Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S01E40 – On the Run

In the fortieth episode of the first season of Steven Universe, none of you were kidding. I was truly unprepared for this show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.

What is wrong with all of you HOW COULD YOU LET ME DO THIS TO MYSELF

On the Run

Just kidding, I LOVE THAT THIS IS DESTROYING ME. This show was so unassuming and fun and then NOPE, GUESS WHAT, THERE’S A HORRIFYING BACKSTORY TO EVERYTHING. Yet I also consider it an achievement that this isn’t grim and hopeless, you know? It’s still a kids’ show that I happen to be enjoying. (And utterly disturbed by, but that’s a separate issue.) The references are both made for adults and for kids, such as the fact that there are nods to both The Boxcar Children and Junji Ito within the same episode. (I can’t believe I just got to type that, y’all. What is this show???)

I remember being obsessed with The Boxcar Children mysteries, especially since the four kids solved so many of their “cases” without adults around. Couple that with my early love of The X-Files, and y’all. Y’ALL. I just wanted to travel around the country solving mysteries for people. (Spoiler alert: I still want to. Badly.) I had other, less thrilling reasons to want to be on my own as a kid, but in a more general sense, I think most of us probably desired an adventurous life like this. The very idea of traveling around with a mysterious past and with the open road ahead of you… god, I love it.


Didn’t Peridot say something about Kindergarten in “Warp Tour”? Am I imagining that???

Okay, look, I feel like “On the Run” dropped a ton of information about the Crystal Gems, so let me try to get all this down:

  • At the start of this episode, it seemed clear to me that, at practically any cost, Pearl was going to keep the truth from Steven, not because she didn’t trust him as a person, but because the truth was so disturbing that she wasn’t sure that he was ready.
  • I figured that, due to “Warp Tour,” the Gems back on the homeworld had to have done something horrible in order for Garnet to justify breaking the warp pad. Yet even at the beginning of “On the Run,” everything I heard was so vague. The Gems had planned something for Earth that would have hurt it and the beings who lived on it, so Rose, Amethyst, Garnet, and Pearl vowed to protect the place. Hence the destroyed warp pads!
  • But it couldn’t be that simple, right? Amethyst’s sadness on the road trip must be because she can’t go home, right? Clearly! That has to be it!
  • She was made on Earth? BUT HOW CAN YOU JUST MAKE A GEM.
  • In comes Kindergarten: a horrifying example of what the Gems were going to do to Earth. In hindsight, it’s clear why Amethyst was so excited to return, but I’d also argue that what is revealed in “On the Run” helps explain her character.
  • More on that in a bit. So, Amethyst was “made” by other Gems, which I don’t get. Was she mined by those weird robot thingies that scared the shit out of me? How do you make a Gem, anyway?
  • Regardless, Amethyst’s birthplace was on Earth, and she was part of… something. I’m not sure what these Gems were supposed to be used for. Creating more Gems? Mining? Soldiers? Whatever the Homeworld wanted to do with these Gems, it was bad enough that Pearl consistently spoke of Kindergarten as a terrible place.
  • Which is what I think explains Amethyst a great deal. If you were part of something that was intended to cause death and destruction, and if you weren’t ever given the choice to be part of it, how would you feel? Pearl is always complaining that Amethyst doesn’t take things seriously. Well, if your whole origin story is the most deadly serious thing in existence, would you be serious all the time, too? To me, this episode shows us that Amethyst has been trying to run away from her grim beginnings since… well, since forever.

I’m glad that Pearl apologized to Amethyst, even though she had no idea that her words and the way she described Kindergarten made Amethyst hate herself. We’ve all done something like this! And in the end, Pearl had to own up to this, even if Kindergarten really was a terrible place.


The video for “On the Run” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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