Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S05E16 – Letters to Lars

In the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of Steven Universe, Steven updates Lars on life back in Beach City. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.

Oh, this really IS a great and necessary companion to “Pool Hopping,” and now I’m seeing how this little arc starts with a wide look at Beach City, hyper-focuses on Garnet and Steven, and then pans out to the whole city. Threaded through that is a character who, for a long time, remained nothing more than absurd comic relief. But with the election of Nanefua as Mayor, Dewey is left to do… well, nothing.

And it’s not that there was nothing available to do. Steven proves that wrong by the end of “Letters to Lars.” However, this is such a neat look at identity and investment. Dewey’s identity was so closely associated with his job that he couldn’t fathom doing anything else but be the mayor. Hell, I kept wanting to call him Mayor Dewey every time he was on screen because it feels like his full name! HOW CAN HE BE ANYTHING ELSE BUT “MAYOR” DEWEY.

Yet he has to. Throughout this episode, Steven provides updates to Lars about how much Beach City has changed. It’s like an expansion of what we saw at the start of the last episode, and THERE IS SO MUCH THAT’S DIFFERENT. Nanefua has assembled a task force to deal with possible gem incursions FROM SPACE. Ronaldo is now look out and perpetual conspiracy-theorist backed by actual alien invasions. Peedee has branched out and runs a new tater tot truck, which is one of the greatest sentences I have ever typed, and now I am desperately craving tots. Sadie Killer and the Suspects are still on the rise. 

In each and every one of these examples, though, Dewey exists on the sideline. He isn’t included in Nanefua’s contingency plan. (He doesn’t offer himself up.) His old Dewey-mobile was converted into the food truck that Peedee uses for the tot business. Dewey’s son doesn’t need him to be a terrible, terrible ghost in the Suspects’ stage show. Of course, he doesn’t really ask to be a part of any of this. I imagine things might have gone differently if he had done so. Instead, he mopes, he whines, and he complains. Which I get! I’m not disparaging him for having a negative reaction to his situation because it’s really upsetting. I suppose I can relate to him because I’d spent nearly a decade myself working as a community manager, building and managing online communities, and then I just got laid off. In the span of a few hours, I had nothing. No job, no real responsibilities, and not a whole lot of money either. The free time was cool for about a week or so, and then the despair set in. 

What the hell was I supposed to do with my life?

I’m glad now that I chose then to reinvent myself, to pursue something weird and strange and uncertain, and to then follow that path on the wacky journey that it took me on. I still kinda can’t believe what’s happened since 2012, but here we are. Do I know what the future holds for Dewey? Not at all. Perhaps his job at the Big Donut is just a stepping stone to something else. Or it might very well be the start of something transformative and life-affirming, a chance for Dewey to find a career and a purpose that is natural and thrilling. I’m so happy for Steven for seeing the need in Beach City and in Dewey, then putting the two of them together. It’s an incredible thing to witness because… y’all, Dewey just looked so HAPPY!!! 

Ugh, I love this show so much. Steven made me cry AGAIN with his letter to Lars and I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT. He read the whole thing aloud!!! How is he so pure!!!!

The video for “Letters to Lars” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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