This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 5 Episode 22
Maybe Steven Universe isn’t ending quite so soon. The last few reviews I’ve been forming this theory that we were leading up to the big finale of the series tomorrow but the reintroduction of Bismuth has changed my mind. If they’re going to mine the series’ history for one off characters like her? Maybe the series has more ground to cover.
There’s a lot of reasons for Bismuth’s appearance now, besides the obvious one of tying up the loose end of her learning about the Rose/Pink Diamond connection. I see her as a way to represent how the Gems might treat Rose now if she was alive. Think about it. They all had baggage with Bismuth, especially after she tried to shatter Steven but at one time she was beloved. Sounds a little like Rose, doesn’t it?
While they can’t forgive Rose and embrace her again, they can do it with Bismuth. It possibly gives a conclusion to this therapy session Steven Universe has had us in for four episodes. You can acknowledge someone’s faults, work through the pain they gave you, come to understand why they did it, accept or reject it, and then possibly let them back into their lives.
I wonder if in the final episode of this StevenBomb we’ll have the core cast reject someone for the hurt they caused. Peridot could do that with Lapis, she really hurt Peridot when she left Earth. It doesn’t need to happen but it would demonstrate not everyone is capable of moving past hurt to acceptance.
Bismuth also portrayals something healthy here I wish the show had actually run with, that she knows she won’t be accepted. Even if you’ve personally reformed and become better that doesn’t mean everyone has to accept you as if nothing happened. Sometimes you burn the bridge and can’t go back. That’s a consequence for hurting others. It’s touched on here for sure but Steven’s kindness wins out in the end.
We have seen other examples of characters not just being accepted into the fold (Jasper for sure) but I wish we’d had a little more time to explore Bismuth wanting to avoid the others for a little longer.
I also need to take a moment and celebrate how far we’ve come in kids TV. Years ago when The Legend of Korra finale aired the creators wanted to show that Korra and Asami were getting together. They couldn’t explicitly mention this in the dialogue but they did have them hold hands, mirroring a straight couple who had just gotten married a few minutes prior.
Now in 2018 we’re going to be getting an actual lesbian marriage on Steven Universe between Ruby and Sapphire. Yeah, yeah, they’re technically genderless stones WHATEVER they’ve been using female pronouns for them so it’s a women/women wedding. That’s a huge benchmark for the series and one I hope pushes forward representation in kid’s media.
Whether tomorrow’s episode is the series finale or not, there’s been a lot of great things to come out of these episodes. We’ve got a wedding but what else could be coming?