Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 105: Cagey, Smirk-Tortured Info-Morsels

Introduction

< Part 104 | Part 105 | Part 106 >

Pages 6278-6299, 6324-6342

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 1 of 5

I think this is somehow my first time ever naming a post after a Karkat line????

Also, yay for new Homestuck posts three days in a row.

I’ve been bored out of my mind the past few weeks and it probably shows with the ridiculous amount of content I’ve been outputting lately. Enjoy this post during this stream of rapid activity, which might continue even after the spring semester resumes due to staying at home all day.

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1 of Homestuck, or A6A6I1 for short, begins with a dramatic flash that does insanely cool things with Homestuck’s website (which was preserved on the move away from Flash!!!!!). The flash uses a song called “Gold Pilot” which is a HUGE fan favorite among the comic’s soundtrack (and honestly a little overrated in my opinion), in a way that interestingly matches with the song’s original intent as a theme for Becquerel instead of the Psiioniic or however I’m supposed to spell it, and features Grimbark Jade piloting the trolls’ meteor into a Reckoning portal so she can do cool plot stuff.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 103: Mobster Reformation with Additional Throwbacks

Introduction

< Part 102 | Part 103 | Part 104 >

Pages 6111-6242 (I think I’m going to stop listing the MSPA page numbers, just makes it more cluttered and I already forgot to do so the last few posts)

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 5 of 5

John’s triumphant face represents me finishing my posts for part 3 of Homestuck.

I’m officially putting my Homestuck post series back in the swing of things once again! The reason why has to do with two circumstances: (1) the coronavirus pandemic that’s affecting the entire world and causing so much to go on lockdown and forcing everyone to be homest-*gets shot* and (2) me finishing a musical project and getting burnt out on making musical stuff, which led me to get back into this project that isn’t about making music. The first 40% or so of this post I wrote back in January of this year, but the rest I wrote just yesterday over the course of a few hours because I was kind of bored. Right now I’m in an extended spring break, and the rest of this spring semester will be all online classes which is still difficult for me to even process.

Anyway, now that I’m done with Part 3 of Homestuck (A6A1 to A6I5), I’m going to roughly list out my plans for Part 4 of Homestuck:

  • A6A6A1: 1 post
  • A6A6I1: 5 posts
  • A6A6A2: 1 post
  • A6A6I2: 4 posts
  • most of the rest of A6A6: up in the air
  • [S] Collide and following pages: 1 post
  • Act 7 and credits: 1 post

I’ll also go ahead and confess that I’m really, really looking forward to covering a certain part of A6A6I1 that introduces us to a certain token heterosexual romance (John/Roxy if it wasn’t obvious). I’m very glad I didn’t get to that part before the epilogues dropped.

I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE I HATE PUPPET PEOPLE.

Act 6 Intermission 5 Intermission 5 starts off with a humorous callback to a memorable scene from the Midnight Crew intermission, where Hearts Boxcars was swamped with clones of Eggs and Biscuits (which is how he ended up spending the majority of the intermission). It’s also a humorous way to demonstrate Caliborn’s ever-changing names for the Felt’s species.

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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 99: 3*(2+50)weekium Meteor Mindfuckery

Introduction

< Part 98 | Part 99 | Part 100 > (I’m close to a big milestone!!!)

Pages 5927-5946 (MSPA: 7827-7846)

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 1 of 5

Man, “The Trolls” just aren’t what they used to be.

A few months ago when I looked over the titles of my old 2015-16 posts, I realized that “3*(2+50)weekium Meteor Mindfuckery” would have been a much better name for the post titled “Karkat Freakouts Ad Infinitum”, the post covering the beginning of the meteor journey. I’ve decided to use that title (which matches “Triennium Battleship Mindfuckery” for the start of the battleship journey) for the post that starts the tail end of the meteor journey, because I like that title a lot.

Act 6 Intermission 5 begins with a shot of the trolls’ meteor approaching its destination, corresponding with the battleship’s arrival at the end of the prior sub-act. It is accompanied with Karkat saying “DAVE ARE YOU THERE”, which is a fun way to start this intermission: pretty much any conversation between Karkat and Dave is guaranteed to be hilarious, and Karkat’s line indicates that they’ve grown quite a bit closer than they were last time we saw them.

Goofy alchemized computers are one of the few traditions from the early acts to survive this long, which I am very grateful for. I love the design of Karkat’s little crab watch thing.

KARKAT: ANSWER ME YOU JACKOFF.
KARKAT: DON’T BE ALL LIKE YOU’RE TOO BUSY TO PICK UP, WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO KID.
KARKAT: YOU ARE QUITE POSSIBLY THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS METEOR WHO’S GOT EVEN LESS ON HIS NUTRITION PLATEAU THAN ME.
KARKAT: EVEN THE MAYOR HAS A MORE DEMANDING SCHEDULE THAN WE DO, LET’S FACE THE FUCKING FACTS.
KARKAT: WHAT. DID YOU THINK CAN TOWN RUNS ITSELF??
KARKAT: FAT CHANCE.
KARKAT: DAVE.
KARKAT: GOD DAMN IT DAVE.
KARKAT: I HAVE A PROBLEM.
KARKAT: NO.
KARKAT: *WE* HAVE A PROBLEM.

Karkat’s attempt to reach out to Dave says a lot about both the meteor crew’s current state of affairs and Karkat’s inner drive for leadership. It also says a lot that Dave is the first one he contacts, instead of Rose or Terezi, the usual experts on Sburb-related matters. We’re right about to find out why he chose to contact Dave.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 90: Tsundere Vacillation Station

Introduction

Part 89 | Part 90 | Part 91 >


Act 6 Intermission 3, Part 5 of 6

Page 5398 (MSPA: 7298) [Openbound: Part 3]

In which I definitely don’t underhandedly vent about school projects.


This post is extremely long. In fact, it’s my longest Homestuck post yet! Hope you enjoy.

Here’s my plan for the next few acts:

  • Act 6 Act 4 + Act 6 Intermission 4 – 1 post
  • Act 6 Act 5 – 6 posts
  • Act 6 Intermission 5 – 5 posts

I estimate that I’ll reach the end of Act 6 Intermission 5 around November 1, give or take a week. After that, we’ll see what comes next.


Time to start the third and final part of Openbound, where we meet the last three Beforan trolls!

The chest next to Rufioh has some Fiduspawn cards, which brings back long-gone memories.


First off is Rufioh Nitram, the homage character to Dante Basco. He’s alright I guess, which is way more than can be said about most of the other Beforan trolls.

Meenah’s conversation with him doesn’t waste much time establishing absurd archetypes. Rufioh says he had wings since birth and never ascended to god tier, then starts to bemoan how people think he’s braver than he actually is. Right after that, Rufioh dives into his backstory which is WAY darker than anything else we saw with the alpha trolls.

MEENAH: alright so you never god tiered but i still dont get somefin
MEENAH: didnt you have a totally fuckin stupid robot body at some point or did i just imagine that
MEENAH: that whole period of time in our session was reel foggy to me i guess because i was dead for a while there
 #maybe i got the ghost madness #could SWEAR you was a metal horse tho
RUFIOH: yeaaah…
RUFIOH: no, the robot body was def1n1tely a th1ng… 1 k1nd of blocked that out of my memory too, haha… that was… that sh*t was someth1ng else, yo! crazy…
RUFIOH: 1’m sure you remember how all that started… back when damara and 1 were st1ll dat1ng… r1ng any bells?
MEENAH: yeah
MEENAH: fuckin megido
MEENAH: do we really need to rehash that ancient bullshit drama
 #bull #lol #wait… #why dont you ever do bull puns? #FAIL
RUFIOH: no, no… heh, just say1ng 1s all… 1t was that whole th1ng… anyway, that’s when horuss was k1nd of mack1ng on me, remember… and 1 wasn’t all about to vac1llate w1th h1m and her cause 1 knew how she was… d*mn, so jealous… so f***1ng crazy…
RUFIOH: so she made me a cr*pple, remember?
MEENAH: tag that shit homie
 #abaloneism

RUFIOH: d*mn, yeah… 1 mean, she busted me up… couldn’t move a muscle… well, could st1ll flap my w1ngs well enough, haha…

And you thought Vriska was a HUGE 8ITCH, huh???

Unlike what we learned prior about the Beforan trolls’ backstory, this is WAY worse than the Alternian trolls’ backstory. Tavros was only paralyzed from the legs down and Vriska even had the courtesy to make him some sick flying equipment. Damara paralyzed Rufioh’s entire body save for his wings, all because of romantic jealousy.

RUFIOH: really, 1 thought 1t would be alr1ght, just flapp1ng w1ngs around… 1 could st1ll fly and just hang there l1mp… m1ght have been a dope look!
RUFIOH: but nah… horuss thought better of 1t. bu1lt me the robo-bod, wh1ch was pretty t1ght…
 #l1ke l1terally… #screwed that sh*t together T1GHT! #dude 1s good
RUFIOH: lost my w1ngs though wh1ch sucked… and k1nd of awkward just hav1ng a real guy’s head on top of a b1g metal body and mak1ng all those d*mn legs move the r1ght way, you know… trott1ng 1s hard work yo.
 #espec1ally on sta1rs… #}:(


And the Beforan trolls’ absurd archetypes just make Rufioh’s backstory even worse. Horuss took the opportunity to combine his horse fetish with his attraction to Rufioh and built him a robotic horse body, which he absolutely hated.

RUFIOH: better than be1ng a cr*pple though. 1 mean a quadr1pleg1c, oops, haha… but 1 guess you d1dn’t know what happened after that, s1nce you and damara were k1ll1ng each other and all…
MEENAH: no what
RUFIOH: well… 1 d1ed. yeah… but…
RUFIOH: that’s l1ke… wow, long story… guess you never heard… 1’ll tell you some other t1me, 1t’s th1s whole crazy th1ng. but…
RUFIOH: 1 was dead, r1ght? and horuss k1ssed me back to l1fe… but just my head 1 th1nk… he was probably stand1ng on some mounta1n str1k1ng a pose l1ke a f***1ng gangsta, probably f1ght1ng a hoofbeast w1th a flam1ng mane and all… 
 #hope someone pa1nted that sh*t… #1nstant masterp1ece


Rufioh’s backstory is mixed in with some callbacks to the alpha kids’ romantic entanglements. Horuss corresponds to Dirk, Rufioh to Jake, and Damara to Jane. This story makes us fear the worst for the alpha kids when we hear back from him, especially Jake.

RUFIOH: so yeah, next you saw me 1 had my normal body aga1n… 1t was cool of h1m to help me all the ways he has.
RUFIOH: and yeah, we went out, me and h1m… for a long t1me after that, k1nda off and on, even after we d1ed… 1n case you were gonna ask…
MEENAH: i wasnt
RUFIOH: r1ght… haha… too much 1nformat1on 1 guess? sorry doll.
RUFIOH: 1 always wanted to thank you for stand1ng up for me… you know, when she cr*ppled me… even though 1t cost ya… that was pure class, pe1xes, 1’ll never forget 1t.
MEENAH: man i wouldnt have had to if you could just stand up for yourself sometimes
MEENAH: i mean being paralyzed notfishstanding
RUFIOH: heh… yeah… 1 guess…
MEENAH: you are the only guy in our group who was ever even close to being pretty cool
MEENAH: everyone else sucks but you were almost alright
MEENAH: you were always such a pushover though
MEENAH: pretty lame bro
 #TW #CRIPPLE ENTENDRE #suck it

Rufioh’s pushover issues have him permanently locked in a love triangle with Damara and Horuss. Again makes us fear the worst for Jake.

> Meenah, ask Rufioh to join 

MEENAH: i probubbly shouldnt even ask this since youre not as brave as people make out with you to be
MEENAH: i mean make you out to be
 #wait #what did i say? #nm
MEENAH: but would you want to come away with me to…
RUFIOH: whoa, man… not you too!!! ahaha…
MEENAH: wut
RUFIOH: 1t’s f1ne… 1t’s alr1ght that you d1g me, 1’m flattered… you were just the last person who hadn’t h1t on me yet… and 1 k1nda dug that about you, you know?
MEENAH: i wasnt asking you out dope
RUFIOH: oh… wow… sh*t! sorry, guess 1 got the wrong 1dea…
RUFIOH: 1t’s just k1nd of a reflex, doll… you know? everybody h1ts on me all the t1me, and 1 don’t know why… sh*t 1s crazy…

Rufioh really is the Jake of the alpha trolls. All his friends are attracted to him and he doesn’t know why, and he shows signs of treating romance differently from how most people do. Dating seems to get him into nothing but trouble, so he cherishes people that aren’t romantically attracted to him.

RUFIOH: just the other day, get th1s… some orange guy 1n a green sh1rt jumped out of some bushes and tr1ed to k1ss me… and 1’m l1ke whaaat… step off jolly man, haha…

Hussie’s self-insert apparently met Rufioh and tried to kiss him, which isn’t the least bit surprising. If only Rufioh knew what all his alternate self(???) taught Hussie back in the day…

MEENAH: maybe its cause youre a bishie ass glubberfucker with a kickin hawk
RUFIOH: yo, that’s cool of you to say… you’ve got k1nda th1s otenba b1shojo th1ng go1ng on yourself, g1rl… your style rocks, 1 always thought you looked pretty slamm1n…
 #1 could g1ve you mohawk dy1ng t1ps… #you’d rock the sh*t out of that look!!!
MEENAH: for what its worth
MEENAH: i would be your moe dere dere waifu in the beat of a pump biscuit
MEENAH: if i was remotely attracted to you or found your personality more appealing
MEENAH: and also if i shared your dumb passion for troll anime and didnt think it clogged massive blowhole
RUFIOH: ahaha, bangarang! that’s a scenar1o 1’d be alr1ght w1th…
RUFIOH: no one really to talk to anymore about my stor1es, yo… s1nce th1ngs got so ch1lly w1th my ex…
MEENAH: goddamn witch
RUFIOH: seriously… she crazy…


God damn do I feel bad for Rufioh. He badly wants friends to talk to about his troll anime, but nobody other than his ex cares about it. I’m not even very well-versed in anime and I can confirm from experience that jamming with someone else about an anime you like is an absolute blast. And just to be clear, I have no idea what an “otenba” or a “bishojo” is.

RUFIOH: so what were you go1ng to ask me… uh, 1f not on a date?
 #and 1f not what brand of mohawk dye 1 use?
MEENAH: never mind
MEENAH: youre not even gonna agree anyway cause this team suuuuucks
MEENAH: later ruf


I actually think Meenah may have had a shot getting Rufioh to join her army. Who knows, maybe he likes the idea of facing off against a big green monster if it gets him away from his horrible relationship with Horuss.


> Meenah, open chest east of Rufioh

You got a BUSTED ROBOT HEAD! 

There was a rumor going around that once, through an elaborate courtship process, Horuss sent Rufioh a robotic duplicate of himself to spar with, piece by piece. The last part he sent was supposedly the head.

That’s almost certainly a myth. Horuss is a pretty strange dude, but he would have to be a total lunatic to do something like that. The anecdote strains plausibility.

Another obvious alpha kid callback. Kind of interesting that the last few Beforan trolls are used to warn us about what could easily happen to the alpha kids in their session.


Now it’s time for Meenah to meet, um,

This fucking guy.



Wait…

Are you telling me he has a name? I never would have guessed. Everyone forgets about Horuss Zahhak and I’m probably about to see why.

> Meenah, talk to Horuss

HORUSS: 8=D < Your Harness… I mean Hayness. Highness I mean.

HORUSS: 8=D < F*DDLEST*%. Please pardon my utterly e%ecrable language, and unforgivable stammering, your Horseness.
 #Sh*ot! #I mean Hayness! #Whew.


Yes, this is exactly what I need. Traumatic flashbacks to my brony phase.

… how did I never realize Horuss might have been inspired by My Little Pony characters, who stick horse terms into every other word? I feel like I should have noticed that way sooner, because I first read Homestuck right as my brony phase was drawing to a close.

MEENAH: hey uh
MEENAH: horuss what…
MEENAH: what the fuck is that thing youre prefixing all your talkin with
HORUSS: 8=D < Oh, this? What, you don't recognize it?
MEENAH: no and its weirding me out
HORUSS: 8=D < Why, it is my smiling face, you s*lly, utterly superior person, you. Goggles and all. Can't you see?
MEENAH: i
MEENAH: guess??
MEENAH: its disturbin as heck to me for whatever reason
HORUSS: 8=D < The last thing I desire is to disconcert our prodigal empress.
HORUSS: 8=D < I just thought I would try smiling permanently and uncompromisingly, rather than resnorting to all those disgruntled e%pressions I usually trot out.
 #I’ve been cutting back on the horse puns too, as you can see.


uuuugggggghhhhhhhhhhh

Rufioh deserves better than this absolute creep. Horuss says that he used to always make disgruntled face expressions, which implies that all his lines used to be preceded by ever-changing emoticons just like Meulin, rather than a constant 8=D. He also says he’s been cutting back on horse puns, implying that he used to be even worse if that’s even possible.

MEENAH: why the eff would you want to do that
HORUSS: 8=D < It was on Meulin's suggestion, actually.
 #8=3
MEENAH: huh??
HORUSS: 8=D < Oh, I guess you must not have herd. She and I have developed quite a STRONG and stable moirallegiance recently.
MEENAH: daaaang
 #disclamer: #less impressed than i sound
MEENAH: that matchup makes no glubbin sense dude
 #cats+horse #ftw
HORUSS: 8=D < E%actly. Whoof would have thought? If you a%ed me before we all died whether I would consider romantically pairing with a r*d*culous midb100d, let alone Ms. Leijon of all people, I'd probably have died regardless, due to laughter-induced asphy%iation.
 #If you’re going to go #Go out with a smile #8=D
HORUSS: 8=D < But do you know what it was that finally cleared the sweat steam-induced fog from my goggles? It was meeting our post-scratch counterparts. 
 #Dancestors #Or shall I say #Dressagecestors?
HORUSS: 8=D < Seeing our corresponding young Alternians, why it threatened to produce a tear-induced f100d on the inside of my goggles.
 #Which naturally I would drain right away through the custom sweat valves
HORUSS: 8=D < Their relationship in spite of the STRONG class disparity I found to be so moving, so pure. It made me reconsider my perspective on Meulin entirely, who horsenestly I'd hardly ever given a second thought.


Um.

Horuss isn’t all that much unlike Equius. He has all of that guy’s same fetishes, not even exaggerated all that much. It makes sense that he’d think starting a moirallegiance with Meulin would help keep his weird problems in check, with the same magic that made Nepeta and Equius’s moirallegiance work so well. Unfortunately, Meulin is only like Nepeta on a surface level and is otherwise a useless Tumblr fangirl, so all she does is tell Horuss to permanently smile.

MEENAH: man why yall still act like you give a heap of manure about dating down on the spectrum
MEENAH: you and nitram been a thing for how long now
HORUSS: 8=D < Yes, but no one was supposed to know about that!
HORUSS: 8=D < That was always to be my own private, um, e%ploration. I had no intention of creating such a stirrup. 
 #Though I have literally smithed such items before, pun notwithstanding.
HORUSS: 8=D < It was only to be a very private, fleeting dalliance with a BUOY, but the whole thing became so quickly scandalized. 
 #A spur of the moment affair, really.
HORUSS: 8=D < And soon others were whisked into it such as you and the vengeful rust b100d, and… well, imagine my embarrassment. Trust me, the last thing I wanted was for royalty such as yourself to know I was pursuing forbidden b100d. To be caught with my hoof in the chocolate jar, so to nicker.
MEENAH: ill
HORUSS: 8=D < And I suppose I would have clopped my hands of the matter after the big k*rfuffle, but…
HORUSS: 8=D < I guess I didn't e%pect to fall in love.



HORUSS: 8=D < It's true. I am not ashamed to say it. I fell mane over hooves. Phantom snout over phantom hind quarters. He…
HORUSS: 8=D < He stole my breath away.
 #With but a roguish glance.


Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I fucking hate this guy. He was embarrassed by his relationship with Rufioh not because he knew Damara and Rufioh were in love, but because Rufioh was so low on the hemospectrum.

MEENAH: wow life story alert do not care
HORUSS: 8=D < My apologies, your E%cellency.
MEENAH: just tell me why paling up with meu means you have to make that terrible face now
HORUSS: 8=D < She's taught me to get in touch with my anger. Through a moderately discernible series of enthusiastic mimes, she has made it clear that it is much healthier to crush all negative emotions beneath a stampede of positivity, and to always be cheerful and upbeat no matter what, even if projecting that facade is at times physically painful.
 #Such as #All times.
MEENAH: that is some shitsauce advice and you should give it up homes
HORUSS: 8=D < Um, yes. Very well.
HORUSS: (;≧Д≦) < Is this better?
MEENAH: much


😦

Sounds like a language barrier right there. Maybe Meulin really did have good romantic advice for Horuss, like my theory that she keeps Mituna’s relationships steady. But Horuss didn’t read her mimes very well and took them to mean that he should smile all the time no matter how deeply depressed he is.

> Meenah, ask Horuss to join

HORUSS: 8=D < Respectfully, your Superlative Magnificency, I do not think that would be advisable.
MEENAH: whoa shocker of the centaury
 #HORSE PUN #DIS GIRL #ON FIYA
HORUSS: 8=D < Of course, I will if you order me to without hesitation. But lately I've been attempting to canter down a trail of nonviolence.
HORUSS: 8=D < I've been saddled for so long with anger and hostility, and now my focus is on solving problems in ways that do not involve confrontation or physical STRENGTH.
 #Soon I may even be able to say STRENGTH without shouting.
HORUSS: 8=D < Technology can solve so many problems, for instance. Do you have any idea how much energy is stored in sweat which may be released through its steam?
HORUSS: 8=D < Have you any clue as to the MIGHT of a quadrupedal automaton powered by raging currents of steam coursing through its e%quisite horizontal torso, and finally jetting through a perfect pair of metal nostrils? I could build as many as you like, my Empress.


Horuss’s robot horses, or at least some form of robot horses, end up useful to the plot in a roundabout way. Maybe when he met Equius, he taught him how to build robotic horses? Makes sense because after Equius became Arquiusprite, he summoned robotic horses to open his surprise entrance into the events of Caliborn’s Masterpiece. So at least Horuss has some possible semblance of redeeming quality, unlike Cronus.

MEENAH: um no think i will pass on taking an army of snorting horsebots with me
 #unless you build those suckas out of gold
MEENAH: so thats all you do is build stupid shit that runs on your sweat now?
MEENAH: cause i could really use a guy with muscle
MEENAH: i dunno if you seen this skull dude but he is RIPP-ED
 #kinda hot actually
HORUSS: 8=D < Oh no, that's far from my only preoccupation. I have also taken some time to perfect the art of humor.
HORUSS: 8=D < Would you like to hear a joke?
MEENAH: oh noes…
 #fine
HORUSS: 8=D < A horse trots into a thirst shanty. His muscular shoulders slouched, his noble head hanging low.
HORUSS: 8=D < The dairyjerk observes that the great beast is clearly despondent, and asks:
HORUSS: 8=========D < Why the long face?
MEENAH: euurergh
MEENAH: zahhak god damn it i am royally orderin you to stop doing that face forever
HORUSS: 8=o < At once, my lady.
HORUSS: 8o < My formerly perky visage withdraws, while my fully erect posture shrivels at your regal disapproval.
HORUSS: (ಠ益ಠ;) < I shall henceforth emote in my customary manner, as such.
MEENAH: respect


> Meenah, be Horuss

HORUSS: ᕦ(ò д óˇ)ᕤ < Bring me a horse, and I am yours forever.

Horuss’s words look way less creepy without the constant 8=D. Why did he have to start smiling all the time?


Rounding off the alpha trolls, it’s time to meet Meenah’s longtime nemesis, Damara Megido. Meenah’s conversation with her starts like her “conversation” with Kurloz in the last walkaround: first Damara is silent, then she flips the bird at Meenah. But right after Meenah suspects Damara of still abusing Rufioh after all this time, Damara starts speaking machine translated Japanese that Meenah can’t understand.

I’m not willing to analyze who among Damara and Meenah was in the right during this whole nasty rivalry any more than I am willing to quote the filthy sexual things Damara says. This is one of very few times I’m going to outright censor parts of the comic, for the sake of keeping things reasonably safe for work. I’ll probably do the same with the extremely graphic parts of the epilogues. If you want to read uncensored translations of Damara’s dialogue, just consult the readmspa.org transcripts.

> Meenah, ask Damara to join

MEENAH: hey so guess what! im building an army to kill lord ahahahaha
MEENAH: S)(-ELL O)( S)(-ELL
 #aka #sea lol
MEENAH: like you could give a fuck about saving reality and or wouldnt just be a huge backstabbin liability out there
DAMARA: 十分に公平。[Fair enough.]
MEENAH: but just for shits an cuttles uh
MEENAH: been sorta wondering
MEENAH: back when we like
MEENAH: kind of ruined each others shit
MEENAH: because of that whole cycle of revenge deal
MEENAH: and i ended up dyin and god tiering and all
MEENAH: remember that
DAMARA: 私が覚えている。[I remember.]
DAMARA: 時々私は、(REDACTED)。[Sometimes I (REDACTED).]
MEENAH: aight not sure i followed that but ill assume it was more weird skanky sass
MEENAH: but what i want to know is
MEENAH: after the fight
MEENAH: did i hurt you bad enough that you maybe
MEENAH: crawled off and died somewhere
MEENAH: like in a quest cocoon
DAMARA: …
MEENAH: were you maybe all bloodied up from all those forkins
MEENAH: and then maybe along comes a friend with a maddening inability to hold a grudge against you for the ways you fucked him over
MEENAH: maybe trotting along in his new robo horse body and swooped your bloody torso up on his back
MEENAH: galloped off to your cocoon and draped you on the slab while probly not havin the nerve to finish you off
MEENAH: this ringin any bells
 #like the ones in your batty as fuck goddamn belfry?
DAMARA: 性交あなたは何を話している?白痴雌犬。[What the fuck are you talking about? Bitch idiot.]


Damara is even more unhelpful when Meenah asks her to join. Meenah reasonably presumes Damara ascended to god tier, but Damara refuses to elaborate. Then she derails the conversation with more sexual nonsense.

Pictured above: the dream bubble only Damara can open.


I guess I should go over the options of “being” characters now. None of the three newly introduced Beforan trolls let you play as them right away and the way out is blocked by a dream bubble only Damara can open. Rufioh wants someone to bring him a memory of his lusus, Horuss wants someone to bring him a horse, and Meenah basically tells us that you can’t be Damara unless you’re playing as someone that speaks her language. The obvious progression is to be Horuss, then be Rufioh, then be Damara.


Meenah uses the spawn eggs on the Fiduspawn plush and out comes a Horsaponi, which can supposedly evolve to a Horsaroni if you train it enough. If you give it to Horuss, you can be him.


If you play as Horuss and talk to Meenah, she asks Horuss when he decided he was a horse. But before he can answer, Kankri comes in and “corrects” all of Meenah’s misconceptions about… whatever the FUCK Horuss’s fetishes are. Honestly I’ve already said all there is to say about Kankri by this point. I skipped over the time he intruded on Meenah and Rufioh’s conversation earlier in this walkaround. Though this bit is way funnier than it should be:

KANKRI: P99r H9russ here will likely feel triggered f9r weeks 6ecause 9f y9ur th9ughtless questi9n. Hell, even I’m feeling a little triggered 6y it, and I’m n9t even under the impressi9n I’m a h9rse. I think every9ne within earsh9t was triggered 6y that. Y9u feel triggered, right H9russ?
HORUSS: (o皿o;) < Trigger sounds like a wonderful name for a hoofbeast.
KANKRI: See? T9tally triggered. N9w let’s let the healing 6egin.


I wish the Openbound games had more pictures like this. Would liven things up a bit.


Horuss has no idea what Kankri is talking about, but is aroused by a mutant blood speaking at such length about horse identity. Meenah quietly walks away.

Horuss uses his machinery skills to open a chest next to Damara, which contains a suffocating memory of Rufioh’s lusus because Damara is a nasty bitch. You can also talk to her as Horuss, but he can’t understand a word she says. Horuss thinks Damara’s language is a lowblood accent and that’s why only Rufioh can understand her. He also mentions he’s been working on a steam-powered universal translation device that isn’t usable yet. If you read this conversation with Damara’s translations (or if you can read Japanese), Horuss seems like a normal person next to Damara with all the sexual stuff she says.


*sighs loudly, EXTRA LOUDLY*

Horuss talks at length about his past and answers the question of when he “decided he was a horse”: he felt empty all his life due to being a void player and started searching from the void within to find answers to who he is, not the least of which is the idea that he is a horse. This would be great and all if he was listening to a single word Rufioh was saying. Throughout Horuss’s ramble about himself, Rufioh nervously tries to break up with him and then gives up.

HORUSS: 8=D < But as much as I learned about myself, I could never find a way to become whole.
HORUSS: 8=D < The void was never filled until you came along, Rufioh. 
RUFIOH: wow man. that’s…
RUFIOH: wow.
HORUSS: 8=D < If there is any lesson I would like people to take from my story, it is a lesson that is a multiple system consisting of two distinct lessons.
HORUSS: 8=D < The first is how love heals all wounds, even ones consisting of the infinite essence of void permeating your entire e%istence and role as a legendary hero.
HORUSS: 8=D < The second is how if you are faced with any crisis of identity whatsoever, it's really important to do your best to manufacture esoteric features of your personality and believe in them very STRONGLY and tell people about those things as frequently as possible.


As with Cronus’s scenes in the last walkaround, I think this passage is meant to tell readers how not to behave around the Internet, especially around odd figures. I’m reminded once again of my brony phase and all the other embarrassing stuff I did around that time.

HORUSS: 8=D < I can assure you right now, the labor involved in smithing my personality into one that is interesting and complicated was rather intensive.
HORUSS: 8=D~~ < I really worked up a good sweat in the process.
HORUSS: 8=D~~~~ < (That is the sweat dripping from my face.)
RUFIOH: hey… yo… that…
RUFIOH: that’s some freaky sh*t dog!


Horuss boasts of manufacturing a complex character for himself, and yet he’s one of the most forgettable characters in the entire comic, even by Beforan troll standards. I’ll come back to this point when Meenah gets to Aranea’s exposition stand.

HORUSS: 8=D < Anyway, I apologize for talking so much. You know how you have a way of drawing the breath out of people.
HORUSS: 8=D < What were you trying to tell me?
RUFIOH: oh… yeah.
RUFIOH: uh…
RUFIOH: never m1nd.


😦 😦 😦 😦

Four frowny faces. Three for Rufioh, one for Horuss because he deserves a slight amount of pity too.

Horuss gives Rufioh his lusus and he lets you be him.


> Rufioh, talk to Horuss

RUFIOH: yo yo, horuss my gangsta, how you feel?
RUFIOH: can 1 get a way gentle f1st bump from my boy? heh, yeah… just l1ke that… f*ck yes.
 #actually that st1ll k1nda hurt…
RUFIOH: anyway 1’ve been mean1ng to talk to you about someth1ng… someth1ng uh… pretty 1mportant.
RUFIOH: about us and the future and all that… you got a m1nute?
RUFIOH: ok, cool. so… d*mn… where do 1 even start…
RUFIOH: you know we’ve had noth1ng but good t1mes together… 1t’s been the bomb.
RUFIOH: well, maybe not everyth1ng… sh*t got d1cey at the start… w1th my crazy ex and… yeah. that’s not the po1nt.
RUFIOH: remember the way you used to be… before you all started be1ng 1nterested 1n me… man you thought 1 sucked! haha, just another lowblood not worth your t1me.
RUFIOH: you were so p1ssed at people l1ke me and damara… so angry, damn. sh*t was scary… and damara… she used to be n1ce as can be… dunno what happened there. talk about a personal1ty sw1tch… for both of ya…
RUFIOH: but then for whatever reason… 1 guess you wanted to reach out to me? 1 mean… 1n secret, 1 know. you d1dn’t want to be all shamed out of your h1ghbrow CIP club, 1 could always d1g that. 1 understood, you know?


Time for Rufioh’s big breakup speech. He starts by describing Horuss in a more positive light than what we’ve seen before. Things do get iffy which he uses the acronym CIP, which shows that Horuss has gotten to him a bit too much—normally those acronyms aren’t part of anyone’s lingo unless they’re fake social justice bloggers or hemospectrum fetishists.

(Constantly censoring profanity is probably another side effect of Rufioh spending so much time with Horuss.)

RUFIOH: people always had crazy 1deas about me. l1ke 1 was th1s brave adventure guy all up 1n th1s forest be1ng a bad*ss and sh*t. people l1ke… they always wanted to be w1th me, or… maybe even wanted to BE me? 1t was all k1nd of whack… even damara when we were go1ng out d1dn’t really get me, 1 th1nk… she put me on th1s pedestal, 1 mean, back before she snapped.
RUFIOH: but you saw me for who 1 was. wh1ch was… not a perfect guy.
RUFIOH: l1ke, 1 wasn’t really sure about myself, and you saw that… so you actually helped me.

RUFIOH: when we were 1n the woods together, you taught me about combat… ph1losophy… l1fe… and love!

Little-known fact: the “combat, philosophy, life, and love” arc words from the epilogues actually originated in Openbound Part 3, as shown above. It fits because Horuss is meant as an analog to Dirk, the character most often associated with those arc words.

Just kidding, this is what Rufioh actually says:

RUFIOH: when we were 1n the woods together, you taught me to f1ght… taught me to fly… taught me to crow!

I’ve reread the epilogues so many times now that I almost expected Rufioh to mention combat, philosophy, life, and love.

RUFIOH: well, not l1terally. 1 mean… 1 knew how to do those th1ngs. 1 knew techn1cally how to flap my w1ngs and fly through the a1r. 1 knew how to say “bangarang” all loud 1f 1 really wanted to… but that was the th1ng. 1 was scared! 1 was scared of fly1ng and fall1ng… 1 was scared of f1ght1ng and fa1l1ng… and 1 was scared of crow1ng and… sound1ng l1ke a f***1ng 1d1ot 1 guess! lol…
RUFIOH: but you helped me not be so scared, or self consc1ous maybe… you just helped me be myself. l1ke… to just be ok w1th not be1ng perfect, or l1v1ng up to whatever people th1nk 1 should be.
RUFIOH: maybe 1t’s just nostalg1a… there was someth1ng better about those t1mes… just you and me ch1ll1ng 1n the woods. but then we entered the game.
RUFIOH: and for some reason… st1ll don’t know why… damara just started go1ng a l1ttle more nuts every day… gett1ng more and more jealous when she knew we were hang1ng out…
RUFIOH: then she found out 1t was more than just hang1ng out… and 1 guess the rest was h1story.


Rufioh mentions that Damara didn’t really go crazy until after the game started. This sets up a mystery arc for what caused Damara to go crazy. We’re led to believe that Damara simply learned from Sburb constructs to start being a nasty asshole; we don’t know what really changed her character until we get to Aranea’s exposition booth.

RUFIOH: and yada yada… then we all d1ed… and we been together ever s1nce. all th1s t1me as ghosts…
RUFIOH: wh1ch 1s… a long t1me, you know?
RUFIOH: and 1’ll always be grateful for what we had together… but… 1 guess people change.
RUFIOH: even as ghosts, they change, 1f you g1ve em long enough… they start want1ng d1fferent th1ngs…
RUFIOH: aw man! 1’m go1ng about th1s all wrong… say1ng way too much, but not what 1 want to say… sh*t, haha.
RUFIOH: 1 should just use the bravery you helped me understand 1 always had, and just say 1t…
RUFIOH: 1 th1nk we should break up.
RUFIOH: …
 #…
RUFIOH: uh…
RUFIOH: you ok, bro?

HORUSS: 8=D < Oh! I'm sorry, what did you say?
HORUSS: 8=D < My ear valves filled up with sweat, and I didn't catch most of that.
RUFIOH: …


😦 😦 😦

Three frowny faces for Rufioh, none for Horuss.

HORUSS: 8=D < Hey, why don't we participate in an enjoyable activity together later, as romantic afterlife partners? We could play one of those foreign card games you seem to like. What's that one called again? Fiddlespoon?
RUFIOH: um. yeah… we can do that… 1 guess. that sounds… uh… dope.
HORUSS: 8=D < I know I'm not the best partner to share your e%otic and somewhat childish interests with, but I do my best to try to understand them and enjoy them with you. The most important thing is that we spend time together, and maintain a STRONG relationship.
RUFIOH: …
RUFIOH: bangarang.


I feel bad for Rufioh again. Everyone calls his interests childish, even though there’s nothing wrong with liking things that may be aimed at children. And there’s especially nothing wrong with liking anime. Did Horuss ever try watching any of Rufioh’s favorite animes? I’m sure at least one anime had some appearance or mention of horses, which Horuss would obviously love. Though that would probably just make their relationship even worse.


RUFIOH: d*mn… thank god 1 got my lusus back… dunno what 1’d do w1thout the l1ttle guy!
MEENAH: is he even uh
MEENAH: “reel”
MEENAH: ya know
MEENAH: like the ghost of your actual lusus or
RUFIOH: er… know what? not sure, doll!
RUFIOH: he could just be a memory f1gment or someth1ng l1ke that. or maybe he’s really h1s ghost…
RUFIOH: when damara acc1dentally dropped a hunger trunk on h1m way back… crushed h1s l1ttle body… 1 always dreamed 1 m1ght meet up w1th h1m aga1n 1n the afterl1fe.
RUFIOH: so when 1 found h1m here… guess 1 d1dn’t th1nk about 1t much? 1 was just happy to see h1m.


Accidentally dropping refrigerators is usually one of the first things anyone does in a Sburb session, which might imply Rufioh’s lusus died right at the start of their session. Or it might not, because the Beforus session was a miserable failure that never went anywhere for three sweeps until they figured out how to reset the game. Either way, Rufioh losing his lusus for so long is messed up to think about.

RUFIOH: 1 remember when 1 was young… just a l1ttle runt out there try1ng to make 1t 1n the world… people would look at me funny cause my w1ngs were grow1ng 1n, and that really freaked people out yo!
RUFIOH: so 1 got way self consc1ous and d1dn’t feel at home out there… w1th everybody eye1ng me up l1ke that…
RUFIOH: so one n1ght my lusus led me 1nto the woods…
RUFIOH: and 1 found th1s whole baller v1llage of f***ck1n tree houses and rope ladders and 1 was l1ke D*MN!
 #shouted bangarang SO LOUD you don’t even KNOW!
RUFIOH: that’s when 1 became an off1c1al member of the lost weeaboos.
MEENAH: hey ok so…
MEENAH: can we not actually talk about the lost weeaboos
MEENAH: can that just be not a conversation we have
RUFIOH: uh…
MEENAH: ruf listen your storys cool but theres some junk thats just so silly i cant even try to abide
RUFIOH: yeah 1 guess… heh.
RUFIOH: but anyway, they were my boys… a better posse you couldn’t hope to ch1ll w1th, k1ck the sh*t on troll an1me… all that.
MEENAH: aw fer glub sake
 #no
RUFIOH: f1rst bumped 1nto damara out there… crazy t1mes!
RUFIOH: 1 th1nk those were format1ve sweeps for me… learned to love a lotta th1ngs 1 st1ll do to th1s day.
RUFIOH: between you and me… 1 m1ss the days 1 could just jam w1th her about troll an1me… but now… you know how 1t 1s…


Normally in these conversations I feel bad for Meenah, but in this case it’s totally the opposite and I feel bad for Rufioh. Meenah is going full on “lol anime is for losers”, which reminds me of how I was back when I hadn’t seen any anime. It’s the one case where I actually think it’s rude for Meenah to make fun of her friends’ interests. There’s just something sincere about Rufioh’s attitude that shows he isn’t a lunatic freak of nature, just a regular guy who really enjoys talking about his favorite animes.

RUFIOH: 1t’s ok, 1 get that the stuff 1 l1ke 1sn’t for everyone.
RUFIOH: people say 1t’s just for w1gglers… and 1 k1nd of assumed one day 1’d grow out of 1t, but guess 1 never d1d?
RUFIOH: then aga1n… we all d1ed… and now we really are all young forever… 
RUFIOH: just l1ke the prophecy of the lost weeaboos sa1d… 
RUFIOH: whoa spooky… 1 always thought that was a load of bs!!!
MEENAH: whoops you just said lost weeaboos again thus failing the conversation
MEENAH: in the immortal hand gestured words of the late great meulin leijon:
MEENAH: IM SO DON-E


I think it was a positive development that Rufioh accepted he wouldn’t grow out of his troll anime and decided to just keep liking the things he likes. And you know what? It’s fine that Meenah doesn’t understand all this. Obviously not everyone is going to care about all the things you care about.


Rufioh’s conversation with Damara is upsetting, even without translations handy. She’s still bitter that Rufioh cheated on her with Horuss. The conversation continues if you start playing as Damara, and that’s where things get more interesting.

RUFIOH: gotta be honest damara… 1 been feel1ng pretty bad…
DAMARA: なぜですか? [Why?]
RUFIOH: um… you can keep a secret, r1ght?
DAMARA: はい、もちろん。私はあなたの友達です。[Yes, of course. I am your friend.]
RUFIOH: yeah…
RUFIOH: 1t’s horuss… and you know… been th1nk1ng about break1ng 1t off w1th h1m…
DAMARA: 何を壊す?彼のホーン? [Breaking what? His horn?]
RUFIOH: hahaha! naw… that wouldn’t do much good…


Damara’s suggestion to break Horuss’s horn is an obvious pun on how one of Equius’s horns was broken, but I think it might also be a hint at her fatalism and belief in circumstantial simultaneity. I know that sounds a bit far-fetched, but need I remind you, there’s nothing wrong with reading “too much” into things.

RUFIOH: 1 feel gu1lty for say1ng so… 1’m just not 1nto 1t… so many repet1t1ve dates over the m1llen1a… so much l1ke… talk1ng about l1vestock and b1g muscular an1mals and… 1 dunno. those aren’t really my 1nterests…
RUFIOH: maybe we were never that compat1ble and 1 just never had the guts to say so?
DAMARA: RUFIOH 。私はあなたにこのことを告げた。毎日。永遠に。[RUFIOH. I told you this. Every day. Forever.]
RUFIOH: 1 know, 1 know… 1 d1dn’t l1sten to you… 1 f1gured you were st1ll all mad and jealous!!!
DAMARA: 私は怒って嫉妬した。[I was mad and jealous.]
RUFIOH: r1ght… 1 just don’t know what to do.
RUFIOH: he’s great… but he’s so cl1ngy! 1 don’t know how he keeps that up after all th1s t1me… dude’s got stam1na… 1’m just l1ke… romant1cally exhausted. you get me, doll?
DAMARA: はい。愛が私には死んでいる。ので、誰かがずっと前に、心臓を介して私を刺した。[Yes. Love is dead to me. So long ago, someone stabbed me through the heart.]


Rufioh always sees the best in people and can’t parse when they’re mad at him, which is again reminiscent of Jake. Both are strong cases of unending optimism leading to severe romantic turmoil.

RUFIOH: but for real… 1 just don’t want to hurt h1s feel1ngs…
DAMARA: あなたは私が彼を殺したいですか?再び? [Do you want me to kill him? Again?]
RUFIOH: no!!! god, no… don’t hurt anyone… let’s not go there aga1n!
DAMARA: 私が彼を誘惑したいですか? [Do you want me to seduce him?]
RUFIOH: er… 1 guess 1f the two of you are l1ke… um. that’s really between you and h1m? not sure he would go for that… anyway, 1 don’t th1nk that would actually help me…
DAMARA: 私は彼の魂を消費するために悪魔をもたらすでしょう。[I’ll bring the devil to consume his soul.]
RUFIOH: man, no! 1 told you, please don’t feed anyone’s soul to ANYBODY!!!
RUFIOH: you’ve got to keep crazy talk l1ke that down, damara!
RUFIOH: 1f people knew some of the sh*t you sa1d… how you say crazy sh*t l1ke you want to serve h1m… f***!
RUFIOH: 1t wouldn’t be cool… people would fl1p…
RUFIOH: h*ll, d1dn’t you hear meenah was try1ng to ra1se an army to k1ll h1m?
RUFIOH: 1f she could hear some of the th1ngs you told me… sh*t… 1 can’t ever let her f1nd out…
RUFIOH: 1f she knew, you’d both start f1ght1ng aga1n…
 #}:(
DAMARA: あなたは必然だけを遅らせる。[You’re only delaying the inevitable.]
DAMARA: 私たちの終了時間が近いです。[The end of our time is near.]


And here’s the big reveal: it turns out Damara is in league with Lord English. Not just clown bullshit like with Kurloz. She is closely tied to English and carried out real duties of his, which I’ll go over more when Aranea goes over her backstory.

Note that Kanaya isn’t glowing anymore.


As Damara, you can remove the big glacier memory and go to the trolls’ meteor, but you can’t go inside yet because you don’t have the password.

PORRIM: Damara, do+ yo+u mind? We’re having a private co+nversatio+n here.
DAMARA: 
PORRIM: Please. Leave us alo+ne. We’ll talk later, o+k?
KANAYA: …
KANAYA: (shes making me slightly uncomfortable)
PORRIM: (that’s her specialty. just igno+re her until she go+es away.)


This short passage says all that needs to be said about most of the Beforan trolls’ relationships with Damara. The only thing left to find out is what caused her to be this way.


Damara’s conversation with Horuss is more of her saying sexual things he can’t understand, but this time we have a better idea why that is: she’s extremely bitter at Horuss for stealing her boyfriend and this is the best way she can express that bitterness to him.

Only Horuss can open the chest to the bottom left, which contains a statue of horse genitalia.


If you’re playing as Meenah, Horuss, or Rufioh, you’ll see Mituna laying on the floor in a hidden corner. But if you’re playing as Damara, you’ll see Latula with him, and she says:


Kind of weird that Latula is smiling when she death threats Damara. Just goes to show how she’s burned bridges with all the Beforan trolls except arguably Rufioh. This scene is called back to if you go to the trolls’ meteor as Damara, which I’ll do at the end of this post.



And finally, Damara has a short conversation with Meenah. It’s full dramatic irony if you don’t know Japanese, especially from Meenah’s perspective. As such, I’ll present it without translations:

DAMARA: あなたは時間の領主に挑戦します。
DAMARA: あなたの哀れな軍隊は失敗しなければならない。
DAMARA: 彼はあなたの幽霊を食べるようになる。彼は現実そのものを消費するからである。
MEENAH: i think…
MEENAH: it sounded like…
MEENAH: youre tryin to wish me luck in my upcoming battle?
MEENAH: hey thanks megido
MEENAH: maybe i had you all wrong
DAMARA: ない。あなたはそうしなかった。
MEENAH: aw ive probably been a bitch to you for no reason
MEENAH: lets forget all that shit ever happened
MEENAH: hey how about a hug
MEENAH: whoa watch where youre puttin that hand!!!
DAMARA: 私は何も後悔はありません。
MEENAH: apology accepted
MEENAH: hey you get around to moving that huge quartz glacier yet
MEENAH: kind of in a hurry here


(Again, go to readmspa.org for translations.)

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


Having exhausted all the dialogue options, it’s time to be Meenah again and proceed to the trolls’ meteor.


> Meenah, listen in on conversation

PORRIM: Ah, seems we have co+mpany. Guess we sho+uld wrap this up!
PORRIM: I’m very happy yo+u came to+ see me. I ho+pe yo+u’ll bear in mind what I said.
KANAYA: Yes I Surely Will
KANAYA: And Im Happy Too
KANAYA: About
KANAYA: Yes
PORRIM: Yo+u have impo+rtant wo+rk ahead o+f yo+u. The legacy o+f o+ur race is in yo+ur hands.
PORRIM: I kno+w yo+u will make me pro+ud.
KANAYA: Okay Thank You


It’s fair to assume Porrim’s words for Kanaya about resurrecting the troll race centered around feminism. Considering that Earth C is explicitly stated to be a land of absolute gender parity, I think Kanaya did indeed make Porrim proud. A bit too proud if you ask me—in the epilogues, troll reproduction becomes the crux of a major political crisis all because Kanaya wanted to take the birth of the mother grub into her own hands rather than letting 5000 years of history sort things out. I think the beta trolls’ Alternian pride becomes stronger the fewer are left alive.

> Meenah, ask Kanaya for password

MEENAH: aw snapperfish its popo merrygams and maryam lookalike kid
MEENAH: water you ladies glubbin about over here
KANAYA: Nothing I Was Just Leaving
MEENAH: oh yeah where to
MEENAH: back into your meteor right cause thats where im headed
MEENAH: cant get through the door tho
MEENAH: can i get your password
KANAYA: Pardon Me
KANAYA: No
MEENAH: come on
PORRIM: Meenah, what are yo+u do+ing? Do+n’t hassle her fo+r private info+rmatio+n. It’s rude.
MEENAH: COM-E OOOOON
MEENAH: im being nice about it
KANAYA: Are You Actually
MEENAH: im fuckin smiling aint i???
KANAYA: Well I Was Going In There Anyway
KANAYA: I Wont Give You My Password But You Can Follow Me I Guess
KANAYA: But You Can Only Remain As Long As Im Escorting You
MEENAH: da fuck
MEENAH: why
KANAYA: Because I Dont Trust You
MEENAH: aw man
MEENAH: but im cool
MEENAH: you should wise the fuck up and start thinking im cool
KANAYA: Youre Right With A Sales Pitch Like That I Would Have To Be An Imbecile Not To Crave Your Company
 #Human Sarcasm
MEENAH: what you got against me maryam clone
KANAYA: I Think Youre Probably A Sociopath
KANAYA: Ive Given Enough Of My Time To Such Characters In The Past

You know what I’m in the mood for right now? Some good, fresh Kanayanalysis. I haven’t analyzed Kanaya very much in these blog posts, not the way I have with characters like Vriska.

The deal with Kanaya is that she’s very particular about who she does and doesn’t trust. It all started with back in the trolls’ arc, when she had a crush on Vriska or something and believed the best from her, only to find that she used her lovingly crafted fairy outfit to aggressively seduce Tavros. Since then, she’s vowed not to trust people who may come off as haughty, though she often ends up falling into traps regardless. This pattern is shown here when Kanaya immediately distrusts Meenah and deems her to be a sociopath—keep that in mind when she talks to Rose later in this walkaround. In Act 5 Act 2 she steered clear of the trust trap as Rose descended into grimdarkness and ended the act preferring to talk to Jade, but through Act 6 she’s been starting to trust Rose once again, which makes their relationship go in a less than ideal direction. I still think it would be kind of cool if some pre-retcon versions of Rose and Kanaya had a proper reconciliation? Or an official breakup or something.


Playing as Kanaya with Meenah following behind, you can explore a bit of the trolls’ meteor and oh boy is this a fun throwback. Brings back good memories of the Act 5 Act 2 walkarounds. This whole second half of Openbound Part 3 is a really cool successor to the troll walkarounds we had then.

I like to think Karkat doesn’t sleep much, but when he does he sleeps HARD. Would explain how he’s sleeping on this horn pile.



In a room up north, you can find Karkat sleeping on a pile of horns, possibly with another person nearby depending on who you’re playing as.

> Examine snoring Karkat.

MEENAH: !!!!!

Hey, it’s your newly recruited Grand Threshecutioner! Looks like he hasn’t woken up from the same nap he was having last time you talked to him. The guy must have been really tired.

Why’s he sleeping in this massive pile of horns? That can’t be too comfortable. Maybe you should wake him up. Then as long as he’s awake, might as well see if he’s ready to pack his bags and head off to war.

Hold on. Maryam is eying you suspiciously. She isn’t on to your plan, is she? How could she know? This girl is really cramping your style. You’d try to shake her loose, but as a rainbow drinker she seems to have an absolutely insane fastness attribute.

KANAYA: Whatever Youre Thinking Dont Even Try It
MEENAH: what!!!
MEENAH: wasnt thinkin nofin
KANAYA: Lets Keep Moving


More of Kanaya heavily distrusting Meenah. I feel really bad for Meenah here; it’s not like she’d cause any harm trying to wake Karkat up. He already said he wouldn’t join Meenah’s army until after the meteor arrives in the alpha session.

Note the flasks of alcohol on the tables. A hint at something rather unfortunate that’s about to happen.


In the middle of the room, you can talk to Rose and Dave in whatever order you want. I’m going to start with Rose; it only makes sense for Kanaya to talk to her first.

> Kanaya, talk to Rose

ROSE: What happened!
KANAYA: What
ROSE: You’re not glowing anymore!
KANAYA: Oh Right
KANAYA: I Became So Absorbed In A Conversation With My Ancestor I Already Forgot She Taught Me How To
KANAYA: Switch Off
ROSE: Oh, so you did go talk to her?
KANAYA: Yes
ROSE: That’s great! How did it go?
KANAYA: Very Well
KANAYA: She Is Very Nice And As A Person Is As Impressive As I Was Imagining Her To Be
KANAYA: But Not Nearly As Intimidating Really
ROSE: I knew you wouldn’t regret it if you got up the nerve to talk to her.


This Rose/Kanaya conversation is extremely super shippy so far. Flirty Rose is all the way back in action, this time to her actual love interest and not Meenah.

ROSE: What did she say, besides a few vampire-to-vampire skin-dimming pointers?
KANAYA: Many Things
KANAYA: Primarily Encouraging Me To Pursue My Prior Obligation To My People
ROSE: Oh?
KANAYA: She Said She Used To Eschew Her Role Rather Vehemently
KANAYA: The Duties Of Our Caste Were Quite Limiting In Both Worlds It Seems
KANAYA: So She Renounced Them Completely And Wanted A Different Life
KANAYA: But She Also Said Something To The Effect That
KANAYA: She Found That It Wasnt Really Necessary To Reject That Role Completely
KANAYA: And The Same Is True For Me
KANAYA: As Long As I Know Within That I Am Free
KANAYA: And If My Decision Is To Embrace My Path Then It Can Be A Source Of Strength
ROSE: Then you want to try to restore your race again?
ROSE: I had begun to think you’d lost hope in that possibility.
KANAYA: Its True Theres No Orb Anymore
KANAYA: She Said It May Be Very Difficult
KANAYA: But Theres No Hope If I Dont Try
ROSE: That’s true.
KANAYA: I Dont Know How Im Going To Do It Yet
KANAYA: But Such Is The Nature Of Adventures
KANAYA: You Cant Be Scared Of Adventures
KANAYA: I Think Im Excited About It Now


It’s a good thing Kanaya mentioned her interactions with Porrim after the retcon, because it means we can assume her post-retcon self’s interactions with Porrim went basically the same as how Kanaya describes here. More specifically, it means that Porrim played a part in getting Kanaya so excited to hatch the matriorb that she wanted to do it herself after jumping forward 5000 years, and that Porrim played an indirect part in the huge troll political crisis.

ROSE: I can tell.
ROSE: We can work on it together when we arrive. Maybe the session we’re about to explore will offer some answers.
KANAYA: I Hope So
ROSE: Hey,
ROSE: You aren’t permanently de-glowed now, are you?
KANAYA: Oh No I Can Flip It Back On
KANAYA: See
KANAYA: Turns Out Its Just
KANAYA: A Silly Biological Parlor Trick
ROSE: Oh, good. You had me worried there for a moment.
KANAYA: Sorry
KANAYA: I Know How You Enjoy A Good Source Of Light
ROSE: Light is one of my favorite things.
ROSE: Please don’t take these as fighting words, but my aspect is simply the best there is.


More flirty Rose. She’s quite blatantly in love with Kanaya—laying romance a bit thick is something she has in common with Roxy.

> Kanaya, talk to Dave

DAVE: sup
DAVE: wait whats going on
DAVE: is the meteor passing through another dream bubble
KANAYA: Yes
KANAYA: Hence The Ghost Who Is Following Me
DAVE: oh
DAVE: hey

DAVE: what you dont talk now?
DAVE: you were pretty spunky before what happened
KANAYA: She Is Exhibiting Her Best Behavior While On This Tour
KANAYA: Shes Actually Doing Very Well So Far
DAVE: ok whatever
DAVE: so what are we just not even bothering to care anymore when we pass through dream bubbles now
DAVE: like no warning or alert or getting into our facetious battle stations or anything
DAVE: eh who cares actually
DAVE: i probably wont even leave the room this time
DAVE: getting a little bored of ghosts actually
DAVE: no offense sea troll
MEENAH: (hornless dirtscraper)
KANAYA: Shh!
MEENAH: 38(


Doesn’t seem like Meenah is interested in anyone in the meteor other than Karkat. I feel bad for Meenah, Kanaya really seems to see the worst in her just because she’s a genetic clone of the Condesce.

KANAYA: So What Were You Just Mumbling Over Here Before I Interrupted You
DAVE: oh just some raps
DAVE: been working on my raps
DAVE: youve heard my raps right
DAVE: want to hear some raps
KANAYA: …
DAVE: wait do you know what rap is
DAVE: its this fly human tradition where you drop a beat and talk hard
DAVE: if the flow checks out and your rhymes are dope enough then the police start unholstering their guns
DAVE: they cant help it its like reflexive
DAVE: thats how you know youre doing it right
KANAYA: I Know What Your Raps Are Theyre Basically The Same As The Ancient Artform Of Alternian Slam Poetry
KANAYA: But More Primitive And Generally Involving Less Lyrics About Towering Muscular Livestock

DAVE: slam poetry
DAVE: why didnt you tell me about this
KANAYA: I Dont Know I Dont Really Have Much Interest In The Subject
DAVE: yeah but
DAVE: it should have come up
DAVE: wait now that i think about it
DAVE: i remember some weird troll was rapping at me once
KANAYA: Well There You Go
DAVE: but i mean we could have been talking about rap all this time
DAVE: you and me i mean
DAVE: it would have come up i think if we talked more


It’s pretty funny to learn in retrospect that Equius’s rapping about horses was par for the course by troll standards. It makes a lot of sense, actually—Equius was always far more ingrained in traditional Alternian ways than the rest of the trolls.

DAVE: kanaya we should talk more we dont really talk enough
DAVE: like really just
DAVE: get down to fucking business
DAVE: just the two of us
DAVE: all conversationally and such
KANAYA: Um
DAVE: really like
DAVE: flesh out this dynamic
DAVE: see whats THERE
DAVE: we goddamn WILL squeeze blood from this stone
DAVE: this awkwardly quiet ghost troll as my witness
KANAYA: If You Are Successful In Extracting Blood From The Geological Material In Question Can I Have It
DAVE: aw man
DAVE: kinda semi self deprecating vampire jokes this is a good start i like it
KANAYA: I Dont Know How Sincere Youre Being Dave
KANAYA: Probably Only Somewhat Since The Rule Is That Everything Has To Be At Least Partially A Joke Right
DAVE: yes exactly
KANAYA: But If You Actually Want To Converse And Exchange Views On Our Respective Cultures Then Okay I Guess Thats Fine
KANAYA: I Might Be Able To Dig Up Some Classic Texts By Some Famous Slam Poets
DAVE: oh man yes
DAVE: that would be so fucking perfect
KANAYA: Ok I Will See What I Can Do



Dave and Kanaya’s dynamic is extremely underrated, as Dave himself just pointed out. I liked seeing them converse again in the epilogues, where Dave enthusiastically treats Kanaya like the sister-in-law she technically is to him while Kanaya is deadpan as usual.


DAVE: youll have to read the troll gibberish to me
DAVE: itll be just like storytime with karkat 
DAVE: kanaya edition
KANAYA: Heh Sure
DAVE: but youll have to rap the words
KANAYA: Oh
DAVE: pump up the bass and slaughter the mic
DAVE: i want to goddamn FEEL that slam poetry
KANAYA: Is It Too Late To Back Out Of This
MEENAH: yes


Here’s our first hint that Dave and Karkat’s extreme vitriol has cooled off since we last saw them. There’s a funny scene coming up where I’ll discuss their dynamic in more detail and reevaluate my stance on their friends-to-lovers plot.

Done with Kanaya’s dialogue options. Let’s be Rose and go through all of her dialogue options.

> Rose, talk to Kanaya

ROSE: Not to harp on the issue, but,
ROSE: Now that you can switch on and off, so to speak, how often do you think you’ll resort to phosphorescence?
KANAYA: I Dont Know
KANAYA: What Do You Think
ROSE: Well, which state is more comfortable?
KANAYA: I Could Go Either Way
KANAYA: Ill Probably Switch On If Im Walking Through A Dark Corridor
KANAYA: Now That I Think About It
KANAYA: Its Been A Long Time Since I Could Even Be In The Dark
KANAYA: Maybe Ill Leave It Off For A While And Refamiliarize Myself With The Experience Of Nonillumination
ROSE: Makes sense.
ROSE: Was this a biological feature common to other trolls?
KANAYA: Um
ROSE: I’m sorry. I’m really pestering you about this, aren’t I?
ROSE: We’ve never talked about it. I guess I was trying to be polite, but I’ve been really curious about it.
KANAYA: No Thats Ok
KANAYA: Im Told Its A Trait Confined To Those Of My Caste
KANAYA: They Tended To Spend A Lot Of Time In The Brooding Caverns Where A Convenient Source Of Light Was Often Handy
KANAYA: That Part Of It Makes Sense To Me But I Have No Idea What The Evolutionary Purpose Was For The Sort Of Thirst Which Accompanies This Perk
KANAYA: Strikes Me As An Odd Liability But What Do I Know
ROSE: Maybe to frighten predators away from innocent grubs?
KANAYA: Maybe
KANAYA: Or Perhaps It Was A Measured Defect Imposed On Us
KANAYA: To Keep The Auxiliatrices On A Short Leash
ROSE: I’ll agree with that assessment, on the grounds that I’ve always been a sucker for a good conspiracy theory.


More shippy interactions. I think speculation on the comic’s mysteries makes for a great shippy conversation topic. Roxy and John did it quite a bit near the end of Act 6, as did many other popularly shipped pairs.

KANAYA: The Condition Was Often Glamorized In Certain Works Of Literature
KANAYA: But Theres Really Nothing That Great About It
KANAYA: Not Nearly As Useful As Other Abilities Like The Psychic Gifts Which Some Lowbloods Are Predisposed To
KANAYA: Though I Guess Its Pretty Useful If You Want To Keep The Plans You Made After Someone Punches A Hole Through Your Gut
ROSE: I can see how that could present a whole world of convenience.
ROSE: Speaking of plans, doing anything later?
KANAYA: Not Really
ROSE: I’m working on some stuff right now, but later, maybe once you’re finished escorting your guest around, would you like to do something?
KANAYA: Sure
KANAYA: Anything In Particular That You Have In Mind
ROSE: Not really. Just to hang out. If you’re up for it!
KANAYA: Yeah That Sounds Okay
MEENAH: (holy mackerel get a fuckin room)


Meenah is of course unamused. Can’t say I blame her.

> Rose, talk to Dave

DAVE: whats up with the fish punk troll following kanaya around
ROSE: Seems she’s passing through. Kanaya doesn’t want her to cause trouble.
DAVE: cause trouble
DAVE: what the fuck could she even do here
DAVE: like kick over an old pile of garbage and cause the property value to fall even lower than jack shit
DAVE: i say let her go nuts
ROSE: Feel free to take it up with Kanaya.


I agree with Dave here. Rose is starting to do whatever Kanaya wants her to do just a bit too faithfully, which again seems to be a pattern among Lalondes and their respective love interests.

ROSE: But if you authorize her to flip a bitch, just make sure she’s nowhere near my chemistry table. 
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: cant be droppin your vials and shit all over the floor
DAVE: the only one whos got clearance to drop science is me
ROSE: Dork.
DAVE: dont even hate
DAVE: been shoring up my muthafuckin CRAFT over here
ROSE: I know. I’ve been in the same room, right over there, listening to you mumble lyrics to yourself for the last couple hours.


Here we get quite a few hints that Rose is about to become an alcoholic, which you probably won’t notice because you’re too busy laughing the absolute treasure that is all of Dave and Rose’s interactions.

DAVE: rose you know what sucks
ROSE: Yes.
ROSE: To which sucky thing are you referring?
DAVE: it kinda just occurred to me
DAVE: while i was spitting ill verse to no end
DAVE: i got this weird feeling that i might be getting like
DAVE: a little dated?
ROSE: Is this about Terezi?
DAVE: what
DAVE: no no
DAVE: dont be disingenuous word girl you know what im saying
DAVE: i mean sorta passe
DAVE: like a lumbering pop reference dinosaur
DAVE: remember we are both kind of stuck in 2009
DAVE: so im like popculturally frozen in that period
DAVE: all my references feel like they might be getting a little stale
DAVE: even though the earth ended and all and there was no culture after that point anyway
DAVE: but still
DAVE: i can feel it
DAVE: like in my bones
DAVE: i just know on some hypothetical earth that kept going my shit is starting to get so lame
DAVE: and i know it doesnt matter because its just us here so who cares
DAVE: but i care
DAVE: its a matter of integrity i am a fucking artist


Oh hey, I’m finally at the part where Dave talks about being frozen in 2009. I really love this whole ramble. It’s interesting in a metafictional way because it’s kind of Hussie’s way of lamenting that he can’t make references to pop culture post-2009 in the beta kids’ storyline.

DAVE: like i think if i make one more rap about like some fucking dane cook movie from 2008 to piss karkat off or some tired bullshit like that im going to 
DAVE: i dont know
DAVE: ill just start feeling like a fraud


Dave’s relationship with Karkat is starting to parallel his relationship with John. In both cases, he constantly makes fun of his friend’s favorite movies but in a way that makes it obvious he, too, enjoys them on some level. You could argue that the only reason Dave and John’s dynamic didn’t go in the same direction as Dave and Karkat’s is because John is not a homosexual.

If you’re reading my blog posts in chronological order and wonder why my stance on Davekat (there’s no reason for me not to call it that anymore, the name is used multiple times in the epilogues) is different now, first off, good job. I’m proud of you for managing to read all these stupid posts. Second, you’ll see the reason why soon enough.

DAVE: my game might be drying up rose
DAVE: but its not my fault like im totally hostage to this freezedried backlog of cultural garbage that can never move forward again
DAVE: so i have to pick through it like im looting a fucking tomb while still all tryin to act RAP SASSY
DAVE: like YEAH take THAT motherfuckers
DAVE: OF THE PAST
DAVE: all in your mass graves somewhere in a dead frogiverse
DAVE: i be representing some god damn STANDARDS about your media do you feel me
DAVE: im depressing myself here
DAVE: all im saying is it would be cool to have some fresh shit to work with
DAVE: like just to know
DAVE: to know what the world would be like in the year it would be for us now
DAVE: which would be 2011 i guess
DAVE: wow 2011 really
DAVE: damn
DAVE: i just want to know what would have happened
DAVE: theres so much shit we were primed for
DAVE: it was gonna be exciting
DAVE: like barack obama just turned president remember that
DAVE: we never got to see if he fixed the economy
DAVE: remember how you were dying to see if he would fix the economy you were asking me about it every damn day
DAVE: just joking nobody gave a shit about that


I can’t overstate how much I love Dave’s obsession with Obama. By “nobody gave a shit about that”, he clearly means none of his friends gave a shit and he’s lamenting that he could never talk to any of them about how great Obama was. He loves Obama so much that he won’t just accept knowing how his presidency went after the scratch, and rather started formulating theories that Obama played a secret session of Sburb and ascended to god tier. I can’t believe he turned out to be right about those theories, almost as much as I can’t get over how Obama is implied to have dated pre-scratch Dirk at one point.

DAVE: but like
DAVE: i never got to check out the next batch of stiller jams and see how bad i could mock them


Don’t worry, Dave. On the other side of the scratch you made the next batch of Stiller jams. 

DAVE: we never got to find out how the midnight crew adventure ended
DAVE: if ever


Even if you consider the Midnight Crew intermission to be the full version of the Midnight Crew adventure, this statement is probably still true. Karkat never says anything about what his Jack Noir went up to after being exiled; Vriska after the retcon presumes Spades Slick went through an unbelievable amount of stupid nonsense before arriving at the B2 session. I still can’t believe Collide so brutally killed off a fan favorite character.

DAVE: rose
DAVE: ROSE??
DAVE: what the fuck man
DAVE: whyd you go back to your bottles and shit i was right in the thick of hella elocution
DAVE: dont give me that
DAVE: yes
DAVE: uh yeah
DAVE: yes i do ACTUALLY want you to come back over here
DAVE: im waiting
ROSE: Fine. Here I am.
DAVE: wow was that so hard
DAVE: this is what civilized people do rose they fucking talk to each other like actually in each others fucking vicinities
ROSE: You just have a tendency to go on for a while. I assumed we progressed to the traditional mumbling monologue stage of Striderian discourse.
DAVE: no thats not even a thing
DAVE: i was actually like
DAVE: trying to get your take


Rose, why would you do that??? Walking away in the middle of a fascinating soliloquy was so rude of you. At least let Dave have the illusion that he isn’t talking to nobody.

ROSE: Take on what.
DAVE: i dont even know
DAVE: i bet john would have stuff to say
DAVE: hes probably going through the same frozen fucking caveman from 2009 syndrome as me
DAVE: actually what am i saying the dude is a caveman from 1997 
DAVE: hahaha like he could give a shit as long as hes got his cage dvds


I said something about this passage in a post from years ago. I’ll quote it again, why not:

I just love how even after gaining mighty airbender powers, talking to aliens from a warrior race, and learning that he is (kind of) his own grandfather, he is still a doofus who is obsessed with 90’s movies. […] At the start of the comic, Hussie decided to make John like movies from the 90’s simply because that was the era where he was the most tuned in to pop culture. However, later that interest became a serious part of John’s character, as a nerdy kid who’s all about random old movies rather than what’s going on now in pop culture, or as Dave put it, a caveman from 1997.

I talked about this theme of one-offs becoming full character traits a lot in my rewritten posts about the early acts, which are currently on hiatus because I’m now focusing once more on this actual project I started almost four years ago. This is a case where the one-off traits made up on the spot are revisited and shown to be serious parts of the beta kids’ characters. It’s also some pretty great dramatic irony if you ask me—Dave doesn’t know that being lonely on the battleship did strange things to John’s mind and now he doesn’t like Con Air anymore.

ROSE: Oh! I saw him the other night.
DAVE: what
ROSE: In a dream. It was very brief, only a few minutes. I waved to him and then woke up.
DAVE: whoa what was he doing
ROSE: He was fighting Jack. Actually, he was doing quite well!
DAVE: oh man
DAVE: you have to tell me all about this
ROSE: I will. Later, though. I’d like to get back to work.
DAVE: ok when
DAVE: tonight?
ROSE: I have plans tonight. How about tomorrow.
DAVE: plans 
DAVE: what plans
ROSE: Just some plans.
DAVE: can i come
ROSE: No!
DAVE: fuck fine
DAVE: tomorrow then
DAVE: maybe ill just dream up my own john tonight and well have an awesome time without you what do you think about that




DAVE: fu

Rose, can you please go back to not trying your hardest to impress a troll girl who already loves you dearly? Don’t pretend you miss John any less than Dave does. 

It’s been a long time, Gamzee.


If you go to the room up north as Rose, you’ll encounter Gamzee next to the sleeping Karkat. Rose’s brief conversation with Gamzee in this walkaround is the longest speaking scene he has in Act 6.

> Rose, talk to Gamzee

ROSE: You better not let Kanaya find you in here.
ROSE: She still hates you, you know.
ROSE: And not in “that way.” I think she still truly would like to kill you.
GAMZEE: yeah, i all up and motherfuckin know that already.
ROSE: I’ve wondered, doesn’t it ever get confusing? Trying to differentiate between platonic, malicious intent, and gestures of black romance?
GAMZEE: NO.
GAMZEE: like i’d even give a dayglow chainsaw bitch like that on my time of day up in any quadrant.


Rose knows surprisingly little about quadrants after spending two years on the meteor. I guess this is meant to lead up to Rose’s excitement at the prospect of Kanaya teaching her about troll romance.

GAMZEE: BESIDES, ALREADY GOT MY BLACK ROM ON WITH ANOTHER MOTHERFUCKER.
GAMZEE: been dating somebody in the motherfuckin shadows. getting pretty nasty between us. all experiencing the shit out of the dark miracle called hatebliss. 
ROSE: Wait, really?
ROSE: Who?
GAMZEE: :o)



GAMZEE: no.


GAMZEE: NO.


GAMZEE: no.

Rose sports a neutral expression asking if it’s Karkat, snickers asking if it’s Dave, and looks disquieted asking if it’s the Mayor. Her expression when asking if it’s Dave is interesting to me; it shows that she finds the idea of Dave and Gamzee hate-dating completely ridiculous, which means she knows Dave well enough that he’d never even think of dating the juggalo troll.

ROSE: Wait…
ROSE: Terezi?
GAMZEE: HONK.
ROSE: Are you serious?
GAMZEE: do i mother fucking look like i’d motherfuckin joke around with a mother fucker?
ROSE: I…
ROSE: I can’t even parse that relationship as something meaningful.
ROSE: What…
GAMZEE: IT’S SIMPLE. 
GAMZEE: mother fucker.
GAMZEE: SHE ALL GETS ON HER HATE OF ME QUITE UNDERSTANDABLY, SEEING AS TO WHAT A VILE PIECE OF CLOWN ASS TRASH I’M ALL IS.
GAMZEE: but doesn’t quite hate me enough to want to kill me. :o)
ROSE: This is a really startling revelation, I must say.
ROSE: It’s a game changer.


Surprise ship reveal, and I do mean surprise. Gamzee x Terezi blackways is indeed quite the game changer. It’s rather suspicious how little screen time Terezi gets in this intermission when she’s always been so outgoing and goofy, and the reveal that she’s hate dating Gamzee makes it even more suspicious. How is it even possible for her to fall in hate with this murderous clown instead of just wanting to kill him in the name of justice? Something strange must have happened to Terezi—we don’t find out what it is until Act 6 Intermission 5 and it’s a HUGE shocker.

GAMZEE: HEY.
GAMZEE: please don’t all tell at this noise to anyone.
GAMZEE: IF KARKAT MOTHER FUCKIN KNEW ON THIS…
GAMZEE: he actually would want to kill me. :o(


Arguably the strangest part of it all is that despite everything, Gamzee still cares about Karkat. It’s kind of heartwarming to see Gamzee still treats Karkat as a dear friend, but also unsettling if you consider he’s the only one Gamzee still sees as a friend. This is kind of a weird intermediate phase between pre-flipout Gamzee and plot-armored Gamzee.

ROSE: Yes, I can see the dilemma you’re in.
ROSE: Your social dynamics really begin to get complicated once your quadrants start to fill up, don’t they?
GAMZEE: MOTHER FUCK YEAH THEY MOTHER FUCKING DO.
ROSE: Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.
ROSE: Now shoo. Back into the ventilation system with you, before you’re spotted.


Rose doesn’t tell Gamzee that she’s going to tell all this to Kanaya, who she sees as a confidant she can tell absolutely anything. She doesn’t want to keep any secrets from Kanaya, which will later bite both of them in the ass.

Let’s go back to the other room. Time to, at long last, be Dave.


> Dave, talk to Kanaya

DAVE: (you shattered the ring but theres more cracks in your rap)
DAVE: (ima top off your glass cause devastations on tap)
DAVE: (wait no)
DAVE: (your act couldnt suck more dick with a puppet in your lap)
DAVE: (what)
DAVE: (puppet… man where that come from)
DAVE: (you shattered the ring but theres more cracks in your rap)
DAVE: (your flows like warm milk that goes good with a nap)
DAVE: (haha yes)
DAVE: (shit lets be rails ill be the shoosh to your pap)
DAVE: (wait that makes no fuckin sense)
DAVE: (naw ill stick with the milk one)
DAVE: (yall claimin to be the lord of time)
DAVE: (all ya makin me feel is bored with your rhymes)
DAVE: (thats ok i guess)
DAVE: (still feel like i should work puppets into this)
DAVE: (no idea why)
DAVE: (what rhymes with puppets)
DAVE: (uh)
DAVE: (smuppets)
DAVE: (dave no thats the same fuckin thing)
DAVE: (muppets)
DAVE: (what the fuck)
DAVE: (the only thing that rhymes with puppets is different kinds of puppets!!!)
KANAYA: …
DAVE: whoa
DAVE: hey uh
DAVE: how much of that did you hear
KANAYA: By The Tenor Of The Question Ill Assume More Than You Would Prefer


When rapping, Dave leaks out that two years after his guardian’s death, he still thinks about puppets way too often. This isn’t the first time in Act 6 where we learn that living with a puppet lunatic for thirteen years did quite a number on his sanity.

DAVE: all that shit was a work in progress
DAVE: aint fit for hype yet
DAVE: why you gotta be eavesdroppin
KANAYA: I Wasnt
KANAYA: I Was Just Standing Here And You Slowly Wandered Over In A Totally Oblivious Stupor
KANAYA: You Were Mumbling Your Rhymes And Walked Right Up To Me And Did Not Notice Me Until Now
DAVE: shit
DAVE: was i
DAVE: sorry i guess i just got caught up in my raps
MEENAH: do more!
DAVE: what
DAVE: no
DAVE: i cant those rhymes are still too rough around the edges
MEENAH: come on
DAVE: no itll suck
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: i could freestyle a bit i guess
DAVE: i dont know if i got a live performance in me now
DAVE: maybe it could work if someone dropped a beat
DAVE: need a good beat i could probably kill it with a fly beat
MEENAH: aheh hem…
MEENAH: dum dum PS)( ba dum dum PS)(
 #no wait wait…
MEENAH: chum chum FIS)( ba chum chum FIS)(
DAVE: awwwww yeah
DAVE: that fish beat is the shizzle
DAVE: thats what i am TALKING about
DAVE: alright settle down motherfuckers here we go 
KANAYA: They Then Proceeded To Have One Of The Most Ambiguously Rated Rap Offs In The History Of Paradox Space While I Stood By And Regarded It Neutrally


I’d have loved to read Dave and Meenah’s rap-off, dammit. Why does Hussie have to prefer writing bad rapping over good rapping???

> Dave, talk to Rose

DAVE: rose quit all the clanking around over here i cant concentrate on my raps
DAVE: what in the sweet religious name of jesus h dick are you doing with all these bottles
ROSE: Just a little alchemy.
DAVE: alchemy
DAVE: what kind of shitty thing are you alchemizing with this crap
DAVE: are you alchemizing bottles with other bottles to make like
DAVE: superbottles
 #rose_ebottles
ROSE: No. Believe it or not, I’m actually focused the contents of the bottles.
DAVE: youre a pretty good hike from the alchemiters
ROSE: The alchemy I’m practicing is a little more old fashioned.
ROSE: You know, there was a time on Earth when alchemy didn’t refer to a process whereby a large device used game constructs to materialize some idealized version of an object out of thin air.
ROSE: Alchemists used to experiment with various substances to transmute them into something more valuable.
ROSE: Its more pedestrian and scientifically credible cousin would be chemistry, which I guess is the technical term for mixing shit together.
ROSE: Which strictly speaking more accurately describes what I’m doing.
DAVE: so what your doing science now
DAVE: who do you think you are your mom


Here we have even more motherly grief buried under a layer of Dave/Rose humor. Dave jokes that Rose is trying to imitate her mother, not knowing that she actually is trying to connect to her dead guardian.

DAVE: wait that sounded like lame burn again
DAVE: every time i talk about your mom it sounds like a burn
DAVE: who do you think you are my mom
DAVE: wait scratch that
DAVE: every time we start talking about her as my mom things just start snowballing down our dumb conversational ski slope and suddenly sigmund freud and king oedipus start banging each others hot moms at some kind of depraved sexy momswap party
ROSE: Thanks for the imagery. It was almost as graphic as it made no sense.


Dave then derails the conversation further by talking about the hot mom running gag completely unprompted. This helps further obfuscate some depressing stuff about Rose we’re about to see in full light.

DAVE: so what are you making
ROSE: Beverages.
DAVE: beverages what kind of beverages
ROSE: Tasty beverages, I hope.
DAVE: apple juice???
DAVE: please let it be aj please let it be aj please let it be aj 
ROSE: I’ll see what I can do.
DAVE: omg
DAVE: omg
 #omg
DAVE: fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck yes


I wish Rose had listened to Dave and learned to make apple juice instead of alcohol. That would have been a mutually fulfilling treat.


If you go to the room up north as Dave, you’ll encounter Karkat’s dream phantom right next to his sleeping body. As promised, I am now going to talk about Dave and Karkat as a ship.

Dave x Karkat has been a controversial ship ever since it was introduced arguably out of nowhere after the retcon that brought Vriska back. I absolutely hated that ship back in the day. I found it to be the most forced thing ever and didn’t like that we didn’t see it demonstrated aside from visuals in Vriskagram and characters talking about how they are maybe a thing. When others pointed out that Dave and Karkat’s interactions before the retcon are arguably shippy, I vehemently denied any of that and also denied many accusations of being homophobic.

But all this flipped on its head when the Homestuck Epilogues came out. The epilogues are a tale of redemption arcs, and I’m not talking about Gamzee’s extremely farcical and stupid “redemption arc”. Many controversial things about the late comic were completely redeemed for me and many other fans, including arguably the two biggest: (1) Vriska and (2) Dave and Karkat’s relationship. In the epilogues, Dave and Karkat show a strong relationship with clear romantic tension that goes in different directions depending what choice John makes at the start. It’s heartening to see Dave encourage Karkat to run for president, incredibly satisfying when they finally kiss in Meat, and incredibly devastating when Karkat breaks up with him and Jade in Candy. All this made me think back to A6A6I5 and I realized that the reason Dave x Karkat felt so wrong then was simply because the tone of that act is kind of “off” compared to the rest of Homestuck, and because we didn’t see much of that ship in action aside from visuals. The Davekat Redemption Arc is an absolute piece of beauty that makes their pre-retcon interactions seem much more shippy in retrospect. I fully admit that my denial of them as a ship in prior years was largely a result of heteronormativity (which is another thing I denied back then), but I can’t say it wasn’t also partly a result of bad storytelling. But who cares about any of that anymore, this ship is redeemed now.

> Dave, talk to Karkat

KARKAT: OK, THIS IS JUST FUCKING STUPID NOW.
DAVE: what
KARKAT: I’M ASLEEP, BUT I GUESS THE METEOR IS PHYSICALLY PASSING THROUGH THE BUBBLE I’M DREAMING IN?
KARKAT: AND NOW MY “DREAM PHANTOM”, OR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO CALL THIS VERSION OF YOURSELF, IS ACTUALLY IN THE SAME PHYSICAL LOCATION AS MY SLEEPING BODY.
KARKAT: I’VE JUST BEEN STANDING HERE WATCHING MYSELF SLEEP ON THE HORN PILE. IT’S OFFICIAL. WE’VE BREACHED A CRITICAL THRESHOLD OF BULGE NUMBING IDIOCY. 
DAVE: huh
KARKAT: WHAT DO WE EVEN CALL THIS DREAMING INSTANCE OF OURSELVES? IT CAN’T BE “DREAM SELF” BECAUSE THAT’S ALREADY A THING. AS IN THE VERSION OF YOURSELF ON DERSE OR PROSPIT.
KARKAT: BUT THAT WAS MORE LIKE A PHYSICAL, REAL SELF, THAT JUST HAPPENED TO SERVE AS A BACKUP LIFE. THIS IS SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT, LIKE A WEIRD HOLOGRAM.
KARKAT: HEY, AM I TANGIBLE TO YOU?
DAVE: uh
KARKAT: TOUCH ME.
DAVE: what
KARKAT: JUST GIVE ME A LITTLE POKE.
DAVE: no
KARKAT: DON’T BE LIKE THAT, JUST MAN UP AND TOUCH ME. MAYBE JUST BRUSH MY CHEEK GENTLY WITH THE BACK OF YOUR HAND. SOMETHING UNAMBIGUOUSLY PLATONIC LIKE THAT.



This is one of many bits I denied back in the day could come off as ship teasing. I somehow managed to convince myself that this couldn’t reasonably be interpreted as shippy, just as I convinced myself it wasn’t possible for them as a ship to be presented well. I have a tendency to convince myself of things that I deep down know are false.


DAVE: no fuck you
DAVE: im not caressing your dream hologram
KARKAT: YOU HAVE A REALLY TRAGICALLY UNDER-INQUISITIVE MIND, DAVE. THIS IS FOR SCIENCE. IF SCIENCE WAS UP TO YOU, HUMANITY NEVER WOULD HAVE COME ANYWHERE CLOSE TO RISING TO THE LEVEL OF PATHETIC INFERIORITY IT WAS BARELY ABLE TO ACHIEVE AS IT WAS.


Romantically or not, I don’t think anyone can deny that Dave and Karkat’s dynamic is absolute gold. They’re a perfect pair of characters to metafictionally tackle (or rather, fail to tackle) the concept of nonsensical dream logic.

DAVE: you look really tired man
DAVE: your sleep phantom should curl up with your napping meat torso in the horn pile and try to score some shuteye
KARKAT: YEAH, WELL MAYBE I’LL DO JUST THAT, ASSHOLE!
DAVE: ok
DAVE: hop to it
KARKAT: NO. NOT WHILE YOU’RE WATCHING.
DAVE: man
DAVE: our conversations can be so embarrassing
DAVE: im so glad we manage to have most of them in private
KARKAT: YEAH
KARKAT: ME TOO


The end of this conversation is pretty heartening. It brings back memories of Karkat’s vitriolic interactions with his troll friends, especially Sollux—I probably would have left it at that had I gotten to this scene before the epilogues came out. In retrospect, this scene comes off as the first seed planted for Dave and Karkat’s more positive dynamic and arguably their romantic tension.

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


That’s it for the dialogue options in the meteor. Time to proceed to Aranea’s exposition booth.

No Charlie Brown gag this time.

Character recap time!

  • Rufioh Nitram is an homage to Dante Basco and probably a joke character.
  • Horuss Zahhak is even worse than a joke character because nobody remembers a damn thing about him.
  • Damara Megido is mostly a joke character, but she’s the most plot-relevant of the ten trolls we meet in this walkaround.

> Status report.

MEENAH: welp
 #kelp
MEENAH: im a total failure
MEENAH: didnt recruit a single ghost for my army
MEENAH: except for one guy but he was asleep
ARANEA: Don’t lose hope! I know our group of friends is a 8it lackluster in the motivation department, 8ut there are plenty of other souls out there.
ARANEA: You just need to find someone with the right amount of moxy to get you started. Then I’m sure more will follow.
ARANEA: Who knows, if you keep exploring, may8e someone like that will 8e right around the corner!
MEENAH: you seem more psyched about my army plan than you did before
MEENAH: whats with the change of tuna
ARANEA: I’ve started to 8elieve that what you’re doing may 8e important. Just a feeling.
ARANEA: It could 8e every 8it as critical as my quest to find the cheru8. I think it all could 8e related. Like legs of a stool that won’t stand unless all are in place.
 #Or, prongs of a fork, if you will.
MEENAH: how is cherubquest goin btw
ARANEA: Uh… ok.
ARANEA: I’ve still 8een…….. a little preoccupied.

Do you ever start a school project that you think is going to be really exciting and whose subject you chose yourself, but it turns out to be a boring slog and you start trying to justify what you’ve been doing to distract yourself from that project? This is how Aranea probably feels right now.

MEENAH: girl please
MEENAH: you been draggin your talking booth around to hassle people with facts aintcha
ARANEA: This is my last session, I swear!!!!!!!!
ARANEA: After this, I promised myself I would retire the exposition stand for good. May8e I’ll put it up for sale, and try to recoup some of the su8stantial losses required to operate it.
MEENAH: aranea we are such failures at stuff together
MEENAH: why are we such a couple of gorgeous and sexy failures at things
ARANEA: I don’t know, 8ut we can’t give up!
ARANEA: Once I close down shop here, I will redou8le my efforts to find that cheru8.
ARANEA: The first thing to do will 8e to figure out her name. It’s 8een so maddeningly elusive, almost as if someone’s taken care to scru8 any reference to it throughout paradox space, whether in memories or reality.


Aranea quite clearly doesn’t even know where to begin on the cherubquest. She’s decided to start with finding out the cherub’s name, which sounds like something she should know already? This is even more of her being stuck on the cherubquest because she doesn’t really want to do it.

> Tell me about Rufioh Nitram.

ARANEA: The Rogue of 8reath was always a very popular mem8er of our group. Pro8a8ly the most popular, I’d say. Sort of the anti-me, in that respect. Ever the recipient of romantic solicitations whichever way he turned. Sort of the anti-Cronus, in that respect.
MEENAH: aw yeah sick ampora burn outta nowhere hi 5
ARANEA: Indeed. His mutation made him an outcast, though. To avoid the unwanted attention his wings would 8ring him, he took refuge in the forest among those who welcomed his differences, and learned their ways.
ARANEA: The Lost Weea8oos was a guild of youthful tree-dwelling troll otakus with a zeal for fisticuffs, flight, and various forms of exotic eastern theater. 8ane to the enemies of hijinks, scourge to the seafaring classes who…
MEENAH: NOP-E
MEENAH: NOT LISFININ TO T)(IS LA LA LA GLUB GLUB GLUB
ARANEA: (GLUB GLUB GLUB GLUB) centuries of feuding with the Kemonomimi tri8es (GLUB GLUB GLUB LA LA LA LA GLUB GLUB GLUB) ceremonial torchlight yaoi festivals (LA LA LA LA GLUB GLUB LA LA LA) tsundere quadrant vacillation (GLUUUUUB GLUBGLUBGLUBGLUB GLUUUUUUUUUB) threw down a daggerlance to challenge the guild’s high seme for dominance (NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO) ultimately served like a shonen on Shitsuji Island.
MEENAH: hey serket
MEENAH: how much i gotta pay you to zip yer blowhole on this shit so tight you never bring it up again
ARANEA: For such a service, I will require nothing short of the large gold statue in your palace. I think you know which one I’m talking a8out.
MEENAH: you drive a hard bargain serks
MEENAH: but you got a deal


We already know basically all of Rufioh’s backstory, so all we get here is an anime gag sequence. The little bits Meenah doesn’t glub over are pretty funny, even if they don’t make the slightest bit of sense. I assume all the tribe fighting and shonen battles are nothing more than harmless imaginary roleplaying, especially knowing the Beforan trolls.

> Tell me about Horuss Zahhak.

ARANEA: The Page of Void was a self taught master of mechanics, an avid patron of the fine arts, a passionate 8ody 8uilder, archer, am8rosia collector and steamwright. A poet, a scholar, a warrior, a lover, he was all that his caste demanded and more. A true troll Renaissance man. His name means “He Who Stalks With The Muscle8easts.”
ARANEA: 8ut all of his proficiencies were hard won, 8uilt from the 8lank slate as his aspect would imply, advancing at the slow pace his class would as well. Yet in spite of all he worked to make something of himself, he amounted to very little. Responsi8le for neither great feats of heroism nor acts of villainy, he was just another game piece to 8e moved a8out the 8oard. The aspect ruling his life would always conspire to dampen his relevance.


Horuss turned out to be forgettable both in-story and out of story—he’s not even any sort of fan favorite minor character. I can’t even put it into words how forgettable he is. He’s probably the most forgotten about among the Beforan trolls—most of the others at least have something memorable about them. I hardly remembered a thing about him before starting this post and I’ll probably forget everything about him again after this post is finished.

ARANEA: Void is easily the most mysterious aspect, the one which inherently defies rational understanding. This makes it particularly fascinating, and just as frustrating, to light players such as myself. Casting illumination upon nothing itself is futile. For to truly know void is to paradoxically cause it not to 8e!
ARANEA: The role of the void player is to somehow em8race nothingness, to 8ecome one with it. And yet in total contradiction with this, to make use of the power it grants and serve a role of relevance, one must find a way to overcome it! To see the limitless potential in the void. To find everything within nothing, and 8ring it into 8eing. 
MEENAH: zzzzzzzzzzz
ARANEA: Hey!!!!!!!!
MEENAH: wuh
ARANEA: This is a perfect case in point, regarding the path of the void player. So resistant is his story to having a relevant 8earing on anything, you fell asleep and didnt hear a word.
MEENAH: yeah thats nice
MEENAH: WH-ER-E MA MON-EY
ARANEA: You don’t get any. Your slum8er voided the transaction.
MEENAH: dag

Aranea elaborates on Horuss’s irrelevance and deems him an example of a character who did not make good use of his mythological role. When devising the Beforan trolls’ characters, did Hussie have the foresight to deliberately make Horuss the least memorable of the bunch? Because if he did, then he totally succeeded.

> Tell me about Damara Megido.

ARANEA: The Witch of Time was not always the party’s 8iggest trou8lemaker. If you recall, you wore that tiara for a long time. ::::)
MEENAH: yeah yeah
ARANEA: Once she was as meek as can 8e. Hailing from the eastern provinces, she migrated across the seas and settled near the forest concealing Rufioh’s guild. The two of them 8ecame quite fond of each other, and shared many interests!
ARANEA: He secretly 8egan seeing someone else, 8elieving she knew nothing. 8ut she always suspected his infidelity, and over time grew quite distraught. 8ut her sadness never quite turned to rage and malevolence. Not until you… involved yourself. 
MEENAH: ugh do we really have to go through this
ARANEA: If you’d like to earn your money, then yes!
MEENAH: bleh fine
ARANEA: After we 8egan our game, you quickly determined that winning was going to 8e an uphill 8attle with our team. Everyone was so preoccupied with their interpersonal issues, and no one seemed in any shape to 8e fighting major 8attles. Sound familiar?
MEENAH: deja vus a bitch serk
ARANEA: So you did your 8est to rile up the crew any way you could. Appealing to peoples insecurities, 8uried hostilities, 8rewing rivalries… needling anyone you could into confrontation with others. Your theory was that increasing everyone’s state of aggression would make them 8etter equipped to play the game. And you were sort of right a8out that! 8ut the Alternians would prove it. Not our group, sadly.
ARANEA: The poor girl who took the 8runt of your 8ullying tactics was Damara Megido. You talked up her matesprit’s 8etrayal making her feel even more dreadful, while pushing him further into the arms of her rival, until she simply snapped. She attacked him, paralyzing him from the neck down. You finally got the aggressive confrontation you were looking for. Unfortunately, you unleashed something even you weren’t prepared for, and you had to deal with her yourself. After a long 8loody duel, she killed you. 


Aranea’s description of Damara’s backstory shows us Meenah isn’t so innocent either. She tried to make her teammates more Alternian, which only ended up working with one of the trolls. And boy was the outcome nasty. While most of the Beforan trolls remained the same bunch of losers throughout their session, Damara turned into a brutal killer and played the biggest part in the Beforan trolls’ actual cycle of revenge, not the one where Latula lost her sense of smell.

ARANEA: And you would have stayed dead if not for me!
ARANEA: You never listened to me. You just kept needling and fussing and meddling until eventually you paid the price, and I had to 8ail you out.

MEENAH: (arg how bad do i even want this stupid money…)

Aranea brings up a surprising moment of friendship where she says she bailed Meenah out and helped her ascend to god tier. It’s quite powerful here because it’s easy to forget Aranea was actually part of the Beforan session and not just a random exposition nerd.

ARANEA: Damara has 8een unhinged ever since. 8y increasing her violent tendencies, instead of 8eing an asset in the game, she 8ecame a loose canon, ar8itrarily showing up at key moments throughout the timeline to sa8otage us. 

Here we finally see how Damara corresponds to her dancestor. Her role in the Beforans’ session was the exact opposite of Aradia’s: while Aradia dutifully made sure through timeline management that the trolls’ session would succeed, Damara used timeline management to ensure the Beforan session’s catastrophic failure.

ARANEA: So radical was her shift in personality, I’ve had a hard time 8elieving your incitement was solely to 8lame. It always seemed like other forces were in play, as if her acts, though apparently haphazard, were in keeping with some inscruta8le agenda. Of course it doesn’t help that it’s so hard to understand her even on a good day.

This inversion of Aradia is followed by a hint at Lord English lore. After Damara’s heart was broken, she needed something new to believe in and naturally enough, she turned into a Lord English worshipper who carries out all his (really Doc Scratch’s) instructions exactly as he wanted.

ARANEA: Strangely, the only time she was eager to help us was when we were preparing to initiate the Scratch. And it’s a good thing she was, since I’m not sure anyone else would have had the a8ility to do that kind of damage to the Cardinal Movement and release its energy. 

Technically, we already knew this before we even knew Damara’s name. Looking back, that page is a good bit of foreshadowing that cleverly disguises that Damara was the unseen hand behind their session’s failure.

ARANEA: It was almost a little eerie how happily she complied with our plan. What did Rufioh say she said? Something a8out how we would all finally get what we deserved…
ARANEA: Which at the time, I thought sounded chilling. 8ut there’s really two ways of looking at it. One is how the Scratch re8ooted our world into a state of pure chaos, culminating in the annihilation of our universe. 8ut on the other hand, we all got the chance to live out our wildest fantasies as adults on Alternia! 
ARANEA: At least you and I sure did. And I wouldn’t dou8t she feels the same way.
MEENAH: so
MEENAH: we done?
ARANEA: That’s it!
MEENAH: toughest 5 bucks i ever made


Aranea interprets Damara’s ominous statement in a surprisingly positive light, in a way that shows Meenah is the only one she actually saw as a friend and the rest she probably just views as random background characters. She knows what all her teammates’ lives were like on Alternia—remember the time she told the stories of the Alternian ancestors in Meenah’s blunt style?

Meenah most definitely lived her wildest fantasies as the Condesce, that goes without saying. It’s a bit surprising Aranea feels the same way about her life as Mindfang, because it hints that Aranea is more sinister and self-important than she lets on—that is also hinted at when Aranea starts showing more interest in the ghost army plan than the cherubquest. As for Damara, that’s some tragic dramatic irony right there. She was raised by Doc Scratch and hated every second of it, then forced into millennia of slavery as English’s handmaid to make Alternia the nightmare world it was, and at the end mercifully killed by the Condesce. Why does this comic have to be so cruel???

The narration points out this journal has a lot of mature content. Kind of raises questions about Aranea, who was very happy with who her post-scratch self turned out to be.

After the exposition booth, Meemah explores some familiar dream bubble memories and finds chests containing Vriska’s possessions, like Mindfang’s journal, the Fluorite Octet, and a broken 8 ball. It’s quite nostalgic seeing so many Vriska-related things; brings back memories of the troll walkarounds in Act 5 Act 2.

After those Vriska chests comes one of the few parts of Homestuck that I actually, legitimately hate. It’s pretty much a promo for Hiveswap, which has had let’s just say a rough history. Openbound Part 3 was released in 2012, and at the time Hiveswap wasn’t named yet; it was still only known as the “Homestuck Adventure Game”. This part stings the hardest:


Some people might say this scene “aged like spoiled milk” or something. This is an absurd understatement. A better analogy would be some devilish kind of milk which smells worse the longer it’s in the fridge and doesn’t have any kind of threshold to just how bad it can smell—every year you take it out, it just smells worse and worse even when you thought its stench last time you opened it was already the worst smell you could ever experience. Can this part just be removed from Homestuck? It’s absurdly out of place.

Vriska and Terezi are so close to reuniting, as are John and Dave. That’s incredibly sad.


After a scene that has absolutely no business being in Homestuck, Openbound Part 3 ends with Meenah encountering Vriska, Tavros, and John. This concludes the Openbound trilogy and boy was it a doozy. But we’re not done yet! There’s a bit of extra content if you go to the meteor playing as Damara, so let’s go ahead and do that.

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



> Damara, talk to Rose

ROSE: Hello. I don’t think we’ve met.
DAMARA: [confused face]
ROSE: You seem confused. Are you lost?
ROSE: Maybe you shouldn’t be wandering around here.
DAMARA: PLEASE. APOLOGY.
DAMARA: NOT WANT. DISTURB YOU.
ROSE: Aw. You seem so sweet.
ROSE: Please, feel free to stay as long as you like.


Damara puts up a friendly foreigner image when speaking to humans, and god damn does Rose fall for it. She’s polite as ever to the ladies.

> Damara, talk to Dave

DAVE: hey
DAVE: who the fuck are you
DAVE: dont think you belong in here 
DAMARA: I VERY HAPPY. 
DAMARA: MEET HUMAN.
DAMARA: SAY MUCH DELIGHT.
DAVE: meh you seem harmless enough
DAVE: what do i even care
DAVE: go fuck some shit up japanese schoolgirl troll


Dave falls for the image too and thinks Damara is harmless. This is probably exactly what she was like before she became evil. Undergoing such massive shifts in personality seems to be a common trait among the Megidos.


With trolls though, Damara is nasty as ever. I wonder if Damara really is her old happy self around humans, who to her knowledge are harmless and friendly?


And Terezi echoes her dancestor’s lines about Mituna, this time much more dramatically. Damara probably didn’t help one bit with Terezi’s recent depression.


Outside the meteor, Damara encounters Hussie in the exposition booth. Apparently Aranea sold the booth to him. Hussie’s self-insert vents a bit about the real-world Hussie’s ambition with this Homestuck adventure game, and I actually do feel bad for the real Hussie in that time. Wasn’t half of the giant sum of Kickstarter money later stolen and used to fund King’s Quest or something? Hussie doesn’t let Damara talk, knowing that she’ll just say filthy things in Japanese. Instead, he offers his own commentary about each of the Beforan trolls.

Damara – Not much to say. Hussie just explains that her Japanese speech is Google translated, Damara flips her off, then Hussie apologizes and mentions character porn and Damara is confused.

Rufioh – Just a heartfelt apology to Dante Basco, an actual famous actor, for getting wrapped up in the nightmare that is the Homestuck fandom.

Mituna – 

Mega Man Sollux has some problems. He falls down and stuff and talks on a 4chan background, because of 4chan. But in spite of that, he’s brave and does his best and everyone loves him. Also no one can read a damn thing he says. His quirk is the least legible of all quirks, with Damara’s coming in at a close second.

Not much to say here either. I think I agree that Mituna’s quirk is probably the only one you can never get used to reading. Even Feferi’s quirk isn’t so bad after a while.

Kankri –

Did you know: it is a Homestuck fact that 99 percent of all readers didn’t read or care about anything Kankri said. So in other words, he is exactly like all terrible social justice bloggers. Some social justice bloggers get angry at the joke that he is, but those are the terrible ones, and being terrible is why they get angry. They want to be terrible in peace without being mocked. That is what it is like to be a justified target of ridicule. You feel sad and angry all the time and you don’t know why. 

99 percent of all readers isn’t 100 percent. You better believe that the MSPA wiki ate Kankri’s words up and extensively documented his mechanical descriptions of troll stuff that’s probably all in his imagination. It’s not their fault though. That’s what naturally happens with pretty much all wikis, whether you like it or not.

Kankri wears a cute red sweater and is otherwise fairly adorable. Porrim acts like his mom which is also cute as hell.

Kankri is incredibly far up his own ass but I must agree that he’s kind of adorable. Only natural when he’s so closely related to Karkat.

Meulin – 

Meulin is the deaf Nepeta in this kickass smorgasbord of disabled characters. She speaks in ASL to say memes which are called mimes because it’s one letter away and therefore a play on words. But you can’t actually use ASL to say animated tumblr gifs, you can only say words. She otherwise reads lips, which is funny because her bff sewed his damn mouth shut so they just sign memes to each other all day while stoned. It is implied that they smoke catnip together, as if it were marijuana, which is an especially amusing notion to people who like drugs. Moving on??

Pretty much all the basics of her character right there. Meulin actually only uses sign language to say GIFs and otherwise speaks with her mouth. I know how sign language works and all, but it somehow seems completely natural to use it to convey memes instead.

Porrim – I got nothing here. Porrim is indeed a vampire with cool tattoos and that’s the most important thing about her.

Latula – 

Latula is the gamegrl to Mituna’s gamebro. Gamebros and gamegrls aren’t really “types of people” so much as they are hollow cliches which are patronizing to multiple groups of people on multiple levels. So in other words, perfect attributes for some 1.5 dimensional NPC-caliber characters stocking a fun jrpg style walkaround game.

It’s kind of impressive just how many different groups gamebros and gamegrls rudely patronize and stereotype, as Porrim has pointed out before. That says a lot about all the work Latula has put into perfecting her rad girl act. Other than that, Hussie explains a few jokes and puns you may have missed.

Aranea – We’ve gotten to know Aranea pretty well by this point. Hussie simply says Aranea is a blabbermouth who tells flowery nonsensical stories and then complains that she charged him so much for a cardboard exposition booth.

Horuss – 


This dude is just Equius on horse steroids. The end.

Honestly, this is all anyone ever needs to say about Horuss. What else is there to say or care about this guy? Fucking nothing, that’s what.

Kurloz –

He chewed off his tongue and sewed his mouth shut because he’s a weirdo in cahoots with Gamzee and English. Who even knows what they’re up to. It’s probably just a lot of stupid bullshit. Meaningless, clownish nonsense. Want to know why they’re assembling the wicked ensemble? They probably just think it’s funny. Kurloz speaks in bones when he does his clown hypnosis shit but otherwise he mimes everything because get this: he’s pretty much literally a mime. 

I actually appreciate that Hussie went out of his way to say Gamzee and Kurloz’s Lord English worship is all a big joke, which further tells readers that Damara was the real plot-relevant unseen troll and Kurloz was just a nonsensical clown.

Also a juggalo. Because that’s exactly what Homestuck needed. Another fucking juggalo. Homestuck needed another juggalo like it needed… 

Well, another twelve trolls I guess. 

What can I say? I guess Kurloz’s character helps cement the juggalo stuff as more farcical than people probably think.

Cronus –

Cronus is the worst character in Homestuck by a nautical mile. Any questions?

Nope.

Meenah –

Meenah is kind of throwing a bone to the pisces people who got stuck with Feferi. Feferi didn’t really do anything and then she died. Meenah is a cool sassy punk who has more important stuff to do than Feferi ever did. You just spent like the last three hours playing through these games from her POV so obviously you know that. You’re probably sick of fish puns by now. After a while you start running out of fish puns. You can overdo it with fish puns, much like you can overfish the ocean. You start literally running out of fucking fish. Be careful out there.

Given how Hussie treats many of his characters like absolute shit, it’s rather gracious of him to give Feferi a cooler replacement who actually does things. She’s been a fun addition to the story so far so I’d say it was worth giving Feferi a replacement.

Meenah discovered that raising and army is hard. But you know what’s really hard? What’s really hard is making games. Games disguise the effort that go into them probably like few other crafts. In order to make a game that is even slightly better than mediocre, someone probably had to die in the process. Like building pyramids. Nobody actually died while making these games though, hence they were just ok. But still if you add up all the work done collectively on these last three games, it probably was comparable to the manhours that went into [S] Cascade. You know what that is? That’s a silly ass fact.

More semi-unfiltered rants about Hiveswap development. I guess Hussie did have to vent his Hiveswap frustration somewhere; this was back when he wasn’t so reclusive on the Internet.

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


… And that’s the end of Openbound Part 3! Final verdict: I feel about it mostly the same way as I do about Part 1, but it’s a little weaker in a lot of ways. Damara, Rufioh, and Horuss’s backstory was neat to learn about, but felt much more self-contained which I wasn’t a fan of. The meteor part was a fun throwback but it wasn’t very long and didn’t do quite as much as I had hoped to dampen the weird feeling you get when going through this batch of joke characters for so long.

I did like Part 3 a bit more than Part 2 overall; the first half with new trolls was much more tolerable this time, but the second half with old characters wasn’t as remarkable as Part 2’s second half. I didn’t mind going through the Openbound games in this reread as much as I thought I would. The only parts that I found really annoying were the Beforan trolls’ introductions in Part 2 and Hussie’s rants about Hiveswap production.

I’ll go over the Openbound games as a collective in more detail at the next post, which will be my final Act 6 Intermission 3 post. See you next time as Rose and Kanaya finally kiss.

>> Part 91: Drunken Smooches and Costume Parties

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 Critiques Homestuck Part 10 Rewritten: Scene Hops and Father Revelations


Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 >

Pages 836-951 (MSPA: 2736-2851)

Act 3, Part 2 of 5

Link to old version

Previously on Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Rewritten:

See you next time as we frantically switch back and forth between a whole bunch of different characters like the Easter Bunny running late for his annual job of delivering candy and eggs to the world’s children, this time during an actually fitting time of year. I wish I could say I had planned my post schedule to make the Easter joke work, but nope, just an incredibly lucky coincidence.

*clears throat*
*puts on pretentious narrator voice*

The day is June 5, 2019, and the Easter Bunny is displeased. He got so distracted reading and rereading the Homestuck Epilogues that he’s now over a month late for his annual job of delivering candy and eggs to the world’s children!!! So late, in fact, that a monkey took over Easter this year and delivered yummy bananas instead. Kids all around the world now eagerly await the Easter Monkey next year, much to the Easter Bunny’s contempt. The Easter Bunny shall exert revenge on this frisky little monkey by, um…

by…

writing more blog posts about Homestuck?

In this blog post, I am the Easter Bunny. It’s me. And I am going to announce that I think I’m now ready to resume my Homestuck blog post series. Maybe not on a custom web domain just yet, that’ll have to be in the future. I’ll just dive right in, conveniently avoiding the fact that I’m procrastinating on the post with the Unite Synchronization flashes and Caliborn: Enter.

It’s time for Dave’s guardian strife! And it’s not interactive this time. Rather, it’s a full-out flash of Bro Strider flash-stepping and puppeting Lil’ Cal, who ends the flash flailing his legs over Dave.

My reaction to this flash when I got to it in my original Homestuck post series really sticks out in my head and probably happened because it hadn’t been all that long since the grand Dave/Dirk reunion update. I was floored and breathless at how aggressive adult Dirk is. Is there a word for standing with an open mouth and breath held while watching something tense and aggressive? If there isn’t, then that’s one more reason to hate the English language.


Next up is a Jade/Rose pesterlog that takes place before Rose was properly introduced.

… Yeah, Rose and Jade’s styles badly clash as usual. Same thoughts as when I last analyzed their conversation where it’s kind of a stretch to call them friends. The plot stuff in this pesterlog is of note though.

TT: I require a font of frighteningly accurate yet infuriatingly nonspecific information. 
TT: Do you know where I can find a wellspring of this sort? 
GG: hahaha yes ok but we cant talk for long!!! 
TT: You have plans? 
GG: well yes i do but its just that you will lose your internet connection soon!!!!! 
GG: and we wont talk again for a pretty long time 
GG: not until you enter! 
TT: Enter? 
GG: yeah! 
TT: This is what I was talking about. 
TT: This was the itch that needed scratching. 
TT: My avarice for the inscrutable. It is limitless. 
GG: lol what did you want to know? 
TT: You’ve been insisting today was the big day. 
TT: We would all play a game you didn’t know the name of. 
TT: A game you said I’d get in the mail, and did. 
TT: One that would help me answer some questions. 
TT: But Strider is being obtuse, I can’t catch John at his computer, you don’t even have the game yourself, and on top of all that, my internet is unstable. 
TT: So are you sure today is the day? 


This is basically more casual reveals that Jade was behind a bit more than we knew at first. It’s kind of cool seeing a flashback conversation with Jade hinting at stuff we already knew, rather than her hinting at stuff we badly want explained in ways that aren’t imbecilic.

GG: there sure are a lot of challenges but yes i am sure!! 
GG: dave is cool, you know he will come around when the time is right 
GG: he just has a lot of work to do first 
GG: and so do you! 
GG: youll need to keep searching for a stable signal and power source, it will be hard but dont give up!!! 
GG: and dont worry about me either, focus on playing with john first 
GG: it all starts with you two! 
TT: Is there nothing else you can say to prepare me for this? 
TT: I’m sure you think little of blithely upsetting dark forces with Grandpa Moreau over there on Hellmurder Island, but honestly I’ve only read a few books on it. 


Maybe it’s because I’ve read the epilogues over and over again, but I think Rose talks almost like an actor with Jade. Exaggerating her poetic talk to the point where she’s hard to properly converse with. I think it’s fair to say she had broken the ice with Dave and John and can now talk to them like a regular person, but is still an absolute weirdo to Jade.

Oh yeah Rose mentions Hellmurder Island, blah blah blah foreshadowing. Was the foreshadowing intentional? Hell if I know. I would say no, but the phrase “hellmurder island” is dropped outright in Act 6 Act 1 which makes me think Hussie waited a long time to say it.

GG: haha dark? thats ridiculous! 
GG: i dont really know what to tell you other than its not going to be what you think it is 
GG: and most importantly you will have your questions answered, but they will be the ones you havent thought to ask yet! 
GG: just be patient and be brave youll see 
GG: it will be fun!!!!!! 
GG: uh oh looks like youve got to go 
GG: take care rose! <3<3<3 


In the old version of this post, I pointed out that this passage “[has] been cited as a quote that essentially tells new readers what reading Homestuck will be like”. At the time, that was just another thing I shamelessly stole from TV Tropes. But now, rereading it in 2019 I really feel that comparison. When I read these lines just now, I got the exact feeling you get when a friend tries to assure you that Homestuck is a good read. I’d argue it’s even more applicable to the Homestuck Epilogues—certainly not what I thought it was going to be, and answered many questions I hadn’t thought to ask yet, for better or for worse. And it definitely requires a lot of patience to fully consume the epilogues—perhaps also bravery to read along despite things you may not like (i.e. despite Gamzee).

oh my god this is good art


Here’s where the scene hops start getting a bit absurd. After the long stretch of pages focusing on Jade, now we can’t go more than three pages without switching to someone else. Harmless, welcome even, when reading for the first time; slightly annoying when writing long blog posts. I think the scene hops are a necessary step between the overly slow Act 2 and the ideal pace of Act 4.

We switch to Jade but not for long; her reminders transition us to a flash where John and Nannasprite fight two ogres. Using reminders as a transition device is fine I guess? Not much to write home about compared to some of the comic’s beautiful transitions later on.

Not shown: PM the mail lady existing. Holy shit, I miss the exiles.


Now it’s John’s turn to contribute to Rose’s walkthrough. And he actually displays a competent understanding of computer science! He professes “amazing hacker skillz” and “leet haxxor cred” which is just as funny to me now as it was almost four years ago holy shit has it been that long.

I suppose now’s a good time to talk about Roxy, an expert programmer who is also John’s number one love interest.* Even though they got together in the Candy Epilogue, Roxy did not teach John programming or anything like that, nor did she do very much with John that many fans (including me) had badly hoped. Their romantic tale in Candy is a story of OOF OW MY HEART. The two doing cool things together with their common interests is still a super fun thought though, and I wouldn’t doubt that their dynamic would approach its ideal form once more following their grand reconciliation at 39 years old.

Anyway, John’s walkthrough provides some genuine insight and humor. I highly recommend reading it if you had previously skimmed the walkthrough pages. It’s much more readable than Rose’s walkthrough, I promise.

* or was, until Terezi came along.


> Rose: Look for mad scientists.


There are no scientists to be found, mad or otherwise. Or anyone for that matter. The lab appears to be deserted. 

Come on, Rose. Do you really expect to encounter a single mad scientist in a webcomic called Homestuck? Background characters are an absolute no-go in the early acts and whoever submitted this command should feel bad for not having already realized that.


Oh my god, it’s a chessboard. I like the way this grid is designed; you might not notice it’s a chessboard right away until maybe you take a closer look. This simple chess design should be enough to pique readers’ curiosity at this mysterious lab.

The numbers in parentheses are my count of patterns Jade breaks, in case you forgot.


Jade goes down her stairs and (10) we get to know Grandpa Harley’s wide array of interests, which is much unlike the other three guardians’ singular obsessions. The flashing colors in each of these images are sneaky proof that Hussie planned out the alpha kids by this point. I really love that he foreshadowed them in such subtle but retrospectively obvious ways, with the bonus of answering the question of when he conceived of the alpha kids.

I’m obligated to mention that each of Grandpa’s four interests connects to one of the alpha kids. Should be obvious which is which.


And here’s, uh, the blue ladies. Not totally sure what to say about them other than that I imagine many readers who got to this page immediately remembered that Nannasprite is blue. Cool foreshadowing, I suppose? I like how Hussie seemed to put two and two together after he decided to make James Cameron’s Avatar one of Jake’s favorite movies.

This is your grandfather’s collection of what he refers to as his BEAUTIES. No lovely lady will be fit for his collection unless her portrait has spent at least 20 years bleaching in the front window of a beauty parlor, a sort of establishment he’s plundered no less frequently than ancient tombs. 


You guess they were sort of like your sisters while growing up, and you were always encouraged to look up to them. They are all awfully pretty ladies you suppose, but it was always hard to get as excited about them as grandpa. 

In the early acts, the beta kids referring to siblings in any capacity strikes me as a little odd. Maybe it makes sense here because Jade was raised on an island in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t understand a lot of basic social norms, like the concept of “sisters”. I don’t know, just a thought. A plus side of Hussie working with a team to write the epilogues is that one writer extrapolated upon Jade’s societal isolation in creative ways.

“Jade, study hard and keep your rifle at the ready. When adventure summons, I know you will rise to the task and take your rightful place among the DAUGHTERS OF ECLECTICA.” 

That old coot sure is a bag of wind!

Only now did it occur to me that maybe at some indeterminate point in time Hussie had some sort of conception of a place called “Eclectica”. I’m a bit miffed that I don’t live in a timeline where Eclectica is a major concept in Homestuck like Prospit or Skaia.


The Typheus minion exists? I think? I discussed it a tiny bit in this post, when Jade refers to it by name and talks about it with John.


Looks like someone’s pestering you. 

Even though you thought you logged off… ?

Oh hell, it’s TROLL TIME. This little line is a vague hint that Homestuck deals with people from another dimension, which would be way cooler if most people who know about Homestuck didn’t already know it had trolls.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling gardenGnostic [GG] at 13:04 

CG: HI AGAIN, IDIOT. 
GG: oh nooooooo 
CG: SO I GUESS TODAY IS FINALLY THE DAY YOU FUCK EVERYTHING UP.
GG: >:O 
CG: IS THERE NOTHING I CAN DO TO CHANGE YOUR MIND? 
GG: you can leave me alone!!!!! 
GG: how can you even be talking to me after i blocked you…. 
GG: AND after i logged out???? 
CG: YOU DON’T GET THAT I AM BETTER AND SMARTER THAN YOU IN EVERY WAY, FOREVER. 
CG: YOU DON’T GET THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE INCREDIBLY STUPID. 
GG: i get that youre a jerk and you should shut up! 
GG: goodbye you jerk!!!!!!!!! 

gardenGnostic [GG] blocked carcinoGeneticist [CG] at 13:06 


OK, that’s the end of TROLL TIME. This pesterlog does what it needs to and nothing more: showcasing a new character with apparently some future knowledge without revealing anything about who it is. I won’t pretend I have much else to say about Karkat’s first impression.


At the center, you find a little stage that looks perfect for supporting a spectacularly silly dance. Or it would if standing on it didn’t make you a little nervous, and also if that didn’t sound like a retarded idea given the circumstances. 

It looks sort of like the various contraptions you’ve been deploying in John’s house. You wonder what it does?

Rose is quick to catch onto patterns as usual. She doesn’t seem to make much of this resemblance to Sburb technology, but on the inside it’s safe to say she’s already started formulating a fresh new batch of theories.


Rose’s concern for structural elegance is at an all-time low, as is my concern for sylladex antics. But this panel above looks cool enough that I’ll show it regardless.


In a sequence of panels not shown here, PM gets her own equivalent to WV: Ascend. We already know all the plot twists and exile station mechanisms, so no need for another giant flash. A simple set of panels showing similar events is good enough.

Dave’s second round of Bro strife is much more face-to-face and even more terrifying/thrilling. For the most part, this flash is scary as ever when rereading and really drills down how scary Dave’s childhood was. This feeling reaches its climax when Bro bounces Dave off himself through some precise flash-stepping and puppetry, until suddenly:

SBaHJ references are a foolproof way to take a big hard smelly crap over any moment of horror or trauma. These references are so funny I can never stay mad at any of them; my personal favorite is the “are you next?” right after Kanaya is tragically murdered. This particular gag has some greater significance though: it leaks a bit that Dave’s life had yet to succumb to Cerebus syndrome.


Hussie you absolute fucking madman. Forget the meteor impact map or any of that nonsense. Instead, take a close look at one of the diagrams to the right. It’s a depiction of an eight-player session that conclusively proves Hussie had devised the alpha kids by this act. Bragging rights, anyone??? I think people aiming to write complex and long-winded stories should look up to Problem Sleuth and early Homestuck-era Hussie.


Back to the meteor map, Rose zooms in on her location and then zooms out to Dave and Jade’s locations. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to tell that John and his three friends are the “chosen ones” and that they will all play Sburb, with each player’s entry more grandiose and dramatic than the last. It’s always a pleasure to see foreshadowing that ends up true to the letter.

Having reconnected to the Internet, Rose opens Sburb on her laptop which transitions us to the second half of John’s ogre strife. Sburb as a transition device is pretty cool actually, and is used for quite a few elegant transitions in the early acts.


With help from Nannasprite, the battle ends with a cheerful victory dance and a triumphant high-five.

TT: Good work, John! 
EB: oh, hey! 
EB: you’re back. 
TT: For now. I’ll have to leave again shortly. 
TT: It looks like there’s another large meteor headed for… 
TT: My present location. 
EB: oh, so you mean dave connected with you? 
TT: Not yet. 
TT: I’ll explain later. 
TT: But I think I’ve determined that activating the timer in the game is not directly responsible for summoning a meteor to your location. 
TT: The countdown seems merely to exist as a kind of warning to the player. 
TT: As well as a strange coincidence. 


This short passage between John and Rose is good for getting less attentive readers up to speed. It clarifies that the countdowns exist as a warning, in case readers hadn’t figured that out yet.

EB: um, ok. 
EB: i don’t really think i get it. 
EB: is this relevant? 
TT: Probably not at the moment. And certainly not to you. 
TT: I have to go. 
EB: ok, later! 
TT: P.S. Try not to waste too much of that grist while I’m gone. 


John is a good obedient boy who listens to Rose’s words. He stays frugal with his grist until he figures more things out.

Not shown: John leveling up to the legendary BOY-SKYLARK rung.


JOHN: hey, nanna? 
NANNASPRITE: Yes, dear? 
JOHN: since i am trying to get up to that gate, and since you can sort of conjure floating beds and throw me around and all… 
JOHN: couldn’t you just throw me up to the gate? 
NANNASPRITE: Yes, of course, John! 
NANNASPRITE: But that would not serve your purpose well! 
NANNASPRITE: There is a very good reason why you should build up to it. And then keep building! 


Another case of the game refusing to allow obvious exploits. Sburb seems well-programmed at first, with care taken to prevent bypasses and skips. But that won’t last much longer. With trolls from another universe added to the mix, Sburb can and will be broken in all the best ways. We’ll see a lot of that in Act 4, get hyped.

NANNASPRITE: When you pass through the first gate, everything will change. You will find the place where the constellations dance beneath the clouds. And then your true work may begin. 

I can’t even keep track of these poetic phrases anymore. Hussie cranked out so many of them and the one quoted above is one of the most memorable.


Oh boy, it’s worldbuilding time. Derse is a planet that exists or something, I don’t really know what to say.


Look at the glorious Dad Egbert though. It feels so refreshing to see what he’s up to and very heartwarming to see the Egbert family all tackle these creatures.


Did he just…

punch a giant hole through a wall?

This guy’s absurd strength is one of the most underrated things about Homestuck. Please stop and take a moment to appreciate it before going on.

Skipped over the teaser of Jack Noir. I’ll have more to say about him next post.


Next we finally get to play as PM, the second exile. The narration firmly shows she’s obsessed with mail, treating it as a vital pillar of civilization and all that is good.


PM turns on Jade’s exile screen, the same screen WV chose not to turn on. And boy are we in for a surprise. The image itself invites a heap of questions already. Why is it snowing around Jade now? What’s this electric green interference?

Greetings.
Don’t I know you?


As we can see here, the image itself was just the tip of the iceberg. Why does PM recognize Jade? How did the green interference move to the command station itself?

I’d count this as a pattern broken, but I think it’s better saved for when this scene is revisited in Act 5 Act 2.


OH FUCK

WV was wise not to turn on Jade’s command screen. It would have caused the entire command station to explode! The exile screens’ serial escalation is done so perfectly, ending with a massive unexplained surprise whose true meaning nobody at this point could possibly guess.


Back to the Skaianet lab arc. While exploring the lab, Rose comes across some kind of little girl’s room? If you see through the garish bright pink, you’ll notice wizard and cat plushes abound, plus a bright pink version of the cat logo seen a few times in Rose’s residence, and might guess that this is where Rose’s mom grew up. This conclusion is way more obvious if you reread the comic knowing who Roxy is; it also shows how little Rose actually knew her mother.

You are accosted by a friendly MUTANT KITTEN.


This page needs no commentary. I included it out of obligation, because who in the world would want to read commentary on Homestuck if it ignores this wonderful page?

Not shown: John descending into his father’s room.


Holy SHIT. This image is a wham shot if I’ve ever seen one. Stuffed heads of Sburb underlings, a picture of Jade arranged like a memorial, and a structure colored like Prospit and Derse??? This picture asks so many questions, all through simple details.

As Jade prepares to face her grandpa, you may notice a set of four dolls representing his variety of interests. It’s only natural that since Grandpa has a multitude of salient interests, (11) he has a multitude of dolls to symbolize them instead of just one. And just like how Jade has one true fetch modus and one true shirt symbol, one could consider the blue lady Jade’s true “corresponding doll”. It’s the same doll that would almost get prototyped into her sprite until a certain someone interferes.


Jade finally faces off against her grandpa!!! And it turns out he was dead this whole time because Jade is a filthy stinking liar. (12) Jade’s grandpa is not her true guardian, as this joke flash shows us.

I’m really at a loss for words at this bait-and-switch. It isn’t even cleverly hidden or anything, it’s an outright lie. There’s no way you could read Jade’s descriptions of her grandfather before this page and not assume he’s alive.

I do think it’s worth pointing out that Jade’s imaginary interactions with her grandpa get Cerebus syndromed in Act 5 Act 2, where Tavros proudly reveals how her grandpa died and then hits on her. That scene isn’t talked about much which is a shame; it’s beautifully written and excels in “what the fuck” factor.

He was so much easier to deal with when he was alive.


This page hammers in that Jade’s grandpa is dead, if it wasn’t obvious already. Done right without seeming out of place.

Another pattern broken: (13) Jade goes outside without a misattributed quote coming to mind. Her misattributed quote is saved for when she enters the Medium. I’m suddenly sad now that we STILL don’t know the in-comic story behind Charles Dutton like we do with Harry Anderson or Barack Obama or Guy Fieri. The first Act 5 Act 2 book is coming in October; maybe Hussie will have a few words to say about Dutton there?


Let’s take a moment to appreciate the Sentry Worm. Nobody ever talks about this guy, what a shame.

I refuse to acknowledge that any reader could have possibly thought Rose would refuse to acknowledge the mutant kitten.

You can’t say no to cats, that’s a fact of life.


Rose encounters an appearifier styled like an arcade for some reason. Roxy is quite the fan of old video games so maybe it’s easy to imagine her pre-scratch self took an arcade and reprogrammed it to appearify things? I’m liking these obtuse hints at what kind of person Rose’s mother really is, all of which painfully fly over Rose’s head.


You mess with the controls… 

Hey, Jaspers is alive!!! 


Or, at least he was in the past. According to the time-stamp this was almost nine years ago. 

Rose is momentarily excited to see her cat alive before she reverts to her usual stoicism. Are you ready for something adorable?


Four-year-old Rose is sitting calmly in an oversized chair, patiently jotting down notes about her mysterious little cat. My god, look at her. It’s so cute to see that Rose has been a dedicated psychoanalyst since she was a baby.

It looks like you and Jaspers were having one of your sessions. You weren’t making a lot of progress though, because Jaspers was no doubt being characteristically recalcitrant. You possibly jotted this phrase down in your pad. It’s hard to remember though. 

It’s also adorable that Rose’s narration describes Jaspers as “characteristically recalcitrant”, instead of words that a normal 13-year-old would use.

Look at this cute little cat, playing with Rose’s scarf.


In the present, Rose tries to appearify Jaspers but ends up demonstrating the mysterious workings of ectobiology instead. As the book commentary states, this scene is something of a tutorial to prepare us for the scene where John creates the beta and alpha kids.

Whoever was operating this machine in the past may have been making unsuccessful attempts to perfect the science of ECTOBIOLOGY

“Whoever was operating this machine in the past”? Jeez, I wonder who that could be. It probably isn’t Rose’s mother or anything, that would be ridiculous.

Jokes aside, I think I’ve made my point by now that this scene reads way differently if you’re rereading. Rereading the comic is a necessity if you want to understand even a fraction of it and this scene is no exception. Mom Lalonde’s backstory is right in your face once you know who post-scratch Roxy is.


Back to the conveniently viewable flashback, Jaspers tells little Rose a secret and promptly vanishes and OH MY GOD, look at Rose’s expression!!! She’s stunned and beyond confused. I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I first read Homestuck but I never stopped to appreciate four-year-old Rose—smell the roses, if you will (oh my god that’s a fucking terrible pun I’m so sorry).


After two weeks gone missing where not even the appearifier can show where he is, little Rose finds Jaspers dead. What follows is a gloomy flash fast-forwarding to the present.

Little Rose continues to make the cutest expressions. She can never disguise sadness at the loss of a loved one.

Then Rose’s mother does what all versions of Roxy are predisposed to do: hold an elaborate overdramatic funeral to exert her grief. Even as a young child, I’d bet Rose obsessively psychoanalyzed her “spiteful” and “ironic” mother. She probably spent the whole funeral wrapped up in intense maternal psychoanalysis rather than mourning their beloved cat.


IT’S JASPERS. HE’S ALIVE. 

Well ok, he’s still dead. But his body is intact. Turns out it wasn’t some kind of DISINTEGRATIFICATOR like you thought. 

It’s more like… 

AN ESCAPILIZER.

The flash ends with an image showing Jaspers’ body is intact, accompanied by some amusing narration quoted above. As before, Rose lets her sugary inner self leak out a bit before remembering the cat is still dead and going back to her usual philosophizing.


And with ten seconds to spare, Rose appearifies Jaspers’ body and leaves the lab. The story’s impromptu coinings of complicated Sburb-style words always make me smile.


As Jade goes outside to find her elusive dog, we get a small flash of the same electrical energy that blew up PM’s exile station. Together with the silhouette of Becquerel’s face, all I can say is that’s some damn cool foreshadowing.


John arrives in his dad’s room and it’s not at all what he expected it to be. It’s a room full of ties, pipes, and.. business documents?

I still love that this flash’s music is reprised in a much more horrifying context about halfway through [S] Caliborn: Enter.


Suffice to say, John doesn’t have an easy time processing this. He promptly has a mental breakdown in a flash with dramatic music, as if this was some kind of terrifying revelation that uproots everything John thought he knew and now he can never see the world the same way ever again.


Except this actually is a terrifying revelation that uproots everything John thought he knew and now he can never see the world the same way ever again.

Look at poor John. He’s trying to understand his father to the best of his 13-year-old ability.


So all those years, while you believed he was out busking up the corners with hilarious antics, he was working as an ordinary business man all along. He was just a man trying to make a good honest living for his son. Maybe he was too embarrassed to tell you the truth? Or maybe it was just that you’d never bothered to ask? 

You guess you always just assumed…

A natural part of John being “homestuck” is that he’s stuck in childish assumptions on what his father does for a living. If you’re a little kid, maybe it’s understandable if to some degree you genuinely think your dad is secretly a hilarious clown, but by the time you turn thirteen you should really know the truth or at least infer it from context.


All that said, just because Dad Egbert isn’t quite the clown lunatic John thought he was doesn’t mean he isn’t an absolute badass. This transition from son to father is done so well.

The next page is where we get to know Jack Noir, which makes for a good stopping point. See you next time as Rose puts her psychoanalysis skills to the best use imaginable.

Next => Part 11: Magical Dreams and Retroactive Clowns

Homestuck Epilogues Addendum Post: The Deal with Jade

Content warning: This post contains some discussion of sexual content, starting from the header “The Candy (in Candy)”. Read at your own discretion.

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In the past week, I’ve barely thought about my blog at all and will probably continue not thinking about it for quite some time. My Homestuck post series’ hiatus might last longer than I initially thought; I can’t see myself bringing it back anytime soon.

But despite not thinking about my blog much, I’ve most certainly continued reading the Homestuck Epilogues over and over again. And I think I know exactly who it’s time to talk about.

The Not-So-Wonderful World of Shafted Characters

Enter Jade Harley, the character who’s been an odd spot in the comic’s sprawling cast since day one. She starts as basically just a plot device but becomes a genuine wonderful character in Act 5. But after that point, she gets an upsettingly small amount of screen time and is rudely stripped from the on-screen dialogue reunions most everyone else gets. And by the time Collide and Act 7 happen, the comic has done away with dialogue. Yeah, that sure is fun.

So obviously, one of my biggest hopes for the epilogue was that Jade would get a full strong resolution, perhaps with dialogue “reunions” she should have gotten or with a major new role in the storyline. Jade did get plenty of dialogue early in Meat and some in Candy and it was pretty great, but what ultimate resolution did her character get? Fucking nothing!!! No resolution in Meat, no resolution in Candy.

The epilogues did a LOT of things right, don’t get me wrong. Each of the twelve creators on Earth C gets a good share of screen time and I think the epilogues are reasonably balanced in that regard—far more balanced than late Act 6 was. But the epilogues are incredibly imbalanced in giving characters resolution. Some characters had an astounding resolution arc that far surpassed my already high expectations!!! But for one reason or another, some characters get the opposite of resolution arcs—you probably know who I’m talking about. I’ll have to talk about those another time. And as I said before, Jade doesn’t even get a resolution. I’ll discuss exactly how she doesn’t get a resolution, first in Meat and then in Candy.

The Candy (in Meat)

Earth C Jade’s first appearance in Meat is a conversation with Dave and Karkat about politics and romance. We quickly learn that she’s in an unresolved love triangle with both of them. Continuing the time-honored tradition of Harleyberts not understanding how love works, Jade clumsily tries to set up a three-way romance with Karkat and Dave and misunderstands everything about the quadrants along the way. I found that scene absolutely hilarious and a surprisingly on-point satire of how fans think of character shipping. As per tradition, Jade tries to solve everyone’s problems through a shipping grid because obviously that’s worked spectacularly in the past. Also, she literally fucking says Dave and Karkat are “kind of like moirails”. I don’t know about you, but I found that one particular line to be the funniest shit in the world.

It’s already apparent that Jade has changed quite a bit from last time we saw her. She’s considerably more airheaded and free-flowing, and her most prominent trait now is her severe lack of social skills. This change makes a lot of sense considering Jade’s history. She was still almost entirely human after ascending to god tier, but that has changed over the years. Now she has lots of dog hormones, a tail, and you-know-what. Not to mention this is the Jade that spent three years with John and Davesprite dead. It also fits into an interesting pattern I’ve noticed: generally speaking, the less screen time a character got in late Act 6, the more that character has changed by the start of the epilogues. Think about John and Dave, how much they retain from how they acted in A6A6I5. Now think about Jane Crocker. Jane FUCKING Crocker. I think it’s no coincidence that the character fans have always regarded as boring is now basically a full-blown antagonist. Now think about Gamzee MOTHERFUCKING Makara. … uh, actually no, I don’t recommend you think about him. My point is, I’d say the epilogues succeeded at parodying the comic’s fans while simultaneously paying tribute to them, and Jade’s first dialogue in Meat is no exception.

The Meat

Next up, Jade presents the political situation to Roxy and Calliope and discusses a few more things in her Jade fashion until suddenly she falls into a coma, her soul now possessed by god tier Calliope who herself inhabits a different iteration of Jade. There she goes, that’s the end of Meat Jade’s character arc. She’s now once more a shameless plot device pushed around by the whims of fate—how’s that for going full circle? The few times afterwards where Jade speaks, it’s only brief intermissions between being possessed by the Dead Cherub or getting knocked out by Dirk so he can have the narration back.

Basically, Jade ends Meat having completed an enormous circle of stupidity: plot device -> good character -> shafted character -> changed character -> plot device. It actually is a fitting ending now that I think of it, especially in the half that’s more focused on tying plot threads. But it feels annoying considering what kind of ending Jade gets, or rather doesn’t get, in Candy. Let’s go over it, shall we?

The Candy (in Candy)

Jade’s first appearance in Candy isn’t too different from her first appearance in Meat: a conversation about romance and politics with Dave and Karkat, the two roommates who are (not) dating each other and both most certainly (not) dating Jade. A bunch of stuff I already said two headers ago.

… And then things get weird. Really fucking weird. Our heroes get paired into four romantic groups forming basically the Buddy System 2.0, which is even more unnatural and freaky than the first one was. Most of those groups start having kids, but Jade’s group—her, Dave, and Karkat—has issues that aren’t quite easy to sort out. Now here’s where I have to talk about the elephant in the room: Jade’s penis. Or as fans call it, “dog dick”.

The middle section of Candy all but outright confirms what was once an absurd headcanon. At a glance, it directly contradicts what Hussie himself said about Jade before, that she only has dog ears and the rest is still human. But if you think deeper you can tell that Hussie didn’t necessarily change his mind, but decided that Jade would start only with dog ears and then gradually gain more elements of a male dog.

Anyway, Jade’s penis is enough of a confounding factor that she, Dave, and Karkat can’t agree on a way to have kids. And just a bit later, the tragic breakup happens and Karkat becomes the hero he was always meant to be. Then after even more years of presumably a bunch of hemming and hawing, Dave and Jade FINALLY get married. That’s amazing, right???? The ship that’s been a fan favorite for longer than probably any other? And they’re married after all this time?

Uh, no. Not really at all. Not too long after their overdue wedding, Dave has a touching conversation with his number one hero, Barack Obama. He confesses that he’s living a lie and can’t get over Karkat, or the long-gone Dirk for that matter. When Obama offers Dave to ascend to his ultimate self, he immediately accepts it over staying on Earth C with his doggy wife and becomes Davebot, now proud and ready to achieve greater things in paradox space.

With Dave having achieved what can only be described as one hell of an ending, what triumphant resolution does Jade get? That’s right, fucking nothing! Dave leaving Jade behind to explore the White House is the last we hear from her in Candy.

grrrrrr i want more epilogues (or do i???)

And that, my friends, is one of many reasons one could reasonably hope for a follow-up to the Homestuck Epilogues. I’m too lazy to list all the possible reasons, there’s just way too many.

So instead, I’ll say the following: despite all the flaws, I’m still more than complacent in rereading the epilogues over and over instead of daydreaming about getting even more. It’s just such a mass dump of material that you can’t fully process after reading just once, much like Homestuck itself. My prior posts about the epilogues already read like someone that doesn’t fully understand them, at least to me. Such is the beauty of Homestuck, it’s absurdly fun to think and talk about.

Conclusion

I LOVE HOMESTUCK. I LOVE HOMESTUCK, I LOVE HOMESTUCK, I LOVE HOMESTUCK, I LOVE HOMESTUCK!!!

I

LOVE

HOMESTUCK

[Experiment] Annotating the Start of the Homestuck Meat Epilogue

I still plan not to resume my Homestuck posts until I purchase my own web domain. Hopefully that’ll happen soon, maybe in June? After I have a summer (hopefully not just summer) job and start making money for real. I could purchase it right now but I’d feel guilty dumping out money for a cool personal website before I get a job.

So in the mean time, I might as well flex my Homestuck annotating muscles instead of leaving them in the dust for so long like last time my posts were on hiatus. I’ve decided to go ahead and write my usual annotations/dissection of the first three pages of the Meat Epilogue. I’ve chosen this part because the epilogues are still quite recent and hard to take off my mind. They would absolutely cloud my thoughts if I were to dissect any part of Homestuck proper and I don’t want that.

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Meat opens exactly as the title suggests: the lovable 23-year-old John Egbert eating a hefty chunk of cold, raw meat. Then this happens:

> Think, suddenly, about all the many horrible crimes committed by Lord English.

God, that guy is the worst. The memory of his stupid face and his terrible art and all the abominable misfortune he has caused across multiple universes and time lines makes your meal start to curdle in your stomach. The meat sits there like a big, lardy mass—a black hole bursting the universe apart around it. You feel like rocks are churning in your gut and your mouth begins to water, hot and sour. The flavor of the afternoon air changes around you and it’s too hot, almost suffocating. You swallow back a mouthful of pungent bile as your eyes swim and lose focus.

John’s sudden thoughts about Lord English come out of nowhere and the story knows it. This is an interesting situation that occurs in both sides: Meat with John’s sudden motivation to save all of existence after seven years of inertia, and Candy with John’s sudden motivation to go outside and make friends. Calliope’s meat and candy may both be empowered with some form of cherub magic, which is probably the actual explanation for this abrupt motivation. But both sudden changes stick out too hard for me to just dismiss them through canon, wait I mean ambiguously post-canon means.

The sudden change quoted above came across to me as a natural progression in the plot. But the start of Candy, where all the stuff in Meat was abruptly “cancelled”, came across to me as a change so absurd it may as well be fanfiction, which caused my initial burnout. Upon further reflection, I am almost certain my first impressions would have been swapped if I had read Candy first. I think most of us can agree that the epilogues’ intention to tell two wildly different stories depending which side you start with was an absolute success.

> You know what you must do.
JOHN: i know what i must do.
Of course you know. What kind of guy would you be if you stayed here, when you’re the only one in existence capable of completing the grim task? A pretty shitty one, who just sneezed up a chunk of raw meat in front of a girl you used to have a gigantic crush on.
JOHN: i have to go back and kill lord english.
ROXY: u sure?
JOHN: i think so. it will probably be hard. but i think it’s the right thing to do.
JOHN: everyone is counting on me.
Roxy pulls back and takes a deep breath. It’s a very thin breath, and her bottom lip quivers a bit when she sucks it in. She looks disappointed, though you could be misreading her, as usual.

This passage is an early introduction to this new theme of inscrutable Roxy. Actually, “new theme” is a bit of a misnomer; Roxy has always had such themes, being a void player and all. But the Meat Epilogue is where those themes start to play a role in the story, or rather show the potential to play a role. I won’t go on further about that theme, especially because I already wrote a whole post about it.

John leaves the girls behind, their relationship resuming its underwhelming status quo. I need to write a tangent about Roxy x Calliope sometime, but not now. Do you think this is the Candy Epilogue??? Hell no, we’re in for some rich and juicy MEAT.

> Write: “dear roxy,”
You’ve never written a note so quickly, or with such clarity of heart and mind. When you’re done, you write nine more. Your hands leave grease stains on the paper.
You leave ten envelopes on your bed, arranged in a tidy circle with the names of your ten closest friends written on them.

WE NEVER EVEN GET TO READ JOHN’S LETTERS, IS NOTHING PURE IN THIS WORLD?????????

The epilogues have a fair few cliffhangers; an amount that may or may not be enough for me to crave a followup, a secret true happy ending or what have you. John’s letters totally seem like something the reader deserves the chance to read which sort of makes me desire more epilogue material, but at the same time the epilogues are so GOOD already as they stand… it’s a bit of a weird situation.

Then, with absolutely no fanfare, you leave all of them and this idyllic world you’ve created behind and zap yourself back into canon.

The concept of “canon” is going to be so much fun to discuss, I can just smell it. Too bad I’m only going to discuss the first three pages of Meat, so I may not have much time to get into it.

The second page of Meat gives us our first look at what Dave and Karkat are up to. You may already know that I have a strong opinion on those two as a ship. If you didn’t already know that, then I figure it’s courtesy for me to say what that opinion is. Here goes:

Dave x Karkat is a great ship and I like it a lot.

Go ahead, make all the confused disgruntled faces you want. It won’t change that the above statement represents my opinion on Dave/Karkat in all 100% honesty.

I guess I should make something clear. I still don’t like the way that ship was handled in A6A6I5. That doesn’t mean it ever was a bad ship in itself!!! I just proclaimed it to be a bad ship because I never got to see it presented well (or really, presented at all aside from a few pictures and vague descriptions). The epilogues present that pairing beautifully and I love it. It actually feels REAL and MEANINGFUL, not just as a friendship but as an actual romance that has a bearing on both sides’ story progression! I’d almost go so far as to say it’s just as good as John and Roxy’s dynamic earlier in Act 6 Act 6. The one ship it can’t compare to is John x Terezi, which is by far the best ship in Homestuck.

DAVE: bro
In the heart of the Troll Kingdom’s capital city, Dave and Karkat are sitting on their couch with a foot and a half of space between them. It’s a typically picturesque day outside, but Karkat has the curtains drawn shut all the way. This is part of their compromise living situation: Dave puts up with the trollish non-euclidean architecture and bizarre social mores, and Karkat has adjusted his diurnal schedule to, in theory, see the sun.

As we can see here, John is the only one so far who gets second-person narration. All other characters are narrated in third person. I’ve already talked plenty about John’s mass existential crisis where he feels like the only “real” person in existence; his narration being the only one in second person helps hammer in that point and make us experience that crisis with him.

Dave casts a weary look towards the TV, where Jake English is shamelessly exhibiting what is definitely his best feature in front of a live studio audience. This is a regular highlight of his and Dirk’s hit television show, RUMBLE IN DA PUMPKIN PATCH, a schizophrenic cross-section of rap battle and robot wrestling that Rose once described as “an exploitative, almost Dada-esque clusterfuck of circumlocutory pretension and sweaty, homoerotic astriction.” Jake came up with the title for the show, and Dirk absolutely loathed it. However, before Dirk could insist on an alternative, Jake had already posted an online poll pitting his idea against “Whatever dirks lame idea is.” Needless to say, the second option was much less popular.
The description of Jake and Dirk’s TV show has a whimsical feel we haven’t seen much since early Act 6. A refreshing return to form reminiscent of the narration’s stories about B2 Earth.

KARKAT: ANYWAY, THE MORE I WATCH, I CAN’T HELP BUT NOTICE THE CAMERA’S LECHEROUS FIXATION ON THIS BOY’S VOLUPTUOUS POSTERIOR.
KARKAT: CAN’T SAY I BLAME THEM, I GUESS??? AT LEAST IT SHOWS THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT’S PAYING THE FUCKING BILLS, BECAUSE IT SURE AS HELL ISN’T THE QUALITY OF THE SLAM POETRY.
DAVE: ok who gives a shit about that
DAVE: although it pleases me to hear you taking note of the economics of this broadcast since it is apropos to the topic at hand but more on that later
Dave’s economy obsession is far funnier than it has any right to be. Dave talking about politics sounds like the most boring nonsense ever, but it’s somehow done well here. Basically every character in this comic has an absurd fixation or two, so Dave’s insistence that it all comes down to the economy helps anchor his political talk to the usual Homestuck feel.
KARKAT: APROPOS TO FUCKING WHAT?
KARKAT: I DON’T HAVE TIME TO “SCOPE THE LATEST MEME,” DAVE. YOU ARE COMING PERILOUSLY CLOSE TO CUTTING INTO MY IMPORTANT LEISURE TIME AS IT IS.
DAVE: leisure time
DAVE: this is all you ever do all day
DAVE: also its not a meme its much more important
KARKAT: OH, EXCUSE ME, HOT SHOT. BUT WHAT POSSIBLY COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE LATEST MEME?
KARKAT: THAT WAS A JOKE, FYI. NOW LEAVE.
DAVE: jane is running for president
Now THAT’S how you do a wham line. This line sets up a fresh new premise…
KARKAT: WHAT THE FUCK?
Dave scoots a foot and a half closer so that they can both read the news on his phone. Karkat tips his head to the side to get a better view, until it bumps against Dave’s shoulder.
DAVE: got the announcement right here
KARKAT: YOU MEAN PRESIDENT OF EARTH?
DAVE: yeah
KARKAT: WHY THE FUCK WOULD SHE WANT TO DO THAT?
DAVE: i dunno crocker is just an ambitious woman i guess
… shortly followed by a quick picture of what our naive, innocent little Jane Crocker has been up to on Earth C.
Say what you will about Jane in the epilogues, but I really like the way Meat introduces her status. It’s the complete opposite of John’s: while we see firsthand that John has spent his days mourning his father in isolation, we learn through dialogue that Jane lived out her businesswoman fantasies to an absurd proportion and is now literally running for president of Earth.
KARKAT: THIS SOUNDS FUCKING AWFUL.
DAVE: oh it is
DAVE: it absolutely is
DAVE: also like
DAVE: dont tell her i said this but
DAVE: i think shes basically a fascist
KARKAT: WHY WOULD I TELL HER YOU SAID THAT?
KARKAT: WHEN THE FUCK WAS THE LAST TIME EITHER OF US HAD FUCK ALL TO DO WITH *JANE*
DAVE: no i know
DAVE: just like, a figure of speech i guess
DAVE: oh also shes a fucking xenophobe
KARKAT: OF COURSE SHE’S A XENOPHOBE!
John and Jane’s extreme contrast is fascinating and I haven’t seen it talked about much. John is still the pure-hearted and childish Egbert man we’ve known since day one, but Jane is nothing like the innocent girl we knew at first; two of the first words Dave describes her as are “fascist” and “xenophobe”. It’s never fully explained how she became that way, though major divergences like this fit well in the epilogues because they fuel John’s existential crisis.
KARKAT: ALSO, WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHE EVEN MEAN SHE’S “RUNNING”
KARKAT: WHAT A COMPLETE LOAD OF SHIT?
KARKAT: SHE’S A GOD. WHICH ONE OF THE TOADYING IDIOTS ON THIS PLANET WOULD DARE TO RUN AGAINST HER.
KARKAT: SHE’S GOING TO WIN IN A LANDSLIDE, ASSUMING SHE DOESN’T JUST WALTZ INTO OFFICE UNCONTESTED.
DAVE: yeah i dont disagree
DAVE: which is why we have to stop her
KARKAT: HUH?
KARKAT: DAVE, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU SAYING?
KARKAT: ARE YOU TELLING ME *YOU’RE* GOING TO RUN AGAINST JANE?
Karkat’s laughter is uproarious, incredulous. He reaches for another beetle as his guffaws subside, and eats it in a manner he hopes will convey his casual contempt for Dave’s insinuation.
KARKAT: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW *RICH* SHE IS?
DAVE: dude were all rich
DAVE: we like invented the fucking economy
KARKAT: WELL, YEAH
KARKAT: BUT NOT LIKE
KARKAT: *CROCKER* RICH
DAVE: anyway no
DAVE: im not running
DAVE: you are
Wham line 2. Dave’s insistence that his (boy)friend should run for president FINALLY addresses Karkat’s leadership role!!! One of the biggest criticisms with the credits is that Karkat didn’t do anything even close to leading the troll race, which was the main point in Kanaya’s prior conversation with Echidna. The epilogues address that leadership role in an unexpectedly brilliant way: Karkat’s campaign fails in Meat, but shines high and mighty in Candy.
KARKAT: ME???????????????
DAVE: yeah man
DAVE: its perfect
DAVE: youre the ideal opponent to take her down and tbh just what this planet needs
KARKAT: NO I’M NOT!
DAVE: yeah
KARKAT: WE ESTABLISHED THIS… HOW MANY YEARS AGO?
KARKAT: I’M NOT A LEADER. I WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE ONE.
KARKAT: JANE PROBABLY IS. ALTHOUGH TO BE FAIR, I’M AGREEING WITH YOU, SHE’S A COMPLETE ASSHOLE.
KARKAT: I’M JUST NOT THE ONE TO RUN AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION CAMPAIGN. WHERE… HOW…
KARKAT: I WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START!
DAVE: obviously you wouldnt do it on your own i would help
DAVE: id be like your campaign manager, or chief strategy guy or whatever
DAVE: also youre wrong
DAVE: you were meant to be a leader and youd be a good one
DAVE: just not the kind of leader you always thought youd be
DAVE: not a bellicose conquering dickhead who commands “fear and respect”
DAVE: just a guy who is cool and nice and actually cares about stuff and everyone loves them for that reason
Dave believes in Karkat. He sees the best in him and can easily imagine him as a strong, good-spirited leader. This passage is great, I can’t even put into words how it makes me feel. Dave x Karkat was a good ship this whole time, I’m telling you.
Karkat goes on to discuss how he doesn’t like being famous or giving himself attention. Dave tries to convince him otherwise, which leads to this passage:
DAVE: jane is…
DAVE: how do i put this
KARKAT: WHAT
DAVE: ok ill just be the one to come out and say it
DAVE: shes going to be a fucking disaster for the economy
KARKAT: …
DAVE: i guess i have to admit
DAVE: part of this
DAVE: for me personally
DAVE: its
KARKAT: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING DAVE
DAVE: its about obama
Obama’s presence in Homestuck has a certain charm to it that wouldn’t exist if the comic hadn’t dragged out so long. Homestuck’s seven-year run took place entirely during the Obama administration, which cements him as part of the comic’s mythos. Dave’s idolization and headcanons about Obama are incredibly endearing and I’m glad the epilogues gave that arc a strong resolution, culminating in Dave and Obama’s conversation near the end of Candy.
DAVE: he barely even got a chance to prove himself
DAVE: he was sworn into office and it was cool and everything was gonna be great but then
DAVE: everyone died a few months later because of meteors
DAVE: dude was just gettin warmed up… so sad
DAVE: i wonder if he would have fixed the economy
DAVE: i bet he would have fixed the economy
KARKAT: DAVE, AS MUCH AS I ENJOY LISTENING TO YOU RAMBLE THROUGH YET ANOTHER CHAPTER OF YOUR FREESTYLE OBAMA FAN FICTION
KARKAT: DON’T YOU ALREADY HAVE A BASIS FOR KNOWING HOW HIS PRESIDENCY WOULD HAVE GONE?
KARKAT: I MEAN, WASN’T HE PRESIDENT IN THE TIME LINE JANE GREW UP IN TOO?
DAVE: oh
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: i mean yeah of course i know that
DAVE: i just dont like to think much about that time line
DAVE: it doesnt really feel like its
DAVE: canon?
Here we get someone other than John talking about canonicity (and lack thereof). I find this bit interesting because it’s an early hint at John’s great revelation at the end of Candy that he is far from the only person who has existential issues with canon. I love finding early hints like this when rereading the epilogues, just as the authors intended.
DAVE: but i mean what if like
DAVE: he could be reborn
KARKAT: YES, WE’VE BEEN OVER YOUR OBAMA GOD TIER HEADCANONS TOO.
DAVE: no like
DAVE: reborn as you
DAVE: metaphorically
DAVE: you could be the great president he never got the chance to be
DAVE: you could give the people hope and shit
DAVE: you could inspire trolls everywhere
DAVE: or really all nonhuman kingdoms
DAVE: show them anybody could be a president
DAVE: not just an endless parade of rich humans who think they all know whats best for everybody
Dave is pushing Karkat hard to prove himself, which is exactly the endearing and meaningful drive that all good ships in Homestuck have. Just as Terezi pushed John to become a hero in the retcon quest and John pushed Roxy to join him in that journey, Dave is pushing Karkat to become the next Obama. If that doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what to tell you.
KARKAT: DAVE, I’M PRETTY SURE ANYONE *COULD* BE PRESIDENT?
KARKAT: IT’S ALWAYS SEEMED TO ME THAT HUMANS JUST SEEM TO BE MORE NATURALLY AMBITIOUS, AND THAT’S WHY THE POWER STRUCTURES TOOK THE SHAPE THEY DID THE LAST FEW MILLENNIA.
KARKAT: I MEAN, I DON’T CLAIM TO BE AN EXPERT ON XENOPSYCHOLOGY, BUT FOR SOME REASON I STRUGGLE TO IMAGINE A FUCKING SALAMANDER GETTING THE GUMPTION TO THROW HIS CRUMPLED HAT INTO THE RING FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF EARTH.
KARKAT: OR THE CARAPACIANS FOR THAT MATTER?
KARKAT: THESE ARE NOT AMBITIOUS CREATURES WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE, DAVE.
KARKAT: THEY’RE A HUGE FLOCK OF WOOLBEASTS, DAVE.
DAVE: karkat dont stereotype
DAVE: remember the mayor
DAVE: remember how at one point a long time ago he raised an army and rebelled against an evil king
KARKAT: OH YEAH
KARKAT: SOMEHOW I ALWAYS FORGET HE DID THAT.
KARKAT: KIND OF MIND BOGGLING, REALLY.
KARKAT: HOLY SHIT, I MISS THE MAYOR.
DAVE: me too
Dave and Karkat both observe a moment of silence—a delicate and trembling pause of utmost respect to perhaps the greatest and purest being who had ever come forth from Paradox Space. Dave pats Karkat’s knee comfortingly, and Karkat lets out a quivering breath of sorrow, of remembrance.
Dave and Karkat’s discussion about the Mayor is such a heartwarming moment. WV’s role throughout Act 6 is somewhat polarizing; some people like that he’s everyone’s adorable little friend, while others resent his relegation and wish he did more. Act 7 and the credits show him and PM staying behind to rebuild society, which was a decent resolution whose impact the epilogues show full force. The Mayor may be long dead, but his spirit lives on forever. The mention of his backstory as the Warweary Villein is a nice touch.
I can mostly skim over Dave’s ensuing rambles about politics and troll reproduction, because I made my point already: they’re surprisingly fun and insightful reads that prove “political Dave” isn’t inherently a bad thing, just like shipping him and Karkat.
DAVE: but the point is just
DAVE: i guess
DAVE: she sucks and shouldnt be president the end
DAVE: you dont even have to think about economic shit i can do that for you
DAVE: ill be like the treasury secretary or something
DAVE: just please tell me youll do this
DAVE: do it for the trolls do it for the economy do it for the mayor
DAVE: but most of all
DAVE: (sniff)
Dave wipes an invisible tear from beneath the rim of his sunglasses.
DAVE: do it for obama
KARKAT: GOD DAMN IT DAVE.
KARKAT: I DON’T REALLY GIVE A FUCK ABOUT POLITICS, OR BEING A LEADER ANYMORE, AND I THINK YOU KNOW THAT.
KARKAT: I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE ECONOMY, AND WHILE I’M SURE THIS OBAMA FELLOW WAS A HELL OF A GUY, I COULDN’T GIVE LESS A FUCK ABOUT HIM EITHER.
KARKAT: BUT…
KARKAT: I DO CARE ABOUT YOU.
Dave smiles.
KARKAT: SO
KARKAT: I’LL DO IT.
KARKAT: WHY NOT.
This is so heartwarming it’s unreal. I can’t overstate how impressed I am that the epilogues made me like a ship I used to hate.
DAVE: but you also need to be natural and speak from the heart and shit
DAVE: just like
DAVE: talk to your people
DAVE: about stuff they care about
KARKAT: “MY PEOPLE”?
KARKAT: YOU MEAN TROLLS??
DAVE: oh
DAVE: yeah i guess that sounded bad sorry
DAVE: but yeah exactly
DAVE: trolls
DAVE: thats gonna be your base so you gotta rile em up
DAVE: inspire them
DAVE: i dont think you need any fancy speeches to do that youll be a natural
Dave knows Karkat way too well. He can tell Karkat is a natural-born leader just like his Alternian ancestor was. Dave is even something of a prophet later in Meat; he accurately predicts what would have happened if Karkat won the election (which is to say, what would have happened if John chose candy).
Next up, Dave does some math to figure out who will support Karkat, who will support Jane, and who will have to be swayed in Karkat’s favor.
DAVE: as for jade…
KARKAT: …
They stare at each other. Karkat sighs and Dave raps his pen against the tablet screen in a slow, uneven staccato.
DAVE: uh
DAVE: i think its fair to say shes going to be on our side
KARKAT: YEAH
DAVE: maybe a little too much so
KARKAT: UM, YEAH
KARKAT: I WASN’T GOING TO BE THE ONE TO SAY IT, BUT YEAH, I GET WHAT YOU MEAN.
This bit establishes that Dave, Jade, and Karkat’s three-way romance isn’t quite the straight* “all three love each other” many readers had thought. Jade has loved everything about Dave from the start of the comic and the epilogues take full advantage of that. She’s a bit of a wrench in Dave and Karkat’s dynamic that goes in different directions in either epilogue.
* actually only two-thirds straight
Skipping a bit…
DAVE: well no the population isnt THAT big but yes its by far the most populous kingdom
DAVE: swinging them our way should help a lot but it wont be enough to decide the whole thing
DAVE: consorts overwhelm the other kingdoms in sheer numbers but due to unscrupulous gerrymandering, all kinds of fucked up voter suppression policies and some electoral “counterbalancing” measures to account for their ridiculous population growth rate their voting power per capita is kind of pathetic
DAVE: also its hard to drive turnout
DAVE: this may come as a shock but legions of easily distracted low information amphibians primarily concerned with eating bugs and farming god damned mushrooms arent the most politically motivated demographic
DAVE: so to get them out to the polls well need to get them REALLY excited
This ramble is probably the only time on this page where Dave’s rambling kind of has the same “off” feel as in A6A6I5. It’s just a bit too wordy, which thankfully isn’t an issue through the rest of this page. If I recall, Hussie himself wrote the dialogue in Meat’s first few pages, so I’m glad to see him improve in writing political Dave from last time he tried it.
DAVE: jake is a huge wild card here
DAVE: im sure his endorsement would be completely up for grabs
DAVE: he could go any way including just getting turned off by the whole thing and staying “apolitical”
DAVE: so we have to be careful about how we approach him
DAVE: jake is the only one of us whos wildly popular in all four kingdoms
KARKAT: WELL, I CAN’T ARGUE WITH THAT.
DAVE: yeah so an endorsement from him would be huge
DAVE: seriously just running one ad of him doing his double pistol winking bullshit with a thing under it saying “VOTE KARKAT” might be enough to win the whole election
DAVE: just have to get the fickle bastard to agree to that which could be tricky
Jake in the epilogues is a bit of an odd spot, as I’ve discussed before. He starts off as a beloved Renaissance man much like Grandpa Harley, which is a bit at odds with his dorky inner psyche. Since he’s a voiced character unlike his pre-scratch self, the epilogues have to reconcile his celebrity status with his dorkiness. It’s done well so far, with Dave treating him like a wildcard who could end up in any position. But through the rest of the epilogues Jake’s arc is weird and all over the place. At least he gets a touching resolution at the end of Candy.
DAVE: and honestly id be shocked if jane hasnt already started courting his vote
DAVE: theres no way she doesnt understand the political stakes
KARKAT: SO…
KARKAT: IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE JAKESTAKES THEN.
DAVE: pretty much
DAVE: the jakestakes 2.0
KARKAT: WHAT
KARKAT: THERE WAS A 1.0?
KARKAT: WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?
DAVE: oh thats like
DAVE: a whole story
KARKAT: IS THIS GOING TO BE ANOTHER ANECDOTE ABOUT THE JAKE SQUAD I WON’T CARE ABOUT AND DON’T WANT TO FUCKING HEAR?
DAVE: that sounds like the exact kind of opinion youd have about it so yeah
KARKAT: THEN I DON’T WANT TO FUCKING HEAR ABOUT IT.
It’s kind of adorable that Karkat doesn’t care in the slightest about those alpha kid stories. Years ago I would have used cases like this as evidence that his relationship with Dave isn’t completely healthy, but now I don’t see any reason to debunk a good ship.
Next up, Dave gets a call from Dirk. After a short nod to fandom’s decapitation meme, we move on to the next page and the last one I’ll cover in this post.
> JOHN: Zap.
You zap back into canon. It’s been so long, you’d forgotten what it feels like. The atmosphere smacks unmistakably of… How can you describe it? Relevance? Legitimacy? Funny how you never would have thought to put it that way until you left.
Come on, John. There’s a much better word to describe how you feel about canon. That word starts with “home” and ends with “stuck”.
John in the epilogues is INCREDIBLY “homestuck”, probably more than at any point in the comic proper. As soon as he tries to place how he feels being in canon again, the comic becomes true to its title once more. John is stuck in the idea that the canon world is authentic and Earth C is a land of stupid nonsense; only at the end of Candy does he realize others feel the same but express it in different ways. Especially dear sweet Roxy, holy shit is her story with John heartwrenching.
It takes you a moment to recognize where you are, even though Rose’s instructions were very specific. A place bright and gaudy and filled with the stench of teenage ennui. It’s your old living room on the gold battleship, where you spent three years caught up in a lot of weird, furry romantic drama while learning to unlove everything you once held sacred. Three long, boring years. Years that, technically speaking, never even happened, now that you think of it. You have the very retcon powers that just brought you back here to thank for that.
You barely have time to take in the sick, nostalgic feeling that all the globes and Tangle Buddies and avant-garde mime art evokes.
“Sick, nostalgic” is quite an interesting combination of words. John’s time on the battleship was a boring trudge, but he romanticizes canon nonetheless.
The fridge pops open and out roll Aranea and Gamzee. Gamzee honks and his codpiece jiggles ominously. Aranea staggers to her feet, looking rather pleased with herself. Until she notices you and gapes in bewilderment.
ARANEA: What are you doing here?!
“I CALLED IT!”, I thought to myself when I first got to this page. I had hoped for a long time that the pre-retcon timeline would make a return of sorts—maybe even a version of that timeline where Aranea didn’t interfere. And I was right! I had also hoped that John would do a second retcon that changes the course of events another time. And I was half-right.
> Rose was perfectly clear about what to do next.
You make a fist, and sort of flinch and look away when you do it. No matter how many years you’ve spent living on a planet with absolute gender parity, this feels wrong. Still, you hit Aranea pretty fucking hard, underestimating your own strength just as badly as you did the last time you clobbered a hapless Serket. She goes flying back, hits the couch, and KOs instantly into a pile of Smuppets. You then take her wrist in your hand, slide the ring off her finger, and pocket it.
If this scene took place in Homestuck proper, it would no doubt be a blatant one-to-one visual callback to the time John punched Vriska. Visual callbacks are fun and all, but towards the end they kind of overstayed their welcome, so conveying the feel of a visual callback through text is a very welcome change of page.
> Isn’t there something you’re forgetting?
Gamzee stares up at you with his horrible, limpid eyes. There’s something serene, sinister, and sensual all at once about the look he’s laying on you. It sends a shiver up the whole length of your spine. Fuck no.
> Do everyone a favor and put an end to his preposterous narrative relevance.
You wisely decide that this clown will lend nothing valuable to the narrative whatsoever if he is allowed to remain outside of your childhood refrigerator. You put both hands on his chest and shove him into the fridge where he belongs. He goes easily, issuing only a pair of weak honks in protest. You slam the fridge shut and resolve to never think about Gamzee Makara again.
Thank you, John. You made the right choice.
Rereading the epilogues is so much fun and the authors knew it. It took me surprisingly long to realize the contrast between this scene and Gamzee’s grand return in Candy. Early in Meat, John zaps alone to a meaty point pre-retcon and wisely stuffs Gamzee inside a fridge; early in Candy, John zaps with friends to a sugary point post-retcon and reluctantly lets Gamzee outside a fridge.
> Zap to the next plot point.
Page 3 of Meat ends with John commanded to move things forward, which probably makes readers that started with Meat feel like they made the right choice. Candy presents itself similarly at first, by swiftly handling all the friendships and character dynamics one at a time. Both epilogues take advantage of this false sense of security so they can veer hard in different directions.
–––––––– –––––––– –––––––– –––––––– ––––––––
I’m going to stop here. Don’t think it’s worth going through further pages in this little experiment, let alone the epilogues in full. What can I say in conclusion? Hmmm, let me think.
I’ve got it. Here goes:
I fucking love Homestuck.

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 73: A Reminisce on Romance Weirdness

Introduction

Part 72 | Part 73 | Part 74 >

Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 2 of 3

Pages 4709-4740 (MSPA: 6609-6640)

NOTE: I’m not going to discuss those aromantic John headcanons because I don’t really care to. Actually no, I changed my mind and discussed such headcanons in this post a few years later.

Picking up from where we left off, Kanaya is about to leave the lab when all of a sudden…

KANAYA: Augh 
KANAYA: Why Does That Always Happen 
KARKAT: EVERYBODY OUT OF THE GODDAMN WAY. 
KARKAT: I GOT A LAB FULL OF HUMANS, A MOUTH FULL OF YELLING, AND A TORTURED PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE FULL OF TOTALLY HYSTERICAL EMOTIONS AND UNAIRED GRIEVANCES AT PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY. 
DAVE: karkat is broken guys 

Karkat’s sudden entrance is done via a 2x callback combo, and Dave completely lampshades how bizarre that is.

Karkat and Dave immediately start arguing about stuff and dear god the insults they trade are killing me. Unlike prior cases of characters trading insults (one-sided or not), this scene is just too hilarious to be any sort of setup for character development. Despite that, the comic does a good job developing their dynamic later on; before you think I switched my stance entirely I’m only talking about before the retcon. I have to say I think I’m kind of doing an alright job not moaning too much about stuff.

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