SPOILERS AND UNPOPULAR OPINION
So tonight’s episode of Steven Universe was…very awesome and very frustrating at the same time. Or rather, it started off great but then took a wrong turn for the third act.
At first, I was so excited. Finally, some character development from Connie and knowing more about her life outside of Steven and her parents! Finally, we get to hear Garnet sing again! And we have a really great song about facing your problems and working together to get through them in a healthy way! It was awesome…and then it got undone by the climax.
At the climax, after the song, Connie has learned to make up for her mistakes. After accidentally hurting a schoolmate, she apologizes to him and everything’s good. Then Connie and Steven fuse again to train more, and we get a glimpse of Steven’s problems. He’s upset over the fact that he couldn’t save Jasper (fair enough, she was going to hurt him if he tried), the Eyeball Ruby (there wasn’t anything stopping him or the Crystal Gems from saving her or the other rubies by looking for them in their spaceship but okay), and…Bismuth. Even though he just bubbled her away and there’s nothing stopping him from unbubbling her, reconciling with her with the safety of his friends, and maybe having her chill out elsewhere. She wasn’t exactly malicious, she was just very upset, hurt, and traumatized. So…good job lumping these characters together, show.
Then we get this ominous shot of Steven’s perspective of his mother:
I think the implication here is that Steven feels responsible for the death of his mother, or he feels like he can’t measure up to her, or both.
Anyways, after all that, Stevonnie falls into the sky and unfuses. Steven cries and says: “I didn’t want to hurt anyone! I’m sorry! None of them would let me help them! I had no choice!”
Except…you did have a choice. Again, maybe you really couldn’t save Jasper or the Rubies (at least, not on your own, you could’ve got the other Gems to help you), but there is literally nothing stopping you from making amends with Bismuth. And honestly? These lines all read to me of Steven feeling extremely sorry for himself but refusing to take responsibility. Instead of doing what Connie does and tries to make amends, he just pities himself and makes it sound like all those gems (who are very unfeminine, mind you) are just too damn unreasonable and irredeemable.
In the end, Connie has to comfort Steven and they manage to work through the situation together. It ends with Stevonnie lying on the grass and saying “I’m here” and that’s it.
Look. I have to be extremely honest: I’m really, really frustrated with Steven’s character. He’s fourteen years old but he acts like an eight year old. He’s too innocent, too idealistic, too childlike, and he’s not behaving remotely like a teenager. He doesn’t talk about his problems at all (not even angrily venting at the Crystal Gems even though he feels like they discreetly hate him) or vent out his frustrations. The show is presenting him as this perfect little kid who isn’t allowed to properly grow up or develop. This is getting especially bad because he’s not facing proper repercussions or taking responsibility for possessing people’s bodies or tossing Gems into space, nor is he allowed to get any help for how badly he feels. It’s especially embarrassing that he needs to be comforted by someone YOUNGER than him even though it should be the other way around. I understand that Steven is sheltered and all, but it’s getting really old and grating to see him stay like this for YEARS.
I want him to be honest with the Gems about how he feels about them and his mother. I want him to emphatically yell “I am not my mother. I AM STEVEN”. I want him to really rebel, and not just disobey orders in order to ‘help’ them. I’m just tired of Steven being a precious cinnamon roll ALL the time. Precious cinnamon roll characters are good for movies, but for television shows, where we see the character go on for a long time, it gets annoying. You want them to go through some form of development. And I think it’s precisely because of Steven being a cinnamon roll that he’s not properly dealing with his feelings or getting the right help for his bottled up emotions. Instead of telling the Gems how he feels and how he’s hurt and angry all the time, he just acts sad.
And this is why I’m officially done with this show: I’m tired of Steven’s character. I no longer get any enjoyment out of him. At first I could tolerate him (he was fine, but didn’t do anything for me) but now Steven actively repels me. I’m bored and frustrated with him. I want him to actually grow up and mature and act like a real teenager. The point of the show is that he’s half alien and half human, and I feel like we get too much of him being an alien.
So I’m signing off. I’ll keep tabs on any worldbuilding tips and more fusions (I want to see all of the Diamonds!) but I’m not going to keep watching the show. It’s just gotten way too frustrating for me. I just hope by the time the show ends I can start enjoying it again. I don’t want to leave it completely with a bitter taste in my mouth.