In “In Dreams”, once Camp Pining Hearts changes significantly, Peridot and Steven both get irritated with how the show has turned into, in a very relatable few minutes. Of course, when Steven tries to make a new episode for Peridot, his dream sequence ends up unearthing a lot of his long lasting inner fears.
In “Bismuth Casual”, Steven comes to realize that he has problems reaching out. Not only is he afraid to ask Connie for help in skating, he also sees himself as dead weight if he is not the one helping her. Of course, this isn’t true, Connie is more than happy to spend time with Steven. When he finally does end up speaking his mind, Bismuth is more than happy to listen.
These two episodes both deal with one thing that has been building up over the course of the series: Steven’s fears. In the first one, he worries about whether Peridot will still want him around if their shared interest is no longer there. His dreams reveal that he has seen a lot of very horrifying things over the years, even if this is a kid’s show, and he hasn’t shaken off that shocks. They’re buried, but present. In the second, he worries that asking people for help, where he is not the person helping, means that he’s a burden.
Steven is very clearly traumatized, not only by the events of the series, but also by being forced into being a savior figure for so long. His fun and wild adventures that the original series highlighted actually set Steven apart from most people; he never managed to form friendships outside of his small (but very supportive) group. He is the most awkward one out of everyone, because despite him working to make sure that others have a place in the world, he’s not sure what his is.
But these episodes also show that there is hope, light exists at the end of the tunnel. While most of the previous Future episodes have ended with Steven understanding more about himself but still being somber, these end more positively. Steven may feel uncomfortable, but he also is still loved by the people around him. He doesn’t have to keep doing the same old thing, he doesn’t have to devalue his friendship with others just because he isn’t the one being helped. It’s enough for Steven to be Steven- and that’s always been enough.
Bismuth was also truly the standout here, it was lovely seeing her on screen. The Stevonnie skating scene was also stellar.