This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Future Episode 13
“Your soulmate is your complement. Not your missing piece.”
Has there ever been a bigger case of second hand embarrassment in the Steven Universe series than this episode? From the moment Steven said he was going to propose to Connie I just stood up and yelled, “NO!” It wasn’t like watching a train go off the rails. It was like watching a train slowly go off the rails only to hit a freeway and then spin out of control before hurtling off a cliff into the water where it somehow sinks to the bottom of the ocean only to slip into the earth’s core before finally being put out of its misery.
On first watch this episode just feels like it’s torture for the audience. We know Connie isn’t going to accept Steven’s proposal. We know what she’s like. We know Steven is in over his head and trying to run away from his problems. Why did the story have to put us through this.
The last few episodes Steven hasn’t been doing great. His powers are manifesting in strange and painful ways… but that was all Gem stuff. He’s done a few not so great things just as a human but this could all be written off as a metaphor for Steven growing up. Not here though. This is Steven simply making a foolhardy decision.
It’s painful to watch him get so excited and delude himself into thinking Connie will say yes but it’s what happens when you’re dealing with trauma. The show hasn’t come right out and said it but it’s fairly obvious that’s what it is. Steven is distracting himself anyway he can. He’s running away from his problems and he thinks that if he can just fuse with Connie forever that’ll make things okay. He clings to Ruby and Sapphire as an example but he doesn’t realize you can’t graft someone else’s life choices onto your own.
Seeing it happen was painful but even worse was Steven trying to act like everything was fine. Like so much in Steven Universe Future, it was painfully real. Anyone who’s experienced trauma has done this. Getting hurt but acting like it’s no big deal. This even happens in every day situations with everyday problems. You publicly act like it’s fine but then it feels like a giant weight on your back. This was perfectly conveyed through the impact crater Steven made after Connie left.
Then Garnet swoops in with the wisdom that I quoted at the top of the article. It’s further reinforcing that other people can’t fix Steven’s problems for him. He can’t hide in other’s issues or even their souls. He has to face what’s going on with him… but I have a feeling it’s going to get way worse before it gets better.