Maybe I’m not alone…

This episode begins in the middle of the night, when Ronaldo, newly furnished with a state-of-the-art telescope and tasked with lookout duty, spies a barn on the moon…

Steven: Why would Lapis bring the barn to the Moon? I thought she wanted to get as far away from Earth as possible.

It is somewhat amusing how Steven’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t even think to tell anyone when he’s just taking a little trip to the Moon.

The barn itself is empty (at least of people), so Steven heads back to the Moon Base and sees the lights on upstairs…

Steven: I can’t believe it! It’s so good to see you again.

Lapis: Really?

Steven: What’s going on? I thought you’d be halfway across the galaxy by now. Aren’t you worried about the Diamonds coming to attack?

Lapis: I got…distracted.

Really, Lapis, stop being so surprised that Steven is always happy to see you (no matter how messy your departure was)!

It turns out Lapis has been using some leftover Diamond tech at the Moon Base to see what’s been going on planetside in her absence.

Steven: You’re spying on us?

Lapis: Well I wouldn’t call it spying. Because that would make me feel bad.

Lapis: I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on. I’m still terrified of the Diamonds coming to Earth, but I got just outside the Milky Way and I felt so lonely.

Steven: So why didn’t you just come back?

Lapis: I want to! But I just can’t. Not after the way I left! What would Peridot say? What if the Diamonds show up? What if something bad happens?

Steven: Well, what if something good happens?

And then she starts singing her feelings and I can’t.

It all became so lovely
Those bluest skies above me
Those funny feelings I had never felt before I met you
I thought I'd stay awhile
I tried to learn to smile
So many colors I had never even known
Maybe I'll find myself sitting on that distant shore
Maybe I'm not alone

This song almost feels like the show in a nutshell, taking a lot of complex, often painful feelings and making them a little more manageable, if only by speaking them.

Then I see the colors fading
Gentleness of light escaping
Shadows of my fear invading
Have I seen this all before?
I know that there's something residing
A terror deep inside me
I couldn't understand how you could be so bold
Maybe I'll find myself smiling on that distant shore
Maybe I'm not alone

That “maybe” ends up feeling painfully unlikely, even when Steven’s right there beside her the whole song.  She hates being alone, but she still seems to think of herself as a monster, someone who can only hurt the people around her.

Lapis: I’ve done so much because I was afraid. I left Peridot behind, I took the barn, and her morps.

Steven: At least she still has Pumpkin.

Lapis: I was so sure the Diamonds would destroy my new home, that I did it myself. It’s like I’m back inside the mirror, except I put myself here. […] Maybe I’m tired of running away. Maybe I’d rather be with everyone and be in danger than be safe and alone.

Steven: They’d be glad to have you back.

Lapis: I don’t know. If I went back now, there’s no way things could go back to the way they were.

Steven: Yeah, but that’s alright. Things will just be different.

Lapis: What do you mean?

Steven: Well, what if you weren’t way out in the country? You could drop the barn on the beach, then we’d all be neighbors. I’d come over to borrow a cup of sugar, and you’d be like, “What’s that?” When you go back, we should all hang out more.

Lapis: Huh. When…I go back…

She’s finally reaching the point where no danger seems quite as awful as loneliness.

And then Steven (who was awoken in the middle of the night, if you recall) falls asleep.  And starts dreaming.

Seems like all he can have in a Diamond base is Diamond dreams nowadays…unless that was all he was ever going to dream in a Diamond base, and he just didn’t know because under normal circumstances, he probably wouldn’t have space to fall asleep in such a place.

Blue Diamond: This is what you wanted. You begged us for a colony of your own! And now all you want to do is be rid of it! First there were too many organics, then their cities were too difficult to dismantle, and now these Crystal Gems? We’re tired of your excuses, Pink! This Rose Quartz can’t hurt you. You can’t be swayed by a few unruly Gems! Enough! You must understand, you are a Diamond. Everyone on this planet is looking to you. You don’t even have to do anything, just smile and wave. Show everyone you’re unfazed by this little uprising. Your Gems will fall into line, and these Crystal Gems will be no more. As long as you are there to rule, this colony will be completed.

Pink Diamond doesn’t get a word in edgewise this time…and then Pearl seems to show up with Rose’s sword…

Steven wakes up, understandably confused…and Lapis is in no mood to be reasonable.

Steven: I…I saw the Diamonds.

Lapis: What? What are you talking about?

Steven: I dreamt about them. They were right in this room.

Lapis: What does that mean? Are they coming?

Steven: I-I don’t know.

Lapis: What if they are? What if they’re close? Why else would you see them? Steven!

I mean, to be fair, that IS what happened with his first Diamond dream, and she wouldn’t have heard about the second one where it was obviously a memory.

Steven: Lapis, hold on! Where are you going?

Lapis: As far from Earth as I can. I’m leaving! You should be used to that by now.

Steven: You don’t have to run, Lapis, just stay with us!

Lapis: I don’t know what I was thinking! I’m not like you and your friends, Steven. I can’t just let go of what happened to me! I can’t go through that again.

Steven: Would you rather be alone?

Lapis: I’m sorry.

And this is one of those things that would hit more squarely had they been more consistent with portraying her PTSD, because that’s clearly what’s going on here.  She might be scared of being alone, but her overpowering instinct is still to run away, to not give anyone a chance to hurt her again.

But once Lapis flies off, Steven still has some serious questions thanks to that dream.

Steven: Lion, I need you to take me to Pearl.

Next time: At long last, answers…

One thought on “Can’t Go Back

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