This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 5 Episode 7
Anytime Steven Universe focuses on Peridot and Lapis it strikes gold.
Lapis’ arc in the series has always been one that mirrors those who’ve been through abuse. While the series doesn’t bring it up every episode she’s in (thank god) I’m glad that when the situation warrants it her past does come into play.
Peridot’s observation that Lapis doesn’t like surprises and that she needs consistency hit way too close to home. Speaking as someone who’s also been through abuse I instantly identified with that. After sometimes years of being in a volatile situation of course you’d enjoy consistency. You’d enjoy not having things just sprung up on you. Any disruptions to your regular schedule can feel earth shattering.
Lapis was forced into doing things she didn’t want to do with Jasper so now, even when characters don’t mean to, she’s easily triggered. I can’t begin to convey how important that is to see portrayed in a TV series let alone one aimed at younger kids.
Lapis not wanting to get caught up in a war might seem cowardly to some. How could she abandon her friends, Peridot and Pumpkin especially? Well after going through abuse many people’s fight or flight instinct gets all out of wack. In Lapis’ case she quite literally goes for flight. She’s in danger.
She could stay but… she was forced to stay in mirror for all that time. She was forced to be with Jasper. Steven and Peridot mean well but she can’t be forced to do anything again.
While the emotional core of this episode is on Lapis, Peridot also gets a bit of time to shine. We see that Lapis has really taken the more dominant role in their friendship and Peridot is afraid of upsetting her.
Anyone who’s had a friend that’s been through abuse or tough times knows what that’s like. You try to do everything you can for that person but eventually you can only do so much. You can’t spend your whole life keeping the world safe for them. You do have to worry about your own wants and needs eventually.
That might make Peridot sound like a jerk but she has (in the best play on words Steven Universe has ever done) bent over backwards for Lapis. People who have been abused do deserve some leniency but not to the point where those around them feel drained and are losing their sense of self.
The final scene with Peridot sleeping in Steven’s bathroom? Not to get too personal, but I’ve pretty much been in that exact situation. While the plot may be about alien gemstones coming to invade Earth, moments like these prove Steven Universe is about something far more relateable.
Genuine human expriences.
Or would that be GEM-uine?
What? I couldn’t end this review on THAT somber a note.
– ‘If we leave them they’ll become… performance pieces.”
“Performance art isn’t bad just misunderstood.”
Zingers like this always keep Steven Universe episodes from diving too deep into darkness.
– “I’m a VERY precious Gem.”
Damn right, Peridot.
– Pumpkin is the best character on the show don’t @ me.
– “You’re supposed to reward me for my emotional honesty!”
That genre awareness is always a delight.
Shamus Kelley may have teared up watching this episode. Follow him on Twitter!