Steven Universe: Unwinding Season 4—Episode 14: The Zoo

I remember “The Zoo” as my least favorite part of the whole zoo arc. The first two episodes, and the final one, are all great. “Gem Heist” is functional bridge material. “The Zoo”… I don’t even know why my brain swerves with this one. I guess I’ll have to interrogate that, huh.

I bet it has to do with the zoomans, though.

I think the whole 1960s sci-fi story here is kind of… you know, I’m. My brain has been here before? So many times? Hang on, though. Just strikes me, Greg is kinda living out Passions of Xandor here, isn’t he. In a different sense from, you know, the overall Rose thing.

I guess Steven’s revolt here among the zoomans, suggesting they just do whatever they want, sort of serves as foreshadowing for his later misadventures on Homeworld. Start with the human Gem experiment; move on to actual Gem society.

Yeah, it’s the zoomans. It’s their whole Star Trek Planet of Single Metaphor schtick. I’ll go full-force with allegories if they work. This feels more like dancing with paper plates; having fun with pastiche of an old sci-fi trope. There’s probably more here that I’m not engaging

I do enjoy every time the show remembers how strong Steven is, though. All twelve times ever. In almost every case it comes off as an incidental “OH YEAH” sort of gag. 

Here, though, with Steven consciously holding back at first, it plays into his degrading confidence this season. It’s a microscopic moment, but he sweats and consciously holds back, knowing how badly he could hurt Greg if he allowed himself to. There’s stuff going on in his head that he’s not saying, because he isn’t usually this aware of what he’s doing.

It’s the simplemindedness. The zoomans, I mean. It’s, you know. I get it. Don’t @ me. I understand the storytelling here. But it gets old within about twelve seconds, and we’ve got eleven minutes of this. It’s not even cute, like Padparadscha. It’s just, WHEE! WE’RE NAIVE!

(If they were New Yorkers (Er, in-universe, would that be Empiricists?), they would be naïve.)

It feels like from beat to beat we’re going through the motions of a predictable story, based on old, well-trod ideas, decorated with people who understand nothing and state the obvious. And it’s… you know. Normally the show works on more levels than this? It’s so dull, to me.

The mass freak-out at Greg rejecting the choosening is also kinda not my party. Though I do love how the Amethyst guards handle it. Whenever we get away from the frickin’ zoomans, even for a second, it gets so much more interesting.

Oh well. It’s eleven minutes.

As for what’s playing on repeat in Steven’s head, that he’s not saying? Well.

Author: Azure

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