ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Mar. 11th, 2015
SYNOPSIS: Steven accompanies Mayor Dewey during a city-wide power out.
Late into the night, Steven and the Crystal Gems prepare for Peridot’s inevitable arrival. Pearl is especially impressive here, having crafted a machine (out of spare parts in the house!) that could potentially disrupt Peridot’s robonoids. Just as amazing is that she managed to fix a broken Robonoid despite the five thousand year disadvantage she has compared to Homeworld’s tech. Pearl tests out her disrupter. The good news is it works…to an extent, it knocked out all the lights from Beach City. That’s an impressive distance. Bad news: the robonoid is still intact.
Mayor Dewey greets Steven the next morning, having arrived at the Universe household to get an explanation for the power outrage. He’s savvy enough to know when strange things happen, usually it’s the Gems’ fault. Well, he’s not wrong. Pearl informs him the power should be back by tonight or never, so whatever. Mayor Dewey panics, but she tells him humanity has always survived before electricity and given Pearl’s usual condescending attitude towards humans, her praise over their development is pretty good. The Crystal Gems don’t care about Beach City’s power problems they got bigger fish to fry so Steven volunteers to accompany Mayor Dewey to keep the town placate until its back to normal.
Steven learns quickly that Mayor Dewey is an expert in political fibbing, ensuring the town that he has everything under control and that the power will return by sundown. Steven, ever the sweet and innocent kid that he is, doesn’t like the lying very much. Mayor Dewey has a point though, for the time being, it’s possibly best to do damage control and ensure the crowd doesn’t go into a frenzy. And let’s face it, a power outrage is kid’s stuff compared to Lapis sucking out the entire ocean. This still doesn’t fill the kid with confidence.
Steven returns by sundown and catches the Crystal Gems having a private meeting on what to do when Peridot comes a-knocking. He goes as far to notice his mother’s rose cannons underneath the front porch deck, indicating how serious this matter is. He quietly approaches the trio, prompting them to change the subject so Steven won’t know what they were talking about. The Crystal Gems suggest they all play a friendly card game, leaving Steven to silently stew over the fact that they’re keeping secrets from him.
After the sun set, Steven races over to Mayor Dewey who is not doing a good job calming the crowd. They now know Dewey lied to them and demand answers. This brings up a problem when it comes to withholding information from the public: the chance that they will find out and realize Dewey was all talk. The latter is pragmatic enough to know how to keep Beach City intact, but theoretically, this should have been used to figure out a solution. After a certain point, someone’s going to get wise to it. Politics is never an easy game. The denizens get very antsy, going as far as tipping Mayor Dewey’s truck while he’s still in it. Nobody messes with an angry Nanefua. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this hilarious shot of Onion with a baseball bat. Nobody messes with Onion either. Steven climbs atop the tipped truck to inspire the crowd. No, he doesn’t know when the power will be back on, but he knows the townsfolk are resourceful and capable of helping each other out during this crisis. Steven’s compassion works and the crowd cheers for him and each other. They are, after all, the lights of Beach City.
Steven comes to the conclusion that Mayor Dewey hid information from the crowd because he loves Beach City and didn’t want to worry them. “Political Power” showcases another example of the idealistic town Beach City is: one where a grand speech made by a twelve-year-old is enough to change an entire bloodthirsty town’s mind. What Steven claims about Mayor Dewey may not necessarily be true though. Mayor Dewey isn’t corrupt and he doesn’t find the job glamorous; he knows the downs of politics, but is passionate enough to keep going in spite of the complication that often festers from within. He attempts to make it glamorous. He doesn’t really show any compassion for Beach City’s citizens (they’re largely voters to him), but he’s not manipulating them or the city for his own selfish means. Like everyone in Steven Universe, he’s a flawed human who’s trying to make the best of his situation.
Steven’s revelation is enough for him to confront the Crystal Gems about their secret keeping. He knows his guardians mean well, but he politely urges them to just tell him the truth instead of covering it up with card games and an “everything will be fine” mantra. Garnet breaks the ice and confesses that Peridot is coming with someone or something and they have no idea what. She’s a modern Gem with modern tech and the Crystal Gems are terrified. After nearly an entire season of Steven blissfully following the Crystal Gem’s orders, loyally learning how to be a Gem warrior like them, and looking up to the three as his mentors and parental substitutes, Steven has grown up enough to ask questions instead of assuming what they say is the go-to answer. The Crystal Gems now must come to realize that Steven is maturing and he’s starting to wise up; eventually he’ll be old enough to be an equal companion, not a child they must protect and nurture. So they did the smart thing and told him the truth.
Steven said they’ve been scared before, but as long as they work together, they will be alright. The Gems aren’t any less concerned, but they nod in agreement. Here Steven’s hopefulness finds a crack it can’t break; the Crystal Gems want to believe, but they’re not entirely convinced because they know the consequences is greater than a mere power out. Then the power returns. Perhaps there is a bright spot after all.