Steven Universe 4×16 Review: The New Crystal Gems
After last week’s pretty heavy Stevenbomb, today’s episode, “The New Crystal Gems”, was something of a relief.
Sure, “The New Crystal Gems” had its own frustrating moments, mostly perpetrated by Peridot, but it was great to see what she, Lapis, and Connie were up to while the Crystal Gems were off rescuing Greg. Because as it turned out, while Steven told Connie to protect Beach City while they were gone…apparently Garnet entrusted Peridot and Lapis with the same mission.
At first it seemed that this would only lead to some silly hijinks, as the story of “The New Crystal Gems” started out with Peridot showing Lapis her old room (Steven’s bathroom) and introducing Connie as “Steven’s third best friend after me and you”. Even after Peridot announced that they could use Connie’s help (because “to do the job of the Crystal Gems, we need to do the JOBS of the Crystal Gems”), for a minute everything seemed to be trucking along as usual.
Well, except for Peridot prancing around as “the Garnet”, Lapis trying to recreate Amethyst’s special type of humor, Connie being completely adorable in a shirt just like Steven’s, and Pumpkin running around as Pearl, complete with a very pointy cone-shaped nose. Soon enough, however, “The New Crystal Gems” found something to do – manning Greg’s car wash when Buck Dewey arrived with his dad’s van, which was in desperate need of a wash.
As always Peridot was ready to show off her [still fairly newfound] power, so she raised the van into the air while Lapis blasted it with water; when Peridot put it down Connie toweled it off, and Buck Dewey was so amazed that he went and gathered his friends and several other townspeople and begged “The New Crystal Gems” for a repeat performance. Not surprisingly, things began to go awry – because as Lapis said earlier in the episode, Peridot *is* bossy, and while Lapis has her own deadpan sort of humor, she’s certainly no Amethyst. As for Connie, well, she tried to be Steven, but in the end the reason the Crystal Gems (including Peridot and Lapis) listen to Steven so much is because they love him, and you can’t really blame them (especially not Peridot and Lapis, because Peridot is Peridot and Lapis didn’t even remember Connie at the beginning of this episode) for not responding to Connie’s overtures the same way they would to Steven.
So Peridot called out Lapis for her “lacking performance”, Lapis started blasting the townfolk with water in an attempt to make up for that, Connie begged them to stop, Pumpkin played in a bucket of soap (I mean Peridot was right about Pearl liking soap, at least), and in the end Yellowtail’s truck – with Yellowtail still in it – was flung into the car wash sign. But you know, not before Lapis got to give us a pretty hilarious and amazing impression of Garnet. (Or of Garnet’s voice, anyway.) Poor Connie even tried to make a Steven-style speech, and while it certainly SOUNDED like one he would give, as previously mentioned, it was never going to pack the same punch as his pleas do.
Now, Peridot and Lapis have certainly had a lot of character growth since we first met them, but that doesn’t mean they no longer have any flaws. Peridot immediately blamed everyone else (or at least Lapis and Connie; Pumpkin is, after all, just a really awesome pumpkin-dog) for their failure to succeed as “The New Crystal Gems”. Lapis, for her part, can still be pretty blunt…often to the point of being almost unkind. Their argument devolved into name-calling before Connie finally exclaimed, “It must be hard for Steven to be the adult for a bunch of super-powered children!”
Touche, Connie, touche. Of course, that outburst wasn’t about to fix things, but thankfully she realized this fast enough to explain that “it’s impossible trying to solve problems if we’re just copying other people”. Thankfully this time her speech worked, and while I wasn’t in love with her renaming them “the Crystal Temps”, in the end it turned out that Greg loved the new sign they made for his car wash (since you know, they ruined the old one), and they took that name back by striking a victory pose and yelling, “Goooo Crystal Temps!”
Seriously, overall “The New Crystal Gems” was a lovely episode that didn’t miss a beat even though it didn’t feature the Crystal Gems. Steven and Connie got some sweet moments in the beginning, sure, but I loved seeing more of Peridot, Lapis, and Connie, and on top of that this episode was a great throwback to the Crystal Gem dynamics in early episodes of Steven Universe. I enjoyed every minute of it.
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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