Steven Universe: It Could Have Been Great
January 6, 2016 2:47 PM - Season 2, Episode 27 - Subscribe

The Crystal Gems and Peridot go to a Diamond base on the moon for some information on the Cluster.
posted by Small Dollar (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So, it looks like in this world, something rather dramatic may have happened to Russia
posted by mrjohnmuller at 3:38 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Well Florida ain't there either, so it could be that either this parallel Earth had different tectonics or the Gems altered the ones that it had.


I mean, Ronaldo has been dead on. Sneeple next?

We learned so much this ep:

1. Gems can adjust their gravity
2. Ameythst has probably never been offworld before
3. Either there was air in the Moon chamber or Steven doesn't actually need to breathe.
4. They were very coy about White and Pink Diamond.
posted by emjaybee at 4:08 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hm. It's possible that's just a weird projection: could be the North Pole in the center of that huge hole in Russia, not an impact crater. Australia, Africa, and South America are all warped in a way that might correspond.
posted by painquale at 4:30 PM on January 6, 2016

Nope, there aren't any giant islands between South America and Africa. That's plate tectonics and it suggests that even before the gems showed up, this Earth was significantly different from ours.

I remember reading something about how "World War 2 never happened in the Steven Universe timeline" and I think it's safe to say that they've given themselves license to use or ignore pretty much anything they want. But leave it to a show with Joel Hodgeson on the cast to remind you to "repeat to yourself, 'It's just a show, I should really just relax.'"
posted by GameDesignerBen at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

They were very coy about White and Pink Diamond.

Were they ever! I think I need to watch it again just because I was paying so much more attention to the walls of that room than I was to what was going on.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pearl totally used to be white diamond's pearl. Blue diamond's pearl had her gem in the same place as BD. Pearl's is on her head. So is white diamond's.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:20 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Is anyone else floored by all the backstory development we're getting this week? And how well-planned it all is, too. God, this show has such great writing. I was mad when Garnet smashed the COMPUTER OF TELEVISION BACKSTORY SECRETS.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:08 PM on January 6, 2016 [9 favorites]

Not specific to this episode, but significant in comparison to the Earth map we saw here, another thing that doesn't exist in SU is holidays, except for New Years. Nothing with any religious or nationalistic roots, though. One of the comics references Halloween, but Rebecca has mentioned that the comics weren't able to get the level of oversight she wanted, and are no longer published on a regular schedule.

Given that the show has done a good job of letting seasons pass on camera, I was kind of surprised that there were no Christmas trees or wreaths in the winter, no trick-or-treaters coming to the Gem's house, no Valentine's Day awkwardness. Goofy jokes like Keystone being Pennsylvania with the serial number filed off are fun, but I think as we get deeper into the series this Earth could end up feeling more alien than Ooo, like an uncanny valley for planets.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:39 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

I mentioned it elsewhere, but... durian juiceboxes. H.R. Giger wishes he could make something that alien.
posted by JHarris at 8:08 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Looks like the Tunguska Event was a much bigger deal here.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:29 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Man that moon base is aaaawesome! I can't wait to find out what that floating ball bathed in light is, or what the diamond thing Peridot took is for (although it reminds me of something similar in the crashed ship they chased her through earlier this season).
posted by numaner at 10:43 PM on January 6, 2016

The song was beautiful, the very best thing this week so far. It articulates the reason the Crystal Gems are so attached to Earth, and the reason I'm afraid Peridot isn't going to break with Homeworld. The Crystal Gems have an appreciation for things other than relentless expansionism, and Peridot cannot concieve of a place for herself outside of the Homeworld system and all it stands for. She might come around someday, but right now she needs more time.
posted by Small Dollar at 11:25 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I understand how the Crystal Gems love Earth as a place free from Homeworld's rigid influence, but I don't understand the love for Earth itself. Rose and Pearl decided to save, basically, a planet of trees? I guess their influence allowed humans to evolve. Maybe I'm too far on Peridot's side.
posted by glass origami robot at 12:29 AM on January 7, 2016

Also, they didn't show Pink Diamond -- Pearl might have wandered offscreen to look at Pink Diamond/Rose's mural (according to Tumblr)? If Pearl had been White Diamond's Pearl, maybe she would have shown some reaction to seeing her former owner's mural.
posted by glass origami robot at 12:30 AM on January 7, 2016

posted by divabat at 2:48 AM on January 7, 2016

In the birthday episode they're what Steven and Connie are drinking.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:19 AM on January 7, 2016

Also the juice box from An Indirect Kiss
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:26 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wether or not Rose turns out to be Pink Diamond or not they're certainly playing with it. At this rate I can't imagine it not being part of a Big Reveal. The question is really either Rose IS Pink Diamond or Rose KILLED Pink Diamond.

We're there any instances of the old DOT diamond authority logo in The Answer?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:34 AM on January 7, 2016

Rose and Pearl decided to save, basically, a planet of trees? I guess their influence allowed humans to evolve.

The rebellion happened about 6000 years ago, but Homo sapiens has been around for far longer than that. That's around the time that Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures were taking off.
posted by painquale at 6:40 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yep, it's pretty certain that humans were around when Rose came to Earth. We don't know what they were like. Pearl said something dismissive about hunting and gathering in one episode.

Even setting that aside, Earth has more than just trees. There's animals, and weather, and mountains and water, and varied terrain, and a lot of other things that a Mario Galaxy-esque hollow shell full of holes doesn't have.
posted by JHarris at 7:50 AM on January 7, 2016

I noticed that just after the gems arrive on the moon, when Lion slides across the floor and crashes into the wall, both Steven and Peridot end up neck-deep in Lion's mane, with the magical glow indicating that transition to Rose's pocket dimension.
posted by rustcrumb at 7:51 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I believe Lion is a projection of Steven's gem. That gem used to create the very big Rose Quartz, and now it is only asked to make a small boy.

In the episode "Cat Fingers" when Steven learns that gems can shape-shift, the first thing he asks is for Amethyst to show him how to turn into "a huge lion". Lion himself, and lots of Rose's stuff, responds to Steven's desires. Also, gems are capable of creating detached solid holograms with low-levels of intelligence, like Pearl's sparring partners.
posted by rustcrumb at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Why would the gems have pressurized the moon base?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 11:03 AM on January 7, 2016

Also, they pressurized it with air. We know that Steven needs to breathe because of his experiences in Lion's pocket dimension. At least, he certainly believed and acted like he needed to breathe there.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 11:04 AM on January 7, 2016

Lion's pocket dimension is pressurized, because Steven doesn't suffer from decompression there, but whatever is there, it's not toxic but also doesn't have enough oxygen to breathe. So maybe its a pure nitrogen atmosphere, or neon.
posted by rustcrumb at 11:16 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

rustcrumb, I think in "Cry For Help" Lion is used to transport all the gems to the Communication Hub since the warp pad was destroyed when Sugilite knocked it down the first time. Steven rides in Lion's pocket dimension. It is interesting that Steven brought Peridot in there with him but it looks like they were keeping their heads outside of the pocket dimension, so as far as we know she hasn't seen anything in there.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 11:19 AM on January 7, 2016

It seems like gems speak and hear the way humans do, so presumably they kept the place pressurized for ease of communication.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:23 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

rustcrumb, I believe both Steven and Peridot were riding in Lion's mane for the entirety of the warp-trip.

Also, I am brand new to the fandom, having watched all the episodes twice over the holidays.

I have never wanted to cosplay anyone so much as I do Rose Quartz.
posted by INFJ at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Heh, we're part of a crew that's going to do (at least) Rose, Amethyst, Pearl, Jasper, and Lapis (the latter two being me and my gf, for obvious reasons if you've met us) and possibly Garnet if we can talk our 6'4" friend into it.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:50 AM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Whatever Lion is, he's been it since before Steven was born-- everything in his pocket dimension was put there by Rose when she was still alive.
posted by nonasuch at 12:18 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hm. That makes me think of a very sad possibility: if Galaxor Nebulon is right, and Lion is a projection of Steven's gem, then maybe everything in his pocket dimension was put there by Steven too. Like in Rose's room in the temple, it provides him with what he desires. Which would mean that the videotape from Lion 3: Straight to Video is just a fantasy.

I don't think that's true, though, because all the other gems recognized Rose's sword.
posted by baf at 1:13 PM on January 7, 2016

I am sorta thinking that Lion's mane goes into a pocket dimension that Rose had access to before making Steven. It is clear in the episode where Steven first goes into Lion's mane that he's never been there before. I think Rose expected Steven to get there eventually, which is why she left the tape there for him. It may actually be that lion's mane is actually the "inside" of Steven's gem, it is stated that when gems are poofed they "retreat into their gem" to focus their energy on reforming their body.
posted by rustcrumb at 1:33 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

It makes sense that it's inside his gem, because Pearl keeps lots of stuff in her gem. Unless pocket dimensions are just a thing Gems can acquire or create.
posted by emjaybee at 5:28 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pearl keeps lots of stuff in her gem.

Interesting! I had thought that Perl was able to simply make small items or her weapon with her gem, but I hadn't considered that she was just storing those items in her gem. Did she create things like the bandages for Connie's hand from energy or did she just pull it from the bag of holding in her gem?
posted by delicious-luncheon at 12:14 PM on January 8, 2016

Probably the latter. Remember that Peridot said that Pearls are for looking nice and holding your stuff for you. She probably didn't mean physically holding stuff, but storing.
posted by JHarris at 12:54 PM on January 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

jharris that makes perfect sense. She's got like, police tape, Lapis' mirror, all kinds of stuff in there.
posted by emjaybee at 2:31 PM on January 8, 2016

My theory is that Lion is Greg's old pet cat, that Rose did some magics on as part of her experiments into "is a Gem/Earth-life hybrid possible?" that led to Steven.
posted by traveler_ at 5:59 PM on January 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

traveler_: That gives me terrible memories of that one Fullmetal Alchemist clip I saw involving Nina and Alexander.

(If you don't know what I'm referring to, don't do what I did and look it up, it'll ruin you)
posted by divabat at 7:06 PM on January 8, 2016

So, it looks like in this world, something rather dramatic may have happened to Russia

And it's centered on a gem structure, in what looks like roughly Nobosibirsk. Maybe someone took "Oblast" a little too literally :3 More seriously, perhaps they started excavating to construct spires and such.

Other interesting map related things:

- South America has a substantial eastern bulge, and substantial chunk of africa is missing
- Antartica is completely gone
- a Gem structure near bermuda
- a Gem structure in Nepal
- a Gem structure in the center of the Atlantic
- western Australia is a bit chewed up
posted by pwnguin at 11:46 PM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The absence of Antarctica could well be just a map projection thing, a stylistic choice to avoid the common bottom border of ground on many world maps.

What gem sites have we seen so far?
  • The kindergarten.
  • We now know there is also a smaller "beta" kindergarten.
  • The sky arena.
  • The strawberry battlefield, where the pyramid trap dungeon was.
  • The site of the Heaven Beetle. Presumably there was another site, in a volcano somewhere, where Garnet retrieved the Earth Beetle.
  • The undersea structure where the magic hourglass was kept.
  • The Communications Tower. It's not so far away that Sugilite couldn't walk home from there through the ocean overnight.
  • Mask Island.
  • The Lunar Sea Spire, now underwater. (You can visit it there in the excellent Steven Universe mobile game Attack The Light!) We know it's about three hours' of rowing from the temple.
  • The place where the Shooting Star was kept appeared to be natural, but it was still a place of importance, so it may count.
  • The Geode seems to mostly be an impact site.
Are there any others? Note, I've excluded the temple in these lists, it doesn't seem to be represented on the maps. BTW, this seems as good a place as any to note I've had a persistent dream of seeing an episode where a warp pad gets destroyed while they're out in the field and, otherwise forced to run home for weeks, to get home the Crystal Gems end up having to take... commercial air.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, and there's the crash site we saw in Friend Ship. We have good evidence that's in South America.
posted by JHarris at 1:40 PM on January 9, 2016

OK so there’s something about It Could’ve Been Great that I still don’t understand. We know from Message Received that Peridot’s plan all along was to talk to YD about sparing Earth and finding non-destructive ways to make use of it. But in ICBG she praises YD’s original Cluster plans to high heaven and ​_does not_​ at all critique it or make any mention of "this plan could be better". If she was planning to halt the Cluster anyway why spend so much time praising it?
posted by divabat at 7:13 PM on January 10, 2016

I think she's still totally on board with clusters as a cool weapon and use for an otherwise unuseful planet. She's just decided that Earth is, on balance, more valuable not exploded, and that's why she turned on Yellow Diamond - YD wasn't being logical.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:23 AM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

We've seen Peridot's introduction to music. SU Storyboarder Amber Rogers presents a comic of Lapis Lazuli's first attempt at it....
posted by JHarris at 4:36 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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