Steven Universe – Catch and Release Review
Catch and Release is a legitimately great Peridot episode. As someone who has had a slightly mixed reaction to her in the past, it was great to see her receive further characterization. Since her early appearances, she has been presented as little more than a petulant and inconvenienced researcher and this worked well, but since season 2 began she’s been largely relegated to the role of a slightly obnoxious McGuffin for the Gems to chase after. Catch and Release brings this chase to a head as Peridot, in her desperation to escape Earth, kidnaps Steven to try and get him to repair the Galaxy Warp.
This plan obviously has a number of flaws, not the least of which being that Steven’s healing powers haven’t returned since the events of House Guest. After failing to repair the Galaxy Warp, Steven tries to console Peridot by telling her that Earth isn’t so bad if she takes the time to get used to it. However, Peridot responds by stating that there isn’t any time left to get used to it. Before she can elaborate, the Gems show up looking for Steven and, through some quick teamwork, they are able to dispatch Peridot. Before she is defeated, Peridot argues that they can’t afford to eliminate her because of what she knows, but the Gems have often been eager to sweep issues involving Homeworld Gems under the rug. As such, Garnet dismisses it as being a desperate ploy, and immediately bubbles Peridot’s gem. Steven remains unconvinced though.
After Amethyst disposes of Peridot’s limbs, which apparently were attachments and not actually part of her body, the Gems return to the temple. Steven remains concerned about what Peridot was saying, but decides not to address these concerns with the Gems because of their dismissiveness when it comes to dealing with things related to Homeworld. This tendency towards shortsightedness can be seen in their actions in such episodes as Warp Tour and Marble Madness, and rather than try to convince them of the potential urgency of the scenario, Steven decides to question Peridot directly. In response, his gem opens up Rose’s room, through which he is able to access the interior of the temple. Upon releasing her from her bubble, Steven discovers that, without her attachments, Peridot is far less threatening and far more adorable, a fact that she is not particularly pleased with. She explains to Steven that she was sent to Earth to check on the status of something called the Cluster. Apparently it will hatch soon and she was supposed to leave Earth prior to that occurring. Before Steven can get any more details, Peridot flees escaping from the temple into the house, only to be cornered by the Gems. She takes refuge in Steven’s bathroom, and, upon hearing what Steven learned from Peridot, Garnet begrudgingly acknowledges that for the time being she should be permitted to remain in the bathroom as her knowledge may be useful.
Catch and Release is an episode that doesn’t feel entirely complete as it ends with things still in flux, but it makes me very eager to see where they will go from here. One can assume that, due to its name and its apparent ties to the Kindergarten, the Cluster is some form of Fusion Gem that was created via Homeworld experiments. Even if it doesn’t show up anytime soon, it will be interesting to see how Peridot’s presence shakes up the dynamic of our main cast.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Like Steven, I was surprised how cute Peridot was without her enhancements. She’s clearly much shorter, and watching her try to spread fear and declare her dominance via a slap fight was quite amusing.
- The scene where Steven sees Peridot’s silhouette at the foot of his bed was funny… at first. It actually became surprisingly creepy when he took a second glance and it was gone.
- You can still see a Chaaaps bag amongst the bubbled gems. It’s a nice callback.
As much as I enjoyed this episode, I will not be giving it a full five stars. It’s one of those instances where the episode really didn’t do anything wrong, at least not to any notable degree, but it also didn’t quite push itself over the edge into full marks territory. Still, it is a fantastic episode, and, much like season 1’s Mirror Gem, it sets up some very interesting plot elements and questions that I can’t wait to see get resolved.
Catch and Release is a great episode that sets up some interesting new issues for the Gems to combat, not the least of which being Peridot's new residence in Steven's bathroom.