Another double batch of Steven Universe episodes to review. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Raising The Barn
A theme from this new batch of episodes is starting to emerge. It feels as if they are all intent on breaking down the support net surrounding Steven. This actually seems like a logical step to take. After the Wanted special, where Steven came to face to face with the leaders of Homeworld, it’s understandable to want to put a few roadblocks in his path. It would be too easy to just have a storyline where Steven warped back, beat the Diamonds, and the series ended. Instead, episodes like this help to showcase Steven is not as well prepared as he could be and the bonds between those he knows and cares for are fragile.
The episode also taps into the ideal of wanting to confront someone about a major decision they don’t agree with. It’s a good ideal which many people deal with and it’s also impressive how the episode ended with the solution not being simple. Consequences to actions is what makes Steven Universe so entertaining.
Back To the Kindergarten
Steven, Amethyst and Peridot try to spruce up the kindergarten.
Though the biggest aspect of the this episode is the emotional turmoil Peridot goes through (complete with listening to depressing music in the dark), there is a more subtle element at work. Through Peridots angry rantings a lot of points are made about how Gem culture works. The society seems to resemble the most basic of alien invasion plots. The plan can be simplified as a planet has resources, gems need resources to spawn, and afterward the area is a husk which nothing is able to grow on. Rinse lather and repeat. It’s intimidating when you think about it. Even if the Cluster doesn’t awaken and destroy the Earth, Homeworld will still suck the life out of the planet and leave it a shallow husk.
Much like the previous episode, this one offers a brief sense of hopelessness, the small push of hope and a reminder Steven’s journey isn’t near completion. Two great episodes which continue to deal with the turmoil of the Wanted special. Hopefully the trend will continue into future episodes.