I’d rather be free
This is one of those “deep breath before the plunge” episodes, as Steven and Connie try to find a way out of their predicament. I suspect it may also be an allusion to Tolkien’s famous essay about fantasy stories, “On Fairy Stories”, as he explores the term “escapism” using a metaphor of a prisoner…
At least Connie thought to bring some protein bars to the ball, because the Diamonds don’t seem to intend to give them any food.
Steven: We never should’ve come here.
Steven: This whole plan – what was I even thinking?
Connie: Well, you were thinking that if you came to Homeworld and talked to White Diamond, maybe you could save all the corrupted Gems on Earth.
Steven: Right. And look where that got us.
Connie: Well, we knew it wouldn’t be easy…
Steven: Yeah, but I didn’t think I’d get every Crystal Gem poofed at the same time!
Although Steven has taken the lead increasingly often over the past season or so, healing the corrupted Gems was always his initiative, not to mention that he’s probably kicking himself for letting himself fuse at the ball. He blames himself for the whole awful situation, but it was never going to be as simple as talking to White Diamond – sooner or later, his ideology was going to come into conflict with White. Better to hash it out now than later…except that the other Crystal Gems are now out of commission.
But while Connie is busy brainstorming escape plans, she gives Steven an idea.
Steven: There’s one Crystal Gem left that hasn’t been poofed, and that’s Bismuth! Maybe I can reach her with my sleepy psychic mind powers.
Connie: You think you can do that – reach all the way to Earth with your mind?
Steven: It’ll be a stretch for sure, but I won’t know unless I try.
Connie: Well, what are we waiting for? Bedtime, mister!
He manages to reach Earth without too much difficulty…but apparently he was speeding through the psychic ghost zone and didn’t have much control over the landing.
So he ends up stuck in a Watermelon Steven again, and the rest of the episode is completely dialogue-free.
The island still looks beautiful, and it stands in particular contrast to the sterile environment of Homeworld.
Since last we saw the melons, there’s evidently been a schism, with one tribe breaking off and following the ways of, well, the Steven melon, who bravely rallied them to help fight Malachite, while the others still hold to the pacifism of Baby Melon.
Steven doesn’t have time to enjoy their community this time, though. When he discovers that the tides are too strong for a melon to swim away from the island, he immediately sets out to build himself a raft…but being unaccustomed to melon hands, he finds the fine motor skills required to do so are beyond his grasp.
Fortunately, he doesn’t really have to do it alone. Once they finally realize his need, the two melon tribes unite to help him build a raft and it is precious.
Thus, he finally sets out for Beach City! And then a storm hits. And then a melon shark hits. And before you know it, the poor melon is clinging to a bit of driftwood and wilting under the sun.
But apparently Lion has some sort of Steven-sense that even works when he’s possessing fruit.
And then we get one of the few purely non-diegetic songs in the soundtrack (well, besides the opening and ending themes), a beautiful and simple song: Escapism.
I guess I have to face That in this awful place I shouldn't show a trace of doubt But pulled against the grain I feel a little pain That I would rather do without I'd rather be free, free, free From here
Between the song and the scenery, this episode kind of serves to remind us what Steven is fighting for – a place where he can truly be free.
Steven: Guess we’ll see what happens…
Next time: Steven finally confronts the Diamonds