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Legs From Here to Homeworld Kicks Our Heads In

Does it make it better that it did the kicking with a fabulous pair of heels? Sure, why not. After making its debut at the Steven Universe SDCC panel, “Legs From Here to Homeworld” hit the Cartoon Network app last night for public consumption. In typical Steven Universe fashion, it managed to pack a ludicrous amount of content into 11 minutes. Let’s get into it, because we have a lot to talk about.

Recap

The episode kicks off with a overwhelmingly happy Blue Diamond snuggling Steven and making everyone cry her tears. Garnet panics about the possibility of Blue hurting him, but Bismuth assures her she won’t. Yellow eventually buzz-kills the whole thing to start asking why Pink faked her shattering and looks like she does. Steven does his best to explain moms and how he’s not fully Pink, but Yellow assumes they can just bring back her memories and such later. Yellow Mom is nothing if not stubborn.

Blue wonders how they survived the corruption attack, which it turns out was meant to destroy, not corrupt. Steven brings them to Centipeetles ship and brings her out, hoping they can help reverse the damage done. Yellow and Blue try to heal her at Steven’s behest. They manage to cure her form and ability to communicate, but her mind is still stuck in a loop from the evacuation. It’s not until Steven adds his powers to the other Diamonds that her mind clears and Nephrite emerges.

Yes, theory confirmed! Centi is a Nephrite, and she’s amazing! She apologizes for failing to evacuate but assumes that since the Diamonds are on Earth, they won the war. The moment they all stop touching her, though, Nephrite corrupts again. Steven wants to heal her again, and says healing all the corruption is the Diamonds’ responsibility.

Yellow says they can’t heal them without all 4 Diamonds. Yes, it happened! The White Diamond name drop! Pearl immediately freaks, saying White is nothing like other gems, or even the other Diamonds. Blue and Yellow aren’t very optimistic either. Steven insists they go to Homeworld to talk to her, though. When Yellow questions how, since their arm ships were destroyed, Steven takes them out to the desert to uncover Pink’s leg ship.

Look, we all knew it was a leg ship. We all expected it. And oh my god is it magnificent.

They fly the ship back to the beach, where the Fellowship forms. All the Crystal Gems except for Bismuth will go. She decides to stay behind to watch over Lapis and Peridot’s gems. Lion stays, too. Connie says goodbye to her parents and Steven says goodbye to Greg. Garnet does as well, handing off Cat Steven for him to take care of. With all the goodbyes finished, it’s time to take off! Which requires a gloriously goofy running start. We could not love the leg ship more than we do.

During the trip, Yellow and Blue paint an unflattering picture of White Diamond as a difficult person. They worry how she’ll react to the truth of the rebellion on Earth. Yellow even flat out states that only she should be allowed to do the talking. When they arrive at Homeworld, we get our first real look of the planet, which is shattered into three pieces barely held together. And yes, the ship lands as fabulously as it took off. A loud cheering can be heard, and they exit the ship to find gems belonging to every Diamond gathered to meet them.

White Pearl shows up to retrieve “Pink Diamond,” and only Pink. For real, White Pearl might be the best gem design yet. She brings Steven to White Diamond, and we get our first look at the Homeworld matriarch. Yes, she’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. Her design plain works for us, and Bo was admittedly a bit skeptical just seeing the grainy shots of her from SDCC.

White doesn’t act very angry but rather…dismissive. After a quick, chiding exchange welcoming Pink home, Steven’s taken away to a chamber with a view of the White Diamond statue/ship/whatever, and we’re back on hiatus.

Delightful Little Gems

  • Garnet asked Greg to water Cat Steven for her. So, so adorable.
  • Speaking of adorable, Nephrite! Could she get any cuter with her giant green eyeball??? (Gretchen is in love.)
  • Speaking of Cat Stevens, check that possible foreshadowing for White Pearl. Or was fake Connie in Rose’s room foreshadowing? It’s all foreshadowing!
  • Yellow Diamond was trying and barely failing to move her ship telekinetically. This is big news. The Diamonds can move their ships with their freaking minds.
  • The Diamonds used the warp pad! We choose to believe they shapeshifted smaller in order to fit in the house and use its warp pad.
  • Look at all those Peridots and Aquamarines!

Lingering Questions

  • We really want to know just how similar Steven acted compared to Pink. The leg ship launch was clearly a “Pink hasn’t changed” moment. What else, though? We need details.
  • Who else thinks White’s Pearl was the original Pink Pearl? Between the gem placements and White Pearl’s scar, we’re thinking our Pearl was originally White’s Pearl. The two switched for some reason as yet undetermined. It may even be that our Pearl was created for White but gifted to Pink before she could actually serve White. White/OriginallyPink? Pearl was punished for something, hence the scar.

Review

Alright, for once we’re just going to dive right in to the thing everyone is talking about. We saw White Diamond. In the span of 11 minutes we went from not even having a name drop to a Steven conversation with her. A very one-sided conversation, but a conversation nonetheless. Now begins the theorizing.

Namely, what the hell is up with White Diamond and her Pearl?

We can’t shake just how…robotic they both were. Everything from the moment Steven arrived on Homeworld felt like a scripted event. It has us wondering deeply about the White Diamond we saw. Her spiel to Steven felt like something she’d said a thousand times to fit numerous little rebellious incidents from Pink. The Gem War was such a momentous event to everyone we’ve seen, including Blue and Yellow, and yet White acted like “Pink” had just run away for the night. She never even responded to anything Steven said, as if it were a pre-recorded conversation.

Then also consider how immobile she was. Not a single part of her moved besides her face. The close-up of her legs almost resembled a statue. A lot of fans have theorized that this wasn’t the real White Diamond at all, but some kind of projection. We suppose that could make sense considering how bright White’s head was. We couldn’t even see her gem. Everything about her seemed off in some way. Even Blue and Yellow talked about how different she was.

Is this just her personality, as the greatest and strongest of all gems? Has she been affected in some way by some incident, like the corruption attack? Is she hiding for some reason and using this projection?

Obviously there is a White Diamond, and a giant White Diamond at that. We saw her participate in the corruption attack. But there was definitely something off about her, as well as her Pearl. They shared a very similar voice, and White Pearl didn’t seem to have much, if any control over herself. Her body never moved the way any of the other gems do. She slid around on the ground like she was on a sledge rather than moving her legs. Like White, only her face actually moved that we saw. Perhaps White controls her? And if White controlled her Pearl, maybe she also controlled the White Diamond we saw. If so, this level of control might tell us what White’s powers are. Her Pearl’s appearance might also tell us about White’s capabilities.

In fact, her eyes may be a hint as to what exactly she sees and how she controls it, as well as her nickname for Pink.

White’s eyes resemble a blind person’s with the clouded iris and white pupils. Is it possible she does not see gems as we see them, but rather just their aura? If so, that would explain why she does not react at all to Steven’s appearance. She may only see whatever aura Pink always had. If she can see auras rather than physical forms, it could also explain a power involving control over a gem’s form. It would make sense if the first gem could influence design in order to begin and refine the creation process for those who follow.

Consider White Pearl’s form; why does she have a scar? Gems do not have permanent physical forms. They do not scar, not that we’ve seen. A scar like White Pearl’s especially would seem to only happen from the type of injury that would cause a gem to retract their physical form and start reform. That she has not suggests White can control the physical forms of other gems, and possibly by controlling their aura.

This would make sense, because it seems to be the last element missing to fully cure the corrupted gems.

We love the scene curing Nephrite, even if we’re sad to see her corrupt again. It showed the combined effort needed to cure these gems, and the way each Diamond controls one aspect of the cure. Yellow was able to restore Nephrite’s physical form, which makes sense given her connection to the de-fusing weapons we’ve seen Jasper and Topaz interact with (both yellow gems). Blue calmed her emotions and ability to express herself, which makes sense given Blue’s ability to project her feelings and emotional expression onto other gems. Steven calmed her thoughts, which, again, makes sense given his ability to astral project into other gem’s minds and interact with the ways they think about themselves or others. We saw that on display in “Reunited” when Steven encouraged the Crystal Gems via projecting positive thoughts into their minds.

All that was missing in Nephrite’s healing was the ability to make it permanent. White being needed to control the permanence of these changes, presumably by fixing a gem’s aura, makes a lot of sense.

It also explains what happened in the corruption attack. The combined force of the Diamonds seemed to have destabilized the gems on Earth in each area the three Diamonds had control over: emotional imbalance, form distortion, and a lack of fixed aura. They can’t be healed through any one Diamond because they each control a different aspect of what happened to these gems.

What we have developing here is yet another beautiful metaphor for the healing process. When it comes to trauma, there’s never just one part of a person affected. Physical trauma changes how people think about themselves and expression their emotions. Emotional trauma impacts how people behave and mental conditioning from abuse can warp people’s ability to feel and express it, etc. And all of these kinds of trauma affect someone’s ‘aura’ or ‘soul,’ that deep part of them that defines who they are. Because damage to the self impacts every area of a person’s selfhood and expression—mind, body, spirit, and emotions—healing must occur on all these levels as well.

It’s just one more way that Queen Sugar and the Crewniverse interweave therapeutic practices and cognitive behavioral science into a story kids can understand. On a show that embodies relationships as individual characters (the fusions), we’re not surprised to see healing embodied as characters. And if we’re going to get a Diamond Voltron (and by this point, we’re definitely going to see a Diamond Voltron; maybe that’s how they heal all the gems? By joining up into a giant robot and blasting Earth with healing powers?), that’s one more layer of symbolism: heart, mind, body, and soul all fused (heh) together to make up a the Giantest Woman of them all. Greg might have a heart attack.

It’s also interesting to note how the original four Crystal Gems mirror the Diamonds in some way. Garnet as body/form, Amethyst as heart, Pearl as mind, and Rose as soul/aura. Just look at their gem placement—hands, heart, forehead, and belly. Gretchen is intrigued by the seeming difference between Rose’s role in the Crystal Gems and what we see Steven doing. It could be that we’ve misconstrued Steven’s role with Nephrite. Maybe he’s meant to play the aura role, touching the deep part of someone’s soul (which makes sense because Steven) rather than influencing their thoughts directly. Maybe White’s role is more mind control than aura control. Perhaps she’s controlling White Pearl’s mind and only that, which could explain White Pearl’s lack of movement (no body control). The more Gretchen things about it, the more she’s convincing herself that Steven represents aura.

Or maybe we’re both over-thinking this. Then again, it’s Steven Universe so probably not. We may not be right, but in terms of analysis, there really is no way to over analyze this show. Everything is foreshadowing after all.

Okay, back to the attack. If White Diamond destabilized auras (or minds) as her part in the attack, then it explains why Yellow and Blue had no idea their attack corrupted anything rather than flat out destroying the gems. So now the question remains about whether White knew. We believe she did. Blue and Yellow suggested she is at the very least known for cruelly lashing out, and also that she feels little to nothing for the lives of the gems under her. If we also consider the demeaning way she spoke to Steven/Pink, it’s not exactly a stretch to think that she would have corrupted the auras (again, or minds) of Earth’s gems as a “lesson” to Pink. Even if she didn’t purposefully do it we doubt she’ll care much or want to help heal them.

Of course, we know they will get healed eventually. How? We’re not sure quite yet, but we can’t wait to see. White’s first appearance was incredible and we can’t wait to learn more about her either. After all the discussion among the fandom that mainly guessed White would be this cold, unfeeling dictator throwing herself into imperial management to distract from her grief, it’s looking like she may be the opposite.

Yellow and Blue talked about White like big sisters warning their little sister about another older, abusive sister. Or perhaps an abusive parent. Their hesitance to admit failure to her, their warnings about how she may react, Yellow’s desire to “go first” and take the brunt of White’s reaction, it all sounded like fear of immediate, cruel consequences. Even Pink punching a window in “Jungle Moon” reads retroactively like a child who has seen domestic violence in some way (or heard about it) but found a different outlet other than hurting physical beings. Such deflection often occurs with children of physically abusive parents; they learned somehow that physical violence is an “acceptable” reaction to certain negative feelings (acceptable in their household at least) but don’t want to actually hurt a person, so they lash out at inanimate objects.

The more we see of the Diamonds, the more their dynamic becomes eerily familiar to those of us who come from homes with domestic abuse of various kinds, whether in the immediate family structure or in the generation previous. This feels more and more like a story of inherited trauma and abuse where the family in question was the ruling power of an entire society and thus the abuse shaped an entire culture. In short, the wider Homeworld culture had to stem from White Diamond, and Homeworld culture is one of oppression and abuse.

In this context, it’s frightening to think what White may want to do to Steven or those who accompanied him. We’ve said before how Steven Universe will almost certainly lead to the reformation of gem culture to be more  open and inclusive, and now that Steven’s in a position of power on Homeworld, the beginning efforts will likely take place.


Images Courtesy of Cartoon Network

Bo
Written By

Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and continues drifting wearily through the slog of summer TV.

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