This review was originally published on The Fandom Post.
What They Say:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Phos’ sense of inadequacy has always been an important part of Land of the Lustrous, but this week is when it all comes to the forefront. The episode begins with Phos captured by the Lunarians, but they escape shortly after when the King’s brother breaks free from his restraints and kills all of the Lunarians. This sequence further reinforces the Lunarians’ inhuman nature; from their alien appearance to their silent communication, everything about them is creepy and otherworldly, a clever irony since they’re apparently the most closely related to humans of the three races. Throughout the battle and subsequent conversation, Phos has essentially given up. They object when the topic of capturing Cinnabar comes up, but otherwise doesn’t seem to care about what’s going on. Phos has always had self-esteem issues, but they’ve always compensated by keeping up an energetic demeanor and being generally pushy. Now that Phos has tried to really do something on their own and failed, they’ve just given up. Even when the King lets Phos go and they’re rescued by Cinnabar, their only reaction is to apologize for not finding a job for Cinnabar and promise to do better tomorrow. There’s no relief or joy in being rescued, only more melancholy. Phos picks up by the end of the episode when they get a replacement pair of legs made from quartz taken from the King’s brother’s shell. That, combined with thoughts of Cinnabar, is enough to perk Phos up, even if it doesn’t address their underlying sense of inadequacy.
If Phos has stopped hiding their feelings, Cinnabar has done the opposite. Even while professing to the other gems that they don’t care about Phos, Cinnabar can’t get Phos off their mind. Even if Phos hasn’t done much yet, their promise for help meant something to Cinnabar, whether they’ll admit it or not. Now that Phos has got a new pair of legs that seem to give them incredible speed, they might be more active in trying to help Cinnabar.
On a side note, Phos losing their legs doesn’t come without consequence; losing part of their body means that they’ve also lost some of their memories. The full extent of this isn’t shown, but Phos has at least forgotten the names of some of the other gems. Bringing that up again is a good reminder that the gems may be immortal but still have to face consequences when they’re injured.
Between their injuries and growing sense of inadequacy, this episode marked a low point for Phos. Now that Phos is safe and has new legs, Land of the Lustrous has a chance to further explore the issues behind Phos’ low self-esteem, as well as their relationship with Cinnabar. The next episode preview hints that Phos is finally going to get a chance to fight, and I can’t wait to see how that turns out.