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SpiderbitchBiologist: Dr. Nick on John changing Vriska

[Written by Dr. Nick, 1.27.12]

Well, you said you wanted discussion, sooo I made a liveblog of a liveblog that quickly turns into an essay.

"… John … will change his friends for the better"
Case in point: VRISKA. I know you hate her, but you can’t deny the fact that interacting with John made her start to question her own incredibly flawed morality.

"[Karkat] blundered not once, but twice"
I think he blundered a lot more than that, because he’s such a huge derp.

Oh look never mind you addressed the Vriska thing

Oh no wait not everything

I get that you want to save her for another post, but she’s one of my favorite characters because she’s absolutely fascinating. She’s a horrible, horrible person (troll, whatever), don’t get me wrong. But I got invested in her character, and that—be it because of positive or negative emotions—is always a good thing. And if you want to just let this chillax in your ask box until you get to her or ignore it completely, that’s fine with me.

I’m not trying to try and vindicate her in any way. Just a heads-up. But her relationship with John is seriously my favorite one in the entire comic (I think it’s easiest to count it as a webcomic, flashes and sound aside), so I have a lot of feelings and opinions about it.

Okay. So. First things first, after she arranges his death. While she did it to help him in the long run, it’s a bit shaky with whether or not it would have been better if she had at least told him what was going to happen. Especially since you have the Terezi/Dave example to show what happens when you try to convince a time traveler to kill an alternate version of themself. The part with the doomed Dave is heartbreaking, and he knew what was going on. Sort of. There’s just really no nice way to go about getting the God Tier, unless you’re Aradia and just sleep on your quest bed until your planet gets blown up and suddenly you’re a troll-shaped TARDIS. “Manipul8ing” the time stream to get John in the right place for Jack to pop up is just as bad (if not worse) as having you kill yourself. But I digress.

Like I was saying. After he dies.

First of all, he doesn’t just dismiss or excuse the fact that she arranged his death. Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she herself did the deed, but there are unmistakable blue smeared fingerprints over the whole ordeal. It’s not so much extending a hand in forgiveness as it is rolling with the punch. It happened, he’s over it, they move on. The very fact that he could be mad at her doesn’t make sense to John (“um… no?”). That’s just the kind of kid he is. They’re friends. That’s all that matters. And she’s not dismissive about his feelings, even though that’s something she’s done plenty of times to other people in the past (I feel like this one is so obvious that I don’t need to find citations for it). And furthermore, she even shows some weakness, which is not exactly something Ms. BLUH BLUH HUGE BITCH is wont to do. Compare it to the first time they talked, and the difference in tone is stark, to say the least. Or, you know, you can look at the first time they talked about his dad:

So obviously John is having an effect on her. She kept the same flippant tone, but there’s no more talk about how “inferior” the humans are.

But getting back on topic, it’s later on in this same conversation that I think it’s really obvious how much he’s changed her.

She feels terrible about killing Tavros. Which in and of itself shows that she’s making progress. But the fact that she runs to John to talk about it and not anyone else (you know, like Kanaya who used to be in love with her, Terezi who was her best friend, Karkat who listens to everyone’s problems, Equius who she was in “CAHOOOOOOOOTS” with, etc. etc. etc.) says volumes. John is the person she trusts the most, even though she has known him for a much shorter amount of time. She goes to him, even though she doesn’t think he’s going to understand, and he listens.

I don’t think that she just needs someone to listen to her problems to make everything better. This isn’t something you can just SHOOSH PAP away. She has done awful, awful things. But when she goes to John, he tries to understand this alien culture, even though he’s morally opposed to it. I’m not calling him a moral beacon in a sea of crazy alien shenanigans, one because I think that’s overdramatic, but two because he’s a thirteen year old kid, even though he’s obviously wise beyond his years because Hussie. Like any kid, he thinks killing is wrong, and he says that many, many times. But this sad, confused, and deranged little alien girl starts talking to him, and he does his best to listen. He’s scared and obviously doesn’t approve or understand this culture that gives it a big old thumbs-up, but he tries to talk her through her catharsis. This is unlike Dave, who would probably try to make it better by being a bro, or Rose, who would analyze every last thing in the conversation. John is a great human being because he empathizes with everyone he comes in contact to. A wonderful non-Vriska example is the flash [S] John: Enter village.

Amid the smooth-jazz stylings of “Planet Healer,” we see John being all non-symbolically rendered while he interacts with the cute little salamander dudes. He helps buy one lunch, hands out hats like a TF2 player doing a raffle, and is just generally a sweetheart towards everyone he meets. Because that’s John. He’s a sweetheart.

Sweetheart. And that actually brings me back to the whole reason why I started typing this essay up.

So I think it’s fairly easy to call them friends at this point. They both show genuine interest and concern for the other and for their life.

She waits for him. She literally sits in front of her computer and waits for him. She’s gone from manipulating his every movement to just waiting for him to come back so they can talk one last time before she probably goes to her death.

And she’s doing it because she wants to be a better person. All because of John. She just wants to spend time with him. This murderous “spiderbitch” just wants to be a kid for the first time in the entire class, and it’s all thanks to John.

And then she dies, and they go on their “d8.” And everything I have been saying gets spelled out in one single simple line:

I mean this without hyperbole: she literally becomes a different character. And just to hammer it in some more: it is because of John. He’s such a good person that he can change one of the most mean-spirited characters in the entire comic. Is it a complete and total change? No. Had she survived any longer, and got to interact with John more? I think it’d be more than possible.

So tl;dr, John’s awesome and nice to the point that his goodness rubs off on other people. I don’t know if I needed to write this much to explain that, but hey. When I think of his character, this is the best way to summarize it, so I wanted to share.

I’ll leave you with a silly John quote that fits into the rest of this essay.

Doctor Nick out.

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