Steven Universe Season 5 Episode 28 Review: Escapism

Steven Universe opts for a high concept standalone adventure that feels like a throwback to the old days, even if it's misplaced.

This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.

Steven Universe Season 5 Episode 28

Well that was…. weird. We should be used to Steven Universe not giving us what we want but dang it, this was really unexpected. Who thought we’d return to Mask Island and the Watermelon Steven’s at the near climax of the series?

On the one hand it’s a nice breather after the last few episodes really laid out what home world is like. While not every episode has been intense they’ve all been filled with either big plot moves, exploration into Gem culture, or doing big check-ins all the characters. Here we get an episode that seems largely inconsequential outside of Steven contacting home for help.

Some may call this filler but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The series doesn’t always need to be on its A Plot. It should be able to do little side trips like this to flesh out the world. Plus it makes for some nice comedy bits. Exasperated Watermelon Steven is a delight to watch, if only for his confusion the audience is feeling right along with him.

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The best gag of the episode is without question when the Watermelon shark bits off Steven’s leg, but Steven just takes it in stride and kisses the shark to make it go away. Only Steven Universe could pull off a gag that morbid and adorable all at once.

The new song was also cute, albeit not seemingly connected to the plot at all. That’s not a bad thing, but wouldn’t you want to hear a more comical song about life as a Watermelon Steven or even Steve singing as a Watermelon? Missed opportunities. 

We must return to the other hand of this however. It’s all too weird. For a large chunk of this episode I struggled to figure out what the hell was happening. Just because it was unexpected to do a Watermelon Steven episode doesn’t necessarily make it good. Yes, it being mostly dialogue free is high concept but that doesn’t automatically make it engaging. Perhaps elsewhere in the series this could been a bit more fun, it does feel like a throwback to the old days, but at the climax of the story it just feels  misplaced.

It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, Steven Universe maintains a very high average, but it isn’t all that remarkable. As always, maybe this will all come around and be the crux of the series’ plot. Maybe, in the final battle with the Diamonds, all hope will be lost. All the Gems are poofed. Steven is left badly injured. There’s no way to stop the Diamonds destroying Earth….

And then an army of Watermelon Steven’s kick the Diamonds’ ass. 

Okay, probably not. But hey, I’d watch it. 

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Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter! Read more articles by him here!


2.5 out of 5