Steven Universe 3×23: Back to the Moon
The Rubies have returned from Neptune, bringing with them their trademark silliness. Also returning, a staple for Steven Universe: a fun, lighthearted episode which then gleefully suckerpunches you with feelings!
There really is so much wonderful cuteness in this episode that we have to talk about. The Rubies’ nicknames finally making it into the show proper! Their adorable hero worshipping of ‘Jasper’! Lapis’s beautiful impassiveness! Steven displaying some excellent leadership! Amethyst, still riding the Smoky Quartz-induced confidence high, and showing off her shapeshifting skills! The Crystal Gems all being abysmal actors! Garnet holding Steven’s hand! Sardonyx’s triumphant return!
Discovering that Rose murdered Pink Diamond!
There being a connection between Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond has been virtually undeniable ever since the latter’s symbol first started cropping up. One of the more popular branches of the theory was finally and irrevocably quashed in last night’s “Earthlings,” that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond were somehow the same Gem, and now we know for certain that Rose actually shattered her Diamond matriarch. She did so in front of witnesses, including Eyeball. Otherwise, this revelation we have been waiting over one hundred episodes for opens up almost as many questions as it answers. If there were witnesses, how did Rose make her getaway to Earth? Was Pearl there? What were Pink Diamond’s sympathies when it came to the Crystal Gems? When did the shattering occur — did it spark the war, or was it the last straw which caused the other Diamonds to decide to release the Corruption? What was Pink Diamond and Rose Quartz’s relationship before the final blow was struck? What was the fallout on Homeworld after the death of a Diamond, thought to be infallible?
Most of all, how in the world is the knowledge his mother shattered another Gem going to affect Steven?
We saw the fallback, a little. Steven was distraught and disbelieving. Any question that the Rubies’ story might be based in some kind of Homeworld propaganda-based lie was effectively eliminated in the face of Pearl’s horrified reaction to the tale. His mother, Rose Quartz, who believed all life was precious, was a murderer. And, oh, how terribly and wonderfully the Crewniverse has crafted this revelation, on the heels of “Bismuth.” Was Rose’s part in Pink Diamond’s death kept a secret from most of the Crystal Gems, another one of the lies that Bismuth blamed her for? Or did Bismuth know, and wrongly assumed that Rose would therefore agree to the Breaking Point, having made that terrible decision for Earth once before? Was part of her bitterness towards Rose caused by the apparent hypocrisy of her decision?
Jasper, too, has a part to play in the Pink Diamond reveal. Eyeball called it “a tragedy, what happened to her,” but it was Jasper’s agony from “Earthlings” that drives home how great of a loss the Diamond is considered to Homeworld Gems. I am not saying Jasper had a right to do any of the things she did in her Steven Universe appearances so far, but right or wrong, Gems feel an intense devotion to their Diamonds, and the permanent loss of one is sure to be felt deeply by erstwhile members of her court. It is no wonder Homeworld still holds a grudge.
Considering most of “Back to the Moon” felt like low stakes cuteness, the wallop of the Pink Diamond reveal barely had time to sink in before Steven was blasting out the moon door into space. It may be only twenty-four hours away, but it’s going to feel like a long time before we find out what happens to our precious space son in the season finale, “Bubbled.”
Author: KK Bracken & Laura B
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