If you really wanted to be alone, you’re doing it wrong.
Once again, the show seems to have forgotten that Garnet at least has some idea what’s bothering Steven (even if she might not know what’s up with the glowing), but once again, I am fine with that, because this episode is just devastating.
Amethyst: You’ve gotta tell us what’s going on.
Garnet: It looks like Steven is trying to avoid a serious discussion about this altogether.
Steven: No, I’m not!
Garnet: Steven! You have got to calm down and talk to us.
Amethyst: Just chill, man.
Pearl: We need to do something about this, before someone gets hurt!
Garnet: Don’t let this power control you. You’re better than this.
Steven: Leave me alone!
Once again, Steven’s powers present him with a way out of an uncomfortable situation, so he runs away with his super speed in lieu of actually talking with his guardians about what’s going on.
And for some reason he ends up on Jasper’s doorstep.
Steven: I think my Diamond powers are coming out. I can’t control them. I just need to be alone, so I don’t hurt anyone.
Jasper: If you really wanted to be alone, you’re doing it wrong.
Because he doesn’t really want to be alone, he just doesn’t want to risk hurting the people he loves…and Jasper is probably the Gem he cares about the least at this point. At least she was probably the Gem I cared about the least – but then this episode came around and made me care about JASPER.
Steven: This thing with my powers is a real problem!
Jasper: The only problem you have are your friends. Can’t you see they’re holding you back?
Steven: What? No, they’re just worried about me.
Jasper: They’re afraid – of your power.
Steven: Yeah…yeah, I guess so.
Jasper: You are, too. You came all the way out here to hide from it. But I’m not here to hide. I don’t stifle my anger, or my power – I channel it into training. […] I’ve got no one to serve, nowhere to go. All I have left is power! And in order to control that power, I have to use it. Those so-called friends of yours don’t understand. They want you to feel bad for being yourself.
Steven: I do feel bad…
As Steven pointed out before, all that power doesn’t do her or anyone else any good, but at least she’s stopped trying to impose her will upon others. So instead she’s trying to convince Steven to embrace his power, mainly so she can finally fight a “worthy” opponent. And since everybody else just keeps telling him to repress his power and his negative emotions, Jasper is the first person to encourage him to actually explore those feelings. It does make him feel bad, but of course part of the reason is that he doesn’t like himself when he indulges those impulses.
Jasper: This is it? This is what you were worried about? It’s nothing! I’m stronger than the ones that want to hold you back. I’m not afraid of this, and you shouldn’t be either! That’s more like it! Now tell me, did it feel good to let your anger out?
Steven: …Yeah. If I stay here, will you teach me to control this feeling?
It’s notable that Steven wants to learn how to control the feeling, while Jasper pretty clearly just wants to see him unleash his full power, and agrees to teach him to that end. Granted, feelings and powers are intimately connected for Steven, but his goal is still to learn control.
Jasper: Lesson one: stop smiling!
Steven: But I’ve seen you smile.
Jasper: Lesson two: shut up!
It’s honestly kind of refreshing having someone around with zero filter on her thoughts and actions around Steven – I mean, it’s because she knows that she can knock him down with no real repercussions, but still.
One montage and three whole days later, Steven’s shifted to a constant battle-readiness (as indicated by the pink glow) and a look more akin to the buff character of “Stefan”. So he finally challenges Jasper to that rematch they’ve been building up to.
Jasper: What are you holding back for? You think I can’t take it? I’m not gonna coddle you, Steven! Do you want to go home to your Gems?
Jasper: Are you afraid to be strong? Are you pathetic? Are you weak?
Steven: I’m not!
Jasper seems to think she can handle anything Steven could dish out – she makes the same mistake as Sam in Lord of the Rings, thinking because Frodo wouldn’t harm Gollum that he couldn’t, that he was too soft. Jasper’s never fought a Diamond before; Steven has. And once Jasper finally makes him angry, we’re reminded of the time he fought White Diamond by the way he makes a crater with his voice – and we’re also reminded that Pink Diamond might actually have been stronger than White.
With only Jasper around to emphasize physical strength and power, Steven’s starting to forget how to be strong in the real way – strong enough to pull his punches.
At first, she just laughs infuriatingly and shrugs off his hits, but it doesn’t take too long for him to pin her.
Steven: You’re right, Jasper. I have been holding back.
And the next thing we know, he’s de-glowed and running frantically back home…
Pearl: Steven! Where have you been?
Amethyst: We’ve looked everywhere for you!
Steven: Not now!
I’d almost forgotten about that title…
Then he dumps all the diamond juice in the tub and has no trouble crying into it himself as he tries desperately to piece it all back together.
Steven: Please, please let this work…Jasper, I’m sorry. Please, come back. Please…
Jasper: You…shattered me.
Steven: Jasper, I’m so sorry! I should’ve stopped! I wasn’t thinking.
Jasper: I bow to your strength, my Diamond.
Until next time…