Details: This is a review of episodes nineteen through twenty-nine of season five. Episode twenty-nine was the season finale. More information can be found at https://www.cartoonnetwork.com/video/steven-universe/index.html and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3061046/
Back in May 2018, Steven Universe went on hiatus. Then it came back with a few episodes in July. Then it went on hiatus. Then finally came back again at the end of the year and finished the season in January 2019. Were all the delays worth it? Hell yes. Steven Universe is one of the most unique shows I have ever seen because it seeks to convey themes related to identity and acceptance from a nontraditional, yet universal perspective. It then takes these themes and wraps it in a science fiction story that makes it digestible to viewers who may be intolerant, prejudiced, old and young. The incorporation of music and loads of character development (my favorite aspect of a good story) is also welcome.
As we last left off, Steven and gang decided to head to the Diamond home world and try to convince the Diamonds to reconcile and maybe even heal the corrupted Diamonds. If you’ve never watched Steven Universe before, you’re not going to understand a lot of what’s going on. If you have, then there is a lot of payoff in this season finale.
I once watched comedian Bill Burr talk about why he didn’t get Star Wars. He said it was because he watched it when he was twenty-seven, when he had already had some perspective. In his opinion, Star Wars is essentially a giant self-help book set in space. Along the same lines, Steven Universe is essentially the same sort of thing.
Steven Universe is a big science fiction story whose primary message is to overcome emotional issues and to embrace who you are, no matter who that may be. This finale continues that theme and tries to resolve the familial dysfunction among the deity like Diamonds. At its core, this is a story about families accepting and getting over preconceived biases in order to accept family members for who they are, no matter how preconceived notions they may have. It is also about trying to get family members to be more open-minded and accepting about themselves as well as their families. Rather than living in denial their whole lives, Steven’s main goal is just to bring the family together.
There is also some heady science fiction stuff for those who want it. The main question that has plagued the majority of this series is what is Steven? Is he a Diamond? Is he the son of a Diamond? Is he something else? That questions is finally answered… yet not really answered. The answer the show provides spawns numerous other questions about the nature of Steven and his identity. I hope these questions will be addressed in the future.
The visuals and imagery in these last few episodes as great as they’ve always been. This is a cartoon meant for kids, but the quality of the animation does seem to increase at emotionally meaningful moments. There are also a lot of pretty good action scenes.
There is also a disproportionate amount of original music in these last few episodes, which I love. The show runner is a singer song writer so that’s to be expected of her. The music she adds to the show is generally catchy, emotional, and does a great job setting the tone of the show.
Overall, I loved these last few episodes and now have a renewed vigor for this series. A movie is coming out in the near future, though I have no idea what it may be about. My only issue is that so many plot points were closed in this finale that this may have well been a series finale versus a season finale. I don’t know where the series is going, but if it has as much message, music, and character development as there was in this season, I am all for it.