It’s the wedding of the century! Ruby and Sapphire “Reunited” to make their millennia-old relationship honest. Look, we know about the ridiculous amount of stuff that happened in this episode. It was a bomb of a Steven bomb and we’ll get to the main confrontation, we promise. But right now we need to talk about the gathering responsible for bringing everyone together. This was Garnet’s day. It helps when the Crewniverse makes the wedding so entertaining, sweet, and chockfull of small touches making the whole thing feel perfect. That’s worth spending some time on.
Oh, and there was a kiss involved? We also think it mattered because of two women and the importance of representation or something? So, without further ado, Betchen (Bo and Gretchen) are here for the first part of our gushing review of Steven Universe’s magnum opus. There’s all kinds of stressful things we could be writing of, but for just one day…
Let’s Only Think About Love
Steven’s new song perfectly set the tone for the episode, and was easily the most Steven-y song in Steven Universe history. It encapsulates everything, good and bad, you need to know about the kid. There is a LOT the Crystal Gems have to worry about. The fact that Ruby and Sapphire split at all and want the wedding says that much. Rose=Pink Diamond hangs over their head. Steven has plenty to think about regarding his own identity and perceptions of his mother. The Diamonds pose an ever present threat looming over everyone, including those outside the immediate circle of Crystal Gems, like Peridot, Lapis, and the Townies.
Steven’s entire existence usually involves doing the exact opposite of worrying about terrible things, and when he has something happy to focus on like the wedding? No way. He will go to any lengths to inspire joy in everyone around him. Steven serves as the emotional rock of the Crystal Gems. They all take their lead from him. On this day of all days, he will not let them think about all the anxieties and fears plaguing their minds.
Does this sometimes backfire when Steven buries his sorrow too much? Sure. Sometimes the other Crystal Gems need it, though.
Sometimes, we, the audience, need it, too. There’s no way not to watch an episode like “Reunited” and not think about how closely it echoes the social and political realities of living in the United States right now. Times they are a’changing and not always in ways that inspire hope. Marginalized folks of all identities have reasons to feel weighed down, anxious, frightened, yes, even angry. It’s exhausting for adults; how much more uncertain and confused much children feel when the adults around them don’t even know how to properly practice self care?
In turbulent and trying times, it’s important children learn that taking a break to be joyful has value. When the world is scary and danger looms, having days to only think about love in order to recharge and refill yourself is important. Self care matters. When there’s so much pressure to be angry, anxious, or both all the time, a show that creates space for children (and adults!) to not be consumed by those feelings as well as ways to cope with their stress in healthy ways is more necessary than ever. And to do so in ways that don’t deny how bad things are.
Steven: *sings* And I think we can all agree, that is a little bit upsetting.
(Gotta love the understatement. Never change, Steven Universe, never change)
As timely as ever, Steven Universe took our times head on and reminded us that it’s okay to be happy for a while. Even if the world is scary. Even if major threats to safety, family, and self seem immanent. Yes, even if not everyone knows or can participate. Even if other people don’t understand why it’s important. Take time for yourself to be happy. To celebrate love and loved ones. Because those are the reasons we fight.
In short, the song was exactly the mood setter the wedding, and our lives, needed. It was happy and catchy and packed full of amazing decisions that immediately let you know this wedding will be amazing. That it’s okay to celebrate the little things even when life seems terrifying, which is exactly what we’re going to do now by gushing over that…
Big Gay Wedding
The attention to detail in this wedding would put the very best planner to shame. Steven shaves his single facial hair using the razor Garnet gifted him when he was a baby. Sapphire knows to look away when Ruby enters the house because of her future vision. The wedding cake was a Together Breakfast. The flowers covering the wedding aisle were the colors of Garnet’s first fusion. The blue and red flowers washing up from the ocean made us wonder if they were meant as a gift from Lapis all the way from the moon.
And how about the clothing choices? The return of tuxedo Pearl would probably be enough on its own. You also have ponytail-Amethyst in a sport jacket. Peridot has a pretty yellow sundress and pink clogs, which is pretty awesome because her most iconic look until now has been a that snazzy red bow tie.
Bismuth wears an awesome suit of armor because it’s the nicest thing she owns. When Connie’s adorable hairdo and blue dress fall way down the ranking of best clothing choices, you know the Crewniverse did a great job.
Of course they all fall short of the wedding duo themselves. Sapphire in a tux and Ruby in a dress might seem like a small thing, but it’s one of those perfect touches that Steven Universe always seems to get right. Their standard appearances establish Ruby as the “butch” side of the relationship and Sapphire as the more feminine side. Flipping their presentation for the wedding was not only a defiant middle finger to the idea of censoring their relationship—no way to make Ruby a ‘man’ this time, censors!—it was yet another way for the Crewniverse to fight against gender stereotypes. There’s no reason the tomboy can’t look pretty in a wedding dress, and there’s no reason the lady who normally wears dresses can’t look sharp in a tuxedo.
Really, you can apply this lesson to all the clothing choices for the wedding. Pearl is slim and feminine, but this is now the second time she has rocked a tux. Amethyst fits the tomboy mold and has always been a bit less…fancy? than the others, but that sport coat and ponytail prove she can be just as classy as the rest when she cares to be. Peridot usually doesn’t come off as traditionally feminine, but damn if she can’t look beautiful in her sundress.
(We really wish Lapis had been here for the actual wedding. What would she wear??? Gretchen is in favor of a blazer/dress shorts combo with a sparkly or lacy shirt.)
Rebecca Sugar and the rest of the Crewniverse know exactly what it means when they make decisions like this. It’s the same reason they had Stevonnie grow a beard. Normalizing the breaking of gender norms, the idea that if you’re a boy or a girl you have to look and dress a certain way, or that you even have to conform to whatever your birth gender was, is important to fighting discrimination. They also know how teaching these lessons within children’s animation helps influence future generations to avoid discrimination. Teaching these lessons at a young age is the best way to promote further acceptance for that generation’s children later.
And what better way than to take a day normally reserved for displaying the “fanciest” version of one’s stereotypical gender presentation and flipping it on it’s head? Basically, this was the most non-heteronormative wedding possible in every conceivable way, and we love them for it. It’s exactly what we expect from a Steven Universe wedding. Right down to Steven himself officiating after floating in like the Magical Girl that he is and the surprise Jamie/Dewey ship announcement.
I now Pronounce You: Garnet
The actual ceremony was perfect. It was SO perfect. The vows perfectly represented how Ruby and Sapphire complement each other.
Ruby: I used to feel like I wasn’t much good, just one of me on my own, but when we’re together, it feels like it’s okay to just be me. So I wanna be me, with you, and, and, not even the Diamonds will come between us. And if they try, we’ll beat em up!
Sapphire: Ruby, my future used to look like one single, obvious stream, unbending ’til the end of time. In an instant, you pulled me from that destiny, and opened my eye to an explosion of infinite possible futures, streaking across space and time, altered and obliterated by the smallest force of will. What I mean is, you changed my life. And then, I changed your life. And now, we changed our lives.
Ruby’s admission that she feels silly for how long they’ve been together—5,750 years and 8 months (of course Sapphire knows exactly how long)—highlights just how important such a ceremony is. The ability to publicly celebrate one’s love for another in front of your family, friends, living gourds, and Onion, should never be downplayed. LGBT+ couples in the United States have only been able to legally get married in all 50 states for three years. When the Supreme Court ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges, same-gender couples who had been together for decades finally got a chance to marry, and the flood of happy photos from queer weddings prove just how important that day was for them.
Now imagine being together for almost 6 millenia and then finally getting married publicly. That’s the kind of happiness and joy we got to celebrate with Ruby and Sapphire. They’ve been together a long time, but now, they finally get to be seen as a couple. Instead of seeing Garnet, a solo gem, whenever Townies (and the audience) see Garnet from now on, they’ll see a queer couple in love. They’re here, they’re queer, and they just got big gay married. On television.
It’s just one more reminder why context matters and just how much Steven Universe packs into everything they do.
And then came the kiss. For some reason, and we don’t know why, but we still wondered whether they would actually kiss. Steven Universe has never shied from pushing the boundaries, but we still worried the full kiss wouldn’t be allowed. Then it happened. It happened full-on, mouth on mouth, and it lingered all the way through the reformation of Garnet.
Now we feel bad for ever doubting. I don’t think the Crewniverse would have ever bothered with the wedding if they couldn’t show Ruby and Sapphire kissing their way through their fusion. There was no other way to do it.
Then to top off the amazing costumes, we get Garnet in a tuxedo dress (with both wedding rings), and it was amazing.
This was an absolutely historic moment for children’s television. Rebecca Sugar has always used Steven Universe as her way of providing the representation kids like her lacked. The Rupphire wedding honestly feels like the culmination of this concept. It was every Disney fairy tale those kids were denied. The Crewniverse has been on Twitter all week hyping these episodes up and mentioning how they were years in the making. We can believe it. This was everything Sugar has wanted her show to be. We can easily believe she and everyone else has planned and worked on this since the conception of Steven Universe. Ruby and Sapphire finally get to be ‘out’ in the most public and unmistakable way possible.
We live in a better world now for this wedding existing. Remember, the Crewniverse didn’t have to do this. As Ruby said, they’d been together for years. Even if they didn’t have to make a statement about why weddings themselves are important for a queer community that’s only had the right to get married in the US for three years and in many countries, still can’t. They could have said, “We know we love each other, we don’t need a wedding. That’s ‘just a day,’ our love is what matters,” or something like it. They could have laughed at the idea of a wedding (and not in the charmed way Sapphire laughs at Ruby’s proposal).
But they didn’t, because depicting a wedding was important. Ruby and Sapphire have been significant icons for years now in children’s programming. Now, the Crewniverse has given kids and adults both in and out of the LGBTQ community a wonderful example of the beauty of love. Ruby and Sapphire got the fairy book wedding so many grow up dreaming of. They got the type of wedding that those they represent used to never dream they’d see on a kids show. They bashed down the stupid walls that used to stop characters like Ruby and Sapphire from showing their love in such a beautiful way.
Garnet herself put it best:
What a wonderful idea. Humans found a way to make a moment’s decision last forever. I won’t need future vision to know I’ll always remember this.
We’re not crying, you’re crying. Fine, fine. We’re totally crying. Steven would want us to admit what we were feeling after all, and that feeling is love.
Phew. That was a lot. Wait, there’s more? Oh yes, there is so much more. See you tomorrow for Part 2 of our “Reunited” review, where we’ll tackle the Diamonds, arm-wrestling the Cluster, Lapis’ return, and even more yeets!