Lance had a game as a child, being
the middle child. He really didn’t get too much attention from anyone except
for the stray little one or two. Or when something drastic happened to him,
like a broken limb or something. Which is why he created the game. Whenever he
would talk, and he would notice someone not listening. He’d say something
crazy. He’d remembered one time specifically. He was maybe eight at the time.
With a gap-toothed grin and a mint green band-aid on his cheek as he babbled to
his mother. Wild hand gestures and crazy exaggerations as she chopped vegetables
at the stove. He remembered her nodding along, humming ‘yes’s and ‘okay dear’s
every so often as he paused.
“Hey Mama, I’m going to go off to
war and break my arm, okay? A hum.
“Okay mijo, go have fun.” Lance
frowned before he stumbled off. Later that day he did actually break his arm.
His friend’s mom had to call the ambulance and Lance’s mother hadn’t even know
he was at the hospital when his friend’s mother drove him home and talked to
Lance’s mother herself. Lance had smiled as he was smothered with attention and
love from Garcia’s mother. But, it wasn’t his mother’s attention. It wasn’t the
attention he wanted.
They’d never notice.
Even when he went off to Garrison,
the game continued. Telling instructors he was going to go clubbing. Or that he
was off to become a rebel fighter. Giving loud, exuberant stories about sailing
the seas. Hell. He told his best friend Hunk he was going to go throw himself
off the Garrison room. All he got was a absent minded smile and a ‘okay, see
you at curfew.’ Lance wasn’t even sure Hunk had heard the leaving part.
Then he was a paladin. One of five
defender of the universe, fighting an intergalactic war. He was the first one
chosen in over ten thousand years. And still, when he’d make jokes, or give his
serious opinions. No one heard him. After so many years of the same game, he’d
finally gotten bored. So, Lance did the only logical thing.
Change up the rules.
Allura was one of the few who
noticed him, so she helped him out with his little game. Smiled when he told
her the rules. How he’d say crazy things to see if someone was listening.
Except for now, just like that one time when he was eight. He’d actually do
them. And see how long it took for them to notice the changes.
First was with Pidge, he’d sat in a
room with her for three hours. Talking loudly and in great detail about the new
blue highlights he was going to get in his hair when they stopped off in the
next planet. How they’d be blue and teal and he was going to look like a god
damn gorgeous fucking mermaid. Pidge only ignored him, only noticing and
greeting him with a ‘huh?’ after three hours of Lance talking. The reason she
noticed him was because Allura had entered the room and called his name.
He’d gotten his hair dyed on that
planet, just as he said he would. And no one noticed.
The next one was his first ear piercings,
he had been sparring with Keith, spouting nonsense as they fought in hand to
hand combat. Lance was losing pretty much the entire time. But Lance knew that
wasn’t anything new. Keith barely could tell the difference from fighting a
training bot from fighting Lance. He got his piercing the very next day. Allura
had done them herself. After one of their self-care and venting sessions.
And it just spiraled from there.
Hunk was cooking one day as Lance was drawing and talking about a tattoo of the
ocean themed Lion he was going to get to cover most of his upper left arm.
Shiro was his verbal bouncy wall for both his right eyebrow piercings. Pidge,
that was his tongue piercing. Keith caused his lip piercings, both of them.
Hunk had driven him for the belly button piercing. Shiro had gotten him the
star tattoos on the corner of his right eye. It was fun yeah, Lance loved the
little changes in himself. Each one gave him confidence in his appearance, but
they also hurt him.
It was like a reminder. Each thing
he got was a time he was ignored. Rejected and alone. There were like constant
reminders of his failings to get the attention he craved. Even Allura was
getting agitated. Assuring him that she always noticed when he added the more noticeable
things, and being surprised and often delighted and intrigued to see the more
obscure and hidden changes. Lance always smiled when she fiddled with his new piercings,
buying him new shiny ones that she matched with her own ear piercings, when she
admired the progress he made in training, or when she traced his new tattoos
with delicate nails. In return he always helped to braid her hair, painted her
nails. Hell, he’d learned how to speak Altean for her. She was like the doting
big sister he’d always wanted. He’d always craved to have.
Most of the time, it was able to
shove away all of the bad thoughts. Enough to stave off the personal demons
inside of him. Clawing at him and constantly nagging at him. Reminding him that
he was just a speck in the universe. That he could die one day, and there would
be not a single person to mourn his death or go to his funeral.
Those thoughts hurt. Until
eventually, they didn’t. Soon the buzzing thoughts became normal in the back of
his mind. Fading to silence as his excitement and live retreated in the castle.
Being reserved for celebrations on saved planets, or for the Alteans that paid
him attention and treated him like the family he saw them as. The paladins only
seeing the bored, indifferent side that Lance adopted to deal with the people
who no longer seemed to even care what he did.
At least, he thought they didn’t,
but by the time they did notice he didn’t care whether they did or not.
It was a planet with a higher rate
of gravity and magnetic activity. Gahtic’al or something? It wasn’t in a tongue
that Allura talked about very often, but Lance was sure he’d get it by the time
he meant the natives. The only thing he recognized as noteworthy was as Pidge
announced they’d have to get rid of any metal they carried on them. Lance’s
eyebrow raised up. His tongue running over and rubbing against the metal in his
mouth. He almost felt anxious. It’d been a while since his skin had been bare
of piercings. But, Lance knew he’d have to take them out as he watched even
Keith give up his knifes. Lance sighed as he stepped up.
His hands were already reaching to
his ears to take off his piercings in his ears when he felt eyes on him. Shiro
was gapping at him as he pulled more and more metal off of his face. Then
incredulous as Lance even pulled up his shirt to get off his belly button
piercing. Shiro studied Lance up and down. There was three holes in each of
Lance’s ears, one industrial bar, and two piercing holes in his right eyebrow.
Snake bites, a belly button piercing. Were those tattoos on his skin too?!
Shiro gaped. He. When? Lance. Who cared more about his skin and hair than he
cared about his health, had piercings and tattoos? And dye in his hair?! Shiro
looked around, seeing more dazed and staring paladins. Guessing he wasn’t the
only one who hadn’t noticed. Maybe it had happened recently? Shiro looked back
to Lance, who looked calm and relaxed. Shiro was in awe.
The boy looked so different. His
body was stronger than Shiro remembered it to be, it was still lean. But with
obvious strength, power, and muscle tone that didn’t compromise the litheness
of his figure. His hair was brown with shimmering hues of blue and teal that
framed his tan and tattooed skin perfectly. His face was set in a neutral
expression. Not unfriendly, more of a calm blankness that looked like it could
change into the most heart warming smile, or the scariest glare in the world.
With a sharp jawline and the soft glowing blue lights of the ship, Lance looked
striking, almost ethereal. With sharp royal blue eyes that were trained on a
smiling Allura. What the princess did next surprised Shiro.
“Lance, your tongue piercing too?”
Lance seemed to gauge her words for a moment before he got them. Immediately
sticking out that long tongue, revealing a thick black metal piercing straight
through Lance’s tongue. Causing Shiro to catch a noticeable shudder run through
Keith. Almost making him smirk. Keith always had a thing for the blue paladin.
And a thing for piercings. Keith had to be in heaven. But, how long had Lance
had these piercings? Was Shiro so caught up in training and leading that he
hadn’t notice so many drastic changes in one of his paladins? Lance grinned at
“Thanks princess.” Pidge was the
first one to talk, pointing accusingly at Lance.
“What?! When did this happen?!”
Lance quirked an eyebrow at Pidge, the expression on his face was friendly, but
didn’t hold that same joking light it once did. Now it just seemed like a cool
neutrality, as if he’d just noticed Pidge’s shock.
“What? The tongue piercing? I got
that…” Lance frowned and looked to Allura, [When did I get the tongue piercing again?]
Shiro gaped as fluid Altean language left Lance’s lips, as if he’d spoken the
language his whole life. The other paladins’ reactions were much the same as
Allura answered back.
[I’d say, eight months ago? Your
newest thing was the industrial bar, which was about six months ago, and the
tongue piercing was about two months before that. Didn’t you get it at that at
the market place on Shero’sic?] Lance nodded.
“Yup. I remember now. It was eight
months ago. Remember? Because I got it shortly after my face tattoos.” Allura
“Mmm, I still like your arm tattoo.
But the stars are quite quaint.” Lance’s fingers brushed the two small stars
just at the outer corner of his right eye. Bringing Shiro’s attention to the
little stars that almost looked like beauty marks next to Lance’s almost
glowingly blue eyes. Lance placed the peicings into a small bag for safe
keeping and handed them to Allura to put with their other metal objects while
they landed on the planet. Lance looked back at them expectantly.
“Well? Don’t we have a job to do?”
And Lance walked away from them with Allura, leaving four shocked and confused
paladins in his wake. Just what happened to their blue paladin? When had his
body changed so much. So drastically in front of them without notice? When had
he matured into such a strong young man? Calm and patient. The gleam and
innocence of a child no longer in his eyes.
Since so many of you asked so kindly, here we are my lovely starlings! All the love to @ohwhataprettypinkhat for being my friend and helping me so much to add to her lovely prompt. You’re the real MVP here!
The planet was interesting to say
the least. It wasn’t humanoid enough to mistake it for earth. But it also
wasn’t foreign enough to mistake it for another alien planet. It was a strange
disorientating mix. Though Lance could feel the extra gravity weighing on him,
his arm was buzzing with a strange numbness too that felt heavier than the rest
of his body. The lion on his arm almost feeling like it was real and digging
into his shoulder and not just alien ink.
Stans who are rummaging through the tag they claim to hate bc I didn’t tag this as #steven universe, only #su critical and spoiler tags: lmao dumbfuck didnt even watch the episode
Me, pushing up my sleeves and brandishing my national arts seal in creative writing and creative writing degree w/ art minor: *inhales*
While Steven lying about being Rose Quartz at the end of “I Am My Mom” isn’t inherently a bad idea and works well in theory, the fact that such a proclamation comes so close on the heels of “Lion 4: Alternate Ending”–which needlessly establishes yet again that Steven is supposed to be himself and follow the beat of his own drum–undermines the morals of both episodes, causing a far reduced impact in him sacrificing himself.
As Steven Universe is now, for some reason, almost exclusively being shown to its audience via random spurts of 5-day single episode releases, we are forced to examine these packages of new episodes as one whole arc–of emotional, physical, internal conflicts that are supposed to mesh into one, cohesive resolution.
And the emotional conflict that begins in “Lion 4: Alternate Ending” does not mesh with the resolution presented to us in “I Am My Mom.” Perhaps the biggest reason as to why it does not mesh is because “Lion 4″ is otherwise self-contained. If they had released the episode in season 2, or in season 3 before “Bismuth,” “Lion 4″ would have had the proper impact as a means of reassuring Steven that Rose did indeed mean for him to be himself, which was already established in “Lion 3: Straight to Video” and had also been a subplot that was becoming more and more prominent with the introduction of Jasper, a Homeworld gem who refused to acknowledge that Steven could be any other being besides Rose Quartz.
However, the majority of this subplot is resolved in “Bismuth,” an episode wherein a Crystal Gem from the War era who was betrayed by and unjustly placed into a solitary confinement-esque prison by Rose Quartz is unbubbled. In the first half of the episode, Bismuth learns that Rose is gone, and that Steven is not a new regeneration, but a whole new being. She praises him, continuously assures him that he is not his mother, and puts her trust in him. Even right before she is poofed and unjustly placed in an equivalent to jail again, she reaffirms that, despite her earlier confusion, Steven is not anything like Rose Quartz. More reparations were necessary in order to fully put his subplot to rest (i.e. Steven and the Gems should have sat down and talked to each other and to Steven about where he stands in the world of the Crystal Gems, and finally affirm that they had been treating him like Rose, but that they cannot do that because even if he acts similarly, Steven is not Rose), however, there is no reason this subplot should have extended past season 3. It is old, tired, and the resolution was predictable even when the conflict was new. However, it is now being trotted out as if it is still a major, untired conflict in the show, taking precious time away from focusing on Garnet’s or Amethyst’s subplots that have largely been abandoned.
This relocation of “Lion 4″ would not have solved the major problem of the episode itself–that, being, that nothing happens in it that the audience has not already seen–and the episode would have been better off not made. But if the crew decided that they absolutely needed “Lion 4″ as an episode, then it should have occurred during the period of time when several characters were insisting that he was Rose Quartz, and begrudged him for supposedly being Rose Quartz.
Which brings us to the episode “I Am My Mom.” As I stated before, Steven lying to save his friends works well in theory, but it falls flat in practice as the climax of Steven Bomb 6. Since the writers did not trust the audience to truly believe that Steven had resolved his “Am I my mother?” conflict already, and since “Lion 4″ sets up the conflict again, the tension of Steven’s relationship to his mother is an overarching dramatic tension of this series of episodes. But at the end, Steven does not come to a conclusion about whether he is his mother or not, but he comes to the conclusion that in order to save his friends, he has to lie about something he has already allegedly resolved. But, again, the largest portion of the emotional arc was resolved between seasons 2 and 3. Bringing it up so suddenly again brings it back into focus for the audience, and packaging it with these episodes enforces the fact that “Am I my mother?” is still relevant, even though it’s not.
And since the theme was brought back from the dead, placed in front of a bunch of episodes, and given gravitas, it is uncertain, again, if Steven truly believes that he is not Rose Quartz. After all, why would he still be looking for hidden messages of his purpose in that video if he truly believed he only had to be himself? In the end, his proclamation of being Rose Quartz–intended to be a lie coming from the mouth of someone who no longer worried about the validity of the statement–is completely undermined because we can no longer be sure that Steven’s personal conflict is resolved. Because “Lion 4″ resurrected the theme, it became an undercurrent for the next few episodes, culminating in Steven’s character regressing due to complete mishandling by the creators. The arc is no longer about Steven taking direct action in a war, but about Steven’s conflict of whether or not he is who he thinks he is.
It is a good idea in theory; it is a terrible idea in execution.
But why go on so long about a “simple kids’ show?” Why bother thinking so much into this? First of all, because so many people have been affected by this show, had their lives changed by this show, that it is unfair to call it “just a–” anything. If you accept that a show can positively impact you, if you crow about how it is “progressive” and has “great representation” then it is no longer simple and forgettable. You have admitted that it is worth close examination.
Second of all, if you believe that there are things unworthy of serious academic examination, extrapolation, and criticism, then you have no actual idea what academic criticism is and why it is important.
It had started on a Saturday night. You had been dragged out of your shared apartment by a couple of friends and your room-mate, claiming that you didn’t get out enough. They had dressed you up in a pair of shorts and tank top that you wouldn’t normally be seen in, preferring to wear comfortable and more appropriate clothes.
Of course you definitely hadn’t expected to meet him. Taehyung, or Tae-tae as you called him now. That night had been the first night you had ever spoken to him, and it became the beginning of a wonderful friendship. There was something about the slightly obnoxious boy that you had learned to grow accustomed too, and even as he went around making friends with everybody, he always made his way back to you.
Taehyung had been one of those people who never took no for an answer, so while you first started hanging out it had been more forced than anything. There were days when you would come home from class and you would just want to study and curl up, but it would be quickly interrupted by the boy breaking into your apartment and dragging you out to do something that could possibly get the both of you killed, or worse, expelled.
lauren montgomery, 5 years from now: i can’t believe they kept calling it klance it’s just lance with a k what kind of lazy uncreative bullshit is this I GAVE THEM A LION-THEMED SHIP NAME THAT MORE EQUALLY INCORPORATES BOTH CHARACTERS’ NAMES AND IS ENDORSED PERSONALLY BY ME AND SOUNDS NICER BUT DID THAT CHANGE ANYTHING? NOOOOOOOO.
is this the future we want
shouldn’t we try to make lauren happy after she told us lance and keith are compatible
are we truly this ungrateful and lazy
do we deserve anything if we just let her wishes go ungranted like this