Steven Universe Episode Recap 'Friend Ship': We Are The Lumpy Clods

Steven Universe Friend Ship Episode
10
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
2013-11-04

Steven Universe has officially come off of hiatus for the third time this summer, and today’s Steven Universe episode , “Friend Ship,” is the final episode of Stevenbomb 3.0 ’s 5-episode story arc. Watch the sneak peek for Steven Universe episode “Friend Ship” below:

So far in this Stevenbomb, the central conflict rests around Pearl’s actions in “ Cry for Help .” Garnet’s outrage over Pearl’s manipulation carries into “ Keystone Motel ,” where we see Garnet so conflicted and so upset that she actually unfuses into Ruby and Sapphire. In the following episode, “ Onion Friend ,” we see the impact of Garnet and Pearl’s fighting on Amethyst. And yesterday’s episode, “ Historical Friction ,” was a cute breather that gave us some Beach City backstory. Now to the heart of it: on what note will “Friend Ship” end Stevenbomb 3.0?

“Friend Ship” starts with Peridot grumbling about the mess at the Communication Hub as she picks through the rubble. Then the Crystal Gems appear, but their attempts to capture Peridot are continuously foiled by Garnet and Pearl’s lack of teamwork, enabling Peridot to fly away cackling. Steven waves cheerfully: “Have a great weekend!” Cutie.

The Crystal Gems return home, dismayed. But Pearl remains determinedly optimistic as she rambles brightly about how this will all be over soon. She ends her over-earnest speech with an imploring look of hope in Garnet’s direction, only to be met with silence.

But now’s not the time for that conversation: Peridot’s escape pod lights up, indicating that Peridot is warping across the planet. Pearl strides eagerly right back onto the warp pad, followed by Garnet. “It won’t help,” sighs Amethyst. “She could hand Peridot over on a silver platter and it won’t make up for the stunt she pulled to get Garnet to fuse with her.” From Amethyst’s pained sighs, it’s not hard to imagine Amethyst trying repeatedly to convey this concept to Pearl. Amethyst isn’t the only one who’s resistant to a little introspection.

The Crystal Gems warp to a tangled jungle filled with ancient interplanetary gem vessels used to travel before the warp pads were built. They can’t be made functional, Pearl explains, launching herself forward into an old ship. Can you sprain an ankle through over-emoting? A large screen appears inside the old gem vessel, starring Peridot’s sneering green face. She has no intention of flying away, she announces triumphantly, but of trapping the Gems. Bwahaha!

Major shout-out to Peridot’s voice actress, Shelby Ann Rabara, whose whiny, nerdy delivery of Peridot’s line is so, incredibly funny. Peridot launches an attack -- but there’s Skype-esque lag between Peridot’s control panel and the ship’s communication system, so it takes a second before projectiles start shooting everywhere. Ahaha. Like a chipmunk on space acid, Peridot yells “DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE” as attacks start ricocheting off of Steven’s big rose shield. Steven has manifested his shield three times in one day; is that a personal best for our baby?!

The Gems escape the attack. Heedless of anything around her, Pearl runs blindly forward towards an obvious holographic illusion of Peridot. Garnet shouts, “Pearl, don’t just--!” and facepalms as Pearl starts slicing through the hologram over and over, frustrated and annoyed. Pearl cries that she has to do something, as this is her fault, but it’s obvious that this situation isn’t really what she feels at fault over.

Then the Crystal Gems get tumbled into darkness. Amethyst is able to save Steven with her whip, but Garnet and Pearl are trapped in a tiny sub-room. Amethyst and Steven are able to escape to a different room where they can view Pearl and Garnet as they try to find a way out. With Garnet and Pearl locked in a room and unable to escape, is it finally time for them to have a heart to heart?

Pearl confesses that she desperately wanted to catch Peridot to show that everything could go back to normal, but Garnet says, “This isn’t about Peridot.” Steven and Amethyst watch with bated breath, but before Pearl and Garnet’s conversation can go any further, the sides of the small room begin to close in. Pearl admits the heartbreaking inferiority complex that we all knew she had, but that still hurts to hear her confess: “No matter how hard I try to be strong on my own, I’m useless on my own. I’m just a Pearl. I need someone to tell me what to do.”

She clutches her arms and says achingly that she only ever wanted to feel like a part of Garnet’s strength and love, a piece of something she could never hope to achieve on her own.

But Garnet forcefully takes her to task for this faulty self-view. Garnet explains to Pearl that Garnet is not perfectly strong herself, nor infallible in love; that Garnet herself unfused over this, and Ruby and Sapphire fought over this. Garnet tells Pearl that she has weaknesses, but she doesn’t allow them to take over her because she is aware that she has an impact on everyone.

Garnet goes further. Pearl has an impact on others as well, Garnet says, and strength uniquely her own that Garnet herself looks up to. Pearl can scarcely believe it. The conversation is reminiscent of Amethyst and Vidalia’s emotionally validating and affirming back-and-forth in “Onion Friend,” with Amethyst calling herself “just a dumb sponge” only to hear Vidalia call her a role model and an inspiration.

Of course, all this heartwrenching emotion takes time, and the room is continuing to shrink. In order to escape, Pearl and Garnet must fuse. “Only if you’re okay with it,” says Pearl cautiously, and Garnet gives a firm nod. As Steven and Amethyst run about in a panic, Sardonyx bursts free with a spin of her beautiful umbrella-mallet.

The Crystal Gems then catch Peridot, who is flipping out at an old Gem tech panel. Peridot blasts open the roof and helicopters away from the “lumpy clumpy clods,” or tries to. (We… are the lumpy clods....) But Steven latches onto Peridot’s boot, weighing her down. Then Amethyst. Then Pearl. And Garnet holds them all down as Peridot vainly tries flicking Steven’s nose to get him off of her. “Noooo,” Peridot wails softly (the delivery is truly so funny. Such tiny frustration!). She is forced to jettison her boot to get free, and blasts off again.

But Amethyst flops over onto her back, grinning with relief anyway, because Garnet and Pearl have made up.

I have to wonder: How many millenia of Homeworld nonsense about the role of “Pearls” did Pearl internalize, if even all those centuries with Rose couldn’t make a dent in it? Or was it Rose’s “death” that brought all those feelings of loneliness and inferiority back up to the fore so painfully?

I kind of love that the closing shot focuses on Amethyst. Stevenbomb 3.0 has really taken pains to show that when two people in a family fight, everyone in the family gets scalded and ice-burned by the quarrel. I appreciate that Garnet was allowed her time and space to be angry, to fall apart, to feel her own legitimate hurt and offense, rather than being forced to immediately accept Pearl’s apology just because Pearl was sorry. Garnet had the right to be angry until she was no longer angry; she had the right to hold up her hand and say, “Not now.”

As for Pearl, those deeper issues of inferiority and loneliness need some kind of resolution, or else Pearl will fall into a similar situation again, as well as passing them on to others (as she almost did with Connie). Hopefully that talk with Garnet really takes, and we see more of Pearl learning to love herself and take pride in her own gifts.

So Stevenbomb 3.0 ends on a note of validation, forgiveness, and friendship. I'm okay with that.

Need a better way to watch Steven Universe? You can log in to Cartoon Network’s web site and watch Cartoon Network shows, including Steven Universe episode “Historical Friction,” streaming live after selecting your TV provider. The service is provided at no charge and included in your TV subscription. If that doesn’t work for you, Sling TV offers a “Best of Live TV” package that includes Cartoon Network and has a 7-day free trial available (just long enough for a Stevenbomb!). Otherwise, you can watch HD quality episodes of Steven Universe on Cartoon Network’s web site the day after the new episode airs.

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