Let’s recap once more. In Season 1 we met and learned about the Crystal Gems. In Season 2 we began to really understand their history. Season 3 deepened our understanding of all the series’ characters and Season 4 brought the first major plots to fruition…and expanded our cast.
Where then, could Season 5 of Steven Universe take us? As it turns out, into a surprisingly dark place.
First, we encounter a new character and a lie. Not a small lie, either.
With everything we’ve learned about Rose, we have to conclude that her fundamental belief was that everyone deserved to determine their own fate. This is pretty heretical in a society where every gem is created for a single purpose. But it turns out that even Rose had limits to what she considered to be appropriate and when Bismuth encountered that boundary, Rose found it easier to lie than to deal with the truth. Years later, her son Steven is left cleaning up the mess.
We’ve seen that Amethyst frequently feels alone and lonely, that she has a lot of self-esteem issues. We’ve explored these over and over and built up sympathy for her. Steven recognizes that she and he are not at all alone – they both have a lot of the same issues around their essential selfness. And because they understand that they aren’t alone in their doubts – they bond. This is laid out painfully in “Know Your Fusion” as Sardonyx, too busy to be anything other than sardonic, misses that it was their doubts that creates the new fusion Smoky Quartz.
There’s a lesson in the fusions, as well. We’ve talked about how fusion is clearly an act of intimacy between two gems. And we’ve seen how instability of any one of the parts can throw the relationship into imbalance and split it. (A nice metaphor for any relationship, wouldn’t you say?) But in almost every other case, fusions we’ve seen are acts of purpose and even joy. With Smoky Quartz, we’re exploring something we’ve never seen – a positive bond based on low self-esteem.
I really like how the fusions get their own voices – and I am always impressed by each fusion’s voice actress. They often have to act two or more roles at once and in pretty much every case, you can *tell* which of their components they are speaking as.
We return to the history of Beach City and again, we take time to explore fusion as a mutual relationship. If “Alone at Sea” is meant to uncover what toxic relationships look, sound and feel like, then “Mindful Education” helps the audience see what a healthy relationship looks like.
All of Season 5 hits a climax of epic proportions in “Last One Out of Beach City” in which Pearl picks up a mysterious pink-haired girl and we all are so excited for her we can’t stand it! Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!
Thankfully, Steven points out the obvious. Yes, she does look awfully like Rose. Clearly Pearl has a type. I’m not dissing her for it. I love pink hair on women too. ^_^
Season 5 isn’t over yet, but we’ll end here for now, because this was so good. ^_^
Art – 8
Characters – 10
Service – Not really, but fans can fetishize anything.
Yuri – 10 (!) I hope Pearl gets the girl
Overall – 10
OH, OH, do not let me forget the insanely true-to-fan-life conversation between Peridot, as she’s leaving the barn and Lapis, about “Camp Pining Hearts,” the show they ‘ship the hell out of. Did you all grin when Peri asks “What season are you watching?” I sure did. ^_^