important than any of that nonsense.

Did he arrive when this was being written? Or was he already there, somehow? He is supposedly an exceptionally advanced Hero of Time, after all. Could it be that your horrible stupid brother of all people has been inextricably involved in your beloved epic all along? For the first time ever, you have just uncovered compelling evidence that this might be true. 

[…] But now that you think about it, maybe your theory is just too far fetched. Actually, it is completely preposterous, and you don’t even know what you were thinking there. You’re sure he would get a kick out of the idea though, what with his megalomaniacal view of himself as some sort of lethal puzzlemaster, always boasting that red herrings swim through his veins and such. Which is just about the biggest crock of shit you’ve ever heard.

How exactly does Calliope know that her brother really is dangerous if she didn’t have any idea before? Is it just an inference based on the fact that a master class player will be doing a one-player session? Maybe it’s better if I don’t dwell too much on this silly bit and move on, because it’s mostly meant just to establish that the cherubs live on the trolls’ meteor after they left it behind

Why is every character in the comic so bad at detecting Gamzee is behind things?

Gamzee doesn’t need to be particularly clever to mislead people. He just magically turns everyone into idiots when he’s around.

Yeah, see here?

These are the dark spots you were referring to. Little tidbits here and there have been redacted by some fool with no respect for history. Looks like he used some kind of peculiar indigo ink.

Frustratingly enough, most of the redactions target any piece of information about the indestructible demon who was either directly or indirectly behind every terrible event in the story. Everything about him, like where he came from, information about his manipulative right hand man, his agenda, his abilities, his name… all of it has been voided out.

This is probably the most obtuse way possible to reference a character’s god tier title; specifically, Equius’s role as a void player. Only the most attentive readers could ever catch this on their own: the void player’s blood is the one used to black out information. A brilliantly subtle touch that makes the story just a tinge more convoluted than it already is.

Most of the other blot-outs seem to target one member of the post-scratch troll group. Some guy who drinks a lot of soda? These omissions strike you as much less consequential. Frivolous, even. Whoever that guy was, he sounds like he was easily the least important character in the entire story.

And this is of course where Calliope falls short on speculation. She can’t figure out that the guy who drinks a lot of soda is probably connected to that indestructible demon, even though were clearly redacted by the same person.

It’s some sort of programming book. You don’t care much for programming, but you’ve adapted it as a FANFICTION JOURNAL. You’ve filled it up completely with your most colorful headcanons and romfics. You’ve also pasted in some of your artwork, turning a rather dreary manual on some morbid, tilde-heavy language into a lively scrapbook. Many of the stories involve Callie, and all of them involve heavy themes of romance. Particularly the other three quadrants which are completely alien to you, and therefore especially titillating.

I wonder which other character finds regular simple human romance to be sexually arousing? And which other character keeps this fascination a deep secret, especially from their sibling?

That’s right, Caliborn is scarily similar to Calliope in this regard. It’s a known fact that people who obsessively love something and people who obsessively hate it have a LOT in common that they will never admit. And the two cherubs match this analogy hilariously perfectly.

> Calliope: Open it.

Er, no. You’d rather not. Down that road lies only endless embarrassments. THE THINGS YOU MADE SWEET, INNOCENT CALLIE DO.

Holding hands and eating cake, am I right??? There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that her stories go no more explicit than characters occasionally holding hands and smiling and that qualifies as dirty and smutty to her.

Hopefully this reminds readers of Hussie’s duel with Lord English now.

Calliope’s strife specibus is another little pattern that at this point is just an indicator or hint at the cherubs’ nature and overarching themes.

“Why don’t we stop wasting everyone’s time, shut the lid on this lousy MacGuffin, and get on with it.”

Makes me a little upset but matches what I’m doing with discussing this page.

Calliope opens her juju chest or whatever that is and the narration lampshades that we aren’t going to see it for a while and it’s probably not that great or exciting, which is a funny thing to read in retrospect considering how—NO FUCK THIS I’M NOT GOING TO WASTE TIME RANTING ABOUT ACT 7 AGAIN.

I don’t think I’ve said before that the shackles are a rather literal way to incorporate the comic’s title into the story; it makes the cherubs stuck inside their homes and unable to explore much of the outside world. What’s interesting about this instance of characters being “homestuck” is that the outside world isn’t an alien land the story never explains; rather, it is the world of the comic’s great mysteries, which Caliborn explores after he bites his leg off. Gamzee made the cherubs forcibly stuck inside their own home, rather than just metaphorically stuck like the kids and trolls generally are.

This is the chain you shackle to your other leg when you’re about to go to sleep. You are the only one who is able to unlock it.

[…]

Sleeping with shackled legs doesn’t make for very comfy slumber. Still, it’s advisable to stay in the habit, unless you want all your belongings to get messed with.

This bit is pretty interesting, because it suggests that the cherubs are kept in check by both sleeping with shackled legs. And the reason they keep themselves in check is, amusingly enough, just that they both don’t want the other to touch their belongings. But that premise works well and completely makes sense as an explanation to why they’re locked inside their home.

Frustratingly, Caliborn’s half of the room is kept a mystery throughout the whole comic.

But it’s made up for by the fact that he is the best character in all of Homestuck so it’s hard to feel all that broken up by it.

Like you said, you don’t have a bed.

You have a SARSWAPAGUS.

Every time you wake up, you are always sure to put the lid back on neatly.

Considering you virtually always find it exactly where you left it, you doubt your brother is anywhere near as diligent about making the bed. Wait, you mean sarswapagus. 

But the fact that he’s a slob was never exactly breaking news to anyone. 

I like the thrown-in reference to the pattern that Prospit dreamers always make their beds while Derse dreamers never do. It’s just about the best way to do it without revealing exactly who Caliborn is.

Neither is the fact that you both share a body.

I mean come on.

Out of all the ways the story could have revealed that Calliope and Caliborn share a body…

Well it kind of makes sense that it’s done this way. I can’t imagine any way that would be outright stated in narration without feeling shoehorned in so it makes sense to reveal it in a comedic way, basically saying “this is canon now but come on you already knew that”. The same is done for a few other revelations about cherubs later on, including the whopper one (Caliborn is Lord English, who would have guessed????) and then a few in Caliborn’s conversations with Hussie’s self-insert.

Next, Calliope looks outside to see the sun and through visual callbacks—if memory serves me, to Terezi’s blinding in [S] Make her pay—which I think are meant to establish that the sun outside is shining really bright. It’s supposedly a red supergiant on the verge of death.

A zoom out reveals a familiar image. The trolls’ meteor is still a thing that exists, just situated on a barren future world now. Another thing that is obvious at this point but good to confirm because it makes a huge amount of sense in retrospect.

The next thing we see outside is a funny moment: the world she lives on has a JPEG Statue of Liberty, somehow. It seems like a silly one-off, but Hussie’s self-insert later tells Caliborn (and with it, many readers) “this means that this was Earth the whole time and you’re supposed to have a mental breakdown you dumbass”. Both an advantage and a disadvantage of the spirit of Homestuck. Advantage because it’s a clever spin on the usual realization; disadvantage because it may come off as just a stupid joke.

This is a thing Calliope could have discussed with Dave but didn’t because as before, Hussie was too busy writing his 50th goddamn Roxy/Calliope friendship conversation.

Wait that isn’t just one Statue of Liberty. Calliope’s narration gives us another hint at where she truly lives:

You have always had the feeling that whoever used to live on this planet had a really strange sense of humor.

Who could this person possibly be? I already explained before that the revelation that she lives on Earth is shown in a slightly strange way, which the author full-out lampshades.

As promised, I’m stopping this post here before the selection screen narrated (yes yes I know it’s really just pesterlogs) completely by Caliborn. See you next time as everyone fucking dies, probably. And dream Dirk confuses everybody.

>> Part 84: Cherubic Gloats and Confused Glances

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 82: Order and Chaos, Reprsented by Chess

Introduction

Part 81 | Part 82 | Part 83 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 8 of 10 finally I have an actual number oh my god (it might be 11)

Pages 5029-5084 (MSPA: 6929-6984) (partially not in order)

NOTE: This will probably be my last post for a while because I’m getting ready for vacation soon. It’s been a fun ride the past few days, even if parts of this post I feel are a bit weak.

The title represents an analogy I am proud of devising.

alternate post title: Harleyberts in Derserland

(OK this title sucks ass, I’m just including it because a few of my posts (123) had Alice in Wonderland themed titles and this part of the comic has a few references to Wonderland too…)

(oh whatever)

So many details of what the cherubs look like are omitted.

After the emotional montage of the bunny, we get to see Calliope and Caliborn playing a game of chess, seemingly over the past few days. Calliope checkmates her brother …

Still not sure what these prankster meters actually mean.
Though I know this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing them…

… or rather, she would have if it weren’t for Caliborn’s shittiest twist yet.

Turns out Caliborn disguised the king as the queen, and vice versa. He explains the following:

uu: HEY! I DIDN’T BREAK ANY RuLES. 
uu: I MERELY ASKED IF YOu WOuLD AGREE. TO ME SWAPPING THE START POSITIONS OF THE KING AND QuEEN. 
uu: AND YOu DID AGREE. 
uu: BuT THEN I DIDN’T ACTuALLY DO IT. 
uu: WHEN DID I SAY I WOuLD? NEVER. 
uu: I WAS ONLY GAuGING YOuR WILLINGNESS TO MAKE THE EXCEPTION. 
uu: I THEN WENT ABOuT DECORATING MY KING AND QuEEN WITH NICE LITTLE HATS. 
uu: WHICH IS *ALSO* NOT AGAINST THE RuLES. 

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 81: Oceanic Eyes and Bowmanian Montages

Introduction

Part 80 | Part 81 | Part 82 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 7 of possibly 10 (or 11)

Pages 4963-5028 (MSPA: 6863-6928)

12/16/2018: Next post is still in the works! Will probably post tomorrow morning, even if I somehow manage to finish tonight. I was a little busy today.

I love Caliborn.

I was originally going to make a long blog post to explain my sudden return to Homestuck posts, but I’ll keep things simple instead.

Long story short: the reason why I’m suddenly making Homestuck posts again is because since winter break started a few days ago, I’ve had a lot of downtime and still will for a few more days, so I seized the opportunity to spew out posts. After that, probably back to hiatus.

Jane’s conversation with Calliope ended with a wham line (“the true meaning of…” “beauty?” “horror.”), which is a perfect transition to the other cherub who is better and cooler in every way imaginable.

uu: HELLO DIRK. 
uu: GuESS WHAT I WANT TO PLAY. 
uu: THAT’S RIGHT. 
uu: A GAME. 
TT: Not now. 
uu: DIRK I WANT TO PLAY A GAME. 
uu: DIRK. 
uu: HELLO DIRK. 
uu: LET’S PLAY A GAME. 
TT: I’m busy. 
uu: DIRK I DON’T THINK YOu uNDERSTAND. 
uu: I WANT TO PLAY A FuCKING GAME WITH YOu. 
uu: I WOuLD LIKE YOu TO DRAW ME SOME PORNOGRAPHY. 
TT: Man, does it look like he can draw anything for you right now? 
uu: WHO CARES. 
uu: I AM NOT TALKING TO YOu. 

Caliborn tries to bug Dirk to play a game of drawing hot spicy porn, but the responder tells him he’s busy fighting drones. It’s not too surprising that Caliborn immediately waves off Dirk’s responder as an artificial robot. And says something about red herrings? I almost want to say the cherubs’ interactions with the responder are a bit of unexplored territory, but maybe it doesn’t need to be elaborated on much; the auto-responder only decided he was his own separate being the day the events of Act 6 began.

Going on, the responder remembers what happened a year prior, and then suggests that Caliborn contact Dirk in the past, which he does.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 80: Two Refreshing Changes of Pace

Introduction

Part 79 | Part 80 | Part 81 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 6

Pages 4932-4962 (MSPA: 6832-6862)

I’m back.

Bet you didn’t expect a new Homestuck blog post to come now, did you? I wrote this post on a whim in a few hours; explanation coming shortly.

10/8/2019: From here on out, the posts are recent enough not to need many 2019 edits.

In the no-nonsense spirit of the Draconian Dignitary, the character we’re currently following, I’m just going to comment on interesting things that happen in the comic and act like nothing ever happened. Weird how that was kind of a perfect place to put the post series on hiatus for almost two years.

I don’t know if I’ve said it on this blog before, but I’ve always felt that the Derse agents are an underrated part of the comic. If the trolls didn’t exist, maybe the agents could have gotten more attention; they’re just a fun quartet of four personalities. Though I guess the intermission did serve as a way to characterize those four in a completely alien setting. A bit of a shame they didn’t get much closure in the end, besides the BULLSHIT that the beta kids’ Jack was spared in the end and not the others.

Instead of painstakingly trying to comment on everything, here’s the first thing from this arc focusing on DD that I find interesting:

By now the [prince] is up to his goddamn neck in convoluted gothic architecture. He’s burrowed fuck deep in flying buttresses and purple pointy things. He even stopped by the boss’s CUBICLE OF VIGILANCE and sliced up his FENESTRATED WALLS to make searching for him harder. Cunning bastard. 

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 79: It’s Not Actually Mind Violation

Introduction

Part 78 | Part 79 | Part 80 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 5 of I don’t know anymore

Pages 4925-4931 (MSPA: 6825-6831)

NOTE: As you can probably tell I’ve been working on these posts at a really inconsistent rate. They don’t actually take me that long to write but I take this whole on-and-off approach like I do with basically everything.

That reflection of Aranea almost looks like it’s got her mind control symbol on there…

Suddenly you aren’t the other guy anymore. You couldn’t quite be the other guy anyway since he’s dead, even though deadness hasn’t really stopped us from being guys before. 

Nevertheless, the dead guy starts being Jake, who is not a dead guy. Well, his dream self is dead. But his non-dead non-dream self isn’t, and that’s the guy we’re being, a guy who is asleep. That non-dead sleeping guy is presently talking to a non-sleeping dead ancient spider ghost, who long ago earned the achievement badge, GIFT OF GAB, and boy does she know how to use it.

In perhaps the longest “you stop being this guy and start being the other guy” transition yet, the story does this seldom done thing where the comic justifies something done in a way that probably nobody even cares to consider* (in this case the whole Gift of Gab thing) but is still needed for these overcomplicated narrative reasons.

* That isn’t really true but the point is, it’s not the kind of plot hole readers are meant to take super seriously. But the comic does anyway.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 78: Jailbreak but it’s with an angry knife guy and about ten times more morbid

Introduction

Part 77 | Part 78 | Part 79 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 4 of probably way more than 8

Pages 4878-4924 (MSPA: 6778-6824) (dear god how did I go over a week without fixing those question marks and all those other mistakes at the start of the post)

You wake up locked in a deserted jail cell…

We now start this whole Jailbreak throwback interlude with Jack in his jail cell and yeah I have basically nothing to say about this. I guess I could say that when I first read the comic I thought this was supposed to be 40 pages of Jake reading Jailbreak on his computer. Don’t get me wrong, I make dumb misconceptions like this all the time.*

* For instance, if you don’t mind me talking about Undertale I thought one of the royal guard guys was that Alphys person people were talking about and that I’d have to kill them and go through a bunch of emotional bullshit like I did with Undyne.

Also my first impression of practically everyone in the game was that they’re evil and/or creepy.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 77: What Is "Actuality?"

Introduction

Part 76 | Part 77 | Part 78 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 3 of 8 or so I hope but I really don’t know

Pages 4862-4877 (MSPA: 6762-6777)

I couldn’t resist having philosophy bullshit for a post title

Why did I have to stop in the middle of this exposition sequence? I’m sorry everyone.
Also as you probably haven’t noticed I’ve taken a bit of liberty ordering text and images.

Take a moment to appreciate this panel. Not enough people do.

TT: My bro did this too with his many fine films.
TT: Practically everything was a symbol for something. Either in mockery of the batterwitch, or conveying some hidden message to its audience. Each film was always rigorously picked apart for its head-scratching symbolic meaning.
TT: But he managed to accomplish all that without ever compromising the purity of his ironic vision, which I think was admirable.

Last post pretty much ended with me discussing the supposed symbolism in Rose’s books. Now we learn that Dave’s movies also had a crazy symbolism thing going on, but I guess we’re supposed to infer for ourselves what lies in there? Or maybe it’s more like how Homestuck references those comics and it’s probably intertwined with that.

GT: Your forebears are certainly entrepreneurial if nothing else.
GT: I can get behind the idea of making a killing if it means i also get to be as good at doing adventures as i hope to be.
GT: Did they ever bring the battle to the witchs doorstep or were the blows dealt strictly through public masquerades and theatrics?
TT: Yeah, they got pretty deep into the shit eventually.
TT: They were both very skilled combatants. I’m pretty sure she had some weird powers too.
GT: Powers you say?
TT: Communion with occult forces. Something like that.
TT: She knew things. Had visions. It’s why she was able to write those books, and more importantly, why Roxy and I were able to survive here. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Rose in the scratched universe had the exact same whole crazy knowledge thing going on as her other self. The explanation almost feels like handwaving stuff but given what previous stuff we’ve seen with the trolls and their ancestors’ abilities it kind of works fine, makes sense even.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 76: The Weirdest Apocalypse Ever Told

Introduction

Part 75 | Part 76 | Part 77 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 2 of 8 or so

Pages 4841-4861 (MSPA: 6741-6761)

NOTE: The title isn’t that fitting because I haven’t even gotten to the part about juggalos yet. But I kind of came up with it at the last minute because I finally figured out that there’s no use in delaying these posts more than I already have. Also I’m bad at post titles regardless.

NOTE 2: I hope this is the only time such a gigantic delay ever happens.

Jake lying unconscious in the frog temple transitions us to another dream bubble scene which is mostly this huge worldbuilding and exposition dump, but not before an introductory section of sorts to set the stage pretty much.

timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT] 
TT: Happy 13th, bro. 
TT: I have something for you. 
GT: Whoa nelly! 
GT: You are too kind my friend. What is it? 
TT: It’s no big deal, since it’s nothin’ I wasn’t planning on giving you anyway. 
TT: I just sort of happened to finish it today. 
GT: I think i catch your drift. 
GT: So my new tin comrade finally gets a head on his shoulders eh? 
TT: Yeah, assuming I can actually send it today without another untimely paradoxification. 
TT: If not, then hey, you get a sick grill full of birthday slime instead. 
GT: Oh hell no. HELL no man. 
GT: Well listen. If youre going to send anything to me slime or otherwise can you please at least not make the shit appear directly over my head this time? 

I think my uncertainty about what stuff with Dirk’s sendificator was predestined might be answered now? This conversation reveals that several times prior Dirk tried to send Jake parts of Brobot but destination wouldn’t let him. But now, later on Dirk successfully sends Jake the robot’s head in a way that makes it seem like a birthday present, which ends up causing those regular robot strife battles to happen. And it turns out that stuff served the ultimate purpose of driving the rabbit subplot which we basically already saw now.

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