Sep 21, 2013

Homestuck: 9/13/13 – 9/19/13

By Ian Cory

It’s been a long time coming, but with this week’s updates Homestuck is making it happen. Since its beginning most of the relationships in Homestuck have been defined by distance, both physical and emotional. The Beta kids were separated from each other, and then from the trolls, who were in turn isolated even when trapped in the same room together. Act 6 has shown that the Alpha kids are just as fractured, conveniently skipping over their brief period of camaraderie to its inevitable drug-fueled* implosion. When those gaps are closed, the results have been violent, chaotic, or underscored with loss. And by the looks of it, this week’s rapidly escalating battle royal is taking this pattern to heart by crashing nearly every living character towards each other at top speeds.

The question underlying all of this bedlam is whether or not its spiraling out of control or if the madness that’s unfolding is all part of the plan. The catalyst for this informal get together is, after all, Jake’s sudden ascension into a fully developed page of hope, sparked deliberately by Arenea. While it isn’t clear how Arenea plans on sabotaging the Alpha session, it’s not hard to imagine that this free-for-all fits nicely into her schemes. By taking out Jade, she’s not only removed her biggest threat but she’s also given her other competitors a reason to act irrationally, and they’ve done just that, reverting to their most basic instincts and traits. Dave, unable to handle death as usual, finds himself frozen and can only give snappy commentary while Terezi goes all Shinobi meets J Lo in Enough on Gamzee. As immensely satisfying as this is to watch, Terezi’s vindictive rage is so single-minded that she’s likely to find herself trapped in spider-web yet again.

And as for Ms. Spider-Troll, holy shit is she infuriating. Like her descendent, Arenea is sickeningly sure of herself and believes no matter what happens as a result of her actions that she’s in the right. But while Vriska views herself as a Nietzschean uber-troll in a world of cowards, Arenea believes that bending the session to her will is a purely utilitarian pursuit, which makes her really condescending to pretty much everyone. Her ego even pushes her to twist her failed seduction of Jake into another example of how much everyone loves her. Although her arrogance might be warranted given how much she’s already accomplished, it’s also her biggest weakness. Dirk’s surprise attack wasn’t successful but it proved that Arenea isn’t as smart or as well prepared as she thinks she is, and this will only prove truer as larger forces begin to notice her intrusion into the Alpha session.

No force in Homestuck is larger and more ominous than the mysterious dream world that Calliope has built for herself. This bizarre landscape, now populated by a cheerful and decidedly not evil Jade, is filled to the brim with unnerving symbolic imagery. It’s presence in this week’s updates didn’t do much to advance the story, although an impending conversation between Jade and Calliope will certainly be interesting, but it did serve as a reminder that no matter how chaotic things can get, there is a much great structure in motion.

*We’re all on the same page that the Trickster Arc was a pretty obvious metaphor for drug abuse and the dangers of trying to escape your problems by getting utterly plastered right? Okay cool, just making sure.

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