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04/29/2020 13:25:37 •••

An interesting look at trauma, but a waste of everything else. (SPOILERS)

Steven desperately needing therapy after all the crap he's been through has been a topic of discussion since the original series, and it comes to fruition here. The epilogue series does a good job of establishing just how screwed up Steven should be after everything, as well as deconstructing his All-Loving Hero persona, as well as dealing with his own personality flaws such as constantly repressing his feelings and bottling up his resentment. On paper this seems like a compelling story. In application however, the narrative falls flat. A lot of the episodes can be seen as the series spinning its wheels: Steven is faced with some new issue he can't deal with, his powers go nuts if he gets emotional so he bottles it up and pushes everyone away, and then he blows up and either creates a problem or just makes an existing problem worse. This is okay the first few times, but it can very quickly get repetitive. There's also the fact that it gets frustrating watching Steven's refusal to talk to anyone and only making things get worse, especially when you consider it required he suffer Aesop Amnesia from the original series where multiple times it was made clear he can talk to others about his issues and shouldn't bottle things up. After watching this happen repeatedly to the point he actually shatters Jasper yet still refuse to do anything but bottle his issues up, and it can get hard to feel anything but frustration with Steven, especially when others do try to reach out to him and he just keeps pushing them away or starts resenting them. I think my breaking point specifically was when he began resenting Greg to the same extent he did his mother, since at point he was ignoring what Greg was going through and accusing him of It's All About Me despite that being what he's doing at that point. Outside of Steven's trauma though, the epilogue series wastes a lot of potential.

  • Of the main characters, they all get at best a single episode of real focus for themselves. Hell, Amethyst doesn't even get that. Pearl and Lapis fare the best since their episodes actually explore how they've changed for the better and how they can help others, but Garnet's and Peridot's are more used as vehicles for Steven's issues, and Bismuth's opens up an interesting development for her... but never gets resolved. Hell, those focus episodes are the only real spotlight Lapis, Peridot, and Bismuth get in spite of getting a Promotion to Opening Titles.
  • The Diamonds and Spinel are in a similar boat. While we do get evidence they are trying to change for the better and that even Steven isn't fully okay with White, their involvement is left towards the very end, and is again used more as a vehicle for Steven's issues.
  • A lot of gem characters are introduced again, but little is done with them. Old characters like Nephrite and the uncorrupted Gems are introduced to us again, but are largely just background characters, to the point the Heaven and Earth Beetles still don't have names. Newer characters like Cherry Quartz, Bluebird, the Lazuli's, and Volleyball are introduced, and either get a single episode with no proper resolution, or get nothing at all.
  • The Beach City cast have pretty much all begun to move on with their lives, and we barely see them as a result. My issue with the main series wasn't that they existed, its that they took up too much focus, yet here they get no focus at all. Not even Lars really gets anything outside of a single episode more devoted to Steven trying to force him and Sadie into a relationship, and then he suddenly leaves at the end with the other Off Colors to go space trekking.
  • The only character that really ends up shining alongside Steven is Jasper, getting to watch her having to adjust to the war being over and refusing to see Steven as her Diamond, only to finally give her respect after Steven shattered then revived her. But even that gets wasted since Steven hates how he got said approval, and what could seem like the perfect chance for him to show her a new perspective is squandered. Hell, she doesn't even lend her aid in the final fight, and by series end she's pretty much back where she's started: dejected and alone, since even though she now sees Steven as her diamond, he's Walking the Earth and she can't go with him.
  • Also not helping is that despite this being the "Grand Finale", the ending is very much open ended, and as the recap page's Left Hanging entry demonstrates, a lot of things were still left unresolved, in particular the chest in Lion's mane and exactly what was even in it despite Steven managing to open it.
Steven Universe Future feels like a rather lackluster conclusion to the story. Character arcs are left unresolved, new characters are introduced and quickly forgotten about, and the main focus of the series, Steven's mental trauma and Sanity Slippage, requires you ignore that he's already had an Aesop pertaining to it several times already, and that you watch them repeat the same setup several times before he finally breaks. Were it not for Pearl, Lapis, and Jasper's focus episodes, I'd have nothing good to say about this series.

04/28/2020 00:00:00

You know, is a little bit ironic that you said that the Beach City cast being underused is a bad thing because that only happened as a response from the writers to all the critics said cast received in the original series. Because nearly everybody said that those characters were unimportant and boring and also liked to call episodes that starred them as filler and skippable, they decided to simply drop the characters to appease the majority.

04/28/2020 00:00:00

My major issue was when they detracted from the plot, taking up time more properly spent on developing the Myth Arc. A Sequel Series like this however is the perfect time to actually use them though, showcasing how they interact with the Gems in a day to day setting, while also showing how they have changed. As much as I dislike Ronaldo, it still feels like wasted potential to not have the alien geek not interact with any of the gems, and instead be relegated to The Cameo at best. Sadie Killer and the Suspects only get one episode to have a role in, and only Sadie really gets focus, with Buck, Sour Cream, and Jenny all apparently coming to terms with growing up and having career paths. And while Sour Cream's path you could probably guess he'd take, I can say I wouldn't have expected Buck to go to medical school or Jenny to have an online business.

  • The Townie's ultimately hampered the story in the original series because there was something bigger going on, yet they repeatedly focused on episodes that were more just one offs that didn't develop anyone like "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "Restaurant Wars".
  • Here however, in a Sequel Series where the stakes are lower and its more about everyone adjusting now that the war is over? That seems like the perfect time to actually use them! Show Nanefua looking around Beach City and Little Homeworld while escorted by the Ruby Guards, show some of the humans volunteering at Little Homeschool so as to give accurate examples of living on Earth, hell even just show Mr. Smiley reacting to having the Gems as workers at his park. Light-Hearted characters taking up time when there's a serious war plot going on is bad. Light-Hearted characters appearing in a lax and light-hearted setting is good.

04/28/2020 00:00:00

that didn\'t develop anyone like \"Kiki\'s Delivery Service\" or \"Restaurant Wars\".

Didn\'t those episodes developed the Pizza and Fryman family?

Steven\'s trauma was an issue that dwelved all the way back to the original series, but that didn\'t really panned out much. Steven always was afraid of talking about his issues with the gems and at most ultimetly confided in Connie. Going to unrelated parties was always his go to move (hence he wanted Jasper to hear her out). It also showed that these things aren\'t just resolved in 15 minutes.

I don\'t get your point about Greg. It addressed an issue that many people kept pointing out over the years. Steven doesn\'t go to school, doesn\'t seem to have a home school curriculum, we found out he never went to the doctor in 16 years among other things. Greg may have showed more maturity and responsability over time, but he started with a pretty low bar.

I agree that it was a bad idea to add new stories that they didn\'t plan to resolve on top of not adressing some of the old ones. Bismuth has feelings for Pearl? why would you add that?

04/28/2020 00:00:00

I agree that it was a bad idea to add new stories that they didn\'t plan to resolve on top of not adressing some of the old ones. Bismuth has feelings for Pearl? why would you add that?

That was actually hinted at in her debut, but I agree that bluntly addressing it then not doing anything further was a bad move.

04/29/2020 00:00:00

[up][up]

  • I know things aren\'t always resolved in 15 minutes, but its a recurring Aesop they had Steven go through. Episodes like Mindful Education and What\'s Your Problem make it An Aesop that Steven needs to stop bottling things up and actually confide in others as well as stop shouldering the burden of everything on himself, which he seems to do at the end of each episode with Connie in the former and Amethyst in the latter. Its just that regardless of how many times he learns that Aesop, it never seems to stick since most of his drama hinges on him not learning that lesson. It gets repetitive as a result.
  • My issue was how Steven treated Greg in that episode. We finally get some insight into Greg\'s life as a Demayo rather than as a Universe after we first met his cousin Andy, and we see that Greg didn\'t have a particularly good home life, so he decided to be an Open-Minded Parent for Steven and Break The Cycle Of Bad Parenting.
    • While it is true that this style of parenting did indeed leave Steven with a lack of structure in his life, Steven\'s more concerned with how Greg gave up the life he wanted, and seems to just gloss over the fact that Greg didn\'t have a good childhood either that came with its own set of problems to the point he and his parents have little contact with one another.
      • He\'s also ignoring that, for as much as he compared Greg to Rose, that having Greg\'s childhood wouldn\'t have been better, since that would similar to what Pink Diamond had then: Overly controlling parental figures and a very strict structure offering little to no opportunity for freedom, something he actually argued about with Blue Diamond over.
      • Even discounting the comparison to Pink Diamond\'s upbringing, he\'s seen this kind of upbringing in another family: Connie\'s. Connie had a strict upbringing too until she met Steven, particularly with Priyanka, and it took Connie outright getting into a shouting match with her and displaying facets of her life Priyanka didn\'t know about to even convince her to be more open minded.
    • It also doesn\'t help that Steven is blaming Greg for things beyond his control.
      • Greg was just as much in the dark about Rose\'s past as the other Gems, and its kinda hard to bring a Half-Human Hybrid to a regular doctor or a school without opening up a whole can of worms, like Steven\'s rapid healing, why he didn\'t physically age past 9 for awhile, or the fact he has a gemstone in his naval.
      • Greg did try to shelter Steven from a lot of the stuff the Crystal Gems did in the early parts of the season, even trying to raise Steven himself until it became clear the Gems would know more about caring for him based on his Gem Biology, and even then still made himself an active part of his life. The Gem\'s themselves tried to shield Steven from the more unsavory parts of their past at first, only stopping when Steven himself refused to stand on the sidelines, and when enemies like Jasper and the Diamonds began specifically targeting him.
      • He also couldn\'t have introduced Steven to his grandparents because, as demonstrated by the stack of unopened letters and commentary from Andy, the family has practically shut Greg out, and aren\'t even on good terms with each other. Hell, the fact Andy never brings them up when meeting Greg should have made clear Andy knew about the tension between Greg and his parents and as such didn\'t bring it up.
So really, my issue with Steven by the point he started showing contempt for Greg is that he was pretty at the It\'s All About Me stage. He had tunnel vision, was ignoring aspects of Greg\'s life that were negative in favor of looking at the superficial aspects and blowing up at him, ignoring details that would justify Greg\'s behavior or that would undermine his anger at Greg, and was once again causing more destruction with his outbursts, even crashing Greg\'s van and having no remorse for it, instead choosing to delete Greg\'s picture while tuning him out in a symbolic moment of him resenting and distancing himself from Greg. It was at the point I felt more sorry for Greg than I did for Steven, since while Steven was suffering from mental trauma, the repetitiveness of how he handles it, his shutting out and resenting the people in his life who tried or were trying to help him, and his refusal to care about the others and instead make everything be about himself in a complete 180 from the All-Loving Hero he used to be, it just got annoying. As someone who has suffered what Steven was going through, just for different reasons, I can say looking from the outside-in, I have little sympathy for him at that point since he is ultimately the source of his own problems.


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