This Steven Universe review contains spoilers.
Steven Universe Season 4 Episode 11
Man, when Steven Universe wants to get a plot rolling they really know how to do it. The first episode in the newest StevenBomb doesn’t quite hit the ground running but it certainly ramps up to it by the end.
Steven and Greg’s discussion at the start of the episode returns the series to its theme of moving on. The characters, even Rose as this episode revealed, want to move on from the past. The war clearly took a toll on everyone and while that sounds fairly obvious, the show has somewhat glazed over the war. We’ve only seen little bits of it and lots of the aftermath. Most of the original Crystal Gems were killed and Bismuth had to be bubbled to stop her from escalating the war beyond redemption.
All of this Steven has learned over the course of the series and the Gems were totally fine letting him learn it. Now however, when Steven shows off the image of the Palanquin , Garnet freaks out. She refuses to let Steven know what it means or what it has to do with Rose. Why should this, unlike all the other revelations, be kept from Steven? Did Rose do something so horrible?
Yes, we know she shattered Pink Diamond. Garnet knows Steven is aware of this. So what could it be? Did she have some hand in the invasion of Earth? Was Pink Diamond a close friend? A lover, perhaps? That would certainly cause a lot of scandal, a diamond in love with a soldier like Rose.
Steven’s anger over this lack of information is understandable. The Gems have gone so far in trying to make Steven their stand in for Rose that for them to block this piece of her life from him? He’s not having it. He’s going to figure out the mystery of the Palanquin any way possible, and Greg is ready to help. As much as he was ready leave Rose’s past in the past, I don’t doubt Greg was curious about it.
In a stroke of brilliance, and to prove ‘Gem Harvest’ wasn’t just a filler episode, Greg calls on Andy to help get them to Korea where the Palanquin is located. I love that Andy has become a recurring character and I hope we see more of him.
Greg and Steven’s comedic journey around Korea provides a nice break from the emotional rollercoaster that we’re about to embark on. The most surreal moment comes when Greg and Steven walk past what is clearly supposed to be the animation studio for Steven Universe. If you want to read way too far into this, it makes no sense. Is someone in Korea making a show about Steven’s life? How do they know all about his life? I’m going to choose to take it for what it is, a nice in-joke, otherwise the universe might collapse in on itself.
The episode up to this point was your standard Steven Universe. Some tough emotions, good set up, and even some funny jokes. The sequence when Steven and Greg discover Blue Diamond? That kicked the episode into a beautifully haunting territory. Blue Diamond is on Earth, for how long we don’t know, and seemingly mourning Pink Diamond. This may be me reading too far into it, but because it’s Steven Universe I don’t think so, that Blue and Pink diamond had some kind of romantic relationship. Blue Diamond’s design is gorgeous and one that instantly stands out from the rest of the characters.
Blue Diamond also has a Pearl along with her that confirms a few theories about Pearls as a whole. While before we had seen Homeworld Gems tended to have similar personalities, we now know the Pearls take on the personalities of their Diamonds. Think back to when we saw Yellow Diamond and just how stuck up Yellow Diamond’s Pearl was. She was dismissive just like her Diamond. Here, Blue Diamond’s Pearl is mournful and somber, just like her Diamond. It tracks with what we know of Pearls, that they were created expressly to be owned by the Diamonds. Is this a clue to Rose’s relationship with Pink Diamond? Rose obviously wasn’t a Pearl, but do all of those serving under a Diamond take on certain personality traits? We’ll wait and see.
Blue Diamond mentions a geo-weapon on the planet that will cause its demise. Is this the weapon Steven was able to stop with Peridot earlier in the show run or is it a new weapon? A weapon not even Peridot knew about? Well it looks like Steven won’t have time to find out as Blue Diamond, thinking she’s saving a piece of the Earth, captures Greg and brings her aboard her floating arm spacecraft. Steven tries to save him with no luck. Now, Steven and the others will have to go to space. Does that mean the Galaxy Warp will finally be reactivated?
This is a great start to what looks like a five-part adventure. It’s setting up for a ton of major reveals and it’s most importantly gearing up Steven for a major change. Will his relationship with the Gems be the same after this adventure? How will worldview change after learning what happened to Rose and Pink Diamond? Stay tuned as our next review is coming soon!
– Steven Universe continues to triumph with its low key jokes. When Greg mentions mistakes her and Rose made, he lists, “I thought Disco was coming back, she started a war…”
– “They needed milk for their cereal planet.” I died. Also, really haunting when you compare it to what the Gems were doing on Earth in the first place. Also prophetic, considering what happened to Greg at episodes end.
Shamus Kelley left his family behind. Follow him on Twitter!