In the first episode of the third season of Steven Universe, never change. NEVER CHANGE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.
So, does this count as a new power of Steven’s? Like… astral projection or something? Y’all, what an incredible way for this season to start. The opening of “Super Watermelon Island” is such a strange thing. Like, it was already bold enough for the show to push the Cluster plot line into this season; I was certain it was what we were going to get for the finale. Instead, this season opens with WATERMELON STEVENS. Those sentient watermelons from season one found a place to call home (Mask Island), and they’ve created a whole society, and there is so much ridiculous worldbuilding done in very little time. SO MUCH WORLDBUILDING. They grow pets and children! Children get dropped off by a BABY DELIVERER. There’s a watermelon shaman, and watermelons were sacrificed to satiate Malachite and prevent them from destroying the whole island. (Well, at least that’s what the watermelons thought they were doing.) It was impressive to watch, but it also felt confusing. Why this? Why start here at the opening of the season?
Yet this is so very, very important. Not only is the resurgence of Malachite a big deal, it tied directly into the main conflict that had been left unresolved. Plus, I can now see how much more tense the next episode will be because the Crystal Gems are separated from Steven and Peridot. WHICH I’LL TALK ABOUT MORE. But the fact that Lapis is tiring now from fighting Jasper is so important, and as exciting and mind-blowing as this episode is, I also desperately want an episode dealing with her freedom RIGHT NOW. Like, what is she gonna do now? Where does she go? Does she become a Crystal Gem or does she have other aspirations? CAN SHE HAVE A REALLY LONG NAP.
Anyway, let’s talk about Alexandrite and Malachite fighting, WHICH IS A LOT. While the Earth is about to fall apart, the Crystal Gems have to stop another Gem who has a whole lot of rage specifically for them. That sort of emotional base made this fight all the more terrifying. What if Jasper succeeded? Would they remain in the Malachite form in order to make sure the Cluster happened? Or would they break out and return to Jasper and Lapis? Would they sacrifice themselves to guarantee that Earth would give birth to the Cluster? I love that these questions were on my mind as the two fusions fought, and it’s a credit to the writers on this show, who are able to craft such complication character backgrounds so consistently.
Then there’s Steven, who, upon the urging of Peridot, inhabits one of the Watermelon Stevens and comes to the rescue. WITH A WATERMELON ARMY. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with all the Watermelons cowering in fear; they are so small, and Malachite is so impossibly huge. Yet the show manages to invoke Gulliver’s Travels in the sequence where Steven leads the army of Watermelon Stevens to distract Malachite, just long enough for Alexandrite to deliver the last few blows they needed to. I LOVE IT. It’s disturbing as hell, sure, but I can’t imagine enjoying this in any other context. Like, it’s a bunch of sentient watermelons attacking someone, and only this show could believably pull off something this strange.
I am utterly overwhelmed by the closing scene in “Super Watermelon Island.” Y’all know that as soon as these damn characters start talking about their feelings and how much they love one another, I get all misty-eyed. Steven slipping away from his astral projection while his family tells him that they believe in him and love him… NOPE. TOO MUCH. I AM EMOTIONALLY COMPROMISED YET AGAIN BY THIS SHOW.
The video for “Super Watermelon Island” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!