In the fifth episode of Steven Universe Future, Steven struggles with his philosophy for returning gems when one of them appears to have an ulterior motive. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe Future.
Trigger Warning: For talk of manipulation
Okay, so this wasn’t as stressful as “Volleyball” was, but you know what? There was still a whole lot of tension in this story because for at least half of it, I couldn’t tell what Bluebird’s intention was! There was a point before the big reveal where I started wondering if this was an episode about Steven’s understandable but flawed perception. It was entirely possible that it COULD have gone in that direction, too! Bluebird–the fusion between Aquamarine and Eyeball Ruby–was once responsible for a really awful part of Steven’s life. Now, they were back, and were pranking Steven… for reasons.
I wonder how intentional it was on the writer’s part that they created pranks for Bluebird that were so odd. I can see the obvious explanation for them: They simply didn’t know what they were doing. They figured out pranks existed, and in the execution of them, they didn’t quite get what makes a prank a prank. It’s a very gem thing to do, right? They’re all learning!
But now I’m wondering if there was something more insidious going on here. What if Bluebird’s whole goal here was psychological warfare? What if they actually did want to “soften” Steven up, and so they pranked Steven in a way that made it nearly impossible for him to prove that he was being pranked for malicious reasons? Because look at what happens! Bluebird very quickly insinuates herself into everyone’s life, and each of the scenarios that Steven misinterprets could have been planned!!! It seemed so manipulative!
Maybe I’m just reading too much into this. I can accept that. Bluebird has a much more important reason to be around, one that built off of what was established in the first episode: Steven really, REALLY has to accept that he cannot help everyone. Like his interactions with Jasper in “Little Homeschool,” Steven has to come to accept that there are going to be gems who disagree with him. Who aren’t his biggest fan. Who may, in the case of Bluebird, actually HATE him.
That also hits directly on one of Steven’s major insecurities. He really does want to be liked by everyone around him for the most part! So that makes the events of this episode so complicated. Steven has a morality that guides him in his interactions with gems: Gems are welcome at Little Homeschool, and every Gem deserves the chance to change. Even though Bluebird is grating or irritating to Steven, he still has to put aside his own feelings and allow them a chance at a new life.
But DOES he? I am os in love with where this episode ends up, because that is a lesson I absolutely did not learn as a kid. You cannot change someone who does not want to change. Period! And from the very beginning of “Bluebird” until the end, Steven is dealing with two gems who have zero interest in ever changing who they are or what they believe. So what are you supposed to do with people like that?
In the end, you have to let them go. I think there’s a reading of this episode that also acknowledges that Steven put aside his instinctual feelings about Bluebird so he could give her a fair chance. It is something that he may have to do again–sort of like how he changed his perspective on Jasper–but in this case? Oh, no, it backfired. BADLY.
The person I feel the worst for, though, is Greg. Greg was the one who suffered the worst treatment, and I’m glad the show acknowledged the deep disrespect and harm that is caused by cutting hair. Even though Greg chose to do it, it was to save his own life; he would have chosen to keep it if he wasn’t in this situation. Yet even in that heartbreak, there’s a touching moment where Greg offers up his pride for Steven. Because look, I can’t disagree with Greg. One of the most beautiful things about Steven Universe is that after everything that’s happened to him, he still hasn’t lost his kindness. He still hasn’t lost his ability to see something wonderful in others. Yes, he distrusted Bluebird, but over the course of this episode, he tried his hardest to open his heart to the possibility that she would do better.
And when he found out she wasn’t going to, he let her go.
Okay, so I’m a quarter of the way through this! I really, really like the focus of Steven Universe Future, and there’s clearly a way for this to tie up some emotional loose ends left after the series finale and the movie. I mean… it’s literally a show about the aftermath. WE NEVER GET STORIES LIKE THIS. Okay, not NEVER, but it’s very rare that stories get to be focused on this. I’m also excited to see who else from the past might show up, and also!!! We haven’t gotten a Garnet episode and I want one!!! Badly!
The video for “Bluebird” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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