Steven, Universally Hi all, I"m Jay. I"m a children"s librarian who thinks Steven Universe is the most important cartoon of the 2010s, and I write episode-by-episode reviews that analyze why. As they"re written with hindsight and take the full story into account (including the movie and Steven Universe Future), all reviews are placed within context of future events, so I"d only suggest reading if you"ve completed the series unless you love constant casual spoilers! Click the Archive to find specific episodes or Just the Reviews to scroll to your heart"s content, and check out Going Over the Garden Wall for my miniblog on the classic miniseries.

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Episode 81: Same Old World


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Why does Lapis attach herself so strongly to Steven, to the point where she’s willing to risk everything to protect him from Homeworld? For the same reason she eventually latches onto Jasper despite knowing that it’s toxic: because she has nobody else. And that isolation, rather than the specific injustices she has faced, is the trauma she’s actually forced to overcome starting in Season 3, beginning with Peridot in our next episode. But for now, Same Old Worlddoes a brilliant job establishing who this character is (a lost, lonely soul) and what she needs (a home and a family) so that she can make a change. And it does this not by showing her wallowing, but rather, for the first time since Ocean Gem, by showing her happy.

It says everything about Lapis that she sincerely enjoys hanging out with Steven. Despite her antisocial tendencies, she doesn’t hate people, she just doesn’t trust them (and for good reason). By freeing her in Mirror Gemand healing her in Ocean Gem, and by bonding with her in both episodes through open-hearted conversation, Steven earned her friendship.And an arc where Lapis finds the strength to open up to others benefits from our knowledge that she’s already capable of doing so, so that’s what Same Old Worlddoes. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and knowing this makes it even harder to watch when she stumbles, but all the more rewarding when she starts to come out of her shell around more people.

Lapis’s newfound exuberance is best conveyed by Aivi and Surasshu, who modify her theme (still my favorite) from its typicallyhauntingor mysticaltone to a breezy, adventurous anthem. Lapis began as a source of wonder for the audience, so it’s great to see her actually feelthat wonder herself as she learns more about the planet that held her prisoner for so long.

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Considering the way Pearl left Steven hanging in Rose’s Scabbard, there was a very real chance Lapis would drop him here as she has a minor panic attack, and the suspense allows us to feel all the weight of Lapis’s problems rushing back after a day of fun. It might not sound like a big deal, but this episode needs us to switch from happy and peaceful to antsy and pensive within seconds to keep the pacing solid, and it’s amazing that it does so without giving us even a hint of whiplash.

The return of Lapis’s hollow eyes is a nice touch, and leads us into a flashback that efficiently and stylishly shows us the depths of our hero’s misfortune. She wasn’t a Homeworld zealot but a noncombatant, and her cracking was a complete accident caused by a nameless, unidentifiable Gem. There’s no twist or big moment, simply a series of events outside of her control that built upon each other to ruin her life. This isn’t to say we don’t get lore—the Gem who poofed Lapis is our first glimpse at a bismuth, perhaps theBismuth, and we see the Diamonds’ corruption attack with a quick taste of their theme—but the message here is that Lapis’s fate served no great purpose, and wasn’t even an intentional punishment. Sometimes life just kicks the shit out of you for no reason.

Lapis is clearly used to it at this point, shrugging off how horrible her life has been before she tries to leave at the beginning of the episode and rejecting Steven’s sweet offer to take a minute at the end of it. This isn’t to say she isn’t upset, but there’s a sense of acceptance that her life will continue to be miserable no matter what, which is why it’s so important that Steven doesn’t just tell her that she’s welcome on Earth, but that Earth is a place that allows change. He tells somebody who had no control for ages, then went on a power trip as soon as she had the opportunity to dominate somebody else, that she finally has the opportunity to make a healthy choice. And she takes it.

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Peridot obviously becomes a bigger factor in our next episode, but she’s established quite well in the first act so that her“surprise” appearance at the end feels earned; why would she have gone away in the day or so that Steven and Lapis went exploring? Lapis’s petulant reaction to sharing her new home with Peridot gives us one last bit of foreshadowing for her arc: her adjustment to Earth transforms her into an angsty teen.

I can imagine this characterization disappointed some people; certain fans are bound to insert their own concepts into a character as mysterious as Lapis, which of course makes any divergence from this headcanon a disappointment. But the idea that Lapis’s Daria Phase comes out of nowhere is baffling to me. Really, what better way to portray someone whose life feels like one crisis after another inflicted by forces beyond their control than as a teenager?

Lapis Lazuli rarely displays overt happiness after Same Old World, and will quickly develop a sardonic sense of humor that genuine playfulness occasionally escapes from. But it nonetheless sets the stage for her potential before Barn Mateswisely reminds us that her journey towards trusting others won’t be a walk in the park.

(And then we get a walk in the ballpark. Season 3 picks up quickonce it gets rolling.)

Future Vision!

I already mentioned Empire City, Bismuth, and the Diamond Corruption, but it’s also quietly sweet to rewatch this episode after we learn Lapis actually held onto Steven’s leaf in Beta.I hinted at it a little, but there are definitely echoes of Lapis’s story in Spinel’s, with the major difference being Lapis’s series of misfortunes versus Spinel’s single act of betrayal. Both endured thousands of years of solitude, both attack others on instinct as a result, and both are moved by Steven preaching the power of change.

If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have inconsistencies…

It’s weird that there’s never any follow-up on Lapis’s poofing, considering she starts hanging out with Bismuth after Change Your Mind. Even if it was a different bismuth, that’s still worth a joke or something.

See more: Construct The Molecular Orbital Diagram For N2 And Then Identify The Bond Order.

We’re the one, we’re the ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!

Such a great Lapis episode. If it had a song it might be even higher up, but it still holds its own through great characterization, great music, and awesome setup for her new arc.

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