Dr. C – TV Review – Steven Universe #68 – Nightmare Hospital

The hiatus end-ETTTHHHHHHH…

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After a little over a month off, new Steven Universe episodes are back on Thursdays, at least until Cartoon Network decides to drop another Stevenbomb.  And not only have fans been awaiting the show’s return, but we’ve been more subtly waiting for a particular plot event… Connie’s secret getting out to her family.  Compared to what I and some others imagined, this is honestly a little underwhelming.  We figured her cover would be blown during the impending battle with Malachite or another Homeworld invasion.  Instead the reveal happens in a situation with decidedly lower stakes.

We open on Steven dropping Connie off at her house, having just finished a training session together, since they’ve been training together since we last saw Connie in #58 – Sworn to the Sword.  Connie laments not being able to practice more during her home time, so Steven retrieves the Rose Quartz Sword from Lion and offers to lend it to her.  And Connie’s mother gets home at exactly the wrong time.  And disguising the sword as a coat rack only works for about 20 seconds.  Mrs. Maheshwaran’s reaction is… expected.

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I mean… you’re the doctor here… but I don’t think your eyes are supposed to do that.

Connie feeds her a false line about where the sword came from to keep Steven out of it, but it barely registers with her over the shear danger of SWORD.  Fortunately, before she can drop the parental ground-hammer, she’s called away to an emergency situation at the hospital, taking the sword with her.  Though Connie knows she can’t escape punishment now, it’s vital to get the family heirloom/magical weapon back for Steven, so the two follow her to the hospital in an attempt to steal the sword back.

The titular ‘Nightmare Hospital’ is spooky in every way kids think of when they think spooky hospital… though there’s nothing outright terrifying… at first.  They find Dr. Maheshwaran tending to a supposed car accident victim… who writhes under a sheet and makes disturbing sounds while they try to smuggle the sword out.   And they get busted again.  Her timing is uncanny.   But then…

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Oh… so that’s why it’s called… ohhhhhhh…

Disturbingly, Connie’s mom refers to this as her “other patient”… when it’s very clearly not human.  Nor is the thing under the sheet, but she was checking it’s pulse and didn’t even notice it wasn’t human.  Which means the weirdness censor is EXTREMELY POWERFUL for the normals in this universe.  I’ve got to question if it’s simply a matter of the world’s alternate history or something deliberate with gem stuff that makes people shrug and move on.

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Six arms and no head… seems legit.

These monsters appear to be more fusion experiments, like we saw in #60 – Keeping it Together.  Where did they come from?  Are they coming from the Kindergarten or someplace else?  We don’t know how far away the Kindergarten is, or if there was more than one on Earth, but they got to civilization somehow.  Could they have been deliberately sent by someone or are they just roaming on instinct?  The gems thought they captured all the fusion experiments, but these either left before they got there or maybe they emerged after they left.

Regardless, Steven, Connie, and her mom are trapped in a creepy hospital with the unholy spawn of Silent Hill and children’s television.  They try to run but get cornered. Trapped between two monsters and pinned down in Steven’s bubble, the truth finally comes out, as Connie vents not only her secrets, but her general frustration with her mother’s restrictive and controlling parenting.  With her in shock from being defied, Connie just takes the sword and takes care of business.  One hit each.  Steven and Connie even pull an epic shield-launching-maneuver.  Pearl-sensei would be proud.

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Problem solved. Told ya.

We wrap up in the parking lot… sounds like she got a lot explained to her off-screen.  Though still a bit shell shocked, Connie did get through to her.  She acknowledges that they have been too controlling… a control that made Connie afraid to talk to her and lie about her involvement in the ‘magical world’.  She promises to keep an open mind about things, so long as Connie is honest and open with her, with them reconciling.  So Dr. Maheshwaran is in the loop now… but the question is how involved will she be?  It could be anything from just more frequent appearances to trying to full on join the Mom Squad… at very least she’ll want to have a talk with Pearl.  Maybe become some kind of human scientific adviser?  How’s Connie’s dad gonna handle all this?  And then there’s the inevitable Stevonnie issue…

Despite all the open ended questions it raises, the resolution is emotional and heartwarming.  Not Lion: 3 levels of heartwarming, but still hitting that emotional core that Steven Universe is known for.  And Steven hugging the sword when he hears “I love you Mom” will never not be sad.

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See you next week for a Sadie episode.  It’s been a while.