After last week's zoomed in approach on a single character in what was essentially one scene, this week has Andrew Hussie zooming back out to visit a much wider variety of characters. As such, it's harder to pin down a single theme or tone that holds these updates together. These scatter shot weeks are inevitable in a work with as many moving parts and dangling threads as Homestuck. They also fly in the face of my hypothesis that Hussie actually plans his arcs in weeklong blocks. In a way, weeks like this one serve a similar function to a season finale of Game Of Thrones, repositioning chess pieces after a major event to push the story into it's next phase.
What makes this week difficult to dissect isn't the wide range of characters (all of the Beta kids and the majority of the living trolls) but the way that the tone and mood of the updates shifts wildly from section to section. We start with Kanaya, who barely got any lines in her last appearance. Though she gets more screen time this go around, it's really only to serve as a punch line in a recycled joke. While I like her character a lot, * Kanaya might be the most tricky member of the main cast to write. Because her dialogue is uniformly dry and matter-of-fact, she either works best as the voice of reason to a more unhinged character (see the majority of Act 5 Act 1) or in unambiguously dramatic situations (the bloodbath of Act 5 Act 2). But when paired with an equally terse and unexpressive character as ObeyJane the potential for both humor and plot progression gets pretty thin.
Kanaya's best moment this week comes from her brief interaction with Rose, a quick conversation that balances the humor of Kanaya's situation with the deep introspection of Rose's. This conversation serves as a cap on what is essentially Rose's equivalent of Dave's selfie-inspired breakdown early in the act. As she wanders through the luminous LOLAR, beautifully and surreally illustrated as always, Rose grapples with her past responsibilities and the distinct possibility that they no longer apply. Like Dave's former interest in artifacts from the past, and his subsequent time powers, Rose's musical skills and her denizen quest were something constructed out of her personality as a 13 year old. Hussie is putting forth an interesting question here, what happens to destiny when you grow up? In my view, much of Homestuck's power comes from taking traditional tropes of coming of age stories and the mythological elements of classic RPG's and ramming them into each other ludicrously high speeds. As we get closer to the conclusion, we'll start to see which elements of those genres come stumbling out of the wreckage.
In another parallel to a Game Of Thronesseason finale, this week ended with an appropriately insane and game altering breach in the status quo. John's strange flickering powers have been a source of confusion and tension for much of this subact, but this week has finally shown us exactly how powerful they can be. By overwriting last week's events, not only did John alter the course of history, he also prevented Dave from rediscovering his heroic potential naturally. In the ensuing conversation its made clear that this ability to revise the past will only make things worse, bringing to mind the way Neon Genesis Evangelion 3.0 made a similar use of internal retcons to discuss power of accepting your own mistakes. And again like Evangelionthis week ends with an absolute mindfuck, with a second time jumping John appearing to prevent the retcon from occurring. This suggests that John will, at some point in time/space, learn how to control his powers. This opens a preposterous amount of doors for the story to go in, with the very fabric of the comic at stake.
*To be fair, the only Homestuckcharacter that I dislike is AR. I've always felt that the joke of his existence runs way too long, and despite his constant interjections into the plot during the front half of Act 6, I've never got the sense that his character was really necessary. His fusion with Equius hasn't stopped him from talking way too much, but at least now his joke of an existence has a bit more depth to it.
**Unrelated to anything else, but "CLOWN HUNTING" FUCK YES