Diamond Days: How Steven Universe Changed Our Minds
by Kristin Gustafson & Chad Eichhorn
The release of Steven Universe’s Diamond Days episodes has its fandom worked up, to say the least. The five-episode set was released throughout December and January, and culminated in the first ever forty-four-minute special, “Change Your Mind.” “Change Your Mind” is all that fans could have ever asked for from Rebecca Sugar, the lovely creator of the series. We see new fusions (including the long-awaited Garnet/Pearl/Amethyst/Steven fusion, Obsidian), old friends reuniting, characters developing (visually and personally), and overall, peak you’d-better-love-yourself Steven Universe wholesomeness. It felt like the perfect way to wrap up the series – and when dealing with a production schedule as erratic as Steven Universe’s, fans are worried about the current hiatus. One of the only questions on fans’ minds right now is the looming “what’s next?”
The first episode of Diamond Days, “Legs from Here to Homeworld,” introduces viewers to the notorious White Diamond. The sterile matriarch can only view Steven as his gem’s first form, Pink Diamond, and she grows tired of Pink’s absence throughout the course of Diamond Days. Blue and Yellow Diamond – the former antagonists of the series – fear White more than anything else. (This fear is valid, as discovered in later episodes.)
Diamond Days’ second episode, “Familiar” shows Steven questioning his mother’s intentions. We learn of the existence of pebbles, tiny helper-creatures not too different from Miyazaki soot spirits in “Spirited Away.” Steven speaks to Yellow Diamond in her sauna, and Blue Diamond in her pool about his limited discourse with White Diamond, which he had hoped would focus on coming to Earth to heal the corrupted gems. After a touching song, dramatic costume change, and a small Crystal Gems reunion, the episode ends with Steven deciding that he will throw a ball for the Diamonds, like Pink Diamond used to in Era 1.
Episode 3 of Diamond Days, “Together Alone,” sees the Crystal Gems and the Diamonds sans Garnet and White Diamond at Steven’s ball. While Homeworld’s ancient views on mixed-gem fusions drive Ruby and Sapphire apart for the ball, they do nothing to stop Connie and Steven from dancing together and becoming Stevonnie, prompting intense reactions from both Diamonds in attendance. Garnet and Opal form up in defense of Stevonnie, inspiring two court gems to go public with their own forbidden fusion, Lemon Jade. Yellow Diamond poofs all of the fusions except Stevonnie, who she sends to their room leaving viewers on the edge of their seats until…
Episode 4, “Escapism,” in which Steven, with some help from Connie, dreams his way back to Earth, incarnated once again as a watermelon. Melon society has fractured into two competing “religions” which melon-Steven unites so that he can build a raft and sail back to Beach City. The raft, of course, is terrible and Lion does all the heavy lifting, but Steven manages to communicate the desperate state of the Crystal Gems to Greg, Bismuth, Peridot, and Lapis before his melon form succumbs to its injuries and he wakes up next to a slumbering Connie.
The grand finale, “Change Your Mind,” changes a lot more than minds, to say the least. Steven helps Blue Diamond realize that Pink left Homeworld due to the Diamonds’ unhealthy relationship with White, and Blue agrees to help Steven sneak off Homeworld. Yellow attempts to stop them and poof Blue, but Steven helps her realize that White has been abusive and controlling, causing Yellow to have to process her own emotions for the first time. Yellow joins in on the plan to sneak Steven off world, but White Diamond hears the commotion from Yellow and Blue fighting and arrives in the White and Pink ships. Bismuth, Peridot, and Lapis arrive in Yellow and Blue’s ships which had been left on Earth. A skirmish of the ships body unfolds and settles – Blue and Yellow take the chance to say how they feel to White, but she blasts both diamonds with a white light that turns them into colorless drones acting under her control.
With the situation looking grim, Steven is forced to make the original Crystal Gems reform (still poofed from episode 3) by quickly fusing with each of them in a hasty introduction of new characters, and then they all fuse together to form obsidian, the goddess depicted by their temple back in Beach City. Obsidian and their enormous flame sword make their way into White’s ship and up to White herself. White mind controls all the Crystal Gems except Steven, who is able to block her attacks with Rose’s shield. In a very tense moment, White picks up Steven in one hand and plucks his gem from his chest. What remains is a purely human Steven, too weak to move… and a solid pink gem Steven! White is shocked that Pink Diamond didn’t form from Steven’s gem (which is technically a pink diamond). Gem Steven continues to block White’s attempts at mind control, and with some help from Connie, he joyfully refuses with his other half. In the dialogue that follows, Steven gets through to White that she’s acting childish and White blushes, gaining a slightly pink tint and becoming off-color in the process. As the Diamonds and Crystal Gems come out from under White’s mind control, we also learn that her Pearl was Pink Diamond’s original Pearl, also under mind control!
The outro sequence sees the Diamonds and Crystal Gems travel back to Earth, where pink Lars is reunited with goth-punk Sadie. The Diamonds help Steven heal the corrupted gems (we quickly see many new characters, including some of the original Crystal Gems we’ve never seen before as well as a healed Jasper, who is greeted by Amethyst) and the episode closes with Steven singing a short and powerful song, aptly named “Change Your Mind.”
Huge character developments, new characters, new songs, and new understandings of the universe and its history still doesn’t cover how eventful this episode is. We still have no clue what will/has happened to the cluster at Earth’s core, but hopefully we’ll find out more when the newly announced Steven Universe MOVIE comes out later this year!
Kristin Gustafson is a senior Creative Writing major at Otterbein University. Her favorite character in the MCU is Deadpool and her favorite fantasy series is Harry Potter. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her dog, Nikita, writing poetry, and riding horses.