Webster’s Dictionary defines an intermission as “an interval between the parts of an entertainment (as the acts of a play).” In Homestuck, an intermission is another act that doesn’t feature the main kids. Even though there have been short animations between Acts 1 & 2, and 2 & 3, this is the first actual intermission.
Act 3a: Meet the Midnight Crew
The Midnight Crew is first introduced not in this intermission, but way back in Act 1. It was the web comic that John was reading on MSPA (mspaintadventures). Dave also checks out the comic in Act 2, and Jade watches an opening animation in Act 3. These are short moments that just seem meta, but with the intermission, it becomes obvious these guys are more than just a parody comic for the MSPA website.
The Midnight Crew are a gang of mobsters. There are four members in the gang; Clubs Deuce, Diamond Droog, Hearts Boxcars and Spades Slick. The Intermission begins with Spades Slick after he has just broken down the door to the mansion of Lord English, the boss of a rival gang known as the Felt who knocked over one of the Midnight Crew’s casinos. Now the Midnight Crew is looking for payback, and to break into Lord English’s vault. They’ve got their work cut out for them though, since the Felts have almost 4 times as many members as the Midnight Crew.
Each member of the Felts has a name that is related to their number in the gang. Number 1 is itchy (Japanese for 1 is Ichi), Number 10 is Sawbuck, Number 4 is Clover, and so on. Each member of the Felt also has an ability related to time. Itchy can move really fast, while Dose can slow time down so he is almost at a stand still. And Die (Number 6) can create alternate timelines. If you thought your head hurt before from the time jumping in the main story, the Intermission will give you a migraine. It’s a lot harder to keep track of all the time jumping, though the characters’ internal monologues do help some.
The Midnight Crew doesn’t use the computer related inventory of the main story. Instead they have a deck of cards that turn into their inventory and have names like the Battledrobe and Brawlsoleum. They do love their hats, as all four carry backup that also have two pieces of candy in them. They do love their weapons too, as each inventory is filled with them. Although Spades Slick loves his sharp objects, he shows he can use anything, including crowbars. Clubs Deuce likes to carry C-4, an explosive, often on his head. Hearts Boxcars is the muscle, and he likes to use his fists. Diamond Droog, in typical gangster style, likes to use his guns to fill rivals and clocks full of lead. The intermission is very bloody, as one might expect from a gangster type story, where the characters are determined to rub each other out, but it’s not all that graphic. It comes off more like the ketchup used for blood in bad horror movies than anything gory.
The Crew move through the mansion taking on the Felts one by one, sometime even more than once. They manage to defeat all their foes except one: Snowman, the only female in the gang. She and Spades may have had a thing at one point, since he seems to let his guard down around her, to the point of letting her stab him in the eye. When they reach the vault though, things don’t go exactly as planned, leaving Spades the sole survivor in the far future, as far as we know.
It took me awhile to get into the Intermission. In general I don’t care for noir stories or gangsters, and the time elements were hard to follow at first. But the Midnight Crew, and Spades Slick especially, won me over. I liked Spades’ determination to destroy all the clocks in the mansion, which included a counter whenever he did. The battle with the biggest Felt, Cans, is also pretty funny, as the Crew gets knocked around into next Tuesday, literally, and even out of the calendar entirely! I also liked how Spades also checks out MSPA, and reads some of Homestuck, watching the flash from the end of Act 3. The meta goes both ways.
You might think at first that the Intermission is just a waste of time, but if you look closely, you will see some relations between some of the characters in Act 3 and the Midnight Crew. There is also a strangely familiar character in the Midnight Crew’s far past that Spades and a couple of Felts visit during one fight. But it’s the last page of the Intermission that really seals it as actually being part of the main story, and not just some side trip. It actually threw me for a loop when I saw it. While the gore factor goes up by a factor of 10, the Intermission is still entertaining and a must to keep up with the story.