Steven Universe Recap - S04E11-15

Before we start, I'd like to take a moment and applaud the sheer level of incompetence displayed by Cartoon Network. Accidentally releasing a spoiler-filled promo or airing two episodes in other countries before their US release date is one thing, of that kind best described as "shit happens." But leaking the entire five episode event marking Steven Universe's 2017 return is reaching never before seen heights of idiocy. I swear, if I didn't see a member of the Trump's cabinet accidentally tweet not one, but two confidential passwords, I'd probably start to find the "CN wants to cancel Steven Universe to make space for stuff like Teen Titans Go" more plausible. Just... stop screwing up, Cartoon Network. Jesus.

And now we bring you your usual Steven Universe recap.

(Spoilers beyond this point.)

Plagued by weird dreams of a pink palanquin, Steven is anxious to find out answers about Pink Diamond (allegedly killed by his mother), but is unable to break the Crystal Gems' silence. Eventually he comes to blows with Garnet and ends up recruiting help from Greg in order to get to Korea. That's where the pink palanquin from his dreams, according to Buddy's journal, was when we first saw it, and is located. And that's where we meet Blue Diamond.

Voiced by an Irish singer/songwriter/musician Lisa Hannigan, Blue has been in mourning over Pink Diamond since her death, millennia ago. The two were definitely in a very close relationship, so she devoted a lot of care to securing everything connected to Pink. And that's why Steven and Greg find her near the palanquin, crying over the near destruction of Earth (unaware that the Cluster is contained and nothing is being blown up). It's unclear if she and Pink Diamond were closer to each other than the other Diamonds. On the surface level, Yellow (who returns towards the end of this set of episodes) seems more collected. But the end of her song "What's the Use of Feeling" reveals her calm is only surface-deep. In the final verses, that veneer cracks, giving a glimpse of grief likely as deep as Blue's. That puts her determination for Earth to be destroyed in Cluster's "birth" in a different perspective; at first, it seemed like she was a conquer bent on destroying the place she was defeated at. Now, it seems like someone in mourning, who wants nothing to do with anything connected to their deceased loved one and especially with the place they died.

(It also suggests the Diamonds might be in a polyamorous relationship, but this will have to wait until White Diamond finally appears.)

Out of grief, Yellow wants Earth destroyed, and Blue wants to preserve as much as she can before the planet is destroyed. So when she accidentally meets Greg, who empathizes with her feelings, she kidnaps him, to save the (as she assumes) only human capable of understanding her from the literal earth-shattering event.

Terrified Steven runs back to the Crystal Gems and together they travel by Ruby ship to Blue Diamond's destination, the Zoo. This place is a deep-space structure, resembling a space station, where Pink Diamond kept humans that caught her eye. What follows is a fun, science-fiction adventure that reveals not only the Diamonds' depths, but also what happened to Quartz soldiers from Earth Kindergartens, other than Jasper and our Amethyst. Basically, Blue took them under her wing and put them on guard duty in the Zoo; an equivalent to putting your deceased loved one's things and putting them in one spot, a shrine devoted to their memory. Unfortunately for them, she put one of her entourage, Holly Blue Agate (voiced by Christine Pedi), in charge, who is an overbearing, bureaucratic dictator.

The payoff of that reveal comes when Steven helps Greg out of the enclosure where descendants of Pink Diamond's pet humans live in ignorant bliss. To infiltrate the Zoo, the Gems have to pretend to be a part of Blue Diamond's court, with Amethyst shape-shifted into a body resembling what her full-grown form would look like. She's eventually found out by other Quartzes, but not, as you might suspect, brought to the Zoo's overseer. The Amethysts from Prime Kindergarten and Jaspers from Beta Kindergarten are overjoyed to find a sister they never knew existed, and our Amethyst has a family, people who are just like her.

After the daring rescue that the Quartzes do absolutely nothing about (instead excited to see Holly beaten), the Gems return home. The mystery of Pink Diamond's death remains unsolved for now, and Yellow Diamond is definitely working on something involving Earth. But for now, all is well.

On a more technical side, this was the most well-crafted of Stevenbombs. Those five episode events are done when Cartoon Network feels like it, as opposed to when it makes the most sense plot-wise. That's why only two of them thus far formed any sort of arc—the first and season finales. And even then their opening episodes were unrelated to the rest of the bunch, and the first one only worked by pushing a couple of episodes into season 2. The other either had a very loose structure (the Sardonyx one) or were five unconnected episodes, loosely put together. This, on the other hand, was a very clear story arc, with a five part structure, an opening and an end. This suggests the Crewniverse and CN were more closely working together, which led to a positive outcome. Hopefully future events will be crafted as well.

But for now, we're finally back to weekly releases, at least for a while. We're starting with the episode showing the effects of Connie, Lapis and Peridot taking on the role of defenders of Earth in the main group's absence. I'll see you then.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.