Steven Universe is back with four weeks of new episodes, all of which were released a month early on the Cartoon Network App. As usual, I’m here to dive deep into the story, themes and plot of these episodes in a way that only an overanalyzing animation-nerd can.
Our first episode was “Your Mom and Mine,” which started off aboard the Sun Incinerator, which is having trouble getting through the final legs on the journey to Earth. Due to engine failure, amongst other things, it looks like Lars and the Off-Colors won’t be able to make it home. Just when Lars starts to freak out, Steven shows up to introduced everyone to Garnet.
Garnet, delighted by the uniqueness of the Off-Colors, makes Lars’ crew feel uncomfortable with her overeager compliments. Already, we have something interesting the analyze, the fact that all their lives, the Off-Colors have been told that they’re, well, off, that because they stray from the norm, and thus don’t play their part as cogs in Gem society, they are wrong. This has been drilled into them so much that they don’t know how to think otherwise. Sure, Lars gave them purpose as part of his crew, ways to feel they belong, but they were so oppressed and the toxicity of Gem society was so drilled into their brains that they didn’t know how to think otherwise.
Garnet was complimenting them on the beauty they have as these unique individuals, but they thought she was making fun of them, because they didn’t actually know what a compliment was. This bit was a great, easily digestible, but not dumbed-down way to portray the victims of abuse, that when they are finally treated with respect and kindness, it can sometimes completely foreign to them.
Speaking of Gem society, this episode revealed all the propaganda that the Diamonds put out about Rose Quartz. The off-colors think that Rose was a monster and a tyrannical threat to Gem life. This is a textbook form of fascism, portraying those who wish to fight for freedom and human (or in this case, Gem) rights as the enemy, soulless monsters who wish to tear the very fabric of the society to shreds. Once again, Steven Universe portrayed a valuable lesson in social politics in a way that was both smart and easily digestible.
Because of what the Off-Colors have been told about Rose Quartz, Garnet decides to tell them the truth, a story that not even Steven had heard in it’s entirety. This sequence is beautiful, though the story itself is rather straightforward. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’ve heard the story before and this just put it all in one place, so there wasn’t much for it to add, but the slight change in animation style to tell the story was a nice touch.
There was, however, one new piece of information that we got out of this story; Rose Quartz was made on Earth. Previously, the only Crystal Gem we knew created on Earth was Amethyst. This fact tells us quite a bit about Rose and her relationship with Amethyst. When Amethyst lost Rose, the person she turned to for comfort, she lost the only other Gem created on Earth that she knew. She had her other friends to talk to, but without a shared origin, she went into her shell and bottled up her feelings, releasing them throughout the series.
The episode ends with Garnet being inspired by the revolution happening back on homeworld. She had thought that the rebellion died on Earth with herself, Rose, Amethyst, and Pearl being the only survivors. But, the Off-Colors show that there are still those who wish to break free of Gem tyranny, a notion that inspires everyone to fix the engines and make their way to Earth where the free gems can find a home, though the ship won’t be repaired so easily.
A lot of great things came out of this episode, so much so that it was amazing what fit in to just 11-minutes, something that the Crewniverse has become experts at by this point. Like every great Steven Universe episode, “Your Mom and Mine” revealed some secrets, explored the show’s unique lore with brilliant storytelling that made us think, and made us feel.