In the fourteenth episode of the third season of Steven Universe, I am never going to recover. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.Â
My heart is still beating from that episode. There’s something about “Monster Reunion” that cut deep, and I couldn’t figure it out. Why did this distress me as much as it did? Why did I feel so strongly for Centipeetle? Perhaps more so than any episode in the past, it was clear to me that right there, on my television screen, was the end result of cruelty. We already knew how uncaring the gems could be. Need I remind y’all of the Cluster? Of what we saw this season of Yellow Diamond?
And yet, this one hurt the most. Because even though Centipeetle did absolutely everything they were supposed to, the Diamonds appear to have deliberately corrupted any of the gems that survived the War. (How did Rose Quartz and the others survive, by the way?) I could have interpreted this wrong, and that certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been on the wrong track with this show.
Still, what we see here is just… lord, it’s so heartbreaking. Steven channels Rose Quartz in his treatment of Centipeetle throughout “Monster Reunion,” always willing to view this gem as a living being deserving of respect and a chance, no matter how grim the future looks. Until the end of this episode, Steven fully resists giving up on Centipeetle. And look what comes of it! Look what Steven is able to get from Centipeetle. He communicates with her. He gives her the chance to talk about herself and what happened to her. Who else would have given her that chance? Granted, the Crystal Gems have a ton of experience dealing with corrupted gems, but they’re still stuck in their preconceptions of them. It made me think about how bubbling was a way of pushing the problem out of sight until some other solution came about.
That solution, at least for now, is just Steven. None of the Crystal Gems can heal. (And I don’t know why Steven’s healing ability disappeared… hmmm.) Rose Quartz isn’t around to work her magic, either. That’s why Steven’s healing, coupled with his ability to empathize with other living beings, is the only solution they have at all.
The solution presented to us here is about as good as it can be, given the circumstances. I still don’t stand corrupting completely, but it’s more than just a physical thing, so… could Centipeetle ever be healed? What role do these gems play in Homeworld society? Are they always captains? I don’t know, but I’m guessing not, given that the rest of their crew looks exactly the same. Still, Steven did the best he could: he reunited Centipeetle with their crew after thousands of years being separated. Their bubble is with others just like them, and that’s a lot better than being bubbled in the temple.
I still haven’t recovered from how intense this was, y’all. I FELT SO MUCH FOR CENTIPEETLE. Oh my god, the drawings. Centipeetle crying. This goddamn show just made me tear up over a gem centipede. What have y’all done to me?
The video for “Monster Reunion” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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