Steven tries to contact Bismuth.
Steven and Connie try their hardest to escape as Stevonnie, but it’s useless– they can’t break free no matter what. Steven has some doubts about the plan of action to begin with, thinking that even trying to come to Homeworld and convince White Diamond was a foolish plan to begin with. He hasn’t failed this hard, this dynamically before, and he’s beatinh himself up for it. As mentioned last episode, I don’t think Steven himself is exactly at fault. His idea and the drive to do good was a fair one, but his execution was extremely poor.
He realizes that if he can’t get out himself, then he has to call for backup with the only Crystal Gem that hasn’t been poofed- Bismuth. Unfortunately, Bismuth is all the way on Earth, and Steven has to astral project his way home. He has to inhabit a body, so he returns to Watermelon island in the middle of a feud.
It’s very different tonally from the previous two episodes, being off Homeworld and focusing on an entirely different civilization with the watermelons, and so what happens is something far more serene and toned-down than what we have gotten used to. This is fairly understandable, as the last few have been very plot heavy, and this is almost of a breather to have some fun and good things beyond the low point that Steven himself is at right now. Unfortunately, it feels a little too different.
When you go from an extreme disaster to the journey home to find allies, it makes sense, but that’s also not exactly what is set up for the viewers to see. I know that following the last episode, I wanted to see how Steven would escape or who would come save him, not the adventures of watermelon people. It makes sense on paper, but in practice it’s just tonal whiplash and isn’t the kind of continuity that I wanted to see. I wanted to see the plot move forward, and it did, but just barely.
Ultimately, the goal is accomplished; he gets the message to Bismuth, and he returns safely to his own body. It ends with ‘now we wait’, and yes, that’s exactly what the audience has to do- wait. This was mostly setup, and what progressed was just a fraction of what could’ve been an entire episode of moving forward. In a bubble, this episode worked, but not after such important happenings of the last one.