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Ocean Meets Steel, Or Lapis and Peridot’s Background Healing Arc

Here at the Fandomentals, we love Steven Universe. It tackles difficult, sometimes dark subjects with a care rarely seen in adult programming. And it still manages to be a bright, hopeful show about a kid and his space moms taking on monsters that threaten Earth. It’s also one of the smartest shows on TV right now.

That doesn’t make it immune from criticism. I’d be the first to admit that the Bismuth episodes were both uncomfortable and disappointing, though I hold out hope that recent mentions of her mean the show isn’t entirely done with that arc. Outside of Bismuth, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen in social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr has been the way Lapis and Peridot’s relationship has progressed mostly in the background. Many have said they moved too quickly from enemies to friends, and are disappointed at the lack of a visual depiction of remorse or apology from either of them for their selfish and/or hurtful behavior.

I’m sympathetic to the criticism. It was my gut instinct as well when I first watched my way through seasons 3 and 4. So, I sat down to rewatch to see if I had missed anything, and it turns out I had.

Rather than focus strictly on episodes that showcase Lapis and Peridot together, I went through every episode where one of them was a significant part of the plot. After all, they’re both more than one half of a potential ship. They have their own personal character arcs outside of their interactions with each other that then impact how they relate to one another. After that, I took a step back and looked at broad themes for the seasons and came to conclusion: the Crewniverse deserve more credit for what they’ve done thus far.

Lapis Backstory

Lapis’s arc is one of healing from profound trauma and escaping a destructive relationship. In “Same Old World” (3×03), we learn that during the Crystal Gem rebellion, Lapis got caught up in the battle and ‘poofed’, likely by Bismuth if the silhouette is accurate. A Homeworld Gem, thinking her one of the Crystal Gems, put her in the mirror in an attempt to get information out of her about the Crystal Gem base. Basically, she was tortured for information then abandoned and damaged in the panic to escape Earth. A silent prisoner within the mirror, Lapis spent the next few thousand years in Crystal Gem custody. Though we don’t know what happened in this time or why the Crystal Gems chose not to free her, we know she resents the Crystal Gems at first for keeping her imprisoned.

By the time Steven frees her in “Mirror Gem” (1×25), she’s already suffering from multiple traumatic experiences and has suffered millennia of imprisonment. She’s not a healthy person. Jasper and Peridot then imprison again her in “Jail Break” (1×52), to which she seems resigned both because of habit (it’s all she’s known for the past thousand years) and to protect Steven. She tries to flee the wrecked ship, but Jasper forcibly restrains her. Using insults, physical force, and a promise of revenge against the Crystal Gems, Jasper coerces Lapis into forming Malachite.

I’ll say it again: Lapis is not in a healthy place nor is she a healthy person. She’s gone from one prison to another, been tortured for information then physically damaged. She’s been thrown around casually and treated like crap for thousands of years. Jasper, to her, is one more person who has imprisoned her, hurt her, and sought to use her against others. Remember that Homeworld trapped her to force information out of her about the Crystal Gems, and then Jasper tries to manipulate her into fusing so she can be yet another tool against the same people.

Jasper also happens to be the most recent of Lapis’s captors, and a convenient target for her anger. Unwittingly, Jasper offers her the one thing she wants—revenge—but has done so after making herself a target by behaving as every other person has done towards Lapis. And Lapis, wounded and bitter as she is, lashes out and takes Jasper prisoner through Malachite.

“I’m done being everyone’s prisoner. Now you’re my prisoner! And I’m never letting you go!”Malachite (Lapis’s voice)

I neither excuse nor condone Lapis’s behavior at this point, though I do understand it. I can even sympathize to a degree based on my own experience of abuse and trauma.

Lapis makes a tragic choice, too. By taking Jasper prisoner, she traps herself in a mutually dysfunctional and destructive relationship because she believes it will provide an outlet for her pain. Hence, the chains on both Lapis and Jasper in Steven’s visions. I don’t want to go into a huge amount of detail regarding who is more ‘at fault’ for Malachite or who was ‘worse’ to the other. All I will say is that Malachite was mutually destructive for Jasper and Lapis, but in different ways.

And this is where we meet up with Lapis at the beginning of S3: a victim of torture, repeated imprisonment, abandoned, neglected, abused, having lashed out at another and imprisoned herself in a destructive relationship in the process. She’s….in a very bad place, to put it mildly. No wonder she wants to leave Earth. All it has ever represented to her is suffering.

Peridot’s Backstory

An Era 2 (i.e., post Earth rebellion) Gem, Peridot was a Homeworld technician working for Yellow Diamond sent to Earth to check on the advancement of the gem weapon called “The Cluster”. She assists in Steven’s, Lapis’, Ruby’s and Sapphire’s capture and takes direction from Jasper regarding the attack on Beach City. Much of her behavior seems coded to imply a measure of brutality has been used against her and other gems in Yellow Diamond’s service, like her reaction to Jasper unsheathing the weapon used in de-fusing Garnet and the way she cowers when Steven rolls up his towel.

Given what we see of the way Yellow herself treats her underlings (and what is implied as imitation of said behavior from Holly Blue Agate in the latest Steven Bomb), Peridot likely experienced some level of physical and/or verbal abuse. The caste system of Homeworld is unforgiving and oppressive. One’s position of relative superiority solidifies with the mistreatment of those deemed further down the totem pole, with the Pearls seemingly at the bottom (from what we know thus far). Perhaps due to Pearls being ‘merely ornamental’ and akin to slaves rather than instruments of power or symbols of strength. They’re ‘weak’ gems, and Peridot had been trained to despise weakness.

Small wonder, then, that Peridot has ingrained prejudices against the Crystal Gems as a whole for being rebels and against individual members for not fitting her preconceived notions of what they ought to be. She’s living out what her society has impressed upon her is ‘right’. Though that doesn’t make it any less bigoted and oppressive. She values power displayed in brute strength, just like Homeworld does. She dismisses gems like Pearl and gravitates toward powerful gems like Amethyst (a Quartz soldier). Lapis, a powerful terraforming Gem that may have been a part of Blue Diamond’s court, would also make a powerful ally in Peridot’s Homeworld perspective.

Thus Peridot has her own hurts, too. She was likely abused and was raised in a bigoted and rigid class system that thrives on keeping people in line through a combination of force and derision. And we cannot forget that Peridot experiences abandonment and disillusionment with Homeworld once she realizes no one is coming to rescue her. She lashes out at Yellow Diamond, insulting her to her face once she understands how ‘unimportant’ she is to her leader. She’s lost everything she knew in a short span of time, including her sense of place and self-worth.

She’s not so much dysfunctional as she is dislocated. Her journey forward focuses on unlearning toxic worldviews and systems and finding a more stable sense of personal self worth and value independent of other people’s opinions.

And lots of “Camp Pining Hearts”.

What We See in S3-S4

Bearing their histories in mind, lets now address what Seasons 3-4 show us for each of them, both separately and together. It’s a potentially fractious combination, especially since Peridot participated in Lapis’s imprisonment under Jasper. Thus, when they meet again in “Same Old World” (3×03), Lapis is none to pleased with Peridot’s presence at the barn and nonchalant friendliness.

Yet we must keep in mind that by this point in the story, Peridot has already undertaken many steps forward in her process of growth and healing. She’s learned about life on earth (“When It Rains”, 2×19) and understands the threat Earth faces and why the Crystal Gems want to defend it. Though far from complete, she has begun the process of unlearning the prejudices caused by Homeworld’s caste system (“Back to the Barn” 2×20). This includes a begrudging acknowledgment of Pearl’s intelligence and capability as well as a growing respect for, and understanding of, Garnet as a perma-fusion. In addition, when she hurt Amethyst’s feelings with her ‘defective’ comment (“Too Far”, 2×21), she eventually finds a way to apologize both to Amethyst and the rest of the Crystal Gems.

“Log date 7112. This entire planet is backwards. There hasn’t been one instance of correct behavior exhibited by any one of these “Crystal Gems”. I have concluded that they are all defective. But I am no better. I failed my mission and now I’m working with the enemy. And I can’t even get that right. I have apparently “hurt” Amethyst’s “feelings”, which was not my intent. If I’ve damaged my standing with the best Gem here, then I’ve made a serious mistake. I’m still learning. I hope you understand. I want to understand. I’m sorry.”—Peridot

So, when Lapis shows up at the Barn, Peridot has a sense of confidence in herself as a ‘changed’ person. She knows she is learning and wants to change for the better. Lapis, however, is fresh off her most recent imprisonment/dysfunctional relationship. “Same Old World” (3×03) gave her an appreciation for Earth as a potential home and for Steven as a friend. But she still distrusts the Crystal Gems for leaving her trapped in the mirror and Peridot for helping Jasper take her prisoner. Lapis has no frame of reference for understanding Peridot as a ‘changed’ person. The last time she saw her, Peridot was helping put her in jail. Which is precisely the basis for the tension in “Barn Mates” (3×04).

This about sums up their ‘relationship’ at this point.

We, the audience, have gotten to see Peridot’s growth over the latter half of S2, but Lapis did not.

She’s still very raw from Malachite, easily triggered, and at a place where avoidance of her trauma seems the best way for her to keep it under control (see “Same Old World”). Facing Peridot would likely be one of the most triggering experiences for her under these circumstances, given Peridot’s connection to Jasper. Then, to have Peridot constantly bothering her and begging her for forgiveness and to understand her as ‘changed’…Well, let’s just say that Lapis’s reaction makes a lot of sense, even if it was not the healthiest or kindest thing to do.

Lapis wants to be alone to nurse her wounds; Peridot wants absolution and a reaffirmation of her growth. Lapis’s forgiveness represents another step forward for Peridot, another sign of her progress as someone who is changing for the better. She’s so proud of herself and eager to showcase her healing, so a little overzealousness is to be expected. She thinks that, as with Garnet and Amethyst, the ‘right’ words or gesture is all that is needed. It worked the last two times, of course it will work with Lapis. Only, she doesn’t know Lapis well and underestimates her trauma and the degree to which it has closed Lapis off.

The moment Lapis protected Peridot from the roving eye was a turning point for Peridot and not just because Lapis protected her. That played a part, but more importantly she saw Lapis’s anger simmering just below the surface first hand. She got a glimpse of Lapis’s power and danger, so decided to tone it down.

The very next episode, “Hit the Diamond” (3×05), showcases this shift in Peridot’s behavior. She backs off of Lapis and lets her be as she is. It’s precisely what Lapis needs right now, to just exist as a hurting person without the pressure to move on or perform. She needs to be the emotionally flat and exhausted “Bob” for a while, which everyone makes space for her to do. They accept her as she is, including Peridot.

I identify strongly with Bob for certain periods of my life.

“Too Short to Ride” (3×09) addresses Peridot’s lingering struggle with feeling overlooked an inadequate. As I said above, breaking ranks with Homeworld left her feeling displaced and useless. Lacking the rigid caste system to provide an innate sense of self worth and value, she tried making up for it by designing a robot and belittling Pearl. She’s a technician and accustomed to feeling useful by being productive. She’s also struggling with the lack of a weapon, which, again, makes her feel inadequate and useless. Plus, she still has the ingrained value of brute strength from being raised by Homeworld. A weapon would give her value. Thus, her height issues become a trigger for a much deeper struggle with her self-perception.

“This whole time we’ve been here, you’ve just been focusing on what you can’t do. Of course you’re not having any fun. You think that all you are is who you could be, but we don’t hang out with you because of who you could be. We like you.”Amethyst

It may seem a small thing, but it’s a huge step for Peridot to embrace herself and her abilities outside of the strict Homeworld ideology. She believed herself powerless because she was told Era 2 gems ‘lacked standard gem capabilities’ (which, upon reflection, sounds a lot like a lie told to keep Era 2 gems under control). Lacking a weapon, a leader, and a social system within which to define herself severely hampered Peridot’s growth. Her insecurity was part of what drove her to pressure Lapis for forgiveness. Secure in her sense of self, she’s in a much better position after this episode to be the kind of friend that a hurting person needs.

“Alone at Sea” (3×15) gives Lapis a chance to face her most recent trauma in the form of being out on the ocean (once a trigger for her) and a confrontation with Jasper. Again, I don’t want to fixate on assigning blame. The point of Lapis’s confession to Jasper regarding her behavior is that it marks a step toward growth. Given the chance to fall back into a dysfunctional relationship, she rejects it and chooses healing instead. She chooses to accept responsibility for her part on the destructive fusion and move on to being a healthier person.

It’s worth pointing out that while we did not see it on screen, Lapis has had 10 episodes to continue being ‘Bob’. By the time she faces Jasper again, she’s had time to recuperate and just exist for a while. Steven, Greg, and the Crystal Gems accept her, trauma and all, and give her the space she needs to heal on her time, not theirs. What I appreciate about “Alone at Sea” is that while she makes a healthy choice, we know she’s not fully healed yet. Even Garnet remarks on how long her process of healing will be.

“Lapis spent an unbearable amount of time fused with Jasper. The emotional and physical strain of that type of fusion; I can’t imagine. She’s gonna need a lot of time to recover.”—Garnet, “Same Old World”

Yet we see that the space being given her has helped. We see her laugh and have a bit of genuine fun on the ship before Jasper appears. Slowly but surely, she’s making her way forward and the choice to leave Jasper solidifies the baby steps we’d already seen.

Thus, by the time we get to “Beta” (3×22), groundwork has been laid for the participation in art therapy that the ‘meep morps’ represent. More sure of herself, Peridot can take delight in a shared task with Lapis; she likes being productive anyway. Lapis, for her part, has taken a huge step in facing, and moving on from, her most recent trauma. Leaving Jasper behind likely paved the way for her to forgive Peridot. Plus, they do have a shared experience of abandonment and dislocation on Earth (which Steven had tried to point out in “Barn Mates” when Lapis wasn’t ready).

Additionally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first we see of them together involves them watching “Camp Pining Hearts”. Steven showed it to Peridot as a gesture of friendship, so it makes sense that Peridot would, in turn, use that as a way to reach out to Lapis.

And, let’s be honest, Lapis still isn’t all that effusive around Peridot by this point. She’s not antagonistic for sure. But her low-key pleasantness around Peridot is a far cry from the genuine delight and enjoyment she evinces when Steven comes. It’s progress, but you can tell she’s still holding back with Peridot in a way she doesn’t with Steven. She’s still mostly flat affect.

Her personal meep morps, rather than being a joking way to confront her emotional struggles (as they are for Peridot), seem to function as touchstones for the few non-traumatic memories she has. She’s still not quite ready to fully confront and express her trauma in art form yet. Granted, Peridot’s traumas are much more recent, and less deep-seated. Plus, Peridot is the kind of character who doesn’t take too many things seriously.

In short, “Beta” showcases both a significant amount of healing, but probably not as much as people make it out to be. They have an enjoyment of shared mutual interests, like “Camp Pining Hearts” and making meep morps. There are even the seeds of a burgeoning ability to work together as a team. They have a collaborative art piece, and Lapis offers to help Peridot with her music. More than once, Lapis does seem to be pleased with Peridot’s presence.

Lapis does not appreciate Peridot’s protectiveness.

At the same time, clear boundaries around their friendship exist. They still seem to be living on opposite sides of the barn, for one thing. And Lapis displays much more excitement around Steven than around Peridot, and flat out refuses Peridot’s request’s to fly them in. Peridot’s protectiveness about mentioning Jasper bothers Lapis. As delightful as Peridot’s concern for Lapis is when she’s leaving with Amethyst and Steven, you can sense Lapis’s frustration with that as well. Peridot is still a bit pushy and Lapis, a little bit resentful. They’ve each grown personally and have taken a step toward friendship, but they’re not a team yet.

Although ostensibly about Mr. Smiley and his one-time partner Mr. Frowney (and Steven learning the hazards of future vision), “Future Boy Zoltron” echoes the Peridot/Lapis dynamic too closely to be a coincidence. Like Peridot, Mr. Smiley takes life less seriously than his more dour partner. He wanted Mr. Frowney to have fun, where Mr. Frowney wanted Mr. Smiley to take their work more seriously. Frowney is very much coded as having depression: seeing only negative outcomes, the monotony and repetition of doing the same thing and both expecting a new outcome while also not. Lapis suffers from it as well due to her PTSD. The decades-long misunderstanding between the two men could very much happen to Lapis and Peridot if they made similar choices.

They don’t, though. As Smiley and Frowney themselves learn in the end, the best way forward is to be honest and accept each other for where they are in life rather than try to change the other. In the (unintentional) pressure from Smiley to change, Frowney felt uncared for. In order for him to move on, Smiley needed to communicate his concern and love in a way Frowney would understand. So, despite being about two other characters, this episode comments on the growing friendship between Lapis and Peridot. We see both what they need to do in order to solidify their partnership/friendship and that the pieces are in place for it to happen.

In a sense, “Future Boy Zoltron” gave us a window into what happened off screen in between “Beta” and “Gem Harvest” (4×08 & 4×09). Lapis and Peridot graduated from a toilet fountain art installation to running an entire farm. Note that by this point, an entire year has passed since Lapis first settled down in “Same Old World” (which also took place in Autumn). That’s a long time for them to be living together mostly alone. A lot of time for healing and open communication like we saw between Smiley and Frowney to take place.

A significant marker of this having been what happened is that Peridot no longer gets on Lapis’s nerves. Despite only having each other for company, they’re closer now than they were rather than strained as Smiley and Frowney had gotten due to their misunderstanding and lack of communication. Peridot no longer attempts to skirt around Lapis trauma. Indeed, they open joke about her trauma, to the discomfort of everyone else at the table (but to my great joy, since I do this a lot with my friends who have also suffered traumas).

“Shared trauma joke!” *high five*

Andy’s presence showcases just how far Peridot has come in rejecting the harmful prejudices against Earth, humans, and the Crystal Gems since her introduction in S1. She’s a Crystal Gem in Andy’s eyes and her own, since she includes herself as one of the ones who saved the Earth in the gem war. Lapis’s ability to joke about her trauma evinces her own healing journey. She’s come far from the gem who rejected a pool as a gift because she’d spent months trapped under the ocean. Unlike the ‘corn’ (her cipher for herself), she doesn’t actually hate the table (the Earth) anymore, like she did in “Same Old World”.

“Adventure’s In Light Distortion” (4×12), doesn’t give us more than a snapshot of Lapis and Peridot, most of which centers around Peridot getting the roving eye ready for space travel. Lapis feels much more subdued than in “Gem Harvest”. She’s more like her low affect, untalkative self that we’ve seen consistently since she unfused with Jasper. Still, as in “Gem Harvest”, she seems more comfortable around the Crystal Gems, less resentful of their part in her imprisonment in the mirror even if the circumstances don’t lend themselves to prolonged dialogue on that score.

This brings us to “The New Crystal Gems” (4×17), the most recent episode featuring Lapis and Peridot. As with “Beta”, I think this episode highlights something different than what I’ve seen most people on social media and fan forums mention when it comes to the Lapidot relationship. In this episode more than any other we see that though they have both grown, some things have not changed for either of them. As with Greg in “Alone at Sea”, Lapis fails to apologize or even show remorse for the pain she caused Connie when her gem was cracked, a frustrating reaction for many fans that I’ll come back to.

Connie: “Um, Lapis. You don’t remember me?”
Lapis: “Umm.”
Connie: “You almost drowned me when you tried to steal the ocean’s water?”
Lapis: “I almost drowned a lot of people.”
Connie: “I’m Connie.”

And, despite Peridot’s grudging respect for Pearl in “Back to the Barn” (2×20), Peridot and Lapis’s choice to make the pumpkin the “Pearl” of their ‘New Crystal Gems’ team says a lot. Like the sentient pumpkin, they consider Pearl to be an extraneous, mostly useless addition to the team, more there as a pet or mascot than a contributing member of the Crystal Gems. Lapis’s prejudices may be less ingrained than Peridot’s given her long imprisonment, but she’s a Homeworld gem nonetheless. Hers were merely buried beneath the layers of trauma. Now that she’s healing, they’re coming back out and playing on Peridot’s in an unhelpful way.

It may sound odd to consider Lapis’s prejudice as a mark of her healing, but it is. For most of her arc the past two seasons, Lapis has been too wrapped up in her trauma to pay much attention to her old patterns of thinking. Healing from her repeated imprisonments has, understandably, occupied too much head space. But, as she’s healing, old ways of relating to the world and the Crystal Gems are cropping back up because she has the space and emotional stability to deal with less urgent traumas.

This also explains the seemingly petty disagreement she and Peridot had at the car wash. The fact that they were working as a team says a lot about her growth, but so does their argument. Remember when Lapis couldn’t stand to even be in the same space as Peridot?

Lapis is now at a point that she can have a petty, normal disagreement with Peridot without resorting to the kind of violent display of power we saw in “Barn Mates”. They’re fighting about something stupid and inane, you know, like friends do. They can piss each other off, have a disagreement, and work it out without permanently damaging their relationship. That’s a huge amount of growth.

At the same time, it is still petty. The literal power struggle showcases a potential cause for concern that they will need to address in their friendship moving forward. They’re both powerful and opinionated gems. Lapis has been fairly passive because of her focus on healing, but the more stable she becomes, the more she will assert herself, and that’s going to bug Peridot who is used to being in charge.

A Background Mutual Healing Arc

Every tiny nugget we get in season 3 and 4 marks a step toward healing, both individually and as a friendship. The art therapy, shared tasks like making music and farming, mutual enjoyment of activities, being able to joke about Lapis’s trauma. We may not get all of it on our screen, but each time we see them, they’ve taken another step forward.

Lapis’s major transition toward healing takes place primarily in “Alone at Sea”, when she copes with her trauma, faces Jasper, and says no. Was she ‘cured’ at this moment? No. Because this kind of struggle is not ‘cured’. It’s a process. But it’s a big enough step forward that by the time we see her again in “Beta”, her calm demeanor and overall sedateness feel earned.

It bears keeping in mind that Peridot was not Lapis’s main source of trauma—Jasper, the Crystal Gems, and Homeworld were. In a sense, Peridot represents each of these to her, so I can understand her initial refusal to forgive Peridot. Her trauma was still too fresh and Peridot, a bit too insecure. Even if she participated in the imprisonment, Peridot was not Lapis’s main source of recent pain. Reconciliation between the two needed to take a back seat to Jasper, which is precisely what we see. Once she’d dealt with Jasper and crossed the first big hurdle, working out her issues with Peridot would be far less fraught.

Peridot began their relationship in a healthier place, but still with room to grow. Her insecurities and need to feel both useful and important got in the way of accepting Lapis’s need for space. Once she dealt with her self-perception, she was in a better place to reach out to Lapis in a way the latter could receive. She still has room to grow, and we see it happen in the snapshots occurring in “Beta” and “Gem Harvest”. Rather than avoid Lapis’s trauma, she shares in Lapis’s ability to joke about it and take it less seriously. Every time we see her interact with Lapis, she’s changed her behavior just enough to be sensitive to Lapis while still remaining true to herself.

They’re growing things together, like pumpkins and their relationship.

I admit that I gap fill a lot of Lapis’s thought and healing processes due to personal experience. I identify strongly with Lapis, so I see all of the beats in her healing arc whether they’re fully fleshed out on screen or not. Others without that personal experience may have different mileage. You may leave this article still unconvinced that the important beats are there, even if sketchily portrayed.

We only get snapshots into an ongoing arc, which is disappointing given how well we all know Steven Universe can do with a character arcs (see, Peridot’s redemption arc, Steven’s arcs about Rose, and learning to be a mediator). Without personal experience to help gap fill, the healing and friendship between Lapis and Peridot might feel forced on Lapis without her being ready. Or like too much of a puzzle to understand exactly why they’re in the stage they are at any given point.

This confusion is precisely why I think we need to look beyond just the episodes where they are interacting with each other. They have beats of personal healing in independent episodes that will impact how they interact with each other.

Episodes like “Future Boy Zoltron” may not give us Lapis and Peridot figuring out how best to communicate, but we can extrapolate from it to them. Healing and reconciliation are major themes in S3-4, so it’s safe to say that whatever we see elsewhere in other character’s arcs (like “Mindful Education” or “Bismuth”) can be applied to them as well. Heck, even “Restaurant Wars”, the episode about overcoming an old feud between Fryman and Kofi, is an echo of Lapis and Peridot overcoming old disagreements to become friends moving forward.

As frustrating as it can be to not get these two specific characters getting the emotional or conversational beats we’d like them to have, I think it’s safe to assume they happen. Steven Universe has done things like this before. It weaves together themes across character arcs that mutually inform each other. Like the way Amethyst, Lars, and Kiki all struggle with identity and self-perception at the same time as Peridot was facing it. The threads of Lapis’s and Peridot’s healing arc are everywhere if we look deeply enough. They may not be on screen as much as we’d like, but I think we’re meant to see the steps in their relationship echoed in the other characters’ stories where they do not appear.

“It’s like poetry. It rhymes.” Only this actually does.

Moving Forward

That being said, there are a few things I would still like to see from their interactions. Another situation where Peridot communicates poorly or pushes too hard, followed by an apology, would go far in repairing my disappointment for not seeing this specifically addressed in the aftermath of “Barn Mates”. A similar apology and recognition from Lapis regarding her sometimes cold behavior would be welcome. Especially since one of my biggest disappointments stems from Lapis’s failure to apologize to either Greg (for breaking his leg) or Connie (for almost drowning her) when confronted with how hurtful her actions in “Ocean Gem” (1×26) were.

I’m hopeful, though, because neither of their arcs are over yet. As we see in “The New Crystal Gems”, Lapis is much closer now to where Peridot was in “Too Far”. She’s at a healthy enough place to both have petty disagreements and work as a team. If what happened with Peridot holds true for Lapis as well (and fingers crossed it does), an acknowledgment of the damage she’s caused and an apology a la Peridot in “Log Date 7 15 2” (2×26) may just be right around the corner.

I would also like more “Camp Pining Hearts” please and thank you. And maybe a Lapidot fusion.

I also hope that the embedded classism and prejudice both characters still cling to gets called out. Perhaps in such a way that address the potential power imbalance between the two of them when it comes to their former positions in the Homeworld caste system and how that played out in Lapis’s imprisonment and Peridot following Jasper’s orders. There’s space for this to happen, given all the lore being dropped pointing out the flaws of the Homeworld class structure, and I trust the Crewniverse to handle it well.

Ultimately, that’s what it boils down to for me: trust. Steven Universe has meticulously earned my benefit of the doubt, a fact that led me to further investigate this arc in the first place. I cannot believe they will drop the ball on something so important. Not after handling Peridot’s redemption and Lapis’s trauma so well. They may not have succeeded with everyone, and I can sympathize. Yet, they are secondary characters. As much as we might want more, Steven Universe is primarily about Steven, and he’s had a huge arc of his own recently.

Nevertheless, given the prominence of Steven coping with his Rose’s legacy over the past season and a half, the Crewniverse has done a mighty fine job giving us all the beats we need to piece together what we don’t see on screen. And I think they deserve recognition for that.


Images Courtesy of Cartoon Network

Gretchen
Written By

Bi, she/her. Gretchen is a Managing Editor for the Fandomentals. An unabashed nerdy fangirl and aspiring sci/fi and fantasy author, she has opinions about things like media, representation, and ethics in storytelling.

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