In the third episode of the third season of Steven Universe, Steven helps Lapis Lazuli with an important decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.
Trigger Warning: For trauma/PTSD, torture.
I do have moments where I’m cognizant of feeling repetitive in these reviews, and “Same Old World” is a great example of that. The show is not repetitive, though, and neither are the details. It’s just that Steven is written so consistently across the seasons that I find myself saying the same things. Too pure for this world. Unending goodness. A model for empathy. All these things make up who Steven is as a character, and I can see all of it within this episode, too. Despite that his friends and family are eager for him to recount how he saved the Earth and the Cluster, all Steven can think about is Lapis Lazuli. In this case, he can’t really empathize with her, but only because what she’s been through was so traumatic.
And yet, he still tries his hardest to understand her and to help her with the transition that she’s got in the days to come. Her flashback helps us to understand that she never really wanted to get involved in the war on Earth, but she was sucked into it nonetheless, tortured for information about a rebellion she knew nothing about. And then? She was abandoned on Earth for thousands of years, at least until Steven helped rescue her.
Like Garnet says, I can’t imagine what all of this was like. Add in her long struggle with Jasper and I’M TIRED JUST THINKING ABOUT WHAT LAPIS HAS BEEN THROUGH. How do you move on from that? “Same Old World” doesn’t tackle that specifically; instead, it asks, “Where do you move on from that?” Lapis doesn’t see a home for herself. How can she? To Homeworld, she’s a traitor, and she’d most likely be executed for what she did to Jasper. (Which… were did Jasper go, by the way? I didn’t address that in the last two reviews, but I’m guessing Jasper isn’t entirely gone. Just in a crevice? Stuck in the Earth, which opened up and ate them?) Earth holds terrible memories for her because it’s where she was abandoned for so long. How could she ever be asked to make a home there?
Now, it was obvious to me that Steven wanted the best for Lapis, but he also wanted her to stick around. What he offers her is a chance to reconsider leaving Earth, if only because she saw so little of it before she was trapped in that mirror. They don’t see much of Earth before Lapis makes her decision, but I liked what the writers chose to feature. A forest, brimming with life, which would have have offered Lapis the chance to heal in solitude. There was Empire City, which was noisier, busier, and would have left her with a challenging adventure ahead of her. And then there’s Jersey, which is full of cars, smog, and mean people. TOTALLY TRUE, just kidding. (I have spent a significant amount of time in New Jersey. Some cool places, great diners, but it is Not For Me. The Pine Barrens scare the shit out of me, too.) Again, not exactly the most thorough view of Earth, but Steven ended up making his point: Earth is different. Diverse. And it constantly changes. The leaf metaphor was a fantastic way of demonstrating that, but I found the analogy fitting for another reason.
For an unbearably long amount of time, nothing changed for Lapis. She was forced to do many things, and now, she’s got the power of free will at her disposal. For the first time possibly ever, she can do what she wants. Go where she wants. Be with who she wants. Earth represents hope and possibility for her, and that is a damn fine thing for Steven to give her.
EXCEPT NOW SHE’S ANGRY THAT PERIDOT IS THERE. Oh gods, I NEED THE NEXT EPISODE.
The video for “Same Old World” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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