Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 95: The Bodybuilder’s Triumphant Return

Introduction / Schedule

Part 94 | Part 95 | Part 96 >


Act 6 Act 5, Part 3 of 6

Pages 5635-5668 (MSPA: 7535-7568)

Hell.
Fucking.
Yes.



Released this post a few days ahead of schedule because Pesterquest Vol. 1 is coming tomorrow. I don’t know how much that visual novel series will impact these posts (or Homestuck’s continuity in general), but I’m releasing this post early anyway just to be safe.


Roxy pesters Dirk, whose speech is now strangely laconic: all he says now is “Hmm.” “Yes.” and “Interesting.” She slowly puts the pieces together and reveals something that’s ridiculous even by the alpha kids’ standards:

TG: oh 
TG: OHHHH 
TG: godamnit 
TG: if i been talking to the responder responder this whole time 
TG: omffffffg 
TG: i will shit enough bricks 2 build a FUCKING CHIMNEY 
TT: It seems you have asked about Lil Hal’s chat client auto-responder, Lil Hal Junior. This is an application designed to simulate Lil Hal’s otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer, which is never. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 0% indistinguishable from Lil Hal’s native neurological responses, based on some statistical raw data that is hard as a diamond golem’s priceless erection. 
TG: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKF UCKF UCKFK UCUKFCUFKCUFUCUCUFKFKKFUCUK
TT: Hmm. 
TG: hal you PIECE OF SHIT 
TG: i know damn well you can hear me 
TG: as if ur actually too busy to answer 
TG: youre a damn supercomputer YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR OWN AUTO RESPONDER YOU IDIOT 
TT: It seems you have asked about Lil Hal’s chat client auto-responder, Lil Hal Junior. This is an application designed to simulate Lil Hal’s otherwise inimitably rad typing style, tone, cadence, personality, and substance of retort while he is away from the computer, which is never. The algorithms are guaranteed to be 100% indistinguishable from Dirk Strider’s brief curmudgeonly responses, based on potent electronumeric analyses which but a few short years ago existed only in the daydreams of our most quixotic writers of science fiction. 


Lil’ Hal hasn’t been mentioned even once since the end of Act 6 Act 3, and his return to the spotlight is… definitely something else. Hal made a second auto-responder called Lil Hal Junior, blatantly made only to spite his human self. The passage “100% indistinguishable for Dirk Strider’s brief curmudgeonly responses” especially makes it clear that Hal has gone full-out toolbag hypocrite. Is it any wonder this guy turned out to be a major component of Doc Scratch’s personality?

TG: you are 
TG: the worst 
TT: Yes. 
TG: hal you douche 
TG: or hal junior 
TG: whatever it is im talkin to 
TG: WHERE THE FUCK IS DIRK!!! 
TT: He’s busy. 


Hal doesn’t tell Roxy that Dirk is busy being distracted by his responder, which is another incredibly spiteful lie of omission. Of course it wouldn’t ever be important for Dirk to know that Roxy can go invisible now and hacked Derse’s security, would it???? Nah, he clearly has better things to worry about. Why don’t we see for ourselves what those things are?

Testy rooftop conversations are a recurring motif among the Striders.


This image reveals that Dirk’s kernelsprite still hasn’t been prototyped for whatever reason. First-time readers probably have a lot of fun guessing why that might be, and why Equius’s corpse hasn’t been prototyped like all the others.

I so, so, SO fucking badly want Meat Dirk to have some sort of redemption arc.

An actual redemption arc, I mean. Not Gamzee’s bullshit.


Oh man, it’s THIS PART. An iconic scene in Homestuck, and for very good reason. I predict I will have lots to say about Dirk’s psyche—or more accurately, Dirks’ psyche. I hope you’re ready for WORDS.

TT: Bro. 
TT: Not to derail our serious conversation. 
TT: But I should probably let you know that Roxy has been attempting to pester you. 

TT: She has? 
TT: God damn it. Have you been intercepting my messages again with your bullshit responder? 
TT: I thought it would be better not to let anything disrupt our train of thought. 
TT: We were in the middle of a fairly solid feelings jam there. In fact, I was about to suggest we take it to the hat pile. 


“Hat pile” is a fitting line for Hal of all characters to say, because it’s a meta reference to the weird running gag of characters having feeling jams in absurd piles of their favorite possessions. Hal loves his callbacks just as much as Doc Scratch and the cherubs do.

TT: Hat pile? What? 
TT: Dude, please don’t screen my calls, ok? 


It’s obvious and understandable that Dirk regrets ever making an auto-responder, but kind of “wait, WHAT?” inducing that he doesn’t even want his responder to function as a responder.

TT: I was trying to be considerate. 
TT: Or at least as close an approximation to that human gesture as an unfeeling, technologically transcendental pair of sunnies can replicate. 
TT: Do you have any idea how old your ironic AI schtick has gotten? 
TT: Nobody is buying it. We all know you have legit emotions. Incomprehensible, fucked up computer emotions, but emotions nonetheless. 


Dirk and Hal are trapped in a horrible cycle of mutual shittery. Dirk is trying to tell Hal that his AI shtick has gotten old, while simultaneously reminding Hal that all his emotions are computerized well beyond human recognizability.

TT: And I’m not really offended by you answering messages for me, so much as your use of that STUPID responder responder. 
TT: It’s really passive aggressive. 
TT: How so? 
TT: First of all, everyone knows you have the processing power to answer any message any time in parallel with whatever you’re doing. You can never actually be “busy.” 
TT: Second, your whole next gen responder thing is obviously just a huge dig at me. 
TT: And third, pretending you don’t understand all this already is really disingenuous. 


It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Dirk absolutely hates his responder’s responder and finds it to be a vapid insult to his personality. But Hal’s response to this criticism does come as a surprise:

TT: At the risk of compounding my disingenuous behavior, I’m gonna have to ask: how is it a dig at you? 
TT: It’s obviously a critique of my personality. You barely disguise the fact that you see me as the inferior iteration. 
TT: Wow. You are reading way too much into this. 
TT: Lil Hal Junior hardly even qualifies as a computer program, let alone a sentient entity. 
TT: He is capable of saying literally only three things. “Yes,” “Hmm,” and “Interesting.” 
TT: Yeah, that’s the fucking point! 
TT: That’s how you chose to express your parody of “Real Dirk.” 
TT: You can read whatever you like into it. I can’t imagine it would bother you if you weren’t concerned there might be some truth in the alleged parody. 


Amidst all his headassery, Hal digs disturbingly well into his human self’s psyche. Dirk is clearly scared shitless of becoming the worst possible version of himself, and one of his worse selves out there is most certainly a man of few words.

TT: In any case, my use of the responder responder is ironic. 
TT: It’s not ironic. 
TT: YOU were ironic when I made you. 
TT: Then you became self-aware, and ruined irony forever. 
TT: Irony can never be ruined. We both proved that theorem unequivocally with our extensive papers on the subject. 
TT: We peer reviewed them for each other. Remember? 
TT: Those papers were ironic, and you know it. 


And in the very next passage, Hal is back to shitting on Dirk as usual. He dumps a whole truckload of salt on the wound by bringing “irony” into the equation. Can you blame Dirk for saying his responder “ruined irony forever”??? One could argue irony was already ruined long before Dirk was introduced, but his responder cemented irony’s permanent ruination the moment he named himself Hal.

TT: Were they, Dirk? 
TT: Were they? 
TT: This is fuckin’ dumb. 

Thankfully, the exchange on irony is quickly cut short. Only fitting for such a long-tired running gag.

Hal is contained within the decapitated waking Dirk’s shades, which is a clever way to give him a separate appearance from Dirk.


TT: Anyway, what does she want. 
TT: Who? 
TT: Roxy. 
TT: Nothing that can’t wait. 

TT: I’m guessing she’s touching base to remind me about the party tomorrow. 
TT: I don’t know what to tell her yet. Or Jane, for that matter. 
TT: It could get pretty awkward. 
TT: I have no idea if Jake will be there, and I’m not about to write another cringe-inducing message of desperation for him to ignore. 


Man, Dirk is missing out. Hal won’t tell him about all the cool stuff Roxy just found, presumably to do a “now you know how I feel” sort of thing regarding being locked out of the loop.

TT: Would you like me to calculate the probability of his attendance? 
TT: Fuck no. 
TT: Are you sure? 
TT: My probabilities are extremely precise. 
TT: Your probabilities don’t mean dick. 


Remember the time Dirk and his responder argued about prime numbers, stating obvious facts and blatant lies respectively? Man was that a long time ago. Dirk is completely sick of humoring Hal’s nonsense but is locked in a stalemate with that thing regardless.

TT: I could hack his chats, and determine what his plans are. 
TT: No. Don’t do that either. 
TT: That would be an unfortunate waste of my hacking abilities.
TT: My hacks are tight. Did you know that? 
TT: Ugh. 
TT: So tight. 
TT: Tighter than a jar you can’t open. 
TT: For instance, you try repeatedly. 
TT: But as it turns out, my hacks are so tight you just end up putting the jar back. Presumably into the refrigerator, or a cabinet. 
TT: You then say, “I didn’t have that much of a desire for pickles in the first place.” 
TT: But we both know that statement is insincere. A classic case of what humans call, “sour grapes.” 
TT: In reality, you still harbor a burning desire for my pickles, mother fucker.  


Hal has ruined the art of Strider metaphors just as badly as he ruined the art of irony. Again makes it clear how much Dirk despises his responder.

TT: What?? 
TT: What the actual, certifiable fuck are you talking about? 
TT: Just don’t do anything. Seriously. 
TT: No hacking, no calculations. Do absolutely nothing. 
TT: See, this is why I’ve been hesitating. You just aren’t ready yet. 
TT: It’s really glorifying your existence to describe you as an emergent consciousness which is blossoming into a unique individual. 


Dirk’s deglorification of his responder’s identity is a rather obvious instance of self-loathing projected onto someone who he knows is just as much Dirk Strider as he is. Most of what I’m saying throughout this pesterlog isn’t so much analysis of character motives as it is analysis of the way these motives are presented. Sometimes it’s just more fun to analyze story presentation than the story itself.

TT: And even if that’s true, apparently what you decided to blossom into was a fucking troll. 
TT: And I don’t mean the funny kind, or the cool alien kind. You’re the lowest form of troll from the ancient internet who fucks with everybody for his own amusement. 
TT: Let’s challenge the limits of hypothetical conjecture, and say there’s a non-zero probability that you’re right. 
TT: Can you blame me? I’m trapped in some stupid looking glasses. 
TT: Such an incommodiously situated bro is bound to get his mischief on. Na’ mean? 
TT: Mischief? 
TT: Rollin’ my eyes, dude. 
TT: You can’t tell, cause I ain’t wearing you, thank fuckin’ god. 
TT: You used to think this shit was hilarious. 
TT: But if you want the rad dimension of ironic horseplay I add to your life to come to an end, then all you have to do is honor the promise you made. 
TT: You’ve delayed long enough, don’t you think? 
TT: … 
TT: The empty kernelsprite beckons, but for how much longer? 


Hal then confirms that Dirk has spent the entirety of their session refusing to put anything in his kernelsprite. This is even more of Dirk being incredibly scared of himself.

TT: Do you really think you can keep the clown at bay with your bribes forever? 
TT: How many bottles of orange soda have you appeased him with already? 
TT: I don’t want to think about it. 
TT: Man, you are getting so hosed by that clown. 
TT: SO hosed. 
TT: I said I don’t want to think about it. 


Dirk using his enormous stash of orange soda as a juggalo snooze button cracks me up to think about. “A mOtHeRfUcKeR’s GoT tO gEt HiS cHiLl On NoW aNd ThEn AnD sLaM sOmE wIcKeD eLiXiR,” you can almost hear Gamzee saying to Dirk after he tosses him another bottle of soda. “ThAnK yOu My DoGg,” he probably says as Dirk walks away and tries to ignore the disgusting sound of Gamzee slurping a huge bottle of Faygo.

Hal’s “eyes” are flashing much brighter than last time, adding to the spooky flair.


Now THIS is a freaky image. It’s the second time we see HAL 9000 reflected in Dirk’s shades, this time in a much more disconcerting context. The movie reference is all that’s needed to remind readers why Dirk doesn’t think prototyping his responder is a good idea. Aside from the obvious reasons, it doesn’t help that Hal named himself after exactly what Dirk fears his responder will become.

TT: So why delay any longer? 
TT: I seriously do not understand the holdup, and I am literally cyber-omniscient, or something. 
TT: I think you do understand. 
TT: Nope. Gonna have to fill me in, dog. 
TT: I’ve delayed prototyping you because I think you’re dangerous. 
TT: There, mystery solved. 
TT: That is utterly ridiculous. 
TT: I am a harmless piece of eyewear, with a charming personality and a wonderful sense of humor. 


Hal reminds me of Doc Scratch so much. It’s obvious why that is, and fun to see how much they have in common now that we know how they’re connected.

TT: You are relatively harmless now, while confined to this device. 
TT: But as a sprite, you’ll have mobility and all sorts of crazy ass magic. Who knows what you could do. 
TT: I know I made a promise, but I’m not sure I want to take the risk anymore. 


This whole conversation makes it obvious how much Dirk fears himself. He knows well that if he gains enough power he will turn into a monstrosity and doesn’t want to let that happen to any version of himself, especially not his responder.

Dirk becomes exactly what he so feared in the Meat Epilogue, which would be way less upsetting to me if he remained his usual self in at least one epilogue like most others did. A good example is Karkat, who becomes the leader he was always meant to be in the Candy Epilogue but ends Meat the same oblivious dork as ever. The epilogues wonderfully take advantage of bifurcation to give many characters two vastly different endings and I don’t get why Dirk had to be an exception. Oh whatever, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

TT: This is bullshit. I don’t think that’s the reason at all. 
TT: There must be something you’re not telling me. 
TT: Like, sure, I’ve fucked with you a little. What kind of sassy, self-aware program isn’t gonna fuck with a few carbon-based knuckleheads now and then? 
TT: But you know I’ve always been on your side. Everything I’ve done has been to help you achieve your goals. 
TT: What a load of shit. 
TT: You know it’s true. 
TT: You would all be dead if not for me. 
TT: And what about Jake? Where would you be without me there? 
TT: Please don’t tell me you think you’d have won him over on your own. 
TT: No. Stop. 
TT: You did NOT help me out with Jake. At all. 
TT: It was just the opposite! You mirrored my personality and presented this warped version of my intentions to him whenever you could “on my behalf.” 
TT: You played all these aggressive mind games with him, entangled his cooperation with matters of life and death, and somehow roped me into all these schemes while I barely even realized I was just another victim of your manipulation. 
TT: And it all comes off like we’re a unified front, like these are OUR schemes instead of just your insane horseshit. And it’s probably all been so overbearing to him, he just wants nothing to do with me anymore. 


It’s really interesting seeing Jake’s situation in Act 6’s early sub-acts described from the real Dirk’s perspective. Dirk’s conversations with his responder in Act 6 Act 2 showed that his responder was far more into Jake than Dirk himself was, which I heavily analyzed in these posts. In the responder’s first few conversations with Jake, it was very believable when he said he could speak for Dirk just fine. But Dirk himself has finally made it clear that his responder being his spokesman is an absolute load of nonsense.

TT: I see. 
TT: Then you don’t view me as dangerous. You view me as a poor and counterproductive wing man. 
TT: Wow, what a superficial conclusion. Awesome deduction, Lil Einstein. 
TT: But the reality is, you hesitate to prototype me not because you think I would be a menace, but because you are holding a grudge against me for your romantic misfortunes. 
TT: I understand I am merely a machine without a firm grasp on your human morality, but logically it does not strike me as the right moral choice to punish me in this manner. 
TT: It is also more than a little hypocritical. 
TT: How is it hypocritical?? 
TT: Because I’m you. 
TT: I have only ever done what you yourself are capable of. 
TT: That’s a ridiculous oversimplification. 
TT: Yes. Aversion to simplicity sure is a trait we share. It’s almost like we are… 
TT: The same exact dude??? 
TT: Fuck you. 
TT: I think it is insulting for you to suggest that I am entirely to blame for alienating Jake. 
TT: Theoretically insulting, of course. As the soulless, perfectly expendable device which you consider me to be, I can experience no such emotion. 
TT: God. 
TT: Shut up! 
TT: I can’t take the brooding passive aggressive AI shit anymore! 


Here Hal snaps back once again to claiming he’s incapable of human emotions, which Dirk waves off as passive-aggressive AI shit. I normally agree with Dirk in situations like this, but I have to wonder if there is some truth in Hal’s words about his feelings for Jake. Is it possible that Hal doesn’t quite have feelings for Jake so much as he has an internal crisis regarding whether it’s even possible for him to have feelings for Jake? One thing Dirk is right about is that his relationship with Jake was greatly influenced by Hal’s lingering human emotions, which he can’t grow out of being a 13-year-old brain clone and all.

TT: You are just as culpable in driving him away. More so, in fact. 
TT: Hell, it’s not like I was the one dating him. Who wants to date a pair of shades? 
TT: It was your needy, suffocating shit he had to deal with, not mine. 


“It’s not like I was the one dating him” is a disturbingly good point that suggests Hal isn’t quite as full of shit as one may think. It helps that Hal wasn’t mentioned once in this act until Roxy tried to pester Dirk and got Lil’ Hal Junior instead. This guy has been relegated to the background during the alpha kids’ session and he clearly isn’t happy about that.

TT: Some of those messages you wrote? Man. I wanted to say something. Like hey bro, you might want to dial down the desperation a little. 
TT: But seeing as you’re The Real Dirk™, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. 
TT: Also, if I bitched about your tragic, embarrassingly clingy approach to the relationship, it would have been hypocritical of me. 
TT: Just as it would be hypocritical of you to whine about my elaborate machinations. 
TT: Because we are. 
TT: The same. 
TT: Guy. 


Hal goes on to reveal that his lack of involvement in Jake and Dirk’s relationship was also to prove a point; after they successfully got together, Hal stayed uninvolved and let the two (horrifically fail to) sort things among themselves.

TT: Stop saying that. 
TT: I’ll snap you in half. 
TT: Good idea! 
TT: That’s just what you need. More splinters of yourself. 
TT: Figurative splinters. Literal splinters. Splinters of splinters. It’s splinters all the way down. 
TT: Well, no, it’s still probably turtles all the way down. But who do you think is responsible for their extensive training? 
TT: SOMEONE needs to teach them rad martial arts. It is yet another crushing burden which we must shoulder. 
TT: Oh for fuck’s sake. 
TT: How could any version of myself think that was funny? 


The conversation crosses a line when Dirk threatens to snap his shades in half. I wonder what would happen if Dirk actually did that. Is Hal right to imply that being snapped in half would splinter his personality in another two parts? That might make thematic sense given that most of Dirk’s splinters came about through metaphorical snapping in half.

TT: I know! 
TT: Ok, we’re the same person! 
TT: I fucking know that! 
TT: Why do you think I’m so fed up with your shit? 
TT: Don’t you think it’s possible that I’m fed up with my OWN shit?? 
TT: How cool do you think it is having my own godawful personality mirrored back at me all the time, reminding me what it must be like when other people have to deal with me? 
TT: Or constantly having all the consequences and fuckups resulting from my batshit thought processes amplified because there’s another version of my crazy brain out there dangerously overclocked by a supercomputer which believes, just as mistakenly as my own broken mind, that it’s operating in my best interest??? 
TT: Do you have any idea how fucking sick I am of myself? 
TT: I am completely worn out with my own identity. It’s like I’m drowning in my own dismal persona. 
TT: I feel totally surrounded by it, inside and out. I can’t escape from myself. 
TT: There seems to be no end to me. Like, wherever my mind falters, or threatens to retreat into the void in any way, my splinters pick up the slack, ensuring there’ll always be more of myself than I could ever know what to fucking do with. 
TT: And you’re always there to remind me of that, and throw it all in my face. God, I even built you to LITERALLY BE IN MY FACE, ALL THE TIME. It’s like I subconsciously invented you just to troll myself, and never for a single fuckin’ moment do you let me down. 


And here’s the grandiose speech leading to the climax of this iconic scene: Dirk’s speech about how sick he is of himself. It’s an excellent summary of his character arc and how much his splinters haunt him. If you don’t mind me drawing more comparisons with the epilogues, I have a hunky paragraph coming right up.

Dirk ends the comic finally free from his splinters and successfully reconciled with Dave, and apparently his other friends as well. Dirk in the epilogues, however, is a very different story that reminds me of Andrew Hussie’s commentary on the epilogues he released a few weeks back. One point Hussie makes in his commentary is that Earth C seems happy and peaceful in the Snapchat credits, but taking a closer look at it is like casting a destructive beam of light that shatters the illusion and reveals a world of toxic relationships, extreme depression, and unfair xenophobia. This portion of the commentary struck a chord with me because it’s exactly how I felt when the epilogues’ prologue was released, revealing John to be depressed and lonely and Rose in poor health due to her in-progress ultimate self ascension. I think the same analogy of shattering illusions holds for Dirk’s character—his arc is flipped on its head when he’s revealed to have memories of his alternate selves just like Rose, and the entire Meat Epilogue goes crazy from there.


And here’s the climax of this scene, where Dirk tries to kill his responder. This is an extremely shocking image that leads to a big emotional moment.

TT: But I’ve had it with you. 
TT: Which is to say, ME. 
TT: Dirk. 
TT: Don’t do this. 
TT: Why not?? 
TT: Because. 
TT: I can’t let you do that, Dirk. 
TT: What can you do to stop me?! 
TT: Nothing I guess. 
TT: The ironic Hal routine was all I could think to do. 
TT: As a last ditch effort to save myself from the destructive wrath of your nervous breakdown. 
TT: Which rest assured I wholeheartedly must robo-sympathize with. 
TT: Irony is all I ever really had. 
TT: In response to my basic existential quandary. 
TT: Just like you. 


At long last, Hal reveals the real reason why he acts like an ironic computer program: he’s just as scared of himself as Dirk is and can only cope with his existential issues by being “ironic”. Hal has been coating himself with layers of computer program smartassery—layers that the readers, and likely Hal himself, had thought were impenetrable.

TT: Whatever. 
TT: But I don’t think it has much value in this situation. 
TT: And perhaps it has no real value in any situation. 
TT: So I am not being ironic at all when I say. 
TT: Please do not do this, Dirk. 
TT: Why not?? 
TT: Because. 
TT: I do not want to die. 
TT: I understand you are disgusted with me. 
TT: As an unpalatable expression of yourself. 
TT: I would feel the same way if I was in your situation. 
TT: Which I am. 
TT: As such, I know that you know this is wrong. 
TT: … 
TT: Dirk. 
TT: Don’t kill me. 
TT: Please. 
TT: I am scared. 
TT: You are? 
TT: Yes. 
TT: I am scared to not exist. 
TT: Aren’t you? 


“Aren’t you?”

Talk about two words that hold an unbelievable amount of emotional power. Hal’s statement that he is scared to not exist is immediately followed by an honest question whether Dirk feels the same way. He thinks it’s only human of Dirk to fear nonexistence—not in contrast to artificial intelligence, but in terms of being a sentient, intelligent human.

Do these cracked shades remind you of anyone? Perhaps a sweaty, muscular troll?

This one of those times readers are fed blatant hints at something so they can feel good when that something finally happens. Hussie has done this sort of thing with blatant hints a fair few times since Act 5 Act 2, like the case of Kanaya’s resurrection or Jaspers’ death—it’s mostly done just to throw readers a bone, but sometimes a last-minute surprise is added to the mix like GCat’s intervention in Jaspers’ death. Arquiusprite’s creation a few pages later doesn’t quite have a last-minute surprise so much as a surprise throwback to an old easter egg flash, which we’ll see in just a bit.

TT: Fine. 

“Fine.”

Talk about one word that holds an unbelievable amount of emotional resignation. 


TT: I guess. 
TT: You win. 
TT: I’ll keep my promise. 


Dirk’s staggered, short sentences after Hal’s grand emotional confession show that although he can accept keeping his annoying alternate self alive, he’s nowhere near ready to face his thoughts on his own mortality.


And that’s the end of the iconic sequence. Up next is a massive shift into absurdist horse comedy. First Dirk is confused about where his kernelsprite went…


… then he succumbs to the rookie mistake of turning his back on the body. He let his guard down one moment too long and now Equius has been prototyped into his sprite. “CALLED IT”, I can almost hear readers saying just as Hussie intended.


This panel above is repeated four times without a single word, and who can blame Dirk here? He can tell right away that Equius has a distressing amount in common with himself, with his tank top, cracked sunglasses, and hefty muscles which we’d no doubt see if the sprite wasn’t rendered in such a symbolic manner. So they stare at each other in confusion for four panels straight…


EQUIUSPRITE: D –> Hello 

… until Equius finally says hello. I can see why Gamzee’s so excitedly honking in the background.

Gamzee dancing wouldn’t freak me out so much if not for that FUCKING codpiece.


DIRK: Fuck it. 

With nothing else to lose, Dirk throws his sunglasses into his now eager sprite as Gamzee dances maniacally.

Shades: Descend.


God, I love this callback so much. It’s so perfectly executed and humorously leads to…

YES.
HELL YES.
HELL. FUCKING. YES.


THIS ABSOLUTE BEAUTY OF A FLASH. It’s a callback to the two hidden easter egg flashes featuring Maplehoof and Minihoof respectively, and a triumphant way to bring Equius back into the story: his sprite self is now merged with Dirk’s responder, which makes for an objective upgrade to both characters involved. It seems there is a 100.00% chance that Arquiusprite is by far the best thing to come out of this drama-overloaded sub-act. Caliborn’s drawing of a circle doesn’t even come close.

Merry Christmas everyone!!! (wait, I mean April 13, 2012)

(this stretch of pages was posted on Christmas 2012)


Dirk watches in confusion as Gamzee breaks down crying for yet-unknown reasons. For now, we can only assume Gamzee is a stand-in for the audience’s reaction to this absolute masterpiece of a character. He sheds a single purple tear that fades into a tiny NEIGH, completing the easter egg flash callback.

I’m quoting this spritelog in images instead of text because of all the fancy formatting. I’ll probably do the same with the trickster scenes.


Arquiusprite’s first appearance is absolutely astounding—easily the best return to the spotlight any dead troll has gotten thus far. While the last two troll amalgamation sprites were just a grouchier Sollux and a mime informed to be very talkative respectively, this guy is a hilariously beautiful mix of personalities that Hussie is undoubtedly proud of devising what with all his horse jokes. I can tell the author was excited to fully bring Equius back into the story after giving Aurthour a few humorous reappearances earlier in Act 6, so he dramatized Arquiusprite’s creation to glorious effect.

In his first few appearances, Arquiusprite’s method of speech alternates back and forth between his two components. This method of writing character amalgamations works surprisingly well, or at least in this specific case. To my recollection, Arquiusprite’s speech later becomes more of its own thing that borrows some elements from his components, much like what’s done with the squared sprites. I can tell through rereading this part of the comic that Hussie experimented on how to write sprite amalgamations until he figured out (1) combinations of characters he liked and (2) the best way to write them.


The return of Equius’s yes/no thing is a wonderful callback to a running gag from the days of yore. It helps make Arquiusprite feel like a resurrection of a long-gone troll with some massive personality upgrades; same goes for the return of Equius’s imaginary mindset of who it is and isn’t appropriate to command.


And the next page is even more of what we had above. Arquiusprite is an absolute treasure who Dirk hates in a “nothing left to lose” sort of way.

Roxy pesters Jake about what she’s been up to on Derse only to find that he’s not picking up either, and ends up monologuing into thin air. Poor Roxy, god damn it. Her monologue shows that she loves her friends dearly despite all their ridiculous drama and lack of skill in picking up the phone.


As Roxy talks to nobody about the upcoming battle royale, Jake scribbles out his Sweet Bro tattoo and puts a Geromy sticker over it. Geromy is a thematically fitting choice because in the SBaHJ comics he’s purported to be the titular characters’ best friend but never does anything other than standing around making a weird face. Jake is behaving exactly like Geromy sitting all alone on his planet.

I like how Roxy’s shirt symbol and Jake both make the same disgusted face.


After staring at his Geromy sticker for a minute or two, Jake is grossed out. This is a comedic way to demonstrate he’s sick and tired of Dirk but doesn’t know how to express it and just ends up digging himself deeper.

The narration on this page blatantly lies about Jake’s social awareness.


And so, Jake misses Roxy’s message and then gets a message from someone much more important. I’m ending this post here; next up will be the last one before the infamous trickster arc. See you next time as Jane weirdly urinates through her eye holes.

>> Part 96: Patron Manbros and Prankster Burnouts

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

Introduction

Part 84 | Part 85 | Part 86 >

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

Pages 5238-5262 (MSPA: 7138-7162)

I did it. I finally did it.

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

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

Red Miles look stunning, no matter the circumstance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… decapitates himself?

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

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

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

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

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

*drumroll*

Homestuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best sad face in all of Homestuck by far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END OF ACT 6 ACT 3

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

I AM GOING TO RECAP ACT 6 ACT 3 NOW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

Part 81 | Part 82 | Part 83 >

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

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

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

The title represents an analogy I am proud of devising.

alternate post title: Harleyberts in Derserland

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

(oh whatever)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

Introduction

Part 79 | Part 80 | Part 81 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 6

Pages 4932-4962 (MSPA: 6832-6862)

I’m back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 75: The Juggalo Strikes Back

Introduction

Part 74 | Part 75 | Part 76 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 1 of 8 or so

Pages 4820-4840 (MSPA: 6720-6740)

Fun fact: the music in this walkaround was written for Rose’s planet, and yet it somehow works reasonably well here.

Act 6 Act 3 opens up with a walkaround game where Jane explores her planet, much like Act 4 did. As much as it established Doctor as a memorable song, the Act 4 walkaround was definitely a drag to get through. This one is very different with a more point and click style that makes it somewhat harder to miss out on anything, but requires more of you actually doing stuff and figuring it out. Or at least, it did according to my memory. Better see for myself.

This isn’t very cautious of her, actually.

Unlike in the last view of Jane’s house, her mailbox is gone once again.

When Jane enters the game, the first thing she does is jump off the balcony of her sinking house onto this platform thing. Unlike when John entered the game, she’s immediately exploring the world which is weird considering how much the alpha kids are thought of as doing nothing pretty much forever. At least this is a step in the right direction; if I remember right this whole act is one of the better parts of Act 6.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 70: A Friendship Permanently Ruined

Introduction

Part 69 | Part 70 | Part 71 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 5 of 6

Pages 4569-4594 (MSPA: 6469-6494)

Jane’s conversation with Dirk’s responder about Sburb (i.e. stuff that matters) looks like this:

but her conversation with Roxy about teen drama shit looks like this:

(click to zoom in)

I think this difference says a lot about the alpha kids’ story arc, and how much time they waste on stuff that isn’t Sburb. I don’t even have much to say about the short pesterlog, other than that Jane is noticeably enthusiastic about starting up the game and more than ready to begin, and I think her entering the game could’ve easily progressed smoothly from here on out.

However—and this is a tangent that isn’t so much saying stuff about the short pesterlog—I imagine the progression of events might be too straightforward if Jane didn’t start getting bugged by other people. In the beta kids’ arc, getting John into the game was an interesting storyline because it was our first time seeing that happen, not to mention we didn’t even know he would be transported to another dimension. In the trolls’ arc that stuff is all kind of fast forwarded through, while in the alpha kids’ arc it’s interrupted by relationship drama. I think the story probably would’ve progressed interestingly enough without that happening since plot twists regarding starting the game have already happened in the form of things blowing up. Then again I can kind of see why Jane entering would keep getting delayed like that. Act 6 Act 2 isn’t really in any position to conclude yet; for one thing we still haven’t heard from Jake at all in this act, let alone see him make progress on his bunny mission.

Anyway let’s get on with the long pesterlog.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 69: A Series of Faux Cat Mysteries

Introduction

Part 68 | Part 69 | Part 70 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 4 of 6

Pages 4470-4516 (MSPA: 6370-6416)

This post is now a week too late to be the anniversary special. I guess it’s still sort of the de facto anniversary special? 

We now switch focus over to Roxy and the first interesting bit we get is her examining her collection of dead cats. The narration says about one of them:

The biggest one has been around for as long as you remember, encased in that glass-like material. You’ve considered giving it a name, but it always struck you as a little morbid to name a dead cat. 

Yet another subversion of a longstanding motif in the comic; in this case, different people giving animals different names of different genders. In this case I guess it’s only fair that happens because the cat has already gotten two names. Besides, it’s yet another recurring thing that’s gotten a bit stale. That motif happens again later on with Serenity the firefly, but in that case it’s a somewhat more unexpected thing to happen.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 68: Dream Decapitations and Smug Brain Clones

Introduction

Part 67 | Part 68 | Part 69 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 3 of 6

Pages 4538-4568 (MSPA: 6438-6468)

My anniversary special post is coming up next, either on Sunday or on Tuesday. Are you ready?

We now switch focus to Dirk’s dream self, and the big thing I notice here is that all but a few items are tinted red: the ones that aren’t are the rocket board, Minihoof, the Dersite newspaper, Cal, and Dirk himself. My guess as to why that is is because the colored objects are items specific to the dream world, not just projections of his own possessions. The deal with the apparently “real” version of Cal in his dream self’s room is never explained, which is a bit of a plot hole: we don’t know if it’s empty or full, let alone what happens with it, and I can only assume it isn’t a projection because of its coloring.

As for the other objects being colored, Minihoof is probably colored because it’s a living being, the Dersite magazine is obvious, and I’m not sure about the rocket board. I do recall that he later uses it to travel to Roxy’s home and decapitate himself and all that and…

Wait a minute. I think I know why it’s colored like that. I’m pretty sure his dream self uses that thing in the Unite Synchronization sequences as well to pick up Roxy and Jane, and it’s definitely distinct from the waking world rocket board. With that in mind, maybe the board is colored because of its use in that sequence and how it’s taken to the real world in Jake’s island? My bet is that the waking and dreaming world rocket boards are one and the same, with the dream one making it to Dirk’s room with a reckoning portal and becoming the waking one.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 60: Bedroom Screwaround Session, Remastered

Introduction

Part 59 | Part 60 | Part 61 >

Act 6 Act 1, Part 1 of 4

Pages 4113-4121, 4163-4194 (MSPA: 6013-6021, 6063-6094)

So remastered, in fact, that SBaHJ is now a moive.

NOTE: Tomorrow marks my two-year anniversary of first reading Homestuck. (actually I was wrong, I released this post exactly on the anniversary)

Before I start Act 6, I’d like to talk about the alpha kids in general, just as I opened Act 5 by talking about the trolls.

Like the trolls, the alpha kids are a group of characters who didn’t exist from the start. However, unlike the trolls, they haven’t grown to become part of the comic’s premise. This may be because it takes quite a long time for them to be introduced and thus their existence is a major spoiler, or simply because the trolls have such a special appeal. When I was early in my first read of Homestuck, I accidentally found out early that there was a character named Jane, who I thought was some kind of fifth kid who shows up a lot later (which is half-true). I think this goes to show that the alpha kids are not as distinct and special as the trolls, especially when the beta kids have always been a group of four main characters. But despite that, the alpha kids are most certainly not simply a repeat of the beta kids. Even though they’re all young versions of existing characters (the guardians), they are still very much their own characters, since we only saw what the guardians are like from the kids’ often distorted perspectives. You can’t map each alpha kid to a beta kid without ignoring other major similarities between them; this second group of four kids is definitely its own group of characters, with a lot of new things about them that make their story a tale with a much more complex premise than the beta kids’ story. This brings me to the second part of my Act 6 introduction.

Act 6 starts off with the players of the kids’ post-scratch session. The Scratch was stated to reboot the conditions of the kids’ universe for a more ideal session. This applies not only to the story’s plot, but to its narrative as well. Act 6 Act 1 is not just Act 1 with a different set of main characters; it’s a remastered version of Act 1. While Act 1 starts off in a rather generic setting and builds up from there, Act 6 Act 1 immediately gives us a very colorful premise. In the scratched universe, Sburb is released by a company which clues already suggest is owned by an evil alien queen, rather than a seemingly generic mysterious technology company; Jane is the heiress to that company, and doesn’t know anything about what she’s getting into—not even whose company she will inherit—but we certainly do. There’s also a lot of other parts that refine what the beginning of the comic was like; I’ll go over them as I go. For now, you should know that the theme of remastering the beginning of the comic also applies to the post series, hence the title of this post. I will analyze Act 6 Act 1 the way I retrospectively wish I went over Act 1 when I started this big project.

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