Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 113: Brain Ghost Realitification Station

Introduction

< Part 112 | Part 113 | Part 114 >

Pages 6682-6749

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 3 of 4

This is the second last post featuring content released before the Gigapause, which is when I first read Homestuck.

Friendly reminder that among my creative projects, my current priority is making 8-bit covers of the entire soundtrack of Sonic Robo Blast 2 v2.2, which means my Homestuck post series is currently something I do every now and then when I want a break from that.

Also, friendly reminder that I’ve firmly divorced the masterwork that is Homestuck from the bloated mess that is Homestuck^2, so don’t expect me to talk about the latter in this post series unless it somehow becomes good. As for Pesterquest, there isn’t a whole lot I have to say about it because basically the whole thing played it as safe as possible. It’s really a shame this recent Homestuck media hasn’t been very remarkable after the horrifying yet incredibly cathartic epilogues, but that sure isn’t going to stop me from writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about Homestuck. I don’t think of it as “Homestuck 1” or even “the original Homestuck”, I just think of it as “Homestuck”.

A third friendly reminder that I soon hope to no longer use homestuck.com for my Homestuck posts, instead some offline archive or fanmade way to read the comic as originally intended. At some point, I should really get around to editing my old posts to include pages from homestuck.com because the MSPA domain has been somewhat unstable lately.

Anyway, where were we? Looks like I left off right before a panel with Gamzee restraining an aggravated Jane in a geometrically improbable position.

JANE: GET YOUR PAWS OFF ME YOU SHITFUCKING SHITFUCKER AUGH FUCK SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK FUCK.
GAMZEE: honk.
JANE: YOU SCURRILOUS FUCKSHITTING CAD. UNHAND ME SO I MAY RESURRECT MY ACCOMPLICE AT ONCE.
GAMZEE: honk honk.
JANE:
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME THIS TIME YOU DETESTABLE POO ROGERING CHARLATAN.
GAMZEE: honk.
JANE: I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANYMORE OF YOUR POTIONS. I ALREADY BOUGHT ALL THE USELESS SLOP I COULD EVER WANT FROM YOU, AND MADE A KILLING ON REDISTRIBUTION.
GAMZEE: HONK.
JANE: YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL TACTICS LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. YOU ARE A DEPLORABLE BUSINESSMAN AND AN EVEN SHITTIER CLOWN. GET OFF ME.
GAMZEE: …
JANE: DID YOU JUST TOUCH MY BOOB. DON’T TOUCH MY BOOB YOU FUCKFACED DUNG HUFFING TOILET GUZZLING IDIOT QUIPSTER SHITPECKER DICKLARK.
GAMZEE: :o)

Hussie has always had a knack for writing humorously verbose insults, and it’s interesting that he’s doing it with Jane of all characters. A6A6I2 has been consistently putting a more comedic light than before on Crockertier Jane, and she’s a fairly understandable choice for someone to plug vocabulary jokes into. Jane’s always been high up on the scale of character vocabulary, not quite as high as Rose or Dirk but still up there. Reading these insults she gives Gamzee, most of the non-profane words are surprisingly in-character for Jane.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 112: Grandfatherly Saiyanification Station

Introduction

< Part 111 | Part 112 | Part 113 >

Pages 6606-6681

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 2 of 4

It’s over 6000!

I’m getting so close to the Gigapause, which is kind of scary to think about. I’ve been working more on music stuff lately than this post series, which is why my posting schedule hasn’t been too fast lately despite being done with finals.

Picking up from where we left off, Jane notices Jake’s hope field and has a villain-to-villain confrontation with Aranea, which as I said in my last post is a good indicator that this timeline is going way off the rails.

Still in his prison cell, Jane’s father watches the scene in stern fatherly confusion. This is the point where it starts becoming clear that Hussie is having a lot of fun throwing in humorous callbacks and early act throwbacks into all these action scenes, which further implies a burnout on writing Homestuck the way he had done shortly prior. I could complain about how the retcon that follows made so many story events arguably pointless, but I’ve come to accept that it’s more fun to analyze Homestuck in a matter-of-fact fashion.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 111: Extremist Blueblood Relevance Delusions

Introduction

< Part 110 | Part 111 | Part 112 >

Pages 6531-6605

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 1 of 4

I’m so close to the Gigapause now, I can almost smell it!

Sorry it took so long for this post to come out! I started it shortly after the last one, but I’ve been busy with finishing my classes the past few weeks. I now have one final exam and one project left for the semester, so I finished this post after doing one of my exams.

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2 of Homestuck opens with Crockertier Jane revealing herself to be the one who’s been building the alpha kids’ houses. This is a pretty cool usage of Act 6 Act 6’s motif of having our heroes hack their way through the final necessities of creating the new universe. It’s an odd choice for this intermission’s first scene given the nonstop action scenes that follow, but it makes sense to get this information out of the way before we dive into the meat (or at least, an extremely foolish attempt at generating meat).

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 101: Faygo Degradation and Chair Tantrums

Introduction

< Part 100 | Part 101 | Part 102 >

Pages 6015-6054

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 3 of 5 (not to be confused with Mr. 305)

My Homestuck blog post series officially has a Pitbull reference now. I have no idea why I just did that.

The first thing we see when we check back in on the meteor crew is THIS horrifying panel. Terezi reveals that her eyes are regular seeing troll eyes once more, which is an image that feels INCREDIBLY wrong, and rightfully so. Her eyes are pulsing red as if she isn’t used to not wearing her dragon hood, her mouth is in a weird frown, and there are heavy bags under her eyes that tell us what shape Terezi is in right now.

Karkat’s facial expression tells us more than words ever could. Sometimes the guy just mirrors readers’ reactions to story events SO WELL.

This panel, man. Terezi is surrounded by these horrible bottles of Faygo and clown horns, but she’s still carrying a scalemate plush to remind us that she’s the same Terezi Pyrope we’ve followed since Act 4.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 100: Antagonist Origination Station

Introduction

< Part 99 | Part 100 | Part 101 >

Pages 5947-6014

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 2 of 5

Imagine a gigantic balloon shaped like the number 100 filling your screen right now.

Well, I did it. After four long years, I’ve reached the 100th installment of my Homestuck post series (which will hopefully not be my last Homestuck post of 2019) on the first anniversary of this post series’ resurrection. I worked on this post sort of on and off over the course of a month, because I know well that with my Homestuck posts I’m either absurdly fast or absurdly slow. I’m rather pleased with what material my 100th post turned out to cover: Aranea’s explanation of Lord English’s backstory, a villain we’ve known about since the Midnight Crew intermission.

I must say, having these posts’ numbers in the triple digits now is really goddamn weird. It now officially feels like this is a project I’ve gotten way too carried away with—not that it didn’t before, but this is just the nail in the coffin for me getting carried away. If I keep doing about 50 pages per post, this means that I’ll reach the end of Homestuck around post 140; realistically, probably quite a few more posts than that. The end of Homestuck won’t be the end of this post series though—I will continue with the epilogues, and IF IT BECOMES ACTUALLY GOOD, Homestuck^2 as well. Again speaking realistically, I estimate that I will reach the end of Homestuck in these posts in early 2021, which is a weird date to consider, almost like I’m a Hollywood studio announcing the release date for a movie or something. In any case, 100 posts is one HELL of a milestone.

… Alright, let’s stop rambling and get on with Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 100!!!

A fitting image for my 100th post if I say so myself.

Act 6 Intermission 5 Intermission 2 is immediately followed by a scene showing us what John is up to. He’s sleeping on the couch, dreaming in a bubble amidst the cracks in paradox space formed by Lord English to complete an enormous circle of stupidity, which I mean both literally and figuratively. This image humorously calls back to Caliborn’s approximation of a circle with a mess of lines, showing that some things about him just never change.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 88: Greaser Grillings and Ghostly GIFs

Introduction

Part 87 | Part 88 | Part 89 >

Act 6 Intermission 3, Part 3 of 6

Page 5308 (MSPA: 7208) [Openbound: Part 2]

“i hate all of my friends so fucking much”
—Meenah Peixes, 2012

Openbound Part 2 starts with Meenah inside Karkat’s private memories. I’ll cut to the chase and get right into all the characters she meets.

The first troll Meenah meets in Openbound Part 2 is the legendarily despised Cronus Ampora.

So you thought Vriska in the trolls’ arc was bad, huh?

The first three new characters we met in Openbound Part 1 were kind of weird, but this FUCKING guy blows everything out of the water. Just look at him! Through even a cursory glance, you can already tell he’s an ugly asshole who absolutely nobody can stand on any level and has literally no redeeming qualities. It doesn’t help that he has a trace of Vriska’s typing quirk, with capital B’s replaced by 8’s.

I went through all the dialogue options as Meenah, and what the fuck is there to even say????? Cronus is like ten different horrible Internet stereotypes stuffed into one character, and constantly reminds us he’s doing it all just for attention. Put these two lines side by side:

CRONUS: all these cats and kittens, im telling you. theyre alvways drawvn to the freaks and rejects. you havwe to be 8ROKEN in some vway to get a little concupiscent attention.
 #cats #kittens #freaks #rejects #broken

CRONUS: i dont think id be much good in a fight. ivwe been trying to get in touch vwith vwho, or i guess vwhat, i really am, and i think ivwe been making some nice breakthroughs.
CRONUS: im telling you this in confidence, but i think im approaching a kind of avwakening, especially since i first started learning about humans. i think i actually might be…
MEENAH: nope
MEENAH: nope nope nope nopenopenope
 #uh uh
MEENAH: stop saying whatever that was do not care

Cronus’s first impression does give off an interesting message, maybe even a moral about Internet stereotypes; namely, that many people who act out completely ridiculous stereotypes online are only doing it for attention and you don’t have to take them seriously.

What the fuck.

At one point Cronus shows off some music he made, which we don’t get to listen to. It’s easy to guess what Cronus’s music is like: him singing in an annoying voice while imitating 50’s country music or something. I’m obligated to mention that one of his songs, titled “Aquasex Renegade”, was made into a real song by a fan. It’s pretty fun and catchy, probably way better than Cronus’s music would actually sound. Most of what I’ve heard from the Beforus fan album isn’t very good, but I’ve been told that for some ungodly reason Cronus’s tracks are all good?????

When Meenah asks about Karkat, Cronus says he made a complicated puzzle to seclude himself from the Beforan trolls haunting his memories, which sets up the goal of this walkaround: you have to find chests containing gems shaped like the quadrant symbols to open Karkat’s door.

Before I move on, I guess I should take a moment to compare Cronus to his dancestor Eridan. He’s a horrifying caricature of how fans perceive Eridan, expanded to the point where he is almost nothing like Eridan. Going by memory, that describes a large portion of the Beforan trolls compared to their dancestors—I guess I’ll see for myself whether it’s true with the other alpha trolls we’re yet to meet.

The memories Meenah explores are rife with stray wigglers, monotone Alternian architecture, and chests with familiar items from the trolls’ arc. It’s a pretty fun way to explore the Alternian atmosphere; I kind of hope we get more stuff like that in Hiveswap Act 2, though it’s hard to get as excited about Hiveswap as I am with Homestuck material.

For old time’s sake, this walkaround has a small Problem Sleuth-related easter egg. If you go south before meeting Mituna, you’ll find three familiar-looking figures…

> Examine.

Is it… could it be???

IT IS! IT’S PROBLEM SLEUTH, ACE DICK, AND PICKLE INSPECTOR, IN THEIR ORIGINAL PROSPITIAN ATTIRE! YOU KNEW IT! YOU KNEW YOU WOULD FIND THEM EVENTUALLY! IT’S SO GREAT TO MEET …

Wait.

This is not Problem Sleuth, Ace Dick, and Pickle Inspector. These are just some random Prospitians who are similarly proportioned.

 #proportioned prospitians #……..

You’re beginning to think you’ll never run into them.

This scene was probably a HUGE gut punch for serial readers who had read Problem Sleuth and absolutely hated the direction Homestuck was going in.

When Meenah crosses a bridge made of Prospit and Derse memories, Mituna Captor makes a skateboarding dramatic entrance just like Latula did…

oof

… then falls flat on his face. A fitting character establishing moment, I must say.

> Examine Mituna’s lusus

This custodian really has his hands full, taking care of that guy. You kind of feel for the hideous monster.

 #biclops dad

Or at least that’s your observation if you’re being Meenah right now. If you’re being Mituna, you beg your enormous parental unit for some mind honey. The huge beast grunts dismissively and bops you on the helmet. You fall on your ass and throw a tantrum.

 #but what if im cronus? #lets not worry about that ok

Mituna doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Sollux, but he does have some traits inverted. As we can see here, one such thing inverted is his relationship with his lusus. Sollux’s lusus was a big dumb monster who always wanted mind honey; Mituna’s is a proper bicyclops dad who always feeds his troll child mind honey.

I took this screenshot from Let’s Read Homestuck.

When Meenah talks to Mituna, it turns out his dialogue is formatted way differently from the rest and is completely incomprehensible. It’s supposed to be formatted like 4chan, but it looks like the move to homestuck.com changed that. I can’t even think of anything to say about his unreadable speech. I guess it’s an exaggeration of Sollux’s lisp and mood swings to the point of unrecognizability? Mituna constantly goes back and forth between dumping aggressive language on Meenah and genuinely sad “1M 50RRY”.

Meenah asking Mituna to join leads to one of the most obnoxious scenes in the entire comic. It starts off with her confused that he is still rather incoherent:

> Meenah, ask Mituna to join

MEENAH: hey tuna you want to help me go kill haha i cant even finish this question while staying serious
MITUNA: N0 8U7H WH47 1 D0 W4NK
MITUNA: 17H 70 M4N741N7 PR3C4R10U5 8U7 M057HL3Y 5U5741N3D 84L4NC3 0N MY 71GH7 4ZZ F4LLD0WN 5L47
MITUNA: M4YF3 GR1N D0N 50M3 5H17
 #5P0RN75
MEENAH: what will you grind on
MITUNA: 1 V0LUN733R
MITUNA: 7H47 7H1NG 70 83
MITUNA: U0YU0U
MEENAH: gross bro
MEENAH: dunno how latula even deals
MITUNA: 1M 50RRY
MITUNA: 8U73 4L50
MITUNA: FUCH Y0UR 4ND Y0UR FUCKY CHUMPHY 5UCKYFUCK FR0NGHUMPH1NG 8R1ND3 573M R1G7H UP3 Y0UR 5H17F7Y PH3L5M504K3D PR083CHU7H3 71L7 1Z 5UCK 4ZZ 8171CH 15 5UCKKY 5UCHY FUCK37Y 5UCKH0L3 FUCKY FCUK3Y FUCK FUCK FUCK
 #!
MEENAH: holy mackerel
MEENAH: them was sick fires mostly
 #at least the parts that were actual words
MEENAH: hey isnt the afterlife supposed to heal people or
MEENAH: i dont undersand
MEENAH: why is it that pyrope still cant smell
MEENAH: and you still got horrible brain problems
 #dont tell me leijons still deaf
MEENAH: i give up on figuring out the existential mysteries

Meenah is right, it makes no sense that the Beforan trolls all kept their disabilities in the afterlife. I think part of the deal with dream logic in Homestuck is that characters’ dream or ghost selves keep their disabilities if they’re an integral part of their being; for instance, dream Terezi is still blind but dream Tavros has perfectly functioning legs, while half-ghost Sollux is only half-blind. So why did none of the Beforan trolls have their disabilities healed? There’s no good in-story reason for that not to be the case, as Meenah points out. I guess it’s not a huge issue, because most of the Beforan trolls are joke characters anyway.

MITUNA: W4D3R
MEENAH: )(-EY FUCK YOU!!!
KANKRI: I feel I sh9uld jump in here at this m9ment, 6ef9re this escalates any further, and we start thr9wing ar9und hateful rhet9ric that we can’t take 6ack.
MEENAH: 
 #aw shell no
KANKRI: Mituna, I kn9w y9u 9ften struggle with this, 6ut y9u just used an extremely der9gat9ry and hurtful caste-specific slur, which as y9u pr96a6ly kn9w was 9nce c9mm9nly used t9 disparage sea-dwelling mem6ers 9f 9ur s9ciety, 9r land-dwelling castes wh9 were especially c9mplicit in furthering the 9ppressive Fuscia-D9wn p9wer structure. N9w, we all need t9 realize that R9yal-Vs and th9se rare few wh9 are even higher such as Meenah, as mem6ers 9f the arist9cracy enj9y a tremend9us p9siti9n 9f privilege 9ver 9thers, and theref9re we cann9t view such ver6al transgressi9ns against them as equivalent t9 th9se targeting the underprivileged, 6ut it needs t9 6e p9inted 9ut that such radi9active language is a6s9lutely the w9rst kind 9f well-p9is9ning which is n9thing 6ut c9unterpr9ductive when 9thers are trying t9 pursue an h9nest dial9gue a69ut critically imp9rtant s9cial pr96lems.
 #slurs #hurtful #struggle #radi9active #well p9is9ning #c9unterpr9ductive #pr96lems
MITUNA: ……………..,….

Oh my FUCKING GOD. Right when Mituna uses an insult that angers Meenah, Kankri comes out of nowhere and rubs ten tablespoons of salt on a wound that could have easily healed in just a few seconds.

KANKRI: And Meenah, while I can understand y9ur frustrati9n 9ver 6eing ver6ally assaulted under any circumstance, it is incum6ent 9n me t9 remind y9u that Mituna requires a certain am9unt 9f special c9nsiderati9n and m9re than a little patience. Please try t9 resist taking his 6ait, which I’m guessing is m9stly well intended(?), 6ef9re its c9ntenti9us undert9w pulls y9u further int9 an exchange laden with deeply pr96lematic expressi9ns 9f a6leism, a6leist slurs, and 9ther such manifestati9ns 9f unc9nsci9na6ly unchecked a6ility privilege.
 #a6leism #a6ility privilege #6ait #undert9w #are the aquatic terms helping?
MEENAH: vantas what the actual fuck are you doing here
MEENAH: how are you even in this chat yo
MEENAH: you arent even remotely in the same corporeal vicinity as us like i literally do not understand how you just jumped into the conversation like that
MEENAH: can you maybe get lost?
 #make like a clam and scray
KANKRI: 9n the 9ther hand, if I’m 6eing h9nest, I’ve f9und Mituna’s entire existence t9 6e a pretty pr96lematic impediment t9 the advancement and 9verall awareness 9f a6leism and its painful manif9ld c9nsequences f9r una6ilitied pers9ns. The speech impediment, frankly, I c9uld d9 with9ut, and I’m 6y n9 means ecstatic 9ver his t9rrential 6ig9try and h9stility. 9n the 9ne hand, I want t9 6e sensitive t9 him as a pers9n and as a friend, 6ut 9n the 9ther, what kind 9f message d9es his 6ehavi9r send? And frankly, I’m n9t crazy a69ut the helmet, either.
MITUNA: W4LT5 WR00NG W17H MY H4ML37 8(
KANKRI: N9thing, friend, it’s a really c99l helmet and it’s a g99d l99k f9r y9u. 6ut are we n9w t9 assume that all th9se wh9 are stricken with y9ur particular disadvantage9n will 6e similarly pr9ne t9 require such headgear, due t9 falling d9wn and hitting their heads frequently?
MITUNA: 8U7H 1 D0 F4LL D0WN 4ND H157 MY H34D FR3QUN3UN74NY
KANKRI: 9h, I kn9w y9u d9, and I think y9u sh9uld c9ntinue wearing it f9r y9ur safety, particularly if y9u c9ntinue t9 insist 9n fl9undering a69ut 9n y9ur danger9us t9y. It’s m9re a69ut the unf9rtunate message y9u are sending 9verall, with certain aspects 9f y9ur pers9nality and existence, that’s all. 
MITUNA: 1M 50RRY
KANKRI: As a friend, I w9uldn’t want t9 change anything a69ut y9u, well, n9t m9st things. I just think y9u may n9t 6e d9ing y9urself 9r th9se wh9 are similarly disadvantaged any fav9rs with, what I’m h9ping, is a perfectly inn9cent array 9f traits and mannerisms. 8ut again, I say this with all due sensitivity.

And it just gets worse from there. Kankri is treating Mituna like he’s a FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTER. The implications on how Kankri sees the rest of his “friends” are unbelievably messed up to even think about.

MEENAH: vantas youre being a shit dont talk about him like that
KANKRI: Anyway, I didn’t mean t9 derail. I’ll 6e 9n my way. Please c9ntinue y9ur discussi9n, and try t9 keep s9me 9f the issues I descri6ed at length in mind.

😦

Poor Meenah. She doesn’t deserve suffering through all her friends’ tepid nonsense. And nobody ever deserves suffering through Kankri’s nonsense, especially not Mituna.

After talking to Mituna, you can play as him for a while. If you talk to Meenah, you get even more of him alternating between angry swearing and “1M 50RRY”. As much as I roll my eyes at the weird fans who take the Beforan trolls seriously as characters, I won’t deny that Mituna’s slumpy apologetic state is endearing.

*sighs loudly*

I am not looking forward to this.

[5 or so minutes of reading exhausting torturous words later…]

Cronus fucking sucks the smelliest shit to ever exist. He rambles to Mituna about all his fake stupid imaginary problems, but all Mituna wants is for Cronus to stop touching him.

[10 or so minutes of thinking about Cronus’s exhausting torturous words later…]

Like Kankri, Cronus has quite a bit in common with his dancestor if you read between the lines. He and Eridan both have a few teammates they genuinely find attractive and charming, but they both find reason to hit on just about anyone. Cronus exaggerates that trait of Eridan’s, mixed in with some obnoxious stereotypes and insane self-aggrandization, and minus any of Eridan’s slight semblance of redeeming qualities.

Did I ever mention Eridan has some slight semblance of redeeming qualities? Which is to say, he is capable of compassion for people—definitely Karkat, and maybe also Feferi and Kanaya depending how you look at it. Cronus doesn’t have even the slightest trace of compassion for any living being ever. I don’t think he’s capable of feeling anything positive about people other than finding them sexually attractive.

In his lengthy monologue, Cronus says a few interesting things about Mituna. He talks about Mituna’s matespritship with Latula which we already knew about, as well as his moirallegiance with the mysterious Kurloz who fans can reasonably presume is Gamzee’s dancestor, which we didn’t already know about. Both of those relationships hint at something deeper behind Mituna. Cronus mentions rumors that Mituna is much more coherent when speaking to Kurloz; similarly, I think Latula deep down has a bright sharp mind like Terezi, which may be why she sees more in Mituna than most do. These hints about Mituna lead to another fundamental flaw with the Beforan trolls: the line between real plot points and silly one-offs is tenuous at best. Around the time the Openbound games came out, it was popular for fans to theorize about all the stuff we learned about the Beforan trolls other than Aranea and Meenah and how that could be relevant to the plot. Mituna in particular was the focus of quite a few popular theories. While lots of things we learned in Openbound became relevant to the greater story, especially regarding the plan to fight Lord English, most of what we learned about the Beforus trolls’ backstories didn’t turn out to be relevant. I don’t have a huge problem that their backstories didn’t have greater plot relevance, but I can easily see that as a reason the Openbound games are so hated.

Cronus proceeds to talk about trying to win Meenah’s heart, and doesn’t want Mituna to tag along because he sees Mituna as a sex obstacle. Why does this guy fucking suck so much???

Now it’s time to play as Cronus… I guess.

Cronus asks Mituna to stay put while he works his “magic” on Meenah. He mentions his wizard phase where he had a crushing revelation that magic isn’t real; I’ll discuss it in more detail when Aranea tells more about that story.

… And Meenah disappeared. The dialog box tells you to go back to Mituna and grill him. Oh fuck no. I’m REALLY not looking forward to this.

I am absolutely speechless. Cronus claims it’s Mituna’s fault that Meenah went away and scolds him for “not staying put”. Every insult he throws at Mituna is an accurate description of himself, like only playing out his stereotypes for attention and being a reject among rejects nobody could ever have real feelings for.

I love Mituna’s scribbled sad face so much.

Mituna’s reaction to those horrible insults is rather adorable. It’s a perfect reaction image for not just when someone takes out self-loathing on you, but whenever something doesn’t go the way you hope.

Amidst this brutal grilling, Meenah suddenly reappears. Mituna laughs at Cronus for this miserable failure and then insults him more, and rightfully so. Might as well talk to Meenah as Cronus now.

CRONUS: you knowv, youre being a bit hypocritical here, dont you think?
MEENAH: what
CRONUS: taking me to task for ripping captor a sorely deservwed newv nook.
CRONUS: like you arent evwen more guilty of abusing the poor fella.
MEENAH: youre such a glubbin liar
CRONUS: oh am i?
CRONUS: tell me, pray tell, vwho vwas it exactly, in vwhich alternate univwerse, that used growvnup captor as a livwing vwarp drivwe in her spaceship for millenia?
 #helmsman
MEENAH: hey that wasnt me
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: not yet… uh
MEENAH: alternate ways
 #38|
CRONUS: oh sure. no grub sauce on your hands! 
MEENAH: wow you did it
MEENAH: ampora you totally changed my mind about you lets start makin out immediately
 #not
CRONUS: just admit it. you havwe it vwithin you to be just as harsh to our behelmeted buddy as i am, if not more.
 #helmchan
MEENAH: man
MEENAH: a girls gotta have fuel for her pimp ride know what im sayin
MEENAH: like
MEENAH: i probably took care of him good
MEENAH: you know how it is someones gotta take care of the guy anyways
MEENAH: and… yeah
 #38(

… Wait, uh,

Cronus’s conversation with Meenah just took a turn for the unexpected???? He points out that Meenah abused Mituna in the post-scratch universe, making him (the Helmsman) her eternal psionic slave. Though she is visibly sad to realize that, Meenah has no good comeback and claims her adult self must have taken deep care of her Helmsman.

When Meenah brings up that Cronus constantly claims to be “humankin”, Kankri suddenly appears again and the conversation takes a turn for the just plain stupid. Meenah immediately leaves.

KANKRI: Listen, I was d9ing y9u a fav9r. Y9u d9n’t need t9 6e dating any9ne wh9 can’t appreciate y9u f9r wh9 y9u really are, 9r m9re imp9rtantly, which fantasy versi9n 9f y9urself y9u m9st str9ngly identify with.
CRONUS: yeah, youre probably right. she doesnt appreciate me. so fevw of you cats do, really. 
 #evwen the ones vwho literally identify as cats

At this point it isn’t even surprising the Beforan trolls have a member who identifies as a cat. That’s how deep we are in this putrid trench of joke characters.

Kankri ends up supporting Cronus’s claims that he identifies as human, and Cronus thanks him, which is stupid but only makes sense knowing Kankri’s extremely warped morality.

FINALLY, back to Meenah. The scenery in this area is pretty cool; it looks to be memories of the alpha trolls’ Skaia, ridden with lily pads we glimpsed at in the beta trolls’ Skaia and saw plenty of in the Rex Duodecim Angelus fan animation.

Anyway, next in line for Meenah to meet is the mysterious Kurloz Makara.

> Meenah, talk to Kurloz

MEENAH: yo freak remember me
KURLOZ: 
 #:o)
MEENAH: so 
MEENAH: so what kinda conversation could we even have that wouldnt be weird and awkward
KURLOZ: 
 #:o)
MEENAH: i sea
MEENAH: got anyfin for me other than an eerie glare and a gross stiched up smile
KURLOZ: 
 #:o)
MEENAH: whats the wicked word these days
KURLOZ: [middle finger]
 #:o)
MEENAH: shit be cold home skillet

> Meenah, ask Kurloz to join

MEENAH: so i guess i want you to join my army
MEENAH: maybe
MEENAH: if you promise you aint gonna be too capricious or clown ass batshit or whatever
KURLOZ: [shakes head]
 #:o)
MEENAH: well least your honest about it
MEENAH: got any crazy chucklevoodoo tips on how to kill a cherub?
KURLOZ: [shrugs]
 #:o)
MEENAH: so
MEENAH: nothing to say as usual then
KURLOZ: [gestures lips sealed shut, then smiles]
 #:o)
MEENAH: its awesome we had this talk

Turns out Kurloz doesn’t talk; his mouth is stitched and he only communicates in vague gestures. Those gestures seem mostly harmless and friendly, but he does hint that he’s an extremely devout clown worshipper who might be in league with Lord English.

On the way to meet the next troll, Meenah finds some chests containing items that remind us what sort of person Nepeta is: her Wolverine claws, a tea pot, and an olive potion. It’s useful to remind readers what Nepeta is like…

Meulin looks kind of like an anime schoolgirl now that I think of it.

… because it turns out her dancestor, Meulin Leijon, is an ABSOLUTE FUCKING LUNATIC.

Just to be clear, I don’t know anything about Sailor Moon. I got the names of the characters in the GIFs from readmspa.org’s transcripts.
 
… On the topic of anime, I absolutely fucking NEED to watch Nichijou. (EDIT 11/23/2019: I have now seen all of Nichijou.)

As with most of the other Beforan trolls, what is there to even say?! Meulin is like a horrifying enthusiastic Tumblr girl combined with some fanfiction’s hilariously inaccurate rendition of Nepeta. She somehow communicates reaction GIFs from assorted cartoons using sign language.

MEULIN: [gif of Marceline of Adventure Time holding her head and swaying happily]
MEULIN: [gif of Stephen Colbert dancing]
MEULIN: [gif of Usagi Tsukino and Minako Aino of Sailor Moon with hearts for eyes]
MEENAH: can we plz cool it on the shitty mimes tho
MEENAH: seriously cant understand what your tryin to say half the time
 #the literal worst form of communication ever

I agree with Meenah so much. Reaction GIFs are fun and all, but overusing them is just pure chaotic nonsense.

MEULIN: (=^・ω・^=) < WE HAVE TO CATCH UP RIGHT AWAY. YOU MISSED OUT ON SO MUCH WHILE YOU WERE GONE!
 #”CATCH” #!!! #LIKE A FISH! #S33 I’M YOUR FRIEND!!!
MEENAH: did i really
MEENAH: to be conchnest that sounds mad unlikely
MEENAH: you would not even believe the boring conversations i just slogged through with some a you glubbin windbaggers
 #even ones where i technically wasnt even “being me”
MEULIN: (=^・^=) < YOU SOOO DID THOUGH. WE’VE ALL B33N THROUGH A LOT TOGETHER SINCE WE DIED. I BELIEVE WE’VE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS IN DEALING WITH OUR PURRSONAL ISSUES AND PUTTING OUR OLD DIFURRENCES BEHIND US.
 #ETERNITY HAS ONLY STRENGTHENED MY COMMITMENT TO CAT PUNS!!! #:33
MEENAH: dont sound like you put much time into your fightin skills though
MEENAH: yall do realize you might be on the verge of dying AGAIN right?
MEULIN: (=^・ェ・^=) < AND THE SHIPPING!!!!!!!!!
MEULIN: \(=^‥^)/ < OMG M33NAH, THE SHIIIIIIIIIPPING! (=;ェ;=) ヾ(=゚・゚=)ノ (^・ω・^ ) 
MEULIN: (^・ω・^ ) < YOU WON’T EVEN _BELIEVE_ WHO GOT TOGETHER OVER THE SW33PS. AND THE QUADRANTS! THE QUADRANTS THEY PAIRED UP IN… IT WILL _BLOW_. _YOUR_. _MIND_.
MEULIN: (=^・^=) < I DON’T THINK I CAN EVEN CONVEY HOW MUCH… I JUST…
 #DON’T #I…
MEULIN: (^・x・^) < I CAN’T.
 #NO #THAT’S IT
MEULIN: └(=^‥^=)┐ < I AM COMPLETELY UNABLE TO CAN RIGHT NOW.
 #HAVE EXACTLY ZERO CANS
MEENAH: 38|

Meulin’s obsession with shipping makes Nepeta seem like a kind of normal person. Nepeta liked shipping her friends because she was extremely lonely and especially wanted a way to express her attraction to Karkat. Meulin is just a fucking stupid fangirl who is artificially obsessed with her characters’ relationships, OH WAIT that’s every fan of every media ever.

Meenah asks Meulin to join, and her reason not to is probably the most disappointing yet: she’s busy shipping all her friends, old and new alike. Meulin derails the conversation further when she talks about Meenah’s attraction to Karkat and offers to set the two up. There’s some reason to believe Meulin is an extremely good matchmaker, being a heart player and all. Perhaps she’s the one that keeps Mituna’s relationships with Latula and Kurloz steady and fluid? Or maybe she’s the one that got the doomed dream Nepeta together with the doomed god tier Karkat (rest both their souls).

Olive Rogue slaps so hard, I love it.

> Meulin, talk to Meenah

MEENAH: what
MEULIN: (=^・ω・^) < OH!!!!!!!!! I MEANT TO ASK…
MEULIN: ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿 < HAVE YOU MET THE HUMANS YET?
MEENAH: yeah
MEULIN: (=^-ω-^=) < OMG AREN’T THE JUST SO PERF???
MEENAH: nah
MEENAH: dont see what the big deal with em is
MEULIN: (^・x・^) < M33NAH, NO.
MEULIN: (^-人-^) < THEY ARE ALL SO PERFECTLY ADORABLE.
MEULIN: (^・ω・^ ) < EACH IS LITTERALLY MORE PRECIOUS AND PURRFECT THAN THE LAST.
MEENAH: if only you could hear how bonkers you sound
MEULIN: ~(=^‥^)/ < M33NAH. M33NAH. NO.
 #M33NAH.
MEULIN: (^._.^)ノ < YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
MEULIN: ヾ(=゚・゚=)ノ < THEY ARE MY BABIES.
MEENAH: wtfs a babie
MEULIN: (=^・^=) < THEY ARE MY PERFECT PRECIOUS GAY LITTLE BABIES!!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: uh
MEENAH: whats gay
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < IT’S A THING THAT HUMAN BABIES ARE SOMETIMES I THINK!

Meulin is just, holy shit. She’s obsessed with the humans just as if they’re fictional characters, kind of like a louder Calliope. I’d go so far as to say she’s treating the humans like they’re cute anime girls, which is weird because I’m pretty sure none of them are anime girls. Well, Dirk basically is an anime boy but that’s a different story.

Now, if the humans were cute anime girls, then I couldn’t blame Meulin for reacting to them this way. I love anime girls so much.

MEULIN: (^・o・^) < OH AND DO YOU EVEN HAVE THE SLIGHTEST IDEA WHAT THE SHIPPING IMPLICATPUNS ARE???
MEULIN: ヽ(=^・ω・^=)丿 < BY ADDING THE HUMANS INTO THE PICTURE, BOTH PRE-SCRATCH AND SCRATCH-POST, IT HAS INCREASED THE PAIRING PAWSIBILITIES EXPOUNCENENTIALLY!

“Scratch-post” is the only good cat pun in all of Homestuck.

MEENAH: hate to change the subject
 #not really
MEENAH: but i kinda side stepped past kurloz back there whilst granting him a wide berth
 #didnt wanna get tangled up in his hair
MEENAH: he obviously wont say a thing to me which is probs for tha best
MEENAH: but since he actually talks to you maybe you can answer stuff
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < LIKE WHAT!
 #HAIR POOFING TIPS?
MEENAH: like do you know if hes god tier
MEENAH: im building this army and its going horribubbly so far and im sure it would be unimaginably horrendous havin him along but i needs all the muscle i can get know what im sayin
MEULIN: (=^‥^) < I ACTUALLY DON’T KNOW!
MEULIN: (=^・ω・^=) < YES WE ARE PRETTY CLOSE, BUT YOU KNOW HOW HE IS. HE’S STILL VERY SNEAKRETIVE AND STILL LOVES MAKING RIDDLES OUT OF EVERYTHING.
MEULIN: (=^・ω・^=) < HE’S B33N VERY EXCITED LATELY. HE F33LS THAT SO MANY OF HIS SPOOKY RELIGION’S PROPHECIES ARE ON THE VERGE OF COMING TRUE, AND THE STARS ARE COMING INTO FELINEMENT.
MEULIN: (=^・ω・^=) < REMEMBER HOW HE USED TO GO ON AND ON ABOUT THE MESSIAHS, ANGELS OF DOUBLE DEATH, AND ALL THAT WACKY STUFF?

Going by Meulin’s words, Kurloz is kind of a parody of Gamzee, but really more of an extrapolation of what Gamzee must be like now. Gamzee has hardly spoken a word so far in Act 6 and we can only surmise from the scene with him selling potions to Jane that during or after the meteor journey he began playing the role of a wise, jocular sage; Kurloz’s character so far extrapolates from the fact that we know very little about what Gamzee’s been to.

MEENAH: please dont take this for interest in shippin talk
MEENAH: but you and he arent a red item anymore right
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < OH NO NO NO THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.
MEULIN: (=^ω^=) < WE’RE JUST REALLY GOOD FRIENDS NOW. WE HANG OUT AND JOKE AROUND ALL THE TIME. HE EVEN HELPS ME WITH MY GRIDS!
MEULIN: ~(=^‥^)ノ < GENERALLY I STICK TO THE RED MATCHUPS WHILE HE ADVISES ON BLACK. HE’S 33RILY TALENTED AT PICKING BLACKROM PAIRS! PROBABLY EVEN BETTER THAN ME…

Meulin interestingly suggests Kurloz has genuine wisdom beyond just being a clown worshipper, with his eerie talent at picking blackrom pairs.

Upon Meenah’s suggestion, Meulin talks to Kurloz…

… or rather, exchanges a series of absurd Tumblr GIFs with him? This alien language they’re communicating in is kind of cute in a weird way.

I still can’t believe the epilogues canonized Jane x Gamzee, of all ships.

Kurloz interrupts the silly GIF exchange by using sign language to signify that needs a purple codpiece for Gamzee’s new ensemble. That’s really funny if you think about it: Kurloz is excited that all his religious prophecies are coming true, and surely he’s going to fulfill important plot stuff and solve some mysteries, right? Nope, turns out the only plot mystery Kurloz plays any part in is how Gamzee got his ridiculous fake god tier outfit. Clown nonsense, I’m telling you. It haunts all our minds whether we like it or not.

Meulin opens a dream memory and finds a chest containing Gamzee’s codpiece. Supposedly it’s an exceptionally rare treasure she found during the A1 session while exploring Skaia? Yeah, sure, that makes sense, why not. I like how the codpiece is one of few actual plot points to come out of the Beforus session.

Meenah gives Kurloz the codpiece and…

Purple Bard also slaps hard.

HOLY SHIT, THIS IS A HUGE MOOD SWITCH. The music changes, the dialogue format is haunting and creepy, and Kurloz can talk now! He speaks through psychic powers in a skeleton font, and mind-controls Meulin to do the same.

KURLOZ: EXCELLENT WORK, MY MAGE
KURLOZ: WITH THIS MOST RIGHTEOUS MOTHER FUCKIN PELVIC APPAREL, THE WICKED ENSEMBLE IS NOW COMPLETE
KURLOZ: IT MUST BE DELIVERED TO THE BARD OF RAGE AT ONCE, SO THAT HE MAY CONTINUE OUR MIRTHFUL MOTHER FUCKIN WORK
MEULIN: (=゚・゚=) < ALL HAIL THE ONE TRUE MESSIAH. 
 #OTM #RYDAS AND NINJETTES REPRESENT
KURLOZ: LONG LIVE THE ANGEL OF DOUBLE DEATH
MEULIN: (=゚・゚=) < MAY THE BARD’S RIOTOUS CHUCKLEVOODOOS INSPIRE NIGHTMARES IN ALL WHO WOULD OPPAWS CALICORN, AND MAY THE JOCULARKITTY OF HIS VAST HONK RING LOUD AND MOTHER FUCKIN TRUE ALL THE WAY TO SHANGRI LOL.
 #MUCH CLOWN LOVE
KURLOZ: CHURCH. OK, THATS ENOUGH OF MOTHER FUCKIN THAT PIOUS NOISE
KURLOZ: TIME TO RENDEZVOUS WITH MY HOMIE KILLA AND DROP THE SPECIAL SCIENCE ON HIM
MEULIN: (=゚・゚=) < MAY THIS LUDICROUS PAIR OF SHORTS ASSNIFFST HIS HOLY MISSION, AND FLUMMOX ALL WHO WOULD CATST THEIR UNWORTHY GAZE PON ITS FRESH FUCKIN BULGE.
KURLOZ: AY MOTHER FUCKIN MEN, MY WICKED KITTYBITCH

This is a beautiful way to reveal Kurloz’s true colors. The moment Meulin gives Kurloz the codpiece, he thanks her for her work and communes with her through his psychic powers, confirming that he is a devout worshipper of Lord English.

I remember at one point years ago, I started thinking more deeply about Kurloz’s crazy juggalo religion and couldn’t stop laughing to myself. Though Kurloz is legitimately spooky with his whole pious speech about Lord English, it’s worth keeping in mind that all this is just for the sake of completing Gamzee’s fake god tier outfit—nothing more, nothing less. It’s all a bunch of stupid clown nonsense.

After that conversation is over, you can talk to Meulin as Kurloz again. Kurloz reverts to his usual silly Tumblr GIF self and convinces her through gestures everything’s fine and normal. He then conveys to her that he has to go run an errand.

If you approach Meenah as Kurloz, he breaks the fourth wall and tells readers there’s no reason to talk to her:

KURLOZ: THERE IS NO NEED TO APPROACH THE YOUNG MISGUIDED EMPRESS
KURLOZ: SHE REMAINS BLISSFULLY UNAWARE OF THE MACHINATIONS WHICH TRANSPIRE BETWEEN THE HEROES OF RAGE
KURLOZ: LET HER TRY TO RAISE HER PATHETIC ARMY OF SOULS. SHE WILL BE DOUBLE SLAIN BY OUR LORD LIKE ALL THE OTHER MIRTHLESS HERETICS

We now know that the alpha trolls have every reason to fear Kurloz. Turns out he’s a dutiful pawn of Lord English’s who carries out all sorts of mysterious duties undercover.

As Kurloz, you can open the dream bubble northwest of Meenah and you get an interesting dialog box.

> Kurloz, examine bubble

You’ve kept many secrets from your friends. Secrets to you were always the most beautiful miracles of all. They are the private answers to a bunch of riddles no one ever asked.

But since this place is made of memories, you’ve had to be extra careful with your secrets. You’ve carved out an extensive network of virtual catacombs throughout the bubbles, leading to hidden treasures, black recollections, and perhaps one or two illicit dropoff points.

Kurloz’s method of keeping secret memories is rather frightening, especially because passwords and puzzles are nowhere near enough to keep others out of Karkat’s memories. You can really tell this guy is dedicated to his craft.

> Kurloz, open left-hand chest

You got a JUJU BREAKER!

This is an extremely rare, dangerous, and particularly blasphemous item. The thought of destroying a precious juju makes your blood boil. This must be guarded carefully. You cannot let it fall into the wrong hands.

> Kurloz, open right-hand chest

You got a JUJU CHEST!

Only a cherub can open it. You would be double-dying of curiosity to know what’s inside, except for the fact that it would be heresy to even wonder. And you would bite your tongue for having the thought, if you hadn’t already chewed it off long ago.

These two dialog boxes demonstrate Kurloz’s dedication to his cherub religion very well. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us much we don’t already know, especially not what’s inside the juju chest. I like how that whole juju chest plot point’s lack of resolution is itself a plot point in the epilogues—one of the main factors in John’s dilemma between meat and candy.

At the end of the hallway, Kurloz meets Gamzee. They have a short exchange:

KURLOZ: I COME BEARING THEE FINAL JOLLY ACCOUTREMENT MY FAITHFUL INVERTEBROTHER
KURLOZ: THY BARDLY REGALIA IS DONE AND FUCKING DUSTED BY THE SPECIAL STARS THEMSELVES
KURLOZ: ON THIS DAY THE DARK CARNIVAL REJOICED AND SAID IT WAS MONEY
KURLOZ: NOW BRING TO LIFE OUR WICKED RUSE WITH APLOMB MY NINJA
KURLOZ: OUT LORD AWAITS YOUR SERVITUDE AND TUTELAGE AT ONCE
KURLOZ: WE SHALL NOW BUST OPEN THESE BITCHIN ELIXIR FORTIES
KURLOZ: AND POUR SOME SWEET SWILL OUT FOR THE SOULS WHO SOON WONT BE NO MORE
 #:o)

KURLOZ: [zips lips]

Gamzee’s single line tells us absolutely nothing about his motives, other than an extreme investment in finally getting his codpiece. I would talk more about the notion of clown nonsense, but what is there to even say about it? It’s a ridiculous running gag that obliterates the line between hilarious and horrifying.

With Kurloz’s codpiece mission complete, we go back to playing as Meenah. If you find all the card suit-shaped gems, you can use them to open the door and enter a memory of Karkat Vantas’s respiteblock.

What a nostalgic sight this is. You can really see why Karkat wants to keep all this to himself. It must freak him out when others intrude on his memories of simpler times.

> Meenah, talk to Karkat

KARKAT: HEY, GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY… OH. IT’S YOU AGAIN.
KARKAT: SORRY, FOR A SECOND I THOUGHT ERIDAN’S AWFUL ANCESTOR FOUND HIS WAY IN HERE.
KARKAT: I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT WAS POSSIBLE TO BE MORE OF A SHITBAG THAN THAT GUY, BUT SOMEHOW AMPORA TEEN-SENIOR PULLS IT OFF?
KARKAT: I WOULDN’T HAVE BELIEVED IT IF I DIDN’T ABSORB IT WITH MY OWN AGGRAVATION SPONGE. JUST INCREDIBLE.
MEENAH: yeah vantas im gonna clue you in on somefin
MEENAH: mosta my crew is hecks of dreadful to be around
KARKAT: I KNOW!!!
KARKAT: HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO SUCK SO MUCH, WHEN THEY’RE PRESUMABLY ALMOST GENETICALLY IDENTICAL TO A BUNCH OF PEOPLE I LIKE?
KARKAT: MAYBE IT’S THE AGE DIFFERENCE? OR THE FACT THAT THEY ALL GREW UP ON A PLANET FOR LAME PANSIES WHO ARE CIVICALLY OBLIGATED TO WET THEMSELVES DAILY.
MEENAH: ahahahahaha

Are you ready for a hot take?

If a work of media I am consuming has a section that’s just plain nonstop obnoxious suffering, if characters later talk about how horrible or stupid that part was it usually redeems the whole thing for me. I know many people don’t feel that way about media or don’t think characters lampshading how much something sucks is a fair excuse, but in plenty of media, especially Homestuck-related, I find that effect done incredibly well. Not just in the Openbound games, but also in the Candy Epilogue whenever John talks to Terezi, cool and new web comic whenever we hear from an “enhanced” character, and countless other fanfictions I’ve read. It’s just a weird effect that I really enjoy seeing. In this case, after meeting four completely bonkers Beforan trolls it’s incredibly refreshing to hear from Karkat again, who throws some choice insults at Meenah’s old teammates. They aren’t even using hashtags anymore.

KARKAT: I HAVE TO ADMIT, MEETING ALL OUR ANCESTORS LIKE THIS HAS BEEN KIND OF OVERWHELMING.
KARKAT: I KIND OF HAD TO GET AWAY FROM EVERYONE AND BE ALONE FOR A WHILE. HOPEFULLY I’LL JUST FUCKING WAKE UP SOON.
MEENAH: oh uh
MEENAH: you want i should step off
KARKAT: UH
KARKAT: NO, THAT’S OK.
KARKAT: YOU’RE ACTUALLY FINE, MOSTLY. I JUST COULDN’T TAKE ANOTHER ENCOUNTER WITH RED SWEATER GUY.
KARKAT: HE’S LEFT MY HEAD SPINNING, AND NOT JUST BECAUSE HE NEVER SHUTS THE FUCK UP.
KARKAT: FOR A LONG TIME, I DIDN’T EVEN BELIEVE WE HAD ANCESTORS. I THOUGHT EVEN THE CONCEPT OF ANCESTORS WAS JUST SUPERSTITIOUS, EGO-STROKING ARISTOCRATIC BULLSHIT.
KARKAT: BUT NOT ONLY DOES IT TURN OUT YOU’RE ALL REAL, BUT APPARENTLY YOU HAD THIS WHOLE DIFFERENT CULTURE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE BEFORE US? SORRY, THAT’S A LOT TO TAKE IN.

I find Karkat’s reaction to learning ancestors were real all along very interesting. He’s extremely disappointed by this revelation in a somewhat metafictional way. It seems like learning about the Beforan trolls’ adventures has put him in a bit of an existential crisis as to where he stands.

KARKAT: WAIT…
KARKAT: OH, NO. NO, FUCK ME. HOLY FUCK.
KARKAT: “BEFORE US?” GOD DAMMIT. I *JUST* GOT THAT.
KARKAT: SEE? THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. MEETING YOU GUYS HAS MADE ME HAVE LITTLE INFURIATING REVELATIONS LIKE THAT ALMOST CONSTANTLY.
KARKAT: LIKE, NOW IT CASTS THE NAME OF MY OWN PLANET IN A WHOLE NEW STUPID LIGHT. ALTERNIA? AS IN, ALTERNATE? ALTERNATE TO WHAT. TURNS OUT IT IS THE *ALTERNATIVE* TO A PLANET CALLED BEFORUS! THE PLANET WHICH CAME *BEFOOOORE* US. HAHAHA! GET IT?
KARKAT: WHATEVER JOKERS NAMED THESE PLANETS WERE COMPLETE FUCKING MORONS.

Karkat also hates noticing all these cosmic connections between the Beforan and Alternian trolls, which is amusing considering many of Homestuck’s fans adore that sort of stuff. I get slight Caliborn vibes from Karkat meta complaints.

MEENAH: well fwiw
MEENAH: alternias da bomb compared to my planet
MEENAH: and im not just saying that because grownup me ran the joint 38D
KARKAT: HEY, DON’T LET ANYONE KID YOU. ALTERNIA WAS FUCKING GREAT.
KARKAT: I DON’T EVEN CARE THAT MY BLOOD MADE ME A PARIAH. IT WAS WORTH TO IT LIVE ON SUCH A BADASS PLANET.
KARKAT: SOME PEOPLE LIKED TO TALK SHIT ABOUT THE EMPRESS. AND IT’S TRUE, SHE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE CULLED THE SHIT OUT OF ME ON SIGHT. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I ALWAYS RESPECTED HER AS A STRONG LEADER.
KARKAT: SHE KNEW HOW TO GET SHIT DONE AND DIDN’T PUT UP WITH DISSENSION FROM WORTHLESS IDIOTS. AND ALL SHE DID WAS, YOU KNOW… TAKE OVER THE ENTIRE FUCKING GALAXY. NOT TOO SHABBY.
KARKAT: I USED TO HAVE THIS KIND OF EMBARRASSING FANTASY THAT I WOULD GROW UP ONE DAY AND BECOME A THRESHECUTIONER. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS?
MEENAH: ?
KARKAT: THEY WERE LIKE THE DEADLIEST SQUAD OF INTERSTELLAR FIGHTERS UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE EMPRESS. THEY HELPED CONQUER MORE PLANETS THAN ANY OTHER IMPERIAL FORCE. BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO MAKE THE CUT, BECAUSE OF MY BLOOD. SO I USED TO THINK OF ALL THESE ELABORATE SCENARIOS TO HIDE MY BLOOD COLOR. OR IN THE MORE RIDICULOUS FANTASIES, MAYBE I COULD EVEN PROVE MY WORTH AS A SOLDIER? LIKE JUST BE SO AWESOME WITH A SICKLE, THEY WOULD JUST HAVE TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION. MAYBE EVEN BE LIKE A FOLK HERO AND RISE THROUGH THE RANKS TO BECOME THE LEADER. HAHA.

Now here’s an interesting passage. Karkat reveals that when it all comes down to it, he is proud to be an Alternian. This discussion initiates a subplot that is put on the backburner for a long time, but gloriously revisited in the epilogues. Karkat’s character arc in Candy centers around his Alternian pride, starting with the speech he gives a year into the story about how unfairly trolls are treated on Earth C. From that point onward, Karkat secludes himself from most of his human friends except presumably Rose, being married to Kanaya and all. Together with Meenah, he gradually initiates a full-scale rebellion and finally lives up to his ancestor’s legacy.

… Wait, I’m just stating facts again, god damn it. I’m still just so happy Homestuck finally has two actual, official epilogues! God damn is it easy to ignore that I’m technically talking about two different versions of Karkat here, pre-retcon and post-retcon.

KARKAT: THOSE WERE OBVIOUSLY JUST SOME CHILDISH DAY DREAMS. I’VE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT WHAT BEING A LEADER REALLY MEANS SINCE THEN. MAINLY THAT IT’S A LOT HARDER THAN EVERYONE THINKS.
KARKAT: SO I GUESS I LEARNED TO RESPECT WHO YOU TURNED OUT TO BE ON MY WORLD EVEN MORE THAN I DID ALREADY, BECAUSE OF THAT. 
MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: the leadership thing is hard as globes
MEENAH: could barely get anyone to lift a flippin finger in my session
MEENAH: and now its like that all over again trying to raise this army
MEENAH: i reely dunno how sexy bitch grownup me pulled it off
KARKAT: OH YEAH. HOW IS THAT GOING?
KARKAT: HOW MANY RECRUITS DO YOU HAVE?
MEENAH: want to take a guess
KARKAT: OH. STILL ZERO, HUH? YEAH, THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT. SERIOUSLY, FUCK LEADERSHIP.
MEENAH: i know!!!!!!

Karkat and Meenah’s bonding over the difficulty of leadership is extremely heartwarming, as is their mutual amazement at the Condesce’s leadership style. It’s kind of crazy to see the Condesce of all people portrayed in a sympathetic light.

Karkat proceeds to offer to join Meenah’s army next time they meet. Meenah’s reaction is as follows:

I have to say, Karkat and Meenah have a really interesting somewhat testy dynamic with some lopsided romantic tension. Meenah is in love with the cool Alternian shouty kid; Karkat respects her on some level but doesn’t know how to feel about her advances.

KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW WHY EVERY TIME I TURN AROUND, I’M UP AGAINST AN INVINCIBLE DEMON OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. I GUESS THAT’S JUST THE IMPOSSIBLE KIND OF THING PARADOX SPACE WANTS ME TO DO TO PROVE I’M NOT SOME HORRIBLE MISTAKE OF NATURE. 

I feel bad for Karkat again. He doesn’t like being treated as a pawn who constantly needs to prove his worth as a hero against invincible demons; when his own pride as a troll is at stake, that’s when he becomes the hero he was always meant to be. Karkat had one last speaking scene in the Candy Epilogue where John and company are 39 years old; it was short, but it its job at showcasing this incredible hero. I wish Meenah also had such a speaking scene, but maybe it makes sense for her to be put in the background.

After this conversation, you can now play as Karkat, who lets Meenah chill out in his memory respiteblock. Karkat’s theme in this walkaround is a slower orchestral arrangement of his theme from the Act 5 Act 2 walkarounds, appropriately somber for his overwhelmment at meeting all the alpha trolls.

“Overwhelmment” is totally a real word, don’t let spell check fool you.

Karkat explores some nostalgic scenery we haven’t seen in a long time: a bright colorful Alternian forest. In the forest, you can see various possessions of Terezi’s that will easily remind you of the goofy colorful fake lawyer girl we’ve always loved.

Terezi might have had her eyesight healed at this point, most unfortunately.

In the memory forest, Karkat encounters a rather depressed-looking Terezi Pyrope. Are you ready for one of the most touching scenes in the entire comic? You better be.

> Karkat, talk to Terezi

KARKAT: TEREZI, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE ASLEEP.
TEREZI: SHRUG
KARKAT: WHY ARE YOU HERE ALL ALONE IN THE WOODS? OR THE PRETEND WOODS, I GUESS.
KARKAT: AND WHY DO YOU HAVE YOUR DRAGON COSPLAY PULLED DOWN LIKE THAT? IS SOMETHING THE MATTER?
TEREZI: NO
TEREZI: 1M F1N3
KARKAT: YOU DON’T SOUND FINE. DON’T BULLSHIT ME LIKE THAT, I KNOW WHEN SOMETHING’S UP WITH YOU.
TEREZI: K4RK4T PL34S3 JUST L34V3 M3 4LON3
KARKAT: OK, I GET IT IF YOU WANT SOME ALONE TIME. I MEAN, I ACTUALLY JUST GOT DONE SULKING THE FUCK OUT MYSELF JUST NOW. 
KARKAT: BUT IT REALLY HELPS TO TALK TO SOMEBODY. YOU CAN TALK TO ME ABOUT STUFF, YOU KNOW THAT RIGHT?
TEREZI: Y34H, 1 GU3SS
KARKAT: IS IT DAVE? DID HE DO SOMETHING DOUCHEY AGAIN?
TEREZI: …
KARKAT: DID HE BREAK UP WITH YOU? HE BROKE UP WITH YOU, DIDN’T HE. I KNEW IT, I COULD JUST SEE THE WRITING ON THE WA…
TEREZI: H3 D1DNT BR34K UP W1TH M3!!!
TEREZI: 1T H4S NOTH1NG TO DO W1TH D4V3
KARKAT: OK THEN WHAT
TEREZI: 1TS
TEREZI: MY 4NC3STOR
KARKAT: YEAH? WHAT ABOUT HER.
TEREZI: SH3
TEREZI: SH3S JUST
TEREZI: SO
TEREZI: R4D1C4L >:[

Kind of crazy that the first time Terezi appears in this intermission is not jamming it out with all the wacky dancestors, but sitting alone and depressed about hers. Terezi’s reaction to meeting the Beforan trolls is quite a sad subversion of expectations.

KARKAT: HUH?
TEREZI: 1 JUST D1D NOT KNOW 1T W4S 3V3N POSS1BL3
TEREZI: TO B3 SO R4D
TEREZI: 1 4LMOST C4NT H4NDL3 1T K4RK4T
TEREZI: TH3 R4DN3SS
TEREZI: HOW DO3S SH3 DO 1T?
KARKAT: WELL, LET’S SEE. SHE RIDES A FUCKING SKATEBOARD. AND THAT’S IT. PRETTY MUCH END OF THE EXPLANATION.
TEREZI: 1 TH1NK 1T 1S SO MUCH MOR3 TH4N TH4T
TEREZI: 3V3RYON3 LOV3S H3R
TEREZI: SH3 1S SO S4SSY 4ND FUN, SH3S TH3 B3ST 4T G4M3S, 4ND 4LL H3R STUNTS 4R3 1NCR3D1BL3
TEREZI: HOW 4M 1 SUPPOS3D TO M34SUR3 UP TO TH4T?
KARKAT: OH COME ON
KARKAT: DON’T TELL ME THIS IS GOING TO BE A THING WITH YOU NOW.
TEREZI: WH4T TH1NG?
KARKAT: A SELF ESTEEM THING.
KARKAT: YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT, IT’S JUST SO UNWARRANTED.
TEREZI: W3LL TH4TS HOW 1 F33L, SO TOO B4D!!!

As Terezi explains, Latula’s girl persona has many merits that make her popular and loved among the alpha trolls. She arguably raises a good point describing Latula’s popularity like this.

KARKAT: TEREZI, I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. YOU ARE *NOT* IN ANYONE’S SHADOW.
KARKAT: LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT OUR ANCESTORS.
KARKAT: THEY’RE ALL ASSHOLES!!!
TEREZI: >:|
TEREZI: SH3 1S NOT 4N 4SSHOL3
KARKAT: NO, SHE IS. TRUST ME.
KARKAT: THEY ALL ARE. AT LEAST THE VAST MAJORITY.
KARKAT: THEY PRACTICALLY AREN’T EVEN PEOPLE. THEY’RE WALKING, TALKING, LIKE…
KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUT IT. ALMOST LIKE LIVING PARODIES OF HORRIBLE, CLICHED BEHAVIOR PATTERNS.
TEREZI: WH4T, YOU M34N L1K3…
TEREZI: T33N4G3RS?
KARKAT: YES.
KARKAT: BUT IT’S MORE THAN JUST THAT. TAKE MY ANCESTOR FOR EXAMPLE.
KARKAT: TOTAL ASSHOLE! PROBABLY THE WORST ASSHOLE THERE IS.
KARKAT: YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE I GUESS HE DOESN’T YELL AT PEOPLE LIKE ME? BUT THAT PROBABLY MAKES IT WORSE.
KARKAT: HE JUST GOES ON AND ON ABOUT THE MOST SANCTIMONIOUS, INCOMPREHENSIBLE GARBAGE YOU EVER HEARD. HE THINKS HE’S BETTER THAN EVERYONE BUT THEN DRESSES IT UP IN THIS BOGUS HYPER-ACADEMIC HUMILITY. HE TRIES TO DEFEND PEOPLE WITH “PROBLEMS” BUT JUST WINDS UP INSULTING THOSE PEOPLE IN BACKHANDED WAYS. HE LECTURES PEOPLE ENDLESSLY, AND WHENEVER HE RISES TO THE “DEFENSE” OF HIS FRIENDS HE USUALLY ENDS UP GIVING THEM A BIG FUCK YOU BY BEING IMPLICITLY JUDGMENTAL.
KARKAT: I COULD REALLY GO ON FOREVER ABOUT HIM, BUT I WON’T, BECAUSE THEN I’D BE STOOPING TO HIS LEVEL.
TEREZI: H3H3…

After a funny bit where Terezi compares horrible cliched behavior patterns to “teenagers”, Karkat uses his ancestor as an example of how terrible the Beforan trolls all are. This is more of the media redemption effect I talked about during Karkat and Meenah’s conversation. I think that if there’s anything people can agree on about the Openbound games, it’s that Karkat’s criticisms of Kankri are extremely on-point.

TEREZI: H3H3…
KARKAT: AND YOUR ANCESTOR? YEAH, SHE’S “FUN” I GUESS. BUT TALK ABOUT A PHONY.
KARKAT: OH AND I DON’T GIVE A *FUCK* WHAT ANYONE SAYS, LOSING YOUR SENSE OF SMELL IS NOT A REAL DISABILITY!!!
KARKAT: HER RAD GIRL THING IS SUCH AN OBVIOUS ACT. SHE’S CLEARLY WORKED FOR SWEEPS ON PERFECTING IT, AND QUITE APPARENTLY REVELS IN THE ATTENTION IT GETS HER.
KARKAT: BUT THE FACT THAT SHE WORKS SO HARD ON IT IS EXACTLY WHY YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
KARKAT: YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO TRY TO BE THE GOOD PERSON YOU ALREADY ARE.
KARKAT: SEE, YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN AND BE LIKABLE BY JUST BEING YOURSELF. IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE PART OF SOME OVER THE TOP SCHTICK TO IMPRESS PEOPLE. WHEN SHE DOES THE RAD GIRL THING IT’S LIKE A DISGUISE, PROBABLY COVERING UP SOME PART OF HERSELF SHE’S UNHAPPY WITH. BUT WHEN YOU WITHDRAW AND COVER YOURSELF UP LIKE THAT, YOU’RE ACTUALLY JUST PREVENTING PEOPLE FROM SEEING SOMEONE WHO’S ALREADY BEAUTIFUL.

And here’s where it gets REALLY touching. Karkat provides the perfect counterargument against Terezi’s feelings of dancestor inferiority!!! It’s that Terezi is already cool and fun without having to go over the top, and covering herself prevents people from seeing that. I completely forgot just how touching his words to Terezi were and was moved by his speech rereading it.

A Vantas leaving a Pyrope speechless was kind of cute the first time, but mind-blowing the second time.

KARKAT: I KNOW I COMPLETELY FUCKED UP WITH YOU. THIS ISN’T, UH… OK. I’M NOT LIKE TRYING TO REDEEM MYSELF HERE. I MADE MY RECUPERACOON AND NOW I HAVE TO WRIGGLE AROUND IN ITS SLIME. I TOTALLY ACCEPT THAT. BUT AS YOUR FRIEND I REALLY DON’T WANT YOU TO START FEELING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF BECAUSE OF ONE OF THESE SHALLOW, TWO DIMENSIONAL DIPSHITS. BUT I TOTALLY CONCEDE THAT YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE ABOUT ME, AND I RESPECT YOUR DECISION. I JUST WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY IS ALL.
TEREZI: …
KARKAT: OK, I’M PROBABLY JUST STICKING MY FOOT IN MY FUCKING TALK BLASTER YET AGAIN, AND I’M PROBABLY MAKING YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. I GUESS I’LL GO BACK TO MY ROOM NOW. I HOPE YOU TAKE AT LEAST SOME OF WHAT I SAID SERIOUSLY THOUGH. 
KARKAT: UM. YEAH. OK, BYE.

What a hearty load of FEELS this whole scene was. It was so beautiful that it arguably redeems the entirety of Openbound Part 2. Might as well play as Terezi and go through the little that’s left of this walkaround.

Oh man, more nostalgia. I don’t know about you, but I badly miss the old Terezi. Goofy mind game Terezi makes a glorious return during the retcon quest in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, which is a part I’m rather excited to get to. Unfortunately that’s almost two thousand pages from now.

> Terezi, talk to Meenah

TEREZI: OH… H3Y
TEREZI: 1TS YOU
TEREZI: WH4T 4R3 YOU DO1NG 1N MY H1V3?
MEENAH: shit pyrope dont sniff at me
MEENAH: i was standin around in shoutkats place when it all dream switched on me outta nowhere
TEREZI: D1D YOU S33 H1M COM3 1N H3R3?
MEENAH: naw
MEENAH: wait you lookin for him now too?
TEREZI: Y3S
MEENAH: good luck with that the guys slippery as a goddamn eel
MEENAH: spent all day tracking him down myself
MEENAH: but i finally caught up with him a while ago
TEREZI: OH?
MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: and i think
MEENAH: we might be goin on a date later?
TEREZI: WH4T
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: maybe
MEENAH: i dunno if im misreadin his intent there
MEENAH: you might know better than me

Terezi’s conversation with Meenah is brief and a bit sad. Meenah accidentally rubs a bit of drama in Terezi’s face due to her extreme enthusiasm over Karkat.

TEREZI: WH4T D1D H3 S4Y?
MEENAH: well whatever the case is later hes goin to hop off the meteor and fight lord invincible with me
MEENAH: whatta you think am i readin too much into shit or
TEREZI: UMM…
TEREZI: SHRUG >:|
MEENAH: yeah guess well sea
MEENAH: anyway im out
MEENAH: this hive you got is craycray pyrope
MEENAH: can appreciate a girl with a gaudy sense a design

Karkat and Meenah’s romance arc is a bit testy, I must say. Meenah is all the way into it, Karkat appreciates a lot about her but isn’t quite as much into it.

After this conversation ends, you can play as Meenah again.


> Meenah, talk to Terezi

MEENAH: ps ur dragon outfit rules
TEREZI: >:]

This is another short, but surprisingly sweet compliment. I’m glad to see Terezi and Meenah’s exchange end on a positive note.

Meenah leaves the memory of Terezi’s hive and encounters Aranea once again in her exposition booth.

> Ask Aranea about Cherubquest.

ARANEA: I…
ARANEA: Still haven’t found her quite yet.
MEENAH: any leads or
ARANEA: Not really.
ARANEA: She’s apparently very well hidden!
MEENAH: um yeah sure
MEENAH: but
MEENAH: have you even really been lookin
ARANEA: Um…
MEENAH: or have you been fucking around with your lil exposition stand
ARANEA: I have 8een dividing my time efficiently. 8ut thank you for your concern.
MEENAH: it wasnt even that long ago we talked about other boring stuff
MEENAH: you had to drag your stand over to the top of this tree
MEENAH: like all waitin for me up here
MEENAH: how long did that take
ARANEA: Never mind a8out that!
ARANEA: And yes, I did stop along the way to explain some important things to people.
ARANEA: People are curious a8out information, Meenah. They want to KNOW things, alright?
MEENAH: they want to know…
MEENAH: or you want to tell them?
ARANEA: 8oth!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: ok lemme ask this
MEENAH: did you pay them so you could explain stuff
ARANEA: …
ARANEA: Yes.
ARANEA: SO????????

In the last walkaround Aranea poked at Meenah in the last walkaround for her insatiable love for money; now it’s time for Meenah to poke at Aranea for her insatiable love for telling stories. Aranea’s exposition fetish is so funny, I don’t care what anyone says.

MEENAH: so how long would you estimate you spent cherub hunting in between your splainins
ARANEA: I…
ARANEA: Look. Finding this cheru8 was always going to 8e a slow 8urning quest. It is an intricate, layered mystery that can’t 8e rushed. I’m working up to it!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: aranea serket i have somefin to explain to you at no expense
MEENAH: i find your humorously ineffective approach to this quest to be max adorbs

The cherubquest was only introduced in the last walkaround game and it’s already turned into a pointless joke. Aranea still doesn’t know she’s looking for the wrong version of Calliope, and neither do we.

Oh yeah, here are my introduction paragraphs for the four trolls we met in this walkaround:

  • Cronus Ampora is a joke character.
  • Mituna Captor is a joke character.
  • Meulin Leijon is a joke character.
  • Kurloz Makara does one thing arguably relevant to the plot but is otherwise a joke character.
(I’ll recap and evaluate these characters in earnest at the end of this post.)

> Tell me about Cronus Ampora.

ARANEA: The 8ard of Hope may seem a little jaded these days, 8ut he once had a deeply a8iding faith in magic, and dedicated himself to 8ecoming a great wizard. He 8ecame convinced he was hatched to defeat an extraordinarily evil magician, one he swore the angels foretold of. Though when pressed for the name of the man, he would not say it, claiming it was too dangerous to even enunciate. Part of his self-aggrandizing mythos was that this magician once somehow from afar tried to strike him down at a young age, so he would never have to face him. 8ut the evil spell was deflected, sealing the magician’s spirit away in a series of unassuming vessels until he could find some other cunning way to enter our universe. 

I find Cronus’s wizard backstory to be very interesting and not because it’s a blatant Harry Potter ripoff. Cronus’s old belief in magic sounds to me like a rival religion to the Makaras’ clown religion. Most religions and mythologies in Homestuck center around real characters, like the Handmaid or the Subjugglators, and Cronus’s old religion is no exception. Cronus’s period of believing in magic was probably during their Sburb session, because Aranea mentions angels which were also found on Eridan’s planet and evidence shows the Beforan trolls’ planets were mostly the same as the Alternian trolls’ planets. Aranea suggests that the angels Eridan massacred may have been prophets of some sort, only befitting of a Hero of Hope. The Prince of Hope outright destroyed those angels; the Bard of Hope, on the other hand, indirectly allowed his faith in angels to be destroyed.

ARANEA: The attack supposedly left him with his distinctive scar, which he was not reluctant to point out when trying to hit on me. Uh, I mean, he wasn’t reluctant to mention it in casual conversation.

I wonder if Cronus viewed his post-scratch self, Orphaner Dualscar, as a figure in his religion. If the angels knew about Lord English, then it isn’t far-fetched to assume they knew about Alternia. Maybe when Cronus got his scar, he was reminded of Dualscar and hoped that pointing his scar out to Aranea would echo Mindfang and Dualscar’s black relationship. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for everyone else), just because two people were in a relationship on one side of the scratch doesn’t mean they are in any way “fated” for each other.

ARANEA: 8ut at some point he 8ecame disillusioned with magic. If there ever was any truth to his far fetched vision, the legacy of defeating the evil magician would have to 8e passed on to his descendant, or if his descendant proved to 8e as much of a failure as he did, then perhaps on to some other Hero of Hope. 

“Some other Hero of Hope” is obviously Jake, who we now know dealt Caliborn his first defeat. Cronus’s visions did indeed have some truth to them, but he didn’t realize that a whole different Hero of Hope was fated to face Lord English. Cronus’s whole childhood encounter was probably a slip-up on English’s part.

ARANEA: I’m unsure why he suffered this crisis of faith, aside from the o8vious reasons having to do with an overall lack of character, or any other redeeming qualities. Perhaps someone talked him out of his 8eliefs. May8e a friend close to him. Or, if one is to 8elieve his fantasy held any water, perhaps someone who was in league with the evil magician. 

Someone who was in league with the evil magician? Yeah, that was probably Kurloz. It only makes sense that English’s loyal worshipper brutally cancelled the Cronus vs. Lord English plotline long before the story started.

ARANEA: Whatever the case, it was pro8a8ly for the 8est, since pretty much everyone who had half a think pan thought it was all a 8unch of ridiculous nonsense.
MEENAH: serket why do you got to hate on other peoples religions
MEENAH: dont you kno they just as much a load of crackpotty bunk as all your spiritual bullfuck
ARANEA: 8ut I……..
ARANEA: Yes, I guess I was out of line. 
ARANEA: Sorry, I was just trying to riff with you little on a mutually disliked acquaintance. Is that really so 8ad? Why do you have to take every opportunity to knock my personal 8eliefs?
ARANEA: You can really 8e so mean sometimes.
MEENAH: can i have my money now
ARANEA: Yes. Here.

Meenah calls Aranea out for making fun of Cronus’s old religion when she has absurd spiritual beliefs too. Meenah raises a surprisingly good point about Aranea’s hypocrisy considering everyone hates Cronus.

> Tell me about Mituna Captor.

ARANEA: The Heir of Doom was once a powerful psionic. He was gifted with vision twofold, and had strong prophetic insights wherever a 8leak future was concerned. He had much to say when it came to warning us a8out the path of doom and destruction we were all headed for, 8ut no one took him very seriously. 8ut one day he lost all those a8ilities when he 8adly overexerted himself. It’s hard to get any specifics from him, 8ut indications are that he applied every last 8it of energy he had toward some great act of heroism, saving us all from some looming threat. Not only did his exertion permanently 8urn out his psychic a8ilities, 8ut it left him somewhat… er. Incoherent.

Mituna’s backstory is an obvious echo of Sollux’s with a much more tragic ending. Sollux’s doom visions played an important part in the plot—remember the whole thing where Aradia lied through omission to convince him to develop Sgrub? Mituna’s doom visions unfortunately weren’t very useful, because none of his friends took him seriously and then he lost all his powers after saving them from a looming threat.

MEENAH: yeah i always wondered what happened there
MEENAH: anyone ever get to the bottom a that
ARANEA: No. The entire incident is shrouded in mystery. From his limited and scattered accounts of what happened, it seems very likely that Kurloz was with him at the time, as the only eye witness. And of course it’s impossi8le to get any relia8le information out of him. I guess we may never know, sadly.
MEENAH: hey this was actually kinda interesting
MEENAH: it was W-ELL worth taking the money youre givin me to put up with it
ARANEA: Agreed! ::::D

Aranea’s exposition on Mituna’s backstory is accompanied by yet another hint that Kurloz was an unseen hand in the Beforans’ session. It really seems like Kurloz was the ultimate secret manipulator among the alpha trolls (for now).

The exact details of Mituna’s accident are to this day a mystery. I suspect that when the Homestuck book containing this act comes out, Hussie’s book commentary will give a thrown-together idea or two of what it might have been, but given the rate the books are coming out that probably won’t happen until at least two years from now. So for now I’m going to guess that knowing Kurloz, the looming threat Mituna saved the alpha trolls from probably involved either Lord English or your usual run-of-the-mill clown nonsense.

> Tell me about Kurloz Makara.

ARANEA: Prince of Rage actually used to 8e quite talkative. That is, until he had a nightmare which prompted a 8izarre incident, after which he would never speak again. He took a sort of spiritual vow of silence, which I’m sure was pro8a8ly related to his esoteric faith. Thereafter he 8ecame infuriatingly enigmatic. I’ve found it impossi8le to get any info out of him, 8etween his am8iguous mimes and penchant for riddles. It’s very frustrating, especially for someone like me, who has a passion for gathering as many facts a8out our story as possi8le.

Kurloz’s god tier title is the same as Gamzee’s, but active instead of passive. It makes sense because Kurloz serves Lord English in more straightforward ways than Gamzee’s complicated time loops. You could almost say that Gamzee is an exaggerated version of Kurloz, not the other way around.

ARANEA: Want to know a secret? Please don’t tell anyone, 8ut I really can’t stand the guy.
ARANEA: It’s pro8a8ly unfair to him 8ecause he is o8viously such a sweet and harmless fellow. 8ut something a8out him ru8s me the wrong way. I guess I can just 8e a little petty sometimes. 
MEENAH: yeah…
MEENAH: wow serket
MEENAH: just wow so rude
MEENAH: poor clown
ARANEA: Don’t give me that! I seem to remem8er you having more than a few unkind words for him 8ehind his 8ack.
MEENAH: yeah im messin witchu he sux
MEENAH: so
MEENAH: conversation over?
ARANEA: Yes.
MEENAH: ka
MEENAH: ching

The funny thing is, Aranea could well be right about Kurloz being sweet and harmless. When it all comes down to it, Kurloz and Gamzee’s religion really does seem to be nothing more than clown nonsense. Wait, let me correct myself now that the epilogues are a thing. As long as dear sweet Roxy of all people isn’t sucked into that cult, Kurloz and Gamzee’s religion is nothing more than clown nonsense.

> Tell me about Meulin Leijon.

ARANEA: Mage of Heart as you know is an ardent disciple of the romantic sciences. She has a well earned reputation as a miracle worker when it comes to match making. 8ut her own romantic history ironically has 8een riddled with trou8le and heart8reak.
ARANEA: Once, well 8efore our session 8egan, she and Kurloz were in a very loving matespritship. It really seemed to everyone they were made for each other. One day, they fell asleep together. Kurloz then had a nightmare so terrifying, he released the most dreadful sound imagina8le. It truly echoed the horror of the Vast Honk itself. The noise was so loud and so awful, Meulin went completely deaf, and her hearing never recovered. Kurloz was undou8tedly devastated 8y what he’d done to her. He was so distraught, he sewed his mouth shut, and has never spoken a word since.
ARANEA: Though they drifted apart as matesprits, Meulin never held it against him, and even seemed to take delight in learning new ways to communicate. They continued to remain very close to this day. May8e a little too close, if you ask me. It’s clear that her sympathies have 8een gradually swayed in support of the High8lood’s cult. She stays private a8out her 8eliefs, 8ut now and then I’ll notice she lets some tenet of mirthful doctrine slip out. 

The story of how Meulin went deaf is surprisingly unsettling, especially compared to the farce that was Latula’s loss of her sense of smell. It really seems like Kurloz was behind everything in the alpha trolls’ session that wasn’t a complete joke.

ARANEA: I suppose I shouldn’t 8e too concerned though, since it’s almost certainly a lot of harmless superstition.
MEENAH: )(ONK
ARANEA: Honk honk! ::::)
MEENAH: lol im glad we can both agree that clowny fuckin soda cult is the dumbest shit ever
ARANEA: Yes. Now here is your money. Thanks for listening!
MEENAH: serks do you even know how silly yall are
MEENAH: ❤

The dramatic irony is obvious to first-time readers. But if you’re rereading knowing Damara’s backstory it’s kind of double dramatic irony, if that’s a concept that makes any sort of sense. In Openbound Part 3 we learn all about Damara’s role as in the alpha session; after that point, I think Kurloz can be reevaluated to only have taken part in events directly related to his clown religion while Damara was the real unseen hand behind their failure.

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

… And that’s the end of Openbound Part 2! Final verdict: it’s considerably more flawed than Part 1. The new characters are much more obnoxious than last time, with hardly even a semblance of not being joke characters. However, the last portion of the walkaround with Meenah, Karkat, and Terezi is spectacular and arguably makes up for the entire thing. Especially Karkat’s encouraging conversation with Terezi about their ancestors; if you didn’t get EXTREME FEELS reading that part then you are a stone cold liar.

I don’t know if I’d call myself an Openbound Part 2 apologist like I am with Part 1, but I will say the final part of the walkaround is nothing to sleep on and cannot be experienced without trudging through the four new trolls we meet.

See you next time as John and Vriska reunite at long last. And see you next time after that for Openbound Part 3! This has been a productive month for my post series.

>> Part 89: Return of the Egbert-Serket Chronicles

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 86: Oh God, It’s Those Characters

Introduction

Part 85 | Part 86 | Part 87 >


Act 6 Intermission 3, Part 1 of 6

Page 5263 (MSPA: 7163) [Openbound: Part 1]

Welcome to eternal hell, as the saying goes.

Also, this is my first Homestuck post to only cover one page.



Time to begin Act 6 Intermission 3 of Homestuck! This act is unusual because most of its content is in three walkaround games focused primarily on Meenah and her Beforan friends. Those walkarounds are collectively referred to as Openbound; individually as Openbound Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3; and they’re one of the most polarizing parts of the comic. Many people hate Openbound with a passion, and it is my goal to see if it is really as bad as people say.

These walkarounds are interspersed with regular pages focusing on the beta kids, plus a flash at the end called Ministrife. I’ve said this before, but to reiterate, each walkaround game will take up an entire blog post; the intermittent pages will also take up one blog post each, including the pages after Openbound Part 3. This means Act 6 Intermission 3 will be divided into six posts total.

When I first read Homestuck, Openbound was two years old.

Now it’s almost seven. And everyone thinks it’s called Meenahquest now.

The Openbound loading screen gives me immense nostalgia. When I first read this part in 2014, I remember waiting ten minutes or more for it to load. Now it barely takes ten seconds. Oh, how the times have changed.

Openbound Part 1 starts with a little Flash cutscene where Meenah Peixes watches the Furthest Ring’s destruction and runs downstairs in excitement. To view it on homestuck.com, you need to be extra sure Flash is enabled and you may need to refresh a few times for it to work. If Flash isn’t enabled specifically for this page, the cutscene won’t play and it’ll skip straight to the walkaround, which is programmed in HTML5.

The Furthest Ring cutscene is cool but it isn’t a huge deal if you miss it, which is a good thing here because you might not be able to properly view it. The first A6I3 episode of Let’s Read Homestuck includes that cutscene, if you want to watch it.


After the cutscene, the walkaround itself begins with you playing as Meenah exploring a dream bubble. As per tradition, if you go out of your way to explore hidden places you’ll find lots of interesting stuff in chests. Here’s one of the first things you can find:

> open

You got a DIRTY OLD FEDORA!

Totally useless. This nasty trash isn’t coming anywhere close to your head. Doesn’t even have horn holes. Looks like something an archaeologist would wear. You wonder whose memory this is?

#hornless troll indiana jones hat

This is the first of many cool little hints for attentive readers. This one hints at the first character Meenah will meet in these bubbles, who is…

… none other than our old friend Aradia Megido, still wearing her fairy time outfit.


As Meenah is angered to see what she assumes is Damara, you’ll probably notice that the dialogue format in this walkaround is a bit different from prior ones. It now has elements inspired by social media, Tumblr in particular which was a HUGE hub for Homestuck fans back in the day. Some still use it, while others have moved to sites like Amino and, for reasons I can not even BEGIN to comprehend, Twitter.

But now’s not a time for a history lesson about the Homestuck fandom or complaints about sides of the fandom I find annoying. That’s much better discussed when we actually meet the other Beforan trolls.

Anyway, Meenah’s exchange with Aradia is brief and serves as a quick introduction to the world of this walkaround. 

> Meenah, talk to Aradia

ARADIA: greetings!
ARADIA: ive been meaning to say hello since you arrived
MEENAH: …
MEENAH: M-EGIDO???
 #aw hell no
ARADIA: yes but not the one youre thinking of
MEENAH: which one then
ARADIA: i like to consider myself as something of a caretaker for this place
 #you know #the afterlife?
ARADIA: id refer to myself as an excellent host but that has become kind of a loaded phrase
 #:D


Aradia starts by introducing her role in the story since she left the meteor crew behind. She now plays the role of a caretaker and guide to the dream bubbles, as we saw her do a few times back in Act 5 Act 2.

MEENAH: you look like megido
MEENAH: but you sure dont sound like any megido i know
ARADIA: i should hope not!


After that, we get a subtle hint that the alpha trolls’ Megido is an oddball among her group, in a much more negative way than Aradia ever was. This line also amusingly implies Aradia met her dancestor and couldn’t stand her, which begins a subplot where the Alternian trolls meet their Beforan counterparts. Every Alternian/Beforan pair of corresponding trolls is shown or implied to have met at some point in this act, except for Sollux and Mituna. Karkat provides a great discussion on this topic in Openbound Part 2.

ARADIA: anyway those of us who are concerned with the preservation of reality have been looking forward to this day for some time
 #even though ‘time’ is really just a figure of speech here
MEENAH: why would you be lookin forward to this shit
 #the sky just broke #stupid fairy
ARADIA: not the devastation so much as your arrival
ARADIA: you have some big plans yes?
MEENAH: …
 #maybe
MEENAH: whats it to you
ARADIA: oh nothing! i am merely extending the courtesy of a formal welcome
ARADIA: now off with you! go find your friends
ARADIA: that IS why youve finally come out of your palace isnt it?
MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: guess ill get goin then
 #but i got my eye on you #megido lookin fairy
ARADIA: ta!


This conversation ends with Aradia demonstrating her caretaker role in real time by encouraging Meenah to find her friends.


At the end of each conversation in Openbound, we get icons based on the standard icons for reacting to a Tumblr post: spade, heart, and rebubble. Clicking the rebubble icon generates a randomized blurb poking fun at the workings of social media. Say what you will about Openbound, but going through it in the year 2019 I find the social media satire funny so far.

> open chest to the left of Aradia

You got some ANCIENT SERPENT BONES!

Again, a strange thing to find. Who here would have a memory of these? Huge prehistoric green serpents have always played a major role in your people’s mythology, both before and after your session scratched. Of course, only people with an interest in ancient lore and dusty old bones give a crap about that. You’re much more interested in their monetary value. Hopefully you can find a sucker to pay up for them big time.

 #where’s the prawn shop in this bitch

It was speculated at one point that these bones had to do with Abraxas, the green serpent who is known to be Jake’s denizen and speculated to be Karkat’s denizen. Now of course it’s clearly an early hint at cherub biology, but I’m pretty sure the MSPA wiki still lists that as having to do with Abraxas somewhere.

Did I ever mention the MSPA wiki kind of sucks??? As do pretty much all wikis hosted on Wikia, wait I mean FANDOM. (Though to be fair, it’s not unreasonable to assume Abraxas is in some way connected to cherubs.)

If you go to that chest like I just did and then go back, Aradia will play her amusing little caretaker role once again:

ARADIA: lost?
MEENAH: i uh
MEENAH: went the wrong way
ARADIA: yes thats a dead end
ARADIA: where you want to go is
ARADIA: THAT way
ARADIA: *nk-nkt*
 #double pistols #and a 😉
MEENAH: thanks
MEENAH: weirdo


I have to say, god tier Aradia is quite a treasure.


The scenery gets more interesting as Meenah explores the second area of the game. I’ve always liked to imagine the Openbound scenery is what the Beforus trolls’ Sburb planets looked like, though much of it could just as likely be Beforus itself or Alternian trolls’ memories. It’s probably up to the reader’s interpretation.

In this area you can find Aranea, Rose, Kanaya, and Dave in that order. Here’s a chest of note:

> open chest northeast of Aranea

You got the THORNS OF OGLOGOTH! 

Any sane adventurer would cast these instruments of the occult into the furthest ring and forget they ever existed. And… it looks like someone did just that?

 #a wise move

Good subtle character development right there. A bit of a surprise to see that there, after a bunch of inconsequential chests earlier.

Dave’s absurdist social media is gloriously revisited in the Meat Epilogue.

Also, just look at this 2012 Twitter interface.


Next to that chest we get a funny little demonstration of Dave’s love for absurdist social media: a little bubble that posts randomized Dave quotes much like real-world automated or otherwise gimmicky Twitter accounts.

(The three best automated/gimmick accounts on Twitter in no order are as follows: [1], [2], [3]. You’re welcome.)

(Actually, who am I kidding. The third is obviously the best.)


> Meenah, talk to Aranea

ARANEA: There you are!
ARANEA: Haven’t seen much of you since you joined us in the afterlife. I know you are “royalty” and all, 8ut it isn’t very socia8le of you to lock yourself in your lavish moon hive forever.
 #Everyone has missed you!
MEENAH: well im here now arent i
ARANEA: Yes. And it’s good thing you are. I was just a8out to come find you, so we could discuss the recent… Calamity. Out in the a8yss.
 #Wordplay #8 letter words #Oh yes
MEENAH: yeah!!! so you saw it too huh
 #splosions
MEENAH: that was the guy right
 #skull guy #laser breath
MEENAH: lord somefin
 #uh
MEENAH: clamiborn? whatd you say his shit was again
ARANEA: I’d try to avoid saying his true name.
 #8ad juju
MEENAH: whats it matter
MEENAH: hes already here aint he
 #heheh
ARANEA: I guess. 8ut yes, the Lord of Time was responsi8le for the destruction of that dream 8u88le, and the murder of all those innocent ghosts.
 #Ghost murder #Second death #Soulicide



Openbound continues the tradition of following grandiose flashes with textual recaps, and what better character to recap things in detail than Aranea Serket? At this point in the comic, Aranea serves as the go-to character to exposit about mysterious things; I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the reason Hussie decided to make her such a major character. She clarifies that Caliborn is Lord English if it wasn’t obvious already, and accordingly reveals his class.

MEENAH: anyway that explosion kicked ass
MEENAH: splosions rule the school!!! 38D 
 #like school of fishes i mean #38D #38D #38D
ARANEA: I agree that it’s more excitement than we’ve seen here for millenia. 8ut all of us here in the afterlife are in serious danger of 8eing extermin8ed!!!!!!!!
 #Um……..
ARANEA: Again.
 #!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: yeah i got that
MEENAH: i figured id have to be the heroe and bail you suckas out again
 #this time i might not even blow yall up w a bomb
ARANEA: Oh really?
ARANEA: What exactly is your plan?
 #I’m very curious!
MEENAH: to get all us ghosts here to team up and kill that asshole
 #duh
ARANEA: What!
ARANEA: Oh, Meenah. That is such a terri8le idea.
 #Poor death choices
MEENAH: yeah right
MEENAH: like you have a better idea
ARANEA: As a matter of fact, I do! ::::)


I’m quoting this part of the conversation because it’s a lead-in to the next thing Meenah and Aranea talk about: their respective plans for how to kill Lord English.

> Meenah, ask about friends

MEENAH: so where is everymoby i wanna talk to them bout somefin
 #dead fronds #ghostbros #haunt pals #idk
ARANEA: I 8elieve most of our friends have gathered in this dream 8u88le.
ARANEA: You should 8e a8le to find them if you explore a 8it.
ARANEA: What do you want to talk to them a8out?
MEENAH: gotta get the gang back together
 #alpha troll reunion yo


Let’s talk about hashtags. <- a sentence I never thought I would say in a Homestuck blog post before

Throughout the Openbound games, hashtags add a second layer to the dialogue that has so far been mostly used for side remarks or puns. But on occasion, they are actually useful for making clarifications that might be of place in proper dialogue, like the case shown above which confirms that the Beforan trolls are the alpha trolls just like the post-scratch kids are the alpha kids.

Hashtags have been a harmless addition so far, but keep in mind the social media satire will kick into HIGH gear the moment we meet Kankri.

MEENAH: take down the douche of time
MEENAH: you say hes invincible but i think thats exactly the kind of loser bs that made us lose like a bunch of fuckin losers in the first losin place
 #losers #losing experts #lossmasters #failpros

By claiming the trolls shouldn’t give up just because Lord English is “invincible”, Meenah demonstrates yet again that even though she grew up on Beforus, she’s an Alternian down to the core.

MEENAH: if we build an army
 #or maybe…
MEENAH: a G)(OST army 38D
MEENAH: think a how glubbin sick would that be
 #so sick
ARANEA: Sick, perhaps. 8ut not a very good strategy!
ARANEA: You will just 8e leading everyone into permanent o8livion. At least you will without coming up with a 8etter plan first.
MEENAH: then whats your awesome idea
ARANEA: To 8e a little more patient. 
 #Patience #Peixes #Alliterative assonance
ARANEA: I have 8een following clues regarding the wherea8outs of a secret weapon that may 8e the key to defeating him. 
MEENAH: oh reely
MEENAH: whats the weaprawn
ARANEA: The weaprawn…….. weapon, I mean, is not a what, 8ut a who.
 #Weaprawn? #Really, Meenah?
ARANEA: She is the other cheru8. The Lord’s female counterpart, who once occupied the same 8ody.
 #Aliens
ARANEA: 8ut when they reached maturity, his personality dominated the host, assuming complete control. 
 #Xeno8iologically fascinating species
ARANEA: She technically died that day, and now her spirit presuma8ly roams somewhere out here in the Furthest Ring.
 #Or so the legend goes
ARANEA: We need to find her 8efore he does. He will surely want to finish her off.


The lost cherub part of the plan to kill Lord English has always felt weird to me. Aranea talks about it during the Openbound games without making progress, then it’s put on the backburner long before we meet the god tier version of Calliope, who is the actual lost cherub. I feel like this red herring could have been better executed, perhaps with some sneaky lies of omission that seem obvious in retrospect.

MEENAH: ok i didnt really follow any of that junk so uh
MEENAH: you go right ahead and find your cherub girl
MEENAH: ima be right here building my ghost army B–E-EYOTC)(
 #ghost army #beeyotch #fyeah
ARANEA: Very well. 8est of luck with that!
ARANEA: 8ut try to remem8er it has 8een a very long time since any of our friends have done anything important at all.
 #Like, almost eternity
ARANEA: It may 8e more difficult to find recruits for your army than you think.
 #I hope you like frustrating conversations


Through hashtags, Aranea gives readers a sort of warning as to what to expect in Openbound. This is another use of hashtags in these walkarounds: to insert text that may slightly break the fourth wall.


The next character Meenah meets is Rose Lalonde, standing in a small bit of Derse scenery.

> open chest next to Rose

You got a copy of COMPLACENCY OF THE LEARNED!

Wow this looks really… huh? It just disappeared from your hand in a crazy blur. What the… oh, that human girl has it. She looks like she’s enjoying it a lot more than you ever would. You’ll let her have this one.

 #probably wasn’t worth jack anyway

This is another interesting Rose-related bit. In the pre-retcon timeline, it looks like she managed to get her hands on her post-scratch self’s literature and seems to really enjoy reading it. It pleases me that Rose discusses her scratched self’s work in the epilogues (especially with Dirk in Meat), so that little bit isn’t forgotten.

(god, I love the Homestuck Epilogues so much)

> Meenah, talk to Rose

MEENAH: hey!!!!
ROSE: Hello.
MEENAH: its uh
MEENAH: YOU
ROSE: Yes.
MEENAH: human right
 #where da horns at #so weird
ROSE: That’s right.
ROSE: Rose, more specifically.
MEENAH: who cares listen human girl wanna ask ya somefin
ROSE: You’re not very good at this, are you?
MEENAH: wut
ROSE: Talking to people.
MEENAH: hey eff you
ROSE: It’s ok that you are. I’m not trying to criticize.
 #I can kind of relate, actually.

Rose starts the same as ever when talking to Meenah, but when you get to the last line quoted above you can immediately tell Rose’s personality has changed quite a bit.

ROSE: I’ve heard some things about you. That pink rocky environment back there. That’s a memory of your home, right?
 #Beforan moon
MEENAH: 
 #…
ROSE: You renounced the throne and ran away to the moon, didn’t you? And then you lived there completely alone for… how many years?
MEENAH: what are years
ROSE: I think I’m starting to lose track of what a year is myself. That seems to be what happens when you spend enough time out here.
 #Abyss madness #Meteor fever
MEENAH: uh
ROSE: I’m just curious about you. You seem like an interesting person who probably has a lot of stories to tell.
 #Also, I like your braids.
ROSE: From what I understand, you discovered something on the moon which originally contained your copy of the game? Is that true?
MEENAH: …
 #dot #dot #dot
ROSE: Maybe we could spend some time together and get to know each other? When you have the chance, of course.


For whatever reason, Rose is now flirting HARD with Meenah—almost Roxy-tier flirting. My guess is she’s going through a flirty lesbian teenager phase, acting unusually polite to the ladies. Makes sense because the beta kids are now about the same age as the alpha kids.

I’ll discuss Rose’s current flirtiness in more detail when Meenah talks to Kanaya, but for know let it be known that Rose is blatantly, unmistakably gay. Maybe even more so than Dirk is.

> Meenah, ask Rose to join

MEENAH: sooooo
MEENAH: extra talky human
MEENAH: its me again
 #suuup
ROSE: Hey!
 #:)


OH GOD, THE SMILEY FACE. Flirty Rose is wonderfully discomforting.

MEENAH: got a porpoisition for ya
MEENAH: you know that bad guy
MEENAH: just wrecked the sky and killed some dead mofos
 #rainbow barfer
ROSE: Lord English?
ROSE: Yes, I know of him.
MEENAH: wanna team up with me and kill him or…
ROSE: Absolutely.
MEENAH: yay!!!! 38D
 #word
ROSE: But later. 
 #Much later, really.
MEENAH: gfd
 #ugh
ROSE: We can’t interrupt the plan which has been put into inexorable motion. Or for that matter, the meteor we’re traveling on, which has been similarly propelled.
 #Troll Isaac Newton
ROSE: We have to rendezvous with our rebooted “ancestors,” as it were, and help them win their game.
 #Alpha players #Teen guardians #Fun
ROSE: In the process, we will ideally become stronger and more experienced. Only then will we be ready to help you defeat him.
 #Additional fun
MEENAH: oh my glub you really are serketting the fuck outta this
 #blahblahblahblahblah
MEENAH: come on stop overplanning lets all just fly away together and wreck his shit
MEENAH: there are like billions a ghosts out here right we got numbers on our side
 #BILLIONS #i mean #probably
ROSE: Yes. But even if I agreed, I couldn’t just fly away with you now.
ROSE: I’m not even standing here. I’m asleep on our meteor. This is a dream projection you’re talking to.
 #Kind of like a hologram, I guess?
MEENAH: wut
 #wut
ROSE: You’re new to dream bubbles, aren’t you.
ROSE: I would be more than happy to explain to you how they work in extensive detail.
MEENAH: ugh
MEENAH: LIG)(T PLAY-ERS
MEENAH: later rosefang

When Rose explains in detail why she can’t join Meenah’s army just yet, Meenah is annoyed and compares her to Aranea. Typically readers will think, “holy shit that comparison makes perfect sense”, but I think Rose’s similarity to Aranea is a newfound side effect of her slight change in personality.


Standing near Rose is of course her maybe-girlfriend, Kanaya Maryam.

> Meenah, talk to Kanaya

MEENAH: oh hey the maryam looking girl
MEENAH: what is the deal with you
KANAYA: The Deal With The Maryam Looking Girl Is That She Is Wondering What The Deal Is With The Peixes Looking Girl And Specifically Why The Former Has Piqued The Latters Curiosity
 #The Deal With Things #The Topic Of Wonder #People Looking People


Kanaya gets off to a strong start in this act. Also, she uses hashtags in a much more detailed, organized way than other characters seem to. Surprisingly different from how Rose does, actually.

MEENAH: looks like you got the rainbow drinker thing going on too
 #damn #ur blindin me girl #the goggles do nofin
KANAYA: I Suppose
MEENAH: so
MEENAH: you go around lookin like that all the time or
KANAYA: To My Knowledge Yes
 #Kind Of Personal?
MEENAH: heh
KANAYA: Is There An Alternative Degree Of Auto Luminescence I Should Be Aware Of
KANAYA: And If So How Foolish Should I Feel For Only Learning About It Now
 #On A Scale Of One To Idiot
MEENAH: im no drinker buff but yeah our maryam figured out how to control it
KANAYA: Really
MEENAH: she probably had more time to figure it out than you
MEENAH: when youre stuck in a busted session for three sweeps without much to do you figure some stuff out about yourself


Through discussing Porrim’s status as a rainbow drinker, Meenah reveals that the alpha trolls’ session lasted three entire sweeps before they scratched the game. That’s over six human years, which is pretty head-spinning. This timespan demonstrates the Beforus trolls’ inertia and incompetence incredibly well. They weren’t even stuck in a void session waiting five months for help like the alpha kids were. So I guess it makes sense that with this much time on their hands they figured out things our other heroes couldn’t.

MEENAH: not my buzzbug wax but maybe you should axe her
 #buzzbugs #bzzzzz #hehe
KANAYA: I Dont Think So
MEENAH: why not
KANAYA: Id Like To
KANAYA: But I Cant Get Up The Nerve
MEENAH: aw come on shes cool
 #you check out her ink yet #fucken dope
KANAYA: Yes
KANAYA: She Is An Amazing Person
KANAYA: And It Is Very Intimidating
KANAYA: I Had The Same Feelings Of Trepidation The Last Time I Encountered Someone I Admired


Kanaya is the second Alternian troll to discuss the topic of meeting her dancestor, and it provides some pretty neat insight into her character. Around most people Kanaya is a cold, dutiful meddler, but that shatters into pieces when she finds someone she admires. First she had conflicting feelings with Vriska which made her feel terrible when she realized Vriska fucking sucks, then she was an embarrassing mess trying to obliquely win Rose’s heart, and now she won’t talk to her cool inspiring ancestor because she doesn’t want to get into a similar mess.

MEENAH: oh yeah who was that
KANAYA: …
 # 
MEENAH: huh
MEENAH: you mean
MEENAH: her over there
MEENAH: talky girl in the orange nighty jams
 #her??
KANAYA: …
 # # 
MEENAH: i seaaa
MEENAH: saw you two hangin together last time
MEENAH: she your g frond
MEENAH: the red sort i mean
KANAYA: …
 # # # 
KANAYA: Maybe
 # # # # #Additional Bashfully Blank Hash Tags


THE BIG REVEAL. Or half-reveal, more accurately. This whole act has a subplot of teasing Rose and Kanaya as a pairing until they finally kiss, the former extremely drunk. Now’s a good time to discuss Rose and Kanaya’s relationship as a whole, or more specifically what it has in common with a different ship.

Rose and Kanaya’s relationship has a lot in common with John and Roxy’s relationship knowing how things go in the Candy Epilogue. Both pairs of characters very obviously make a good match and are extremely cute together; both have plenty of joyful shippy conversations after they meet; both have one member nervously say “maybe” when asked about their relationship. But in both cases, once they get together their relationship goes way downhill. One hurt by Rose’s alcoholism and Kanaya’s excessive trust; the other hurt by John’s canonicity issues, Jane’s fascism, and possibly also Roxy’s identity issues.

Homestuck has a strange pattern where when two characters are officially dating, they hardly say a word to each other onscreen when not influenced by alcohol or cherub candy. The epilogues keep that pattern alive with married couples, which unfortunately includes John and Roxy; the only exception is Rose and Kanaya, who indeed say many words to each other. Those two were lucky enough to get a second chance at a good relationship after the retcon, which led to their marriage. The end of Candy seems to offer John and Roxy a second chance too, with Roxy having cut ties with Jane, and her and Jake helping John get over his canonicity issues.

That sure was a tangent there, about an observation I just made. Let’s go back to Meenah—how does she react to Rose and Kanaya maybe being a relationship?

She simply says:

MEENAH: thats adorbs yo

which is unexpectedly sweet of her. Kind of reminds me of Terezi’s reaction to John and Roxy’s flirting.

> Meenah, ask Kanaya to join

MEENAH: hey maryam lookalike lets go kick the fuck outa skullzilla
KANAYA: I Was About To Respond Favorably
KANAYA: But Then I Glanced Over At Rose
KANAYA: And She Was Just Shaking Her Head At Me Very Slowly And Kind Of Knowingly
 #The Limitless Mysteries Of Her Wisdom Know No Bounds #Human Sarcasm


This bit is obviously evidence that Rose and Kanaya are together. But you could see it as a hint at a negative aspect of both the two ships I just talked about: one insistently does whatever the other wants, which eventually leads to upsetting tension.

… I’m probably talking out of my ass here, but overanalyzing things is FUN.

MEENAH: no u silly drinker shes just fucking with you
KANAYA: Oh Probably
KANAYA: But Lets Be Realistic Here The Answer Was Probably Going To Be No Anyway
 #Bad Plan
MEENAH: aight well guess im going to drink skull guys blood all by my shellf then
KANAYA: I Bet It Tastes Really Bad
 #Gross Monster Blood
MEENAH: haha yeah
MEENAH: well later


And either way, Meenah’s recruitment fails as usual.


Meenah traverses more Derse scenery and opens more chests. Many we’ve seen so far relate to Gamzee or Lord English (through the Felt), which I guess is a good way to remind use those people are up and about.

> open chest in Derse area

You got a DERSITE TABLOID!

Says some human girl is dead. You don’t recognize her. Inside is the usual kind of sensationalizing sleaze you’re used to seeing from these. You spent a long time on Derse during your game. You always enjoyed reading these. They were almost always about assassinations.

 #some of which were yours

This passage implies that Meenah killed Dersites and Prospitians during the alpha trolls’ Sburb session. I wonder if those included their equivalents of the Derse agents we’ve met so many iterations of? Maybe Meenah killed her version of Jack Noir early in the game or something?

A lot of the chests in this area bring back memories of the Doc Scratch intermission.


Next in line for Meenah to meet is Dave Strider, standing next to his ebubbles in memories of Derse.

> Meenah, talk to Dave

MEENAH: hey cape guy
MEENAH: youre uh
MEENAH: human whats his cape
 #with the shades
DAVE: thats exactly my name
 #see also #shaggy 2 cape

DAVE: everyone stupidly insists on calling me dave though

Dave’s hashtags are easily the best ones. He makes so many clever callbacks and SBaHJ references in those, much like his Internet social media. “#shaggy 2 cape”, for example, is a callback to his conversation with Terezi months before the story started where he claimed his name was Shaggy 2 Dope.

MEENAH: so davecape
MEENAH: wheres your bro
DAVE: my bro
DAVE: hes dead
 #like #the ghostless kind of dead i think
DAVE: unless you mean the kid version as in the guy we both saw with the pointy shades
 #kid bro #wtf
DAVE: remember he grabbed my sleeping teen mom and flew away and that was the last i saw of him
 #thats sorta what he does #just vanishes like a mysterious motherfucker
MEENAH: no no
MEENAH: not that guy
MEENAH: actually i gave him a sweet high five a little while ago but thats not who i mean
 #one of the best hi 5s eva #dudes a pro
DAVE: what when did you give him a high five
DAVE: why wasnt i informed of this high five that took place
 #not cool

Dave and Meenah’s conversation about Dirk is funny but also a bit sad. Dave got the exact same impression of teen Dirk as what he remembers from pretty much the worst possible version of Dirk (the one who raised him).

MEENAH: who cares im talking about your other bro
MEENAH: the cool shouty kid who got po’d and went to clamscray the f out
 #madvantas
DAVE: oh karkat you mean


Meenah referring to Karkat as Dave’s “bro” is characteristically blunt of her, just like her immediate presumptions on Rose and Kanaya’s relationship. It also reminds us that she’s a newcomer to the world of dream bubbles and doesn’t know who’s who yet.

DAVE: i dunno hes around
DAVE: i saw him talking to his ancestor a while ago
 #or uh #being talked too
DAVE: dont think he likes him very much
 #hilarious toolparty
MEENAH: what
MEENAH: shouty shouldnt be hanging out with that glubbin dork
DAVE: i doubt he actually wants to but you know how it is with ancestors
 #ancestors #you know how it is


This isn’t the first time Meenah has warned us that her Vantas is very different from Karkat. She downplays it though, making it surprising when Kankri turns out to be a neverending stream of nonsensical red words.

MEENAH: …
DAVE: ok maybe you dont since i guess youre actually an ancestor yourself
DAVE: or you were to some dead girl i never met but anyway
 #i think her name was fieri or something


Dave’s hashtag misspelling Feferi’s name serves as some sneaky foreshadowing of how Guy Fieri came to be according to Skaianet Systems. I feel like that was something Hussie meant to bring up in-comic but never got around to doing. I thought for the longest time the Condesce recruited Guy Fieri just because his name sounds like Feferi.

> Meenah, ask Dave to join

DAVE: yeah i saw it
DAVE: i was looking up in space doing a little monster gazing right
 #daves private chill time #eldritch red lobster #bargain seafood buffet #bored
DAVE: when suddenly i thought my glasses shattered
 #ben stiller almost fucking tornadoed in his grave
DAVE: but it wasnt the shades turned out it was space itself that cracked
 #fuckin relief #best bro gave me these



Dave’s first few hashtags are humorous, but the last one lets it slip that his Stiller shades mean the world to him, at least partly because they were a gift from John. At one point in Openbound Part 3, Dave goes on a long ramble about how much he misses John; I’m looking forward to analyzing that part.

DAVE: and i listened and i heard the screams and killing and stuff
 #monsters dying #ghosts dying #atrocious problems
DAVE: havent slept well since that
DAVE: well i guess im sleeping alright at the moment
 #oh yeah #i forgot
DAVE: cause im here in a bubble talking to you but yeah in general my shuteye has been boned up the protein chute
 #troll anatomy #lewd #maybe?



Dave thinks “protein chute” might be a troll sexual term, even though if you use your brain for a moment you’ll know it refers to the esophagus. I am amused by the implication that despite being used to wacky troll lingo, Dave doesn’t know a thing about troll anatomy. Similar gags are done in the epilogues, with such things as trolls having two dicks being an offensive stereotype.

DAVE: keeping myself busy with awesome projects helps a bit i guess
 #awesome projects
MEENAH: then you must want to kill the guy even worse than me
MEENAH: why dont you join me we can fly away and fuck him up together 38)
 #what good is a cape even #if you wont fly away to clobber badguys
DAVE: nope
 #nah
DAVE: appreciate the offer but im just gonna hang tight and work on my ebubbles
 #dave_ebubbles
MEENAH: e what
DAVE: ebubbles theyre awesome
 #how is this not awesome
DAVE: its just some ridiculous shit i figured out how to do here
DAVE: this whole place runs on memories so ive been messing around with that 
 #just as long as you dont ask me how #we are cool
DAVE: turns out i dont even really need the internet for shenanigans i can just exploit the afterlife


It always feels good when the comic (or book commentary) is on the same wavelength as me. I didn’t need the story’s help to figure out that Dave’s ebubbles mirror his comedic social media back before the world ended.

MEENAH: the fuuuck
MEENAH: i know youre down in the dumps kid but that sounds like a stupid waste of time
 #stupid waste of time
MEENAH: now come on lets go whale on a cherub
DAVE: nah
 #yes lets #just fucking with you #no
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: i think i might be “supposed” to kill him anyway?
 #air quotes

DAVE: thats the feeling i get like there are all these clues about that ive kinda noticed
 #remember that bullshit about the pimp being in the crib? #hahaha oh god

Here’s the introduction of this really weird arc where Dave is supposed to kill Lord English. I’m going to talk about that arc’s conclusion for a second.

A while after Homestuck originally ended, I figured that Dave killing the alpha kids’ Jack Noir was the resolution of his prophecy of killing Lord English; mostly a “close enough” sort of deal, like how Spades Slick (god rest his soul) also wanted to kill English. But the Meat Epilogue gave that arc a proper conclusion with Dave—not just any Dave, but pre-retcon Dave, the one we’re following here right now. And god damn does that conclusion feel surreal.

DAVE: so if i am THE GUY that needs to take him down then fine ill do that if and when i get hornswoggled into some big showdown with a ridiculous green space pimp or whatever he is
 #i heard he has a gold tooth #are you fuckin kidding me
DAVE: i dont know i think im not really cut out for the whole reluctant hero shtick
 #im better at comics
DAVE: like the whole scene is so obvious and trite and i cant even tell if my reluctance is ironic or if im playing it straight
 #reluctant before it was cool #and before i was willing
DAVE: like ill wonder if im being reluctant enough to cut it or if im actually just being reluctant to be reluctant
 #how reluctant do you even have to BE to DOOOOO something like etc etc #sbahj
DAVE: it turns into like meta reluctance and then all i can think about is how fucking stupid the whole thing is
 #i also think about puppets sometimes… #unrelated
DAVE: i think im probably just too self aware for this hero bullshit so dont even waste your time on me
 #ironic self pity


I find it funny that although the concept of defeating Lord English usually leads pre-retcon Dave to rant about heroism, all he needs to actually want to fight him is a bit of convincing from adult John.

And Meenah’s reaction to Dave’s reluctance ramble is:

MEENAH: wow
MEENAH: sooooo cooooooool
MEENAH: NOT


Dave has a lot of traits in common with Karkat, but Meenah clearly likes the latter’s demeanor far more. Another thing I find amusing.

> Meenah, be Dave

DAVE: wait
 #uh #w #t #f
DAVE: you want to “be me”?
 #air quotes
MEENAH: yeah why not
DAVE: ok well without getting too deep into the issue of how absurd that request is on the very face of it
 #a face presently being palmed
DAVE: its just not going to happen
DAVE: i mean not yet anyway not this early in your little dream bubble quest you got going on here
MEENAH: shut up dawg just lemme walk around as you and stuff
 #talk at peeps in your koolkid way #maybe play a different tune
DAVE: no
MEENAH: why
DAVE: i really dont think we should get too meta about this


Meenah’s third and final conversation option with Dave is some extremely shameless fourth wall breaking, even by Homestuck standards.

DAVE: maybe when you catch up with your posse you can be some of those guys
DAVE: hell maybe you can be some of us too after the whole thing youre trying to do winds up being this huge predictable disappointment
DAVE: but that would have to be in a different area
MEENAH: what area
 #what? #you cray
DAVE: like a different goddamn bubble zone
DAVE: like someones memory of a magic fucking forest or home village or some shit


The fourth wall breaking does have a purpose though, especially to serial readers back in 2012. Homestuck was paused for an entire month to work on Openbound, so it’s only fair for the comic to tell readers through its characters what to expect from these huge walkaround games. Dave even spoils that Meenah’s recruitment quest will be a “huge predictable disappointment”.

Out of context, this image looks adorable. Like two long-lost brothers meeting.

In context, it’s a nightmare that would send Lord English running for cover.

As Meenah enters the Prospit/Derse amalgamation memory, she encounters Karkat and Kankri Vantas having a nice, heartfelt conversation. Why don’t we listen in?

I’ll do my obligatory character paragraphs for Kankri, Latula, and Porrim near the end of this post.


WHAT EVEN IS THIS.

Kankri’s social justice blogger parody is hilarious now that I know more about Tumblr stereotypes than I ever would have liked. I mean, what is there to even say? Kankri has it all: absurd acronyms, words being phased out and replaced with newer ones once they are deemed offensive, Latin and Greek roots latched onto troll terminology, extensively detailed hashtags, and constant use of words like “problematic” and “privilege”. It’s all well and good if you’re having a discussion with friends who care about this stuff and all have different things that may offend them, but forcefully exposing all this stuff to an outsider concerned with different matters is basically the worst nightmare imaginable. And the way Kankri goes about it is incredibly condescending and self-important; he treats anyone he lectures like a brainless, uneducated child who needs to be walked through everything. He also explains that he disapproves of how his post-scratch self went about social rebellion. It sort of reminds me of Jane in the epilogues, now that I think of it. She similarly disguises her extreme xenophobia with a veil of politeness and care for all beings.


Karkat stands there with an open mouth the whole time, not speaking a single word. His expression says more than I ever could.


As Meenah explores more of the Derse/Prospit building, Latula Pyrope makes a dramatic entrance riding her skateboard.

> Meenah, talk to Latula

… And she’s a horrifying stereotype too. Basically of gamer girls who do sick skateboard tricks, speak with rad slang, smile all the time, and do basically nothing else. Latula kind of feels disturbingly fake, which if I recall is discussed in more detail through this walkaround and the next one.

Amidst her annoying rad girl talk, Latula mentions she has no sense of smell and that Meenah timed the explosion so that none of the god tiers would revive before the session is scratched.

> Meenah, ask Latula to join

LATULA: sounds l1k3 4 r4d pl4n 4nd you know how 1 f33l 4bout th3 r4dpl4nz….
MEENAH: but??
LATULA: h4t3 to b3 4 buzzk1ll but… 1ts b33n wh4t.
LATULA: 4pprox1m4t3ly H3LLA y34rz s1nc3 1 d1d 4ny f1ght1ng????
LATULA: k1nd of rusty. sh1t dont l3t kk know 1 s41d rusty, 4h4h4.
 #tw #h3mophob1c slurs


Despite being an obnoxious stereotype at all times, Latula takes a moment here to playfully make fun of Kankri in a way that almost seems like she carries affection for him, much like their Alternian descendants.

MEENAH: so
LATULA: so 1m s4y1ng 1 h4d SCADZ of t1m3 to p3rf3ct th1s K1LL3R HAND PLANT!!! >8D
LATULA: w4nn4 s3333?
MEENAH: no pretty sure dont give much a shit about a trick you do on your four wheel device
MEENAH: tho i will say
MEENAH: “scads” is actually a fish pun you made probly on accident
MEENAH: which kind of makes me want to give you a hug so it balances out your dumb shit answer
 #fish puns are #my one weakness 😦
LATULA: 1m sorry mp. 1 r34lly 4m!!! f33l l1k3 such 4 w3t snuggl3pl4n3 b41l1ng on you l1k3 th1s.
 #tho m4yb3 you l1k3 w3t snuggl3pl4n3s? #s1nc3 you c4n l1v3 und3r w4t3r?


Surely enough, Latula’s reason not to join the army is that she’s too busy perfecting rad girl tricks, which is predictably disappointing as Dave had warned.

LATULA: 1 should prob4bly run 1t by mt. s33 wh4t h3 th1nks.
MEENAH: oh shit you and captor
MEENAH: thats still a thing after all this pseudotime or
LATULA: h4h4 y3444h.
MEENAH: still red??????
 #38o
LATULA: uh huh. >8]
MEENAH: mother glubber
MEENAH: seriously didnt think T)(ATD last
LATULA: 1dk, th3r3z w4y mor3 to h1m th4n. w3ll, 4ll th3 t3rr1bl3 4nd stup1d sh1t h3 s4ys 4ll th3 t1m3.
LATULA: 4nd 1ts 4lw4yz f3lt l1k3 h3 n33ds m3 1f th4t m4k3s s3ns3, 3v3n 4ft3r dy1ng. so th3r3z th4t!!!!
MEENAH: fuckin afterlife
MEENAH: i know im new here but
MEENAH: almost seems like
MEENAH: you die and nothing means anyfin and then you date forever


Meenah’s discussion of afterlife relationships reminds me of her relationship with ghost Vriska which ultimately doesn’t last. I think Meenah has a distinct energy inside that prevents her from staying complacent with death, which sets her apart from her Beforan friends and makes sense being a life player and all.

> Meenah, be Latula

Not much to say here: just another fourth wall break that hints at how to progress through the game. Latula won’t let Meenah be her unless she performs a rad skateboard trick. She gives Meenah her skateboard and then Meenah goes on to meet the next alpha troll.


> Meenah, talk to Porrim

PORRIM: Welco+me back.
MEENAH: sup maryam
PORRIM: So+, yo+ur death certificate has barely dried, and yo+u’re already busy raising an army, I hear?
MEENAH: howd you even hear that already
 #dag
PORRIM: Wo+rd travels fast here. Plenty o+f go+ssip.
PORRIM: No+ o+ne quite prepares yo+u fo+r the fact that o+n the o+ther side o+f death is an infinite echo+ chamber o+f teen drama.
 #Bubblr
PORRIM: Funny ho+w when we left o+ur wo+rld to+ play yo+ur game, we all tho+ught we were leaving o+ur juvenile scho+o+lfeeding days behind us. 
MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: all the more reason to get out of here and fight bad guys and stuff
PORRIM: I no+ticed ho+w yo+u cunningly sidestepped an enco+unter with Kankri do+wn there.
 #Nicely do+ne.


Porrim Maryam gives us a surprisingly good first impression. She behaves far more like a normal person than the last two we met; I’d go so far as to say she acts like an adult amidst a bunch of lousy teenagers.

MEENAH: yeaaah
 #poor shouty 38(
MEENAH: nomoby deserves havin to meet a dead teen alt universe ancestor like that
PORRIM: I think he might be entertaining so+me delusio+n o+f taking him under his wing.
PORRIM: Or if no+t his wing, the red fuzzy arm o+f his sweater.
MEENAH: what is with that ugly thing anyway
PORRIM: I made it fo+r him, actually.
PORRIM: Fo+r o+ne thing, I go+t tired o+f lo+o+king at his stupid hiked up pants, which he refused to+ change, ever. Serio+usly, did yo+u ever see him wearing anything else?
MEENAH: haha no
PORRIM: So+ unfashio+nable.
PORRIM: Also+, he was always shivering. It gets kind o+f chilly o+ut here, and he just wo+uldn’t sto+p. No+t that I minded to+o+ much, but he just has this way o+f making such vo+cal and o+stentatio+us displays o+f suffering, like it’s so+me kind o+f righteo+us state o+f being. It gets difficult fo+r everyo+ne to+ endure, especially after eo+ns. 


Though it is a bit eyebrow-raising how strongly Porrim acts like Kankri’s mom. It’s a comedic exaggeration that I think gives off just slightly strange vibes.

PORRIM: Hence his nickname, I guess.
MEENAH: wait nickname
MEENAH: if theres some new dig on vantas i need to know about it pronto
PORRIM: The Insufferable.
MEENAH: fuck yes highfive
MEENAH: wait forget it my hands still sore from latula
 #goddamn radgirl
MEENAH: bitch slaps )(ARD


Between Porrim’s fashion tastes and humorous jabs at people, it’s no wonder Kanaya finds her dancestor so intimidatingly cool.

> Meenah, ask Porrim to join

Porrim’s reason not to join is that she never reached god tier and thus isn’t of much use. But she does provide some advice by discussing who all did ascend to god tier.

PORRIM: Do+ yo+u even kno+w who+ all the go+d tiers are?
MEENAH: um
PORRIM: There’s Aranea. Did yo+u ask her?
MEENAH: yeah but she has her own plan
MEENAH: girl is going on a cherub jam or some bitch ass noise
 #eff that
PORRIM: Ok. Well, I ho+pe this isn’t to+o+ invasive, but what abo+ut yo+u?
MEENAH: …
PORRIM: I’ve heard rumo+rs that yo+u reached go+d tier, but never let o+n to+ anyo+ne.
 #Except presumably Damara…


This walkaround so far has been hyping up the alpha trolls’ Megido as a fascinating figure readers should be excited to meet. I can only imagine the look on serial readers’ faces when they got to Openbound Part 3 and found that Damara only ever says filthy things in bad Japanese. Some probably couldn’t stop laughing; some were probably brutally disappointed; and all were probably immensely confused.

MEENAH: you dont understand
MEENAH: its just that fucking thief of life getup
 #looked like such ass
MEENAH: i couldnt just parade around in that hideous thing
 #got a reputation to conchsider
PORRIM: So+ it is true, then. Tho+ught so+.

PORRIM: See what I mean, tho+ugh? I wasn’t sure abo+ut that until just no+w. Rumo+rs are always flying, but secrets so+meho+w persist.

Turns out the reason nobody knew Meenah reached god tier is because she didn’t like the outfit. It’s very Alternian of her not to have bothered sharing details like that.

Porrim is the first character to let you “be” her.

> Porrim, talk to Meenah

PORRIM: I really can’t blame yo+u fo+r being in such a hurry to+ go+ kill him.
MEENAH: huh
PORRIM: The Lo+rd o+f Time. Actually, it’s a go+o+d example o+f what I’ve always been trying to+ say to+ Kankri, but he do+esn’t buy it.
 #Sno+tty brat privilege
PORRIM: After the scratch, o+ur wo+rld co+ntinued to+ be matriarchal upo+n superficial o+bservatio+n, but was subject to+ a co+nsiderably mo+re sinister, clo+aked fo+rm o+f patriarchal tyranny all alo+ng.
MEENAH: water you talking about
PORRIM: Yo+ur po+st-scratch self, who+ grew up to+ be the empress, was really just the Lo+rd’s slave all alo+ng. Implicity during her lo+ng reign, thro+ugh manipulatio+n by his cunning emplo+yee. 
 #An excellent ho+st

PORRIM: And then explicitly, after the extinctio+n o+f o+ur race. She fo+rmally became his servant, and did his bidding lo+ng thereafter.

It’s now Porrim’s turn to play the role of an Internet stereotype: the passionate feminist. And the stuff she says here is actually pretty interesting! She makes some new observations about what Doc Scratch told us so long ago about Alternian history.

MEENAH: W)(AT!!!!!
PORRIM: He did the same with Damara. She was his lo+yal Time Witch, helping him turn o+ur wo+rld into+ the nightmare it became. When her usefulness came to+ an end, he pitted yo+u and her against each o+ther, in I guess a twisted redux o+f the co+nflict yo+u and she had in the past.
 #The o+utco+me was so+mewhat different this time
MEENAH: yo that is so messed up!
PORRIM: The bo+tto+m line is, in additio+n to+ being an all aro+und bastard, this guy appears to+ enjo+y being especially nasty to+ girls.
PORRIM: If it’s true he’s hunting do+wn the gho+st o+f his departed “sister”, then I really feel so+rry fo+r her.
MEENAH: NO FUCK T)(AT
 #RARRRG)(
MEENAH: I AM GOING TO SLAUG)(T-ER T)(AT UGLY MUSCL-E MONST-ER
 #AARRRRAAAWWWRRG)(G
MEENAH: I WILL ST-EAL )(IS S)(ITTY COAT AND W-EAR IT ON MY T)(RON-E
 #AAAUURGRURGGU)(G)()(
MEENAH: I WILL RIP OFF )(IS SKULL AND GILD IT AND T)(-EN I WILL W-EAR IT AS MY CROWN W)(IL-E )(IS BL-E-EDING GR-E-EN TORSO BOWS B-EFOR-E M-E
 #ARRARARGLAAARUGRGURGGLE
PORRIM: Um,
 #wo+w
PORRIM: Best o+f luck with that.


And Meenah is beyond angered to learn that English was behind all the cool stuff her post-scratch self did. Who would have guessed one of the Internet stereotype characters managed to do something useful to the plot?


> Porrim, talk to Kankri

PORRIM: Kanny, leave this po+o+r kid alo+ne.
KANKRI: I’d appreciate it if y9u w9uldn’t call me that. We’ve talked a69ut this. That’s what y9u call a wiggler. D9 I l99k like a wiggler t9 y9u, P9rrim? N9, I d9n’t. It’s 6een three sweeps, plus eternity, f9r, excuse me, “fuck’s” sake. I think we can safely retire that particular term 9f “endearment”. Call me anything 6ut that, even my 9ther nickname. I’m actually 9k with that 9ne.
 #micr9aggressi9ns #n9 wait #MACR9agressi9ns m9re like


OH MY FUCKING GOD, Porrim and Kankri’s interactions are way funnier than I remember. Kankri is offended by the nickname “Kanny” and spews a rant that shows he and Karkat aren’t quite as different as we thought.

PORRIM: I’m no+t calling yo+u Insufferable, Kanny. Well, no+t unless I’m using it as an actual adjective. 
 #And even then, pro+bably no+t to+ yo+ur face.
PORRIM: Well… 
 #No+t o+ften I mean.
KANKRI: It w9uld 6e nice if y9u’d at least use my pr9per name in fr9nt 9f my studi9us y9ung Alternian descendant. It really kind 9f er9des my credi6ility, and I d9n’t need that in the pr9ximity 9f a fresh faced y9ungster wh9 clearly thirsts f9r kn9wledge. Why w9uld y9u want t9 sa69tage a fine y9ung man’s educati9n like that?
 #Fresh #Faced #Y9ungster #Kn9wledge thirst


I do feel a bit bad for Kankri though. Even though he’s full of shit in every way, I don’t think it’s wrong to insist people call you by your real name.

PORRIM: Hey, there. Karkat? If yo+u do+n’t mind my asking… are yo+u even remo+tely interested in the lo+af supplement this guy’s serving?



PORRIM: Go+tcha. Yo+u just said all yo+u needed to+ say.

I don’t feel anywhere near as bad for Kankri as I do for Karkat though. His face again says more than words ever could.

PORRIM: Yo+u kno+w, yo+u are actually very cute. 
PORRIM: That girl who+’s been wandering aro+und in the drago+n suit is a very lucky lady. 
KANKRI: 9k, w9nderful. That c9nversati9n just came t9 an end. 
KANKRI: P9rrim, please d9n’t hit 9n my re699ted kid ancest9r-descendant. It’s really weird. N9t t9 menti9n, he l99ks exactly like me? I mean, kind 9f 96vi9usly? S9 when y9u’re hitting 9n him, it’s like y9u’re hitting 9n me at the exact same time, which like I said. It’s weird.
 #It’s weird
KANKRI: N9t t9 get int9 all this again, 6ut the th9ught 9f dating y9u… it’s just a strange and vaguely 9ffputting idea. N9 9ffense. It alm9st makes me understand at a visceral level the 6izarre human anathema 9f incest, which is s9mething I can’t really explain. I’m just saying.
 #Trigger warning #Incest #Anathemas #Viscerality #Vaguely #9ffputting
PORRIM: (Very deep sigh.)
 #Oh my Go+d.

KANKRI: I’m S9RRY, 9k? I’m s9rry that I am, perhaps literally, the 9nly 9ne n9t t9 ever fall prey t9 y9ur tireless 9mnidirecti9nal s9licitati9ns, 9r t9 get swept up in 9ne 9f y9ur innumera6le flushed 9r caligin9us flings. 

OK THIS WHOLE CONVERSATION IS REALLY FUCKING FUNNY. Now I can say Openbound has at least one redeeming quality.

KANKRI: I happened t9 always prefer y9u as a friend, and in any case, I always preferred t9 lead a relatively chaste existence, as it keeps me f9cused 9n fighting 9n 6ehalf 9f truly imp9rtant pr96lems. Alth9ugh staying “relatively” chaste t9 y9u I supp9se is n9t saying much.
PORRIM: …
 #Hey.
KANKRI: 9nce again, I ap9l9gize. I’ve 6lundered int9 the pr96lematic territ9ry 9f vacillati9n shaming, thus 9pening the fl99dgates t9 the myriad ways 9ne may 6e disadvantaged up9n 6y its staggering shame radius. I f9rg9t t9 check my piety privilege, and here we are. I was g9ing t9 c9ver this t9pic in a much later chapter 9f my lecture, 6ut we’ve g9tten 6adly derailed here.
 #TW #Derailment #Train wrecks #Ch99 ch99 catastr9phes
KANKRI: Karkat, I’m s9rry f9r this interrupti9n. I pr9mise I’ll get 6ack t9 my critical lecture as s99n as this pr9miscu9us 6usy69dy leaves us in peace.
 #Village tw9 wheel device


PORRIM: Yes, critical lecture. I’m sure.
PORRIM: And am I right in being just as sure yo+u are assiduo+usly deco+nstructing every co+nceivable, hypo+thetical fo+rm o+f injustice no+ matter ho+w o+bscure, except tho+se that I happen to+ think are kind o+f impo+rtant?
 #Yes
KANKRI: N9. Just, n9, P9rrim. We’re n9t d9ing this.
 #N9
KANKRI: I am n9t g9ing t9 p9llute Karkat’s utterly imperative crash c9urse, in which he is intr9duced t9 the A6S9LUTE 6ASICS, 6y indulging in y9ur pet issues.
PORRIM: Yes, ho+w dreadful it wo+uld be fo+r yo+ur sixty nine millio+n wo+rd essay to+ get bo+gged do+wn by even the faintest reference to+ the ro+les o+f gender in Befo+ran and Alternian civilizatio+n.
 #”HUMAN SARCASM”
KANKRI: L99k, it’s n9t that I’m insensitive t9 y9ur c9ncerns 9n that t9pic. I’m interested t9 discuss them with y9u 9n an academic, primarily the9retical level.
PORRIM: Theo+retical?
 #…
KANKRI: I just think there is inherent danger in muddying the waters 9f disc9urse 6y intr9ducing s9cial issues which are suspect at 6est, thus c9nsuming crucial res9urces fr9m the limited cache 9f rhet9ric which pr9pels these narratives. And furtherm9re, 9ne c9uld argue it’s m9re than a little pr96lematic, 9ffensive even, f9r y9u t9 6e appr9priating the lexic9n 9f sensitivity used t9 advance awareness 9f maj9r issues, thus reducing it t9 the level 6uzzspeak and pseud9science. It makes it m9re difficult f9r th9se 9f us wh9 are genuinely f9cused 9n p9sitive change t9 6e taken seri9usly, that’s all.
PORRIM: Appro+priating??
 #That’s no+t #what that even #means?
PORRIM: PSEUDOSCIENCE???
 #Yo+u did no+t just…

And it just keeps getting better. Kankri insists that Porrim’s feminism is imaginary nonsense that distracts from the issues he is concerned with. It’s been so long since we last saw a troll be so ridiculously backwards. If you read closely, you can tell Kankri’s descriptions of Porrim are much more accurate descriptions of himself.

KANKRI: I’m s9rry, I just d9n’t think there’s much there. We aren’t like humans, wh9se species 6izarrely en9ugh includes highly specialized r9les f9r 69th sexes in the pr9cess 9f repr9ducti9n, and s9 this naturally had s9cial ramificati9ns f9r the way their civilizati9n ev9lved. 6ut that’s n9t h9w it w9rks f9r us, s9 I fail t9 see h9w gender fact9rs int9 the discussi9n in a way that can 6e effectively and rati9nally pr96lematized. Where is the r99m f9r unexamined privilege in the dich9t9my? I d9n’t see it. And appr9priating the talking p9ints and awareness-raising tactics f9r du6i9us issues like this is, frankly, fr9wned up9n, t9 put it p9litely. Such appr9priative gestures 9nly serve t9 marginalize and invalidate th9se su6ject t9 seri9us, real life struggles and 9ppressi9n, and I guess I’m a little disapp9inted t9 see y9u 6eing s9 6lithely and inappr9priately appr9priat9ry.
 #Fr9wned up9n #Fr9wns all ar9und #Welc9me t9 fr9wn t9wn
PORRIM: Kanny, I’m starting to+ feel just a little bit triggered by all this “appro+priatio+n” bullshit.
 #Trigger warning: #Abo+ut to+ kick yo+ur tall pantsed ass
KANKRI: 9h! My sincere ap9l9gies. I sh9uld have d9ne a 6etter j96 tagging my statements, 6ut f9r future reference, it’s helpful t9 alert y9ur c9nversati9nal partners t9 y9ur triggers well in advance. Sh9uld I g9 fetch y9ur m9irail t9 help settle y9u d9wn? And if s9, wh9 exactly w9uld 6e filling that quadrant t9day?
 #It’s the may9r, right? #G9tta 6e the may9r
PORRIM: Alright. Obvio+usly yo+u’re in o+ne o+f yo+ur bratty mo+o+ds. I’m go+ne.
KANKRI: D9n’t 6e like that. Really, we can talk a69ut whatever y9u like later, and I’ll 6e really sympathetic, I pr9mise. Just n9t ar9und my pupil while he is still learning. 
KANKRI: 9r… my descendant. What did I say? Haha. Karkat, I mean. Anyway, Karkat, again I ap9l9gize f9r that. 
 #N9w where was I?



Poor Karkat. I can only imagine what’s going through his head in this scene. He wishes he didn’t have to endure getting talked to by someone who reflects all his very worst qualities.

> Porrim, be Kankri

KANKRI: What? Y9u want t9 6e me? What s9rt 9f n9nsense request is that?
KANKRI: Can’t y9u see I’m in the middle 9f a direly imp9rtant w9rd dump? I mean man-t9-man c9nversati9n with Karkat?
KANKRI: I might c9nsider it if y9u asked m9re nicely. 9r at the very least, m9re “radically”.

In this hint at how to progress through the game, Kankri hints at a soft spot for Latula just like she did with him.


> Porrim, talk to Latula

PORRIM: Hey.
LATULA: yo yo, w4zzup grl!!!
PORRIM: Latula, it’s just me. I do+n’t think anyo+ne is lo+o+king. No+ need to+ go+ so+ heavy o+n the rad girl ro+utine.
LATULA: y34h, gu3ss your3 r1ght. 1’ll ch1ll 1t down 4 b1t.
LATULA: wh4ts on your th1nk p4n, po-m4ry.

PORRIM: Meeting o+ur ancesto+rs as kids, o+r, I mean o+ur descendants as kids, ho+wever yo+u want to+ spin it…
 #Descesto+rs? #Ancendants? #Dancesto+rs… #Hmm #Bingo+
PORRIM: It has me thinking abo+ut o+ur rebo+o+ted lives o+n Alternia, and what we grew up to+ be. 
PORRIM: Makes me wo+nder abo+ut fate. If it’s so+mething that’s even co+mprehensible.
LATULA: y34h?
PORRIM: Fo+r instance, o+n Alternia, my relatio+nship with Kankri seemed to+ make so+me sense. I co+uld definitely see o+ur lives beco+ming entangled in that way, karmically speaking.
PORRIM: But then there were o+ther develo+pments that are still mysterio+us to+ me.
PORRIM: Like, as far as I kno+w, yo+u and Aranea always go+t alo+ng. Didn’t yo+u?
 #Radglare #Kindfang
LATULA: 3h 1 gu3ss. n3v3r sp3nt much t1m3 th1nk1ng 4bout s3rk3t, tbh.
LATULA: 4lw4ys thought sh3 w4s 4 s3lf 4bsorb3d snooz3, 1f you r34lly w4nt to know.
 #zzzz #not 3v3n th3 r4d k1nd of z33s


When talking to Porrim, Latula tones down her rad girl act a bit and the two discuss their group of trolls’ post-scratch lives. I’m reminded of a difference between Aranea and Vriska. During the trolls’ arc, basically everyone in the group either couldn’t stand or was terrified by Vriska; with the Beforus trolls, it looks like nobody cared about Aranea at all except for Meenah. She really seems like a bit of a hermit among the Beforus trolls.

PORRIM: Exactly. No+thing much to+ yo+ur relatio+nship to+ speak o+f at all. But in yo+ur po+st-scratch lives yo+u had such majo+r issues to+gether, even yo+ur descendants inherited it, and co+ntinued the co+ntentio+us cycle until there was blo+o+dshed.
 #Redglare #Mindfang
LATULA: r34lly?
LATULA: huh. 
PORRIM: Did yo+u no+t kno+w that?
 #Mindfang gave yo+u five #Then left yo+u hanging
LATULA: n3v3r r34lly thought 4bout 1t. but now th4t you m3nt1on 1t, th4t outcom3 m4k3s 4ll sorts of s3ns3 to m3.
PORRIM: It do+es? Ho+w?
LATULA: just do3s, b4b3z.
PORRIM: I do+n’t really understand karma.
LATULA: th4ts c4us3 your3 not 4 m1nd pl4y3r.


With her rad girl act cooled off, Latula demonstrates hidden depths not unlike her dancestor (thanks Porrim for coining that word!). Terezi is well-known to quickly figure out things that seem mysterious to others, and Latula just briefly demonstrates a similar trait…

PORRIM: Oh. Co+uld yo+u explain to+ me ho+w it wo+rks, then?
LATULA: pshh, 4s 1f. th4t wouldnt b3 4 v3ry r4d th1ng to do.
 #do 1 look l1k3 s3rk3t to you???
LATULA: h3y, ch3ck out th1s OUTST4ND1NG h34lfl1p!!!!
PORRIM: I do+n’t
PORRIM: …
 #Sigh
PORRIM: Ok. Let’s see it.


… before going back to the usual stereotype she’s chosen to enact.

God damn, Fuchsia Ruler is a good song.
GameGlr is so funny. A good horrifying encapsulation of Latula’s character.

So is Darling Dolorosa for Porrim. That song doesn’t get enough love, probably because it was never on an album.


Meenah performs a sick railgrind on the memory of a staircase generated by Porrim. Latula is delighted and lets Meenah be her.

> Latula, talk to Meenah.

LATULA: yo yo, p4ystubz my grrrl!
MEENAH: shit tules
MEENAH: i forgot how many rad nicknames you like to cycle through 
 #passin out names like cheap cuttlefish
MEENAH: you know i always thought paycheck was kind of dope why dont you just stick with that
LATULA: r1ght on! 1 l1k3 th4t on3 too, p4ych3ck 1t 1z. H1GH F1V3 GRL!!!
 #WOO
MEENAH: no lets not OWWWWWW
 #OOW
LATULA: ooh sorry, d1d 1 hurt you???
 #>8(
MEENAH: nnn… no? i meant
MEENAH: wwwwWOWWWWWW
 #uh #yeah
MEENAH: like “WOWWWWW that was a radical hand slappin”
LATULA: SUR3 FUCK1N WUZ!!! d4ng 1ts t1ght your3 b4ck.
 #th3 t1ghtn3ss
MEENAH: thats cool but
MEENAH: arent you overstatin our prior relationship as somefin above neutral just a TAD
 #tadpole #yeah its a stretch as a fish pun #gonna count it tho
LATULA: w3ll m4yb3. but 1 h4d 4 lot of t1m3 to th1nk, both b3for3 w3 4ll 4t3 1t, 4ND 4ft3r.
 #th3 b1g w1p3out #r4d d34th 4n4log13s
LATULA: 4nd 1 c4m3 to som3 MAD 3p1ph4n13z, 4bout you, or us r34lly. 1 w4s th1nk1ng 4bout you 4ll wrong.
LATULA: for most of th3 t1m3 w3 kn3w 34ch oth3r, 1 w4s 4ll l1k3, WHY SHOULD TH3R3 B3 TWO B4D4SS, 1N-YOUR-F4C3 GRLZ 1N TH3 GROUP???
LATULA: sort of ov3rk1ll, r1ght?
MEENAH: mehhh
 #u searious?
LATULA: 1 w4s k1nd of v13w1ng you 4s 4 comp3t1tor, 1n l1k3 4 two grl RAD-OFF. 1 w4s w1nn1ng 1n my m1nd, of cours3. but s33, 1 h4d 1t 4ll wrong!!!!
MEENAH: did you
LATULA: Y3AH! s33, 1m th3 t34mz R4D GRL, wh3r34s YOUR3 th3 t34mz B4D GRL!!!! 1t 4ll m4k3s p3rf3ct s3ns3! do3snt th4t m4k3 SO MUCH S3NS3???
MEENAH: that
MEENAH: is the stupidest glubbin thing to require any sorta rationalization i ever heard
 #p lame tules
LATULA: s33 p4ych3ck? 1 kn3w 1 could count on you to b3 just1f14bly cyn1c4l 4bout my n3urot1c bullsh1t. you RUL3!!!


Latula spouts out more silly rad girl nonsense at Meenah, right until the last line where she admits it’s all, in her own words, “neurotic bullshit”. God damn if that isn’t an eyebrow-raising hint that Latula is extremely depressed deep down.


> Latula, talk to Porrim

LATULA: yo porz, you s33 p4yd1rt 1s b4ck??? 
 #GRLZ 1N D4 H1V3
PORRIM: I saw.
LATULA: pr3tty r4d huh?? th3 4-lyf3 just scor3d 4 l1ttl3 mor3 GRL POW3R!!!!
 #l3ss drool #mor3 rul3
LATULA: h3y g1mm3 f1v3!
PORRIM: That’s… OW.
PORRIM: No+t so+ hard!
PORRIM: That’s go+o+d.
LATULA: wh444t, com3 on. 1 thought you of 4ll p3opl3 would b3 psych3d to g3t 4 l1l mor3 r3pr3z3nt4t1on from th3 l4d13s UP 1NZ.
PORRIM: Why would that be? It’s nice to see an old friend, but that’s about it.
 #Up inz #Meaningless #On all levels
PORRIM: I think you are possibly still caricaturizing my point of view on the subject, assuming we’re even talking about the same subject.
PORRIM: Much the way yo+ur co+ntinued co+mmitment to+ this o+verzealo+us “rad girl” thing still strikes me as a caricature o+f the kind o+f female strength and empo+werment yo+u’re trying to+ pro+ject.
LATULA: s4y wh4t??? th4tz bogus, 1m th1s r4d b3c4us3 1 l1k3 b31ng r4d! r4dn3ss rul3z.
PORRIM: I kno+w it rulez. But there’s such a thing as o+verdo+ing it.
 #Did I pho+netically emphasize that ‘z’ eno+ugh?
PORRIM: Do+n’t yo+u think it can co+me acro+ss as a series o+f affectatio+ns designed to+ o+verco+mpensate fo+r an implicit flaw with yo+ur gender? An act which rebuts what sho+uld be a straw man, with a carto+o+nish masquerade that with every kickflip and high five screams “YES, IT APPEARS THAT GIRLS CAN BE AS RADICAL AND AS GOOD AT GAMES AS BOYS!” thus lending a certain dignity to+ the premise at the expense o+f yo+ur o+wn?


Porrim criticizes Latula’s rad girl act not so much for covering up inner issues, but for misrepresenting feminism. Despite being the least weird of the three trolls introduced in this walkaround, Porrim does get quite a bit hung up on this feminist stuff.

LATULA: wh4… w41t wh4t? 4w m4n.
 #r4dt1m3z off1c14lly: #H4RSH3D
LATULA: wh4t you t4lk1ng 4bout grl. m33n4h wh3r3d you go! com3 h3lp m3 b3 cyn1c4l 4bout th1s! 4h!!!
 #h4lp
PORRIM: Yo+u can pretend to+ misunderstand all yo+u want, but we’ve talked abo+ut this befo+re and I kno+w yo+u’re smarter abo+ut this than yo+u let o+n. We were raised in what was a fo+rmally “matriarchal so+ciety”, which has always been used as a shield to+ do+wnplay clear instances o+f female o+ppressio+n and o+bfuscate the relevance o+f gender ro+les, particularly where they’re weighted against females. But anyo+ne who+’s lo+o+ked at o+ur so+ciety mo+re ho+nestly can see that while, yes, it is superficially o+bserved as a matriarchy o+n a fuschia-do+wn basis, o+n a practical level all o+f the enfo+rcement and po+litical po+wer go+verning mo+st classes was delegated to+ the higher CIPs, which were generally male-do+minated castes. They go+t to+ co+ntro+l the agenda and dictate the so+cial co+nventio+ns, and anyo+ne who+ dared to+ o+bject o+r bring light to+ this co+uld always be co+untered with “Hey! Matriarchy! End o+f discussio+n.”
 #Fuschia do+wn matriarchy #Purple do+wn patriarchy
LATULA: grl, pl34s3. dont t3ll m3 your3 go1ng full v4nt4s on m3 h3r3. 
PORRIM: No+, if I were getting my Vantas o+n, we’d o+nly be getting warmed up. But that’s really all I have to+ say o+n the matter.
LATULA: wh3w!


All that said, Porrim isn’t anywhere near as bad as Kankri in that regard. Mostly just because Kankri is WAY worse.

PORRIM: I just think yo+u sho+uld be yo+urself mo+re o+ften. We already kno+w yo+u are stro+ng and go+o+d at games and all that. Yo+u have no+thing to+ pro+ve.
LATULA: y34h. your3 prob4bly r1ght.
LATULA: 1ts k1nd of str3ssful som3t1m3s, k33p1ng 1t up! som3t1m3s 1 forg3t to put z33s on th3 3nd of words, 4nd 1 r34lly str3ss out 4bout 1t.
 #sp3c14lly wh3n 1m off my m3ds
LATULA: you know, 1 4lw4ys d1d f33l b3tt3r t4lk1ng to you. l1k3 1 could t4k3 th3 3dg3 off my r4d th1ng, 4nd r3l4x 4 l1ttl3 mor3.
PORRIM: Then let’s make it mo+re o+f a habit, shall we?
 #:)
LATULA: h3ckz y3s!!!


Porrim proceeds to give honest advice on Latula’s rad girl act, which cements both as not completely crazy. Though it’s easy to miss that Latula mentions taking medications to help block out her inner depression.

LATULA: h3y, th4nks for th3 p3pt4lk, popo m3rryg4mz.
PORRIM: That nickname.
PORRIM: It
PORRIM: It is just so+ awful.
LATULA: oh whoopz.
LATULA: w4nt m3 to sw1tch b4ck to pornst4r???
PORRIM: …
PORRIM: Merrygamz will be fine.


And Latula ends by mentioning even more absurd nicknames she’s devised for her friends. What can I say, Hussie seemed to really enjoy coming up with nicknames for characters in these walkaround games.


> Latula, talk to Kankri

LATULA: bro!!!! 1 h34r youv3 b33n h4ssl1ng th3 n3w k1dz. wh4t 1s UP w1th th4t???
KANKRI: Hassling? Far fr9m it. I’ve merely disc9vered a new and far less ungrateful fl9ck which has n9t yet 6ec9me w9efully jaded t9 my messages 9f p9sitive s9cial change.
 #New f9ll9wers
LATULA: you c4nt fool m3 k4nkz. you 4r3 bor1ng th4t poor dud3 to d34th. you just w4nt to m4k3 4 ghost out of h1m so you c4n k33p h1m h3r3 for3v3r.



LATULA: wh1ch 41nt r1ght! you h4v3 to l3t th4t bro d13 of h1s own M4D VOL1T1ONZ. 
 #r3: #m1st4k3s #l1k3 us
KANKRI: Can y9u sc99t away 9n y9ur little wheeled t9y f9r immature wigglers? I was in the middle 9f a serm9n.
 #I mean, c9nversati9n.
LATULA: why dont you s4v3 h1m som3 gr13f 4nd g1v3 h1m on3 of your old m3moz?
LATULA: 4h4h4h, r3m3mb3r thoz3??? how m4ny sw33ps d1d you sp3nd try1ng to forc3 us to r34d th4t tr4sh?
 #fru1ty r1ght3ous blowh4rd f4ctory


Memos nobody wants to read are another thing Karkat and Kankri have in common and it’s kind of adorable.

KANKRI: I d9n’t remem6er. And n9, I w9n’t 6e sharing my 9ld mem9s with him. They were written very p99rly, and my meth9ds 9f argumentati9n were flawed and extremely childish. I’ve deleted m9st 9f th9se mem9ries fr9m these 6u66les, s9 d9n’t 69ther r99ting ar9und f9r them. Frankly, they stunk.
LATULA: h3y!
 #>8[
KANKRI: 9h, man, I’m s9rry. I c9mpletely f9rg9t that “stunk” was an a6leist slur. Please f9rgive my insensitivity t9ward y9ur disa6ility.
 #tw #tw #tw #s9rry #tw #a6leism
LATULA: 1tz ch1ll, 1 w4s only 4ct1ng off3nd3d to bug you.
KANKRI: N9, really, it was inexcusa6le 9f me. I sh9uld have at least preceded my call9us remark with a trigger warning.
 #Trigger warning: #Em6arrassed retracti9ns ahead
KANKRI: I have n9 6usiness making light 9f y9ur impairment, thus failing t9 check my nasal privilege, and p9tentially 6ringing 6ack painful and devastatingly triggering mem9ries 9f the 9ld cycle 9f revenge 6etween y9u and s9me friends which resulted in the l9ss 9f y9ur 9lfact9ry sense.



Remember the Alternian trolls’ cycle of revenge from before the story started, which left one troll paralyzed, two trolls blinded, many trolls traumatized, and one troll dead? The Beforan trolls had one too, but the consequences were laughable at best. Losing sense of smell, are you goddamn kidding me??? More humorous implications that the Beforan trolls are a bunch of weaksauce losers. Well, at least until Damara comes along.

KANKRI: I have t9 admit, I was skeptical at first a69ut whether that really qualified as a true disa6ility warranting sensitivity and the pr9m9ti9n 9f awareness, 6ut 6eing cl9se t9 y9u as a friend and carefully examining my privilege has really 9pened my eyes. 99ps, that euphemism is slightly a6leist t9 the 6lind, what I meant was “6r9adened my h9riz9ns 9n the nature 9f disa6ility.” S9rry.
 #Nasal privilege #H9riz9ns #6r9adness #H9riz9ntal width l9ngenning
LATULA: y34h! th4ts funny, c4us3 1t n3v3r would h4v3 occurr3d to m3 to t4k3 1t 4ll th4t s3r1ously 4s 4 h4nd1c4p w1thout you m4k1ng 4 f3d3r4l c4s3 out of 1t for so long on my b3h4lf. so, th4nkz k4nk!!!
 #MAD d1s4dv4nt4g3d brot1m3z
KANKRI: My pleasure. Really, it is truly amazing that y9u have managed t9 triumph 9ver such adversity t9 6ec9me a great r9le m9del f9r 9thers, excellent at vide9 games, and a t9tally stellar skate69arding pers9n, all while 6eing a girl, n9 less.


I DON’T FUCKING BELIEVE THIS, you can almost hear Karkat thinking to himself.


Kankri lets Latula be him. After Kankri tells Karkat he’ll be back, he talks to Latula.

> Kankri, talk to Latula

KANKRI: 9h, hey, Latula. I th9ught I heard y9ur device grinding 9n vari9us surfaces near6y. 
KANKRI: H9w are y9ur athletic t9y stunts g9ing? Are y9u getting a l9t 9f… a l9t 9f “air”? Am I saying that right?
 #Did y9u hang… #Hang 10? #N9 that can’t 6e right…
LATULA: you knowz 1t bro!!! 
LATULA: you c4nt 3v3n TOUCH th1s. 1m 3sc4p1ng to th3 s1d3, from 4bov3, from 3v3ry wh1ch w4y b4s1c4lly!!!!
KANKRI: Well, I wasn’t g9ing t9 attempt t9 make any s9rt 9f physical c9ntact with y9u, and even if I did, I have n9 d9u6t that y9u w9uld 6e a6le t9 maneuver away fr9m my grasp 9n y9ur speedy little platf9rm. Either way, I’m m9re than c9ntent t9 let y9u escape in any directi9n 9f y9ur ch99sing, if that’s y9ur wish.
LATULA: dud3. just wh3n 1 th1nk youv3 4lr34dy s41d th3 squ4r3st th1ng poss1bl3, you go 4nd s4y som3th1ng l1k3 th4t.
KANKRI: Haha. I guess. Y9u kn9w, it’s really nice we can talk like this.
LATULA: 1t 1s…
 #?
KANKRI: Yes. I was just thinking lately, a69ut 9ur new p9st-scratch friends. Particularly the y9ung Vantas and Pyr9pe iterati9ns 9n their team, and h9w they’re pretty similar t9 us, 6ut als9 really different.
LATULA: y34h. l1l m3 1s bl1nd! d1d u 3v3n KNOW th4t??
 #h4v3 u s33n h3r l1l dr4gon su1t?? 3333! #SO cut3 >8]
KANKRI: Yes, 6ut that’s n9t really what I’m talking a69ut.
KANKRI: She and Karkat have a different relati9nship fr9m the 9ne we have. Theirs is much m9re tur6ulent, which is fueled presuma6ly 6y r9mantic tensi9n. I’m picking up 9n s9me maj9r vascillati9n vi6es fr9m their situati9n. It’s kind 9f unf9rtunate, 6ut it makes me grateful that we never g9t t9 that p9int.
LATULA: h3llz y34h. who n33ds th4t?


What am I even READING here?! If Karkat hadn’t lost the ability to speak words, he’d probably say the exact same words he said to John and Dave in that one memo from so long ago. I recommend you imagine Karkat throwing some choice insults at the two Beforan trolls who are definitely not in love.

KANKRI: I’m sure it’s m9stly due t9 the fact that we’ve stayed entirely away fr9m the sting6ug’s nest 9f r9mantic entanglement. Which 9f c9urse is related t9 my 9ath 9f celi6acy, which as y9u kn9w is just a pers9nal ch9ice, 9ne which f9r s9me reas9n my p9st-scratch adult self eventually strayed fr9m… with… Meulin, 9f all pe9ple? 6ut that’s neither here n9r there.
 #Seri9usly. #I mean, she’s nice, 6ut… #Really?
LATULA: h4h4h4h4… you 4nd m3uz. st1ll cr4cks m3 up… H4H4H4H4H4H4!!!!
 #:3 #h3h3h3h


This is shortly followed by a popular headcanon getting brutally deconfirmed. Odd cases like this are a natural consequence of one of the Beforan troll storyline’s fundamental flaws: most of the ancestors are meant as characterizations of what the Alternian trolls would be like as adults, so it would seem really redundant for the Beforan trolls to be reimaginings of the ancestors like the alpha kids are with the beta kids’ guardians. So Hussie is left with no other choice than to make the Beforan trolls (save for Aranea and Meenah) all a bunch of ridiculous Internet stereotypes, like how the Alternian trolls were originally characterized but much more over the top. Sometimes this characterization works decently well and makes for good moments; other times, it leads to unexpected dissonances like the case of Kankri and Meulin.

KANKRI: Yes. 6ut regardless. What I’m saying is, it’s great we stayed away fr9m that. It’s helped me appreciate y9u as a friend, and admire all y9ur g99d qualities. Plat9nically, 9f c9urse.
LATULA: your3 r1ght! 1ts b33n pr3tty r4d wh3n you put 1t th4t w4y.
KANKRI: Like h9w y9u never 69ught int9 the usual r9les 9f y9ur caste, as an aqua, n9t even the m9re “well intended” s9cial c9nventi9ns 9f y9ur privileged arist9cratic 6l99dline. Y9u never l99ked d9wn 9n any69dy, 9r saw it as y9ur civil duty t9 care f9r 9r “impr9ve” the warmer classes, falling prey t9 unf9rtunate tendencies inv9lving cerulean savi9r c9mplex, 9r the “6lue 6l99d’s 6urden” (trigger warning 9n that, 96vi9usly) which sadly 6ecame s9 insepera6le fr9m the fa6ric 9f the spectral 9rder, with each class c9nditi9ned t9 view th9se 6el9w it the same way, the 96stacles t9 raising awareness were alm9st insurm9unta6le. 6ut unlike the c99ler hues 9n 9ur team m9re priviliged than y9u, like y9ur Serkets, y9ur Zahhaks, y9ur Amp9ras… I never g9t the sense that y9u put the slightest 6it 9f st9ck in any 9f that, and I think that’s pretty amazing.
 #Cerulean savi9rs #Teal templars #Vi9let valiants #Purple paladins
LATULA: uh… y34h! th4t sh1tz 4 dr4g, why would 1 both3r w1th 4ny of th4t? 1 m34n, 1ll h3lp low bloods l34rn stunts 4nd ch34t cod3z 1f th3y w4nt, but th4ts 1t!!!
KANKRI: Right. And I’m just saying if my head was ever cl9uded 6y r9mantic feelings f9r y9u, I pr96a6ly w9uldn’t 6e a6le t9 appreciate that a69ut y9u.


I just, …

What am I even supposed to say here??? Kankri makes it painfully obvious he’s in love with Latula, all the while insisting he’s secluded himself from any and all romance among his friends. Speaking as an aromantic person, Kankri’s persistent denial of being in love is very funny to me. Also on this topic, I regret not discussing aromantic John headcanons when I had the chance to back in Act 6 Intermission 2; maybe I’ll discuss those headcanons in the next post, which focuses on him and Jade.

KANKRI: Just like I w9uldn’t 6e a6le t9 appreciate the fairly c99l “zees” y9u put at the end 9f many w9rds, 9r say things l9udly and with enthusiasm, even if it’s n9t particularly warranted.
 #It rarely is
LATULA: h3h3h. y34h!!!!
 #woo!
KANKRI: 9r the way y9ur hair fl9ws in the wind when y9u sc99t 9ver s9me s9rt 9f 96stactle 9n y9ur device really fast.
KANKRI: 9r the way y9u make this funny little n9ise just as y9u c9nnect with 9ne 9f y9ur c9pi9us high fives, which can 9nly 6e heard 9ver the l9ud slap if y9u listen really cl9sely.
LATULA: um, y34h… 1 not1c3d… som3 stuff l1k3 th4t…
LATULA: 4bout you too 1 gu3ss?
LATULA: h3h.
 #uh…
KANKRI: 9r the way y9u have always sh9wn kindness t9 pe9ple wh9 needed help, with9ut making them feel tragic 9r helpless f9r accepting it.
KANKRI: 9r the way y9u still manage t9 l99k stylish even with9ut y9ur c99l shades, 9r s9metimes when they’re pr9pped up 9n y9ur head just in fr9nt 9f y9ur h9rns.
LATULA: wh…
 #1… #hm


Kankri’s compliments towards Latula kick into high gear here. He’s moved past his usual ridiculous lectures about troll history and is now giving Latula genuinely kind and touching compliments.

KANKRI: 9r, I d9n’t kn9w if y9u remem6er, that time Meenah 6aked every69dy a cake. It was the first sweep anniversary 9f entering the game, 9ne 9f the rare m9ments 9f s9lidarity and g99d cheer am9ng 9ur entire team at 9nce. Every9ne was raving a69ut h9w g99d the fresh 6aked cake smelled, s9 y9u t99k a 6ig sniff, I guess f9rgetting f9r a m9ment y9u c9uldn’t smell. Then y9u quickly caught y9urself, and played it c99l making sure n9 9ne n9ticed, which n9 9ne did. 6ut I n9ticed. And I just th9ught that was kind 9f endearing. 
LATULA: 
KANKRI: Anyway, I think all that w9uld have 6een c9mpletely l9st 9n me if we didn’t have this str9ng plat9nic 69nd. I just th9ught I’d say that. Guess I’ll get g9ing n9w. 
KANKRI: See y9u ar9und, Latula.
LATULA: 


Kankri goes on to describe a heartwarming moment in the alpha trolls’ session: the cake they shared on the first sweep anniversary of entering the game. And he ends by still denying his romantic feelings for Latula. These two are hopeless, I’m telling you.


> Kankri, talk to Porrim

… Yeah, this is more of Porrim acting like his mom and arguing about their respective interests. Not much to say here. The funniest part is the face Kankri makes when Porrim claims he got grub sauce on his sweater:


I feel bad for Karkat whenever Kankri does something he would. I can only imagine how it feels to meet someone so awful yet so similar to you.


> Kankri, talk to Meenah

Not much to say here either. Kankri gives his reason not to join Meenah’s army: he’s too busy sharing his endless lectures with fresh new faces. Meenah asks Kankri to stand alone for a few minutes, then you play as her again.


> Meenah, talk to Karkat

MEENAH: (psst!)
MEENAH: (hey vantas)
KARKAT: (what.)
MEENAH: (nows yer chance)
MEENAH: (lets blow this nautical stand)
 #nautical/popsicle… #eh close enough
KARKAT: (oh…)
KARKAT: (i don’t think i’m supposed to.)


Karkat seems terrified to think what would happen if he left his dancestor hanging, in a way that reminds me of how he goes along with dreadful conversations with his past and future selves because time dictates he has to. This guy just can’t catch a break, can he.

MEENAH: (shouty you cant let that boring nerd tell you how to roll)
MEENAH: (you wanna stand here lisfinin to his shellf important abaloney all day???)
KARKAT: (not really.)
 #SHELLF IMPORTANT ABALONEY? #GODDAMN SEADWELLERS
MEENAH: (then COM-E ON!)


Only a few hours or so after meeting him, Meenah already has her eyes set on Karkat. She thinks she knows what’s best for him far better than he does.

Karkat follows Meenah to the door with his sign on it.


> Meenah, open door

MEENAH: vantas gimme your password
KARKAT: (huh?)
MEENAH: this is your door aint it
KARKAT: (what makes you say that.)
MEENAH: the symbol on the doors the same as on your fuckin shirt
MEENAH: come on it aint blastoff device science
 #pchooo
KARKAT: (ok, yeah, it’s mine. maybe i got tired of interloping shitbags traipsing through my PRIVATE and PERSONAL memories.) 


Just as Dave used the dream bubble pseudo-Internet to make humorous “bots” that post random quotes of his, Karkat figured out how to make a bit of private space for himself.

MEENAH: you dont need to whisper anymore aint no one around
KARKAT: OH
MEENAH: now whats the password
KARKAT: MOVE OVER, I’LL TYPE IT FOR YOU.
MEENAH: no just tell me shouty!!! 
KARKAT: OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO UNREASONABLE. HOW IS IT NOT PRETTY MUCH THE MOST REASONABLE FUCKING THING IN THE WORLD TO LET ME JUST TYPE MY OWN PASSWORD???
MEENAH: dude you want kankri to find you and talk yer nubs off again
KARKAT: NO!!! ANYTHING BUT THAT.
 #OH DEAR GOD


In this walkaround, all Meenah needs to get Karkat to do what she wants is remind him how annoying Kankri is.

KARKAT: ALRIGHT, I’LL TELL YOU, JUST…
KARKAT: DON’T GO BLABBING IT AROUND.
KARKAT: THE PASSWORD IS…
* tiny text
MEENAH: wuh
 #?
* tiny text
MEENAH: bro you gotta speak up
KARKAT: IF I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH, THEN WHY DON’T I HATEMARRY MYSELF!!!!!!!
 #WHAT ARE YOU DEAF
MEENAH: T)(ATS your p word
MEENAH: what in glubs name does that mean
KARKAT: NOTHING. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
KARKAT: IT’S JUST SOMETHING THAT REMINDS ME OF AN OLD FRIEND. ALRIGHT?! CAN WE GET GOING NOW?

When Karkat reveals his password, it becomes apparent that he misses John and Jade just as much as Dave does, even though he knew them for only one day.


MEENAH: so shouty
MEENAH: or… kankrat was it?
MEENAH: been meaning to axe you… HEY!
MEENAH: whered he go?
 #sigh
MEENAH: its so hard makin friends


Seems like Karkat’s feelings towards Meenah are lukewarm at best. He left her behind right after letting her inside his memories.

CHORLIE BROWN
“THIS IS WHAT THE REFRANCE”


Amidst some more Alternian scenery than what we had before, we see Aranea in an exposition booth, offering to tell stories about the trolls we met in this walkaround.

> Hey you see where louder Vantas went?

ARANEA: Yes, I saw him scurry 8y a moment ago. He went that way, into a memory of his old neigh8orhood.
MEENAH: man what gives
MEENAH: does my breath stink or
 #do i need a fish mint
ARANEA: I think he just wants to 8e alone. He tried to lock his memories away from others, I guess without realizing these 8u88les can 8e very permea8le. If the memory is 8ig enough, people will 8e a8le to wander into it from many directions.
ARANEA: He pro8a8ly won’t 8e too happy to find more of our friends hanging out there.
MEENAH: oh shit more of the old gang is that way
MEENAH: guess i better go talk to them too
 #yay more useless tools


Aranea tells readers that we’ll meet more Beforan trolls in the next walkaround, again telling readers who waited so long during the Openbound pause what to expect next. Meenah spoils that the next few trolls we meet will once again be useless tools.

MEENAH: probably have to bail shouty out YET AGAIN
MEENAH: damn kid makes you work
ARANEA: That’s pro8a8ly why you’re o8sessed with him.
MEENAH: shut up


Aranea is right. Meenah is obviously way too delighted to meet a troll as Alternian-spirited as she is.

> Serket water u doin.

MEENAH: yo what is this shit
MEENAH: you sellin somefin here
MEENAH: if so i should warn you im a little low on funds these days
ARANEA: I am offering explanations! I will explain anything you desire.
MEENAH: ahahaha you must be out of your seasponge if you think ima part with anyfin of value for a shitty speech
ARANEA: Oh, no! You misunderstand. It is I who will pay YOU five 8oon8ucks if you listen to an explanation on any topic of your choosing!
MEENAH: oh
 #good grief
ARANEA: So what topic will it 8e?
MEENAH: hang on!
 #im thinking
ARANEA: Can’t decide on a topic?
MEENAH: no cant decide if its worth listening to you even if you pay me
ARANEA: >::::(
ARANEA: Now I know you’re messing with me. I know you can’t say no to easy money.
MEENAH: yeah youre right
 #if i fall asleep do i still get paid
MEENAH: lay it on me


Meenah’s insatiable love for money is usually a silly running gag, but here it serves as an in-story excuse for Aranea to give all the Beforan trolls expository paragraphs—basically their equivalent of character introduction pages. In the same spirit, I will write introduction paragraphs for the three trolls we met in this walkaround just as I promised. Here goes:

  • Kankri Vantas is a joke character.
  • Latula Pyrope is a joke character hiding someone who’s extremely depressed and pensive.
  • Porrim Maryam is actually kind of a competent person compared to the other two, but still displays many shades of a joke character.


How hard was that?

Even though these three are all joke characters, Aranea’s expositions on them have quite a few interesting parts worth going through.

> Tell me about Kankri Vantas.

ARANEA: The Seer of 8lood played quite a different role on our team from that of his successor, though his potential as a 8lood player went similarly unrealized. It was only when he grew up on Alternia did he 8egin to tap into his a8ilities, triggering recollection of our lives on 8eforus, and what we all went through.
ARANEA: He remem8ered our more peaceful way of life, and his desire to unite people. As an adult he was a8le to do this much more effectively and maturely. Heroically, even. He learned how to inspire others, and 8e a true leader, even when the odds were stacked against him in his violent culture. It cost him his life, 8ut his message lived on. I 8elieve the Knight of 8lood now carries his 8urden, whether he has decided to accept it or not.


Kankri being the Seer of Blood is rather unsurprising, as is Aranea’s statement that in he didn’t realize his potential before the scratch. Her statement about Karkat is heartening now that the epilogues ACTUALLY ADDRESSED his leadership role.

ARANEA: During our session, Kankri’s trials as a leader were just as frustrating as those of his successor. He found it very hard to get others to take him seriously. While you would often try to divide us with your trou8lemaking, and turn us against each other to make us stronger – unsuccessfully I might add – he would try to unite us through proselytizing and lecture, just as unsuccessfully. 

A big part of the Beforus session’s failure was that it had no good leader. Kankri didn’t have the iron fist and yelling power Karkat did, which led the most Alternian member of the group to clumsily try to pit her groupmates against each other. Much like all the Alternian trolls, only when led by Karkat can Meenah be an effective co-leader; they both fully realize this potential in the Candy Epilogue.

> Tell me about Latula Pyrope.

ARANEA: The Knight of Mind, to even the most casual o8server, is clearly the more “radical” instance of the two Pyropes. 8oth of course have disa8ilities which, if discovered, would slate each for culling in their respective cultures. Culling of course means something quite different on 8eforus. It means she would have 8een selected 8y a mem8er of a higher caste for adoption, and coddled excessively. 8ut for someone with a lifestyle as radical as hers, I’m sure you will agree that would have 8een a fate worse than death.

The Beforan definition of culling is exactly how Feferi wanted to redefine it should she inherit the Alternian throne. It quickly becomes apparent that just as Meenah is an Alternian at heart, Feferi is an absolute Beforan at heart. And both of their ways of ruling led to a society that really kind of sucks to live in.

MEENAH: serket yo this exposition is some straight up redonkulous junk even by your standards
ARANEA: Would you like to make some money, or not?
MEENAH: you know me i am all about the boonjamins
ARANEA: Then please stand there quietly while I continue.
MEENAH: urrrhn fin
 #*fine
ARANEA: After the tragic accident which left her nasally impaired, her mighty dragon lusus, ancient and wise 8eyond our comprehension, 8egan to teach her “new ways to smell.” To reinvent the sense, using other sense organs such as eyes and ears, awakening completely new experiences in her mind. She was truly an inspiration, and proved 8eyond a shadow of a dou8t that any handicap can 8e overcome, and doesn’t have to stop you from 8eing as rad as you can truly 8e.
MEENAH: wuuut
MEENAH: serket are you whistlin through my blowhole with his idiotic shit
ARANEA: Yes, that last part was a joke. Lighten up, Peixes!


We saw a long time ago that many of the Alternian trolls didn’t believe in or care about their society’s warlike ideals. Aranea jokes about the special treatment Latula would have gotten if her “disability” was discovered, which makes it clear that most of the Beforan trolls are the same way about their society.

MEENAH: yeah yeah what do we have to do to seal this deal here
 #seal #you know #the marine barkbeast
ARANEA: Well……..
MEENAH: Just tell me the bare minimum a what i need to hear to snag ma boonies and run
ARANEA: Ok. Even though Latula has 8een dating Mituna steadily for eons, it’s hardly a secret to anyone that she and Kankri have had complicated unrequited feelings for even longer. So really, much like their descendants. Aaaaaaaand, we’re done! Here you go.
MEENAH: fuckin score


Aranea reveals Latula and Kankri have had feelings for each other since before her and Mituna’s relationship. Further proof that they are two miserable losers that won’t admit they’re madly in love with each other.

> Tell me about Porrim Maryam.

ARANEA: The Maid of Space was of course our all-important Space player and Stoker of the Forge, 8ut as you know, we never made much progress on the frog 8reeding front, or really any aspect of the game 8efore the reckoning. Way too disorganized, way too much teen drama. Much of that drama of course centered around Kankri, and Porrim tended to 8e the one to keep him out of trou8le. This relationship persisted in their lives on Alternia, which… unfortunately didn’t work out too well for her in the end. I’d address my involvement with that, 8ut you seem to 8e tapping your foot so I think I’ll just skip over that part of the story!
ARANEA: On 8eforus, well 8efore her drinker a8ilities had awakened, she grew up in the caste almost solely devoted to tending to the mother gru8, hatching the young and proliferating the 8rood. The jade 8loods were also an almost exclusively female caste, and she 8egan to resent the roles she was hatched into, designated for 8oth her class and gender. She challenged these roles wherever they existed in 8eforan society, as well as where she found them woven into our session, in kingdoms, class assignments, consort culture and the like.

ARANEA: 8ut over the sweeps in our failed session, she found within herself a renewed interest in the duty that came with her 8loodline, which was of course the persistence of our people, a 8urden which her descendant now must 8ear. All life on 8eforus had 8een wiped out, and we’d failed our game, so she helped me search for a way to reset the…
MEENAH: zzzzzz
ARANEA: I was almost finished!!!!!!!!

Aranea’s exposition about Porrim is mostly a rather dull discussion of her feminism and Beforan jade bloods, but right as it FINALLY gets interesting Meenah falls asleep. I feel Aranea’s frustration here. She was right about to clarify the oddity that she supposedly consulted with Echidna, who is usually the space player’s denizen—something readers had been understandably wondering about for quite some time.

MEENAH: your just tellin me shit i know serk she was sorta my friend too remember
MEENAH: cant you spice this jam up
ARANEA: I don’t……..
MEENAH: didnt she like sleep with erybody
MEENAH: gimme all the dirt on that
ARANEA: What? 
ARANEA: No, Meenah. I am not paying you so that you can listen to me indulge in such scandalous gossip.
ARANEA: Now what was I talking a8out? Gosh, I’ve lost my train of thought……..
MEENAH: ahahaha why you blushin girl
MEENAH: omigawd you and she…???????
 #??????????? #NOODLES OF INTENSE CURIOSITY
ARANEA: 
MEENAH: ho man why didnt you ever tell me i thought we was fronds
ARANEA: Look. Three sweeps is a long time to spend in a failed, pointless session!
ARANEA: You look into the future and see a life lasting for may8e thousands of sweeps, with nothing to look forward to, and……..
MEENAH: aaaand????
ARANEA: It was just… kind of a phase! Just a little red fling, ok? It 8arely even lasted half a sweep, and…
ARANEA: Hey, if I give you TEN 8oon8ucks, can we stop talking talking a8out this????????


And then the conversation takes a turn for the awkward when Aranea lets it slip that she was in a relationship with Porrim at one point. She downplays it by saying it barely lasted half a sweep, as if an entire year isn’t a pretty long time to be in a relationship.

MEENAH: make it a cool hunnid and you got a deal
ARANEA: Argh, fine! Just take it!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: her imperious condescension thanks you for your generous contribution to the new empire
ARANEA: I’m glad you’re a good guy this time. You really were hatched to 8e SUCH A 8ITCH!!!!!!!!


As Aranea points out, Meenah’s greediness with money makes it no wonder Alternia was such a brutal place under her rule.

– – – 


… And that’s the end of Openbound Part 1! Final verdict: I can already see why people hate the Openbound games, but I didn’t mind this one at all. It didn’t go too long with characters being annoying, except for Kankri’s long essays which barely anyone read anyway. And it provides some interesting exposition as to how the Beforan session failed, plus some rather hilarious antics with Kankri and Porrim.

Openbound Part 1 doesn’t have quite the cool story structure that the mid to late Act 5 Act 2 walkarounds have, which together with the annoying characters might make it a bit of a drag. But this walkaround really isn’t as bad as people say. As such, I hereby deem myself an Openbound Part 1 apologist. Whether I feel differently about Parts 2 and 3 remains to be seen, hopefully in the near future. I’m going on vacation in a few days and will be back on the 17th; hopefully my mind will still be fresh by then.

See you in two weeks or so as John has his biggest mental breakdown to date.

>> Part 87: The Mental Breakdown to End All Mental Breakdowns

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’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 74: Dawn of the Other Twelve

Introduction

Part 73 | Part 74 | Part 75 >

Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 3 of 3

Pages 4741-4819 (MSPA: 6641-6719)

NOTE: I’m not going to pretend this isn’t just filler text again.

2019 NOTE: Actually I don’t need filler text anymore, I can have actual text here because I have something to say as a disclaimer! In the interest of dramatic irony, I will be keeping everything I said in this post about John and Roxy’s relationship completely unedited. I’m doing this because I believe Hussie intended readers’ massive confusion at them not getting together in the credits to be part of the “experience” and I’d rather not taint my expression of my reaction with the usual “holy shit this reads differently after the epilogues”.

John wakes up in a dream bubble and oh hey it’s another 2x callback combo: to Jake waking up to see Aranea, and to Karkat getting hit in the face by a bucket.

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