This episode combines anime references, Rose-centered character development, and Connie. I love every bit of it.
Connie comes around for a picnic, but Steven is uncharacteristically glum and reserved (not to mention exhausted).
Connie: So…is this fence new?
Steven: Eh, it’s a long story…
Connie: Is it a magic story?
Amethyst was horsing around on the cliffs and making Steven very worried, then a part of it suddenly crumbled beneath her, leading to a nasty fall on a rock.
Pearl: Amethyst, your gem is cracked!
Amethyst: Rude! It’s not a big deal. Besides, now I have this cool googly eye!
Pearl insisted on installing a fence on the cliff at that point, and Steven tries to cut off the story, but of course Connie won’t be satisfied until she’s heard all of it.
Steven: Okay, okay! But only if you let me try on your glasses.
Connie: Only if you give me the rest of your juice.
Steven: Okay, but it’s mostly backwash.
Connie: Good enough.
I can’t not bring up the durian juice. So durians are an infamously smelly fruit from southeast Asia, and while they are sometimes used to flavor deserts, to the best of my knowledge, they have never been used in drinks. They’re also not widely available outside of Asia, and I don’t believe they’re terribly popular among children even in that region. All this to say, I cannot imagine a universe where durian juice is even a thing, let alone a thing popular enough with children to warrant juice boxes.
Anyhow, back to the magic story!
Steven: So what’s the problem? Amethyst falls and stuff all the time.
Pearl: It would be fine if it was just her body, but her gem is damaged.
Steven: So what do you do to fix it?
Pearl: Before, we had Rose.
It turns out Rose had healing tears (because of course she did), and since Steven has her gem, they expect he has the same power…or would, if he had any control over his powers.
This is Steven’s magical girl transformation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help him cry, which is kind of a prerequisite for healing tears.
Steven: I guess I’m just too tough to cry.
Pearl: Just today you were crying about snakes.
Steven: They don’t have any arms!
So they decide instead to try an old fountain that’s supposed to contain Rose’s healing tears.
Pearl: Now, now! Let’s keep it together! Our memories of Rose can’t be tainted by some overgrown brambles! Look at them. They’re a mess without her guidance! Directionless, pathetic, clinging things! It’s going to be okay, Garnet!
Pearl: Y-you really think so?
Pearl seems the most concerned about preserving Rose’s legacy/memory, Garnet just wants to get help for Amethyst, Amethyst herself is more interested in keeping Steven’s spirits up (despite being unable to speak properly at this point and slowly falling apart), leaving Steven himself to feel more useless than ever in Rose’s shadow.
Steven: I can’t understand you! I can’t understand anything! Why is everyone acting so strange? Why can’t I…why can’t I cry? It’s just, I mean…I don’t know how to feel about you. But everybody else does. I wish I could’ve met you. Then this place could make me sad, and I could cry healing tears, like you.
Of course it’s sad that his mother died, but you can’t miss something you’ve always lived without, and being told that he should be sad only makes him feel worse that he doesn’t feel anything.
Steven: Amethyst, I’m sorry. I can’t do anything right. Now I’m going to lose you, and it’s all my fault.
He finally cries for Amethyst, and for a moment nothing seems to happen…
Steven is convinced that his tears brought the fountain back to life, but Garnet and Pearl insist they just unplugged a drain.
Steven: You don’t think my crying was a little related to that?
Pearl: Oh Steven, you don’t have healing tears. You’ll never have any real magic powers, and we don’t want anything more to do with you.
Connie: She didn’t really say that.
Steven: No, but that’s what it felt like.
Steven: Everyone expects me to be like my mom. What if I never get those powers?
Connie: Then you’ll be like me. That’s not so bad.
Steven: But if I don’t have any powers then I can’t hang out with Amethyst, or Garnet, or Pearl, and I-I can’t go on missions!
Connie: You don’t need any powers to be here with me.
Then she suddenly gets a headache…
Connie: I-I can see!
Connie: I can see without my glasses!
Steven: Did I…heal your eyes? But…how? The juice box! I don’t have healing tears, I have healing spit!
And now about that title. The whole “indirect kiss” thing is a thing in anime (and possibly among Japanese kids) where kids get squeamish about eating something that that someone of the opposite gender took a bite out of, as it might count as a “kiss”. Normally it doesn’t involve much (if any) actual spit, though.
Connie: What am I going to tell my parents? What am I going to tell my optometrist?
Despite her misgivings, Connie’s obviously happy with the result, not least because the revelation of his healing powers made Steven happy, but I think there’s even a certain allure for her of simply having a “magic secret” of her own.
Until next time…