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[LTTP] Steven Universe

Scutarii

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Huzzah! It's Friday! What do you mean I have to work late...damnit...

===Spoilers up to S4 E15 "That Will be All"===

I've been looking forward to Gem Heist all day but noooo. Stupid entity_versions table is bizarrely taking 20 times as long to update...But now I am free! Unlike Greg. This is our first chance to see how Pink Diamond goes about things so quite interested to see what we can glean from her personality from the remnants of her space station.

The Ruby ship drifts into the station, it's very Pink (incidentally I think I'll try painting something in multiple shades of the same colour rather than trying for contrasting colours...) and quickly we pan to see a pair of full size Amethyst guards watching them approach. They have blue diamond symbols on their chests so Blue Diamond's soldiers. They can't waltz on up, especially as an ownerless Pearl, a fusion and a Steven. Sapphire has a plan, they all play the roles they were made for and Steven is another human for the zoo.

"Is this really going to work?" "No." nice and to the point, if Sapphire's suggesting it anyway then it must get them at least some of the way to their goal before the different threads of fate get too convoluted to unpick. Then it's down to hope.

The Amethysts are immediately unamused. Human zoo is closed for business so time to throw Steven into space. The Amethyst's laugh before a pair of high heels walks into frame. Snapping to attention a teardrop shaped blue Gem (kinda like Lapis'?) and a sneer on the face. She barks a question to the Amethyst's asking what they're up to while they panic, quite intimidated by her - naming her as Blue Agate. Suddenly she notices Sapphire and is shocked they could dare to be rude to a Sapphire! As a sidenote our Amethyst is bigger but weirdly out of proportion compared to Blue Diamonds. The Amethysts are forced to apologise and we learn they're from Earth which clearly explains their rudeness. If they're from Earth then aren't they Pink Diamonds? I guess like Jasper jumped ship to Yellow Diamond so too did these Amethysts.

Blue Agate explains that Greg is here, Blue Diamond has just left (so she's inherited the space station and populated it with her guards) and all throughout she's dismissive of understanding Steven saying anything. Clearly he can be understood she's just refusing to.

Sapphire convinces Blue Agate to give them a tour of the zoo and they set out, Blue Agate quite excited to fawn over her 'grand clarity'. She orders Amethyst to stay behind and guard the door. Oh dear, she's gonna get into trouble isn't she? She questions why Pearl is walking alongside them, how improper! Blue Agate seems kinda like a bullying strict matron at some victorian style orphanage. Pearl retreats, looking away embarassed (noooo, poor Pearl :( ). Blue Agate explains that the station now hosts the quartzes that Pink Diamond made and that Blue Diamond has taken control of it since 'era 2'. Which explains why they're from Earth and also marked with Blue Diamond's symbol.

They reach a door. It doesn't open and a beat passes. "Is she going to do it or should I say something?" Sapphire then reminds Pearl to open the door and she dashes to do so. She's definitely no ones servant now. The only person Blue Agate fawns over more than Sapphire is Blue Diamond - kinda like Peridot and Yellow Diamond. She is maintaining the station as a sort of Pink Diamond memorial and we learn that the humans are being kept in something that will look after their needs. She explains the station shows just how merciful Blue Diamond is (which Ruby seethes about). They reach a door into the human zoo and Ruby comes up with a plan to get Blue Agate to leave them alone for a moment to open the door. Sapphire and Agate walk back to the ship while Pearl, Steven and Ruby try to open the door after Ruby rants about Blue Diamond. Pearl snarks about being expected to open doors but can't work it out - what will they do without their hacker! Ruby whacks the door.

With Sapphire and Agate back there are a set of burned footmarks on the door...she blames one of the Amethysts on the station (she doesn't like them does she?) but suddenly a pair of Amethysts turn up (incidentally, they've got very different colour to the other ones at the door and our Amethyst too, one is quite pinkish red) and after getting chewed out such that they can't do anything to please Blue Agate they explain that Blue Diamond is on her way back! Steven gets taken away from the Crystal Gems and dumped into a human processing conveyor belt thingy. Given a once over, stripped, cleaned and dressed in a...a...waistcoat, earrings and loincloth combo. He washes up on a beach under a crystal dome and sees Greg!

Rolling on to the next episode we get to see what life is like inside the zoo.

Greg (with hippie flowers...uncle Andy would be so...pleased) is sitting with a pair of other humans before rushing over to Steven. They have a quick heart to heart before Steven resolves to get them out. He starts serching for the hole he entered through but Greg explains that he's already looked for a way out of there and did not find one. A diverse group of people from in the zoo pop out and say hello with an unusual way of saying his name. They are descendants of the first humans brought here thousands of years ago. Greg has told them all about Steven already. So they've never seen Earth or anywhere not in the zoo.

A voice explains it's time to eat. After eating it's scheduled time to play. Now scheduled sky reaching time. And flower smelling time. They are...very regimented. Someone has imposed Gem style organisation on them. Everyone seems very eager to impress Greg. Greg explains that the simple organised life makes the other humans happy as they don't know any different.

'Night' falls and they go to sleep. Except for Steven and Greg who use the chance to find the door. They can't open it and make too much noise which draws over two of the other humans. They have to explain what 'hurt' and 'bad' mean. Steven and Greg decide that Greg needs to get hurt to get the other Gems to open the door to help the hurt human. Steven shows off his superhuman strength by sending Greg flying before the voice in their earrings moves them onto the next part of the schedule. Time for choosening.

They stand in a circle and get paired off by the voice. Greg works out what's going on and rejects being chosen himself, despite being very popular with the locals he explains that he should get to choose not have it chosen for him. The locals do not take well to being rejected and cry, hurt emotionally for the first time. Steven picks up Greg and runs. This triggers the door to open and a troupe of Amethysts run in to try and comfort the crying humans.

Taking their chance Greg and Steven run for the door, only to be grabbed at the last moment by another Amethyst!

Thirdly we get to That Will be All and...wow...this one is good.

Immediately we open with Greg and Steven thrown to the ground in a room filled with Amethysts and a few Jaspers dotted in there too. They laugh menacingly and Amethyst is being held and struggling and has been found out...or has she? She's just trolling the hell out of them, all the Gems in here are from Earth and super friendly! Amethyst is just so pumped to have met more peope who are...definitely on her wavelength. Anxieties about not being a 'proper' Amethyst? Out the window immediately, no one here seems even remotely phased by her being half their size. The Jasper we see next is way skinnier than the now corrupted Jasper on Earth. The entire room is just filled with positive friendly energy, they laugh about Blue Agate, rib each other about being from Prime or Beta kindergarten, etc. There's also a Carnelian in here too, deep purplish red in colour and just a little bit taller than Amethyst.

Anyone want to believe Gems are facelessly regimented by their society anymore? At no point have we met a single one that doesn't display some form of their own unique personality. Variances in colour, demeanour, speech patterns, etc.

The positivity is shattered when Blue Agate walks in. Barking orders, pushing people around, dragging them out from their holes, calling the Beta's 'off colour'. They all come rushing out of the room, Greg and Steven coming along hiding amongst them. Amethyst sends Greg and Steven running off again, promising to find them. They run down the hall into a large very pink room filled with floating bubbled Gems that look...suspiciously like Steven's gem...it's a prison for Rose Quartzes isn't it. Tonal whiplash perhaps but more a resetting to the tension that always surrounds the presence of a Diamond on screen as Steven starts crying and Blue Diamond walks into the room. She kneels on the floor, crying when Yellow Diamond also walks in (first time seeing more than one Diamond in a room together?).

Yellow Diamond rolls her eyes, almost contempt dripping from her voice at seeing Blue Diamond crying "Please tell me you're joking,". Her posture is upright, neck very straight, clothing tight to her body, high heels, hair short and adding to her height, hands behind her back like a soldier at attention. Compare with Blue Diamond's long voluminous hair, figure concealing robes, deep hood, downcast features and kneeling posture. These are two very different people and Yellow Diamond knows who she thinks is the better person "Let me bring you back to reality,".

A fantastic single second of animation and facial expression. Blue Pearl is standing while Yellow Diamond is berating Blue Diamond. Yellow Pearl slides into frame her smirk spread over her face, expressing her own superior stature by seeing Yellow Diamond chew out Blue Diamond. Blue Pearl's mouth turns down and away but with a single side raised as though a distateful sneer at having Yellow Pearl coming close. Their feet position as well tells us things. Yellow Pearl has her heels together almost horizontal and her hips pushed forward while Blue Pearl has her heels together in a slight v-shape and her shoulders in front of her hips. Yellow Pearl, like Yellow Diamond, has 'perfect' posture, severe and correct and forceful and imposed on herself. Blue Pearl however is more relaxed, lower, less intimidating and trying to be less threatening. Really really making use of their medium here to impart so much information in so little time.

Yellow Diamond wants these Rose Quartzes destroyed while Blue Diamond wants to keep them. Rose Quartzes shattered Pink Diamond and so all deserve to be destroyed as punishment! But they're also all that they have left of Pink Diamond so they should keep them! Blue Diamond has been in mourning for millenia and Yellow Diamond is sick of it. Annoyed, Yellow Diamond turns to the Pearls and orders them to sing, Yellow Pearl responds immediately loud and clear, en pointe. I'm looking forward to this, seeing the little ballerinas get a chance to show off :)

Little known fact about Scutarii. Scutarii studied GCSE (i.e.: 14-16yrs old exam course) Contemporary Dance. I sucked and failed the exam (got a D if you must know) but I sort of tried!

Unfortunately it is not to be. The pair give us a slightly discordant set of 'ahhh' noises before music picks up and Yellow Diamond takes the lead. Steven and Greg scurrying around hiding behind pillars to stay out of sight. Yellow Diamond's body language here, the rhythym and meter of the song. She's the dominant force, bending at the waist to look down on Blue Diamond who turns her face away.

"What's the use of feeling...Blue?" - the extended pause, this is a question as a bludgeon wielded at Blue Diamond. She knows the answer is nothing. These feelings are useless, stop it now.

Yellow goes on her tirade, explaining that Blue Diamond needs to do things that are useful. Use tools that are useful. She needs to be a leader!

"Yes, of course we still love her and we're always thinking of her," - yes yes, dismissive, she understands that feelings are a thing but you need to get on with something and not wallow any longer

Yellow Diamond reaches down and the Pearls hop into her hand (damn she's big!) and affect exaggerated poses, hands to forehead and chest - Yellow of course taking the most over the top exaggerated 'won't somebody think of the children' pose while Blue Pearl is notably less extreme. The pair are now providing backing harmony.

"YeEs we still love her" - voice breaking on the yes, Yellow Diamond crouches down coming to eye level with Blue Diamond who is no longer looking away

Yellow Diamond looks away as they both rise. "Don't you know I miss her TOO!" and turns away completely from Blue Diamond.

Music quietens. "What's the use of feeling..." cannot finish the line but repeats, accelerating, she can't get past the word, she wants to, she knows she should have moved on, it should be easy. She walks to the ledge, rests her hands on it and hangs her head, low and broken by those same feelings she looked down on (literally, she started the song looking down on Blue Diamond)

The Pearls also show it too. Yellow Pearl is now squatting at the knees, concern on her face. Her head is now lower than Blue pearl's who remains composed.

Blue Diamond places a comforting hand in the middle of Yellow Diamond's back.

That's just...excellent. I said it before but often musical's songs are not always that good on their own, they need their context to function. I don't think this would be a random playlist song that gets to go on shuffleplay for example. However this is not actually a problem. WITH it's context it's utterly fantastic. I mean, Dr. Rockso can cartwheel into a scene shouting 'C-c-c-c-cocaine!' and it's an uplifting save the day moment with the right context.

We snap back to reality. The door opens and Blue Agate is showing Sapphire and co. into the room to meet the Diamonds. Keep a cool head Sapphire, you've got Ruby there right next to you. Agate fawns over the two Diamonds. Yellow cuts her off "Get to the point. Agate,". Her demeanour returning to itself when no longer in private intimate quarters with Blue Diamond (are they the allegorical equivalent of sisters in the royal family?). Blue Agate explains the special delivery from Earth. Blue Diamond also has lost her soft mournful edge - showing the face the Lapphie-Sapphie and Ruby knew of her - "I never asked a Sapphire to go to Earth," dripping venom, her face contemptful.

Sapphire freezes up for just a second until Ruby takes her hand. Confidence back she lies about her future vision and a single tense tempo later Blue Diamond relents, she does want more humans for the zoo. The window of opportunity is closing so fast. Yellow Diamond now wants to do something for Blue Diamond and asks if the Cluster has emerged. It has not. So there is still time. Yellow Diamond claps and dismisses them "That will be all,".

Blue Agate, Sapphire, Ruby, Greg and Steven leave the room while Yellow Diamond places an arm around Blue Diamond. Blue Agate gushes about Yellow Diamond - not seeing her emotional vulnerability, only her public face - and is oblivious to Greg and Steven, so wrapped up is she. They make their way to the Ruby ship again, comedic sight gags as Steven and Greg sneak past her. Of course, it doesn't last, at the last moment she sees Greg and Steven (side note: Pearl's face when they're spotted, Pearl, you so silly). The various Earth quartzes had followed along quietly and now poke heads out of the woodwork to get a better look. Furious, Blue Agate pulls out her weapon - an electrowhip thingy.

Garnet re-fuses and grabs the whip, doing her cool pose and flashing her glasses back onto her face. Pearl jumps in and cuts the whip while Amethyst wheel charges Blue Agate. Tied up Garnet taps her in the gut, the Quartzes laugh. When Blue Agate tries to use her authority to order them to do something they just laugh harder and shout goodbye to the Crystal Gems. Yeah...maybe don't make enemies of your soldiers Blue Agate.

Blue Agate threatens them with shattering by the Diamonds. Pearl approaches and absolutely relishes the chance to explain why reporting Blue Agate's own failure and the consequences thereof might not go down so well. The atmosphere on the station is going to be very different now, considering how close and chummy the Quartzes are with the despondent Blue Agate. The Crystal Gems gravity engine their way back to Earth.

That was fantastic.
 
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Kreuzritter

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yeah, so much more about Yellow in this song that she's more than just a tyrannical despot. she lost her sister, wants to see Earth itself shattered to punish the rebellion for her loss, and with blue being... Blue, she's probably had to work double duty managing her part of the Gempire too while Blue insists on torturing herself

but when Yellow, who's the one forced to keep it all together allows a crack even for an instant, she's TIRED
 

Q99

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Observation: to the Amefam, the perfect quartz isn’t ‘Perfect Jasper’.

Nah, it’s Amethyst, Crystal Gems Amethyst. She gets to run around and have adventure without spending all their time on boring guard duty and not having an Agate hanging over them and has all these cool stories. And she gets to do so while hanging out with humans, who they like! AND she got to take down Holly Blue! All while being ‘flawed’ like they get collectively dismissed as.

Being taller and stronger and more ‘important’? Pssh, whatever, have fun on Earth as a Crystal Gem!
 
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Kreuzritter

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Observation: to the Amefam, the perfect quartz isn’t ‘Perfect Jasper’.

Nah, it’s Amethyst, Crystal Gems Amethyst. She gets to run around and have adventure without spending all their time on boring guard duty and not having Blue Agate hanging over them and has all these cool stories. And she gets to do so while hanging out with humans, who they like! AND she got to take down Blue Agate! All while being ‘flawed’ like they get collectively dismissed as.

Being taller and stronger and more ‘important’? Pssh, whatever, have fun on Earth as a Crystal Gem!
and, as Jasper was an Earth Gem, she probably had to spend a millennium or so under Holly Blue before getting transferred to Yellow's command, and there was likely much rejoicing from the Famethysts
 

Sjogre

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I tend to think that Yellow Diamond sniped the best and brightest of Pink's gems right away while Blue accepted the rest. Whatever the case, the Zoo looks to be a dumping ground for screwups and embarrassments, so I doubt that Jasper was ever stationed there.

I'm not sure if Holly Blue just doesn't realize what that says about her management skills, or if she's just trying very hard not to think about it.

There's also Amethyst's reaction to finding out her number. Usually, being given a number is treated as dehumanizing, but in this case, it's treated as positive because it shows Amethyst that her sisters remembered her.
 

Q99

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This informs a lot about Jasper when you think of it- she worked really, really hard to not be lumped in with the Famethysts, to be a commander under Yellow with her own ship not a guard under Holly Blue under Blue Diamond. She is super driven and under an entirely different Diamond than her family, and she likely pushed for that hard.

That’s what I read from this.
 

Isator Levie

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She's just trolling the hell out of them, all the Gems in here are from Earth and super friendly! Amethyst is just so pumped to have met more peope who are...definitely on her wavelength.
As Lea observed when the episode was new, Amethyst met her family, and they loved her.

I always found something strangely touching in Amethyst recounting her own serial number. When that was introduced with Peridot designating herself to Yellow Diamond, it felt like a very depersonalizing thing. But with Amethyst's background and hangups, it becomes something to tell her that she's part of something bigger, a unit that never forgot her and accepts her without condition.

Scutarii said:
The Jasper we see next is way skinnier than the now corrupted Jasper on Earth.
Just to note, Skinny Jasper is also voiced by Kimberly Brooks.

Original Jasper's weird clacking theme also plays over her appearance, which I always found to be a fun subversion.

Scutarii said:
There's also a Carnelian in here too, deep purplish red in colour and just a little bit taller than Amethyst.
Coming out sideways will do that to you.

Scutarii said:
She kneels on the floor, crying when Yellow Diamond also walks in (first time seeing more than one Diamond in a room together?).
Incidentally, this was a point to note that the art design had significantly upped the size of the Diamonds compared to Yellow's first appearance. Personally, I much preferred the much larger look, as it made them feel a lot more dominating. Yellow's proportions were also fixed up a bit; in Message Received, she was just a bit too elongated in parts.

Scutarii said:
The pair give us a slightly discordant set of 'ahhh' noises
Some people were critical of the Diamond leitmotif for lacking a certain bombast, but I personally like its understated and sinister discordant feeling.

Scutarii said:
Yellow Diamond takes the lead.
What's the use of feeling Blue is one of my favourites from the show. It's really a weird kind of song, with its low key undulating tone and slightly off harmonies. I've always found it to have an enjoyable sinister feeling to it mixed in with ostensibly soothing tones like some kind of weird lullaby. And I found such a subject of a villain song, of one trying to encourage another to arise from melancholy and return to authoritarian duties while offset with struggling against her own pain to be really distinct and intriguing.

Scutarii said:
"I never asked a Sapphire to go to Earth," dripping venom, her face contemptful.
Yeah, that part was wonderful. We get two episodes building up this sympathetic image of Blue Diamond, but it snaps back to the point that she's somebody truly dangerous on a dime.

Lisa Hannigan isn't really a voice actor (just one other role in Song of the Sea), and unlike Patti LuPone wouldn't have the theatrical experience, so I think she did a notably remarkable job with Blue Diamond, although props also have to go to whomever directed her.

Jeez, not for the first time I have to wonder how the show got all of these musicians and Broadway alumni on board.

Scutarii said:
Blue Agate, Sapphire, Ruby, Greg and Steven leave the room while Yellow Diamond places an arm around Blue Diamond. Blue Agate gushes about Yellow Diamond - not seeing her emotional vulnerability, only her public face - and is oblivious to Greg and Steven, so wrapped up is she. They make their way to the Ruby ship again, comedic sight gags as Steven and Greg sneak past her. Of course, it doesn't last, at the last moment she sees Greg and Steven (side note: Pearl's face when they're spotted, Pearl, you so silly). The various Earth quartzes had followed along quietly and now poke heads out of the woodwork to get a better look. Furious, Blue Agate pulls out her weapon - an electrowhip thingy.
You can never go wrong with a good bit of farce.

Scutarii said:
Pearl approaches and absolutely relishes the chance to explain why reporting Blue Agate's own failure and the consequences thereof might not go down so well.
And then tells her that will be all. 😄

Scutarii said:
The Crystal Gems gravity engine their way back to Earth.
So ends Greg's third craziest weekend.
 

Scutarii

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As Lea observed when the episode was new, Amethyst met her family, and they loved her.

I always found something strangely touching in Amethyst recounting her own serial number. When that was introduced with Peridot designating herself to Yellow Diamond, it felt like a very depersonalizing thing. But with Amethyst's background and hangups, it becomes something to tell her that she's part of something bigger, a unit that never forgot her and accepts her without condition.
That did stand out to me. All the Amethysts seemed to treasure their numbers, one even joked about our Amethyst getting it wrong.

Yeah, that part was wonderful. We get two episodes building up this sympathetic image of Blue Diamond, but it snaps back to the point that she's somebody truly dangerous on a dime.

Lisa Hannigan isn't really a voice actor (just one other role in Song of the Sea), and unlike Patti LuPone wouldn't have the theatrical experience, so I think she did a notably remarkable job with Blue Diamond, although props also have to go to whomever directed her.

Jeez, not for the first time I have to wonder how the show got all of these musicians and Broadway alumni on board.
I imagine that after a while the popularity of the show combined with there already being people in that world on board makes it easier to keep pulling in new people but getting that first group in for series 1 is really a surprise.

So ends Greg's third craziest weekend.
Assuming his first weekend with Rose was number 1...what's number 2? First weekend with Steven?
 

Deadstop

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That did stand out to me. All the Amethysts seemed to treasure their numbers, one even joked about our Amethyst getting it wrong.
Well, they’re all called “Amethyst” (just as all Rubies are “Ruby,” all Peridots are “Peridot,” etc.) The number designation is the actual individualizing element.

I wonder if Rubies even get that? The squad we’ve seen all seem happy to be called “Ruby,” and the one Steven calls “Eyeball” hates not being called by her name.
 
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