Coming in late to a series can have its advantages. My kids were telling me that when Cascade, the final flash that closes out Act 5, came out, they couldn’t watch it immediately. So many people wanted to watch it, and it was so big—it’s 12 minutes long—that the site kept crashing. Hussie eventually had to come up with a way for people to download it and watch it on their own computers. I remember my kids both huddled around my oldest daughter’s desktop watching something. When I asked what they were doing, they just answered “Homestuck.” Now I understand why they were together and why they were there for so long.
Act 5 Act 2a: Wrapping it Up
We return to our story two characters down, and with one very freaked out Karkat. Can’t really blame him. His team is turning on each other, and his mellow best friend may be turning into a homicidal maniac. Yeah, it may not be his best day ever. After Gamzee reduces the cast, we come to what is possibly one of the best scenes ever in the comic, and all I have to say is Kanaya. Is. AWESOME! Her return both floored me and had me laughing out loud! The trolls may have their problems, but as long as people like Kanaya and Karkat are around, they’re going to survive.
This second half of the act delves into more of the trolls’ past and their ancestors that many of them emulated. Vriska and Terezi especially wanted to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps. This led in part to Vriska’s fall. I will admit, Hussie did what I thought was impossible and made Vriska a sympathetic character. I still don’t like her, but I can see now why some might. I was even rooting for Vriska and John when they went on their first date. Karkat got a lot of development, both about his ancestor and how he handled the troll’s game session. He confesses to Jade how he thinks he’s responsible for the problems both the trolls and the humans have had to face. It was wonderfully heartfelt, something you wouldn’t expect from the troll with anger issues. It’s one of the reasons he remains my favorite troll.
The humans had a lot to do. John and Rose had some heart breaking moments losing their guardians—and nearly Rose as well—to Jack Noir’s blade. Jade and Dave had to go frog breeding, which is part of the game. They must find a specific frog that will be the seed for the next universe that is created. John had to do his windy thing to find the “tumor” for Rose and Dave, and then he had to be the one to “scratch” the session and possibly give them all a second chance in a new session.
The web part of the Homestuck being a web comic was used to its fullest in this part of the story. The game disk gets scratched by Terezi and has to be repaired by “Doc Scratch,” an omniscient character from the trolls’ universe who helps both trolls and humans but has an ulterior motive. While we read Doc Scratch’s scrap book, which branches off into several different characters’ story lines, the header of the website is used to tell Jade and Dave’s frog breeding story. It also allows Hussie to jump into the story and help Aradia’s ancestor, as well as introduce again the big bad Lord English. The use of the header and mouse overs was clever and very well done. You could follow Doc Scratch’s slower story along with the more action packed header stories.
Everything comes to a head in Cascade, the flash I mentioned in the introduction. Much like the last half of Act 5, the flash jumps around between the trolls, the humans, and Jack Noir. What makes this even more confusing is that there are two Jack Noirs, both with different agendas. Jack Noir’s relationship to Jade becomes key as his loyalty overrides his hatred and her reaching God Tier as the Witch of Space becomes the means for everyone’s escape. Rose and Dave reach their own God Tiers as the Seer of Light and Knight of Time as their own plans have the opposite effect from what they intended. Doc Scratch’s plans come to fruition as well, but Jade is able to pull everyone together, and they make their escape just as Jack Noir comes face to face with the Peregrine Medicant who has had a transformation of her own.
The first time I watched this, I think I got only half of what was going on, if that. My kids were waiting for me to watch it, because as soon as I told them I had finally seen it they started asking what I thought. Of course it also gave me the opportunity to ask them about it and they were able to explain some things, like the two Jacks. I watched it again after this, and the flash made more sense. I understood what was happening better and could make the connections I missed completely the first time around.
While I have enjoyed reading Homestuck, I’m finding sharing it with my kids has been the most fun part. They have been able to guide me through and explain things that wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. They’ve enjoyed sharing it as well, which has made it doubly great. They love helping me understand things and dangling hints in front of me of what is still to come. And there is still a lot yet to come as I move into Act 6, with a lot of questions still left unanswered, and a whole new cast of characters to meet. I’ve already been so far, and yet I feel like there is still so far to go.