Lars finds a place where he can belong and it is beautiful.
This is just about the closest the show ever comes to sci-fi territory, as Steven and Lars attempt to navigate the lifeless surface of Homeworld in the vain hope of finding a way off planet.
And now that they’ve escaped immediate danger, they get to consider the prospect of starving to death on an alien planet.
Lars: This is so messed up. What are we gonna eat?
Steven: There’s tons of food if you like rocks for dinner.
Lars: Salt is a rock, right? Maybe we can season some dirt and make a meal.
And then the killer robots show up!
On the plus side, this is easily the best these two have ever cooperated, but on the downside, it’s mostly thanks to uncertain death.
Lars: What are we gonna do? What’s gonna happen?
Steven: We’re gonna run, and we’re gonna be okay!
Lars: No! You just don’t get it. I hate being scared all the time! I was scared of everything except baking – actually, I was scared of that too. I never even tried making baklava because it looked so hard! I never had the guts to stick up for anybody – not even me! And now I’m hiding again like a big cowardly loser under some space building!
Steven: Don’t beat yourself up like that, Lars – that’s what the killer robots are for.
Then they run into someone who invites them into a hiding place, and not having many other options, they accept the invitation.
Steven: Uh, excuse me, but where are you taking us?
Rutile: Somewhere long forgotten.
Rutile: Where only those who don’t belong, belong.
Lars: Sounds like my kind of place.
It turns out they’re living in an old Kindergarten beneath the current metropolis, along with several other oddball Gems.
Padparadscha: Everyone! A wondrous vision has appeared before me. The twins of Rutile will bring one, no, two, strangers to our current place of hiding!
Rhodonite: We know, Padparadscha, your prediction already happened.
Rutile: They were being chased up on the surface by one of those terrible robonoids.
These guys are all just instantly endearing, and not just because they’re the first Gems on Homeworld to offer help.
This whole season borrows a lot from A Wrinkle in Time (unsurprisingly, considering how much it involves children on interplanetary journeys), and Fluorite here gave me distinct Aunt Beast vibes (even if her personality is more like a Mrs. Whatsit).
Steven: Hi, I’m Steven. I’m a Gem. Well, half-Gem. And this is Lars! He’s all human.
Fluorite: That’s why you look so…unusual.
Lars: We look unusual?
Rhodonite: Of course you do! You can’t just walk around on the surface like that! You’re off-color, just like the rest of us.
Steven: What do you mean, off color?
Rutile: You know, wrong.
Rutile: Not right.
Steven: Wait, I don’t see anything wrong with you guys.
Rhodonite: Gems like us aren’t needed. Padparadscha can only predict things that just happened.
Padparadscha: Here comes Fluorite!
Rhodonite: And a fusion like me is unforgivable.
Rhodonite appears to be a fusion between a pearl and some other Gem (possibly a ruby?), while Fluorite is six Gems and counting (hence the rainbow coloring). Rutile is just a natural “mutation”; they came out of the ground that way.
Rutile: We survived because they were afraid of us.
Steven: Afraid of you? So you’ve been hiding your whole lives.
Lars: What happens if they find you?
Rutile: We’ll be…
Then the robonoids catch up to them!
Steven: Lars…it’s okay to be afraid.
And that’s when it finally clicks for Lars – being brave isn’t about not having fear, but doing what’s right despite fear. He understands now that Steven isn’t fearless; honestly, a lack of appropriate fear for his life is arguably what got them into this mess. And so, for the first time in his life, he stands up for someone.
Lars: It’s okay to be afraid…
Steven: Oh my gosh, Lars! They were trying to scan your Gem – they can’t see you at all!
Thus the tables begin to turn (helped a little by Steven’s shield, which can deflect their death bolts). Lars is able to keep the bots from detecting the Gems by acting as a literal meatshield. And then he gets cocky.
This episode goes out of its way to remind you that Lars is not nearly as durable as Steven. Steven is pretty strong even for a Gem; Lars is a very scrawny human, and a malnourished one at that.
And then he goes and blows up the robonoid he’s riding on, and there’s an audible crack as he hits the wall…
Steven: Lars! Lars…Lars?
Because apparently Lars can’t just be happy.
SERIOUSLY WHY CAN’T MY STEVEN BE HAPPY?
This scene just works. It’s the first actual death in the show, and there’s been enough time to forget about Rose’s healing tears (especially with all the other feels going on in these episodes). And you’re finally wishing Lars some happiness.
Padparadscha: Oh my. Something incredible is going to happen to Lars!
Until next time…