Steven Universe has returned from that awful hiatus and does so with a somewhat dark episode, ‘Nightmare Hospital’. Steven and Connie return to her home after another training session with Pearl and after Connie expresses her wish to train more between her scheduled sessions, Steven offers her his mother’s sword to use at home. The exchange is interrupted though when Dr. Maheswaran returns from her shift at the hospital and she happens across her daughter holding a sword.We already know that the Maheswarans keep a careful and overbearing watch on their daughter, seeing her with a sword sends the doctor into a maternal rant and she confiscates the sword before being called back to the hospital on an emergency.
Knowing her mother and her inability to go back on her decisions Connie tells Steven they have to get the sword back from her and the pair travel to the hospital with Lion. Once inside Steven, Connie and Priyanka meet as the pair are caught red-handed with Rose Quartz’ weapon but their argument is interrupted when they’re attacked by gem mutants who were mistakenly picked up as traffic accident victims.
Frustrated with her mother’s inability to listen to her Connie lashes out, taking the sword and fighting alongside Steven, at this moment Dr. Maheswaran realises that she may have lost sight of her daughter is becoming while she wasted time enforcing rules to protect her.
When I said the episode was dark I meant it! ‘Nightmare Hospital’ is clearly influenced by iconic horror video game series Silent Hill, you don’t have to look too hard to see how either.
The hospital is dark, Connie says they lower the lights in the evening but that doesn’t explain why such a large building would be so sparsely populated, aside from Steven, Connie and Priyanka we barely see any other people in the hospital with the exception of two doctors and a security guard. Throw the twisted monstrosities that are gem mutants into the mix and you’re basically reliving the hallways and corridors of Alchemilla Hospital all over again!
This episode affords us the time to get know more about Connie’s home-life, we already know her parents are controlling but the full extent of that is revealed to us. The Maheswarans, particularly Priyanka worry about their daughter, perhaps her job as a doctor has affected her and her ability as a parent; fearing what she sees on a daily basis could harm or befoul her daughter in some way, she enforces rule after rule on Connie. Connie herself has grown exponentially since her first appearance but still feels the need to hide her new skills and what she is doing with Steven including learning to sword fight with Pearl from her mother and father. Whether it’s fear of being punished or letting her parents down, Connie has up until this episode never really stood up to either of them. The scene in the hall where they are trapped by the gem mutants, shows this repent anger bubbling up and over with Connie, finally snapping back at her mother before taking the situation into her own hands and showing that she isn’t weak, she doesn’t need to be put in a bubble, both in a literal and figurative sense and she demonstrates her ability in front of her mother taking both monsters down with ease and skill.
Priyanka learns that while it is a mother’s job is to protect a child, they must not forget to nurture them and the rules she imposed have put a barrier between her and her young daughter. Watching Connie fight, she realises she has truly lost of how much her daughter has grown, particularly when Connie explains her glasses haven’t had lenses in them for over a year.
The episode wraps with mother and daughter embracing but in the background we see Steven standing with Lion, a somewhat sad expression on his face he clutches his mother’s blade to his chest.
Here’s what we learned:
♦ Connie has maintained her training with Pearl and will most likely head into the next Gem battle alongside Steven and the Crystal Gems.
♦ The production/experimentation of gem mutants hasn’t stopped.
♦ The extent to which the Maheswarans monitor Connie is revealed, from scheduling every minute of her day to scouring her internet history.
♦ The episode also contains two excellent references to two terrifying Doctors, Dr West from Re-Animator and Dr. Gero from Dragon Ball.
Have you seen ‘Nightmare Hospital’? What did you think of Steven and friends return to TV? Let us know in the comments below!
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