this is probably confusing, but stay with me: i don’t “really” consider us in season four yet!
su was originally renewed for three seasons: all ~52 episodes, give or take turning an ep into a series of shorts. that’s how they were written - while the overall story is more important than the format, we can expect whatever happens at the end of season ‘five’ to be more of a “finale” than the end of season ‘four’, because that’s really just the midseason finale of season three (like ocean gem for season one).
cartoon network arbitrarily decided to split the seasons: cutting s2 in half, and the same with s3, so they could make the ‘happy announcement’ that su had been renewed for two more seasons… but it’s the same number of episodes, just a confusing season split, for some reason. you still get 155-ish episodes.
(i made a chart!)
due to how it was originally written, and since i think it’s unfair to compare a 52 episode-season to a 26 episode one, i still think of this as the first half of season three. with that in mind, we have a lot of very interesting setup:
while hindsight will allow us to reflect on it as a whole, this half-season is the one that feels the most like steven’s season to me.
he needed a good while to cope with the recent events like bismuth, jasper’s corruption, really everything about rose. he’s taken his time to try to re-connect with people, vent and figure things out (this has been a very frequent theme: the kindergarten kid, know your fusion, mindful education, future boy zoltron, onion gang, gem harvest, the zoo arc, storm in the room, tiger philanthropist and room for rubyall deal with this to an extent). he particularly wants to know how to feel about rose, in order to figure out how to feel about himself.
in addition to seeking answers and closure by himself, he’s needed a lot of help. from connie, garnet, amethyst, greg, pearl, human contacts, peridot and lapis. he’s just… incredibly frustrated, and he still feels like he can’t help as much as he wants to (the kindergarten kid, mindful education, the zoo arc, but also as a larger theme). things are a lot more complicated, and he’s felt very alone. this has lead him to rush into things (like the zoo arc) and desperately seek any avenue for information about rose. it’s come to the point (storm in the room) where he’s just had to tell himself how to feel, in order to feel ok again.
he’s also repeatedly tried to connect with people, and help in any way he can (onion gang, future boy zoltron, gem harvest, rocknaldo, tiger philanthropist, room for ruby), but also realized it’s partially to help himself feel less alone (onion gang, gem harvest, tiger philanthropist). in the middle of that, he’s been exposed to more of gem culture, homeworld gems and even seen the diamonds at a particularly vulnerable time (steven’s dream, the whole zoo arc, room for ruby). after all this time, he still wants to help. he’s trying to figure out how, while living his life and finding more friends.
he’s got a lot to deal with. i think he’s more ready to face that than before (mindful education, the zoo arc, storm in the room, room for ruby)… but he still doesn’t have answers, and he’s agitated the crystal gems won’t tell him everything (again, the zoo arc, but this is a bigger theme in general). we’ve seen they want to help (steven’s dream), and want to make efforts to make him feel better (tiger philanthropist).
in the middle of all of this, you have gems like peridot and lapis falling into sort of a status quo situation where they - and lapis in particular - sort of stay away from the crystal gems without addressing bad blood, because she’d rather just live peacefully. the show has made several points out of how she’s not thriving (gem harvest, the new crystal gems, room for ruby), and how she’s still deeply flawed, frustrated and occasionally quite angry at both others and herself (all three eps i just mentioned). i believe that will come to a head, even if she’s trying to live normally and doesn’t really ‘want’ to be a focus (not to mention if jasper comes back).
it seems that in any season, the ‘second half’ has more payoff in general. sure, there’s coping with what happens in the midseason finale, and occasional attempts at restoring some semblance of normality… but a lot of things happen, leading up to the season finale. so if you’re a ‘plot’ kind of person, that’s probably gonna be more up your ally. personally, i’m curious about the rest of this half-season, and where that will lead us. “lion” episodes are very interesting… assuming lion 4: alternate ending is still next, i’m excited for that.
i also think something is gonna be shaken up in the midseason finale, as usually happens (mirror gem/ocean gem, message received/log date). it could be a lot of things: the return of jasper, the rubies, new forces from the diamonds, possibly with steven heading towards some kind of epiphany or learning a new (big) truth, or lapis becoming tired of this life and finding new motivation to do something to take her out of retirement… there’s a lot of things in progress, and it’s hard to say where it’s going.
there are many other things i could have mentioned, that might become important (how often steven’s guilt for rose’s actions is brought up, how yellow diamond is planning something, how we’ve learned more about jasper, how peridot’s become a stronger metalbender, how amethyst’s become pretty happy in general, garnet’s worries, ect), but this is the kind of stuff that’s gonna be much easier to reflect on once we’re past midseason.
for now, i like this season a lot. i particularly think it’s been better at tying steven’s issues and trauma into both human and gem episodes, and that the whole mess around rose is fascinating.
Imagine Person A visits an antique shop and sees a little lamp that catches their eye. Immediately, they know they must have this lamp in their possession. Person A buys the lamp for a surprisingly steep price and returns home with it. They realize the lamp is quite dirty and decide it needs some cleaning. After rubbing away some dust on one side, a strange, wispy smoke starts to escape from the top of the lamp and begins to form into a human-ish shape. By the time Person A realizes they’re not hallucinating, the smoke has taken form of Person B, a genie that has been trying really hard to escape from their little prison.
And they seem like they’d be real birds right? Maybe some of them are, I haven’t checked. But then it comes up with even more ridiculous birds:
White-eared swoft Buff mana Javan swamched hummingbird South Island shag Pape-bellied sandpiper Dind land ring Bara’s falcon Crested farkjack Hymming’s sunbeam Slut-throated sapphire Yellow-winged puffleg Black green wimerock Kool-tailed sapphire Lodge-billed nightjar
So I get so angry and frustrated with healthy (BOTH physically and mentally) people are lazy. I just can’t stand it because they’re wasting that perfectly good body to sit on their asses and do nothing. Or even have not healthy people do stuff for them.
It makes me so mad because I would kill to have a working body so I could do all the things I’m dying to do. I’d kill to be able to work out and go on adventures and travel the world…and just exist happily in no pain. I would kill for that. I think about it every day.
And then here are these certain people who could do all that and more. But they’re sitting on their asses doing nothing. Too lazy to even walk down the street for something or take the trash out or whatever. It kills me. I just want to scream at them.
I know this isn’t the nicest opinion but it’s something I feel. It’s something that makes me cry and rage. I just want a working body so badly and they’re wasting theirs.