As late in the game as Steven Universe’s plot seems to be at this point, one would imagine that the show wouldn’t have all that many narrative twists and turns left to it, and would instead focus on answering questions.
But the show’s latest episode, “Familiars,” continues to build out Steven Universe’s mythos in significant ways—introducing just as many questions about Steven and the Diamonds as it answers.
“Legs From Here to Homeworld” literally brought Steven and the Crew back to the Gem Homeworld, and “Familiars” digs into just how significant a turn of events this has all been for the show’s heroes. As much mythologizing as Steven Universe has done about the Gem Homeworld, “Familiars” renders it all in very stark ways that are equal parts satisfying and mystifying.
After having been sent back to Pink Diamond’s room (which is also, technically, his room) on Homeworld, Steven sets his mind to getting to know the other Diamonds in hopes that he can convince them to come back to Earth and heal the planet’s corrupted Gems. As much as the “Diamond Days” event series was obviously going to be about the Diamond Authority not understanding Steven, “Familiars” also does a solid job of making clear that Steven not understanding Gem culture is just as much of an issue in the grand scheme of things.
Being back on Homeworld forces Steven to one again reflect on the ramifications of Pink Diamond’s decision to fake her death and rebel against her family, but the episode contextualizes those events in a peculiar and interesting way.
While “Familiar” primarily focuses on the faint echoes that Steven is able to pick up on from his former life as Pink Diamond, the most curious part of the episode actually takes place in a quick montage of drawings that we’re meant to understand Steven (or perhaps Pink Diamond) created from memory.
While Steven is sorting through drawings of the Diamond Authority, we see that, at one point, the organisation was merely a trio before the arrival of a comet that crash-landed into their planet. It’s not spelled out exactly, but the montage goes on to suggest that a new Gem — Pink Diamond — ended up being born from said meteorite and becoming a key part of Gem society.
As Steven Universe has gradually revealed the details of Rose Quartz’s history with the Crystal Gems and their rebellion, the show has always made her out to have been a free-thinking radical that the Homeworld Gems could never have hoped to understand. “Familiars,” in a very subtle way, hints that there was never really any hope of Pink fitting in with the other Gems and their plans for domination, specifically because she’s not quite like or of them
It’s the kind of background and history that makes a lot more of Steven Universe’s previous episodes make sense — and promises some even more fascinating encounters when Steven inevitably ends up coming face to face with White Diamond again.