Lapis & Peridot’s Relationship and Respective Mental States, Post-Barn
Now that the DeMayo Family Barn is currently on its way out of the Milky Way Galaxy with Lapis in tow, and that Peridot has returned to living in Steven’s house, I think we can officially declare the “Barn Era” of their characters over. (“And there was much rejoicing”)
I was originally going to do a post solely on Lapis’s mental health, but after seeing Raising the Barn I found it intriguing to look back at Lapis & Peridot’s relationship as we knew it at the time and as we know it now.
At the time, there were criticisms that Lapis & Peridot’s friendship was just glossed over in between Hit the Diamond and Beta, as if there was some emotional bonding episode we never got to see that could only be realized by fan artists and fic writers.
At the same time, there was criticism that Peridot’s character was flanderized into Wacky Funtime Dorito instead of the slightly-jerky science nerd we came to love.
And for a time, I came to agree partially with those criticisms. I said that they should have made a Lapis & Peridot episode in between Hit the Diamond and Beta, and all the naysayers about Lapis’ stagnated development would have gone away for the most part.
But I see now that not showing us Peri & Lapis’ relationship grow from mild tolerance with an overcurrent of animosity to just watching CPH and making meep morps together was actually a clever way to hide the fact that their relationship, and Lapis’ initial decision to stay on Earth, was on rocky footing from the start.
Lapis never truly moved on from how she felt at the start of Same Old World. We know from Room For Ruby that she was still uncomfortable being on Earth, despite months going by in show-time. We didn’t get much Lapis development in that time because in-universe circumstances just got in the way.
Just like how Steven falling ass-backwards into his happy ending in Wanted resulted in him having a blasé attitude about arguably the biggest and most life-threatening event in his life, Lapis just being handed the opportunity to have a consequence-free stay on Earth literally hours after ending the traumatic conga-line that’s been her life for the past 5,000 years did not do anything to help her mental health, and arguably made it worse.
The barn enabled Lapis to ignore her problems wholesale. During her stay there, it seems she pretty much rejected dealing with her problems, and, as we now know for sure from Raising the Barn, Peridot helped her ignore those problems out of a desire not to upset her. And so they just simmered.
They occasionally made themselves known- In Gem Harvest with her “What if you locked the corn up in a mirror for thousands of years” remark, in The New Crystal Gems with her caricatures of the real CGs (showing that she doesn’t think all that highly of them), her outburst in Room For Ruby -but mostly she just buried them under a happy face and an overall “eh” attitude that hid the fire burning deep inside. (JUST LIKE STEVEN!)
So when Steven got back from space and told his whole adventure, she immediately panics. Lapis has been to Homeworld, had seen the destruction they can cause back during the war, and was forced to be an informant for the mission to Earth. She’s understandably freaked out by the very idea that Steven went up against the *Diamonds.*
The Rubies were just cannon fodder. Nothing for her to be concerned about. Peridot calling Yellow Diamond a clod wasn’t anything for her to be concerned about; One rogue Peridot is practically nothing to Homeworld.
But Steven? Like Lapis said, Steven is important. If they ever find out he’s alive and on Earth, it’s game over man.
Lapis’ response is to get out of Dodge. Leave. Go to the farthest corner of the Universe and sit-pretty there.
And you could argue she has a point: It’s only a matter of time until the Diamonds return to Earth (YD’s patience with the Cluster can only last so long), and when they do the Gems there are as good as dead as far as Lapis is concerned.
You could also argue that this attitude is partially Peridot’s fault: By fostering a living situation where Lapis could just stay happy forever and never address those humongous problems she had down inside her. It wasn’t going to last.
Jasper? Never mention the dreaded J-word ever.
The Crystal Gems? Make sure Lapis doesn’t have to interact with them unless indirectly through association with Steven.
The mirror? That meep-morp made of mirrors is totally not a subconscious manifestation of Lapis’ repressed trauma whatyoutalkinboutwillis.
Lapis was like a balloon bouncing around a room of pins and needles, with Peridot being the one desperately running around trying to stop it from hitting the floor. It was only a matter of time until she popped.
At the end of Raising the Barn, Lapis literally raises the barn and takes it with her into space, off to live in some uneventful corner of the galaxy that no Gem would POSSIBLY get near (which turn out to be incorrect if my theory for the next arc is true).
Some have asked, “Why would Lapis take the barn if the only reason she thought of taking it in the first place was because of Peridot?”
I think that’s because the Barn is a symbol of stagnated mental development. Initially, Lapis just wanted to take Peridot with her, because Peridot was the one true thing keeping her away from the unpleasantness. But when she can’t take Peri with her, Lapis takes the only other thing she’s known to keep her happy, the Barn.
Lapis wants to stay in Dandy Funtimes CPH Meep Morp Land for the rest of eternity. And there’s truth to that desire.
Addressing your own mental health problems is NOT fun. Everyone wants to just skip over the hard parts and get right to the part where everything’s fine (JUST LIKE STEVEN!!!)
So it’s no wonder Lapis latched onto the first happy place she could find, dug her feet into the dirt, and when the going got rough, she ran off and took the dirt with her.
But enough about Lapis’ issues. Let’s talk P-dot.
In fact, let’s compare the times since Barn Mates that we saw Peridot away from Lapis with the times we saw her with Lapis.
When she’s with Lapis (see: Beta, Gem Harvest, Room For Ruby), she’s LOL I’M WACKY HAPPY DOT NEVER A NON-HAPPY MOMENT IN THIS BARN NO-SIR-EE-BOB!
When she’s away from Lapis though? (see: Too Short to Ride, Earthlings, Kindergarten Kid) She shows her flaws. Her insecurity about her size. Her insensitivity and frustration with the corrupted gem. The second Peridot gets upset about leaving in Raising the Barn, Lapis angrily tells her to stop getting so emotional (possibly projecting her own repression onto Peri).
And while not a flaw of hers, I’m willing to bet Peridot refrained from any mention of her Crystal Gem-status while around Lapis, or at least didn’t make an effort to tout it around (explaining why she doesn’t have her star yet, coughcough)
Lapis and Peridot, regardless of your shipping preferences, was NOT a healthy relationship. It may have seemed like “oh you old married couple” at the time (heck, Zuke apparently even wrote them that way intentionally to give off that vibe), but now we can clearly see that their happiness together was just a facade.
I don’t doubt that they were genuinely happy, but happiness without emotional openness and lingering issues does not a long-lasting living arrangement make.
As we saw in Back to the Kindergarten, not having the Barn might not be pleasant for Peridot, but it’s very necessary for her to move forward.
And if I may speculate for a moment, Lapis being away from Earth won’t be as pleasant as she thinks. If I’m right about the planet she runs away to being the planet we see the ship crashing on at the end of the SDCC promo, then I think we’ll see that she’s ultimately not happy with taking her life and just moving it somewhere else.
She’ll probably still be trying to maintain the Nothing Is Wrong vibe (JUUUUST LIIIIKE STEEEVEEEEN) but without Peridot with her to keep it up, that’s gonna fall apart *fast.*
If she does end up being Steven and Connie’s only way off that planet, then I think that’s gonna be the thing that forces her back into the Homeworld conflict she’s been avoiding all this time.
If Lapis doesn’t want to confront her problems, then the Universe is going to make her.