Steven Universe: An Indirect Kiss
September 19, 2014 12:58 PM - Season 1, Episode 24 - Subscribe

Amethyst falls off a cliff and breaks her gem, so Steven and the Gems take her to a healing fountain once owned by Rose Quartz.
posted by Small Dollar (6 comments total)
Steven is so funny, calling his power "healing spit" instead of the much more romantic sounding "healing kisses." I love how practical Connie is. She just pops out her lenses so matter-of-factly.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:42 PM on September 19, 2014

The animation in this felt a little bit rougher -- I assume that was a specific stylistic choice, but it did feel a bit odd and more intentionally "ugly" in places that the show usually does.

I loved the overall plot, though, and how it all played out. But the tone was a bit weird -- I understand it was Steven telling the story, so that may account for some of the aesthetic. I just wished it felt more like the other episodes.

It's great they're digging deeper into the mythology. I'd actually like to watch this whole season again once it's done to see how it progresses.
posted by darksong at 6:56 PM on September 20, 2014

I loved the weird time shifts and slightly unreliable narration of this episode. It had some tender moments between Steven and Amethyst, which was a nice switch up from her usual tendencies.

I am a huge fan of how they are slowly slowly unraveling the story of the gems and of Steven's powers. Just little trickles, every now and then, it's perfect.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:36 PM on September 21, 2014

And now, an unasked-for essay on the end of this episode.

I tend to be surprised when people recap or discuss episodes and miss what seems to me to be the biggest thing. (I'm assuming we're okay with spoilers here.) In this case, that thing is Steven has permanently cured Connie's poor eyesight. Here is the scene. Watch Connie's reaction carefully.

Connie has been irrevocably changed by her friendship with Steven, and her reaction, understandably, wasn't joy or wonder, but fear -- she drops the juice box in shock -- and I think it's not just how can she possibly explain this to her parents or eye doctor. While I agree that the animation gets a bit sloppy in depicting Amethyst's condition earlier (which, let's be fair, would be challenging to depict regardless), the real payoff moment here is simply and effectively animated: it's Connie popping the lenses out of her glasses right at the end. And then it ends, cut to black, we don't get the winking star iris-out. This is serious.

This is remarkably insightful and daring for a kid's cartoon show, and subtly lets us know that we're playing for higher stakes, which is important since the stuff with Lapis Lazuli starts in the very next episode. This is stuff not commonly seen in episodic cartoons, for two reasons that jump to mind:

1. Obviously, it has changed the status quo of the show. Connie's eyesight wasn't a big plot point before, but it was still referred to. But in addition to the continuity issues this provides (which, in the wake of shows like Adventure Time, has become less of an issue for cartoons)... now, she has something to hide, something that separates her from her parents, from humanity, which must live impotent alongside harsh reality. She has had a profound experience; the weirdness of the Crystal Gems has infected her a little. She has borne the Ring.

2. Less obviously, Steven's powers aren't these airy things that are pulled out for monster fights and comic adventures, which get resolved and everything goes back to normal.

They don't just produce easily resolved comic adventures. They can change the world, not just in the sense of saving it (which actually doesn't happen often, thus far, in S.U., and thankfully -- which helps to maintain the importance of the real world in the show, because a thing threatened every Tuesday doesn't feel very stable, and the real world is important to the show), but doing things that fall too far outside the borders of the real world.

You might think -- what? This is a show with magic gem women, of course it falls outside the borders, duh! But my point is, that's really not such a huge thing. There's only four Crystal Gems, and other than Steven they don't really interact with people outside of Beach City, and even in Beach City they don't interact with the citizens much. They're effectively superheroes. The mode of superhero stories is the real world with a fairly minor thing different, and hey, the Gems don't even interact with Beach City that much. But this isn't so minor anymore -- Steven can, to some extent, conquer human frailty, not just for himself but for others, and that's a strange and terrible thing. That's something more out of the realm of literature than goofy kids cartoons, and the show seems to recognize that.

For Steven is a Crystal Gem -- he was obviously brought up by Greg for his early life and thus has a normal boy's outlook on the world. But how long can he sustain that perspective, when he keeps living with the weird magic Gems, when he keeps having weird magic adventures, when he keeps developing weird magic powers? Steven's defenses here are his humility, enthusiasm, and maybe even a bit of thick-headedness and willful ignorance. How long will those last? Will he eventually become like the other Gems -- loyal, friendly, protective, even affectionate, but ultimately kind of cold? Maybe the show is about him avoiding that.
posted by JHarris at 6:44 AM on December 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

Someone on YouTube took the trouble to dereverse what Amethyst said while scrambled. There aren't any spoilers or clues in there though.
posted by JHarris at 4:39 AM on February 1, 2015

I loved this episode. Loved loved loved.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:45 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

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