“It held your mother’s sword. Nothing else could fit so perfectly.” – Pearl, not even trying to hide her crush on Steven’s dead mom when talking about the titular scabbard. And believe me, it just gets more unnerving from there…
Airdate: March 9th, 2015
Written by: Rebecca Sugar, Ravin Molisee, and Paul Villeco
Plot: At the Strawberry Fields, Lion unearths an old scabbard. Pearl instantly recognizes it as one to Rose’s sword and begins waxing quite a bit of nostalgia over it. Determined to have Steven comprehend its importance, she takes Steven to the storage cave where the sword is said to reside… and is shocked when Steven not only knows how to access the armor and weaponry, but that the sword lay in Lion’s mane. In fact, Pearl is quite shocked that Rose even had a lion in the first place.
A breakdown ensues.
Review (WARNING – LONG):
In 1990, the Pet Shop Boys released a single entitled “Being Boring” – a song about a man’s idealistic worldview being compromised by the inexorable march of time. Once mingling amongst the crowds of parties inspired by “a famous writer from the 1920s”, he reflects on having formed his own path of unfathomable success, all while many around him, including a particularly close friend, died. In spite of its comparatively weaker chart performance at the time, “Being Boring” has become Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s most critically acclaimed song, and it’s quite easy to see why. It combines beautiful vocals, with Tennant at arguably his most introspective; rather melancholic themes of love, friendship, loss, saudade, and an ironic sense of regret; all wrapped around gorgeous instrumentation.
Bizarrely, though, that song reminds me of a particular Steven Universe episode – “Rose’s Scabbard”. Now, I know what you might be thinking – doesn’t this connection seem a bit tangential? A pop record and an episode of a cartoon? When you put it that way, it might be. Still… may as well go to another dynamic duo – that of Steven and Pearl.
Full disclosure before we begin – Pearl is my favorite Steven Universe protagonist, and probably my all-time favorite character. Sure, many fans might feel enthralled by Garnet, or might really believe in Steven. Personally, though, Pearl is one of the most complex and well-written characters in western animation – behind the intellect she possesses is a character full of neuroses and faults, yet one that remains lovable.
Makes sense, then, that one of my favorite characters is the main focus of an episode that is cited as a fan favorite.
Yes, Steven Universe has had very few bad episodes. And most of them were more “mixed bags” or “mediocre” than downright bad. (“Fusion Cuisine” and “Horror Club”… aren’t making my hall of favorites.) Still, in this show where so many episodes are beloved, this episode, in particular, is hailed as a showcase of the writers in top gear – which, considering some of the episodes I’ve seen so far, is certainly no small feat.
Why is that? Are the fans overhyping this episode? What do I, some dork with a little review blog, think? Continue reading