I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me, and that’s great. “Alone at Sea” explores a very complex fictional situation. And I personally think the writers handled it really well.
I mean, first of all, we see Steven once against striving to be more aware of how his actions affect people. Always awesome to see character development on that front. (Compare this episode to “Giant Woman,” for example.)
As far as Malachite goes – here are the morals I take away from this episode:
1) It’s okay to have complicated, messy feelings. Lapis takes a long time to articulate how she felt about Malachite. By the end of the episode, she still hadn’t figured out all of her feelings. That is okay. The narrative doesn’t pressure Lapis to figure them out quickly or explain them in easy terms.
2) What feels good to one person can feel bad to another. Jasper thinks Malachite was awesome. Lapis thinks Malachite was terrible. Neither of these feelings contradict each other. The narrative does not pressure either character to change her mind after listening to the other.
3) No means fucking no. This was the best part for me. You get to say “no” to uncomfortable situations, even if you still haven’t sorted out your feelings. And no means no, end of discussion. Jasper did not acknowledge that, and she was justifiably flung into the ocean.