What we learned from Winter Forecast

Ah, Steven trying to get Connie home before the snow gets too bad. It’s a simple episode, isn’t it? Nothing lore-worthy could possibly happen in that, right? You would be reasonable to think that, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’d be wrong.

Steven Universe has made a habit of trying to get us lore in surprising places. Which might make what we learned in Winter Forecast a little less surprising.

Rethinking Future Vision

It makes perfect sense in retrospect: winter forecast. It’s clearly a reference to Garnet’s future vision, and Steven’s temporary ability to experience it. The portrayal is a little bit problematic though. After Future Vision aired we reasoned that Garnet’s foresight was based strictly on knowledge she had and was so rich because of her ability to closely analyze the world around her and run calculations on that data very quickly.

When Steven experienced the future vision in Winter Forecast it didn’t seem anything like that: it seemed to be the sudden rush of intuition that supernatural precognition is often shown as. He certainly didn’t know Connie’s parents well enough to even begin to predict their reactions to various events, yet he saw a very clear future anyway.

This is a very interesting data point, but by itself doesn’t change much about how we feel about future vision: remember that no matter what we saw in this episode, it doesn’t change the fact that Garnet couldn’t predict Peridot, locate the light cannon, or do any number of other things.

The easiest explanation for how Steven experienced future vision is that he piggybacked off of Garnet’s knowledge base, getting a much more accurate read of what Connie’s parents were like and the way the weather would progress. This doesn’t really explain how he knew so much about what Connie’s house looked like on the inside, though, unless Garnet’s senses really are just that good (they are, after all, good enough to detect a snow storm and its intensity while standing in the house).

It’s not impossible that Steven could get more future visions, either from Garnet or simply because the rose quartz gem is just that powerful, but this is probably the last we’ll see of future vision for a while so we’ll probably be left with our core assumption: whatever Steven experienced, the visions can’t relay any information that someone with a lot of data can’t have figured out on their own. Too much of the series would be cheapened if it worked otherwise.

The fate of the Galaxy Warp

Whose knowledge he was working off of is very important when considering whether the Crystal Gems really used the shooting star to destroy the Galaxy Warp or not. If he was operating off of Garnet’s knowledge, as is most likely, then it was almost certainly destroyed successfully by the Crystal Gems, as Steven never showed up to distract them. (Or else they did not get it all the way through the Warp before it exploded, causing a permanent explosion in warp space.)

If Steven was somehow going off of his own knowledge, however, then the Crystal Gems may never have planned on striking the Galaxy Warp with the shooting star. He knows they have it, and that it’s a weapon you launch at a target, and that they’re worried about Gems from the homeworld using the Galaxy Warp to reach Earth. His mind simply could have put that together as a possible course of action for the Crystal Gems to take.

We’ll probably find out which it was by the end of the season. Parsimony makes it most likely that the Galaxy Warp was destroyed (or at least the attack launched), and if that’s true then the Galaxy Warp will probably not be mentioned until episode fifty-one.


    • david on February 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Can’t wait to hear the podcast tomorrow on this! We’re getting so close to the end now, I’m so pumped.

    • Unwovensymmetry on February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    After rewatching this episode just recently I realized two things that might help alleviate your concerns about how future vision operates. First there’s no concrete evidence that Steven had never been by Connie’s house before or at least had it described to him previously. Secondly in Steven’s initial vision Connie’s father said he was going to set up the pullout couch, which when they actually stayed over, did not exist; instead they simply slept on the couch. It may seem like a minor thing but I think it is highly relevant to how future vision works. You are simply visualizing probabilities and if you don’t know something filling in whatever seems most likely.

    There are actually a fair number of techniques for estimating things that can be ridiculously accurate despite the fact that they boil down to making your best guess for a bunch of different variables. The idea is that small mistakes will cancel each other out as long as they are randomly distributed.

      • gc13 on February 25, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      Intriguing. Of course it’s always possible that the lack of a pullout couch was just an oversight, but it’s still really interesting to note.

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