Well Universers, it finally happened. The eagerly anticipated Steven Universe special has finally premiered. Rebecca Sugar, like most creators, has a tendency to bring out the big guns for a season finale. And in the case of the Steven Universe season 5 finale Change Your Mind (a.k.a. Steven Universe: Battle of Heart and Mind) she certainly did not disappoint. The hour long special featured our beloved Steven (Zach Callison) facing his biggest challenge yet. It also included many fun references to past episodes, Easter Eggs you may have missed and fusions. So! Many! Fusions! Consider this your major spoiler warning!
Let’s go all the way back to the beginning of the series. Cookie Cat is Steven’s favorite ice cream ever that may come in a variety of flavors, as most ice cream companies do. However, the one fans are most accustomed to is the half vanilla, half strawberry and chocolate cookie cat. Rebecca Sugar is infamous for her foreshadowing and it appears this delicious, seemingly meaningless, ice cream treat is no exception. A long time theory among fans was that the cookie cat rap was foreshadowing of Rose’s (Susan Egan) origins.
He’s a frozen treat with an all new taste!
’cause he came to this planet from outer space!
Pink Diamond (also played by Susan Egan) completely reinvented herself as Rose in order to truly be free of Homeworld’s strict rules and unrealistic standards. After Pink Diamond was “shattered” Rose fled to Earth and vowed to protect it.
A refugee of an interstellar war! But now he’s at your local grocery store!
After that major war on Earth, the Crystal Gems were the few survivors left on Earth which technically made them refugees.
Cookie Cat! He’s a pet for your tummy!
Rose/Pink Diamond’s gem is on her tummy!
Cookie Cat! He’s super duper yummy! Cookie Cat! He left his family behind! Cookie Caaaaat!
Much like cookie cat, Pink Diamond left the only family she ever knew because she wasn’t happy.
Halfway into the episode, we see Steven and the Crystal Gems infiltrate White Diamond’s (Christine Ebersole) ship. Their efforts to speak with her result in Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz) and Pearl (Deedee Magno) getting transformed into a colorless, zombie like state like White Pearl (also played by Christine Ebersole). Now lacking emotions, or whatever it was that made them “flawed”, they were now considered perfect by White Diamond’s standards. This could be a subtle reference to the season two episode Chille Tid. The episode is about Steven at a slumber party where he falls asleep and has a dream. The dream is in the style of a 1950’s black and white family sitcom.
What’s Your Excuse?
The original pilot for Steven Universe premiered in 2013. It was only seven minutes long but it did include a very Steven-like adventure in a very different art style. In the episode we see Steven get his hands on a magical time traveling hourglass. He hopes to use its powers to help with his comebacks. This eventually results in trouble for Steven’s usually sleepy beach town. And the only way to save the day? More lame comebacks. Specifically he cries “what’s your excuse?” to the question of why he was such a butt face. We see a fun parallel of this in the latest special. When confronted by White Diamond on why he was acting like such a child, Steven simply replies “I am a child, what’s your excuse?” Could this be a coincidence? Or could this be a subtle call back to Steven Universe’s roots?
In every appearance by White Diamond the audience can see her literally glowing. Because, by her logic, this seemingly eternal radiance is what makes her perfect. Keeping this reasoning in mind, let’s turn to Steven. After White Diamond pulls his gem from his body we see Steven’s gem take on a form of its own. But when Steven fuses with himself we see something interesting happen: he outshines her. In comparison, White Diamond begins to dim beside him. The radiance of Steven’s self love and acceptance of his “flawed” self therefore becomes more perfect than White Diamond’s glow.
Another interesting thing happens right after Steven is separated from his gem. The gem reforms into an all pink version of Steven. This irritated White Diamond as she was expecting this would bring Pink Diamond back. When White Diamond questions the gem about where Pink is, it lets out a horrifying yell of “She’s gone!”. This results an imprint left below that seems to be a random act of destruction. A closer look reveals that this imprint roughly has the outline of Steven’s gem angle. Not Pink Diamond’s, Steven’s. Because they are not the same person. And Pink Diamond really isn’t coming back.
“Am I gonna have to wear a star?!”
Just another fun parallel from a previous episode. Back in season 2 episode 26, Peridot (Shelby Rabara) expresses concern over her body getting damaged so much that she would go back in her gem. The she comically questions whether or not she has to wear a star like the rest of the Crystal Gems. Spoiler alert, the answer is yes. When Lapis (Jennifer Paz) and Peridot eventually do reform after their battle with the Diamonds they go to Steven’s rescue in Homeworld with, no surprise, stars on their new outfits.
One of the major highlights of the special was finally seeing more of the long awaited fusion permutations of the Crystal Gems and Steven. With Garnet we get the very positive, fast talking and strong Sunstone. Pearl and Steven make Rainbow Quartz 2.0, an eccentric and Mary Poppins like figure. And all together Steven, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl create Obsidian, an enormous but silent titan of a creature.
By the end of the episode it feels like more like a series finale than a season finale. White Diamond’s mind has been changed, most of the big questions have been answered and peace seems to have been restored. However, Steven Universe has been confirmed for another season. As if that wasn’t enough there is also a movie coming this fall! So, while this feels like the end, rest assured that it isn’t. In fact, it’s far from it.
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