Lars and the Plant Symbolism
It’s been a while since I’ve written a theory or analysis post and I just wanted to kinda jot this down while I was thinking about it because I’ve been amused at the amount of surprise there is with the current arc and how it’s played out so far.
It is my hope that this will finally disprove the popular theory that humans are ‘just filler’ and not important to the plot, because as we’ve been seeing lately, they are more involved in what’s going on. It’s been a bit disheartening to see so many people assuming that the gems are the only characters who matter on Steven Universe, even after all the emphasis from the crew - and from the actual in-episode content - that the humans are important in Steven’s story.
So, why are they important? Well, I have a huge long potential theory write up for how the humans will ultimately lead to the salvation of not only earth but gems as well (granted as a joint effort), but this is not the time or place for that. Instead I’m going to talk a bit about Lars.
Rose talked about how important and special being human is, and many other gems - including Peridot - have made note of how unusual the earth is compared to the other planets/colonies they have. The fact that things grow and change is baffling to gems. Not to mention that humans are impervious to a lot of the technology specifically meant to deal with other gems, so it seems like humans would have an advantage in that respect (as shown with Lars in the recent episodes)
Another thing I’m hoping this brings up to people is that a lot of the blatant plant symbolism has been in the show for a long time - not surprising given that Rose’s magic was related to plants - and I don’t see a lot of discussion about.
Take Lars for example. When his full name was revealed, a lot of people fixated on the “tears of love” meaning, which is valid, but I remember also being fascinated that it’s also a french surname/placename that means “canopy of leafy boughs”, specifically because of the inherent plant symbolism with Lars.
Going back all the way to “Lars and the Cool Kids”, they have drawn comparisons between Lars and plants. In that episode, it was specifically comparing him to Rose’s moss. I feel this episode was also the strongest foreshadowing for the events of the most recent set of episodes.
To recap, they encounter a type of moss that Rose created that was aggressively growing over/consuming things. The moss is characterized as ugly and rather pointless, but as we see, it actually has a lot of potential that just needs the right circumstances to be seen.
Steven himself compares Lars to the moss in his angry rant about his mother “I know she saw beauty in everything. Even in stuff like this (the moss) and even in jerks like you”. Direct comparison between Lars and the plant in question. Also note that in this episode, Lars is wearing green, which is frequent in his colour scheme. There is an entire green/pink shift (or in a general sense a cool colour/warm colour shift) going on with Lars at various points in the show that seemed to implicate something deliberate.
At the end of this episode, Lars chooses to help Steven rescue the cool kids and yet he is ‘consumed’ by the moss. This is analogous to dying, as the rest of the scene has ‘rebirth’ tones, with the moss not just changing slightly… but turning from GREEN MOSS into PINK FLOWERS as it reaches the true potential that it’s been struggling toward since the beginning of the episode.
It’s hard to not see the comparisons between the moss and Lars in these latest episodes, right down to the change in colour scheme.
There have been several other instances of the colour/tone shift with Lars, specifically when he’s in ‘neutral’ position/presentation, he tends to be wearing purple(as with the Big Donut uniform), while when he’s displaying ‘negative’ behaviours he tends to be wearing darks or cools (blacks, greens and sometimes dark blues). After Steven takes over his body in “The New Lars” and he makes an effort to change his behaviour, he is more often seen in the warmer tones (like the pink shirt)
As a note: Ronaldo also has a similar colour/tone shift with various circumstances going on, something I wish to address again in more detail in another post as I feel both that and the plant (and general) symbolism with Ronaldo are also strong.
To sum it up: I really think the entire thing with Lars has been telegraphed for some time and that several of the other humans have also had telegraphed arcs moving forward. I think we’re going to see a lot more of that coming into play in the future.
Hopefully this will also lead to a greater respect and understanding of the human characters on the show.