Steven Universe: Bluebird
December 14, 2019 10:40 PM - Season 6, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Someone is playing pranks on Steven, someone that turns out to be a new gem, Bluebird, who is obviously a fusion of old nemeses Aquamarine and Eyeball the Ruby. Her dastardly plan can be stopped, but only at terrible cost....
posted by JHarris (15 comments total)
The first of two fairly light-hearted episodes. This is exactly the kind of wacky time-wasting nonsense I've been missing!
posted by JHarris at 11:00 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Poor Greg. Future has been so bad for his hair.

And wow the blue from Pearl's jacket really pops in Alexadrite's new look, doesn't it?
posted by Jilder at 12:57 AM on December 15, 2019

Is it just me or does the whole Little Homeworld thing sound kinda culty/missionary-ish? It twigged me as such since the first episode but that commercial just adds to it.
posted by divabat at 3:37 AM on December 15, 2019

Earth was the colony, diva. This is more like rehab for people who have escaped a culture of brainwashing.
posted by Jilder at 4:20 AM on December 15, 2019

Missionaries go out and try to force their beliefs on others. Little Homeschool asks if gems feel like they could use help learning to be themselves or living on Earth. It doesn't even charge anything that we see. Gems aren't coerced to do anything, and don't have to stay on Earth. So, I guess I don't see the angle? Could you go into a bit more detail?
posted by JHarris at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2019

That may have been the intention but I don't know if it's coming off as such.

Jasper noticed it - Steven was all "but I'm just trying to help you!" and she found that disingenuous. And then in Guidance Steven was acting as though he knew best what the gems want.

I get that Earth is the ex-colony, but there's something about the whole "we can save you" vibe that creeps me out. Perhaps because of all the marketing activity? And also because there's a lot of Steven & co talking at the gems but asides from Amethyst off screen not once have I seen them approach a new gem with "what do you need, how can we help?". It's all about them having all the answers.
posted by divabat at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's an invitation not an order, diva. Steven has the power to order them but invites instead. You're welcome to read it as uncharitably as you want, but it's literally designed to rehabilitate Gems corrupted by the Diamond attack. It's reparative work that no Gem is obliged to do if they don't want to. And a lot of what they're doing at LH should be forced - Pearl doesn't belong to anyone. That's learning that needs to be undone, for example, if it's learning at all. The rejuvinator in the movie makes it really obvious how much is hard coded into gems. Rubies shouldn't be expected to sacrifice themselves for other gems. Pearls don't belong to anyone anymore. That's stuff that should be forced down throats, especially the higher status Gems who have less to lose from the change to Era 3.

And you have to understand that Gems aren't humans. They don't grow and adapt at the speed we do. For example Holly Blue basically begs to be given an order. She's not wired to function in an absence of structure. It's played for laughs but she's depressed and aimless, and it's pretty tragic. She needs to be given the tools to deal with her new freedoms.

As for Jasper, she's a master at emotional manipulation and gaslighting. She spent the entire encounter with Steven twisting everything that came out of his mouth - and she does that with everyone she meets. Did it with Ame to the point of it nearly killing her, did it to Stevonnie, did it to Peri (though we didn't see as much of that) and Lapis too. I don't give the benefit of the doubt to people with a track record of that kind of behaviour.

Not once have I seen them approach a new gem with "what do you need, how can we help?". It's all about them having all the answers.

It's like asking someone who's got PSTD what they need. Or a chronic mental health issue or physical disability. "Give me a list of jobs" is still work, and for a lot of the healed Gems they don't have the context to be able to give a cogent reply. They don't know what they need yet.

Cherry Quartz also starts the entire series asking a shittone of questions. Steven starts by answering what he can then taking her to LH. He's doing what she wanted - telling her who he is, where she is, and what a plunger is - and by extension what the rest of Earth is about. And he's giving that work over to other Gems, including ex Homeworld Gems like the Pearls. He gives the reigns to her peers as soon as he can.

Furthermore Steven spends all of Rose Buds asking the RQs what they want to do, offering them invitations he doesn't feel comfortable with and letting them set the tone.

I mean these are 7 minute long kids programs, there's a limit to how much detail they can go into with these kinds of things. But I think they've illustrated that this is all genuinely voluntary and being offered in good faith as part of the healing process for corrupted gems.
posted by Jilder at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's like asking someone who's got PSTD what they need. Or a chronic mental health issue or physical disability.

I'm not sure what comparison you're actually trying to draw here, but as someone with a chronic mental health issue who also is heavily involved with disability communities, we would much rather have people ask us what we need then try to force-feed us anything.
posted by divabat at 6:12 PM on December 15, 2019

I was really hoping that Aquamarine + Ruby = Watermelon Tourmaline maybe that's out of the question because Tourmaline is a type of quartz? The rules for gems are weird.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:36 PM on December 15, 2019

The point I'm making is that sometimes the emotional labor of getting your brain together, and start the conversation is not needed where there's been dozens and dozens of people with the same experience in the room. And in this case it's literally the same experience, on the same body templates, at the same time. They're starting running. They don't need to cover the same hard ground every time.

Disability is a difficukt subject, and I probably shouldn't have used that as an analogy, so I apologize for that. I used it because I too have mental health issues I'm dealing with right now and there are days when people saying "just give me the job list and I'll sort it out" is too fucking hard, especially when the job list for the day is the same as the one yesterday, and it will be the same tomorrow. It resonates with me to have a "right, here's what we found is good - we know what needs to be done because we've done it before, and we're doing it now." We don't work out ramps and wheelchairs and antidepressants out from first principles for every person individually. We have a set of tools to start with, and can cater to them once people are in a place to ask for specifics.

There's a pretty uniform set of things that the reformed Gems need. The fact that there's a Your Horns and You booklet suggests that there's been some commonality of experience with the Gems who've come back with horns, and rather than make her start from the beginning they're starting from a point of using that shared experience to not make her learn from everyone else's rough experiences.
posted by Jilder at 7:22 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm very excited about the prospect of a "Super Saiyan" powered up mode that is explicitly bad. Many anime have dabbled in powers that have drawbacks but very few have ever gone as far as "The benefits of this are outweighed by the drawbacks so I am intentionally not going to do it any more" which is I think where Steven is headed.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:04 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

there is already a Watermelon Tourmaline, but fusion counterparts for singular gems do exist (Obsidian the fusion and Snowflake Obsidian seen in Guidance).
posted by numaner at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2019

Also, I hear that there are single-gem Garnets, and that's even backed up in the show when Blue Diamond mocked the idea that "that" (being our Garnet) calls itself one.
posted by JHarris at 1:33 PM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Overheard at the hanov3r house: "Oh, no, this is going to be an episode about gaslighting, isn't it?"

The whole "no one sees Bluebird being horrible except Steven" bit felt a little creepy to us.

Poor Greg. :(
posted by hanov3r at 8:04 AM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also pretty surprised at no point Steven was like "Uh hey I have healing powers maybe I can heal your hair"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:01 PM on December 19, 2019

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