Steven Universe season 5 just recently ended with the amazing season finale, Change Your Mind. The minds of Steven Universe fans were collectively blown countless times throughout this season. As we anxiously wait for season 6 and Steven Universe: The Movie, now is the perfect time to discuss what is by far the biggest, most epic season in the series’ history. Note, there will be spoilers for both prior seasons and this season. So if you’re not caught up, consider yourselves warned.
Season 5 kicked off with Wanted, a huge start to the season giving us four major episodes on the same day! Stuck Together, The Trial, Off Colors and Lars’ Head kicks things off with Steven and Lars stuck on Homeworld as Steven goes on trial before the Diamonds for the assassination of Pink Diamond. This is also where we see Lars reform with pink hair and skin after Steven resurrects him after a brief death. It was definitely a very intense few episodes and really developed Lars as a character, making him more likeable and relatable. This is also the arc where we meet some new “off-color” gems. They are all very lovable and each have their own little quirks. My personal favourite is Padparascha, whose humorously late future vision shtick never gets old.
Those four episodes end with Steven going back home on Earth using Lars’ new powers, which is followed by six slice-of-life episodes and two big story-filled episodes that were aired twice a week for four weeks. The episodes are Dewey Wins, Gemcation, Raising the Barn, Back to the Kindergarten, Sadie Killer, Kevin Party, Lars of the Stars and Jungle Moon.The first six episodes give us that fun Steven Universe fix without really giving us much of the bigger story, except for Lapis leaving Earth to avoid getting caught up in another war. The big focus of these episodes, however, is between Steven and Connie who try to work their problems out after Connie gets upset that Steven sacrificed himself to Homeworld back in the season 4 finale. This creates a huge rift in their friendship, but by the end of it, they are closer and stronger than ever before. It’s really a heartwarming arc.
The remaining two episodes after the Steven and Connie arc, Lars of the Stars and Jungle Moon give us a huge dose of story, as Steven and Connie find that Lars has stolen a ship and became a space captain. Steven and Connie, fused as Stevonnie, then get lost in the Jungle Moon where they see a vision of Pink Diamond. With this being the first time we’ve ever truly seen Pink Diamond, this was a huge step for the series, and an interesting peek at would be the biggest twist in the show.
Not too long after these episodes aired, we got another six episodes that aired over six weeks. We got four episodes that didn’t move the story forward in any significant way, and two huge story episodes that feature that massive twist I was just talking about. These episodes are Your Mother and Mine, The Big Show, Pool Hopping, Letters to Lars, Can’t Go Back and A Single Pale Rose. The first four episodes didn’t give us anything too related to the story, except for Your Mother and Mine having Garnet tell the story of Rose Quartz starting her rebellion. These were all very enjoyable episodes that gave some great moments, such as Garnet and Steven finding and adopting a stray cat.
The next two episodes, however, completely changed the course of the series with its huge plot twist. Are you ready for this? Rose Quartz didn’t kill Pink Diamond, she WAS Pink Diamond. Rose faked the whole thing! What a cool twist! Everyone completely lost their minds. This was a theory that was going around for quite some time beforehand, but a lot of people passed it off as unlikely. But we finally got confirmation in this episode. I, for one, absolutely did not see this one coming, but I love it. I thought it was a great twist that really changed the course of the series in a very exciting way.
A couple of months later, we got another five episodes that aired over five weeks. Now We’re Only Falling Apart, What’s Your Problem, The Question, Made of Honor and Reunited, the last episode being a 22-minute special. This gave us what is easily one of my favourite arcs of the series, showing Garnet unfuse after hearing this huge revelation that her ally she fought with for thousands of years was a Diamond. This leads to Ruby and Sapphire essentially breaking up.
Throughout the arc, Ruby and Sapphire have some time apart and Ruby decides that she wants to marry her. She asks the question and Sapphire says yes. The proposal scene is easily one of the most beautiful scenes in the series. They get married in Reunited, giving us the first on-screen LGBTQ wedding in any form of family-friendly media. This moment was absolutely groundbreaking and something that myself and countless other fans of the show wanted to see for a long time. They were introduced as a couple that fuses into Garnet out of love at the end of the first season and were instantly beloved by fans.
This arc also gave us the return and redemption of Bismuth and a Diamond invasion on earth, leading to a huge, epic fight, and the return of Lapis as she fights alongside the Crystal Games! The giant cluster, which was introduced all the way back in the beginning of season 3, also returned to help them fight against the Diamonds, which was amazing to see. Steven tries to tell that Diamonds that he’s Pink Diamond and the episode ends with them realizing this fact and seemingly being redeemed. This was an amazing, well done and exciting arc.
Months later, we got the last five episodes of the season, airing over six weeks. Legs From Here to Homeworld, Familiar, Together Alone, Escapism and, the 44-minute long epic season finale, Change Your Mind, and hoo boy is there a lot to cover from this arc. We got our first glimpse of White Diamond in Legs From Here to Homeworld, giving us a new villain even bigger than Yellow and Blue Diamond. We also got some amazing songs in these episodes! Familiar is definitely one of my new favourite songs from the show.
This arc also shows Steven slowly starting to commit to life as a Diamond, even though he doesn’t want to. Yellow and Blue Diamond, however, imprison him when he and Connie and Ruby and Sapphire fuse right in front of them, creating a huge outrage. Again, the stakes are heightened. Escapism was a particularly cool episode, showing Steven using his powers to enter the body of one of the watermelon versions of himself on the Watermelon Island from earlier seasons. I can only imagine what people who don’t watch the show are thinking while reading this right now…
After that episode, we got what is the biggest, most epic episode in the whole series, Change Your Mind, which gives us 44 minutes of Steven Universe bliss, chock full of new fusions and answered questions. It also feels like a series finale! If this were the series finale, I would be 100% satisfied, but I’m so glad that there is still more episodes and even a movie, because there are definitely more stories that could be told. This episode was one of those moments where each and every fan of the show had their minds collectively blown. It was absolutely incredible. We finally got to see what happens when Steven’s gem is pulled out of his stomach, leading to what is, not to exaggerate but, one of the greatest moments in animation history. Fun Fact, the shots where Steven comes back together with his gem were actually animated Disney animator, James Baxter, who animated Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Rafiki from the Lion King, just to name a few. This explains why those shots felt particularly smooth with what looked like a filmic animation quality, only making this incredible moment even better. The episode ends perfectly, with the Diamonds returning to Earth, having been redeemed and uncorrupt all the corrupted gems. They then go back to Homeworld on their ship with all the gems except for the Crystal Gems.
It’s really tough to say where the show will go from here. Even though there is clearly more to explore, it’s tough to pinpoint what exactly will be explored in future seasons and the movie. Some are speculating that there will be a time jump, which I wouldn’t rule out. If there is, it will probably only be about a year.
Of course, I can’t discuss Steven Universe without mentioning the music, which has always been one of my favorite aspects of the series. We got some real earworms this season! My personal favorites are That Distant Shore, which is a very meaningful song digging even deeper into Lapis’ anxiety and PTSD. For Just One Day Let’s Only Think About (Love), a beautiful song taking place right before Ruby and Sapphire’s wedding, saying that there may be bad things that are going on in their lives, but all that matters right now is the wedding of these two gems who truly love each other. It’s really a moment in history. Very iconic. Familiar, which, in my opinion, is the moment the series truly came full circle, as Steven realizes that he used to act just as immaturely as Pink Diamond did, but grew and developed. We Are the Crystal Gems (the Change Your Mind version) which extends the theme song further to accommodate for the story events that just occurred. And Change Your Mind, which was the perfect song to finish the season and this epic story arc. The final shot being the same as the final shot in the theme song was an amazing touch.
Season 5 was an incredible season of Steven Universe. We got many questions answered and so much lore and story, with a perfect season finale and wrap-up of this massive story arc. Shows as good as Steven Universe are a rarity, and season 5 gave us everything we wanted. I don’t know where the show will go from here, but I absolutely cannot wait to find out.