Steven Universe 2×22 Review: The Answer
Though The Geekiary has covered Steven Universe before – most notably at San Diego Comic-Con and most recently in a recommendation – this is our first official episode review, and I have to say that I’m insanely happy about covering this episode in particular.
“The Answer” – the first episode in this fourth Steven Universe bomb – kicked off with Garnet waking Steven up at midnight on his birthday. Of course for some time she’d planned on telling him that she was a fusion on his birthday, but he already knows that. What I love about Garnet’s character building is that rather than continue showing that she can be a bit cool, this time she immediately offered Steven something new – the story of how Ruby and Sapphire met.
I am a huge Garnet fan, and while I love seeing both sides of her – the logical one, and the softer one – the episodes that delve into Ruby and Sapphire’s relationship are my absolute favorite ones. Their story is important on so many levels and in so many different ways, and “The Answer” brings so much of that together that I honestly don’t believe the show could have portrayed it any better than this.
Sapphire is “a rare aristocratic Homeworld gem”, while Ruby is a “common soldier”. She and two other Rubies (gosh, I hate pluralizing it like that) are charged with protecting Sapphire, who meets with Blue Diamond to tell her that she has seen the future and knows what will happen in the battle with the rebels. Sapphire knows she will be destroyed, as will two of the Rubies sent to protect her, but she also claims that in the end the rebels will surrender and the rebellion will be over. She also mentions re-forming, which is probably the only gripe I have with this episode – as Garnet is telling Steven her tale, she glosses over the fact that Sapphire won’t really die.
I love the almost art deco feel of the backgrounds – and even the battle scenes – throughout the first half of this episode…especially when we caught sight of who appeared to be Lapis Lazuli in the group of Blue Diamond’s courtiers. But clearly the most important parts of the battle scenes were the Rubies fusing, Rose punching them and destroying all but Sapphire’s Ruby, who then couldn’t accept failing Sapphire and risked her own life to save her. That moment when Ruby grabbed hold of Sapphire and they fused in midair, without even dancing, was magical.
Let’s be honest – from the moment Ruby [literally] ran into Sapphire, she couldn’t take her eyes off her. Between that, seeing their first fusion, and then watching as Sapphire saved Ruby, I was already having all the feels about this episode.
Yes, I know how unprofessional that sounds, and I don’t care. This show makes me so happy. I mean, Blue Diamond ordered Ruby to be broken for “daring” to fuse with Sapphire, a member of her court. And rather than let that happen, Sapphire takes things into her own hands, despite the fact that Ruby’s “impulsive gesture” led to Sapphire losing sight of her future for the first time ever.
The thing is, Ruby and Sapphire are constantly saving each other in “The Answer”. Ruby saves Sapphire from Rose Quartz and Pearl by fusing with her. Sapphire saves Ruby from being destroyed by Blue Diamond. Ruby saves Sapphire when she is literally frozen to the spot over the realization that she no longer knows what will happen. But there’s no undertone of them “owing” each other; they do what they do because they care, almost automatically, and it’s truly beautiful.
Not to mention the fact that when Ruby first truly SEES Sapphire – looks her in the eye, to be precise – she starts a fire. Which they then sit around to discuss their situation, which led to a seriously quotable conversation. Most importantly, we’ve learned that until they fused, only same-kind gems were fusing. Sapphire’s comment that she feels like she disappeared is sad, until Ruby explains that that’s not what fusion is usually like – that usually she’s still “her”, just bigger.
Their talk was followed by an amazing song, a reprise of “Stronger Than You” that was sweet and perfect. And watching their reaction to their first fusion, and the way it happened this second time, was to me very reminiscent of Stevonnie. It felt like a wonderful circular thing, something that Steven Universe does well and one of the top reasons why I love this show so much.
Garnet’s story ends with her running into Rose Quartz and Pearl again, and I have to admit that I got a bit of a laugh out of Garnet referring to Pearl as Rose Quartz’s “terrifying renegade Pearl”. I have to admit, Pearl was pretty badass in “The Answer”.
Even though Ruby and Sapphire still don’t understand what’s happening, the explanation Garnet gave moved me to tears, because it’s so real. “I feel…lost. And scared. And happy. Why am I so sure I’d rather be this than everything I was supposed to be, and that I’d rather do this than everything I was supposed to do?” To which Rose Quartz responded, “No more questions. Don’t ever question this. You already are the answer.” Cue gross sobbing on my part.
Back in real time, Steven asks Garnet what the answer is. “Love,” she replies. “Wow,” he whispers. “I knew it.” And when she told him, “So did I,” I lost it all over again.
That’s the great thing about this show – in an episode where we learned new things and got a ton of world-building and even action, the heart of it was still all about love. And in this case, it being about Ruby and Sapphire’s love – two gems who weren’t supposed to fuse simply because of class differences, but who fused anyway, who saved each other, who consented to explore this scary yet exhilarating experience together – made “The Answer” all the more powerful.
I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for the rest of this Steven Bomb.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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