Dr. C – TV Review: Steven Universe #63 – A Cry for Help

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There’s a lot more crying than helping.

Welcome to the my first Steven Universe review. Here we stand, one night into Steven-Bomb 3.0, and already things are taking some dramatic turns. We’ve got four more episodes this week, and I’m gonna cover them all as they drop. But since this is my first post in regards to this series, just a touch of information first. I was a late comer to this show, getting on board right after Season 1 wrapped up, so I’m in no way someone who’s been with the show since the beginning. As for why I got drawn into the show, we’ll discuss that next week; I’m gonna do an intro post for newcomers to explain the show’s concept, themes and mythology, but for the moment, let’s get to this week’s first episode.

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Who wants to watch a show about people crying all the time? YOU DO.

We open with Steven and Amethyst watching TV, specifically ‘Crying Breakfast Friends’, the recurring show-within-a-show we’ve seen several times in the past, but I bring it up specifically since it serves a narrative purpose for once. The show is interrupted by a broadcast by Peridot, a distress signal to the Gem Homeworld (specifically to the thus far unseen Yellow Diamond) being sent out far and wide. In order to stop the broadcast and prevent further dangers from space from arriving, the gems seek out the source of the transmission: the communication hub previously seen in #20 – Coach Steven. They arrive to find the tower partially rebuilt and transmitting. To destroy it, Amethyst tentatively suggests fusing with Garnet to form Sugilite again, but Garnet shuts that idea down after the disastrous results of Sugilite’s last outing. Instead, Garnet and Peral fuse to form Sardonyx, the last unseen fusion of the core cast. And of course, their fusion dance is hella suggestive.

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Got to admit, that’s not what I expected they’d look like.

There’s a touch of fourth-wall bending with Sardonyx, in regards to the fandom anticipation of her showing up (“Was I worth the wait? What am I saying, of course I was!”) and she’s an absolutely giddy show-off as she destroys the tower. She’s got this sort of silly, corny magician act going on, and I feel like I would find it annoying in concept, but the execution works. And Pearl comes out of the fusion so happy, it’s clear that she’s reveling in the performance. Steven is impressed, but Amethyst response with melancholy and a touch of jealousy, but not nearly as much as she would have earlier in the series. Character arcs! We got’em!

The next day, during ‘Crying Breakfast Friends’, we hear some dialogue:

Crying Spoon: ‘Why Pear? Why did you lie to me?’

Crying Pear: ‘I didn’t mean to…’ *sobbing

Remember that for about 5 minutes from now.

The transmission returns, and they return to find the tower rebuilt, presumably by Peridot. They re-fuse as Sardonyx to destroy the tower again, and Amethyst gets a brief sweet and sad song about her regretting messing up as Sugilite before and feeling left out and weak in the face of this new partnership between Garnet and Pearl. To try and make her feel better, Steven takes Amethyst back to the tower that night, reasoning that if Peridot keeps fixing it, they just need to stake out the area and catch her when she comes to repair it. But the stake-out reveals that’s it’s not Peridot repairing the tower, but…

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Yes, Pearl is lying to the rest of them… fixing the tower so she can keep having fusion sessions with Garnet. Amethyst and Steven dwell on whether or not to tell Garnet, but when they’re lead back to the tower for a third time, they hesitantly fess up to what they saw… and Garnet does not take it well.

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DO. NOT. TRICK. GARNET.

Amethyst even tries to come to Pearl’s defense. She remembers how good the power of the Sugilite fusion felt and can understand how Pearl feels as Sardonyx and why she’d go to such lengths to get a fix of it. But Garnet points out that they’ve wasted days on this goose chase now because of Pearl’s lies, and Peridot is still out there and a threat. Garnet and Amethyst fuse to Sugilite and destroy the tower beyond any hope or repair while Pearl looks on in horror at Garnet’s wrath.

Back on ‘Crying Breakfast Friends’, we see the resolution of that plot from earlier. Pear… or should I say Pear(l)… seeks forgiveness, and the spoon forgives it and they hug/cry it out. At the same time, Pearl and Garnet pass each other in silence… and things are definitely not forgiven.

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Amethyst: “Man… it would sure be great if things worked out the way they do in cartoons…”

This show continues to surprise me with it’s maturity, and that last line hits in right on the head. Too many shows, cartoon or otherwise, tend to solve problems, even major problems that would normally take a lot of work, in a single episode in order to maintain the status quo. But that’s not how the real world works, and the violation of trust committed by Pearl, especially given the nature of fusion as metaphor for relationships, is not something you can wrap up that quickly. These things take time, patience, and a bit of soul searching. Emotions were hurt and it’s going to take a while to heal this rift. Steven-Bomb 3 was marketed as “Week of Sardonyx”, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again for quite a while… it’s more like “Repercussions of Sardonyx”, as I presume the events of this episode are going to be catalyzing the rest of the week.

Oh yeah… we all got pretty distracted by the drama, but Peridot did manage to get a message off-world, however briefly. I’m sure that won’t be important…