Steven Universe 'Wanted' Arc Recap: It's All About The Crying (And The War Crimes)

10
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
2013-11-04
0-steven-universe
Steven Universe, a Cartoon Network original show by Rebecca Sugar of Adventure Time. (c) Cartoon Network

The new Steven Universe one-hour special event, “Wanted,” is about Steven getting abducted along with Lars, taken to Homeworld and put on trial for war crimes. It’s pretty heavy. Steven cries a lot. Lars exists. We meet outcast Gems. There’s so much crying, y’all. The episodes are titled “Stuck Together,” "The Trial,” “Off Colors” and “Lars' Head,” and rather than do a straightforward recap, I’ll pick out my favorite points from each episode and then share my final thoughts on the “Wanted” special event as a whole.

Stuck Together

When I realized that of everyone on the planet Earth, Steven was stuck with Lars, I groaned. Those who have followed my recaps know that despite the Crewniverse’s best efforts, I don’t like Lars. He’s rude, petulant, immature and self-centered, and he’s consistently been this way for four seasons now.

If you like Lars, good for you; this little arc must have been catnip. Glory in the knowledge that I suffered watching Lars moan and groan his way through a situation he wouldn’t even have been in if he’d had activated .5% of a brain cell and gotten off the ship along with everyone else. Then I had to sit through Lars sobbing that it’s all because he’s so scared and bwuh-bwuh, boo-hoo, oh my god, whatever, the situation literally couldn’t be less about Lars right now and yet he’s got Steven hook, line and sinker, ready to forgive and forget.

At least Steven isn’t alone on this terrifying trip and that’s about all the enthusiasm I can muster up for being forced to cope with Lars on the much-anticipated first look at Homeworld itself.

Choice bits:

  • “I don’t know what Topaz would do if she didn’t have Topaz! I’ve always wanted to tell me how I’m helping me through this, but there’s always something between us.”

  • Topaz wiping her face with Steven’s jeans!

  • Topaz’s voice not matching up to Topaz’s Duke Nukem-looking self at all.

  • Topaz’s personal tragedy of being.

  • Topaz!

The Trial

I have to say I’m impressed: instead of being immediately shattered, at least Rose Quartz is permitted some semblance of a trial. But its purpose doesn’t seem to be publicity or control of a public narrative. The force behind the trial appears to be Blue Diamond, whose grief is as urgent as ever and who needs to know how Pink Diamond died in order to achieve closure. Yellow Diamond, haughty and dismissive, permits it out of respect for Blue Diamond’s grief.

For the first time, the series introduces the idea that Rose Quartz may have been framed. It’s a shocking prospect to raise, given that Rose Quartz’s destruction of Pink Diamond has been treated as a fact all this time. And the reveal that Rose Quartz destroyed Pink Diamond (maybe) was shocking in and of itself, so to twist that reveal back on itself? It’s reveal recycling, but I’m totally with it. Did another Diamond have Pink Diamond killed? After all, there’s at least one Diamond we haven’t met yet, the biggest sister depicted with the most planets under her control: White Diamond. Could it be?

Choice bits:

  • The return of Eyeball! Aww, she so mad. Sorry bb :(

  • “Humans are loud, absolutely hideous creatures that serve no purpose whatsoever.” Okay, that’s true, but I resent that Lars is the representative of humanity.

  • I’d like to borrow that bubble the prosecutor put on Lars’ head and use it liberally on loud, hideous creatures in my daily life.

  • “And there you have it! Rose Quartz did it, and that’s Rose Quartz. I rest my case.”
    “Oh, she’s good.”

  • “The Court remembers and the Court does not care.”

Off Colors

Steven and Lars crash in Blue Diamond’s palanquin and are forced to escape the explosive Robinoids that are searching for them. Just as the intense wub-wub BGM reaches its peak (love that wub-wub!), a mysterious hand pulls Steven and Lars to safety in the Homeworld underground.

I am just a skosh embittered: we’ve seen nothing of normal Homeworld life, just outcasts on one end and the very highest and most isolated stratum and its servants on the other. I suppose it makes sense, given how Rose Quartz gave refuge to outcasts and challenged the Diamonds, and given how much of a persona non grata Steven is, but I just want to spend a day in the life of like, a Gem dirt baker or something. Let me meet the Gem petty bourgeoisie!

Of course Lars manages to make Steven running from murderous killer robots into something about how he’s tired of being scared all the time. I’m on Homeworld and I have to listen to Lars moaning on about his psychological problems… I really can’t overstate how miserable it is to have Lars along for this really plot-critical arc that provides us our first look at Homeworld.

I can’t say I was happy to see Lars die… but was I not-happy? :thinking-emoji:

Choice bits:

  • Padparadscha’s predictions of things that just happened are as hilarious and adorable as her name is hard to spell. At last, I have found my Gemsona.

  • I love the intense, wub-wub search music that plays while the Robinoids are roving.

  • It’s only taken five seasons, but at least Lars made himself useful. I still resent that I have to deal with him having a character arc during our first real visit to Homeworld, but (DEEP SIGH) fine.

  • I can’t believe Steven Universe really had somebody actually, for-real die, even if he was instantly resurrected through Healing Tears™.

  • Fluorite really creeps me out. No offense to six-gem fusions; it’s more that vaguely sinister Dark Crystal way she writhes around and gets her enormous face up in Steven’s that unnerved me. Luckily, she seems kind and loving, but what kind of powers does this six-gem fusion hold?

Lars’ Head

So everyone Rose Quartz’s Gem resurrects turns pink and becomes a portal to a magical dimension? That can’t be true, right? Are there other portals out there? Other hills in all that pink fur?

I’m really looking forward to this group of misfits somehow finding their way to Earth. It’s really heartwarming to think that Earth could be a place where the misfits don’t have to skulk in an ugly kindergarten knowing that they shock and disgust a world that has no tolerance for them. There don’t seem to be too many of these “off colors” so it’s not like bringing them over to take refuge and live full lives on Earth will interfere with native humanity, hopefully.

As for Lars, uh, he can stay on Homeworld and eat dirt. I mean, keep growing in character! It’s fine. Steven can bring him a PBJ now and then. It’ll be better for Sadie, too. I guess Lars can never cut his hair again?

Choice bits:

  • Lars is now pink. Like, Pink Lion levels of pink. What kind of challenge is this going to present to Lars’ daily life? Knowing Lars, he will make the most out of this opportunity to be absolutely miserable. Maybe this character arc of his in which he literally sobbed, cried, was scared, was useful and brave, then died, then came back will help smooth that whiny edge?

  • Steven sobbing  “Life is beautiful” while eating a PBJ sandwich. #same

  • “You brought me back to life! Just let me be somebody who deserved it.” Never did I ever think that Lars would say something I agree with so strongly.

  • Pearl and Greg with tears in their eyes! Me too! It’s so nice to see Steven come home.

Overall

The most important thing the ‘Wanted’ arc did was create confusion around the official story that Rose Quartz killed Pink Diamond. Lars’ little character arc, seeing the Diamonds again, watching a trial unfold, meeting the outcasts -- all of that is definitely interesting, but Rose Quartz’s actions form so much of the world Steven inhabits that resolving her mysteries are critical to the plot of Steven Universe. Did she kill Pink Diamond? If she didn’t, who did? Who did?

I can’t wait to meet White Diamond…

The tone of the arc itself is a lot sadder, darker and heavier than Steven Universe usually goes except in its most distressing episodes: Bismuth, Jasper and Lapis, Garnet and Pearl, Pearl and Rose and Greg. Steven is so frightened, so out of his depth and so at a loss. It’s hard to see him suffer for four episodes in a row, desperate to change his situation and seemingly powerless to do so. I’m glad the arc closed on the emotional reunion between Steven and his family: we needed to see him safely in the arms of his loved ones. I can’t wait for the Gems to decant him about his time there, and for him to float the idea that Rose Quartz didn’t do it after all.

What did you think of the Steven Universe ‘Wanted’ special event? Were you pumped to see more of Homeworld? Are you a big Lars fan itching to get into the comments and call me out personally for being a mean’ ol hater? (Sorry! My faves aren’t for everyone either! I’m a Jasper fan, I know what it’s like to be persecuted for liking a problematic character, RIP.)

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