“Lion 2: The Movie”
Storyboarded by Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu.
This week’s Steven Universe dived into the whirlwind that is the mindset of an insecure youth, in ways that were similar to the episode “Lars and the Cool Kids.” At first, the episode didn’t really make any sort of impression on me. It took another viewing for me to grasp its depth—or at least theorize things in the whirlwind that is my own mind at 3am.
I thought this was going to be about Steven’s first date. He and Connie were heading to the movies alone—to see Dogcopter 3—and he seemed to be making it a bigger deal than it needed to be. He continued to stress to Lion that they needed to get to the theater. Did he think it was a date and was mad that Lion cockblocked him by taking them on an impromptu adventure? (Speaking of, that Lion always like to play coy but he knows what he’s doing. I think he wanted to show Connie a good time since she is in awe of the life Steven lives.)
Now, onto the insecurities and the kids’ spirit animals. Both of them expressed their inability to understand how or why the other hung out with them. Everyone has probably felt this way at one point or another. We all have that really cool friend who we question because we don’t see ourselves as awesome as they are.
So, Steven views himself as this fumbling trainwreck who can never manage to do anything right, while Connie views him as this wondrous person with a “magical destiny.” Sitting back, you can begin to see the parallels between Steven and his pet, Lion. Both of them seem like they never know what’s going on, but they always manage to get the job done. They also have qualities about them that keep surprising those around them: Steven shocked Connie and himself with the bubble protector, and Lion revealed he could not only walk on water but produce a sword out of his forehead. That was creepy, right?
Then you have Connie who looks in the mirror and can only see this uninteresting girl with nothing but tennis practice in her bag of unimpressive tricks. The fact that they were going to see her favorite film franchise, Dog Copter, made so much more sense at the end – she is that dog. She seems ordinary on the surface, but hiding underneath all that self-doubt is something special. For her favorite canine, it’s that copter; for her, it’s the tennis skills that happened to come in handy when that evil machine came back to assault them.
Everyone sees the worst in their selves far more than they see the best, and that’s especially true when you’re an adolescent like Connie and Steven. Of course he can’t see the greatness of his powers like Connie can, and the same with her. She’s this smart, awesome girl, and while she doesn’t realize it, Steven does.
Will their relationship ever turn romantic? That’s another theory for another day, but something to think about while we touch on the fact that this was a Gem-light episode. They popped in for a second, during which Amethyst stole the scene with her Dog Copter-boombox impression. The episodes that lean more towards Steven’s humanity are the ones I tend to favor, so this week was a win for me. I do like learning about his Gem side, but the mind of an adolescent is just as fascinating.