Today was the season finale to Steven Universe, and it was very good; it lived up to the hype built up the past few episodes had been making about the gem known as Peridot coming to earth to unleash all kinds of modern gem-kind hell.
Spoilers from this point on, if you don’t want to be spoiled then do not read.
Following in the graceful footsteps of the series finale to Avatar The Legend of Korra Steven Universe provides us with an LGBT couple introduced in the second half of the season finale episode Jail break. Previously the leader of the Crystal Gems Garnet had been defeated at the hands of Jasper with bother her gems being separated. Many fans (myself included) had their theories proven true that Garnet is indeed a fusion gem of Ruby and Sapphire (that part I kind of just threw in because I’m a huge pokemon fan. Something tells me Rebecca Sugar is too.) However we’re shown that Ruby and Sapphire had different personalities with Ruby being a feisty warrior and Sapphire being elegant, lady like, and similar to a princess. Prior to this the fans had just been exposed to four fusions (Opal, Sugilite, Alexandrite, and Stevonnie), all of them temporary fusions because of lack of compatibility (Opal, Alexandrite, and Stevonnie) or had to be defeated (Sugilite).
I had suspected what kind of fusion Garnet was for a while; in Coach Steven was that she was just two gems who “lost themselves” together as Garnet thinking it was better to have a gem like her. Part of my inner self thought ‘what if fusions is like being married?’ after Pear commented that Stevonnie was “inappropriate” for Steven and Connie and the large grin on Garnet’s face
I think it’s gread that Steven Universe is joining in by having LGBT characters, but does it really count since the whole gem population is female? Debatable; this topic along with gem fusions is for another entry.
The episodes themselves really show how far Steven has not only come since the beginning of the series, but also how far Steven himself has come since the episodes Mirror Gem and Ocean Gem and losing his healing powers shortly afterwards. The long lived fear that Steven’s humanity was making him less effective as a gem proved to be the reason why Steven was even able to execute his rescue mission of the Crystal Gems in the first place.
We also see how far the citizens of Beach City have come too; they know that their city is a target for disaster, but are always trusting that the Crystal Gems ‘always save the day, and even if they can’t they’ll always find a way, believing in Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl and Steven’. However in this episode they realize, their heroes may not be able to protect them and abandon beach city and show concern for each other when Greg and Steven have a car accident. Not sure if Connie’s parents are still unaware of the kind of universe they live in, but I’m pretty sure they evacuated.
The gems really are placed to the test; all of their technology and the fusion of Opal (that should give you an idea of how grave the situation is) prove to be useless against Peridot and Jasper’s machines. They strike back with grace against their opponents making easy work of Peridot and Garnet being able to defeat Jasper with the power of love.
We also get the return of Lapis Lazuli from the midseason finale; Lapis is taken prisoner and isn’t happy with the gem homeworld and what they’ve become. In an effort to make up for the wrong she’s (minisculely) responsible for she agrees to fuse with Jasper into Malachite and trap themselves at the bottom of the ocean. It’s a pretty tragic end to her character since all she wanted to do was go home and her home having become a horrible place.
In the end The Return and Jail Break were a great way to finish up season one of Steven Universe. I think for season two they’ll return to the format of writing that the start of season one had of having a Monster of the Week format along with hints of what could happen; Peridot is somewhere on earth, but has no power to fight the gems without her technology (I think she’ll become comic relief), the Crystal Gems have access to modern gem technology now that Pearl can probably reverse engineer to be of use to them, there’s still the threat of Yellow Diamond, the mystery of Lion, and the possibility of Rose living on through Steven to gather plot driven episodes from.
I give it five cookie cat icecream bars out of five,