Steven Universe: Know Your Fusion
August 12, 2016 5:20 PM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Steven and Amethyst introduce Garnet and Pearl to Smoky Quartz, but Sardonyx steals the show.

The Summer of Steven/Steven's Summer Adventures/Steven Nuke is officially over! New episodes return Thursdays 7:00 PM Eastern.
posted by Small Dollar (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Season 4 is just going to be one TV/media reference after another.
posted by divabat at 6:05 PM on August 12, 2016


- Poor Sardonyx, she tends to muck things up every time she's center stage. Granted, trying to define a new fusion in terms of other fusions is pretty brainless. Would've been interesting if one of the tests was based on Rainbow Quartz, though.
- Garnet is just so pleased every time Steven fuses. I love it.
- I think an episode where Connie finds out about Smokey Quartz and gets jealous would be good. She's been so pro-Steven this whole time it'd be interesting to have her faith tested in that way.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:15 PM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poor Sardonyx, she tends to muck things up every time she's center stage.

What interests me here is that *Garnet* doesn't seem to mix with bigger fusions very well: both Sardonyx and Sugilite have impulse control problems.

By contrast, Opal, Stevonnie and Smokey Quartz seem to be pretty effective and/or centered, if that makes sense.
posted by mordax at 10:33 PM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Someone on DeviantArt posted representative drawings of each of the main gems in the styles of different storyboarders.

I have written up a semi-long statement about the fans who drove popular storyboard artist Lauren Zuke off of Twitter yesterday. I have it saved in a file and may yet post it. But in summary: remember, SU has a huge fan base, the larger any group of people the more likely you're going to attract the socially maladjusted, and far more even than MLP, SU's a remarkably kind and inclusive show, and you shouldn't tar a whole fanbase by the actions of a few highly visible jerks.

I'd like to point out the post on the Steven Universe subreddit (on Reddit! of all places!) where fans have poured out their support for Zuke, which is approaching a score of 1700 and still rising.
posted by JHarris at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Garnet's face was exactly my face when Smoky Quartz appeared the first time in the other episode.

Did you see the mug on Sardonyx's desk that said I <3 EC. I wonder who EC is?

It's interesting how when Stevonnie appeared they were like - ok do your thing, go have fun. We don't really know what you're about, go find out. When Smokey Quartz appeared they were like, oh hello, you're like me, let's stack rank.

"She's not actually in this episode, do we still have to pay her?" Haha you ALWAYS have to pay Nicki Minaj. That's why she's on the way to make a billi like a big goat.
posted by bleep at 11:18 AM on August 13, 2016


I have written up a semi-long statement about the fans who drove popular storyboard artist Lauren Zuke off of Twitter yesterday.

Oh my god if any situation was made for the phrase "I can't with this" it has got to be a friggin fandom driving someone off twitter for trying to make a living. I do not at all understand the appeal of being involved in fandom. I'm not going to say everyone involved in fandom is a jerk because of what some of them did but I am going to say I don't understand the appeal of putting myself into a tribe based on liking the same media as someone else. Or being an enthusiastic follower of the members of a team who work on a show. Am I the only one who just likes watching a show and talking about it sometimes?
posted by bleep at 11:25 AM on August 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I wonder who EC is?

Empire City.
posted by Pendragon at 12:19 PM on August 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


Agreed somewhat, bleep. Mind, I don't think SU fans consider themselves a "group" actually, other than just SU fans, there is no generally used fandom name for instance, even the name the Crewniverse suggested (which I forget right now) doesn't see general use. I've not seem much tribalism among them, in fact they mix well with other fandoms, there's lots of crossover art with Gravity Falls for instance.
posted by JHarris at 12:42 PM on August 13, 2016


THANK YOU Pendragon, that was bugging me.

This was a really odd episode. I don't quite "get" Sardonyx's fixation on performance (to the point of creating a fake soundstage, though it was funny and surreal) which doesn't seem to mesh with Ruby and Sapphire at all (Pearl, yes, but does she even watch TV, or know how it runs?)

I thought it was interesting how well Smoky held together even while clearly uncomfortable; normally I'd assume that's when a fusion splits. But their discomfort was perhaps a unifying force; they both feel inadequate, as pointed out by Steven earlier.

I assume SQ could also make herself a room. What about Stevonnie?

SQ is just super-cute, though. The freckles!! Her yoyo is adorable and pretty damn powerful. She is able to float like Steven, spin like Amethyst--I bet she could throw fire from her yoyo like Amethyst does from her whip. What about a bubble--I wonder what she'd do with that? A flaming bubble maybe. Covered in purple spikes.
posted by emjaybee at 12:44 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't quite "get" Sardonyx's fixation on performance

I think the fusions, to some degree, start to become their own person, and develop personality quirks absent from the original gems, or maybe that result in barely-seen personality facets becoming easier to express.

The example I give is:
  • A gifted composer may suck at playing music.
  • A talented performer may not be able to compose.
  • The two of them fused may be an able improviser, demonstrating a skill beyond either of her components, because each has an essential lack.

posted by JHarris at 12:49 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess Sardonyx's thing about performance is like Garnet's combination of power (Ruby) + precision (Sapphire) which combines into Garnet's "I know exactly what to do and I'm going to kick ass right now" being multiplied by Pearl's grace, skill, & precision, all interacting with Pearl's intense desire to feel wanted & useful and Garnet's (well-earned) self-regard results in a perhaps overly confident and self-obsessed performer type.
posted by bleep at 1:24 PM on August 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


Another way of saying that is like Pearl adds a dancer's grace to Garnet's power and skill at knowing where to be and what to do.. Pearl also adds an intense desire to please to Garnet's giant ego/self-love. Take someone who's great at smashing the right thing at the right time and loves themself a lot and combine that with someone who moves like a ballerina and really wants everyone to love them. This sounds like every celebrity I've ever heard of.
posted by bleep at 1:31 PM on August 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


even the name the Crewniverse suggested (which I forget right now) doesn't see general use

Ah! It was "Steventhusiasts." Yeah, you see? No one uses that!
posted by JHarris at 3:37 PM on August 13, 2016


"Steventhusiasts" is better than "Gemtlemen"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:27 PM on August 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


What interests me here is that *Garnet* doesn't seem to mix with bigger fusions very well: both Sardonyx and Sugilite have impulse control problems.

I'm pretty sure the Garnet fusions have impulse control problems because of Ruby--you know, the type of person who will burn down a pool or break a table with her anger. Combine that with Amethyst's punkitude or Pearl's snootily showboating nature and it's easy to see how Sapphire would get crowded out. I'd be curious to see how the Garnet components would mix individually with other gems.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:44 PM on August 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


I also get the sense that Sapphire might feel excited and energized by the unpredictability of other gems, and lets their excitement carry her away too because it's fun. Part of what attracted her to her Ruby in the first place. I could see how if you always knew what was going to happen, and you were a smart and interesting person like Sapphire, that being around people who were always doing something new & different could be intoxicating.
posted by bleep at 7:53 PM on August 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think there's a subtler moral point to be gleaned from this episode, with the fusion->relationship mapping. Every relationship is different, and it's important to respect those differences and be true to what makes your particular relationships work, rather than trying to emulate the superficial features of other people's relationships. Sardonyx's mistake was in being too eager to judge and analyze Smoky Quartz in comparison to what she already knew, rather than letting the relationship stand on its own.

(Do we know Smoky Quartz's pronouns yet?)
posted by NMcCoy at 10:33 PM on August 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's the thing about fusions, no matter how they identify, it's always okay to use they when describing them.

(Or is this actually untrue, d'ya suppose, because they always refer to themselves with I? Hmmmm....)
posted by JHarris at 12:00 AM on August 14, 2016


Smoky Quartz is adorable. I don't totally understand why she has 3 arms, although I guess the fusions aren't completely consistent in how many limbs/eyes/whatevers they have.

Sardonyx's personality never confused me. I think Sapphire is just as fun-loving as Ruby is (I mean, look at the baseball episode), and Pearl can definitely have fun when she lets herself, so the three of them together kind of give each other permission to be super goofy within the structured confines of a talk-show-host role.
posted by a strong female character at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't totally understand why she has 3 arms, although I guess the fusions aren't completely consistent in how many limbs/eyes/whatevers they have.

I think that's a result of the fusion being 3/4 gem and 1/4 human. Note that when most non-similar gems fuse, they gain additional limbs/features - Garnet has an extra eye, Sardonyx ends up with four eyes and four arms, etc. However, when Stevonnie fuses, you get one very developed but feature-count-appropriate human (interestingly, one that looks a lots less 'cartoonish' in proportion and more 'realistic' than most of the actual adults in Beach City).

In SQ's case, you get something halfway between the two - correct eyes, extra limb but only on half the fusion, etc. This asymmetry and indecision on a final form is very much a feature of both Amethyst and Steven on their own - Amethyst constantly self conscious that she doesn't have the form she's 'supposed to', and Steven wondering if he'll ever actually grow like a human, or if he has to deliberately shift his shape to be something other than an 8 year old boy's body.

Also, note the differences between Garnet's first form when Ruby and Sapphire fused initially, and how Garnet is now - there are initially a lot more divisive individual elements as the two parts of a fusion find an equilibrium, and then things settle out and refine the more the component members balance themselves with each other.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I loved the meta-textual jokes with regards to Sugilite and whether they have to pay "her" (Nicki Minaj, who voiced Sugilite in her only episode) when they only play audio clips of the past episode.

Also, does anyone else feel like, when following the fusions-should-be-voiced-by-singers rule, that Sardonyx should have been voiced by Janelle Monae? I wonder if they just couldn't get her and so went with the (great) voice actress that she has now.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:36 AM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


There was a rumor that Monae was doing the voice work for Sardonyx but I can't find anything other than fan enthusiasm as the source.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2016


The Crewniverse have stated that fusions look the way they do because it looks cool.
posted by divabat at 8:36 PM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


A lot of the answers in that Reddit thread are facetious. Like this:

Are we going to learn more about rose in further episodes?
Nah. I don't really think she'll ever come up again, TBH.

That said, I think it's quite likely that the fans put way more thought into the show's logic than the writers do.
posted by a strong female character at 9:10 PM on August 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


That said, I think it's quite likely that the fans put way more thought into the show's logic than the writers do.

Possibly, but it's not guaranteed. I remember when The Simpsons had a joke that was only funny if you knew intro calculus, the Futurama writers doing a mathematical proof in the bodyswapping episode, etc. I'd argue The Venture Brothers is actually fueled by beanplating on the part of the writers at this point. Cartoonists can be a pretty obsessive lot.

It's my feeling Rebecca Sugar probably has a pretty good series bible, either actually typed out or at least in her head based on the consistency demonstrated in various arcs on the show. (That said, the answer to 'why is Malachite big and weird' probably really is just rule of cool.)
posted by mordax at 9:29 PM on August 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


That said, I think it's quite likely that the fans put way more thought into the show's logic than the writers do.

I think that's true for a lot of shows but I don't think for this one. It seems apparent to me that there's a lot of thought put into the show's logic and that's why fans like to think about it alot. Because there is a lot there to think about. It's apparent even from Rebecca Sugar's Adventure Time days that that lady does not mess around.
posted by bleep at 8:45 PM on August 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Footage courtesy of Cartoon Network"
ohyousardonyx.jpg
posted by comealongpole at 4:03 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I figure Malachite is big and weird because Lapis is much, much more powerful than most folks give her credit for. In her intro episodes Pearl even comments on it. Jasper's ideas of power are totally locked into the body - she can't comprehend a small quartz having any strength, for a start - so Jasper getting a good look at how strong Lapis actually is probably fueled the size.

That said, I think it's quite likely that the fans put way more thought into the show's logic than the writers do.

I actually really doubt this. Bismuth's bubble's been in Lion since forever, for example.
posted by Jilder at 10:49 PM on September 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


So there's a moment where Pearl asks Garnet, "Why don't you ask them?" and Garnet says, "I can't."

I had just thought of that as she doesn't bother to ask questions, because future vision, not that she can't. Is this a sign that there's something else going on?
posted by RobotHero at 3:24 PM on September 21, 2016


I don't quite "get" Sardonyx's fixation on performance (to the point of creating a fake soundstage, though it was funny and surreal) which doesn't seem to mesh with Ruby and Sapphire at all

*ahem*

'Sardonic: disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking'
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:30 PM on November 27, 2016


That's probably Pearl's showoffy-ness coming through.
posted by JHarris at 3:35 AM on November 28, 2016


I'm late watching these episodes and haven't caught up yet (uh, give me a week), but my heart was breaking a little bit when Smokey Quartz seemed to only reflect Amethyst's and Steven's moodiness and feelings of being broken/less than what they should be. All of those jokes about how they were really nothing, and how those feelings are what allowed them to fuse in the first place - Steven made a comment about how wrong gems had to stick together right before they fused in 'Earthlings'.

Smokey Quartz seems a lot like the funny/acting out that happens because of low self esteem, and I'm worried that it's emblematic of the sort of relationship you get into because because neither party values themselves and what can become of that.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:37 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


What interests me here is that *Garnet* doesn't seem to mix with bigger fusions very well: both Sardonyx and Sugilite have impulse control problems.

I keep going back to what Pearl said about why "less powerful" gems enjoy fusing with powerful gems so much--the exhilaration and the rush of power they experience. I wonder how much of the imbalance and "impulse control" of Pearl and Amethyst fusing with the more powerful Garnet (who is by now accustomed to her own powers and has gotten over their novelty) comes down to that sense of exhilaration, and getting carried away with it. In other words, it's not Garnet (or Ruby, or Sapphire) but Pearl/Amethyst that introduce that instability.

Not sure how Alexandrite fits into this theory, though. Huh.
posted by duffell at 4:15 PM on August 4


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