This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 5 Episode 19
Man, Steven Universe isn’t playing around anymore is it? While we’ve been used to half answers and vague imagery now it’s all being laid out on the table.
As we’ve been seeing for a long time now, Rose was complicated. Even with Pearl finally explaining what really happened it’s not all clear. Of course Rose saw how beautiful the Earth was and wanted to protect it but even Pearl admitted, “maybe she was foolish and maybe even selfish.”
So yeah, Rose wasn’t perfect. Before she was going to colonize the Earth she did some horrible things. Does that mean she can never be forgiven? I’m sure this episode will stoke the fire of fan debates for years to come but personally I think she can.
Realizing what you’ve done is horrible takes a lot of self-reflection. To then try and make it right takes a lot of inner strength, especially when you’re fighting against a whole society’s expectations. Does this excuse her past actions? No, of course not. But it helps to draw a line from the person she was to the person she is now.
While Sapphire has begun to understand why Rose did what she did and seems to be on the road to forgiveness I would have been totally fine if she gone the opposite way. Of acknowledging Rose did good but ultimately she still hurt a lot of people and kept some big secrets from them.
It comes down to the individuals experience and what they feel. Maybe Ruby is now struggling with the idea of forgiveness as well and she’ll go the opposite way. I’m sure they’ll be more on this in the next few episodes so I’ll wait to dive deeper.
Seeing Pearl’s first interactions with Rose/Pink Diamond was a beautiful reminder of just how far she’s come. In fact, Pearl’s desire to impress Rose is what actually inspired her to start protecting the Earth! So really, Pearl is the true hero of all this!
How adorable was it her and Rose fused and when Pearl listed off all the ways she was imagining being with Rose. The best being that she imagined “not being yours but still making you so happy anyway.”
Pearl’s dream was to be on a more equal footing with Rose and still make her happy. She yearned that she could be independent and still be someone to Rose. She sees that dream as silly, as if she wouldn’t mean anything to Rose if she wasn’t “hers”, but Rose doesn’t. She finds that beautiful.
Again, Rose’s actions are beyond horrible but you can see her trying. She may not have totally understood just how much psychological power she had over Pearl but she was doing her best. That doesn’t mean we as an audience, or even the characters, have to excuse those actions but we can also take into account all the good she did as well. This isn’t a zero-sum game. People can do good things and still be flawed. People can do bad things and still not be complete monsters.
I’m excited to see how Steven Universe plays this up as we continue in the next four episodes. With so much being wrapped up I still wonder if we’re approaching the end of the series. We’ll have to see!
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!