In the show, fusion has been used by the characters as a solution to a whole range of problems, from silly things like maintaining a child’s fib by mashing Steven’s three mother figures into one giant “mom,” to fighting a high-stakes battle against an enemy too powerful for any of the individual gems. And of course, there’s Garnet’s situation.
As the Gems stated, love is the best reason to fuse and seems to produce the most stable and healthy fusions — be it platonic, familial or romantic. But love isn’t the only way for two gems to be emotionally synchronized.
So what happens when a fusion is born of anger and desperation? Something like Malachite, the fusion of Jasper and Lapis Lazuli. For Jasper, the fusion is an attempt to gain power, fueled by her anger and shame after being bested by Garnet — a fusion —whom she considers inferior. However for Lapis — an isolated gem with only Steven to count as a friend, victimized and imprisoned by both sides of the conflict — the fusion seems to be the only way she can help her friend; by imprisoning Jasper at the bottom of the sea in their fused state.
Their time fused is a constant power struggle, with Lapis desperately holding them back and trying to repress Jasper while she fights day in, day out, to take control of their shared form. Eventually Malachite does resurface and act on Jasper’s long building anger and desire to fight the Crystal Gems. But while Malachite is trapped on the sea floor, a significant change comes over the struggling pair – hinted at by a nightmarish encounter with Lapis declaring: “We are Malachite now” and Malachite herself using the singular “we” to refer to herself multiple times until she is broken apart during conflict with the Crystal Gems.
In a later episode, "Alone at Sea," the effects of their time together resurface in a brief but definitive confrontation between Lapis and Jasper. Lapis admits to missing Jasper, regardless of her awareness that the relationship was harmful and Malachite dangerously unstable, being part of Malachite defined her, it became a core part of her personal baggage. When Jasper reappears, she begs with Lapis to reform Malachite (though she claims it is a desire for Malachite’s power that drives her), even pulling the eerily familiar “I’ve changed” card as part of her rhetoric. Though Lapis does struggle between her knowledge of how unhealthy their dynamic is and her own longing for that connection, in the end she rejects Jasper.
So why does any of it matter? Because in Lapis and Jasper, we have the seeds of a conversation on consent and toxic relationships, presented in children’s media.
Marty Le Gallez
Marty is an aspiring author from Ottawa, armed with an imagination stuck in permanent overdrive, a BA in English from OttawaU, and (soon enough) Professional Writing credentials from Algonquin College. When not writing, Marty’s usually occupied in some aspect of geek culture – from consuming new media (and revisiting old favourites for the thousandth time), to cosplay and conventions.