3 thoughts on “Vlog Review: Steven Universe S3E14-15

  1. Yes this is a really bad day, but having something to read and discuss that isn’t the election is kind of a relief.

    I don’t do a lot of social media, but I do visit review sites. What I found there was people who were impressed that Steven Universe covered an abusive relationship at all and they were happy with the way it was handled. I didn’t see a lot of fandom wars where I was hanging out. For the most part Lapis was seen as the victim, Jasper as the abuser and people were relieved that Lapis was able to reject him. This was probably accentuated by the fact that Jasper used a lot of the lines abusers use when they are trying to get their victims back. “It will be better this time. I’ve changed. You changed me. I’m the only one who can handle you.”

    Personally, I thought it probably was a mutually abusive relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jasper has a more naturally abusive personality. The original fusion was rape in my view. Lapis had been a prisoner of Jasper. She had been mistreated at best. She repeatedly said that everyone should do what “they” (Jasper and Peridot?, Jasper and the rest of the crew?) said and maybe “they” wouldn’t hurt them as much. So she was in no state of mind to give consent. I think Jasper misjudged how fusion worked. She knew it would make her stronger. It never occurred to her that it might also strengthen Lapis and that Lapis would use her anger and rage to control the fusion. I think that in order to keep Malachite under control Lapis probably did do some fairly awful things to Jasper, but I don’t see Jasper as being a helpless victim here. I suspect she fought back HARD to take control and I think she used abusive tactics as well. Basically I think that Malachite was a fusion made in Hell and it was awful for both Gems. I was glad that Lapis was able to label the relationship as unhealthy and move away from it. Jasper still craves the power it gave her.

    Small note. You label this episode as S3 12-13. It is actually S3 14-15. It is labeled correctly on YouTube, so probably a slip of the fingers.

    I really enjoy your commentary and look forward to your views on the show.

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  2. Thanks for the catch and the kind words!

    Glad to hear the episode was taken well. I’m not used to fandoms being capable of processing nuance.

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  3. Sorry I’m a bit late on this and maybe the dust has at least settled a bit and in general I usually don’t do this but I just felt I wanted to say don’t fall into that “just about entertainment” mindset.
    TBH even over her in Germany (with a totally different political landscape) I feel a weird sort of anxiety about that whole election cycle and have started paying a lot more attention to uninformed populist / extremist opinions / background noise in my personal life which sadly hasn’t ever been zero either (e.g. can tell you the #GG stuff and all this entails has a far more global reach then I expected.. a had to deal with those bogus arguments as well). So I wish you all the best. There is always a silver lining somewhere. All the concerned people won’t go away either and eventually something construct will come from their efforts. :)
    But what I really wanted to say… well let me just quote a tweet from Matt Lees (UK dude who makes quirky think piece recommendations for weird indie games among others):
    “And more than ever I’m looking forward to returning to work – It might be silly fluff, but media with conscience & care feels important rn.”

    So don’t beat yourself up over putting out something trivial. As they say caring about big things and little things isn’t mutually exclusive (I would say very much the opposite). And indeed it feels like taking a critical look at complete issues (even if its just in abstraction and allegory) feels more important then ever.
    At least that why I feel motivated to write you wall-of-text comments in the first place ;P

    So keep up the good work. I really appreciate your stuff and really looking forward hearing your thoughts about your end of season marathon… bet you have a lot of interesting things to talk about :D

    —–

    OK so now back to the topic… because how could a miss out commenting on those 2 episodes. ^^

    First of as you clearly state you try to avoid the fandom side of that whole experience I guess I’ll also tone it down a bit unless you really find the comments interesting. Maybe also better for me to not think about it to hard as I already expressed my love/hate relationship with this anyways.

    But you directly wondered about the Alone At Sea reception so yes I would agree with Percysowner that the episode seem well received for how they handled the subject matter… didn’t hear anything weird about drama or such but I feel you are still halfway right anyways that people really have a hard time dealing with complexity and there ARE a few sub topics when it comes to that Jasper/Lapis dynamic that seem a bit contentions.

    And Percyowner already mentioned on of the major ones…. the rape metaphor part…. because how couldn’t it.
    And while I always appreciate a different view point this really doesn’t add up for me. So don’t take that as a rebuttal to that argument Percy I’m just not very interested in that approach at least from where where people try to pinpoint that metaphor in the first place. I wouldn’t say SU doesn’t somehow evoke that idea anyways at times but for me those thoughts usually revolve around forced fusion horror scene etc.

    But Froborr I thing your on to something with your observation about Lapis looking the most cartoon default / conventional attractive. I never though about it this way but it really fit this notion that I see often to fit their relationship into this narrative of frail victim girl vs. physical violent brute and then extrapolate from there. And as you said yourself that just doesn’t reflect the complexity of both personalities which is the interesting part of those scenes for me in the first place. As you said yourself Lapis has her one aspect of cruelty and violent to her character.

    And not to always make this about power levels but what CAN Jasper actually do besides punching really hard, spin-dashing and having a headstrong / brutish attitude that would compare to Lapis seemingly limitless water powers. Lapis is well equipped to defend herself if she really wants to and ultimately does in this episode. So this really to me is about Lapis emotional vulnerabilty foremost.

    The rest of this argument will just be me summing up what the people at Overanimated Podcast concluded in there roundtable discussion of Jaspers character development (despite all of this can’t really recommend listening to them because they are really into the whole fanon / pet theory joke discussions between all the analysis).
    So they brought up that any metaphor break when stretched to far which is IMO doubly true for such multi layers concepts like fusion. So they went back and look closely that the first fusion scene in S1 finale and argued that the framing really doesn’t suggest force (in this context anyways). Jasper is definitively just as toxic as later on as she is manipulative but she STILL just tries to persuade Lapis but literally reaching out a hand and waiting for an answer and she excepts herself with ulterior motives in mind that a just a harmful to both.
    Adding on to most people forget that in the very beginning Jasper had a complete utilitarian / militaristic perspective on fusion and only only later really show an interest in the relationship aspect at all. So we have more of a prison of war / tool for victor situation haven’t we?
    Feel that a reasonable perspective and thats why that sounds very square peg, round hole to me.

    But there was also another interesting thing about Lapis. I heard that some viewer associated Lapis mannerism a bit with autism. And I don’t mean this “Let’s call everything we don’t understand autism” way but IIRC autistic viewer related to her awkward, distanced behavior and yeah I can kind of see that because she really seems to have a hard time relating to the problems of others around her even after acclimatizing to her “new home”. A similar thought crossed my mind with the broken tape recorder scene or how she at first just left Steven with the huge water mountain problem and just flew away.
    But I still don’t know what to make of this… guess just another interesting thought. Crewniverse mostly would mostly just say that wasn’t specifically intended but is cool anyways like with Stevonnie interpretations.

    —–

    As for the Centi story (I’ll keep that shorter): Also stuck me as weird that a song was mentioned. I mean what Centi descibled was definitivly consistent with some other flashback somewhere else about the Gem War where we also see chaotic running of fighters and then a big light flashing…. think that was the Lapis story… don’t remember. But no idea why its a song or Centi would know it was a song. Homeworld gems have really shown no signs of interests in any cultural / artistic self-expression besides maybe the dancing. Steven even had to explain singing to Peridot. But maybe thats just another part of caste divide or utilitarianism. For me a sound based military weapon was the first idea that came to mind.
    But guess my mind quickly wander to the more obvious implication how that was most likely some kind of reckless scorched earth tactic where they nuked the place out of spite for there losing battles or something like that. Considering how they presented the whole Yellow Diamond and her cluster project plotline that seems consistent. Also that IMO intended implication that corruption was mainly the result of that attack as this persistent collateral damage that still has its effect a few 1000 years later…. yeah not very subtle. ^^

    As for the survivors guild …. also never thought about it that way but I could totally see that they make that another unknown part of Rose character just like they slowly peel away all the other layers over long time now. It would definitively explain way she cared so much about sheltering and I assume also finding ways to cure the monsters…. well besides how much agape is a defining attribute for her anyways…

    So now I’m out of ideas what I wanted to address…. Looking forward to more vlogging :D

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