He finally does it.

SU 126-1

With basically all of Steven’s friends captured, it seems the only option is to fight.  But first, they try to figure out what’s even going on.

Pearl: A topaz fusion, and an aquamarine?

Amethyst: Are they a big deal?

Pearl: Uh, yes! Blue and Yellow Diamond must have sent them personally.

Steven: The Diamonds? Oh no. They must be collecting more humans for the Zoo!

Amethyst: But there’s loads of humans on Earth. Why are they only grabbing your friends?

Steven: Maybe…because my friends are the best!

At least Connie has the presence of mind (and use of her hands) to take a picture of her surroundings and send it to Steven, letting them know they’re in Funland.

SU 126-2

The Crystal Gems quickly catch up with them, but they don’t seem too intimidated.

Aquamarine: Huh, you know, now that I think about it, this Steven does seem to know everyone on our list. The list did come from a Steven after all. Maybe you can help us out.

Garnet: Just let the humans go!

Aquamarine: Uh, no! Who are these dullards?

Amethyst: We’re the Crystal Gems, you chump!

Aquamarine: Yeah, yeah, Rose Quartz’s old lackeys. That was in the report, too. We’re not here for any of you rogue Gems. We’ll leave you totally alone – if you tell us where we can find my dad.

Steven: I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Aquamarine: Let me see…Yellow Diamond asked for a my dad, a Connie, a Lars, a Sadie, a mailman, and an Onion I think. Six human variations specified in a report by Peridot 5XG.

And that’s when it finally clicks for Steven.

SU 126-3

Steven: The list! I gave them the list. […] Aquamarine doesn’t have a dad! She’s looking for someone named “My dad”! This is all my fault.

They try to fight, but between Topaz’s strength and Aquamarine’s freezeray they don’t make much headway.  What really seals the deal, though, is the hostages.

Aquamarine: This is getting annoying. Hey, Topaz, can you remind me? I mean, my memory is perfect, but…our orders were to bring back these six humans. I’m just not sure…did they specify alive? You know, I don’t think they did!

SU 126-4

Aquamarine: I just think if you care about your friends or whatever, you should tell me where my dad is. Alright?

Steven: Stop! I know where you can find my dad.

Aquamarine: Ooh, where, where?

Steven: Right here. I’m the one you’re looking for. I am my dad!

Aquamarine: I know what you’re thinking, Topaz. It seems a little suspicious that my dad is also a Steven, but you know, if it means getting out of here, I’ll believe it.

It’s obvious that Steven’s top priority is making sure his dad doesn’t get into trouble again, but a close second is getting all his friends out of harm’s way, especially since he now blames himself for putting them in danger to begin with.

SU 126-5

Pearl: Steven, do you know what you’re doing?

While he does have a plan (using his bubble to disrupt the fusion and release the prisoners), he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.  And there’s an additional time crunch because the Crystal Gems lost their spaceship, so they really need to get out before the ship leaves the atmosphere.  And Steven’s plan takes a little while to actually work.

SU 126-6

Aquamarine: Let’s get back to Homeworld already.

Jamie: But I’m already on my homeworld! I haven’t even delivered all the mail today!

Steven: Don’t worry, I can do this!

Jamie: You might want to hurry, Steven. The threat of us perishing in this quagmire of yellow feels very real! A real encompassing kind of real! A neon deathtrap…

I love how Jamie is the only one besides Steven (and Onion) whose mouth is free.  And his chattering is actually a suitable distraction until Steven can (literally) work his magic.

SU 126-15

It’s actually really interesting to see how all these people react to a life-and-death situation.  Onion, unsurprisingly, adapts pretty well and manages to avoid trouble.  Jamie is obviously terrified and freezes up once or twice, but he seems to be channeling the Drama Zone.

SU 126-8

Then there’s these two.

Sadie: Come on! Lars, you gotta get up! We gotta move!

Lars is just paralyzed, and even Sadie can’t get him to budge.  Even when she’s caught, Lars turns tail and tries to hide.

SU 126-9

Sadie ends up escaping with an assist from Connie, but she’s still disappointed in Lars…and really, he’s obviously disappointed in himself, because who wants to be a coward?

SU 126-7

Connie: Steven! Let’s fuse!

Steven’s not doing so great himself.  He’s so focused on blaming himself for the whole predicament that he’s having trouble focusing on the situation in front of him.

Steven: It’s my fault you were abducted! Why everyone was taken…if it weren’t for me, the Diamonds wouldn’t have come for my friends. If it weren’t for my mom, they wouldn’t even be trying to destroy the Earth!

We’ve been through this before, Steven: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT IF ALIENS TRY TO ABDUCT PEOPLE.

SU 126-11

Alexandrite swoops in and stops the ship before it can take off, giving the humans an opportunity to jump ship in relative safety.

SU 126-12

At least until Aquamarine comes out and freezes them all, including Alexandrite.

Aquamarine: Nice try, but it’s hopeless my dad. I can’t go back to Homeworld without getting what the Diamonds want.

Steven: I’m…not my dad.

Aquamarine: What?

Steven: I’m not my dad!

Aquamarine: How much longer is this mission going to take?

Steven: Well, I can end it for you right now. […] I’m someone the Diamonds will want more than any of these humans. The leader of the Crystal Gem rebellion, the Gem that shattered Pink Diamond. I’m not my dad. I’m my mom. I’m Rose Quartz!

SU 126-13

Amethyst: What are you doing?

Steven: I get it now. I’m the only one who can stop what she started. I can stop all of it!

Garnet: You’re wrong! Steven, get down here!

Steven: She wouldn’t have wanted this. But I do.

Amethyst: I’m gonna kick your butt if you don’t come down here right now!

SU 126-14

Connie: No! Don’t you dare!

Steven: I love you,

Connie: No! Stop! Steven!

I can’t.  Just the other Crystal Gems begging him not to sacrifice himself…and yet knowing he’ll do it anyway.  Because he’s Steven.  But hearing Connie just breaks my heart, because she wanted to fuse earlier – she wanted to be with him no matter what, but Steven was too focused on his own self-pity to notice.

And this is how Season 4 ends.  I feel like it was modeled after Season 1 structurally (two plot arcs with a bunch of episodic stories in between), but it felt a lot more utilitarian, like it was still mostly just a bridge between Season 3 and Season 5.  I like that it had time for filler, and it did have a handful of superb episodes (mostly plot-related), even if others were pretty forgettable.

Until next time…

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