Poor Peridot. Break-ups are hard, especially with kids involved. Good thing she has some really good friends to help her out. That’s right, it’s a Steven Universe road trip! Courtesy of Amethyst, of course. But wait, Kindergarten? Certainly that won’t go well, will it? Or has Amethyst found enough comfort and love to help her face Kindergarten without leaving an emotional wreck for once?
I hope so.
Spoilers for 5×08 “Back to the Kindergarten” below
With Peridot back in the bathroom, Steven once again has to bathe and do his other business in the kitchen sink. Amethyst finds him doing so when she leaves her room. She decides to help Peridot through the divorce.
They find Peridot moping and listening to country music. Amethyst suggests they get some fresh air, specifically by going to her Kindergarten. She wants to see how different it will be now that she has the Famethyst. And Peridot can feel better by flaunting her superior knowledge over them. She reluctantly agrees, and they’re off on the train!
Peridot refuses further efforts to make her feel better during the trip. When they arrive, Amethyst talks about how different Kindergarten is now. She knows the Amethysts who came from the holes and excitedly tries to figure out which Amethysts came from which holes. Peridot corrects her as she goes.
It makes her feel momentarily better, but Peridot realizes how Earth has changed her views. Where she once thought Kindergartens were the source of life, she now sees only a place that saps all the life from a planet. Nothing will ever grow there again. Until they find a flower growing!
They decide to make a new farm on the Kindergarten to see if the Earth has begun to rebound. With the Amewheelbarrow and the return of Amecopter, along with Peridot’s knowledge, they plant rows of sunflowers.
Steven wakes up the next morning to a free bathroom and a shower! Peridot is in the kitchen talking further work with Amethyst when Steven leaves. They head back out to Kindergarten excitedly, discussing other plants they can grow. Peridot thanks Steven and Amethyst for helping her and making her feel better. She’s glad she was able to fix something.
Except they arrive to find their plants are dead.
Peridot angrily vents about losing Lapis and how nothing will ever be fixed, and eventually steps on the flower that did grow. It turns out to be a growth on a corrupted gem that emerges from beneath the ground. It eats her, leaving Steven and Amethyst to fight. You know what that means! Smoky Quartz returns! They make quick work of the corrupted gem and save Peridot.
On the way back to the beach, Peridot talks about how the Kindergarten farm was a foolish distraction from losing Lapis and knowing that once something’s dead, nothing will grow there again. However, Steven finally gets Peridot to notice the beautiful plant life in the passing countryside. They convince her it will be easier to plant life somewhere else rather than try on dead ground.
But…Lapis isn’t dead ground yet! She can’t be!
Delightful Little Gems
- The Amecopter remains my favorite of Amethyst’s forms.
- Smoky’s theme really is perfect.
- Speaking of themes, was that the same train music from “On the Run”?
- Steven has to be an old pro at sink showering by now.
- Can we please avoid letting the inevitable ship wars over Lapidot and Peridot from getting too crazy? Or avoid them altogether, if possible?
- Any theories on the identity of the corrupted gem, or why it called the Kindergarten home?
- The flower in Kindergarten looked a lot like the Silent Princess from Breath of the Wild doesn’t it?
See what I meant about this episode making even clearer the relationship status of Lapidot? There’s no clearer break-up symbolism than laying face flat with country music in the background. This was the post-break-up episode.
Remember what I said about Peridot and Lapis tying their happiness and the beauty of Earth to each other? Here we saw how that is. Earth is still the same place it was before. Life goes on, the plants are still around, things change and grow in the same unexpected ways. Without Lapis and the barn, none of it is the same as before for Peridot. Now she sees only pessimism and ruin.
Could you also say her depression has to do with the barn and not Lapis? Yeah, but I don’t think that’s the point. It certainly plays a key part, but the barn wasn’t her place. It was their place. Her sorrow over the barn is because of Lapis. Let’s say Lapis doesn’t take the barn when she leaves. Would Peridot really be happy there alone?
I doubt it. She may not be as displaced as she is here, but she’d still feel deep sorrow. This was a bad separation. Peridot and Lapis built their lives around each other. She’s lost more than a friend. Peridot explicitly states multiple times how she misses Lapis. She’s lost everything that once defined her life. Who wouldn’t struggle to cope with that kind of loss?
Just like the Kindergarten will always scar Earth, what happened with Lapis will always scar Peridot, just like any other traumatizing event in someone’s life. And maybe nothing can grow on that old ground. That doesn’t mean the whole isn’t capable of beauty. Peridot will recover from this. It may take a while, but she’ll get there. Especially with the help of such great friends as Amethyst and Steven.
Peridot may not feel much better right now. Grief is a different process for everyone. She does end the episode in a better place than she was before, though, and has friends that are happy to help.
Speaking of which, can I just say how happy I am that Amethyst not only put in such effort to make Peri feel better, but did so at the Prime Kindergarten, the source of her biggest fears? She’s come so far.
Meeting the Famethyst meant everything. The Kindergarten is no longer the source of shame where she was abandoned, and no longer holds the mysteries that used to haunt her. Now it is truly home. She knows the others who called it home and knows they cherish her as one of them. Before the Fam, I bet Peridot’s corrections of Amethyst’s guesses about the holes would have upset her. The unaware jabs at Amethyst being badly made would have sent her spiraling. Now she shrugs it off, though not without speaking up.
It just goes to show how dead ground can recover and become a place for happiness. Amethyst’s greatest source of shame and sorrow has become a place of joy. Maybe that’s why Amethyst brought Peridot to Prime Kindergarten to begin with? Or maybe it was all a happier-than-expected accident.
Peridot will get there, too. Hopefully it won’t take her five-thousand years.