Here We Are In The Future…
It’s no secret that Steven Universe: Future had a rocky start, and perhaps even a rocky middle as well. Meandering slice-of-life stories that seemed to go nowhere were contrasted only with villains disappearing as suddenly as they popped into existence meant for a sluggish season that left fans frustrated. It almost seemed as if the Crystal Gems had lost their luster after the glittering musical film full of heartbreaking stories and toe-tapping songs. But finally, in these last few episodes, it feels like Steven Universe: Future has finally returned to form.
And It’s Bright!
Episode 12, Bismuth Casual, is a beautiful “bottle episode” taking place almost entirely within a local roller rink, now a gathering place of both gems and humans alike. (I hope they have skates big enough for some of the larger gems!) Here we see not only an adorable thread of a romance between Bismuth and Pearl – perhaps the latter is finally over losing Rose Quartz and is ready to move on to happier and healthier relationships! – but also we catch a glimpse of the bitter sting of what’s become of Steven’s relationship with humans.
His time away with the Diamonds has made a serious negative impact in his human-oriented social life and he finds it hard to relate to anyone his own age any more. While it was amazing to see the return of Stevonnie, his fusion with Connie, his inability to spend time with her except on a one-on-one setting is worrying and sets the stage for the next episode.
While the title of the following episode, Together Forever seems to imply yet another adorable wedding episode, but what follows is much more heart-wrenching. Desperate to stay in Connie’s life, despite the stark differences in their future plans, Steven turns to the two halves of Garnet for advice. Unfortunately, they give him the wrong idea and he ends up proposing to Connie (with an adorable song and beautiful beach picnic at sunset, no less) which ends about as poorly as it can. She says no, at least not right now considering what stages they are in their lives. To make matters worse, Garnet (now re-fused) tells a heartbroken Steven that his proposal and eventual despair was all but inevitable.
It was nice to see Sapphire and Ruby spending some healthy time apart, though!
Growing Pains is not only the most adorable reference to Akira ever made, but also the most real episode of Steven Universe ever made. The show does away with any cutesy metaphors or thick paint describing trauma, abuse, and complicated family dynamics. They outline in real-world medical terms and all but name PTSD as the cause of Steven’s recent Gem-magic outbursts and list some of the traumas he has been through since coming of age as a Crystal Gem. They don’t make it past Season 1 before Doctor Maheswaran stops that train of thought.
It’s absolutely chilling seeing how many bones Steven has broken on his highly dangerous missions (they healed instantly thanks to the miracle of healing magic, but every single one popped up on his disturbing X-Ray), and even worse, the ending is left very open. There’s no all-powerful Gem cure for trauma. He has to live with it and heal the same way as everyone else.
Mister Universe starts as a heartwarming road trip between a recovering Steven (self-medicating with ice cream, a man after my own heart) and his father, Greg, in which they take a detour to Greg’s childhood home. Apparently the DeMayo’s (Greg Universe’s original surname) were a very whitebread, but restrictive family who disproved of all the things Greg loves, namely staying out late, having long hair, and rock and roll music. All this adorable, if gut-wrenching, nostalgia is interrupted by Steven finally realizing that he had missed out on the stability of an ordinary childhood. He accuses Greg, perhaps rightfully so, of making some poor choices as a parent, a fight which may have caused a permanent rift in their relationship.
The episode Fragments begins with a distressed Steven, who thankfully survived crashing The Van along with squishy, human father. But emotionally speaking, Steven is less than okay. He takes off to the woods to find Jasper, of all people and they have an epic training montage where we finally get some action in! Who would have thought I’d missed one of my least-favorite parts of the show? Steven has a buffed-out new body and goes full Limit Break on Jasper, shattering her – the first time we’ve seen a shattering on screen. A tearful Steven, now back in his more familiar teenagerly form, pleads that the combination of Diamond potions, along with his own Pink Diamond tears, will heal the shattered Gem. To his surprise, Jasper emerges from the water, immediately bowing before “her Diamond” and Steven’s “might”.
I Can’t Believe We’ve Come So Far
What’s in the future for Steven Universe: Future? Going by the promo and the title Homeworld Bound, my best guess is that Steven will be going back to the Gem Homeworld, possibly to consult with the Diamonds themselves. I believe that his last encounter with Jasper is what will send Steven over the edge in thinking that he doesn’t truly belong in the Human world anymore (for better or for worse). My hope is that he will also run into Spinel again, who we have yet to see since the Movie. In fact, she had her first mention since the Movie in these last few episodes.which was refreshing, it felt as if she had been completely erased.
After that, who knows what the future holds?
Any predictions for the Steven Universe: Future finale?
Share them in the comments below!
Tune into the last four episodes at 7PM EST/6 C
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Anny messed up. Big time. Now she’s stuck with WISR, the most bitter and sarcastic android every programmed. Together, they travel the stars trying to save every robot they can – if they don’t kill each other first!