Steven Universe – When It Rains Review
When It Rains picks up exactly where Catch and Release left off with Garnet banging on the bathroom door insisting that Peridot share her information with the Crystal Gems. Peridot continues to refuse to work with them, even if it means that the Cluster will wipe them all out. Unable to get her to open up, the Gems ultimately decide to investigate on their own, and, judging Peridot to be basically harmless on her own, they decide to leave her in the care of Steven. Now, much of the success of Catch and Release can be attributed to the great chemistry shared by Steven and Peridot, and When It Rains continues to capitalize upon that chemistry.
After the Gems leave to try and investigate the Cluster, Steven begins preparing lunch and invites Peridot to come out. She refuses, but ends up fleeing when she hears a loud crashing. She freaks out declaring that it is the Cluster emerging, but Steven tries to calm her down by explaining that what she’s hearing is thunder. Realizing that she doesn’t understand how Earth’s weather operates, Steven explains how the rain cycle works, and does a surprisingly good job at it as well. He ends up taking her out into the rain to show her that there is nothing to be afraid of. Realizing that Steven’s knowledge of Earth could potentially be useful, Peridot reaches the conclusion that she will share her information on the Cluster with Steven and only Steven.
In order to properly explain to Steven what the Cluster is, Peridot tells him that she needs access to her records. Amethyst destroyed those records when she threw away Peridot’s limb enhancements, but the necessary backups are still stored in the Kindergarten. Steven reluctantly agrees to accompany her there. On their way there, Peridot learns that Steven is a hybrid, but, after a brief bout of curiosity, she loses interest. Upon reaching the control room, Peridot informs Steven that the Cluster is actually a giant gem fusion that is incubating inside the Earth. When its body forms, the Cluster will tear apart the planet. She is convinced that, with Steven’s knowledge of Earth and her knowledge of the Cluster, they will be able to prevent it from emerging. Despite her convictions, Steven is more realistic about what he is capable of, and, as the episode comes to a close, Peridot comes to the realization that, despite her animosity towards them, if she wants to prevent the disaster that would unfold with the release of the Cluster, then she needs to work alongside the Crystal Gems.
When It Rains can perhaps be best summed up as part 2 of Catch and Release. In terms of narrative and characterization, it picks up right where the preceding episode left things, and it shares many of the same strengths that were present in the previous episode. The answers that we are given are still somewhat limited, as most could have guessed from Peridot’s previous actions that the Cluster was some form of Gem Mutate. Still, the show continues to progress at a reasonable pace, so even comparatively gradual reveals remain quite rewarding.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Rebecca Sugar posted some of concept art for Peridot from Catch and Release this week. I didn’t make note of it in my review for that episode, but I absolutely loved the animation on Peridot’s fingers in that episode, particularly when she started freaking out. You might have been able to guess that from the image that I picked to be the primary featured image for that review.
- Since he’s often accompanied by particularly intellectual and well versed characters like Connie and Pearl, it’s a bit rare for Steven to get to show off his intelligence. As a result, his explanation of the rain cycle actually caught me off guard.
- Garnet’s last second message for Steven was every kind of adorable.
- “The answer to that is a story I like to call ‘The Ballad of Rose and Greg.’” “I don’t care.”
When It Rains is not really a groundbreaking or emotionally wrenching episode, but it does its job very effectively and is undoubtedly a lot of fun. Peridot and Steven share a great chemistry together, and that alone could have carried this episode, but if there is one thing that the past season and a half has proven to fans it is that Steven Universe isn’t a show that settles for doing “just enough,” and thus When It Rains also provides its viewers with new narrative elements and some much appreciated character development for Peridot. She and the Gems have been at each other’s throats for long enough, and I’m eager to see how well this tentative alliance will work.
When It Rains builds on the strengths of its predecessor to deliver an altogether great episode. The comedic duo of Peridot and Steven is wonderful, and it delivers on answers regarding Peridot's mission that fans had been waiting a while for.