Steven saves the world with compassion and empathy and I love it.
Despite Peridot’s urgency, it turns out they have a couple of hours to kill before the drill actually reaches the Cluster, so she gets some quality time with Steven.
Peridot: We didn’t have a lot of time to plan.
Steven: So…what is the plan?
Peridot: We have a drill. We’re going to drill.
This just highlights an issue that I’m sure plenty of viewers noticed between seasons: How on Earth are they actually going to stop the Cluster? The drill is literally just a vehicle to get them there, and then you still have to figure out what to do with a giant fusion abomination.
Steven: You were made on Homeworld, right? […] What was it like?
Peridot: I didn’t exist, then I did. I don’t have memories of it, just feelings. I know I can never go back to Homeworld, but it’s hard not to have some feelings for where you came from. But it’s fine. I have something different now.
Steven: What’s that?
Peridot: You know, you…guys…
She still has some regrets about turning against her own people, but she’s ready to stand up for what’s right. And it doesn’t hurt that she seems to care about the Crystal Gems way more than any of her previous comrades.
Then they run into some of the smaller Gem mutants, and Peridot produces a laser cannon to blast them off the drill.
Steven: Something doesn’t feel right about this. […] It’s just, these things, we can’t just leave their Gems out there. They’re going to form again later. If I could just bubble them, then they’d be safe. Come on! We’ve gotta help them.
Peridot: There is no helping them. They’re too broken. The beings who used to be in those shards are so shattered, they don’t know who they are or what’s happening around them. They just seek out other Gems, looking for the missing pieces of themselves, trying to make themselves whole. These early experiments only combined two or three shards. The Cluster will be a billion times bigger – an inseparable fusion capable of destroying worlds, starting with this one.
This show is so much better at making me feel sorry for these things than making me scared or repulsed by them. They’re victims of a war that they probably can’t even remember anymore, and if they did they wouldn’t care.
And then they reach The Cluster.
Peridot: It’s too late! It’s taking form! Steven, I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, or the billions of other life forms who matter far, far less to me! Do you have any last words?
Steven: I love you, Peridot.
THIS KID IS JUST TOO PRECIOUS.
But of course the Earth doesn’t actually explode, and since they have a drill, Peridot decides to try drilling into the Cluster itself.
Steven: Peridot, I don’t think we should hurt the Cluster. I don’t think it knows what it’s doing.
Peridot: It doesn’t matter if it knows what it’s doing. It’s still going to do it.
And then Steven starts feeling physical pain all of a sudden…
Steven: I don’t understand what’s happening!
Peridot: What’s wrong?
Steven: I don’t know!
Steven has displayed sensitivity to the pain of other Gems before, which appears to be what’s going on here. Because he has ALL the psychic powers, apparently.
Steven: I’m talking to the Cluster? But how did I get inside your brain…brains?
Cluster: Have to. Want to. Need to. Must.
Steven: Wait! Please don’t take form!
Cluster: FORM FORM FORM
Steven: Maybe instead of forming, you could do something else?
Cluster: Need form…to be…whole…
Steven: Whole? Oh, you’re shards! You just want to find the rest of your Gems. But forming won’t help you find the rest of yourselves! You’ll just destroy the Earth. But if you want to find other Gems, there’s so many of you right here! Look. Shard, meet shard. […] See, you already have so much to talk about! This is great! You don’t even need to form! You can just stay here.
Cluster: Can’t stop! Going to form! Help!
Steven: It’s okay! If I just bubble you, you won’t have to come out. It’ll keep you safe! Here, like this. […] Well, that’s five, out of…oh geez. I’m sorry! I can’t do it alone!
Then they start bubbling each other and it is beautiful. He managed to communicate with these beings whom all the other Gems (including the Crystal Gems) considered irreparably broken and taught them a better way to exist, even if they can’t be “whole”.
Steven: I’ve got you. You’ve got this. We’ve all got each other!
I love this show.
Pearl: You look happy. Did you destroy the Cluster?
Steven: No, I talked to it.
Steven: It doesn’t want to destroy the Earth – it just wants company! And it’s got it now. It’s like a bajillion people! They’ll have lots of time to get to know each other, now that they’re in a bubble.
Until next time…