|STEVEN UNIVERSE FUTURESTEVEN UNIVERSEREVIEW|
The four-part finale of Steven Universe Future descends into despair before it regains its light. As the old saying goes, “Things will get worse before they become better.” As Steven Universe Zach Callison faces his downward spiral, he desires to solve matters on his own, spurning his loved ones’ attempt to reach out. The Gem he shattered during his rage, Jasper Kimberly Brooks, inadvertently inspires him to seek out his titan-Diamond relatives in Homeworld for answers to control his Diamond powers.
The first episode “Homeworld Bound” also gives us a tour of Era 3 in Homeworld and how Steven’s far-reaching inspiration dissembled oppression. The hot-headed former conqueror Yellow Diamond Patti LuPone is repairing Gems from her horrific forced-fusion experiments, Blue Diamond Lisa Hannigan, who sings a disconcerting sweet tune is spreading auras of joy in response to the times she forced Gems to cry her own tears, and White Diamond Christine Ebersole is allowing smaller Gems to inhabit her body.
None of their methods work for Steven. “Homeworld Bound” might feel reminiscent of sampling different modes of healing that worked for others, yet not one of them improving your issues. And White Diamond’s method results in a disturbing yet relatable high-octane nightmare scene. For anyone who has endured trauma, observing Steven envisioning himself as a vengeful giant staring down his former abuser, hits hard.
“Homeworld Bound” reminds us of the darker familial dynamics that exacerbate Steven’s problems. As PTSD-flashback reminds Steven, they, particularly White Diamond, were the ones who seeded in the worst of his trauma. For all the Diamonds’ quirky charms, just because the Diamonds channeled their remorse into reconstruction doesn’t necessarily make them too helpful for one of their former victims, no matter how much he’s on better terms with them.
Flummoxed by the lack of any real answers to restrain his Diamond powers, Steven returns to Beach City and attempts to retreat to the status quo in “Everything’s Fine.” The Crystal Gems Estelle, Deedee Magno Hall, Michaela Dietz try a non-confrontational approach to give him some breathing space. Steven returns to his Little Homeworld academy despite the clear glowing Gem-illness that messes up the simplest of tasks, leaving a trail of awkward interactions and destruction. All these humiliations and the loss of control accrue into the final tragedy in “I Am My Monster” as Steven morphs into a Corrupted-Gem, a kaiju beast, and loses all will over his body.
For people who have gone through tragedies or trauma, Steven Universe illustrates best through its abstracted visuals that the loss of control can be the most engulfing terror, one that can drive a well-intended person to suck others into their vortex and fear...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...