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.
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.
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?
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: 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.
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!
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
DAVE: ok ill just be the one to come out and say it
DAVE: shes going to be a fucking disaster for the economy
DAVE: i guess i have to admit
DAVE: part of this
DAVE: for me personally
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: 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
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: 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 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: I DO CARE ABOUT YOU.
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: yeah i guess that sounded bad sorry
DAVE: but yeah exactly
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…
They stare at each other. Karkat sighs and Dave raps his pen against the tablet screen in a slow, uneven staccato.
DAVE: i think its fair to say shes going to be on our side
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: IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE JAKESTAKES THEN.
DAVE: pretty much
DAVE: the jakestakes 2.0
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.