Later I might open the tumblr question box dealie for like ten minutes, let about a thousand silly questions flood in, then shut it off and answer a few. But for now I might as well address a few points of curiosity preemptively on the latest animation, and LE in general.
Everything here’s based on some general line of inquiry I’ve seen posted elsewhere more than once.
Where is this happening? Where is Scratch’s wrecked apartment floating? It’s free-floating debris from the two universes destroyed, which now comprise the green sun. That floating hunk of building is suspended, and temporarily preserved in, let’s call it a small pocket of green-hot spacetime soup inside the sun. Chronologically, this little pocket of space is very near the final dying moment of the troll universe, where LE makes his entrance. He then goes back in time to fuck shit up throughout the history of that universe, as has been described many times. That is why he was always “already there.” It is also because, as it turns out, he was lurking dormant in Scratch’s puppet-host body the whole time. Doc always did claim to be excellent host.
Is Scratch literally Lord English? Or has LE completely replaced him? How much of Scratch’s cognizance/personality/being is still in LE? Well, here’s what the story told us. Scratch said he had to die for LE to be brought into this universe. Now we have seen why explicitly. Scratch doesn’t lie, when it comes to simple statements of fact. He only excludes details and clarification. So, he is now dead. LE has officially replaced him, albeit traveled back in time to coexist with him, presumably continuing to utilize him as an employee, in all the ways we know about, and maybe others we don’t. They’re separate entities. Though because they share the same body more or less, and essentially the same origin, they share properties. Both have the powers of a first guardian (though Scratch said outright LE was more powerful than him). Both have “Cal genes,” whatever the hell that means. In LE’s case, the resemblance is obvious. They share an interest in the ladies (Scratch takes a shining to younger ones while LE ropes more mature females into service. Reasoning? Scratch is a young LE!) They appear to have opposite demeanors though. Scratch is calm, calculating, manipulative. English is brutal, angry, and out to wreak havoc on a universe without any particular desire for subtlety. Their appearances reflect the differences. Is LE omniscient like Scratch? There’s evidence that he’s a strong tactician and adept with time travel, but its unclear whether he maintains the omniscience post-transformation. Consider that Scratch’s omniscience was closely tied to the other half of his genetic makeup, a magic cueball which had all the answers to everything concealed within. When LE transformed, he kept all the Cal properties (magnified them actually), but dropped the cueball aspect. In fact, his cueball head exploded outright. This was “the break” Scratch referred to once or twice. A literal description of LE’s emergence, as well as reference to the pool term, where the cueball scatters all the other balls, and the game begins.
T1CK T0CK BR8K H34DS honk HONK. This is not a question, but some notes anyway. This string of genetic code letters is probably the most clear and present foreshadowing of LE’s transformation. It is practically a brief sentence describing the process, in order, culminating in LE’s vast honk. I think this one clue got some people speculating, correctly, that LE would emerge in some way from Scratch, involving his head breaking open. Probably a minority theory, but it was out there, because the clues were there. Revelations in a story are shocking in proportion to how little groundwork was laid for that development, and how obscured the clues were, if they even existed at all. It would have been more startling if LE turned out to be some ridiculous preexisting character, like Maplehoof or Charles Dutton or whatever, but the shock value would come with no credible basis in the narrative. So big reveals like this always come with sort of a balancing act of establishing clues to make the event credible and premeditated, while obscuring/misdirecting so as not to totally blow it. No matter how well you disguise it, if the clues are there, some will guess it. Personally, I feel like the shock value is not so much stored in the fact that Scratch = LE, but in the sudden, disturbing nature and presentation of the transformation itself. And hey, if the Scratch = LE tidbit happened to catch you way off guard, I’ll consider it a bonus.
Why’s LE honking like Gamzee??? If you’re prepared to be very literal, you might believe LE’s honking is a symptom of Gamzee’s influence in some way, due to time shenanigans or what have you. Examined logically, it’s the other way around. On LE’s arrival, he releases the vast honk Gamzee’s religion foretold. LE has always been around influencing troll culture from the start, and it seems he was always the embodiment of the mirthful messiahs the highbloods worshiped, since he was really two beings, Doc Scratch and LE, both “mirthful” puppet-based entities, in their own ways. Gamzee’s honking, the humorous brutality of the subjugglators and their dark spiritual beliefs, all could be traced to LE. The vast honk clip was actually a heavily modified sound clip of a bike horn, like one of Gamzee’s, slowed way down. First a small honk from the squeeze, then a big one from the unsqueeze. Sounds a lot like the noise the tripods made in War of the Worlds, which has me convinced those were made from slowed down bike horns too.
What’s with the sarcophagus? That is actually the alternate form of the Cairo Overcoat, which doubles as his notorious oversized garment, and his chariot in which he travels through time, not terribly unlike Dr. Who’s TARDIS. The name and functionality was spawned completely from the Chicago Overcoat, which was the name of Mobster Kingpin’s flying pirate ship/office. Chicago Overcoat is also mobster slang for a coffin, therefore a Cairo Overcoat must refer to a Sarcophagus. (Which also happens to have a Terminator skull over the Pharaoh’s face.) LE’s ties to Egyptian lore in part trace back to a reference, through his attire obviously, to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a significant part of which takes place in Egypt. Also, more vaguely, the coat struck me as something that might be worn by one or more iterations of Dr. Who. And lest we forget the most obvious quality of its appearance, something that could easily adorn a pimp. As with many things in HS, there’s quite a slurry of references coming together to form something basically ridiculous, and yet dead fucking serious. LE is many things. A time traveling crime lord pimp. An omnipotent, indestructible puppet-based demon. A monster born out of an ancient, short, smug, cueball-headed gunslinger, the blight of two universes by his birth alone. An Egyptian pharaoh Incredible Hulk in shredded pants and suspenders with a green Jigsaw puppet-like skull for head, a gold fang, and flashing pool balls for eyes. And with his gold cuestick pegleg and long coat, appears to also be somewhat reminiscent of a pirate, and may or may not bear some tenuous connection to Skipper Plumbthroat, nemesis of all Squiddles, who have been clearly shown to be friendly cartoon-standins for the dark gods.
So LE is the Hulk in suspenders with a Cal skull for a head……… really???? Yes, really. I think his appearance is not what most were expecting, nor what some desired, but this is a consequence of hype factor alone. It’s inevitable, keeping a mystery such as this dangling out there for almost two years. People start to get attached to what they envision. There is no creative advantage at all to hype. When hype is significant, you can only hope to meet it at best, or more likely fall short. I felt pretty fortunate that by and large the hype surrounding EOA5 was met for most people. I’m doubtful it was surpassed for many, by much, considering the two month pause caused people to guess SOMETHING big was coming. Now imagine instead of a two month delay, there was none at all! Bam, 13 minute animation out of nowhere. The difference in reader perception in such a case is so extreme, it can’t even be communicated. Conclusion: hype sux.
This is exactly how I pictured LE looking before I even made the Felt intermission. I think if I revealed him then, practically everyone would say, yeah that’s about right. Just a nasty, monstrous looking mob boss with some gaudy accoutrements. In time, as the mystique surrounding him accumulates, people get other ideas. I think some wanted a more suave motherfucker to bust onto the scene, someone perhaps sleek, dapper. This doesn’t fit the concept at all, nor suits anything we knew about him previously. Doc Scratch is his smooth, well mannered counterpart. He already fills that role. LE as Scratch 2 is a really boring idea to me. LE as a big, no-nonsense brute, functioning as Mr. Hyde to Scratch’s Dr. Jekyll, is much more interesting. (Hey, there’s another bullet point for the reference slurry, if you’re taking notes, re: Jekyll/Hyde.) So instead of some elegant dude too dashing for words who exploded from the screen of the yaoiest anime you ever saw, he looks a bit like this and this and maybe some of this and a smidgeon of this and oh yeah some of this and a whole fuckload of this and just a pinch of this, ok wait maybe not that last thing.
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