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‘Raising the Barn’ Features All the Subtext

You know who we love around here? Peridot and Lapis! You know what we love even more? Episodes featuring them together! Steven Universe’s third episode of this latest six-episode bomb, “Raising the Barn,” gives us what we want. That is to say plenty of Lapis, Peridot, meepmorps, performance art, and focus on the lives they’ve built on Earth. I’m so excited after this one. Let’s get into it.

Spoilers for 5×07 “Raising the Barn”

raising the barn before...

Recap

Steven is still trying to get a hold of Connie and moping that she won’t return his calls or messages. He goes outside to play some guitar when he gets a call. Unfortunately for him, it’s not Connie, but Peridot and Lapis. Who apparently had no idea he was back yet? Or what exactly happened? …How?

Steven tells them everything and Lapis freaks out. She decides she and Peridot need to leave Earth immediately. Steven runs over to talk to them and finds Peridot trying to talk Lapis out of leaving. Lapis plans to take Steven as well, and Steven also tries to convince her everything’s okay. Lapis is convinced Homeworld will come for Earth and refuses to be caught up in another war.

Steven doesn’t want them to go, but accepts her decision. Peridot keeps trying through arguments involving their meepmorps becoming performance art and everything in the barn. Lapis’s solution? Take the barn with them. She uses her pond to raise the barn off the ground so they can take it. She hugs Steven goodbye, but then Peridot notices Pumpkin has left. They can’t leave without Pumpkin and go looking.

Aw, the married couple can’t leave without their kid!

Steven goes with Peridot to look. Peridot talks about trying to make Lapis feel better about Steven being kidnapped and it quickly becomes obvious Peridot doesn’t want to leave. When they return to the barn, they find Pumpkin hiding. Peridot tries to force Pumpkin to leave, along the way ending any doubt she wants to stay on Earth. She doesn’t think they have a choice. They have to leave for Lapis and it doesn’t matter how they feel.

When Lapis returns, however, Peridot finally manages the courage to admit how she feels. She wants to stay on Earth and fight, no matter what comes. It’s their home and worth fighting for. It doesn’t work, and Lapis leaves with the barn.

Steven takes her back to the beach house and sets Peridot back up in the bathroom.

Delightful Little Gems

  • This whole episode was a delightful gem.
  • Did we know Pumpkin was a she? We do now!
  • Peridot called the onions “Kindergarteners”. I don’t know why this amused me so much.
  • Also, Onion selling onions. Don’t know why, don’t care why. I loved it.
  • Lapis reacted to Blue Diamond specifically. Fans have theorized for a long time that she was a member of Blue Diamond’s court, and this episode only furthers suggests a history with Blue.

Lingering Questions

  • No, seriously, how powerful is Lapis? Holy crap.
  • This means Lapis and Peridot really knew nothing and weren’t involved at all in planning Steven’s rescue from Homeworld?
  • Does anyone else want to see Lapis trying to watch Camp Pining Hearts in space and wondering why the heck nothing works?
  • Where exactly would Lapis go with the entire freaking barn?

Review

So, we can drop the pretense at this point, right? Lapis and Peridot were together. They were a couple. This episode was as blatantly obvious a metaphor for an ugly break-up as you can show without outright calling it a break-up. I know Steven Universe has never been shy about showing various types of queer relationships, so the show never outright calling Lapidot a thing makes it easy to say they were never a thing, but COME ON.

If Bubbline ever wants to confirm without ever confirming, “Raising the Barn” gave them the blueprint. Or if they ever want to show the episode where they broke up, here’s how you do it so we know for a fact they dated.

Now of course this wasn’t the point of the episode, and I don’t want to make it the focus. This was a wonderful episode for both Peridot and Lapis, despite the sadness involved.

Peridot took most of the focus as she traveled around with Steven and built up the courage to confess to Lapis. Can you believe this is the same smol green space Dorito that first landed on Earth all those episodes ago? She has truly come to make Earth her home. She has built a life. Friends, a home, a farm, plants, a “friend” and a pet. She has helped defend Earth from numerous threats. The planet has represented a place of change and possibility she never imagined possible.

Yet, just like every other gem, she was ready to swallow her pain and desires for Lapis. They have been integral to each others’ healing processes and Peridot was willing to abandon her own needs to remain in that role for her friend. She was willing to do this because of how important Lapis was to Earth really feeling like home. They’ve undergone this journey together, after all. They discovered the beauty of Earth as a pair, and their perception of said beauty was intrinsically tied to each other.

And just because Lapis was willing to leave doesn’t mean she thought any less of Peridot than Peridot did of her. Notice how Lapis never even considered the idea of leaving without Peridot and Pumpkin? Peridot’s confession completely blindsided her. Of course they would go together. They are a team. Even when she finally left, there was no mistaking how hard it was for Lapis was to leave Peridot and Pumpkin behind.

They both loved and cared for each other. However, one tied her worth and happiness to Earth in a way the other didn’t. Or at least, doesn’t right now. For Peridot, Earth was essential to the happiness found through Lapis and Pumpkin and Steven and the farm. Lapis, on the other hand, thought it as simple as taking all those things with her.

Sigh… I know I said I wouldn’t make this about the relationship subtext, but the whole scenario couldn’t be more obvious. This was a couple separating over differing priorities. This was one partner willing to leave behind the roots they had built while the other could not. It was one partner refusing to admit their feelings because they didn’t want to lose the person they love. It was a messy, complicated divorce that both Peridot and Lapis will struggle to deal with.

If you’re still doubting, just wait until the next episode. It becomes even clearer what Lapis and Peridot’s split here was meant to represent.

Things like this happen, even between two people who love each other. We just saw it on another Fandomentals favorite. Life can unfortunately become too complicated for love alone to conquer. Even more so when dealing with the traumas both Peridot and Lapis have faced, and how those traumas factor in their decisions. Both have a lot they deal with and differing ways of processing.

I know the immediate reaction will paint Lapis as in the wrong here. She abandoned Earth, she’s selfish, she didn’t care as much as Peridot, she’s a bad friend, etc. I hope I’m wrong, because all of that is wrong. Lapis has valid and understandable reasons for leaving. Her greatest trauma was a result of the last gem war on Earth. The poor woman spent thousands of years cracked and trapped in a mirror. Afterwards, she escaped only to end up imprisoned again. Then she experienced a second harrowing trauma through Malachite.

Surely fans can understand why she wouldn’t want to face that again? Earth has not meant the same thing to her that it has to the other Crystal Gems. Earth was an escape for everyone else. It was where they found happiness and freedom to be themselves. The same is true of Lapis, but Earth is also the source of the most terrifying and haunting experiences of her life. She is still in the process of discovering the happiness everyone else has. It’s much easier for her to leave it behind.

We all know Lapis will come back eventually. Until then, I hope we can understand her decision. And hopefully the time will come where Lapis and Peridot can be reunited and happy, whether it’s as friends or anything more.


Images courtesy of Cartoon Network

Author

  • Bo

    Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and feels slightly guilty over his love for Villanelle.

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