Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SU Recap: Rising Tides, Crashing Skies

In most other action shows, city and town settings merely serve as backdrops for the action. In Power Rangers, after the monster of the day finishes wrecking the city and getting destroyed by the good guys, the episode ends only for the very next episode to show the city good as new—as if a giant monster hadn’t been rampaging through it in the previous episode! The same thing can be seen in other shows such as Powerpuff Girls or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the city gets destroyed one episode, only to appear undamaged the very next.

For this reason, it’s a breath of fresh air when, following the events of the Steven Universe season one finale, it takes several episodes for Beach City to return to normal as everyone else is cleaning up and recovering from the aftermath. We see the wreckage of the Gemworld ship remain scattered along the beach for several episodes until the Crystal Gems get around to cleaning it up. This commitment to realism is one of the many small details that make the show feel real for us.

With all the crazy stuff that goes on in Beach City, you has to wonder what the other denizens of the town think about it. How do they really feel about their town getting attacked by monsters, and how do they feel about the Gems? Do they appreciate the work that they do to keep evil away, or do they consider them a nuisance that the town would be better without.

In the guise of an amateur online documentary, “Rising Tides, Crashing Skies”, reveals these answers and allows us a glimpse into the perspective of the townspeople and the previous events surrounding the season finale. This type of perspective is something that is often lost with other action shows. We see the heroes fight off the villains, but we rarely see how the townspeople have to cope with it. For this reason, Steven Universe helps bring the show down to earth, humanizing the characters and helping us to identify with them.

That and it’s funny to see Ronaldo act like the lovable conspiracy nut that he is!

You spin me right round, baby, right round. (On a side note, I'm not sure why Ronaldo didn't simply edit that out or do a retake. Even amateur filmmakers make a concerted effort to edit their footage.)

Ronaldo thinks Steven, an 11-year-old boy, is pregnant. Not sure if I should find that funny or expect it to be an actual future plot point. (Also, callback to "Steven's Lion"!)

You know, I always wondered how the Crystal Gems managed to evade the public eye for so long, especially considering past events. This episode somewhat gives me a good explanation: their existence is too extraordinary to believe.

Think about it: if you saw a YouTube video about an alien hand landing from outer space, would you believe it? If you answered the way I thought you would, then you can see why no one would have noticed the Crystal Gems.

Most dangerous boardwalk? I think Boardwalk Empire would contest that claim.

I think most of us would cry like babies if we saw a giant alien hand falling from the sky.

Not sure what's cuter, PeeDee denying that he was freaking out, or Ronaldo pretending to consul his little brother.

Krabby uses pinch. It's super effective.

Playing a game of volleyball does not "try to knock you in the face" make. (You'd think she would have a better perception of them, considering how well she and Amethyst were getting along.)

Mayor Dewey being your typical politician. Nothing else I can say here.

"I'll participate in your groundbreaking interview only if you participate in a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade." Man, don't you wish more interviewees were as flexible?

Is it weird that the only thing I'm fixated on with this scene is whether or not Ronaldo will knock over that glass of lemonade, which he should really place on the table--with a coaster.

Okay, seriously? I know that everyone wants to play off of Onion being considered a freak, but do we really to label him with question marks. I would have assumed "Onion Friend" would allow people to be more tolerant of him.


Does this scene sort of insinuate that ordinary people are unaware that they are being controlled by conspiratorial forces because those same conspiratorial forces are forcing them to work to the point where they can't pay attention?

I know that we're supposed to side against Ronaldo here, but he does bring up a legit point: in shows like this, the heroes are always saving the town from the bad guys, but the bad guys are always attacking because they want to get to the heroes in the first place. It's a lot like that Batman episode where Batman has to defend himself from the allegations that it's he who's really putting Gotham in danger because he's the one that Joker and the other villains are after. It's quite the conundrum. The hero has to save the town, but the town always seems to be in danger because of the hero.

"Without the weird stuff in beach city, there would be nothing for you to blog about."

Huh. Considering the nature of Rinaldo's videos and blogs, this seems to be an equal indictment of conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones or Glenn Beck. Without big bad Obama, they have nothing to rant about. So hey try to stop him when he's the reason they're famous in the first place.

I just love how calmly Garnet is handling the situation: rather than escalate what would otherwise be a heated confrontation, she just complies with the crazy to prevent it from escalating any further.

You know, you have to wonder what the point of the video was. It was an expose on the gems, then about Rinaldo trying to get rid of the gems, then about him bringing the gems back. So, what just happened here? What did this video accomplish?

Only one view? B-b-but crazy conspiracy videos and documentaries always get a gazillion ratings. No, seriously, they do. Nothing attracts views like the crazy. (At least Steven was nice enough to to like it.)