I almost felt bad that at the beginning of this Steven Universe episode Peridot was still freaking out…and that I was somewhat amused by her continuing reaction to calling Yellow Diamond a clod.
The thing is, the way she was acting was totally understandable and realistic, and I know it shouldn’t have felt quite so comical to me. (Especially as I’ve kind of been there; being in shock and talking to myself, repeating things and freaking out…just without the tape recorder. So I guess for me the choice to be amused came from having experienced something similar, because laughing at myself is a thing that keeps me going.)
Personal stories aside, I loved that Steven was as Steven as ever, worried about Peridot but also believing that everything would work out, even while she was lamenting about being “a traitor, a rebel, a Crystal Gem”, protecting a planet she was previously trying to destroy. She went far enough to drop her recorder and insist that Steven take it back, because she wanted to “return madness to its source”. During all this time, Steven was focused on the fact that Garnet was the one trying to calm Peridot down, and I was wondering right along with him when those two got so friendly.
Of course once Steven had the recorder, curious Steven that he is listened to the tape. It began with Log Date 7 11 2, which was Peridot talking about Steven giving her the recorder in the first place. Even though Peridot claims that when Steven asks to call him by his name and not “THE Steven”, she responded that she would call him whatever she wanted, in Steven’s memory – as he’s listening to the recording – we see Peridot just hissing at him, which to me is far more hilarious. And I kind of hope that his memory is correct and she was just trying to talk cooler than she acted. Especially if she hissed, ha!
Next Peridot sees a bug flying and wonders if all earth beings have flying capabilities…leading to her pushing Greg off the roof. So far as I can tell Steven wasn’t there to see that, so it’s interesting that he views the scene in a sort of omniscient capacity. Regardless, this short snippet of Peridot’s time with the Gems does so many things – it further proves how logical she is (too logical, in fact, especially when you consider her deadpan observation that not all earthlings can fly), while also showing the beginnings of a fragile understanding between her and Garnet. Truthfully that understanding was more on Garnet’s side at that point; she caught Greg and explained to Peridot that he’s not like them, he’s fragile and soft…but as soon as Peridot asks, “How was I supposed to know that?” something clicks with Garnet. Her response was to say, “Greg, you’ll have to excuse Peridot. She’s far from her Homeworld and she still has a lot to learn about our planet.”
Unfortunately Peridot didn’t take the hint just then. She yelled back, “No, I don’t!” and stomped off, claiming that “the permafusion Garnet is the worst”. I can’t imagine that it helped when she was later assigned to do “Chore” and Garnet caught her wearing a pair of shorts (or in Peridot’s words, shirts) with a silly alien-head pattern. Garnet complimented her, but Peridot responded by tearing them off. Still, I loved Garnet’s thumbs-up and, Garnet fan that I am, couldn’t understand how Peridot still eschewed her.
Log date 7 12 2 was the “30th Earth roation” (a.k.a. one monthiversary) since Peridot’s capture, and Steven gave her a gift – stilts that he made out of cans, even painting flames on them because he doesn’t “know what it is about flames, they just make everything cooler”. It was all so perfectly Steven-like, and when we later saw Peridot marching around with them strapped to her feet, I had to assume that if her insistence that she “would never tie earth trash to her body” wasn’t true, she didn’t really mean her sarcastic (and therefore hurtful) “thanks” to Steven. Ugh, a lot of this episode was just so hard to watch after how awesome she was in “Message Received”!
It’s hard for me to tell when Peridot really began to change, because when she tried the can stilts she ended up falling. We don’t see her reaction to this, really, but I can’t imagine that it was a good one – not after her previous logged reactions/responses. But next thing we know she turns to a jokes book, which obviously signifies her trying to belong…unfortunately, she didn’t get the “why did the chicken cross the road” joke because she didn’t know what a chicken was. At this point I was torn between being annoyed with how she’d been acting so far in “Log Date 7 15 2” and feeling bad for her because she was actually clearly trying so hard, despite the way she was treating the Gems.
One of the strongest parts of this episode was Peridot watching the same episode of the silly show Camp Pining Hearts and ending up shipping two characters (Pierre and Percy) because they have the “strongest battle formation” and are logically perfect for each other was absolutely hilarious…but most poignant was the moment when she first saw two characters on the show kiss and asks what’s happening, whether it’s fusion. (Too bad she immediately dismissed it as drivel, but again, despite those words she kept watching. And watching. And watching. And watching. Ha!)
I also have to imagine that I’m not the only viewer who felt a connection to that moment when Steven asked Peridot if she was watching the same Camp Pining Hearts episode from three days ago and she asked, “There’s more than one?!” Especially when Steven hesitates for a moment but in the end tells her no. After that, it was both cute and frustrating that Steven fast-forwarded through the recording of Peridot going into a diatribe about why Pierre and Percy were perfect for each other…because on the one hand I know there was no time for more than that, but I also feel like there could have been some more funny bits in Peridot’s explanation. Also, at some point Garnet showed up, and ahhh why do I so very badly want to know exactly when?! Oh yeah, probably because at the end of the scene Garnet is still listening while Steven hasn’t been for some time, and her response is just another thumbs up. (Which I probably love more than is appropriate.)
In Log Date 7 13 2, Peridot says that drill progress is “optimal” but points out that some people aren’t working hard enough – at which point Amethyst shows up as Lion, claiming she’s trying to “lion the mood”. Of course Peridot didn’t understand the joke, and Pearl (who was working) was merely annoyed. (Oh so Pearl.) To me the most significant part of this particular recording was Peridot’s announcement that shapeshifting is a significant use of energy compared to the output, because what happened after that was surprising – and sweet. Amethyst shapeshifted into a purple Peridot and copied/quoted her, saying that she’d practiced her “Peri-phrasing” but admitting that it was “hard to beat the original”. It seemed to me that Peridot acted a lot more nonchalant than she felt – or maybe I’m just hopeful, or too attached to the emotion she showed in “Message Received”. If anyone has thoughts on this I’d love to hear them!
Anyway, Peridot used that moment to clarify whether Amethyst could shift into anything. Of course she can, and the fact that we next see her as a chicken was absolutely perfect. And not just because Peridot immediately “gets” the chicken joke she read earlier; because that’s what she asked for. To see a chicken. So that she could get the joke. SHE’S JUST TRYING SO HARD, GUYS, AND IT GIVES ME FEELINGS.
I have break for a moment here to admit that while I didn’t outright dislike Pearl, she was never a favorite of mine. And when she tricked Garnet into fusing with her, she lost a lot of points in my book. But throughout this Steven Bomb, some of my faith in her was restored. The fact that her response to Amethyst running around as a chicken was, “At least she isn’t lion around any more” was another step in the right direction, because it proved that she too is trying really hard, just like Peridot says at the end of this particular scene. Peridot also says that Amethyst’s company is entertaining, but that “the fused one” eludes her. And I couldn’t help grinning when Garnet gave Peridot a thumbs up just when she was recording this observation.
The big moment, though, was when Amethyst shapeshifted to move the drill and Pearl suggested they fuse. I loved the fact that she didn’t even have to say the words; Amethyst knew what she meant, and when Pearl said, “Shall we?” Amethyst’s acceptance and their dance and fusion were beautiful. Peridot was shocked to see this happen, and she seemed even more surprised when Garnet (“THE FUSION”) acted like it was no big deal.
This clearly led to Peridot finally confronting Garnet, because it seems that seeing Opal gave her more understanding of their general ideas about fusion – she told Garnet that she would get “the fusion” if it was logical, but pointed out that Garnet wasn’t using her combined size and strength to do anything.
Despite not being overly involved in the fandom, I’d heard the rumors that there may be a Perifusion in this Steven Bomb, so when Garnet told Peridot that she appreciates that they’re different and offered to teach her how to understand fusion, I was understandably on the edge of my seat. Peridot immediately freaked out over this idea, but Garnet understood completely because if anyone understands fusion, she does. (Have I mentioned how much I love Garnet? Even if I had that moment of disappointment that there would be no Perifusion.)
Even though Garnet told Peridot that it was okay and they could do it another time, Peridot insisted on trying, which was true to her character. Again I was on the edge of my seat, so yeah, it was a bit disappointing when Peridot put on her stilts and Garnet put on music and as they begin dancing and Garnet tells her to get ready…Peridot loses her grip on/lets go of Garnet’s hand. I felt so horrible for Peridot, watching her stumble away saying “No no no…” while at the same time obviously feeling bad as she admits that she can’t do it. But again Garnet was perfect (not that she always is, but gosh she’s been great in this Bomb); she told Peridot it was okay and that she was proud of her because Peridot made an effort to understand Garnet.
But Peridot being Peridot, she still couldn’t let go. She needed her explanation. “But I still don’t understand you,” she says to Garnet. “Why are you fused all the time.”
All that Garnet had to say was, “I’m Percy and Pierre,” and Peridot got it. Because this show is so amazing at circling back to something that was important in its own right and making it even more so.
Finally we arrived at Log Date 7 14 2, which began with Peridot asking Garnet to record and then copping a bit of an attitude when Garnet didn’t say the numbers properly. From there Peridot took over for a minute to say “I have attempted a fusion with the fusion Garnet. I had hoped to gain a better understanding of fusion; instead I gained a better understanding of Garnet.” So there was another answer for Steven, although of course Garnet knew that all of this was going to happen. I don’t know why Steven looked kind of shocked when she took hold of the tape recorder and told Steven that he shouldn’t have listened to Peridot’s logs, because I wasn’t really surprised. The fact that Garnet didn’t chide him farther than that but merely told him that she knew his curiosity came from a place of caring and told him to give the recorder back to Peridot was definitely a “YAY FUTUREVISION” moment for me. Especially when Steven immediately gave the recorder back and “Log Date 7 15 2 ended with Garnet giving that awesome thumbs up of hers.
Steven Bomb 4 told some awesome stories, gave a couple of answers, and opened up a few new mysteries. But in the end the real point is that it left me wanting more, just as it always has.
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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