Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S02E06 – Sworn to the Sword

In the sixth episode of the second season of Steven Universe, this show is honestly going to ruin my complete life. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe. 

There’s just so much to love here. I felt like the writers realized that they were setting up a massive war in this season and knew they had to take some time to talk about what that actually means, which isn’t something I necessarily expected. Steven Universe has been a fairly honest show, but there’s a level of realism to “Sworn to the Sword” that was disturbing to me. It’s easy to see that in hindsight, too, since this episode opened with such a beautiful and sweet song, one that would later be given a new meaning. Connie and Steven have a fantastic friendship, one where they both complement one another in a number of ways.

And because of how this episode opened, I expected something a lot sillier. Can you blame me? Look how hilarious it was when Connie and Steven first pitched sword lessons, or when Pearl first began to give lessons. I didn’t think it would turn into this whole thing, you know? Like, there was no way that Connie would buy into the whole knight/liege thing. It seemed so cheesy! Plus, there was that great gag where Steven threw up his bubble shield upon seeing the Holographic Pearl. This would be a humorous episode, wouldn’t it?

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. I should have seen it, and there was a clue right at the beginning of the episode: look how serious Connie was when she tried to explain to Pearl why she was ready to begin learning sword fighting. She truly meant it when she said that she didn’t want to be a burden. Thus, Connie threw herself into training! As soon as it started, she stopped making jokes. She stopped being silly. She did exactly as Pearl asked, and she even stopped looking at Steven as the training progressed.

It’s through this that the show takes us to a really scary place. War is not portrayed as some noble, glorious thing, even if there’s a part of Pearl that yearns for this time. Instead, it’s violent, frightening, and it makes people believe unhealthy things about the world. Pearl teaches Connie to view herself as nothing more than a soldier, a pawn to be used to keep Steven alive and nothing else.

Y’all, just look how committed Pearl becomes to this whole framework. She teaches a young girl that she does not matter, and though “Do It For Her” is a glorious and meaningful song, it is undeniably creepy, at least in the sense that Pearl views herself as nothing in the service of Rose. And you can’t ignore the intense love and admiration that Pearl felt for Rose, even though that same love is obsessive at times. Love isn’t about denying one’s self; it’s a mutual relationship, and that is what Steven eventually shows to both of these people. What value is Connie to Steven as a friend if she sees herself as nothing? Pearl’s own reckless dedication and loyalty to Rose might have made more sense, given that she could regenerate, but Connie is human. She cannot just regenerate her body, you know? Thus, Connie will actually die if she subscribes to the kind of loyalty that Pearl recommends.

I just felt sad by the end of this episode because it’s now clear to me that Pearl not only misses Rose, but she deeply, deeply loves her. How could she not, after all that Pearl did for Rose? After all that Rose did for Pearl? Maybe their relationship made a lot of sense at the time, but Connie and Steven are different. The context is different. Even the war – whatever that might be – is different, too! Connie and Steven work better as a team, not with Connie acting as the sole protector. It’s why the “Jam” song has a new meaning by the end of the episode. They compliment one another in so many different ways, so separating them doesn’t make sense.

Also: HOLY SHIT, THIS WAS SO INTENSE AND EMOTIONAL. Seriously, I love this show.

The video for “Sworn to the Sword” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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