he ran out right after and complained to feferi and karkat

Speculation: John and Vriska

I’ll have the reaction post up tomorrow. For now, I finished this, and I think it will be relevant soon in the wake of the latest upd8.

John has been hit hard with two things: One, the death of his dad, and two, his low self-esteem.

His low self-esteem was hinted at in earlier acts. The scribbling on his wall, how the compliments from his dad are meaningless to him…And there was also this conversation:

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It culminated in this:

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Vriska was probably the best thing to happen to John during Act 5. Right from the start, she tells John he’s special. He doesn’t believe her of course. They both wear on each other over time.

It culminates in her stranding him in the middle of a burning lake. It forces John to do something, to, as Vriska puts it, find his inner hero mojo:

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WV tells John to ‘do the windy thing.’ John pretty much thinks, ‘What are you talking about? I can’t do that!’:

 

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The Windy Thing, when it finally happened, was symbolic. It represented John truly believing in himself for the first time, allowing him to summon the wind. Both literally and metaphorically clearing the clouds of self-doubt. There’s a reason he ascended to the top of his echeladder after this:

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John: Enter Village after this is telling. He’s in disbelief he actually did it, and the person who helped him is telling him ‘How proud she is:’

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Back when A5A2 started, people had noted how much more secure in himself John seemed during his first conversation with Karkat. This was a large reason why.

After Vriska’s death, I noticed a detail that makes her death even more heart wrenching in hindsight. You know how one of John’s problems is his festering grief over his dad? Well, in her last pesterlog to him in A5A2, Vriska says this:

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This has precedent. Vriska had expressed similar compassion during a conversation with Feferi in Alterniabound:

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Mind you, Feferi was messing with her, but the fact remains Vriska was still willing to listen. And chronologically, this took place before Vriska’s A5A2 character development began. And she and Feferi weren’t even really ‘friends:’

 

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During his attempt to contact her after her death, John expresses a desire to talk about what just happened, namely his dad dying, him dying, then resurrecting to find Rose dead, then kissing her back to life:

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Really, John would have been open to talking with anyone I think. Instead, he ran straight up against Karkat, who wasn’t exactly open to talking:

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He ended up going too far the other way, sealing up his grief completely, resulting in his breakdown on the ship crossing the Yellow Yard:

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His friends, sadly, contributed to this. They take him a bit for granted. The others more or less shoved the leadership position on him. Everyone else called him the ‘leader’ of the session, while he was extremely reluctant to claim the position:

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John halfway asserted his leadership all of once. And even then, he made it clear he was a ‘friendleader:’

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And there are other examples. It’s hard for them to realize that he may be genuinely upset or hurting over something. For instance, Jade’s reaction to his breakdown on the ship:

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To quote Dave:

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And finally Rose:

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Others consistently keep him locked out of the loop, something he expresses frustration with:

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So, his current state isn’t all on him.

After the breakdown, he became far more testy and jerkish. As I said in a previous reaction post, John’s beating of Caliborn was a ‘low point’, beating up someone who was possibly younger than him (some think the cherubs are preteens) for what was effectively a shitty piece of fanfiction. He even mentions his dad in the lead-up conversation:

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As we saw after [S] GAME OVER, this has likely led Caliborn to do something that will bite everyone in the ass later.

John’s going to have to fix this if his character arc is to be satisfying. Someone needs to help pull him out of his funk, addressing both his grief and low opinion of himself. Because he’s clearly doing a crap job on his own.

Roxy had a golden opportunity to be that person, but let’s face it, she doesn’t know John that well. Her reaction to him beating himself up is to notice he mentioned Dirk and ask where he is. The conversation that followed further highlighted this:

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Contrast Vriska, in a similar situation:

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Vriska has always been the ‘unstoppable’ type. Hell, not even DEATH stopped her:

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I believe Vriska will be the one to help pull John from his grief and self-doubt.

Even after her death, the two of them continued to play huge roles in each other’s character’s arcs. During Act 6, Vriska is the one who gets John in the loop. His interactions with her allowed him to be informed of what was occurring in the Furthest Ring, despite crossing the Yellow Yard. It also allowed him to be one of the only people in the B2 session to be in the loop about the cherubs.

It’s worth noting that when he finally met her in person in the dream bubbles, Vriska again showed a glimmer of her hidden compassion:

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After the pirate ship and the ghost army, it seems their relationship has been badly cracked. John even says he might ‘hate her’:

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But as I said in a previous post, Aranea was responsible for controlling the ghost army, which John disapproved of. Without her, Vriska and Meenah couldn’t follow through on the ghost plan even if they wanted to.

TheNeonWerewolf has also pointed out that the last time we saw Vriska, she was remedying the flaws John had just complained about:

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And we can’t forget one other thing. John specifically cites using his canon-space jumps to fix things:

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But remember who helped facilitate his entry into canonspace in the first place?:

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It was unintentional, but it’s still a fact that without Vriska, John would not be drifting through canon right now, in a very powerful position to fix things in the wake of [S] GAME OVER. And from her reaction to him disappearing, she still cares about him, leaving a potent loose end between them.

It goes both ways. Vriska is extremely despondent right now:

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John is a passive ‘Fixer’ class. A ‘breath of fresh air’ for those around him. While she helps him with his problems, he can help re-energize her positively.

In this context, John’s declaration he hates Vriska is further setup. One trait of Scorpios is perception. I’m not sure if Vriska has empathy like Aranea has demonstrated or not, but that might also play a role. In any case, I believe they are due to reconcile in the near future, and it will be another key point in both of their character arcs.