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 may have new legs, but they’re still the same old Phos. In typical Phos fashon, their first appearance in the episode is them trying to figure out how to use their new legs without running right past their target. It’s a funny scene, but also serves as a good introduction to Yellow Diamond, who helps Phos get used to their new legs. At over 3000 years old, Yellow is the oldest gem alive, a fact that colors their relationships with every other gem. When Yellow shows up, all of the younger gems show the kind of excitement you see from younger siblings when the older sibling they admire gets home. Yellow’s amused affection for all of them and their patience with Phos firmly establishes their status as the older sibling of the gem family. Yellow’s role in the episode is mostly limited to giving Phos some encouragement and getting them set up with their new legs, but hopefully, they’ll have more to do later on.
The bulk of the episode is devoted to Phos growing accustomed to their new legs and new role. Because of their incredible speed, Kongo gives Phos a chance to prove themself by joining Amethyst, a pair of eerily similar twin gems, on lookout duty. Kongo is still unsure, but gives Phos a chance after they admit their main reason for wanting to be useful is to impress him. Outside of their legs, Phos is still as fragile and weak as ever, so Kongo treats their assignment with Amethyst more like a training mission than a proper duty. Even so, it allows Phos to regain their dorky enthusiasm and excitement at the thought of being useful. Unfortunately for Phos, lookout duty turns out to be more boring than they expected. Two days pass with Phos mostly being bored and jumpy. Their enthusiasm contrasts nicely with the two Amethysts’ creepy deadpan tone and habit of talking in unison, making for some amusing interactions.
The episode’s highlight is easily Amethyst’s battle with the Lunarians. The two of them fight perfectly in unison, cutting down Lunarians with incredible speed. The entire sequence is shot with a dynamic camera and quite a few effects added to their strikes, making for one of the most exciting battles yet. Amethyst is finally captured in a Lunarian trap, and Phos completely freezes up, unable to do anything. They may have new legs, but more strength doesn’t suddenly make Phos a fighter. Bort arrives in time to destroy the Lunarian, but it’s not completely clear whether Amethyst can recover after being crushed so badly. This is yet another low point for Phos; they always wanted a chance to prove themself to Kongo, but now they’ve had a chance and completely failed. It’s a hard scene to watch as Phos just sits there while Bort turns around to yell at them. What Phos is going to do from here is a mystery, but they’ve learned the hard way that a new pair of legs doesn’t make them a different person.
Even as Phos has their ups and downs, Land of the Lustrous continues to maintain the high level of quality we’ve come to expect. Phos is an inherently likable character, so seeing them have so many low points has a lot of emotional weight, and only makes me want to see them happy again more. Between the likable cast and gorgeous visuals (this week had some especially beautiful lighting) Land of the Lustrous has yet to have a disappointing episode.