Steven tries to puzzle out his “magical destiny”.
Ever since the Zoo Arc, Steven has seemingly been fighting the feeling that Rose left him alone to fix her mistakes…and now he’s latched onto the idea that she left a secret message about his “magical destiny” in the tape she made for him.
Steven: There has to be a clue somewhere! Mom says she wanted to have me, but that must mean there’s a reason! There has to be something I was meant to do. My magical Gem destiny…
He didn’t come up with the whole “magical destiny” thing on his own (credit for that goes to Connie), but he sure has gotten a lot of mileage out of it. And it’s not hard to see why – he has saved the world more than once, and he might very well be the most powerful human alive, but he’s still only scratched the surface of all the troubles with Homeworld. He wants to know his “destiny” because he wants a clear path, something to tell him how to respond to an unprecedented situation.
Then Lion vomits a magical-looking key. And keys unlock things!
Steven: Where am I supposed to go? This has to unlock something! There must be some place I haven’t been. Lion. Take me somewhere new. Hey, come on! Where did you get this? Can you please take me there? Please?
So Lion takes him back to the desert where the two of them first met…and still ends up running quite a ways after the warp. My only guess as to why is that he was looking for something, but couldn’t remember the exact location.
Steven: Mom…who were you? Who am I? Garnet…Amethyst…Pearl…they won’t say it, but I know they expect something big from me. But how can I fulfill my destiny if I don’t even know what it is?
Funny thing about destiny: By definition, it’ll come to you whether you know it or not. But it’s still important not to confuse “destiny” with “expectations”.
Steven: Whatever’s behind this door, I know it’s something important. Please tell me my destiny.
Steven: What? Is this just Rose’s trash dump? No. Please! There was supposed to be something here to tell me my purpose! This is just a bunch of garbage Mom left behind!
It’s not like there’s no meaning to be found there, just not the kind of message he was looking for. And tellingly, the walls around the place have already crumbled – he didn’t even need the key to get in, if he had ever thought to look there before.
But he does unearth one maddening clue: Another tape, labeled “For Nora”.
Steven: It’s…another tape from Mom? But who’s Nora? Am I not the only one? Do I have a sister? Lion, what is this? Who’s Nora? I know I’ve asked a lot from you today, but please, just one more time, I need your help. I need to know what this tape means.
It’s honestly pretty sad that he has so little faith in his mother at this point that he thinks she might have not only had another child, but kept her a secret from literally everyone.
In response, Lion takes him to see his dad.
Steven: What are you doing here?
Greg: Getting some songs figured out. This is sorta my jamming hill. Used to be by the warehouse, but a seventh grader with a flute muscled me out. […] You okay?
Steven: I found this.
Greg: Oh my gosh! I never thought I’d see this again.
Steven: You’ve seen this tape before?
Greg: Of course! Come here, you should, too!
It turns out to be very similar to Steven’s video (seemingly working from the same script), only addressed to “Nora” (and a little fuzzier, as one might expect from a tape that was exposed to the elements).
Steven: This is just like the video Mom made me.
Rose: Nora, we can’t both exist. But I won’t be gone; I’m going to become half of you. And every moment you enjoy being yourself, that will be me, loving being you.
Steven: No, I don’t understand! Why is this the same as the video you guys made me? Who’s Nora?
Greg: Nora is you.
Steven: I’m my mom and my sister? What kind of destiny is this?
Greg: No, no! We just had it down to two names: Steven if you were a boy, and Nora if you were a girl.
Steven: Then…would Nora have the magical destiny if I wasn’t here?
Greg: Magical destiny? I don’t know about that.
Steven: But Mom did! She was trying to tell me something with my tape! She keeps leaving me puzzle pieces! Sooner or later, I’m going to understand what I’m for!
He’s so consumed by looking for clues that he’s missing the whole point of the video: A message of love and support.
Steven: Am I supposed to be…did she want me to be Nora?
Greg: Steven, she just wanted you to be you. When you have a kid, you have no idea who they’re gonna be – even Garnet couldn’t predict it. That’s what was so exciting to your mom, that life was full of so many possibilities and you would get to explore them for yourself. I mean, you could be Steven or Nora or anyone else. And you can always change your name – hey, I did!
Rose: Because you’re going to become something extraordinary: You’re going to be a human being. And that’s my favorite part! A human being. A human is in action. I wonder who – how you’ll be, what you’ll think, what you’ll want. I’m so happy for everyone who’s going to know you! I’m rambling…if they look to you, trust yourself. Take care of them, Nora.
What she wanted was to create someone who could make a life for themselves. She wanted her child to grow up to “take care of them”, and that’s what Steven wants, too. He was never “destined” to save the world, just capable of it, and willing to do it.
Steven: So that’s it. I’m just supposed to be her kid.
Greg: Well, yeah! Is that okay?
Steven: Yeah. I think I can handle that.
Until next time…