Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S05E20 – What’s Your Problem?

In the twentieth episode of the fifth season of Steven Universe, Steven and Amethyst seek out Ruby, but run into a problem of their own. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe. 

Oh, y’all, I LOVED THIS. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. While I feel like the show is faltering a bit on dealing with some of the ramifications of the Pink Diamond reveal, the emotional fallout has been so satisfying to watch. This is a dense episode once the script gets into the complicated feelings that Amethyst and Steven have, but I’m thankful for it. There is no single, accepted reaction to this news, and instead, Steven Universe has given us a varied slate. Garnet broke into her two parts, one of which fled in anger, the other who fled in sadness. (And lord, I am so interested in what Ruby has to say about all of this.) Pearl breaks down at the idea that Garnet can’t be around if Ruby and Sapphire separate. 

But how does Amethyst feel? That’s the question of the episode, so much so that Steven has to ask her MULTIPLE TIMES before she’s totally honest about it. Well, there’s also a humorous dynamic here, since both of them more or less can’t stop asking the other about how they feel? They don’t want to be selfish!!! They want to be supportive! FRIENDS COMPETING TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH ONE ANOTHER, Y’ALL. Of course, I don’t want to ignore that I foolishly commented ON VIDEO that I had noticed that Amethyst didn’t seem all that upset. WOW. WELL. I TRIED. I thought maybe her distance from the initial start of the war was the main reason why. (And I should note that the other Amethysts were referring to her in the previous episode, right?) She did not have the same attachment to Rose Quartz or the same experience. 

However, that is precisely why Amethyst eventually reveals that she is angry. I appreciate that the show is acknowledging that there’s a divide here, that Garnet and Pearl have a different stake in things because they were there, while Steven and Amethyst were simply dealt a complicated deck. The problem they’re dealing with now (and over the course of this show) was started by someone else. It was forced into their lives, and it’s now a problem they have to cope with. So I get that there’s this underlying sense of unfairness here. Why? Why should they have to deal with these problems that they didn’t start? (THIS IS THE MOST DEEPLY MILLENNIAL THEME IMAGINABLE, HOLY SHIT, THIS IS OUR ENTIRE LIVES.) Even then, they’re both still conflicted! They want to do good, and they want to help each other, and yet I get why they are worried that they’re being too selfish or self-centered. Particularly in Amethyst’s case, though: she is fully aware that another adult thrust this whole conflict into Steven’s life without thinking about how it would affect him. That’s the last thing that she wants to do, you know? She doesn’t want to repeat the same mistake, and I deeply, deeply respect that Amethyst makes this clear. It’s so considerate and… shit, I can’t avoid using this word. MATURE. It’s a mature take on this, and she manages to promise this while explaining her complicated feelings on Rose Quartz. 

I also wanted to just take some time to talk about Steven, because I sympathize with him so strongly in “What’s Your Problem?” That moment in Fish Stew Pizza broke my heart because… well, Steven outright said that he knew his mother was a liar. That is the place where I was destroyed because this is where he’s at now in his journey. He is just as confused as a lot of us, so I definitely relate to it. But that’s why it’s so meaningful that Amethyst promises to support Steven. She has her own issues, but she recognizes that Steven can’t ignore this. He has to deal with it because he’s got Pink Diamond’s gem in his BODY, y’all. And while he’s coping with this upsetting news, Amethyst is gonna be the best friend that she can be. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Because I now wonder if we will ever get closure on this. What if Steven has to cope with this without any further information? His mother is deeply complicated, and she did both horrible things and good things. He can’t talk to her. So how do you find an ending without the other person? I’m hoping that Amethyst’s promise is one way he can deal with these thoughts. He might just need someone to listen to him.

I am also not ready for Sapphire’s episode. I assume it’s next, and I AM FRIGHTENED.

The video for “What’s Your Problem?” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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