In the first episode of the fourth season of Steven Universe, Steven helps Peridot bubble a corrupted gem. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.
A note about the upcoming schedule! I’ve got a couple gnarly weeks coming up, where I’ve got to juggle Patreon commissions, normal reviews, novel research and planning (HI EVERYONE, ALREADY PLOTTING OUT MY SECOND NOVEL, I AM WASTING NO TIME), and an honest-to-god vacation for the first time in AGES. Literally no work will be done on this trip, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. Thus, two things!
- No more weekend reviews for Double Features. This will lighten my load a bit.
- We are about to reach the point where there are NO MORE STEVEN UNIVERSE EPISODES. From that point on, I’ll review the episodes and record videos as they go out on iTunes. They’re short, so knocking them out in between other things I’m doing will be easier!
I figured folks were curious. Anyway, onwards!
“Kindergarten Kid,” while a loving tribute to the Roadrunner/Coyote cartoons of my childhood, is also about perspective and empathy. Because of that, I admit that I expected a different ending than the one we got here. Once Peridot challenged the other Gems to a bizarrely unnecessary competition, I was impressed by Steven’s insistence. Like the best part of his mother, he sought out empathy. He views the corrupted gems as whole beings worthy of respect and love, even if they aren’t necessarily capable of expressing that in ways most people understand.
Peridot, on the other hand, sees these gems as “dumb.” As savage and violent and pointless and not worthy of anything but capture. Given her upbringing on the Homeworld, that makes sense! Except… y’all, I still feel like I’m missing something. How are there no corrupted gems on all of the Homeworld? Peridot has never seen one before she came to Earth? So, either they simply don’t exist there – meaning that something happens on Earth to cause corrupting – OR the Diamonds DISPOSE OF THEM. I mean… the Cluster??? Maybe that’s where they all go?
Anyway, most of this episode is devoted to the kind of gags that made me howl with laughter as a kid, and guess what? They’re still fucking funny thirty years later. But like many of the best Steven Universe episodes, there’s a tragedy in the humor. Peridot’s view of the corrupted gems works against her goals. Her treatment of the corrupt gems creates the feedback loop of behavior that makes her so frustrated! Look what happens once Steven convinces Peridot to chance her approach, for example. (And WASN’T THAT MARSHMALLOW DEMONSTRATION A GREAT WAY TO MAKE HIS POINT. Oh my god, it was brilliant.) Everything is different: body language, communication, and emotion. That gem looked joyous, as much as a creature like that could look joyous, you know??? Of course, Peridot messes that up by kicking the gem. WAY TO GO.
Which is why the ending is a little strange. I thought that the show would take this idea to its logical ending, but it instead has Peridot pursue the corrupted gem off a cliff. That empathy disappears in favor of another visual gag, though it returns (just a bit of it) in the bubbling sequence. I don’t know if Peridot learned to think of things in a more empathetic sense; perhaps the bubbling got her to realize that she could be more tender in how she treats other gems. The ending is rather abrupt, though, so all I’ve got is my own theory. I had fun watching this, but it’s not my favorite ending to an episode.
The video for “Kindergarten Kid” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
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