Following a two-month hiatus, Steven Universe Future returns right where it left off with its titular character, Steven (Zach Callison), struggling with his own mental health and estrangement from the Crystal Gems.

That is, the main members of the Crystal Gems. In the first episode of the night, “In Dreams,” Steven reconnects with Peridot (Shelby Rabara), a more recent recruit, who comes over to Steven’s house to watch the reboot premiere of “Camp Pining Hearts,” an in-universe TV show.

Disgusted by the reboot’s direction, Steven realizes he can broadcast his dreams to his television, leading him and Peridot on a mission to dream up their own superior version of the show. However, Steven finds his own internal struggles manifesting as nightmares, which make their way into his “Camp Pining Hearts” reimaginings in both comical and disturbing ways.

Aside from a few brief cameos, this is the first episode in which Steven Universe Future highlights Peridot, showing what she’s been up to and how she’s grown since we last saw her. Although the green gem still maintains her eccentricities and overabundance of energy, she’s become much more emotionally intelligent, eventually noticing Steven’s discomfort and doing what she can to be there for him. 

Despite much of the episode is played for laughs, “In Dreams” shows how Steven and Peridot’s special bond has remained intact in spite of their lives going in different directions.

The night’s second episode, “Bismuth Casual,” reintroduces another newer addition to the Crystal Gems: Bismuth (Uzo Aduba). Along with Steven, his best friend Connie (Grace Rolek) and Pearl (Deedee Magno Hall), the four drive to a skating rink for a fun night out. 

Although the night was supposed to be for both human and gem pairs to spend more time together, Steven finds it hard to connect with Connie’s new friends from cram school, as Bismuth finds it similarly difficult to connect with Pearl’s new human friends.

The episode also features the song “Can’t Hold Me” by musician Emily King, who is also the songwriter and singer for Steven Universe Future’s credits song, “Being Human.” Although not written for the show, the song fits with Steven’s melancholy mood, eventually transforming into something more upbeat as he dances with Connie.

The episode doesn’t do much to progress the plot, but strengthens the bond between Steven and Connie and even hints at romantic interest between Bismuth and Pearl. It’s a sweet, quieter episode with some great ambient music and an excellently animated dance sequence.

Steven may still be struggling, but at least these two episodes have helped him reconnect with friends who can help him through it.

Two new episodes of Steven Universe Future air Fridays at 7 p.m. on Cartoon Network.

@JosephStanichar

js080117@ohio.edu