This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 4 Episode 21
When a show is off the air for as long as Steven Universe is at various points, fan theories are inevitably going to creep up. The series has a complicated mythology so it’s to be expected. The problem with all this down time between episodes is that the theories can start to grow bigger and bigger. More time to connect the dots. More time to speculate on where the show is going. That’s fun and certainly a big part of being a fan, but with this episode we learn that sometimes things aren’t as complicated as they seem with Steven Universe.
Ever since the Zoo arc, Steven has been ramping up his journey to discover just what the hell was going on with Rose. Did she leave him with some purpose? Was she avoiding her responsibilities by having him? It’s a lot for a kid like Steven to deal with and much of the episode focuses on that.
This isn’t a joke a minute episode. Like “Storm in the Room”, it’s a tearjerker. Sure, we have a few small jokes to break it up but this is the big reveal. So does it succeed?
Without a doubt, yes. As much fun as it would have been for Rose to leave Steven this complicated tape about the Diamonds or whatever, the fact she simply wanted Steven to be himself (or herself!) is perfectly understated. Rose wasn’t this horrible monster of a person, she just wanted her kid to have a good life and be a good person.
It’s still unclear why she needed to give up her life to have Steven but I’m slowly starting to suspect details like that don’t matter. Much like Steven in this episode, fans are desperate for a concrete intricate back-story. Steven tries every location that’s had to do with his mom. He even attempts to open the locked chest in lion’s mane. God, even the “magical hairball of destiny” could be considered symbolism for fans intricate yet ultimately messy theories! The creators of this series are smart enough to tie in fan expectations with Steven’s overwhelming desire to learn answers but sometimes the simplest answer is the easiest.
Without being in your face about it, Steven quickly moves though the grief stages to finally reach acceptance. It’s a shame they didn’t draw it out more as I had suspected in previous reviews but sometimes all you need is to talk with someone about it and in this case it’s Greg. It makes perfect sense Steven didn’t just go to his dad right off anyway, what kid goes right to their parent for advice from the jump?
Kudos to the series for once again being the most inclusive show on television. Greg and Rose would have loved Steven no matter if he were a boy or a girl. Greg would be totally fine if Steven changed his name right now. Just hearing conversations like that help me believe a little more in the world.
In the end, the only destiny Steven has is to make his own life choices. But what will he do with that knowledge? Now he doesn’t have to fight to be everything that everybody wants him to be when he’s grown. Now he can just be Steven. But what is Steven without trying to learn about Rose?
His own choices, whether those involve the expectations of the other Crystal Gems or not. A possible arc this series could take is Steven finding his own path in the world without Gem stuff. Can the conflicts with the Diamonds go on forever? Will there always be Gen monsters to fight? If the conflict does resolve, where does that leave Steven?
Wherever it leaves him, at least Steven has got his friends and family who accept him for who he is. Maybe that’s all he really needs in the long run.
– “But a 7th grader with a flute muscled me out.” Now that’s an episode I need in my life like you wouldn’t even believe.
– “I’m my mom and my sister? What kind of crazy destiny is this?” You know if that HAD been the resolution? I totally would have bought it.