Connie’s first mission! Connie’s first mission! Seriously, I was almost as excited as Steven was for this. It’s what I’ve been waiting for since she first showed up with Rose’s sword in the updated opening, and “Gem Hunt” delivered, even if it was in an unexpected way.
“Gem Hunt” is the second episode that Colin Howard has storyboarded alongside Jeff Liu, and like “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, it was another winner. Pearl got to be silly and maternal (thank you for giving the sad rock some happiness after “Mr. Greg,” seriously Crewniverse). Steven got to be… Steven, snapping pics whether the moment was opportune for it or not. But Connie was the real delight in this episode, with her environmentalist ranting about “peak oil” and her dedication to surviving “the punishment of nature.” And when I wasn’t laughing at the absolute seriousness with which she crunched on the snow of the Gem monster’s tracks, I was admiring how awesome the sound editing is on this show (for the millionth time). My teeth ached, the sound was so realistic.
I also always admire and appreciate how much time the Crewniverse takes in their precious eleven minutes to let Connie and Steven just be kids. Not to say there aren’t layers to pretty much anything in this show – for example, portraying the difference between how Steven and Connie would get down a snowy hill highlights their parallels to Ruby and Sapphire, the ultimate complementary duo. Every time Connie and Steven are fighting alongside each other, a part of me hopes that this will be the moment, the moment they fuse, and Stevonnie forms to combine their offense/defense into one amazing warrior…. But that wasn’t “Gem Hunt”.
I am thrilled they’re not leaving Jasper behind for an indeterminate stretch of time (again). I was shocked when she came back so soon in “Alone at Sea,” and now she’s back again, with promises of real villainy in her future…and this time, for everyone in the main cast, rather than just Lapis. Why does she want to collect the corrupted Gems? Does she want to try to fuse with them? If Centipeetle can’t use a warp while corrupted, I doubt she could fuse either. Is it because those Gems used to be jaspers, just like her? The details certainly hint at the similarities between them, with their manes and their size and their aggression. Whatever Jasper’s plans, they can’t be good.
Still, a part of me wonders if Jasper as the main villain of the season three finale is as big a red herring as the humanoid footprints indicating the Gem monster was overcoming the corruption itself was. I have no doubt we’ll see Jasper again soon, with her new, er, pets, but we know Yellow Diamond is actively searching for her. It would be just like Steven Universe to pull that rug out from under us just as the Crystal Gems defeat Jasper, to have another, much bigger threat arrive on Earth.
Overall, “Gem Hunt” was a delightful episode. It spotlighted some wonderful character interactions, from Pearl’s dorky mothering to the kids’ reckless enthusiasm. It functioned as a call back to the simpler ‘mission’ episodes of season one, while still moving the plot forward. It gave tantalizing hints, from the Gem monsters apparently communicating, to Jasper’s continued obsession with “Rose”. But mostly, it just got me really, really amped up for what’s to come.
Author: KK Bracken & Laura B
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