In the twenty-seventh episode of the fifth season of Steven Universe, Steven and Connie devise a bizarre means of seeking out help. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.
Holy shit, it’s been a while since we last saw the Watermelon Stevens. I think it was way back in season three? That episode with Malachite? And LOOK WHAT HAPPENED SINCE THEN. Admittedly, this must be a strange episode if you happened to have missed the other watermelon episodes. Like… you’d have no idea why there are sentient watermelons in the shape of Steven, so this probably would have felt like a weird fever dream? Which makes this work regardless, doesn’t it? Steven has to enter his own magical dreamworld in order to try and get Bismuth to help them. So what unfolds here is dreamlike either way, and it’s one of the stranger episodes of this show. But holy shit, IT WORKS SO WELL.
Lemme back up. LET’S TALK ABOUT CONNIE. Because as Steven understandably sinks into despair over this, Connie is quick to provide Steven with a sense of hope. I mean, this more or less addresses what I said in the last review. I was worried that Steven was putting too much stock in convincing White Diamond to help un-corrupt the gems of Earth. How was that plan going to work? But now, in this weird prison room (which is most certainly not Pink’s room, as I mistakenly thought it was), Steven is coming to terms with just how difficult this is going to be. I love that Connie provides him with a counter without invalidating how he feels, though. That’s so important! She knows this is a REAL shitty situation, but she does a great thing here, and I love when this show provides positive moments like this. This is a great way to help friends who are SUPER down. Sometimes, we need other people to do the positive thinking for us.
Anyway, I feel like there are probably some references or meanings to the long Watermelon Island sequence that I didn’t pick up on. I noticed that scene with the Watermelon Shark felt a whole lot like Jaws, but otherwise, this is a wordless story where emotion is conveyed through seed-filled facial expressions and layered imagery. Steven swims through his dreamspace to the island full of Watermelon Stevens, only to discover that there are two factions, each with their own customs and religion. One thing I liked about this was how the episode made it clear that Steven knew that this was the most absurd path to home. Frequently, he’s groaning in frustration because no one can understand him or these Watermelon Stevens are too interested in their own traditions. Which I am now realizing is probably a metaphor for the Diamonds or maybe for gem culture. Factions fighting with one another, Steven being unable to reach them or talk to them because of their culture and their traditions.
And yet, Steven moves from one group to the other, trying his best to communicate his desire to make a boat, and all the while he refuses to get involved in their conflicts. I was reminded of the random gems who were inspired to fuse in the last episode, since here, many Watermelon Stevens abandon their rituals to help Steven. It’s not all of them at first, but eventually, he changes their world by just being himself.
It’s so damn pleasing, y’all. It’s astounding to me that the show is able to make us feel so much during a sequence where not a single word was spoken. That’s incredible! And it feels so long, too, so that when Steven finally makes it to Beach City, we get the sense that it’s been ages. I mean, part of that is because of how visceral this is. Y’all, Steven loses an arm and a leg. And I know it’s not really his body, but STILL. If we’re gonna talk about what Steven was willing to sacrifice in order to save the others, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THIS EPISODE. I just love him a lot? And I couldn’t help getting teary-eyed when he finally got his message across, though I had to laugh that he finally spelled it out. So does this mean ALL of them are coming to Homeworld, or just Bismuth???
The video for “Escapism” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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