the acts have some really cool names
Can I… can I just gush about the names of these Acts? Okay here we go.
Act 1 is The Note Desolation Plays. The wiktionary definition for Desolation is “The act of desolating or laying waste; destruction of inhabitants; depopulation.” Already we’re told what might happen into the story ahead of time. If desolation could play songs, its first note (indeed) would not be rage or confusion; it would be grieving and acceptance of death.
Act 2 is Raise of the Conductor’s Baton. The conductor is of (course) the man that leads an orchestra and, if the song happens to be a concerto, leads them in such a way to be in sync with the solo instrument. More characters begin to be introduced here and some strings begin to be pulled. Around here is where SBURB begins to look a little less innocent but still fine. In a sense, if Act 1 was just a warm-up, Act 2 is where the song actually begins; thus, the Conductor raises his Baton…
Act 3 is Insane Corkscrew Haymakers. We leave the metaphor of music and enter the metaphor of physical violence. We already know what a corkscrew is; it’s the thing that takes out the cork in a bottle of wine, but it ALSO is slang for a sharp, close, twisting punch (and it REALLY FUCKING HURTS). Haymaker is interesting due to its three distinct definitions:
- (agriculture) A person or machine which harvests or prepares tall grass for use as animal fodder. (Considering that this is the act that introduces Jade, it would make sense that the act would use a word related to agriculture.)
- (informal, fisticuffs) A particularly powerful punch, especially one which knocks down an opponent. (Far, far into Act 6, we get introduced to Jake, who is ALL about the Fisticuffs; this act name would be PERFECT if it was used to introduce HIM and not JADE, who’s more of a rifle bunny. Metaphorically, this is where shit begins to head towards the fan, and at a really fast pace; Act 4 is where it officially hits the fan.)
- (figuratively, by extension) Any decisive blow, shock, or forceful action. (I would probably need to re-read Act 3, but again, LOTS of things happen in Act 3 that seem to be this.)
Overall, you can say Act 3 is where Homestuck really begins to throw its punches, if you accept the meaning of Act 3’s title being “holy crap why is this man throwing a flurry of punches is he like kenshiro or something”. Whether they connect is a different story. Back to the metaphor of music, Act 3 would be the second act of this grand piece, and the Conductor’s still only getting warmed up.
Ah, the Intermission. “Don’t Bleed on the Suits” really has nothing deep or meaningful behind it; it’s just a threat given to you by any of the MC members, but perhaps more forcefully from Droog and coupled with stabbings from Slick. I don’t need to go over this one much.
Act 4, ohboyherewego.jpg. Flight of the Paradox Clones. Here we come right back to the theme of music, as many, MANY things in media start with “Flight of the…” Flight of the Phoenix is a movie nobody really remembers, Flight of the Bumblebee is the one song you’d attribute to the annoying fly more than the actual bee, and so on and son on. If Act 3 is where Homestuck begins throwing those punches, Act 4 is where those punches start connecting and there’s nothing you can do to stop or block them. The first anniversary of Homestuck ends with Jack obtaining the Black Queen’s ring while the end of one “arc” begins with another through the door that is [S] Descend. Descend is, and everyone can agree here, where shit has not only hit the fan, but it has spread all over the room to boot. THIS Act is where SBURB begins to reveal is far more sinister nature and where everything starts to get bleak.
And then… Act 5. Oh lord have mercy, Act 5. So big it had to be split neatly(…?) in two.
Act 5-1 is MOB1US DOUBL3 R34CH4ROUND, AKA Hivebent (AKA Homestuck, Take Two). Many people have said this is a bad Act, but many people have said the same thing of the Intermission so, you know, fuck that noise. To understand what exactly gets revealed in this Act, we have to dissect the name once again. Mobius refers to a Mobius strip, which is a band that has a “twist” to it. This part of the Wiki page describes it best: “If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed the entire length of the strip (on both sides of the original paper) without ever crossing an edge.” Trippy, isn’t it? A reacharound, on the other hand, is either a less-dirty way of telling your lover “hey touch my soft spot while you’re doing my flap/butthole” and, in the wonders of Metaphor Land, “An ostensibly thoughtful gesture, especially one performed to win favour or mitigate unfair treatment.” Now if you’re wondering “wait why does that so familiar,” Vriska pulled just that to try and win back Aradia from hating her, and using EQUIUS’ gift on top of that. 8luh 8luh huge 8itch. In the context of this ENTIRE (half of the) Act, it refers to the merging of the Red and Blue teams when they play SGRUB as well as they way the Gates on their planets “loop,” and to how sinister the game truly begins to be.
This is where we get to Act 5-2, He Is Already Here. It’s a series of Arc Words that haunt both the Kids and the Trolls wherever they go, much like Bad Wolf did for the Ninth Doctor. Unlike other recurring words or phrases, He Is Already Here is a set of words exclusive to Act 5-2 and Act 6 and they tie to Homestuck’s true central villain Lord English, the unstoppable, unkillable “glitch” of S***B. Act 3 is where shit is heading towards the fan; Act 4 is where shit hits the fan; so, naturally, Act 5-2 is where tiny pieces of shit from the first turd hit other fans, spreading the shit further and further until the whole room is evenly coated. Unique to the other Acts, 5-2’s name follows no theme based on media other than ominous Arc Words.
Finally, Act 6 (and its many tiny intermissions and mini-acts). Through Broken Glass refers to the sequel of the famous Alice in Wonderland book named Through the Looking Glass (and What Alice Found There, but often shortened to the first four words). It refers to Alice entering yet another world of madness, this time based less on card games and more on chess; fitting considering Homestuck’s MASSIVE and repeated use of chess and traditional game motifs (but especially chess). The world Alice enters through the Looking Glass is, at first, like her own world; it’s only by exploring that she discovers that there are many, many things wrong with it. Through Broken Glass emphasizes this without spoiling anything at all about the Act itself. Reading into it, we return to Earth, albeit at a different time, with different kids, and under different… circumstances. And, much like in the book, as we learn more about Post-Scratch Earth, we learn how utterly horrifying and wrong it is to live there, especially in a future ruled by a psychopathic alien fish queen from a matriarchal Spartan-Amazon planet. We may have felt sorry for the O-Kids for their current disposition, and we may have felt sorry for the Trolls due to living in a shitstain of a society, but the R-Kids? Bless their souls, they’ve had it hard and it will only get harder for them.
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