Steven Universe 5×27: Together Alone
In “Together Alone”, Steven ‘Pink Diamond’ Universe hosts a huge ball, in the hopes of speaking to White Diamond. Things do not go as planned.
When Steven first approaches Yellow and Blue Diamond with his plan of hosting a huge ball, they both are actually very keen on the idea. To them, it seems like an excellent way to re-introduce Pink Diamond’s Court, show off the reunited Diamonds to their people, and formally introduce Era 3 to Homeworld. To help, they even lend Pink their Pearls! [Shudders]
But as even a couple of minutes chatting with Blue and Yellow Pearl unearths, ‘party’ has a very different meaning on Homeworld than Earth. It’s a formal, stilted event, all about presenting your perfect self to your Diamond. I’d say ‘No Fun Allowed’, but you’d need to have a concept of fun for that.
Well, of course, the Diamonds can have fun playing sing-song search in the water. The Pearls? Blue Pearl is ‘graciously’ allowed to draw during Court proceedings. While Yellow Pearl initially finds even that concept too much to bare, it takes only moments before she’s gleefully modelling for the blooming artist. It just goes to show that even in the heart of Homeworld, with draconian policies baked into every aspect of life, the Diamond Authority cannot fully stamp out creativity or relationships.
Which is the main theme once the ball proper starts. Initially, everyone is miserable. Pearl and Connie are playing at being perfect pets to Pink Diamond. Amethyst is stifled in limb enhancers to hide her defect. After Blue Diamond made it thoroughly clear Garnet would not be allowed to attend, Ruby and Sapphire willingly split, the two morosely dancing with their own kind.
Then Connie invites Steven to dance.
It’s a beautiful flip of “Alone Together“. In that episode, Connie was the one terrified of the anxiety of dancing before a crowd. Here, Steven is pinned down by the expectations of being Pink Diamond and the stress of attracting the ever-absent White Diamond. He says, “I don’t know, everyone’s watching.”
But Connie’s reminds him of himself by saying, “Since when has that ever bothered you?”
And of course, they fuse.
In “Alone Together”, crowd-induced anxiety and the judgement of those around them caused Stevonnie to fall apart. In “Together Alone”, they stand tall and proud in the face of hundreds of shocked and horrified Gems.
Blue and Yellow Diamond are furious. Garnet immediately reforms and jumps to Stevonnie’s defense. Pearl grabs Amethyst and Opal rushes to join the Crystal Gem team, too. And then, best of all: two gems from the crowd, to all appearances loyal Diamond supporters, fuse. “I knew I couldn’t be the only one!” the fusion shouts.
These fusions are alone, singular, in a sea of discrimination and hatred, but they stand together in a united front.
…before Yellow Diamond zaps the surprise fusion, Garnet, and Opal into oblivion.
It is this moment of “Together Alone” that stuck with me. In the ways that Steven Universe can shake you, I am well and truly shook. “The Answer” showed us Garnet’s origins, extending the metaphor for a queer relationship, how dangerous it can be to come out to the world at large. But she chose to be herself despite the consequences, knew that being Garnet was worth the turmoil.
To quote a wise television police captain: “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.” Just by being themselves out loud, the Crystal Gems are changing the universe. A Diamond loyalist – not a rebel nor an off color – saw a Diamond fusing, saw a Diamond surrounded by their court full of fusions – and that gave her the confidence to be herself.
The fact that Yellow Diamond poofs her for it, for the exact same thing ‘Pink Diamond’ did – will not be forgotten by the rest of the Homeworld citizens, I am sure of it.
This show is changing the lives of so many children. It’s okay, says Steven Universe. Be yourself, because there are others like you, and they want you to love yourself for who you really are.
The last moment of “Together Alone” is Yellow Diamond locking Stevonnie in a dark room.
How are the Crystal Gems going to get out of this one?
Author: KK Bracken & Laura B
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