Just in time for Halloween, here’s a review of an especially spooky episode of Steven Universe. ‘The New Lars’ was the tenth episode of season three of the show. It came out on July 21. The episode revolves around a very curious (and unnerving) case of body-swapping involving Steven and Lars.
The episode starts with a regular conversation between Steven, Sadie and Lars about animals. As per usual, Lars is disinterested and expresses that he’s glad he won’t have to put up with it the next day. Sadie asks if he would like to hang out and watch a movie with her if they have the day off and he refuses. She’s clearly put off by his dismissal and Steven watches the interaction intently. After they close up the donut shop, he follows Lars to ask why he wouldn’t hang out with Sadie. Lars says that he sees enough of her at work but Steven remains convinced that they’ll get happily married and name their child after him. This noticeably agitates Lars and he denies everything, telling Steven to leave him alone before storming off.
That night, Steven has a peculiar dream about Lars where he pleads with him to let him help. He then immediately starts awake, but in Lars’ body. Naturally confused, he interacts with Lars’ parents who seem to be concerned about his grades. After reassuring them he’ll try his best, Steven sets off in his new body to try to better Lars’ relationships with people.
The ‘New Lars’
Next stop is the cool kids, where he compliments Jenny and gets invited to a dance party by Buck. He declines, however, because he has bigger plans for Lars involving Sadie, Steven Universe style.
He shows up at her house for the movie that Lars declined to watch. She’s visibly disgruntled and calls him a “human boomerang”. She tells Steven to pick the movie and he forgoes all the horror ‘classics’ that Lars may have gone for to pick werewolf romance flick ‘Fangs of Love.’ Sadie is naturally surprised to see ‘Lars’ crying over such a silly movie and offers him a box of tissues. She reveals that it upsets her that Lars acts like a different person in private than he does in public and that he’s always changing. But when she asks how he really feels about her, Steven sees this as a perfect opportunity to tell her that Lars loves her. Sadie freaks out and tells him to leave, forcing Steven to reveal the body-swap and apologising. She believes him because Lars would never apologise to her.
They promptly realise that if Steven is in Lars’ body, Lars’ must be in Steven’s. they quickly run to the temple but are spotted by Lars’ parents and the cool kids who follow, just to see ‘Lars’ break into Steven’s house. To everyone’s horror, ‘Lars’ shakes a still unconscious Steven awake, prompting them to switch bodies again. When Lars starts to panic, people start commenting how he was so much nicer earlier. Lars is obviously upset that everyone preferred him when he acted like a completely different person. Steven later apologises to him for everything but Sadie is the one who manages to reassure him by saying that she’s glad to have the real Lars back.
This Steven Universe episode shows that Steven’s powers are not limited to communicating with people through dreams. He can also use them to enter other people’s minds and bodies. However, as per most of his powers, they’re empathic. He can’t use them on whim and can only use them if he is greatly concerned for someone’s well-being. He was able to communicate with Lapis when she was Malachite in ‘Chille Tid’ and likewise was able to communicate with Lars in this episode. It’s also arguable that Steven’s empathy powers come into play with how he can just tell how Lars feels about Sadie instinctively.
Lars’ birth name is also revealed in this episode. His parents refer to him as Laramie on two occasions. On the first occasion, Steven is visibly confused and asks what his mother means and she immediately corrects herself to Lars. It is evident that he only goes by Lars, especially seeing as his mother corrects herself. There has been much fan speculation as to why this is but, as of yet, the exact situation remains unexplained.
In this episode, Steven Universe gave us some much needed character development for Lars. It also further expanded on the relationship between Lars and Sadie, which hadn’t been touched upon for many episodes. Lars clearly still has a long way to go in his personal development. But this episode further cemented Lars as an intriguing minor character within the series.
What did you think? Let us know in the comments!