Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 125: Vriska the Bus Driver No Longer

Introduction

< Part 124 | Part 125 | Part 126 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, Part 8 of 8

Pages 7359-7408

I came up with this post’s title months ago, so please appreciate it.

Just a reminder, don’t expect more Homestuck posts for probably the next few months. I have a real life too! Not to mention ambitious projects unrelated to these posts.

It’s time for John to read the final instruction on Terezi’s scarf. He has the following to say about it:

JOHN: uh, wow.
JOHN: not sure what to expect for this one.
JOHN: alright, here goes.

I can imagine how confused John is. He’s far too thick-headed to have any idea who Terezi wanted him to stop her from killing. Obviously it can’t be Vriska, right? As far as John knows, Vriska and Terezi hardly knew or cared about each another. I never stopped to think about how long it took for him to learn that Terezi killed Vriska—he didn’t know that until he was about to stop that event from happening!

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 116: What the Fuck Happened Here?

Introduction

< Part 115 | Part 116 | Part 117 >

[S] GAME OVER and the rest of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3

Pages 6901-6920

^ This image is how I feel about Karkat wearing short sleeves.

Time to finally analyze [S] GAME OVER, a flash that came out on October 25, 2014, the third anniversary of [S] Cascade. As the title may suggest, the flash consists of most of Homestuck’s living main cast either dying or getting critically wounded, so that they may soon be replaced with post-retcon versions of themselves. This retcon character replacement is a very controversial move and for many people weighs down Act 6 in its entirety. I’ve always been bothered by it myself, but a major goal of mine in these posts is to see if it’s really that bad in retrospect.

A cool detail in the Unofficial Homestuck Collection’s version of this flash is that the browser interface switches color schemes along with the website’s background.

Game Over alternates between taking place in Act 6 Act 6 Act 3 (John fighting Caliborn) and Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 (everyone else in the alpha session fighting each other). The flash begins on an incredibly silly note, with a callback to John’s mental breakdown when he discovered his father wasn’t a clown, and his further mental breakdown when he discovered Betty Crocker made Fruit Gushers. The callback is very fitting, because John has mental breakdowns over the absolute stupidest things.

The manga drawings surrounding John clearly indicate that they’re his principal source of anger at Caliborn, which is both amusing and fitting. Honestly, it makes more sense to be angry about those drawings than whatever impact he had on the kids’ story as Lord English, because as Dave said in A6A6I1, he’s responsible in some ass backwards way for them all existing.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 94: Wizardfic Nostalgification Station

Introduction / Schedule

Part 93 | Part 94 | Part 95 >


Act 6 Act 5, Part 2 of 6

Pages 5572-5634 (MSPA: 7472-7534)

“Nostalgification” is totally a real word, I swear.


Years in the future…
Minus several.


After a bunch of pages that were mostly romance drama and hints at the Condesce’s machinations, it’s time for a fun throwback. The image shown above depicts Roxy’s carapacian neighborhood on a rainy evening, just like how Rose’s house was in the early acts. This whole scene is going to be a lot of fun, I can tell.


I forgot how cute Roxy looks in her starting outfit, my god. Full disclosure: for me, a fictional girl’s cuteness is mainly determined by whether or not she wears tights.


It’s time to read Wizardy Herbert! You might already know that Wizardy Herbert is the name of one of Hussie’s pre-MSPA works. It’s an unfinished Harry Potter parody story with wild metafictional elements and overall insane nonsense. It is my understanding that Hussie in real life never cared much for wizards and decided when writing both Wizardy Herbert and Homestuck to crudely parody the fondness people have for them.

I don’t care much for wizards personally.

But this story? An absolute laugh riot that somehow doesn’t have a fanmade full version.


Oh boy, guys. I’m going to take you for a wild ride and dissect the HELL out of this story. I hope you’re ready for heaps of comparisons with the fanmade full version of Detective Pony, which I treat as canon in this post series.

“i think you were supposed to just tackle him,” beatrix said looking all kinds of put off. 

“all kinds of put off” is such a Roxy thing to say. The first sentence of this page already sets the stage for her absurd story perfectly.

wizardy herbert reached down to the body of the fictional camper he just shot and picked up the flag. “same difference.” 

“IS it?” 

“this is some lame magical version of capture the flag. the book wanted me to capture the flag from him. the flag has now been captured. anyway, hes just a kind of brainless puppet.” 

“then what are we?” she asked. 

“i dunno. brainless puppets whove spent a few years in the real world. kind of like everyone else, i suppose.” 


When you’re talking about metafiction, the “real world” can mean a lot of things. I can’t quite tell what that phrase refers to here; I assume Roxy’s story established that phrase’s meaning at some point before this page. Unlike with Detective Pony where we only saw the first few pages and got a rough description of the rest, we’re treated right away to the portion of Wizardy Herbert where the story has fallen apart and the title character is debating with his female companion about the nature of their story.

“jeez thats cynical. anyway, youre the one who said we should let the story play out the way its supposed to. im just pointing out your own rules.” 

I love how Beatrix’s reaction to Herbert’s metafictional nihilism is nothing more than “jeez thats cynical”. This is another bit that helps establish the story as a playful but earnest exploration of the nature of metafiction.

“ehhh.” herbert made a dismissive gesture with his smoking gun. “these punks were starting to get on my nerves. we’re making progress anyway. see? listen to that. russets scene is coming up. if i remember right this is the one that introduces his recurring love interest. also i guess the chief bad guy. i mean, sorta.” 

At this point, both Herbert and Beatrix are playing common roles in meta stories: Herbert as the extremely meta-aware hero/villain, and Beatrix as his loyal but oft-questioning assistant. Dirk invokes these roles both in Detective Pony and in the Meat Epilogue; the former role always with himself, and the latter role variously with Minos, Jeanne Betancourt, and Rose. In the Meat Epilogue, he takes advantage of the traits Rose has in common with him as well as her declining health so that she can play the role of the meta assistant and then get a fresh new robot body. Now that I think of it, it’s rather heteronormative of Dave at the end to think Rose and Dirk might be dating just because of these tropes. Normally he’s as woke as can be about LGBT topics; maybe he thinks Dirk’s mindset has changed simply because he’s so far up his own ass with self-importance.

/end tangent

This page of the story continues with double narration between Roxy’s usual writing and nonsensical SBaHJ-style Comic Sans writing. It’s clear that Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff cracks Roxy up just as much as the beta kids, which is very cute. The characters written SBaHJ-style are even more fake and confusing than the “normal” ones. I have no idea what’s going on now, other than that one of the Comic Sans characters is described as a handsome young man with black hair and glasses, which will soon lead to an allegorical exploration of John and Roxy’s relationship—perhaps a forewarning of what may become of it.

“why beatrix” he said with a super sly smile. “if i didnt know better, id say you were taking some enjoyment from watchin your dear pal russets smackdown.” 

“what? no!” she didnt let go of his arm. but he wouldnt quit his douchey smile. she went on. “you cant just keep offing fictional characters. its… i dunno. irresponsible.” 

“yeah yeah.” 

“besides you know the scene is supposed to play out like this. russet is supposed to get rescued. how is he supposed to get rescued if the bullies are dead? you cant just go around changing things.” 

“i guess youre right.” 

herbert holstered his gun admiring a few more choice sucker punches to russets midriff. OOF. that onell leave a mark. beatrix regained her calm. “so whos this guy thats supposed to save him?” she asked. “you say hes the villain?” 

“here he comes now.” 


Herbert’s shameless defiance against the story’s supposed rules reminds me of Caliborn, which makes sense because he and Dirk are alike in some ways, and because B2 Rose’s stories are also filled with cherub allusions.

Not understanding how sports work is something Roxy and Dave have in common.

Roxy skips ahead a few pages and now Herbert and Beatrix are dressed up to play some SPORTS. The Harry Potter satire is painfully obvious here—Quidditch is a staple of the series, even I know that—as is the fact that Hussie doesn’t like Harry Potter very much. As with Cronus’s backstory, elements everyone knows are incorporated and blatantly made fun of but none of the deeper plot seems to be referenced. I know this because if the plot of Harry Potter was deeply woven within Homestuck, then TV Tropes would be littered with comparisons between the two.

“russet! answer me!” beatrix demanded. “why the heck didnt you tell us? or tell grant for that matter?” 

herbert wasnt paying much attention. so russet was moody and cryptic and didnt tell people some stuff. what a bombshell. he worried at one of the springs poking out of his ridonkulous ball. it made a sproinging sound like a mouth harp and broke off. he wondered if the springs served any actual purpose. the springs did not serve any actual purpose. 

“how could you keep something like that from everyone? that you knew all along?” 

“i just wanted what was best for grant” he finally said. 

she had tons of questions but couldnt settle on the next one to ask. she wasnt about to let good body language go to waste so she did kinda what mimes do when they dont like something you said. how long did he know grant was from this dogshit wizardfic? howd he escape in the first place? was it really his spell that sealed them here? how long had he been planning this? she guessed that would explain why he had an absurdly obvious pseudonym. grant anonama? yeah like THATS a real name. great job bro, or should she say SLINUS. she wondered if his bogus name wasnt an anagram for something. like a clue dangled under their noses. magic bad guys do love their anagrams. they are just so damn clever and when you finally figure them out its like whoa INSTANT MINDFUCK. 


Roxy’s writing continues to be a mix of Rose and Dave, in all the opposite ways from how Dirk’s writing is. Her use of serial rhetorical questions reminds me of Rose just as much as her sarcastic commentary on narrative tropes reminds me of Dave. I’ve said before that it’s kind of funny Roxy and Dirk seem to inherit traits from both their respective ancestors when it’s technically the other way around.

Skipping a bit…

it was time to go. the narratives invisible conductor let them know with the arrival of a carriage. it was drawn by two floating, perfectly immobile wooden horses. herbert read this thing a hundred times but still couldnt understand the authors fascination with flying rigid wooden horses. 

This passage is obviously a self-deprecating jab at how much Hussie loves joking about horses, but its in-universe purpose is a bit less clear. I wonder if Roxy incorporated horses in her story to obliquely vent about her hopeless crush on Dirk? She knows very well that Dirk is a fan of horses and might even be playfully referencing Detective Pony.


Roxy skips to the end of what she has so far and oh my god, what is this. Herbert and Beatrix are freaking out and flailing their arms, but the horses’ facial expressions are blank as ever. It’s clear from this image that Roxy doesn’t have Dirk’s deep, resounding appreciation for horses. If Dirk drew this panel, the horses would be the ones freaking out.

“herbert watch where youre going!” 

“i cant. i think the book wants us to crash.” 

beatrix thought about it. she almost kicked the sides of her inert stallion to prod it along but caught herself. “do we really have to?” 


Here’s where we see Herbert suddenly had a change of mind regarding narrative rules. At first he brutally disobeyed what was meant to happen, but now to Beatrix’s surprise he’s following the rules.


herbert shrugged. another solid half minute of awkward horse advancement went by before the creaking oaken collision. herbert tumbled through the air and hit the grass pitch hard on his back. beatrix landed on top him. they founfd each other face to face. 

“is she serious with this?” she asked regarding the hella subtle way the author decided to craft this situration*. situation. is was like, popetry in motion. plus hornses(???) 

“im afaid* so. i think the story is builting romantic tension between us.” 

“it IS?” it was not a question. but a statement of major concorn. *cern 

“yeah. it it establushing* the groundwork for romance beween our characaters. its sort of the one token heroterosexual** romance in the book. we probably jush have to ride it out” 


Read this passage and tell me, TELL ME, it isn’t an accurate retelling of how John and Roxy’s relationship plays in the Candy Epilogue. Their relationship is a perfect example of a “token heterosexual romance”, so it’s only natural that it’s deconstructed to hell and back once they get back together. John is disconcerted by how easily their relationship happens but goes along with it because he thinks that’s how love is supposed to feel; Roxy is overcompensating for her grief over ruined friendships and Dirk’s death, which further hurts their relationship.

beautrix dinit* dint kno whaf*T the felling of collor red wash…. but 

she cloun*cloud*COULD swear the fleling 

she could swar 

the felling 

*FEEEEling 

ws crepping 

ontoo. herrrrrf. 

face. 

(RAAARARRAAUUUAAAAUUAGHGHGGHGGGGHHGH DOINT WRITE WHILT DRONK U LUSHEY DUMBO)


Roxy’s writing becomes more and more drunk as Herbert and Beatrix are about to have their romantic climax, which is again much like how romantic relationships in Homestuck work. Though this page of the story is mostly an allegory for John and Roxy’s relationship, this last passage most closely matches Rose and Kanaya, Homestuck’s token lesbian romance. As I’ve said in a few recent posts, these two ships have a lot of parallels that come to full light in the Candy Epilogue.


Well this sure was fun. I’m glad I got to the Wizardy Herbert section now instead of earlier, because in recent months I’ve written some metafictional stories inspired by Detective Pony and the Homestuck Epilogues that I haven’t shared with the public because they’re incredibly stupid. I can confirm that metafiction is both incredibly fun to write and incredibly easy to get carried away with. I’ll also say that although I have inserted myself into my metafictional stories, it’s always a different character who has the most meta knowledge—not because it would be too self-indulgent for my self-insert to know all the meta stuff, but because I think it’s way funnier if another character does.


Your home suddenly loses power due to the storm. Which… makes no sense? All devices in your house are powered by the portable green hubs you stole from the lab. That’s weird. 

Your laptop continues to run on battery power regardless.

This is a crazy cool throwback. It’s sure to remind readers of Rose’s story in the early acts, where a storm was causing her house to lose power and impeding her progress on starting Sburb. I must say, it’s incredibly refreshing to have a throwback arc after a bunch of annoying romance drama.


Roxy answers UU and it doesn’t take long for the conversation to diverge from whatever it was originally going to be. She realizes she isn’t drunk and that she somehow knows Calliope’s name.

Calliope says nothing but ellipses as Roxy observes the Furthest Ring’s damage. Roxy is given lots of commands in this dialogue sequence, but her responses to those commands are generally in dialogue instead of narration. Roxy’s monologuing is a substitute for second-person narration, which is done several other times in mid-to-late Act 6 like when Dave examines his old bedroom and breaks into tears about his old ironic nonsense, or during John’s entire retcon mission. I wish the Act 6 Act 6 intermissions had some amount of commanding characters like this instead of just constant [A6A6Ix] ====>; it would have livened things up quite a bit. I’m glad full-out second-person narration was brought back at the start of the epilogues.

Callback to a panel where Rose holds a crystal ball.


When Roxy finds Twinkly Herbert, Calliope starts talking in Morse code through… Herbert’s soul or consciousness or something? I’m not going to bother trying to explain this odd bit, but I will say I like how every dream bubble scene in Homestuck brings something new to the table of bizarre dream logic.


Calliope through Twinkly Herbert explains to Roxy that they both need to keep a low profile because Lord English is wreaking havoc upon the Furthest Ring in search for his dead sister.


TG: (the fuck?) 
TG: (what happened to my house) 
TG: (some stuff is different) 
TG: (i dont remember this) 
TG: (callie do you know whats going on) 
UU: -. — [no.]
UU: -… ..- – / .-.. . – .—-. … / -.- . . .–. / –. — .. -. –. [bUt let’s keep going.]
TG: (and what am i even wearing) 
TG: (what are these clothes?) 
UU: .. – / .- .–. .–. . .- .-. … / – — / -… . / – …. . / — ..- – ..-. .. – / — ..-. / .- / ..-. .- … …. .. — -. .- -… .-.. . / … -.-. .. . -. -.-. . / .– — — .- -. ? [it appears to be the oUtfit of a fashionable science woman?]
TG: (oh yeah) 
TG: (like a sexy science lady suit) 
TG: (thats p cool i guess) 


Here’s where things start to get fun. Roxy is now exploring Rose’s old house, which is even darker than it was when Rose explored it in the early acts. She’s dressed as her pre-scratch self which adds to the nostalgia and makes it feel like we’re exploring Rose’s house from her mother’s perspective. This is a rare occasion when characters in dream bubbles get to play the roles of their alternate selves, which hasn’t been explored much elsewhere aside from a few scenes with Aradia. I’ve accepted by this point that dream bubbles work in whichever way is most convenient for the scene.

It’s obvious through any scene involving the Lalondes that Hussie himself hates wizards.


Next comes a funny moment where Roxy examines one of her pre-scratch self’s wizard paintings and cracks up.

TG: (heck yes) 
TG: (hes so perf) 
TG: (callie check him out) 
UU: ..- — [Um.]
TG: (that aint even a painting) 
TG: (ahaha its so shitty) 
TG: (did someone like) 
TG: (grab a random ass low res wallpaper off the internet) 
TG: (of a jolly wizard doing what appears 2 be the worlds dumbest spell) 
TG: (and saved at low quality then just like) 
TG: (printed it way too huge) 
TG: (lmao) 
UU: —… ..- [:U]
TG: (its not even scaled proportionately) 
TG: (its stretched extra wide to fit this expensive as fuck frame) 
TG: (is that shit like) 
TG: (literal solid gold) 
TG: (ahahahahah i cant even deal) 
TG: (whoever did this was a wonderful genius) 


I like the implication that Rose’s mother wasn’t just a lunatic who freely collected all things wizard-related, but perhaps had a sense of humor about it all and took delight in the absurdity of old-timey wizard paintings.


Even though she’s mostly seen here cracking jokes about these wizards, it’s clear that Roxy truly thinks wizards are cool and badass.

This is such a great spooky panel.


Roxy sneaks by the corridor and here’s a fun callback. She catches a glimpse of the Condesce, just like Rose caught a glimpse of her mother so long ago. Calliope clarifies that the Condesce is only there through subconscious memories, which tells readers that this scene is there just for spooky flair.


Roxy makes her way to the observatory… or is it? The observatory symbol from Rose’s house is replaced with the cherub spiral, which signifies that things are going to be a bit different.

Note the candy flowers below the door. Are there meat flowers on the other side?


And HERE’S where things get extra fun. The memories transition to Calliope’s art style, which is another thing that’s never been done before. Calliope’s dream bubble scenes in her art style are a lot of fun and there’s going to be a few more in later acts.

There are totally meat flowers on the other side. It makes thematic sense and I feel like a genius for figuring it out.


Roxy exits the door and starts walking down a white spiral which is fun. This scene has lots of great art, especially that last panel above.


Calliope’s ghost’s visual appearance is a surprisingly spooky image which I think is a callback to at least five other panels.


The moment Roxy turns around, Calliope changes into her trollsona outfit. I think I now understand the point of that whole arc with Calliope’s appearance insecurities and Roxy’s sugary encouragement: it’s a counterpoint to John/Roxy, the token heterosexual romance as we all know. You could argue John and Terezi’s relationship is also a counterpoint to the token heterosexual romance, but that’s different because it’s an objectively better ship.


I’m going to be honest here. The art is by FAR the coolest thing about this sequence so far. It’s way more stunning than it has any reason to be, because all that’s happened so far is Calliope expositing about stuff we mostly already knew about Lord English and Roxy’s role as a void player. I’ll go through this exposition anyway because I’m kind of obsessed with Caliborn.

UU: on the day he foUnd a way to kill my dream self, i was done for. thoUgh to be honest, i doUbt i’d have fared mUch better regardless. 
UU: i think his half was always meant to predominate. 
UU: my will was simply not strong enoUgh to overcome his. yoU know as well as i how stUbborn he is. i don’t think he has ever had even a smidgen of doUbt in his thoUghts, or remorse for his deeds. whereas i was always plagUed by sUch feelings. 


Calliope’s talk about Caliborn reminds me of his story as an artist. We saw in his conversation with Jane that his stubbornness works in his favor when it comes to art; he starts the story incapable of producing art that is even remotely coherent, but doesn’t let doubt or remorse get in the way of becoming the best artist he can possibly be. Caliborn’s tale as an artist is so inspirational I don’t even care that he wrought eternal havoc upon paradox space. 

UU: on some level i always knew he woUld win. bUt i fooled myself. i thoUght i coUld overcome his ego by looking beyond his negative qUalities, staying optimistic, and working together with him in a game to accomplish something extraordinary. 
UU: and that in doing so, perhaps i coUld begin to help him change. to teach him to evolve beyond his hatefUl natUre. and as he changed for the better, slowly but sUrely, he woUld become more like myself. 
UU: that was how i thoUght i coUld predominate. it was how i was going to win! and really, if he grew closer to me in that way, by learning kindness and compassion, we both woUld have won. my predomination woUld not have meant his absolUte death, but oUr trUe Union. 


What Calliope is saying here is that the reason her brother predominated is because she succumbed to the human emotion of “friendship”. This makes a lot of sense if you think about the timeline where Calliope predominated. The way god tier Calliope talks about her brother in the Meat Epilogue suggests she was just as good at catching his weak spots as god tier Caliborn was at catching his sister’s weak spots.

UU: bUt sadly, i Underestimated how consUmed he was with the need to destroy me. 
UU: now he is completely obsessed with finding my soUl and wiping me oUt for good, even if it means tearing apart the reality that sUrroUnds Us. 
UU: he will never feel he has won Until all traces of me are gone. 
TG: uuuugh 
TG: hearing all that just makes me so unreasonably mad 
TG: FUCK that shitlord 


Hearing all that makes me unreasonably sad. I think Caliborn’s brain became kind of broken when he ascended to his final form and now he’s nothing more than a demon who’s out destroying everything in search for his sister.

UU: i have reason to sUspect there may be another iteration of myself oUt here. 
UU: one from a doomed timeline, who has kept hidden for a long time, jUst like i have. 
UU: bUt Unlike me, she sUpposedly came from a reality where she predominated instead of my brother. 
UU: and not by the means which i described. hers was not a mild Union of reconciliation. 
UU: amazingly, her predomination was absolUte! a major feat of will, jUst as his was with me. 
UU: as sUch, she went on to play the game, and… 
UU: well, i cannot even imagine what followed, aside from the fact that she eventUally mUst have died for existing in an offshoot reality. 
UU: if she exists, i woUld be eager to meet her. it woUld be a chance to get to know a version of myself who was strong enoUgh to override the will of my brother. 
UU: someone i might have become if i had a little more coUrage. u_u 
UU: and if she is sUch a person, then i really believe all i have heard mUst be trUe. i believe she is the key to defeating him. 
UU: so i have no choice. 
UU: i mUst go in search of myself. 


Calliope clarifies a mystery about the lost cherub plan: the cherub who can be used to defeat Lord English is an alternate ghost of herself who predominated over Caliborn. I didn’t realize alt Calliope was introduced this early; I thought it wasn’t until A6A6I4 when she was first brought up. I assume Calliope knows about her alternate self simply through her usual method of theorizing, which is good here because it turns the boring lost cherub mission into an enticing mystery arc.

Oh hell yes. I’m LOVING this outer spacey art.


TG: you sound like a real popular lady out here 
TG: even you are looking for you! 


Roxy and Calliope’s interactions have occasional good moments like this—emphasis on “occasional”. I’m starting to think it was the author’s intent to make them deliberately too sugary, as a counterpoint to the token heterosexual romance I talked about earlier.

UU: indeed. 
TG: well i hope you can find her 
TG: but 
TG: if thats your job 
TG: to find bizarro calliope and go wollop ur bro 
TG: then what is our heroic biz? 
UU: it’s the same as it always was. 
UU: to win the game. 
TG: oh yeah 
TG: duh 
UU: it is as i once told jane. 
UU: with victory yoU may finally exit this vast whirling storm.
UU: by claiming yoUr reward yoU woUld bring closUre to a very wide coil of caUsality, one not tracing a continUoUs path like a snake, bUt intricately woven like a wreath. 
UU: a ring of coUntless little rises and falls, ascents and descents, on its way Up and down a pair of mUch bigger ones itself. 
UU: from alpha to beta, then beta to alpha, as if a moUntain to be scaled and then climbed back down. its peak toUches the eye of a storm which cannot end Until the moment yoU all walk throUgh that door. 
UU: only then will there be calm. 
TG: ._. 
UU: ah, bUgger. forgive me, sometimes i forget myself and begin speaking in riddles. 
UU: it’s jUst a habit that is in the natUre of my people. 
TG: yeah i know 
TG: at least yours r better than your bros stupid games 
UU: don’t remind me. in my opinion they do not qUalify as anything of the sort, mUch the same as his “shitty twists”. >:u


Speaking in poetry definitely runs in the cherub family. Calliope, Caliborn, and the other Calliope all have a fixation on poetically retelling the events of Act 7, which is the grand culmination of all their artistic ambitions.

UU: as the one who provoked the breach in paradox space which i jUst coloUrfUlly described, he has always exerted his inflUence on yoUr realities from afar, and from many different angles. throUgh Unwitting sUrrogates, oUtsoUrced manipUlation, oUtright enslavement, and even petty harassment. bUt most of all, he prevails throUgh the simple inertia of inevitability that has always been on his side, as a lord of time. 
UU: and as the one who is to blame for foolishly allowing him access to sUch power, it’s only proper that i take responsibility for finding a way to defeat him. 
UU: bUt even thoUgh his methods of inflUencing yoUr session are indirect, they are still formidable. 
UU: there will be a nUmber of powerfUl foes who stand between yoU and victory. 
UU: tomorrow, a terrific battle will take place. 
UU: when yoU wake Up, i sUggest yoU begin to prepare. 


Why is it so surprising to me that ending Homestuck with Collide and Act 7 seems to have been planned this early? The battle against all the villains directly or indirectly affiliated with Lord English is indeed what stands between the kids and victory, and once the retcon is executed it all sort of… happens without a hitch??? Homestuck proper’s ending is a farce beyond farces and now that the epilogues are out I can’t help but love that.

TG: ummmm ok 
TG: how 
TG: like make more sick gear 
TG: i could hustle up another batch of illwicked guns 
TG: just a big ol pile of guns 
TG: jake can have the wimpy smaller ones 
TG: make jane like a fancy new fork or spoon or such 
TG: like an elite endgame spoon 
TG: whatever that is 
TG: like uh 
TG: the chowderfucker 5000 
TG: janey be flippin her godspoon round bopping monsters doing like 
TG: CUCKOO damage 
TG: wont bother make nothin 4 dirk since hes basically married to his boring anime sword 
TG: like u could even pry that thing from his rad dead cadaver 


Roxy knows a surprising amount about the alpha kids’ natures, as any good leader would. She’s completely right that while the other kids all get fancier weapons as their game progresses, Dirk is eternally inseparable from the same old anime sword.

UU: yes, i’m sUre new eqUipment woUld come in handy. 
UU: now that yoU mention it, well before i died or even realized i woUld not live to play, i made special exception to my rUle of staying linear with conversation. i messaged jane a birthday gift. 
UU: yoU see, i had a brief vision from skaia which sUggested to me she coUld Use a boost in morale on this special day, so i offered her something very dear to me. jUst a little token to show appreciation for her friendship. 
UU: i hope it will cheer her Up, and moreover that it will prove at least somewhat UsefUl to yoUr party. 
UU: bUt really, at this stage if yoU wish to prevail against sUch stacked odds, collecting boons sUch as new weapons and treasUres will only go so far. 
UU: i think yoU will need to embrace a far more sUbstantive gambit. 


Imagine me making queasy disgruntled noises with my mouth. That’s how I feel about this passage right now. I am sort of freaking out imagining a huge mess of pink and green emerging from my computer screen, accompanied by cupcake Jane’s enormous smile and beige skin.

TG: like what 
TG: omg are we gonna have to enlist fefeta 
TG: is fefeta the secret weapon 
TG: its fefeta isnt it 
TG: poor, sweet, dear, precious fefeta 😦 


You’re so close, Roxy! YOU’RE SO CLOSE!!!!! I wonder if Hussie at this point had already planned to connect Nepeta and Lord English just like fans joked about so long ago. Maybe that was one of those things he figured out naturally as the comic progressed and that’s how Davepetasprite^2 came to be?

UU: it is not fefeta!!! 
UU: i am sUggesting a measUre that is mUch more extreme. 
UU: i believe yoU shoUld all strongly consider ascending to the god tiers. 
TG: oh 
TG: ok that sounds cool what do we do 
UU: well of coUrse it soUnds cool! bUt it’s not necessarily as easy as it soUnds, steeling oneself for death. believe me. 
UU: bUt if yoU can find the resolve, then here is what yoU mUst do. 
UU: since none of yoU have any dream selves left, it won’t do any good to sacrifice yoUrselves on the qUest beds foUnd on yoUr respective planets. 
UU: and even if yoU did, there is not even a battlefield from which to rise anew. no, yoUr void session had only one path to ascension all along. 
UU: yoU mUst travel to the centre of the moons of prospit and derse, and there in the crypt yoU will find yoUr sacrificial slabs. yoU mUst lie on them, and then… 
UU: then yoU all mUst die. one way or another. u_u 


This bit is pretty cool because it finally gives an official name to the alternative to quest beds that allowed Aradia, Rose, and Dave to reach god tier. I feel that a proper exposition on sacrificial slabs was long overdue; Aradia’s ascension to god tier is especially confusing to first-time readers. Calliope is the perfect character to talk about this topic, and now is a good time for her to do so.


Calliope goes on to foreshadow and hint at more plot stuff I don’t have much to say about. She talks more about Lord English and the Condesce and implies through mention of multiple villains that there’s another unmentioned villain under English’s command; readers are likely to think of the alpha kids’ Jack Noir, who we saw some suspicious images of not long ago.


After a few more moments where Roxy and Calliope talk about how much they trust each other, Calliope suddenly freaks out about something.


UU: WHAT IS *SHE* DOING HERE??? 

After Calliope fed readers a whole bunch of juicy meat, it’s time for Rose’s appearance to dangle some delicious candy just too far away from readers to reach.


ROSE: Mom? ROXY: mom? 

This moment, holy shit. It’s so sweet and must be surreal for both Lalondes.

Just look at Rose and Roxy’s smiles. Cuteness that transcends words.


CALLIOPE: NO NO NO NO NO! THIS WON’T DO AT ALL! 
CALLIOPE: A LIGHT PLAYER? A LIGHT PLAYER??? 
CALLIOPE: HAVE YOU GONE MENTAL? WHY DON’T WE JUST BURN A BLOODY BONFIRE IN HERE! 
CALLIOPE: HE’LL SPOT US ANY MINUTE! ASSUMING HE ISN’T ALREADY ON HIS WAY TO BLOW US ALL TO KINGDOM COME!!! 


But not so much for Calliope, who FREAKS THE FUCK OUT at the sight of a light player. If you take a moment to think about who else is a light player, you’ll probably either fear the worst for Vriska and company who are also looking for Lord English, or look at Calliope funny for being so concerned with players’ classpects.


Poor Roxy and Rose. This is the second time a reunion between them is cut short, and it won’t be the last (or the saddest).

Alternian text: YOURE WELCOME


Roxy wakes up in her jail cell and notices a folder from the Condesce. It’s one of many times in this act where the witch is portrayed in a more humorous light. Just look at the fuchsia lip markings, GIFs of her deceased clown presidents dancing, flashing boondollars, and decoration with sea creatures.

Roxy is the best at “done with your shit” faces.

The folder has instructions for Roxy to do something “stupid and impossible”, so she throws it aside. As she talked about with Calliope in a part I skipped over in this post, she doesn’t want to use her void powers when it’s to serve a genocidal alien queen. This little stretch of pages establishes that Roxy despises the Condesce the most of the alpha kids, which suggests that at this point Hussie had already planned for her to be the one to kill the empress.


Roxy then gets some gifts from the Droll: Dad Crocker’s PDA and a magic ring. She’s confused by all these, and readers probably will be as well.


The Droll is dressed like his Midnight Crew counterpart too, except he’s more free to demonstrate his love for ridiculous hats. I can only imagine him begging his superiors to let him wear a ridiculous hat; after some negotiating, the Dignitary probably let this one slide.

Yet another perfect crime successfully perpetrated. And by crime, you guess you mean order from a superior. In your experience, the best crimes are the ones which are totally legal. 

You are so satisfied with your accomplishment, you cannot contain your exuberance for another second. You have no choice. You absolutely must do the happy umbrella dance, professional protocol be damned. 

Oh shoot. It seems you have misplaced your BULL PENIS UMBRELLA. There will be no dancing today. Now you’re sad.

The callback to Clubs Deuce’s bull penis cane is much funnier if you know the story behind it. As Homestuck Book 2’s commentary states, Deuce in the Midnight Crew intermission used a cane for one purpose or another, then Hussie realized that the picture he found was a bull penis cane, so he made a panel where Clubs Deuce realizes the same and freaks out. It’s clear that Hussie found that incident just as funny a few years later and took the opportunity to call back to it in a line that makes spectacularly little sense out of context.

I’m stopping here, right before Roxy pesters Dirk. This post was a lot of fun to write! See you next time as Dirk, Dirk, and Dirk have an existential confrontation that ends up bringing one of the funniest characters in Homestuck into existence.

>> Part 95: The Bodybuilder’s Triumphant Return

[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.


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 71: Rainbow Freefalls of Frivolous Banter

Introduction

Part 70 | Part 71 | Part 72 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 6 of 6

Pages 4595-4666 (MSPA: 6495-6566)

Jack returns to kill Jane again but is interrupted by a message from DD:

Hang on. It’s this guy. Gotta answer this. He better be bearing news of murdered youngsters. 

He says the deceased child count is still sitting at zero over here. You say WHAT? He says that’s not all. You wait for him to spill the beans. 

He says one of the brats staged a little rebellion on the moon. Stuck the Brute’s head on a pike for all to see. Real black eye for the kingdom and the Condesce. Press is going nuts with it. Wait. The Brute’s dead, you say? He says yes. Dammit. He was one of your best agents. You never really cared for the guy but you admired his brutality. We all did sir, he says. 

It seems like the alpha kids are actually doing a good job going against the Derse agents, inadvertently or otherwise, since the agents’ plans are all ruined now. What’s especially crazy about this is that Jack Noir of all people is hopelessly struggling to accomplish anything.

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

Introduction

Part 69 | Part 70 | Part 71 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 5 of 6

Pages 4569-4594 (MSPA: 6469-6494)

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

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

(click to zoom in)

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

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

Anyway let’s get on with the long pesterlog.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 53: Scratch Doctor Narration Adventures

Introduction

Part 52 | Part 53 | Part 54 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 26 of 32

Doc Scratch Intermission, Part 1 of 6

Pages 3763-3832 (MSPA: 5663-5732)

NOTE: For once I managed to release a post ahead of schedule! God damn am I proud. I will leave for vacation June 9, so you should expect about three more posts before then.

Where we left off, Homestuck Disc 2 was taken to Doc Scratch for repair. Now, Doc Scratch takes over the narration for the second time, and helpfully changes the color scheme of the website so that his white text is easier to read. I think the color scheme change does a really nice job at changing the atmosphere of the site to a very different mood for Scratch’s section of the act.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 52: Metafictional Disc Glitch Madness

Introduction

Part 51 | Part 52 | Part 53 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 25 of 32

Pages 3717-3762 (MSPA: 5617-5662)

NOTE: This post took longer than I hoped because it goes through a lot of flash pages and those always take longer to cover than usual. For some reason it didn’t occur to me until yesterday that I could take screenshots from flashes far more easily by taking them from these fan-made storyboards. See the image above for how I feel about that.

Terezi is starting to surpass Karkat as my favorite troll.

Proceeding from where we left off, we have what appears to be yet another walkaround game, except it doesn’t work because the disc is missing. A weird big “Objection!” referencing Ace Attorney appears out of nowhere, our first hint that something isn’t right with the disc missing.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 30: Coolkid Phenomination Station

Introduction

Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31 >


Act 5 Act 2, Part 3 of 32


Pages 2733-2783 (MSPA: 4633-4683)


The pages I’m covering today don’t actually start with this picture, but I’ve decided to start doing what I’ll call “title pictures” for these posts. So here’s a picture of Dave in some building in a baseball shirt or something. I’ve seen drawings of the beta kids where Dave is inexplicably wearing this outfit while the rest are in their starting clothes.


Last time Rose did a bunch of stuff and so did Kanaya. Now it’s time for Dave to do a bunch of stuff. OK, not quite. First John and Vriska have to do stuff. Man, why do characters do stuff so much?


Where were we? John just emptied his sylladex.



AG: This is the most ridiculous pile of useless crap I have ever seen.
AG: Why did you pick up all this junk???????? Rocks, mushrooms, shoes…….. 

AG: Jegus, John.
EB: jegus?
AG: Yes. Jegus!
EB: how do you know about jegus? do you even know what that is?
AG: I have no idea! It’s something Terezi has 8een saying non stop for some reason.
AG: It is weirdly infectious.
AG: What is it, some sort of human profanity?
EB: no. well, yeah kind of.
EB: it is a misspelling of an adult male bearded human, who was magic. 

I remember reading this bit in my first read-through. Now think of the fact that I’m taking note of this. That’s how much I skimmed stuff in my first read-through. John’s last line is of particular note because it sounds like something a troll would say.

Also, this right here is proof against the misconception that Jegus is a troll word. For some reason it’s really popular among fans to make all the trolls Jegus-spewing machines. Dave is technically the one who came up with the term through a misspelling in a conversation with Terezi and the other trolls started using it as well. Let it sink in. Dave coined the word so many fans think is a troll catchphrase.

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