That was such a beautiful episode. I found out another strong femme character is queer (hey, Sadie). I got to witness a true, harmonious fusion occur from start to finish. I feel like even the Gems discovered something about the limitations and possibilities of human/Gem physiology.
As far as I can tell, the Gems are aware of the possibility of fusion, but view it as something predominantly for emergency situations because of how difficult it can be for some of them. So far, I’ve seen Pearl and Amethyst fuse under duress, and even then they literally couldn’t keep it together. I’m sure they have love for each other, otherwise they wouldn’t be raising Steven together with Garnet, they wouldn’t be able to, but theirs is evidently not the type of love that lends itself well to oneness. Not yet anyway. I’ve seen Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet fuse into one gigantic, six-armed lady, but that was out of their shared love for Steven. He wanted his real, whole family to go out with Connie and her parents, even if they had to fudge it a little by fusing together. How could they have refused?
Then, of course, there’s that thing I’m not supposed to know until the season finale. I’ve done some reading. The only reason I started watching this show is because the internet promised me queerness and strong femme (and of color) representation. Turns out you can believe some of what you read online after all. Spoiler alert: Garnet is a fusion. That’s how harmonious a fusion can be. So far, Pearlmethyst (who will heretofore be referred to as Opal) is on the fusion-failure end of the spectrum, but Garnet is like the gold star tier, which is what makes the following dialogue so amusing:
Pearl: “Nobody expects you to be able to perform Fusion right away, Steven.”
Amethyst: “Yeah! It’s really hard, even for us!”
Garnet: “Not for me.”
It seems like just a throw away moment – they’re comforting Steven about the state of his powers again – unless you read a spoiler article about the season finale before starting the show! Then it’s hilarious.
It also adds depth to Garnet’s reaction to Stevonnie. She’s not just the proud mom when the other two Gems are panicked (hi, Pearl) and confused (oh Amethyst). She’s proud and excited for Stevonnie. At this moment it doesn’t matter that fusion, as far as we know, was previously inaccessible to human beings, organic as we are. All that matters is the experience.
“Stevonnie, listen to me. You are not two people, and you are not one person. You are an experience; make sure you’re a good experience. Now, go have fun!”
It’s not just about the dancing. Although, I do need to acknowledge the beauty of dance as a metaphor for intertwining with your other half. It’s not just about merging physical forms; it’s deeper than that. The way two beings feel about each other informs their ability to fuse together, the level of harmony they will experience as one, and even the length of time they are able to remain fused.
Steven and Connie care about each other very much, and there’s nothing wrong with that. From their very first encounter, it is clear that while Steven may have a crush, he does not reduce Connie to an object for his obsessive admiration. He sees her as a person first; a person he wants to comfort and to be his friend. When Steven confides in Connie that he wasn’t able to master fusion when he practiced with the Gems, Connie is in awe that he is able to dance with other people at all. What Steven views as a shortcoming within himself, Connie is able to recognize as a strength.
I think Stevonnie, on their first night out, gets a taste of what gold star tier fusion can be like. Ultimately, the two friends, Steven and Connie, decide that they would rather be the two of them and enjoy each other’s company a bit longer before starting a new life, or a new phase of life, as one. They’re great friends, and if anything more romantic or permanent comes of that in the future it’ll be great too, but they’re just kids. They have so much time.