Steven Universe Future is back and we’re only ten or so episodes from the end of the show. This epilogue season has been an unusual one as it’s very rare to have even a single episode to reflect on the events following the conclusion of a series’ main story, much less an entire season of a TV show. At the same time, though, it is rather fascinating to see what happens to characters who complete their journey… life doesn’t end after the closing curtain.
Steven, for example, is having a hard time adjusting to post-hero existence and it is really taking a toll on his sense of self-worth and his place in the world. I know I’ve used this before, but it’s such a great thought: What do you do when there’s nothing to fear and no one to fight? Obviously, you fight with yourself.
In “In Dreams,” for example, Steven and Peridot discover that Steven’s dreams are broadcast onto nearby televisions thanks to his freaky gem powers. Given that they are let down by a reboot of their favorite TV show, Camp Pining Hearts, they decide that Steven should dream up a new version to reboot the reboot.
First of all, this episode is so ahead of its time that it predicted the reaction of the Steven Universe fans to this series. You can almost hear the complaining and moaning going on in real life out of Peridot and Steven’s mouths.
Secondly, the entire episode is all about how Steven seeks companionship from people who he doesn’t feel worthy of anymore now that he’s not out saving the galaxy. He keeps wanting to have the perfect dream for Peridot – provide the perfect episode for Camp Pining Hearts – yet his own shattering sense of self and his own insecurities won’t let him do it. He continues to believe that he is failing his friend and that his usefulness to her is at an end.
Of course, we know that’s not true and the episode ends with a very touching scene where Peridot realizes what Steven’s dream means.
Remember when this psycho lime green Dorito was trying to kill him all those seasons ago? Good times.
In “Bismuth Casual,” we continue the theme of Steven’s insecurities and bring it up to a whole new level by literally and repeatedly taking his feet out from under him.
Pearl takes Connie, Steven, and Bismuth out to a roller rink to have fun and acquaint the shy Bismuth with human interaction. Steven, in the meantime, spends some quality time with Connie, but it all falls apart when he meets her friends and realizes that he doesn’t even know how to interact with regular people anymore.
This episode is crawling with symbolism. As I said, Steven is literally and metaphorically on shaky ground, he can’t keep up with Connie, and has to watch her and her other friends go around and around without him. It’s only by talking to Bismuth and realizing that she has feelings for Pearl that Steven finally gets the confidence to just go for it and join his long-time friend out on the rink.
I absolutely loved this episode, not only for the return of Stevonnie and the multi-layered symbolism, but I also think that Pearl and Bismuth make an adorable couple. I was actually hoping for a fusion from them, but maybe that’ll come later on.
It was also great to see an episode of Steven Universe Future end on an uplifting note given all of the dark psychological places it has gone this season. I know it’s only temporary, but I like seeing a smile on my boy’s face.