Steven Universe: Room For Ruby Review

A strong outing for Steven Universe manages to balance Charlyne Yi’s flawless voice acting and Lapis’ gut instincts.

This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.

Steven Universe Season 4 Episode 20

Charlyne Yi is Steven Universe’s secret weapon. I’ve always had a soft spot for her portrayal of the many Ruby’s glimpsed in past episodes. Playing multiple versions of a character is not easy and Yi has been able to bring a great deal of depth to all of the Ruby’s but this outing sealed the deal.

Her performance was hilarious and heartfelt but with just a small adjustment quickly became sinister beyond belief. I genuinely believe Yi could be the next big villain voice in Hollywood if she got cast in the right part. Her voice is so unique that I’d be shocked if more writers aren’t creating an army of characters specifically tailored to her superb vocal talent.

Navy’s betrayal in this episode highlights a new potential conflict for Steven. He’s so willing to trust and believe in people that he’s blinded to possible deception. Will he have to reign in his trust for others? Will he be more cautious the next time a rogue Gem asks for help?

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I love that this episode played with your expectations. It really seemed like it was going to be an episode solely focused on Lapis learning that not everyone has trust issues like her. That would have been totally fine but, as always, Steven Universe goes the extra mile and makes Lapis’ feelings one hundred percent valid.

In stories with people who have been abused there’s a tendency to have it always be centered on their recovery. Getting them back to the way they were. Unlearning the behaviors they picked up to survive. There’s nothing wrong with that per say, but it’s nice that the series goes out of its way to make Lapis feel validated in her gut instincts about Navy.

I’ve got to keep giving major props to Steven Universe for its portrayal of Lapis. She’s doing her best to keep living her life after the horror of being trapped in the mirror and being fused with Jasper. She’s found a great degree of happiness at the barn and with Peridot. She jokes about the abuse she went through, as seen in “Gem Harvest”, demonstrating she’s moving on. She’s had multiple adventures where that part of her life isn’t even mentioned, like “The New Crystal Gems”. 

Lapis could easily be a character that’s sole or major character trait is of an abuse victim, but the series has gone to great lengths to demonstrate it’s simply a part of her history, not just a part of her.

I’m delighted the series has been featuring Lapis and Peridot more as of late. I hope they’ve got plans for them to be involved in the next big arc because they were missed in the most recent Steven Bomb. They really are full-fledged members of the Crystal Gems and while it’s tough to balance that big a team, I’d love to see everyone go on the next big mission. 

Now that Navy has their only transport off Earth though, what will they do? There’s no other way off Earth besides using the Galaxy Warp. The Gems have to wait for any enemy forces to come to them. I’d guess that Navy is going to pick up the other Ruby’s and finally report back to the diamonds. That must mean Blue and Yellow Diamond will be coming to Earth at some point soon, right? How will the Crystal Gems mount a defense? They’ve only got each other to trust, they can’t exactly look out to the galaxy for help… Can they?

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Can they turn to the people of Beach City for help? Will they be able to protect Earth all on their own? Something tells me Steven Universe isn’t the type of a show to have an all out war. If there is a battle, it’ll only be in the background. It’s the characters development, as seen in this episode with Lapis, that’ll save the day. 

Stray Thoughts

– Any episode with Pumpkin automatically gets an extra point. Love that little dog.

– Peridot being so ready to accept Navy proved how much she’s grown.

– “The sun. Ever burning. Until it’s not.” This show can get hilariously dark at times.

– That bit with Ruby flying across the screen in the bubble killed me.

Shamus Kelley relates way too much to screaming Navy. Follow him on Twitter!  

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4.5 out of 5