Let me just say beforehand that I absolutely love their Malachite meta, and I wish that more of the fandom would talk more about the “why” behind Malachite, rather than blindly accepting that she’s bad, end of story. Please keep doing what you’re doing!
Now as far as the Malachite/Lapis and Jasper situation is concerned, I feel like I have a slightly more optimistic outlook on it, and I do think that it will be readdressed in the future, and that everything that we’ve seen and how it has been introduced to us was very purposeful, if a little ill-advised, given the audience and the infrequent airing schedule. I personally feel like a lot of the issues that people have with Steven Universe would be more easily resolved if they aired a season consistently over a 6 month period and went on a 6 month hiatus to prepare for the next round of episodes, but that’s beside the point.
We, as a fandom, need to acknowledge that “mutual abuse” is rarely a clean-cut 50/50 abuse case. There is literally no way to measure abuse, because it comes in so many different forms and it affects people in different ways. To say that Lapis and Jasper are equally at fault for Malachite is complete and utter bullshit. Jasper was the enabler, but Lapis was the one who agreed to fusion and who kept it going. She had all the power in the relationship, and Jasper fought against her the entire time.
“Mutual abuse” was a term used by the FANDOM, and not by the Crewniverse (as far as I know). In fact, I highly doubt that abuse was even the main point of Malachite, despite it being a large factor. I know I’ll get shit for this, but I really think we need to take abuse out of the argument if we can’t look at it as anything other than black and white and one shade of grey.
They Bring Out the Worst in Each Other
This. This is what we need to focus on in terms of Lapis and Jasper’s relationship. They’re really bad for each other. Their relationship was figuratively and literally toxic. And let me just say, i believe this has very little to do with what they’ve done to each other.
Lapis’ most negative feelings are wrapped up in her history of being imprisoned by both Homeworld and the Crystal Gems. As Malachite, she had the power of ocean and her own convictions that she deserves better, and that fed into her need for control. That is how Jasper brought out the worst in Lapis, not for anything that she has done before (besides being an authority figure).
Jasper’s negative feelings haven’t been definitely fleshed out in-show, but it’s heavily implied that she faced adversity on Homeworld for being from Earth, and from the “joke” kindergarten, at that. She has Homeworld’s rhetoric internalized, the mentality that “we all get what we deserve” and that, if she loses, then it was no one’s fault but her own. She’s obsessed with being perfect, how everyone must mentally and physically fit inside Homeworld’s mold, or otherwise be “purged”.
What I’m getting at is, because of this mentality, Jasper’s problems lie in being strong enough (which, evidently, her sisters were not). She enjoyed being fused with Lapis because she felt stronger, but that wasn’t until after she broke free of Lapis control. All the fighting was worth it to her, as long as she could get the feeling of being strong. This is how Lapis brought out the worst in Jasper.
Now I could go on about this all day, but my point is: I’m also VERY tired of seeing the abuse argument when it comes to Lapis and Jasper. Lapis held Jasper prisoner at the bottom of the ocean because she was “done being everyone’s prisoner.” Jasper came crawling back to the gem who physically and mentally drowned her because SHE WAS ADDICTED TO FEELING STRONG AS MALACHITE. Lapis abused Jasper, clear and cut, but they both suffered from Malachite.