ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Jun. 15Th, 2015
SONG: Yes, “The Jam Song”, and “Do It For Her”
SYNOPSIS: Connie wants to learn swordfighting and Pearl is the perfect Gem to teach her.
Now that all three of the main Gems have a new look, Steven Universe officially has a second credit opener. If the first one was soft and reflective of the calm sunny days of Beach City, the second is a jaunty tone that represents the larger narrative and the changes the characters have evolved into since. I especially like Connie’s progression from a shy girl clutching her book to her chest protectively to an energetic ball of cute holding a book in one hand and Rose’s sword in another.
“Sworn to the Sword” opens up with an equally adorable moment: Steven and Connie jamming as they literally sing about jams. Steven even celebrates with jams and biscuits. A group of seagulls have their eyes on his meal, but Connie wards them off with her violin bow. Steven is impressed with her swings, likening them to sword swipes. Connie is flattered, but she knows she’s not an expert. She’d love to learn how to use the real thing someday.
Steven immediately takes her to Pearl and begs her to teach his friend. Pearl is reluctant, but then Connie delivers a rousing speech about how much she wants to protect Steven and have a fighting chance to save the world from any future disasters that could befall it. And then Pearl makes this face and the training is on.
Pearl takes Steven and Connie to an ancient sky arena once used by Gems. There a younger Pearl learned about the human concept of knights: warriors dedicated to a cause and the person they swore to protect. Connie listens, but she’s too giggly, playfully laughing with Steven over this exciting new prospect. Connie’s studious dedication does little to hide the fact that she’s still a twelve-year-old kid; without her parents’ restrictions, she’s free to let loose. As someone whose only form of escapism was through her fantasy novels, learning how to fight with a sword in an ancient “magical world” with “magical Gems” as her guide is fulfilling a massive dream of hers. Now she can be exactly like the heroes in her books.
Pearl brings up her Holo-Pearl training simulator for Connie to practice with (right after Steven backs away due to bad memories with that thing.) Pearl sings “Do It For Her” during their training montage. There she emphasizes repeatedly that Connie’s sole role as a knight is to protect Steven at all cost, including her own life if it comes to it. She does not matter, only Steven does. Being the clever and determined girl that she is, Connie catches up quickly. I especially like how her choice in clothes change as she progresses, increasingly getting more warrior-like.
The only one not comfortable with this? Steven. He tries to tell Connie, but she’s too wrapped up in her training to take notice. Garnet and Amethyst is much more willing to lend an ear. Garnet is unsurprised that Pearl would teach Connie about sacrificing oneself to protect their leader, Pearl did it all the time without any logic or consequences. It’s a very unPearl-like decision, but as we’ve seen before, Rose Quartz meant everything to her. Unlike her though, Connie does not have the means to reform from her dormant Gem state; once she dies, she dies. Steven rushes off to stop this dangerous mindset before Connie fully absorbs it.
Connie is taking her final test against a horde of Holo-Pearls. Steven tries to stop her, but Pearl got into her deep. It’s only when a Holo-Pearl sneak attacks does Connie understand what Steven wants: not to be protected, but to be equals. Steven wants to fight alongside Connie, not have her fight for him and die a senseless death. The beginning of the episode showed that perfect mindset: the two in sync as they sang and danced; Steven as the biscuit to Connie’s strawberry. Jam Buddies. Steven and Connie now work together to destroy the rest of the Holo-Pearls and eventually tackle Pearl herself (she being the final phase of the test.)
Pearl is disappointed because she thought she found a like-minded soul in Connie. She tries to justifiy this sacrificial mindset to Steven, saying he’s too important to even be on the battlefield. Steven counters, eventually forcing Pearl to shriek, “Why won’t you let me do this for you, Rose?!” That’s enough to end the argument and for Pearl to sulk away. I think it’s clear she’s had this kind of discussion before with Rose and it likely ended exactly the same. The possibility of losing another is hanging over her head and if Connie could just do what she failed, then maybe it would mend the pain a bit more.
Pearl recovers quickly though. She realizes Steven and Connie were right and decides to continue their training as equals this time around.