Congrats on finishing Act 3, loyal readers! You’re making excellent progress, and even more exciting adventures with your favorite boy-skylark and his friends await you in Act 4. But first, there’s the Intermission, which, I assure you, is not a terrible April Fools prank from Hussie no matter what it may seem.
Upon beginning the Intermission, you may for a second wonder if you have accidentally switched Hussie webcomics by accident. Where are John and Rose and Dave and Jade? Why is everything green, and why is this dude so angry?
The Intermission, officially titled “Don’t Bleed on the Suits”, follows the Midnight Crew, a terribly violent mobster gang, as they infiltrate the rival big bad Lord English’s manor and get revenge on their rival gang, the Felt. While the main conflict of Homestuck is focused around a chess motif, the Midnight Crew and the Felt are based on playing cards and billiards respectively. Spades Slick and the rest of the Crew bust into the manor, slay as many Felt as they can (they keep a running checklist to make sure) bust up all of English’s many clocks, and engage in a lot of timey-wimey shenaniganery in the meantime.
The Intermission still has the same sort of self-aware absurdist humor as the rest of Homestuck, and, although it is a lot more violent than the rest of the comic, it’s still an enjoyable storyline. Most of the fan frustration with it, from what I can tell, comes from the break in the action between Act 3 and 4 and not from the Intermission itself.
Without spoiling too much, I’m just going to reassure you that this diversion from the main storyline is in fact relevant to the main storyline. Lord English, The Felt, Snowman, and Spades Slick and his gang all come back into play in major and plot-important ways later on, so sticking with it here will ensure you have their backstory in future Acts. The Intermission also gives us our first glimpse of the trolls’ physical appearance in canon near its end. (The scene in which that happens should give you a clue to how the Intermission’s cast in involved in the main plot.)
Furthermore, it’s only a little under two hundred pages, which is only a third the size of Act 4 and peanuts compared to Act 5. And hey, it’s not impossible to enjoy it—I read through it pretty fast because I wanted to get back to the main plot, but I still find myself making jokes about ovens that travel through time at one second per second and laughing about wanton clock destruction from time to time.