honestly su’s habit of showing “things don’t always work out, even if you’re the good guy/have good intentions” is just so fond to me.
cheeseburger backpack is one of my favourite examples of it.
steven gets a wonderful new backpack that he’s so excited about, and takes it on a mission! he’s so excited to go along with the gems! he can be of use, he can help the gems!
but it turns out he didn’t pack the idol that they needed and was the entire basis of the mission.
in any other cartoon i can think of steven would have despaired (which he did), gone on about how he’s so sorry (which he did), and would have been forgiven by the people who were counting on it, assuring him that it’s okay, people make mistakes (which he was).
then he would have dug around through his bag and discovered the idol was in there all along, saving the day! hooray for steven! he pulled through and didn’t have to deal with the guilt of making mistakes! which he didn’t.
the ancient gem structure fell apart. the gems had to swim home. steven’s mistake cost them the mission.
but it was still all okay.
he was forgiven. he did learn that it’s okay to make mistakes, and while he might feel terrible about them, the gems would be there. he didn’t get that “redemption” of having the answer in the end. he didn’t prove “hey, i’m smart, i actually didn’t make the mistake! i’m still a good person because i was right and saved the day in the end!”
he wasn’t right in the end. he didn’t save the day. but he was still a good person. and it was still all okay, even if things didn’t go well. he was still okay. not perfect, not ideal, but still good.
basically i just really love this show and its messages.