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Steven Universe Season 3 thoughts

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This post is meant for people who are in the know about this show. If you haven’t yet followed my very serious recommendation, don’t read on.

This post will be about an assortment of thoughts. I’ve had many, I’ll try to stay on course.

1. Love Like You

I very much appreciate how the outro song of the show has grown in relevance in this subtle way for a long time. For most of the first season, it was a purely instrumental song, using minimal additions in instrumentation that on first hearing one is very likely to miss. Then (with the end of The Message and Political Power), it became ominous. Subverting a musical theme that one had become used to so much was a pretty powerful move.

And then, after Jail Break, the song took on its current life. With Rebecca Sugar singing the lyrics in the direct context of the new knowledge about Garnet, it first seemed like a song about her. Sugar’s voice is similar enough to that of Estelle (Garnet’s voice actor) to make you think that.

It took half a season for the first real variation to show up. At the end of Nightmare Hospital, we were given quite clear indication that there may be a complete song behind this.

And then, in Season 3, spanning the exact duration of the „Summer of Steven“, the song grew more and more complete, adding five different verses at the ends of significant episodes. With the end of Season 3, we are at this Version, which may just be a preliminarily complete song. Although this phase took about 20 episodes, I would certainly call this an escalation and acceleration. With the final episode of Season 3 using the ending theme inside the Episode, it is clear they intended for the song to grow more relevant to fans throughout this season. I would not even be surprised if this evolution of Love Like You had been planned from the beginning just as much as the actual macro plot of the show.

Even now, it is not entirely clear whose song it is, and whom it is addressed to. There is no perfect fit for any of the characters in the show – specifically because the song is about self-doubt and – as the very last line confirms „[if I could even learn how to] love me like you“ about the struggle to love oneself. I believe, at this point, that this is not the song of one specific character in the show, addressed to another. We have heard Rebecca Sugar saying how much of the show comes from her and her life. I believe this is meant to be her, the real person, singing. About feelings that likely vast majorities of listeners can relate to. Which is why it is possible to project much of it onto many of the characters.

I originally intended to add „this is one of the very few songs in the world that have, possibly out of respect for the work, not been remixed to have a 4/4 techno beat. I was, of course, wrong. I’m sorry you have to know about this abomination.

2. Theories

One of the great things with a show that knows where it is going instead of making shit up along the way or just not having a continuity is that you can tell from dramatic structure and foreshadowing where things are going. SU provides an amazing basis for theories and has a few very good experts (especially Youtubers Cartoon Universe and AJ Universe). People have correctly foreseen, long before these things were established in the show, the gem war and Garnet, Peridot’s Face turn and Green Ranger arc, Jasper’s relationship with fusion and corruption, and lots of details about Rose Quartz. Personally I have had the following picture framed on my wall for 1,5 years now and it only finally happened in the show a week ago.

But there are also a lot of people who don’t put that much effort in or… I suppose they don’t understand the message of the show? I just want to take this opportunity to thoroughly diss them. I have a strong dislike of The Roundtable (who, despite the name, is a single person) and their extremely unfounded and wrong theories. In the one I just linked, he sets up 3 false dichotomies, with all the options he has set up having been disproven already. He usually just has trouble with logic.

But there is also this theory, called „Rose Quartz IS Pink Diamond„, which made me incredibly angry. Please read it before continuing to understand what I’m going to say.
It made me angry not only because it takes a minor statement and from that spins a giant, completely unfounded story with 0 evidence for it within the show (like „rebels would not follow a diamond“ (which had already been shown to be untrue) and „If pink diamond just faded away while the rebellion started, her court would not be blamed for the war“ (which had already been shown to be untrue)  and „When Rose soul-projects, she takes her powers with her“ (which had already been shown to be untrue)), instead of taking occam’s razor and simply finding that maybe Bismuth’s statement just wasn’t literally true.

But specifically because of this line: „[T]he gem [she took over] was somehow defective and hadn’t been able to properly form sentience [which made it ok to do]“ – Do you see where my problem may be with this? You have seen centipeetle’s return. It is very transparent that corrupted/defective gems are a metaphor for people with heavy handicaps, unable to speak. I have worked with such people for a while. We know the authorial intent behind the show is to be about diversity and understanding. What this quote is implying is that a defective gem could be „not enough of a person“ so that Pink Diamond could have just taken control over her because that gem’s life was „not worthwhile“. This deeply-offensive-to-me idea goes hand in hand with the other problem of the theory: That it tries to bargain a way for Rose to in some way still be around or to return.

People who keep trying to find ways to make Rose Quartz return are being childish about this. She’s gone for good, this is the point of her stories. The people in the show have to deal with grief over her loss. It’s not even subtext. This is text. It stands for having lost loved ones, parents. Dead people don’t return in the real world. Rose won’t return in the show. Growing over conflict, seeing the good even in people who continually antagonize you, understanding and loving people for their differences and weaknesses, and learning to accept emotions are the values of this show. Bargaining for mom to return doesn’t work.

3. Fusion predictions

We have seen a bunch of them already. In the following chart, green lines show Fusions that have already happened, blue lines are ones that I find likely, orange lines are ones that could make dramatical sense but that have no evidence yet.

Lapis and Peridot don’t really have much of a relationship with the other crystal gems. Neither as a conflict nor a friendship. Lapis is literally coming out of a troubled, abusive relationship and unlikely to return to fusions-for-necessity. She will likely become abstinent for a while. But her relationship with peridot has been clearly established, starting at a low point and growing to „art college roommates“ at the current point. If at all, I foresee her together with Peridot.

Steven is Peridot’s only other likely option, since she is already so focused on him, willing to impress him and clearly respects him. Since fusion is very clearly a relationship/sex-metaphor though, I think Peridot is more likely to first lose her fusion-virginity with her her canon-ship Lapis.

There is no specific reason right now to expect why Pearl or Garnet would fuse with Steven, I suppose such an event would come from a personal growth story between them that has not yet been started. They certainly have no reason not to. Also the five-gem-fusion with all of them is extremely certain to happen at some distant point where immense power is needed.

Jasper is the most problematic of the bunch since her situation is so much up in the air right now. I can only make assumptions about where she’ll go based on dramatic necessity. Her „antagonist“ line is basically over: It has been shown that she, likely one of the strongest non-unique soldiers from homeworld, is weaker than any two-person fusion. Returning her for more fighting is unlikely. I see two possible ways for her story to eventually conclude: She will have to see how wrong she was in Earthlings. Either she eventually does join the crystal gems as a distant friend who may one day be allowed to fuse with Steven. Or – I find this most likely at the current point – when a new major enemy is established, she redeems herself, loses to them and dies for good. If someone in the show has to be shattered, it will likely be her. But on good terms, not while she is angry and still has so many unpaid bills.

About fusion dominance

I have not seen other people mention this before, but I think it is a real thing: In many fusions we have seen so far, one of the involved parties has a more clear impact on the look and personality of the fusion. Opal and Sardonyx are Pearl-y. Rainbow Quartz at least visually is more Rose. Malachite is much more Jasper. This effect is reduced in relationships that are more equal (Garnet, Stevonnie, Smoky Quartz) and in most mixes with 3+ gems where it is harder for one to shine through (Sugilite, Alexandrite).

I don’t think this is some kind of canon phenomenon that anyone in the show will ever explicitly mention, I believe this is a consequence of the coherent and consequent writing. Garnet stands back and lets the others lead unless she foresees something important, so she never dominates her fusions. Pearl is already a dominant and talky person, so this also extends to the identities she is a part of. Steven is friendly and takes the pace of his partners, making his fusions very balanced. Keep an eye out if future fusions confirm this analysis.

4. Future of the show

This is the part where I bring my own predictions and risk being wrong. Come back to mock me for this if I am disproven in the future. At this current point, the end of Season 3, we have a lot of balls in play but all current conflicts are in a „preliminarily solved/on hold“-situation: The rubies are drifting in space, Jasper is bubbled, Centipeetle is out there, The Cluster is bubbled, Rose’s Story can be told whenever the gems dare and Steven finally asks. Any of these can and (let’s be honest this is basically certain) will be brought up again, but this can happen whenever the writers want it to. Like any good „as long as they are not on-screen, they are presumably doing nothing or the same thing they were last shown doig“ writing, we can pick these stories up when it is time. I do suspect though that Season 4 will add another factor – in the same way Season 3 brought in the Rubies with no warning. Yellow Diamond is too strong, angry and unconvince-able to physically bring in soon, so I suspect a previously-unseen gem or other factor.

I doubt the rubies will remain enemies – only Eyeball and Army were even unfriendly at all, the others were shown to be gentle, clueless, or simply satisfied. And Eyeball does seem to be hiding some affection towards Doc, something that Steven or Garnet may be able to help with when given the chance. I expect they will either start living on earth as well – or return home with reports that skew facts in the favour of the crystal gems.

Oh, and I’d really like to learn more about unique or near-unique gems. Sapphire confirmed that she was a rare gem back then, but she and lapis didn’t even bother to really dress up when the rubies appeared. Unless everyone in that scene was really just plot-dumb, the possible reason may be that they both know that there are no others with their looks on homeworld now. I think Lapis may actually be the strongest living individual gem we have seen so far, potentially on one level with Rose. I would not be surprised if those three were rare enough that only a handful of them existed (technically they could also be entirely unique, that seems unlikely for a military/hierarchy-based social system like Homeworld’s though).

5. Final bit

We’ve been working on this for like a year. I was rose. I hope we’ll expand the group next time.

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Written by vetaro

11. August 2016 um 8:12 am

Veröffentlicht in Uncategorized

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