Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, February 1, 2016

SU Recap: The Answer

I always found it head-scratching that there were fans who were still "on the fence" about whether or not Ruby and Sapphire were a romantic couple. Really? It wasn't obvious the first time they were introduced? If it wasn't, then "Keystone Motel" should have been your wake-up call, and this episode should have been the cold water on your face. Because at this point, if you still don't get that these two are "space lesbians", you're not ignorant, you're in denial.

I really loved this episode. I'm even tempted to say that this is my favorite episode of the Steven Bomb. We've had episodes told as stories from the past from Greg's perspective, but this is the first time we've had an episode told from the perspective of one of the Crystal Gems. Not only do we get more information on Garnet, but also a deeper look at Gem Homeworld society, and along with the other episodes in the Steven Bomb, we get an overall greater insight.

But most of all, we get greater insight on Ruby and Sapphire's relationship. It's cliche to say that two people complete one another as a couple, but in their case, it's quite literal. Both of them, prior to their fusion, had felt incomplete. Both had a low sense of self-worth of themselves: Ruby because of her place as a member of a lowly servant class where everyone literally is a carbon copy of one another, and Sapphire because of how her whole life has been predetermined for her with no sense of free will on her part. Alone, they felt worthless, but only by literally coming together do they actual have a sense of identity. Now this is deep, even for a kid's show, which is why I love this show so much!

Question: How has Garnet been able to hide the fact that she's a fusion from Steven for so long? As of "Steven's Birthday", Steven is 14 years old. That's 14 years that Garnet has kept her being a fusion a secret. How did she manage to do that? Was there really no point during Steven's life that she's ever de-fused? Or does she simply de-fuse when Steven isn't looking? That may explain why she takes so many long trips away from Steven, as was seen in "Garnet's Universe."

Also, it was a nice birthday present for Garnet to explain the history of Ruby and Sapphire, as a way to make up for not being able to expose that she was a fusion, as she had originally intended. I'd imagine that the conversation between Ruby and Sapphire went a little something like this:

Ruby: Argh! It's Steven's birthday and we have nothing to give him. Now that he already knows that we’re a fusion, we can't surprise him with that. What are we going to do?!?!

Sapphire: We're going to think of something, but you need to cool down.

Ruby: Cool down? Easy for you to say. You have freaky ice powers. I'm a burning flame, baby!

Sapphire: Perhaps we can tell him the story about how we first met.

Ruby: Saphy, you're as smart as you're sexy. Now come and give me some sugar while I look into your one eye.

Ruby and Sapphire both arrived to earth 5,750 years ago. The show claims that Gem Homeworld had arrived to earth at least 6,000 years ago. Not a historian, but I'd figure that time frame would be around the epoch of early human civilization. Considering that the gems left many structures behind, many of which look like early ancient architecture, I'd wager that these gem structures inspired early man with their architecture. So the pyramids were really inspired by alien life--at least in the universe of Steven Universe.

Apparently, most lower-class gems like Ruby seem to be carbon copies of one another aside from the placement of their gems.

Huh. That silhouette in the foreground looks familiar. Who else do we know who has a similar hair style, dress, blue color, and tear-shaped gem in the back of their backs? Hmm…

Nah! Must be a huge co-inky-dink! /s

These three gems here are similar in appearance to three Gems that were revealed in Pearl's hologram of the Lunar Sea Spire in "Cheeseburger Backpack."

"It was bound to happen." When you can see the future, nothing really catches you off guard like that.

Did I mention how the art style in this episode is simply glorious? With most of the other characters as translucent silhouettes, it almost makes everything appear like a shadow puppet play.

This one lone blue pearl only appears for a few seconds, yet she has had such an impact within the fan community, with everyone making some form of fan art after her. She doesn’t even have any lines, unlike the yellow pearl in an upcoming episode.

But then again, we don’t have to hear her say anything to learn anything about her. Her appearance and mannerism says everything we need to know. Her hair is unkempt, but the rest of her appearance is stately enough as it is. It shows that she has little time to tend to her own appearance, but enough time to appear "regal" enough to keep up appearances in court. Or perhaps she's required to look a little bit "ugly" in order to make Blue Diamond look all the more regal in contrast.

Her demeanor come across as shy and even slightly fearful.  She is obviously humble enough to attend to one of the highest authority figures in her world, yet also fearful of that leader's said wrath. If Blue Diamond's handling of Ruby later in this episode is any indicator, that fear seems to be quite justified.

"We are the crystal gems." We'll always save the day, and if you think we can't, we'll--oops, sorry about that!

So by a "small persistent group of rebels", they mean two people. No offense, but the original resistance was rather pathetic, at least in terms of numbers. We're talking about two people single-handedly taking it upon themselves to fight against an entire civilization with legions upon legions of armies. Then again, perhaps the fact that two people were able to put up a good fight against Homeworld, to the point where it had to send reinforcements, perhaps that shows how capable both Pearl and Rose Quartz were as fighters.

Of course, their fight scene in this episode pretty much corroborates that point. I mean Rose took down two soldiers with her bare fists. Dang! She needs to get her hands registered as weapons.

Pearl is the only one here using any type of weapon. Everyone else is bringing their fists to a sword fight. We know from previous episodes that the Gems use weapons. So why aren’t the guards of one of the highest authority figures of their civilization not using weapons? Did the Gems simply have strict weapon restrictions back then that equally applied to their own armed forces? If so, then this is the most consistent example of "gun control" that I've seen. It's like Obama banning guns and having his own Secret Service agents disarmed.

So Homeworld does allow fusion, provided its with gems of a similar rank and class; and when they fuse together, they form a larger version of themselves. What seems to be forbidden, as is revealed later in the episode, is the fusion of two different gems from differing ranks and classes.

Again, Rose Quartz took out a fusion with her bare fists. She truly has fists of fury.

Of course, when the worst that can happen to you is that you "poof" out of existence only to regenerate moments later, then the perception of "death" really bears no real consequence. Of course, gems can "die" if they are broken, but other than that, it seems like there's really nothing to fear from any potential "casualty."

And thus, cotton candy Garnet was born. Seriously, looking at her hair makes me want to take a bite out of it just to see how it tastes. Though something tells me it tastes nothing like blue raspberry or cherry and everything like, well, hair.

As mentioned before, Gem Homeworld clearly has a taboo against different gems fusing with one another, especially when they're of a different class and rank. Even earlier, when Ruby accidentally bumped into Sapphire, we could see that even touching another gem of a higher rank is considered taboo. This makes Homeworld's class system more of a caste system. (And judging by how most of the architecture and gem forms, especially of the fusions, seem to draw influence from Hindu culture, that seems to be a safe bet.)

You'd figure that Blue Diamond and the rest of the court would be grateful that Ruby saved one of their members. But remember: the purpose of Sapphire being there was to help draw out the rebels and have them captured. Ruby and Sapphire failed to do that, and for that, along with breaking a clear taboo,  they have spurned the anger of the court.

Also, I'm not the only one thinking that Blue Diamond looks a lot like the Virgin Mary, am I? Blue figure draped in a blue hood. Seems really similar.

Apparently, Sapphire's dress acts like a parachute. So she's like Princess Peach?

"Who cares? There's tons of me." This is a very telling statement. We've seen that gems like Ruby and Pearl are mass manufactured to be subservient classes to the higher classes, the members of which seem to be more unique and individualized than those of the lower classes. Living with the fact that you're exactly like everyone else seems to drain you of any sense of individuality, and with it, any sense of self-worth. This is why every authoritarian regime in history has seen fit to compartmentalize the lower classes into collectives as to better make them better cogs in the machine for the state.

The same lack of self worth seems to also stem from Sapphire's ability to see her own future. If you can know everything that will ever happen to you, it would make you feel like nothing you do will matter because everything is predetermined. You literally have no free will. If your decisions have no effect on your life, then that seems to also drain you of any sense of self-worth and individuality.

Also, Sapphire was frozen in place, literally! So that means that she was fro--you know what? That meme has been done to death, so I'll let it go. (D'oh! Out with one overused meme and in with another!)

And from that moment one, Ruby knew that Sapphire only had eye for her. *rimshot*

Sapphire: Do you have a lighter in your shoes, or are your feet simply happy to see me?

And then Ruby turned that frog into a balloon. Or at least that's what she would have done had this been Shrek.

Leave Rebecca Sugar to turn a casual conversation with "ums" into a really catchy song. She has a sort of magic that way.

And the song is made even better with the inclusion of "Stronger than You!"

I don’t know about you, but something about this scene seems like I've seen it before. When? Once upon a dream. (Obvious reference here is obvious.)

"I felt like I was getting the hang of my strange new form. And then I fell."

"There they were: Quartz, the leader of the rebellion, and her terrifying renegade Pearl."

Garnet: Pearl, how many times do I I have to tell you: stop interrupting my stories.

"Welcome to Earth!" Adds a little more meaning to what Garnet told Peridot in "Back To The Barn."

Garnet: How I feel? I feel... uh, lost... and scared... and happy. W-why am I so sure that I'd rather be this than everything I was supposed to be, and that I'd rather do this than anything I was supposed to do? C-can you tell me!? How was Ruby able to alter fate? Or, why was Sapphire willing to give up everything? W-what am I!?

Rose Quartz: No more questions. Don't ever question this. You already are the answer.

Steven: What was the answer?

Garnet: Love.

Pure. Poetry.