That’s some magical destiny stuff right there.
This episode provides a nice snapshot of what Steven Universe is aiming for – both the character and the show. Also, lots of neat visual ideas.
Before Steven and the Gems can sort out what his “grounding” entails, they’re alerted to an absence of ocean.
Mayor Dewey: Hey, it’s those magical ladies! What’s going on here?
Garnet: The ocean is gone, obviously.
Mayor Dewey: That’s right. Now it’s just a desert. No one wants to take a vacation to Desert City!
Of course it turns out that Lapis Lazuli is responsible, and although the Crystal Gems aren’t optimistic, Steven remains convinced that they can reason with her. Having the livelihoods of his friends in Beach City on the one hand and his own culpability in releasing Lapis on the other, he decides to seek her out to bring back the ocean. He initially plans to go alone, but naturally the whole crew comes with him, including his dad, Connie, and Lion.
While I question the ability of corals and such to survive in open air, it is certainly fun watching them traverse a “deserted” ocean floor.
Steven: I can’t believe Lapis would do this. Gems shouldn’t fight each other.
Pearl: We’re always fighting Gems, actually.
By this point, most members of the audience would have figured that out, but this is still a kids show.
Pearl: Oh, how do I put this…all Gems aren’t necessarily good…
Amethyst: All those monsters we fight used to be just like us! Right, Pearl?
Pearl: Yes. But they’ve become corrupted and broken. We have to take care of them, subdue them, contain them. It’s the best we can do for them, for now. If we don’t, then…
While it makes sense why they would seek out and bubble all the “monster” gems, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Lapis, since they were trying to use her to power a magical trinket. The only logic seems to be that they thought she was “bad” for some reason…
Again, I question the scientific plausibility of something like this, but it sure does make for a cool setpiece.
Steven: Lapis Lazuli, it’s me, Steven!
Lapis: Go away, before I make you.
Lapis: You’re one of them – one of the Crystal Gems.
Steven: What do you mean? We’re all Gems, right? Just let us help you.
Lapis: You don’t understand. Just leave me alone…
But they can’t very well leave until they’ve secured the release of the ocean, so a water fight ensues.
Any shortcomings the water doppelgangers may have in strength or skill is made up for by the fact that they are, y’know, made of water, leading to pretty even matches across the board. But when WaterSteven first tries to drown Connie and Steven, then breaks Greg’s leg by throwing the van, Steven is fed up.
Steven: Lapis, I don’t want to fight anymore. I said, I don’t wanna fight!
And this is why Steven’s weapon is a shield: He’s a lover, not a fighter!
Steven: Lapis, I’m coming up to see you. So please don’t drown me.
Lapis: What are you doing here, Steven?
Steven: What? I- no! What are you doing here? This thing – the ocean – this is crazy! Can’t we work this out? We Gems should be friends!
Lapis: Don’t you know anything, Steven? Your friends – they don’t even care about other Gems! All they care about is the Earth! But I never believed in this place. I just wanna go home.
It’s easy to see how she could get that impression – and the Crystal Gems’ hostility toward her only made matters worse. They had to choose between the gem “monsters” and humanity at some point, and they chose humanity, which might very well constitute treachery in the eyes of other Gems.
Lapis: I’m only using the ocean because my gem is cracked. If I just stretch it far enough…oh, this is never going to work.
Steven: I can fix your gem! I have healing powers!
Lapis: Wait, you have healing powers?
Steven: I know, right?
She’s actually pretty cute when she’s not trying to be a vengeful sea goddess!
Then she flies off into space, returning the ocean to its rightful place.
Steven exerts way more control over his powers than he has before, doubtlessly thanks to his conviction and the clear stakes. But this is only the beginning of the larger plot.
Garnet: So. Lapis made it off-planet.
Pearl: What does this mean for us?
Garnet: We wait and see.
Not only does this open up the possibility of other Gems turning up, but evidently there are other places in the universe which Gems call “home”, so this is a little more sci-fi than it first appears (more of a Sailor Moon brand of sci-fi, but still).
Steven: See you, Lapis, wherever you are.
Until next time…