It’s time to show Steven some love.
Even in his kaiju form, Steven is still very pink and somewhat adorable. But, you know, he’s still a giant monster, and the Crystal Gems are all at a loss about what to do. Steven’s the leader, after all.
Amethyst: He’s not listening to us at all!
Pearl: What happened to him? First he says he’s a shatterer, and then he turns into this thing?
Connie: We can change him back, can’t we?
Garnet: As long as he believes he’s a monster, he’ll stay one.
It’s telling how Pearl singles out the fact that he shattered Jasper to fixate on, when Steven clearly just considered it one of several things he hated himself for. Honestly, he seemed to be a little more forgiving toward himself about that incident because unlike, say, the thing with White Diamond, it was basically an accident. And then he actually admitted it and his family is horrified.
Garnet: We need to reach him in there. We need to bring out his humanity.
Amethyst: Oh, you know who would be great at that? […] Steven!
Speaking of family, the Three Stooges (plus your Best Friend Spinel) are here to make things even more awkward!
White Diamond: Why is something like this always happening whenever we show up for a visit?
Once they understand what’s going on, they each try to use their new powers to remedy the situation, but they didn’t really help Steven before his metamorphosis, so of course they wouldn’t be any help now.
White: That’s not Steven anymore!
So this line always stuck out to me, because White is clearly wrong in my opinion, but it’s an insidious idea. It would be so much easier if this wasn’t really Steven lashing out, if it was just “the corruption” and not really the same sweet cinnamon roll we’ve grown to love, but that only makes it harder to see the real problem. It’s not a simple question of “fixing” Steven. He’s been suffering silently, to different degrees, pretty much since Season 1, and now it’s finally overwhelming him. He’s convinced not necessarily that his family doesn’t love him, but that they shouldn’t, that he doesn’t deserve love or forgiveness. But these are just the ugly parts of himself that he’s been carrying all along, not a totally different person.
Then the Cluster offers an assist while our heroes are too weak (and hopeless) to offer much resistance.
Pearl: Deep inside this monster, Steven must be in there, so angry…
Amethyst: I knew something was going on, I- why didn’t I do something?
Sapphire: If we don’t get through to him, he’ll stay like this forever!
Greg: […] Every time Gem stuff happens, I run the other way. This is my son! And he’s right to be angry, because I didn’t protect him!
Blue Diamond: You didn’t protect him from us! He’s like this because of us!
Then the Diamonds get in on the pity party and start blaming themselves for Steven’s suffering, which, well, yeah, they certainly caused him a lot grief and trauma, both directly and indirectly by their treatment of Pink Diamond.
White Diamond: This is all my fault!
Connie: Yes! It is!
Enter Steven’s knight on a noble pink steed.
Connie: Yes! You hurt him! But this isn’t the time to make this all about you! That is not helping! Maybe Steven would care how sad you are, because he always puts everyone else’s feelings first! But he can’t do that for you right now because he needs us this time! We all had Steven when we needed him, but the only person who’s never had Steven is Steven. He’s always been there for us, so…how can we be there for him now?
Seriously, Connie is the best, and she’s here to knock some sense into everyone – particularly Garnet, who finally comes up with a plan.
Garnet: It’s time to show Steven some love.
And that plan is just bombarding him with hugs (but, you know, this actually helps restrain him, too, since it involves four giant people).
Garnet: Steven, when I fell apart, you were there for me. I want to be there for you now. I’m here, Steven. I’m here.
And then all this plays over an instrumental reprise of “Here Comes a Thought” and I can’t.
Peridot: Steven! You never gave up on me for some reason I don’t understand – I’ll do the same for you!
Amethyst: I know you feel bad – believe me, I get it. Sometimes it feels like you’re never gonna like yourself, but it’s possible, man!
Pearl: Steven, I know how awful it feels to keep a part of yourself secret. You shouldn’t have to hide anything from me!
But of course it’s gotta be Connie who lands the final blow.
Connie: Steven, you must have been so afraid to show us this side of yourself, but we’re not going anywhere. We’re all gonna take care of you the same way you take care of us. You know what? I don’t have your powers, but…
And she kisses his big scaly pink nose and THIS SHOW.
Seriously, Steven Universe Future is literally about the protagonist figuring out how to cope with the resulting PTSD of a traumatic childhood and bless it. Maybe its outlook is a little rosier than characters like this should expect from the real world, but it’s nice just to have a vision of a world where kids like Steven actually get the help and support they need, even when they don’t know to ask for it.
Next time: The future…
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