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  1. #31
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    #17: LION 2 THE MOVIE

    wow two episodes in a row that open with glimpses at in-universe movies. i'd see dogcopter, if its all its cracked up to be by connie, nice touches in these early scenes by the way with the different reasons each of them wanna see the movie and connie alluding to the source material, but who care about that when you've got magick!!!

    despite the title, lion is little more than a catalyst for the action packed events of the episode. okay yeah thats actually pretty crucial but the characterization around the events is whats actually important. OKAY yes all the mysterious gem cavern stuff with the hand panel and the weaponry and array of armor and steven controlling all of that though not quite knowing how is all also clearly very important in that similar teasing way, but for this episode on its own, whats important is how steven and connie react to all of this. lion ends up inexplicably leading them into this place (im sure theres a reason and i didn't catch it or it wasnt thoroughly explained) and ends up saving them, but otherwise the episode isn't really about lion, and that's smart, because lion is still just a big pink dog with powers. also a sword in his head. that's pretty rad. wish i had that. wait no i don't then i'd be dead. due to sword injuries.

    so then what we're generally left with a simple but necessary story that toys with connie's position in the show, her own intelligence leads her to questioning where she fits in to the scheme of all of steven's prospective adventures. meanwhile of course while steven wants to be a hero and save the day and do cool magical shit all he really wants is to see dogcopter with his friend. yeah its a simple plot where each character wants the opposite of their usual day-to-day but not quiiiite so simple, and it does provide a solid place from which to understand connie. we obviously know steven cares about her and likes her and doesn't care that she isn't magical or whatever, to the point that her actually helping save the day at the end with her tennis practice lending a hand in swordplay feels like a bit of a stretch, but regardless of how he feels its clear that connie is worried she wont be able to fit in. she's overwhelmed by all the magic around her but not as a fish-out-of-water scenario but more as not knowing how to include herself, not even realizing that well she pretty much does. she has the innate enthusiasm and curiosity that gets steven into jams while having a bit more tact that may serve him well in death traps, and despite being an outsider to all these crazy happenings until now seems entirely game to take part in some capacity. i'm sure she'll become a great asset to the team over time, i can definitely feel it already.

    there are alot of cool doodads and dangers sprinkled throughout this episode but its a bit difficult to really extrapolate much of that, it just feels like another vague winking sneak peek of the future, where all of this will start to mean something. i love stuff like this where you get thrust into a wild mysterous world of contraptions and ancient items and have to slowly try your best to piece it all together. im enthralled by a good mystery and i always get pulled in when theres clearly history to unravel. the show has been doing this pretty much the whole season though and i risk increasingly the sin of repeating myself. this episode actually gives us alot to chew on in this regard though, alot to theorize and inquire about. what is this big cavern? whats with the armor? couldn't the gems just shapeshift into Armor or is that not how it works? big penny? would it be worth more? no because its still a penny dont give me your pun bullshit steven (good pun tho). what are the limits of this mysterious mechanism that steven finds himself stuck to? he allows it to bring up many weapons and suits of armor but even inadvertantly triggers a defense bot to try and destroy them (seems flawed that the controller of the thing can do this and it wouldn't be like Wait No?). its good to ask question, its good to want to ask questions. i haven't felt this inclined to since together breakfast so im glad to see the show do more explicit reveals of Things while still not being explicit about what they are.

    on a simpler level this is a pretty light episode though, its mostly just connie and steven palling around and getting into Hijinks. oh sure they're potentially important hijinks but its still alot of cracking silly jokes, making observations, rooting each other on and talking about their lives and little stuff like that. really on every level they work together, thats what the episode ultimately sells character wise to me. as friends, as partners in any dangerous situations, as compliments to their own flaws to help one another, as the other side of a coin they want to see more of and embrace to get out of the world they're so accustomed to. steven gets to go see his fun dumb movie, and connie gets to embrace the wonderful world of magic she so envies he's such an integral part of. one definitely sounds better than the other to me but i guess that's the point. i feel like you can get some secondhand wonder out of sequences like lion dashing across the water and seeing connie's sheer elation at the moment. she gets in on the action and the problem solving and the mystery and it feels like a new perspective of it all, its an episode that makes you take notice because despite the repetition of necessary motifs, it makes you feel like you're seeing it for the first time.

    pretty sure lions aren't allowed in movie theaters, good ass logo reference or otherwise tho!

    B

  2. #32
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    #18: BEACH PARTY

    what a delightful and creative romp about absolutely nothing at all.

    well perhaps that isn't entirely true. there's a seed of an idea of the gems' dealing with a lack of appreciation for their services, though this is more from steven than anything. there's a little to glean about the innate humanity of the gems, somewhere in their strange shapeshifting exterior lies a core that is alot more rooted in personality that the denizens of beach city can relate to more than they'd presume. the viewers aren't learning anything new, we know of pearl and amethyst's bickering, amethyst's penchant for chaos, pearl's inverse daintiness and poise, etc. i guess there's less to say about garnet, her humanity is still somewhere in there but mostly her bit is helping save the day and observing nanefua's bravery in the moment.

    ah but i'm getting ahead of myself. what really, observing the framework, feels like an episode that we've experienced before, has alot of intriguing and endearing details that give it a vivid spark. more than maybe any other episode so far, it basks in that aforementioned humanity, thanks to a rather colorful - wait thats not a good word to use there kaos what are you doing - thanks to a rather lively cast of characters in the pizzas. we've hung out with a few humans and had some fun quotables and back-and-forths but not ever quite to this extent. the reason isn't even the pizzas though, the reason is the inclusion of every gem. up to this point the stories that indulged the most in exploring the people these gems save mostly stuck to steven. it was a good and logical strategy, he is innately the most human feeling of the gems, being a young complex individual trying to figure himself out and bumbling into success and all, plus he's a newer gem he's not all sucked up into the goings-on of being a world saving guy yet, his familiarity with humans and gem stuff actually falls about 50/50 i would say, and it helps these earlier episodes shine by having him explore the human world a bit and get to know them, but its never really implausible, just a nice fascination.

    here we actually craft a distinct conflict with the gems against the pizzas, and we place them, as they truly are, against the pizzas starkly, making very clear the disparities. yet i suppose even having said that it'd be a lie to say the episode really hammers on that point, if anything kofi pizza makes sure to just treat them like he'd treat any vandal who smashes up his business, passive-aggressively and then eventually aggressively barking quite a bit at the gems for their behavior. as for the remaining pizzas they don't seem to find it too odd after a little reservation and confusion to hang out with and just have fun with the gems. yet its the way they start to find those similarities in casual pasttimes that the episode begins to shine, though it doesn't even take that long to become appealing, they've not been this sharp with the little jokes from ancillary characters before, there are alot of cute amusing and downright funny little lines and i wont bore you with pure quoting but yeah especially nanefua. the sisters in the family merely act as parallels to pearl and amethyst, convenient but it works fine.

    it's hard to explain exactly why this one nailed what past episodes didn't quiiiite accomplish. again, look back at lars and the cool kids for example and you have alot of likeable and memorable characters and it says alot about lars and steven and their relationship and everything, but maybe that's part of it. they're cool and likeable characters on their own but it all comes back to steven and lars. i think this episode was smart to focus so much on the pizzas because it gave us the starkest contrast of regular humans just doing what they do that the show has offered yet, casual conversation and jokes and bickering and the stuff that's all far removed from the show's typical adventurous offering. you could peg it as filler - and heck i was pretty ready to - but shockingly i'd say its one of the most crucial episodes thus far for what it seems to show they're capable of in really making us care about the pizzas, its not deep but its very believable and fun and genuine, they're all multi-faceted and they feel like a family. this isn't an episode where the pizzas are a catalyst for some arc about the gems exclusively, this is an episode commited to being about all involved, and thanks to that manages to hold together remarkably well.

    there are tons of tiny tidbits that illustrate this, jokes about kofi grounding jenny to psych her out, ridiculous uses of gem powers to win volleyball, and the eventual fantastic monster defeat that seems like about the most well-crafted problem solving the show has achieved thus far in just how many steps it manages to work through, again front-to-back everyone gets involved. really the character the episode is the least about is steven, he just wants the gems to be appreciated and for them to get along and bond with people, and try to patch things up after the incident with kofi's shop. it works, we already know steven has a good relationship with these people, they're familiar and his humanity is clear. here, now, we're starting to get a glimpse of that blossoming for the rest of them. what that means for each set of characters remains to be seen but it helps greatly in caring about every character involved more, and on a more surface level it's just plain fun. sometimes the idea of filler is loose and hard to define, if an episode isn't driven by crucial elements does that make it filler, or does the notion of a break from the action actually allow for a greater feeling of immersive realism in the world pacing-wise? i think this episode proves the latter is very plausible indeed.

    B+

  3. #33
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    I personally really like episodes that develop Beach City and its denizens more, especially because outside of maybe Onion Gang, they tend to be fairly well done. After all, if you don't care about the people in Beach City, why should you ever care about what happens to Beach City itself either?

    I do like the Pizza family, too, especially after this episode. Jenny is a surprisingly likable party girl and she and Kiki are cute together when they get to be. I also love how she responds to Nanefua "nope"ing them the fuck out of the awkward situation in the beginning. Gunga, your hearing is sooo good! Little things like that really do add to the personalities of these characters. It makes me glad that this show cares that much about those little tidbits because it helps flesh out this whole Universe (heeeerp).

    But ain't no way Nanefua could run for that long.
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    round and round let the city turn party in the hills we can party in the burbs roof on fire let it burn champagne in my hand I'm not concerned

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  5. #34
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    *cough*

  6. #35
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    #19: ROSE'S ROOM

    hey kids, i'm back! don't have a job. just don't do it. dismantle capitalism in fact. do that for your pal kaos and you'll get way more of these, sound good? thought so!

    so, this episode. it's a bit of a shuffle through the show's recycling if i'm being honest, not all the concepts fall together and not all the conceits even really make much sense. you really just have to taken in the weirdness for the sake of itself within this episode's vacuum, even considering the importance these things may have later like the wailing stone or well rose's room itself. in a sense this is appropriate, the episode takes a dive through some of steven's most crucial or notable moments in the series thus far, and also frybo. the issue mostly lies in the lack of a real integral point tying all of this together. i could probably say "im sure these events are important but i have to take this episode as a singular entity as well" for nearly every episode but this one especially creates something of a difficult-to-judge-on-its-own scenario. it all just relies on fooling steven and maybe fooling the audience the first go-round. it generally works tonally, has some creative and funny scenes, makes soooome kinda point even though its a bit rickety and leaves me generally feeling Yeah That Was Alright.

    the "point" of the episode, steven wanting a place for himself, is a fine one but they sorta clumsily amble to the point. when steven's initial desire is to play mini golf with the others, it doesnt really add up that the totality of his frustrations would be I Want Time To Myself. heck, if this episode is so intent to further drive home steven's frustrations with his detachment with the gems in terms of just having time to chill, this is about the opposite of what you want, and while the game thing is somewhat understandable, its a bit absurd in the ramp up and petty on his part. these things sorta make the episode hit a roadbump with regards to trying to teach anything or make a grand point, and heck if it was about steven wanting time alone why should he regret that or face disastrous inner nightmares for it? i guess its not about teaching him a lesson rather just showing him that things inside rose's room may be too much for him at this juncture, but then why with the flimsy framework?

    but yes, ultimately it is the show's recycling. it's steven not getting to pal with the gems, its pearl explaining a weird new object and having that obscured by working from the pov of steven who is more invested in something trivial, its steven's precariously nuanced abilities within the context of creating and reshaping that which surrounds him in proper contexts, which can be amazing but also dangerous and is something quite unwieldy at this juncture for him. then come the concrete references, the scene of connie calling him amazing from bubble buddies, the appearance of frybo, onion and his bullshit, the arcade lighting up, etc. its an interesting feel, like steven is submersed in a vestibule of his own memories but they're broken away from any context, like he's swimming around in a liquified version of his consciousness. there's pantless announcer man from tiger millionare, the cool kids from Cool Kids and so on.

    it all feels like theres inference of logic to what's going on, but then theres the screwy stuff. zombified preset dialogue unison speaking lars and sadie, the jittery water at the shore, the endless fry bits occupying the same realm of matter, this stuff works on a This Is Cool And Weird Level, but its a bit bizarre. especially lars and sadie since the other characters all seem to have a context they are vaaaguely attached to, an idea of a memory, whereas they are more a perversion of the idea of a memory. the inconsistencies do make me wonder how this all ticks, but im not really gonna spend my time figuring that out now. as it stands, credit to the little touches, the stuttering skipping music in the donut shop, the eerie pallette and minimalist bloopy music that scores these sequences, the bit of animation where steven falls into the ocean and is spit upwards onto the ground at the carwash, a good mislead if somewhat expected, but easy to accept when greg's lines are so good ("well the important thing is family and friendship, honesty, values and no one got arrested"). yet that line as silly as it is.. is pretty much the resolution. after some wicked animation with the town jolting away piece by piece before steven is whisked back to tha real world, he concedes that "things cant always go exactly how i want". yeah this is the plot to like every single episode of everything ever but okay. like i said, this episode isn't about those things, its about exploring rose's room, and what it all means isn't so much important as how it all feels, and it feels...creepy, powerful, magic, absurd. i guess it just depends who is wielding its power, and while its no surprise steven cannot figure the room out, it is interesting to see him face his own mind, in a sense.

    *air guitar lick*

    B -

  7. #36
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    #20: COACH STEVEN

    uhhh

    well sugilite is cool, though i guess im supposed to Not Think That. i admire the way this proves that fusion is something of an unpredictable practice, and the totality of the gem's fusion may be greater than the sum of its parts in a way that dilutes the parts themselves. nicki minaj does a great job adding alot of fierce attitude and force to the character, carrying the weight in equal vocal vigor. the value of such a fusion is brought into question by the unruly and chaotic nature of her behavior, even in a moment of necessity such as the one this episode brings about. it begs questions of past disasters with the fusion, something pearl seems all too aware of. it toys with the dynamic of the characters in a pretty literal way, exploring their chemistry as though they were actually compounds to be experimented with, which in a sense they are.

    pearl's song is lovely, well written well performed and all, and steven's part is pretty good too. her arc of doubting her strength because of steven's admiration of the sheer brute force of sugilite is a curious one, i suppose its not implausible, it seems to me both amethyst and pearl especially seem to envy each others most appealing or most prominent attributes and sugilite definitely mirrors a heightened perception of amethyst. there isn't much to it however, we know pearl will in the end find the strength, steven will encourage her and all that. the issue to me is while the idea is totally fine the way the episode largely executes it is in rather basic jealousy that only digs deeper when pearl is sure she's going to lose the battle. we kinda already know everything this episode tells us and there isn't much nuance to it, pearl wants steven to admire her more graceful and poised take on strength, an inner and spiritual strength, which is legimate, but she also is jealous of the physical prowess she lacks, which is also legimate. we know these things. the episode basically creates a cool device to tell us things we already know, which is a bother. oh and there's the excercise stuff.

    the excercise stuff...it's fine? i like lars and sadie scenes pretty much always, with lars struggling with the can especially being pretty good, but the framework of this episode being steven trying to get other beach city folk buff is...hmm why? i guess he just wants people to join his path to fitness but ultimately they don't really have a contribution to the episode, and as much is even pretty much said through lars' befuddlement at the end. what's bizarre is steven's desire to be fit is totally valid, but he's not gonna run his way to being a fucking gargantuan. wouldn't steven perhaps try a more Magical Way to gain such grandiosity? it's very jarring to me the way this episode focusing on such non-magic methodology when theres no way steven could attain what he aspires to through such means, nor should pearl really be so very worried considering his choices, though again her envy is logical enough. it feels a bit empty and forgettable, theres really not much reason to ever revisit the exercise bits here, some cute lines and all but they don't go very far and many characters get lost in the shuffle as they struggle to integrate these two starkly different plots.

    that's kinda it. it's a barebones episode even in the moments of intensity. it settles on the side of pearl which makes sense consdering sugilites needless wrath but less sense considering pearl is just as in the wrong in terms of the petty jealousy and desire to be the one steven aspires to. it feels a bit incomplete, and its no wonder when the episode doesn't desire to dig any deeper. its a bizarre instance of grand ideas to explore surface level characteristics. it modestly works, as well as it can. i look forward to more toying with the chemistry of gem personalities in the future and the way that affects those involved in any capacity. for now i guess ill take steven running around covered in tires.

    C +

  8. #37
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    It's weird that one of the top songs in the show is surrounded by a mostly average episode. The exercise stuff is easily the weakest part because why is everyone involved at all, really? It's all about Steven wanting to be strong and he's not even the one exercising. Steven acts rather childish most of the season but you get to see glimpses of him growing and learning. This is definitely one of his slightly less mature eps as Steven being totally wowed seeing Sugilite being strong AF and "awesome" leads him to want to be strong even if it makes Pearl disappoint, which almost seems to fuel his want more. A lot of these early eps find their beats from the Pearl/Amethyst friction so it feels slow going to have to repeatedly be reminded of their rift. And the idea that a gem fusion of two of our own Crystal Gems would go awry was not something one would've even thought to consider at this point with fusion being a relatively fresh introduction. Looking back, it was mostly cool to see the obvious temperament differences between the fusions one after another, two of which involved Amethyst whose arc is also kicking off with Pearl's. Amethyst was so volatile on her own that even fusing with Keep Calm Garnet went off the rails. Sadly it only hints at this whole aspect of the gems and spends the rest of the time watching Steven be sorta irritating. This was an ep that solidified how much I "liked" Pearl, though. I kinda rotated between each Gem as I learned more about them and their personality and Pearl was the first I really connected with. Her victory at the end was expected but still reassuring to watch.

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  10. #38
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    #21: JOKING VICTIM

    oh shit we didn't give lars and sadie anything to do in the last episode uh uh uhhh


    so, lars and sadie. i've mentioned that i'm fond of them in the past and this episode only helps illuminate why. their relationship is..complicated, and only further tangled up by lars' deceit. before now we've mostly been exposed to their relationship as two work pals who have something of an unspoken and dysfunctional friendship, we've seen inferences of lars using sadie, but for the most part never seeking to hurt feelings but just being selfish or thoughtless. this episode does well to extrapolate these general behaviors and better understand where each character is coming from. it's a big ugly and messy and there's not even really a nice clean wrapped-up-with-a-bow-on-top ending either, things end about as uncertain as they begin in my view, but that doesn't mean things are hopeless for them either.

    lars has proven to be a selfish and thoughtless individual, taking advantage of sadie's generosity and even using their bonding which she took to be sincere as a way to abuse the friendship for his own advantages, bypassing work completely, attempting to even do so for multiple days. the episode's emotional footing turns out pretty potent, sadie clearly feels something for him and she's put into doubt whether or not any of it was real or just a way to keep himself looking not like a villain. even his so called sweet gestures all seemed like a way to even things out after making her stand in a line for seven hours for a video game, who can say for sure what it means to him if anything. yet im not really cynical to that extent either, even just with what i have its clear lars is rather reserved with these feelings in all capacities. he was nervous to hang out with cool kids at first, he was afraid to step outside of what was expected of him, but really he just doesn't seem to be aware of how he affects those around him, though even when sadie confronts him in tears while he does help it feels like she forgives him a little too quickly. this is where things fall back to questions, lars offers to help but its not particularly efforted, she quickly takes him because well, she wants to believe in the good in him. let's hope she doesn't end up looking like a fool anymore for trusting him.

    this episode definitely knows the value of its emotionally driven story, it dabbles in magical elements but mostly as a way to revenge prank lars. the only other gem to appear in the episode is amethyst as the peanut gallery, and steven's largely just being shown the ropes of a workplace through the chiller scenes of the episode. these do a great job setting a balance as well as toying with some fun workplace comedy, like the ridiculous workplace rap tape by harold smiley, with a song that left me smiling like a dork with its..well accuracy to old school restaurant instructional tapes, and general 80s and 90s eductional vhses with old stars and musicians. good shit. also nice airplane! esque joke with the vhs between steven and sadie ("wow what is it?!" "it's like a dvd shaped like a box"). the little details help this one, seeing sadie just show steven around and get acquainted, her talking about the job stretching on far beyond the intent of a summer job, things like that that make it feel real while still being very pleasant and lax. steven's part in the actual conflict barring the fire salt is somewhat minor but i appreciate how telling his reactions to lars generally are, he seems more able to note lars' difficult behavior and take it for what it is, while still liking him. he's totally okay with lars being fired though thats more so he can keep the job. still while they both try to be positive about lars they're obviously coming from different positions. for steven its just a general optimism and ability to see people's good sides, its way more specific and meaningful for sadie which is why the deceit lands a good blow and makes you want to see her take revenge.

    lars' suffering via fire breathing is good for a couple gags and pretty satisfying, it is really all the episode has to do, but it does well to set up an ambiguity. is lars sorry because he feels bad, or merely because he got caught? does he wanna mend things or just maintain the general favor he has with sadie for his own convenience. for now, i think its probably just too early to make any definitive calls. im very much looking forward to more episodes with these two, the scene where despite everything that just happened sadie comes over to lars and grabs and begins rubbing his hand is really sweet even though theres no concrete reciprocation. its got this vaguely tragic quality, sadie is unable to shake the feeling that he has to be a good person, but theres no clear indication yet. he doesn't seem emotional but maybe hes afraid, he doesn't really do anything concrete to fix things but maybe he has no idea what to do. in any case, things hang in the balance, but even if lars didn't care about sadie to much of a degree before and was just using her it seems impossible to say it'd stay that way because it seems he must care to some degree. theres alot to unpack here for sure, but for now it all seems quite tentative.

    wait what was The Accident!!!

    B+


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    #22: STEVEN AND THE STEVENS

    time travel! clones! punk rock! and yet..

    this one's stupid. i could try to crack open the internal logic of the time travel because hey that always makes for a good unresolving ramble with alot of pseudo intellectual analysis that makes you feel like a Big Boy Writer Boy In His Big Boy Writer Boy Pants. there's little reason to bother though, what you see is what you get here, steven clones himself a bunch and then shit goes Sideways because steven, surprise surprise, can't handle steven.

    i feel like its fair to say this episode's antics are kinda just that, alot of dabbling. at first if toys with the time travel aspect but that mostly is just to get us our horrible steven army for the sake of forming a band. they don't do alot with the band stuff either, sure the title song is cute, a nice 60s bar rock n roll thing complete with sky high harmonies like some cheeseball scooby doo number that would break out in one of them door montages or some shit. its a memorable little ditty even though its clearly a struggle for callison to sing in that voice, the reprise with the gems later on is good too especially for some good off-hand lyrics about alternate dimensions and "watching myself die". better perhaps is when the other stevens rebel and start cranking out angry distorted punk with lyrics like Meany Zuchini.

    the most important line of this episode is steven's reflective "i can't believe it, i'm so..annoying!". yet the episode doesnt really do much with this idea, its just alot of good natured goofball antics, steven trying to classify each clone and such. i feel like you could use this idea of steven dealing with steven to make him understand the actual wrecklessness of his actions, the gravity of his importance against his immaturity, but all we really get is him fooling around, every steven is basically on the same level and gets caught up in a ridiculous brouhaha at the end trying to prevent one another from either starting the band or stopping the band. the issue is this is a conflict that only has importance to steven, and maybe its unfair to disregard it because well if its important to the main character maybe theres a way to appreciate it?

    eh, but its really just kinda nothing, its another silly offering that contains a neat magical thingy but only teases its actual importance by presenting it in a context much more casual and goofy. this feels, like a few recent episodes, like a bizarre regression from where it seemed like the variations on these ideas were getting more clever over time. it all seems like it could be important, its interesting conceptually but the framework is so almost non-existent, heck even by the end the only risk is Oh Theres More Stevens Now And Theyre All Fighting Over Something Stupid. like thats not good but theres no problem, i kinda figured they could use the time element to almost cause another disaster, but that doesn't happen. in fact the area in which they get the Time Thingy that was previously destroyed actually gets spared this time, so what up? like i said, what you see is what you get, steven makes too many clones, the clones wrassle to stop The Main Steven(s) from getting the Time Thingy, etc.

    they all treat it like its important because i guess to them it is, but that just does more to give us steven being a bit of a dumbshit but Compounded and with no real attempt to provide insight. i mean sure Main Steven realizes that he's wrong in letting it get this out of hand, but that doesn't say anyting about steven to steven aside from HEY maybe dont clone yrself and then fight yrself in multitudes over a dumb band. its just really hard to appreciate this because theres nothing to go on, i guess the little things help it. the song, the time travel jokes, the little comedic bits between the clones earlier on, little things. its just hard to write about those little things, so all im left with is a face value adventure about Nothing. im left wondering what the point was, and im left with little more than a catchy ditty.

    C


  12. #40
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    #23: MONSTER BUDDIES

    steven's value has been slowly unraveled throughout this fascinating Half Season, but really what it all seems to come down to is harmony, finding the beauty in all manner of things and trying to uproot the humanity, trying to see things on the bright side, heck the brightest side, to a point of frequent naivety and overzealous meandering granted, but here steven's actions feel entirely noble and ultimately pay off in an interesting way.

    i would expect nothing less from a series as sophisticated as this but nuance even in depiction of supposed baddies. every time we see our new monster of the week all we really have to glean so far is Hey Theres A New Baddie Its Fucking Shit Up Prevent That, but it would stand to reason that theres always a bit more to it than that. where do these creatures come from, are they instrinically evil or just unruly and untrained like wild beasts? this episode would suggest far more the latter, an inspection of just what they've been fighting this whole time, maybe only fighting because its a necessity. after all, if even rose couldn't tame these feral creatures what hope could they have justifiably had in steven to do so especially at such an early stage. besides, they just wanna look out for him, especially pearl. they have every right to be nervous about his new centipeedle buddy.

    its a nice look backwards too, here so close to the Big Ones that drop the curtain on this wild maiden voyage through seas of lengthy and necessary exposition into the wild unknown, it does the show good to pause for a moment and reflect, consider the innate complexity of the supposed villainous gem creatures and, by extension, throw everything into potential questioning. to leap back to a creature that before was indeed just a fearsome menace that needed to be vanquished lest it destroy the city, now we treat it as a cute lovable and amusing sidekick to steven's antics and eventually the hero of the episode in a display of self-sacrifice.

    it feels poetic, for all of steven's misdeeds or goof-ups his sincerity has never been put into question, and at long last it pays off as we see his genuine desire to find the good in this creature, to not be afraid and to believe he can tame it, we see that come to fruition and prove his value, to see his worth put firmly on display in a way that starkly approaches the situation from a unique perspective that allows them their victory. it plays the whole situation smart, like i said the other gems have the right to fear, they dont know any other options to dismantle these fiends besides fighting them into submission, the tactic they've clearly been using for awhile with all these bubbled creatures in the temple. heck im not even sure if one tactic is more or less correct than the other, sure we would like to think steven's approach of befriending the creatures and making them good is the ideal, but whose to say it will work the same way each time? the results are going to vary, and it wont always be so easy, this little baby centipeedle Dog Thing is hardly the ultimate creature they've faced thus far even let alone what lies ahead. maybe steven's way is the right way, but it damn sure isn't the easy way, and it damn sure is the risky way. putting your faith in that which you've ascribed all your fear is a gateway to your own demise, and you have to have alot of love to overcome that. that's what makes steven so great here, he has that love, and this time it paid off, but that doesn't mean it always will.

    for all this, the ending is quite touching - chaaaaps and all. you want to see steven heal his little pal, you know he has the potential to do it and it becomes exciting because his powers are being realized, but perhaps not in the way anyone expected. the reality to me seems that the way steven finds his powers and taps into what makes him a great gem will never be according to the safe trajectory desire by the others - again mostly pearl - which makes for a fun and unpredictable ride but also reaffirms who steven is. he's not necessarily just like the others, he still is prone to mistakes, heck you could easily say his actions in this episode are the same dumb luck he's been having for awhile (though said dumb luck has been laid against insane bad luck so). yet even if thats true, its starting to feel less like dumb luck and more like love and faith, an unflinching certainty that his actions are right even if at face value they still seem impulsive and wreckless. i suppose theres a bit of both, steven trying to befriend baddies can come from a good place as well as come from impulse, but maybe that impulse has a point. it's all worked out for him so far, why not have a little faith-a-faith-a-faith? the way the show has so early in its run pulled an Undertale of sorts and made us consider the implications of whats evil, if anything, is bold. im sure we're still gonna see many more baddies getting creamed, but i'd be lying if i said i wont feel just a twinge of sadness about that, this feeling that Hey it doesnt have to be this way. maybe eventually it wont be.

    B+


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    LET'S CHOP IT UP
    CHOP CHOP IT UP
    And serve it with LINGUINE

    AL DENTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  14. #42
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    Not gonna lie, I cried at the end of Monster Buddies.

    I'm a damn sap.

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    #24: AN INDIRECT KISS

    no more roughhousing, you'll exacerbate your crack!

    before we plunge into mysterious depths, one more episode that i've previously seen, and truth be told i cant imagine why i would have outright stopped here, though its usually just me being unable to push myself to do uhh anything? there's alot to unpack here, but ultimately i'd like to talk about what we've learned, where we are and what this episode says about the journey in a way that seems to punctuate it, but doesn't forget to smack the space bar in preparation for a wild new paragraph.

    see this has been a season of steven finding his way into success, dumb lucking or resourcefully finding answers to insane and seemingly impossible problems that he should be way in over his head dealing with but almost always seems to find a satisfying answer. yet the reality of the situation is that if steven's entire arc was that all we would have is a contrived path to making him a hero because the show demands it. after all thats happened, even considering the importance distinctions and nuances of certain examples of these occurences, it seemed important to give pause, and reflect, for the show to reflect, for steven to reflect. steven has proven his worth, yet he was only able to achieve within his own context. there's nothing wrong with that, until you really begin considering rose.

    the immense shadow of rose quartz looms large and omnipresent over this entire affair, but whats more is that its kind of been looming the whole time. from laser light cannon on we've gotten an understanding of steven's mother, a brilliant loving being who saw the beauty in everyting and sought to heal the world and make it a wonderful place. we know she loved a doofy schlub of a man in steven's father by making the code for the cannon one of his silly phrases, we know the gems respected and respect her greatly and believe in steven perhaps because of him being the son of rose. we have to wonder just how much they believe in steven Only because of this, and no matter how many victories he stumbles his way into, eventually so does he.

    steven doubts himself, he cant seem to tap into the powers that would save amethyst, the stakes are higher than ever but when it really counts he cant rise to the occasion. thats the tricky thing about steven's luck, it may always seem convenient but it still worked at random, sometimes he did need someone else to save him, sometimes his powers only dug him deeper, and sometimes even if he claws his way out of danger he's not necessarily newly armed with answers. the lack of general resolve even in victory speaks volumes that because steven finds ways to be a good gem doesn't mean he knows what he's doing. every victory is a surprise, and while it implies greatness, it doesn't imply control, and when life is on the line all he can do is strain to no avail. god bless him, he's trying. has he matured, hard to say, but he knows when things are crucial and when theres a job to be done, especially when it directly involves the gems.

    the episode does a nice job teasing different perspectives of rose too, like pearl's which is...sexual? sexual. it's pretty fucking sexual. its more than that tho, the romanticizing is to such a degree that she doesn't want to see her precious sanctum in ruin, and garnet doesn't help matters by smashing a huge hole in the place. before this all we knew was a general respect for rose, but giving pearl a bit more a lean towards genuine infatuation is intriguing for the future. yet thats what creates the interesting stark contrast here. for a nice Half Season we've firmly known the other gems worshipped rose and steven had to live up to that, but it somehow finally clicks in this episode that he didn't even know her. he doesn't know what he's living up to, he's merely privy to the Myth of sorts. yet, that's his mom. sure he wishes he knew how to be like her, but he also just wishes he could have met her, that she was still around so things wouldn't be so hard, that he could have some guidance from this person. steven realizes that he does mess things up, or doesn't know his own powers, but thats self understanding is crucial as well.

    ultimately things do work out but still not really because of steven, nor should it be because of him. if steven harnesses the power that rose did, and surely to some capacity he does, the episode that spends its time explicitly stating the intimidating distance between steven, a young earnest boy trying his best, against rose who seems like a most important figure in the series the way she's approached discussed and Jerked Off Over, would do well not to roll that back to say HEY HES THE GREAT HERO THE CHOSEN ONE YADDA YADDA. because is he even? or is he just another gem. probably not, the context seems to suggest otherwise, but whatever he is, he's not there yet. he wants to be, it becomes clear he desperately wants to be because it matters now, because the stakes are higher and will be higher again. you could even argue that steven's immaturity was something of a defense against being unable to meet those expectations and thus avoiding them entirely, the idea of him just trying to do whats comfortable, though alot of it does reflect on him naturally and his immaturity. in any case, all this time, through all these adventures and breakthroughs and close scrapes, he's still nowhere near where he needs to be. comparison is a bitch, and its not necessarily the way we wanna try to push ourselves. steven has to the be the best steven steven can Beven, healing spit (gross) and all. steven wanting to be great like his mom is understandable, but steven cant be his mom.

    A-


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    #25: MIRROR GEM

    what's really going on here

    now i dont feel anywhere near equipped to answer that question, but i feel more and more compelled to ask it. if i was to treat this season of the show (okay Half Season but lets be honest this is a full package if ever there was one) like a math equation, one where i've been writing down all the information loosely on a big honkin whiteboard but not really linking it together to figure out what it all means to the story, at least beyond general character stuff, what conclusions can i come to here? in the beginning everything is deceitfully normal, a typical affair it seems, because from steven's perspective most adventures and journeys hold only the weight he can give them through his own understanding, which is clearly missing some crucial components intentionally withdrawn. it contexualizes the tone for an entire season of background importance and aside exposition that will become important later but for now is not for steven to be plunging into, be it because he's not ready to take it on..or maybe more. maybe because there are things they don't want him to know.

    the mirror story here is indeed one in a long line of steven dabbling with a magical item in a way that he sees most fit, which is to befriend it and try to just have some goofy fun, it's importance is well hidden via a consistent logic that would guarantee its importance need not even be relevant to steven's desires towards it. yet its an event in which all that we know steven to be, his greatest and most noble attributes, are what become his potential downfall and causes things to unravel. steven is that boy who captures the optimism and innocence and loving of his mother, in a sense, but with none of the toolset to navigate these feelings without the implications set in front. in a way steven's position mirrors (heh) the viewers, he can only work with what he knows, but maybe he should have known a bit more.

    what do we know though. we know the gems bubble other gems for....reasons definitely reasons. monster buddies would suggest maybe not all these gems have to be baddies and that the idea that any of them are at all could even be a simplification of how to handle them. there is a sense of innate fear, a desire to protect something, but perhaps a desire that isn't as altruistic as we'd like from our great heroes, as steven would like from his great heroes. in this episode there is a moment that hammers in potently where Garnet tells steven the mirror is "just a mirror. it can't want anything". we know that isn't true, steven knows that isn't true, what is being obscured here? this is why steven's turn on a dime against them to protect the mirror manages to ring true, something just doesn't feel right the way this comes together. of course steven is often the one to see the good in things to the point that maybe he can miss the bigger picture, but when he's been able to befriend "enemies" and talk to magical items and such, why wouldn't he have some confidence in his own abilities and therefore a doubt in somehow disregarding those feelings, giving into these rigid ideas of the gems. steven has always played by his own rules inevitably and found success in his own way, but now he's finding that the more he diverts from the rigid path, the more he may not like what he sees.

    its been a season of tucked away mysteries, alot of it still just sitting on the table, hard to even factor into the math equation as they all exist in a floaty purgatory where conclusions can be made but context clues seem to be absent. it is totally possible im just an idiot or my brain is lazy though. there are some strange holes within this episode itself, primarily if this episode provides such clear evidence that steven may not need to be armed with all the knowledge of what the gems may be actually doing, why would pearl give him a mirror that could provide him with all the clear information of gem culture? or is that perhaps only a small corner of how this all works, culture doesn't necessarily equate to their mission or what have you, and who can say just how honest and accurate this thing woulda been had it worked totally accurately. pearl giving steven a gem item like this seems wreckless on its own but you could chalk it up to her desire to Teach, plus its telling of the juncture we have landed at, there is a certain unspoken trust, just an inkling at least, where steven can take hold of amazing objects and artifacts and experience the immense world he belongs to in a more profound sense. it makes sense and doesn't make sense. which makes sense!

    it is fun seeing that trust get shattered as steven's Steveness eventually leads to doing..the right thing? maybe. maybe not. regardless leads him to doing the thing that is going to set off our finale and gives us some great memorable moments, like seeing garnet's three eyes flaring at steven and her being far more stern and serious with him, because when playtime is over, playtime is fucking over. it all just feels so fascinating in retrospect though. like i said, the background gem stuff at first just feels like a nice tease, but it eventually starts to feel like a curtain we, and steven, aren't yet meant to peek behind. something fishy. something where when you start to add nuance to the gem's missions and their goals, none of it really seems intrinsically for a side of "good" on its own, it all feels hard to nail down and make sense of just yet. it all just starts as another day and fun adventure for steven, but thats why shit goes as sideways as it does. steven not knowing things may protect him, or it may endanger everyone else. suffice to say, Things Are Not As They Seem. so whats really going on here?

    A -


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    #26: OCEAN GEM

    i've been blathering and extrapolating and positing amateur theories as if all this shit hasn't been cracked and spilled out by way more prophetic fans than i with a better grasp of verbosity paired with brevity for two months now. i have tried my best to make these feel interesting, thematic, thought provoking or at least inspired as though im thinking so you admire the investment or feel immersed on the ride with me, and no matter what i've consistently tried to capture the heart of whats in front of me. i try to make presentations out of writing and i try my best to be articulate and meaningful and all that jazzy jazz. i really do take writing pretty seriously and i'd consider it a passion and the decision to settle that passion on this series felt very right and continues to. im sorry for writing About Me Writing but even if theres like three people reading these i genuinely love doin em and take them seriously and im happy anyone likes them at all, and i try not to write inferior shit because i dont wanna waste those three people's time (like im doin right now lmao). let me not belabor the point though, i want to do my best to not dilute whats on the screen to the point of missing details or simplifying like some Horrible Rounded Dairy Product Person. yet i think something i've realized is while its important to make this interesting, its also important to capture the emotions as i feel them, thats part of immersion too. so enough indulgence lets get to what i said all this to say.

    I Goddamn Fucking Loved This Fucking Goddamn Episode Holy Fucking Shit.

    also i cried human tears fuck you if you laugh this shit was masterful and it realized the potential of everything it was building. a season (HALF SEASON fine!) of constructing the pieces, drafting the subtle details, asking the questions and tossing many a wild magical item and a bevy of interesting beach city denizens our way, all corralled together for an absolutely electrifying finale that casts any miniscule shred of doubt that there could be a payoff for all this, that they could live up to all their own potential, casts that aside. we're in good hands.

    the fundamentals need not be overthought, take everything that was cool and interesting about the season and mash it together in a final bout and an array of memorable scenes that hammer in the likeability of everything we've seen. lion! tiger millionaire! steven's shield and bubble abilities! the ideas of bubbling gems and the Truth (?) behind that! jokes about lars wantin 2 get his dic wet! sadie tossing him into the ocean so his Dic Literally Does Get Wet! pearl fighting herself again after Being Killed by herself in sword fighter (just an excellent touch)! great Greg moments cuz Greg is always great (his album cover line def one of my favs so far, great timing and delivery)! i could go on but you get it, if it ever felt like the slow burn of this season 1a has been a bit dragging, it all feels like it earned its purpose here. it all starkly provides the evidence that a patient, loving session of foreplay makes the Orgasm all the better. i'm sorry. i'm very sorry.

    but i ended the last review positing a question, and the episode Sort of answers it. i guess the "Truth" we are provided isn't really anything we couldn't determine already but having it stated outright is the moment where the gems seem to starkly realize theres no turning back and steven is in this for the long haul. having pearl be the one to tell him only emphasizes that. yet even still at the end one has to wonder. the crystal gems are supposedly helping the damaged gems, but lapis doesn't seem to see it that way. what does she mean "they only care about earth"? what is out there, why does she want to go home, what went wrong and are the gems wrong to care about earth? not all gems are good so..perhaps Most Gems Are Bad? yet even as pearl says not all gems are good we can again refer to the centipeedle. the little flashback sequence of monsters being bubbled even shows one, theres something more here even still, but for now we wait on that.

    thing is its not even the great story that holds this one together. all that slow burning, what it did was give us characters who can all come together and just fire off great line after great line, or make for immense exciting battle sequences. i dont often talk about the fight scenes because they are what they are and the context is usually so episode-specific that it doesn't matter (yknow til it did when they full circled some of them in said battle), but boy howdy was there alot to love here, alot of intense well crafted, fantastically drawn moments of garnet smashing gauntlets with Water Garnet, amethyst tossing boulders and then eventually Goin Wrestler, lion firin off soundwaves, even steven and connies silly REVENGE bit where steven fires a water gun at a water creature yo dude whatchu doin. it all makes for a great representation of just how intense the battles can get, and will get. when the stakes begin to stack, and every force the city has to fight back (and Greg) band together all at once, something we hadnt seen yet, to battle a force that seems invincible.

    and it is. seemingly

    let's get Thematic again. what is steven universe About? not the plot ive been talking about, plots aren't really what things are about anyway theyre metaphorical framework for actual meaning. all this fighting is wild and rad and intense and woo i love it it looks so good..but thats not what steven universe is about. call it cliche, but steven universe, to me, at this point, SEEMS pretty clearly, is about love. that is, steven's love. steven as a vessel of love. steven's love causes this through a trust and optimism that causes him to unfurl a disaster he couldn't forsee, but more crucially his love leads him to fearlessly engage lapis and walk into the face of potential demise. steven has never been a fighter, even as a dopey ice cream sandwich eating Fucboi he revealed his weapon as a shield, even in his moments of resourcefulness his tact seems more passive and not intent to hurt anyone unless its the only way he can protect others, his nature has been that of an innocent and pure soul who sometimes falls prey to his altruism, hes the only gem whos intentions arent in question because what you see is what you get.

    all season he's shown a capacity for that love that protects those around him, sees the good and beauty in the world, fights for what he believes in but tries to find harmony, and now willingly lets his guard down (well after letting it up shield and all) to directly engage lapis. the gems mission may be more noble than one can infer, but without steven they would have been good as goners. maybe fighting the bad gems is somehow the right answer, but it isn't the only answer. steven hasn't always been the brightest or most mature or most sensible, but ive never doubted his being. that purity shines bright and provides a beacon from which the show has a footing in an undilutable essence of beauty that radiates into everything it touches, it makes me want to see him succeed, whatever that may mean and no matter how many stumbling blocks along the way.

    even now im not sure if his great intentions are the right path. his choices save the gems and beach city, but should he have healed lapis? he gives another gem a trust that they had lost from the others for one reason or the other - or perhaps many, probably many - but he also lets them get away and leaves the others lying in wait for what seems to be an inevitable oncoming event now, caused by steven. pearl specifically says, "what does this mean For Us", so how noble are their intentions all the same. theres a duality to everything on display here, but whether or not steven's actions were right, they were right. right? in any case, you wanna put Sadness Water on the cheeks of this boy all you gotta do is some profound full circley coda scenes, play that ending theme music, have steven celebrated and recognized for his heroism at last, pearl alluding to the porkchop line, and even in the face of certain uncertainty, steven satisfied and hopeful with his decision. i wouldn't have it any other way.

    A+

    see you again very soon. there's no way i'm turning back now.


  18. #46
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    I say it every time and I'm right every time (well okay twice) - once you hit Ocean Gem you're stickin with this show till the end. in just 11 minutes, the show answers your every question but then brings up a whole world of other questions, many of which still haven't been resolved as of season 5. it's the episode where steven, and by extension the viewer, finally gets the whole picture of what's going on in beach city and the picture is that...it's a tiny microcosm of something much much bigger.

    as for the general Theme of the show, this is definitely one of those episodes that starts digging toward the core "thesis statement" of the show. what makes steven and the crystal gems so important that they're the protagonists of our show? what cause are they, and by extension the Crewniverse, championing? (yeah the Crewniverse is their official name and it's a good one so I'm gonna keep using it) naturally, "love" is a good one-word summation of it, but there's definitely more to it that later episodes will delve even further into. for now, we've gotten our first glimpse of someone who calls what steven and the CGs are doing into question, the first of many conflicts that will test the ideals the show holds and push them to the breaking point.

    and yeah the art in this episode is absolutely worth a mention. the action scenes are storyboarded by Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu, who almost always handle the show's most ambitious animation challenges and knock it out of the park every time. like, when an action scene doesn't have Joe and Jeff (or later, Colin Howard and Jeff Liu, or currently, Jeff Liu and Madeline Queripel maybe??? a lot of boarders just got swapped out) on storyboards, you will know right away. aside from, as a certain egg would put it, EPIC ACTION SCENES, Joe and Jeff's work is usually marked by some really accurate character models, which work really well in intense action scenes where you wanna avoid getting overly cartoony and breaking the laws of physics left and right. and as a final note, the backgrounds - I'll just leave this here.

    anyway, welcome to the real steven universe. strap in.

  19. Thumbs Up To This Post by: kupomog

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    also if you cried at ocean gem bring some more tissue.

  21. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by peyrin View Post
    and as a final note, the backgrounds - I'll just leave this here..
    This is a good, less official place to gander at, as well. Though beware of le spoilers:

    http://su-aesthetic.tumblr.com

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    #27: HOUSE GUEST

    1B or not 1B. thats shakespeare. find a more goddamn sophisticated steven universe review Publication i dare you!

    but uh oh! someone stole the reset button, things happen and their effects are maintained. of course that was always the case but now the important things are happening directly to steven so the impact needs to be emphasized. so, busted up van, busted up Greg Legs, healing powers immediately in the toolbox as a potential solution. all the ideas that began floating around and appearing when necessary now can begin finding consistency in the narrative, though im sure they'll continue to ebb and flow just considering the density of the material in the grand scheme. the little tidbits that feel more grounded in consistency help address a sense of progress, steven wanting consciously to do well as a gem, and consequently the awareness of his powers being as pearl aptly put its, "fickle". its a little touch that makes us feel like an important incremental step has been made: steven once was a doofy kid who couldnt see his potential, now he's trying to leap headfirst into said potential without perhaps yet being ready. two sides of the imbalance of finding one's potential.

    the episode does make continuity feel immediately relevant. it literally requires the past events to take place, that's new and exciting for what it can mean for the future. greg and steven's song together is cute, the continued expression of a purer relationship between the two continues to exude a valued and necessary positivity in a culture of problematic parents in tv (though yes he definitely fucks this up to an extent). greg's need for help also provides a nice way to shift the dynamic, make steven not strictly at fault, he's rarin' to go and save the day with Minimal Bumbles but greg keeps blowing that goddamn whistle. greg's dishonesty might could paint him as unsympathetic but he just wants to hang out with his son, he's a simple dope of a guy who doesn't really quite grasp the gravity of all the magic stuff his son is doing - though after ocean gem ehhhh maybe he should?

    the episode is largely about steven's doubts of his powers, which isn't a new problem but comes from a place following his greatest and most potentially dangerous actions yet to save beach city. he knows he has the potential but then worries he's lost it. there's not even really resolve to this, he heals his dad after all but not the giant scary rock. maybe he can't heal non-living objects? its a nice change to have the gems taking steven into an adventure with a conscious goal for him and him specifically instead of him being a mere trainee handheld into dangerous territory to learn the ropes, that sense of growth makes a big difference toward our understanding of the character and his changes.

    its a sweet and cute episode, greg's intent to make things right by facing scary magic territory head-on despite a notorious aversion proves that while he was using his son for a spell he did just want to have a nice time with him. it exploits greg's faults and even outright selfishness but once steven makes it clear how devastating greg's choices were to his own confidence in his potential he turns on a dime. the episode is a @Tad...sitcommy? what with the injured relative in house, abusing the kindness and hospitality of loved ones to a point of exhaustion and irritance, it is just the steven universe version of that, but it doesn't forget the important details. its probably about the right way to leap back in after the madness that preceded it, show us that there are consquences to a degree, show steven with a greater focus than ever and have that be shaken to show his dedication, show the other gems belief in his power even in the face of failure, and boom its a nice little return, humble and cute and still sorta teasing but from a different position. i suppose its fair to assume teasing is something the show will continue doing for a long time. we're still at square one, its just a different square one. does that make sense?

    in any case, a small scale antithesis to the grandiosity of the last episode, that plays with the residue of its massive implications to create a sitcomish but pleasant affair. ulitimately, its an episode about steven's importance. everyone seems to realize it moreso than ever, except the one person who seems to take it a bit for granted and inadvertently disrupts it. steven is important to greg, as his son, and thats all he has to be to him, but to the world around him he's much more, and greg has to learn and appreciate that.

    B -

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    For some reason, I am really glad you thought their song was cute. Yes, "for some reason." *eyes chat*

    Greg is a good dad character. He's not perfect (and sure isn't successful), but thank the lord he is not a stupid freaking useless imbecile. He still does all that he can for Steven when possible, even while living out of his van.

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    continuity! new steven powers! steven/greg duet! how could this episode possibly go wrong!!!

    The first time I saw this the continuity impressed me enough to slap a Thumbs Up on this ep, but the more I think about it, the more it falls apart. like you mentioned, Greg doin the whistle thing and the resolution being Greg saving the day after all felt very sitcommy and by-the-numbers, especially considering the plot of the last ep. and yeah, of course they can't all be (ocean) gems, but the later story arcs are far more consistent than this - hell, you'll see some of that in season 1B.

    and now I must introduce the true villain of season 1B. it's Hellen Jo. first of all who allowed Helen to have to Ls in it like what. anyway, the song in this ep is one of the few that's not written by Rebecca, because it's written by Hellen. and oof you can hear it right away - it's hard to tell if it's just steven/greg's VAs having a hard time with such a low register, but that verse melody is super tuneless in some places. shame, too, cause composers aivi & surasshu do a great job with the arrangement. acoustic guitar strumming along to VGM blips is some good shit.

    but that's not even Hellen Jo's greatest crime in this ep. I'm sure she's a good artist and everything, but her boards from SU are uh

    cursed.

    no.

    argh.

    fortunately for us, this is by far her worst ep storyboard-wise. there are still some Cursed Frames in her later eps but they're certainly not as horrific as here. Lamar Abrams does the rest of the boards on this. he's cool. can't say I notice his boards a lot. which is a good thing. rock on lamar.
    Last edited by pilcrow; 09-27-2017 at 07:01 PM.

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    #28: SPACE RACE
    written and storyboarded by JOE JOHNSTON and JEFF LIU

    uuu space travel, go!

    steven universe expands into...well the universe! a nexus of warp pads - i count fifteen! - that lead to wild unknown gem controlled worlds and planets far beyond the comprehension of i or steven. of course, the teasing persists, the gateways are all busted and our heroes are left with no connection to these worlds. still, just like that the scope widens, and the possibilities are put into question, exciting. nonetheless, for now its not about the adventure outward into space but the inability and the desperation that brews, especially for pearl. pearl's romantic connection to the other gem worlds is a fascinating one, there is a feeling that she's the least..human of the three? garnet is very stoic but she knows how to talk to steven like the endearing squirt he is, but pearl is often all business, her goings-on usually revolve strictly around whats important and she feels very fish-out-of-water in Hooman scenarios, so shes a great natural choice for the journey here. she feels being a gem more than anyone else, and misses that connection, to quite a degree.

    first though, lovable funny greg and steven antics! after a particularly hilarious crying breakfast friends episode, the Duo build a goddamned spaceship. or try. greg and steven's direct involvement in gem stuff together continues, because whether he likes it or not he's gonna get continuously wrangled into this madness, and MOSTLY he takes in stride, and when he doesn't he's pretty right on the money. steven and greg palling around, showing their similarities, earnesting working hard together to build a Useless Piece Of Shit, but their hearts were in it! it's good fun. great strings on the bit where steven is plumetting down the hill btw. really triumphant and Skyward as they should be. some great moments with pearl and greg too ("i think your calculations may have been off" "well they can't be off if you dont do any!") also pearl picking the old chair and calling it disgusting got a big chuckle outta me, that delivery is perfect, and its just a good outta nowhere aside, the exact sorta thing that even in such pressing moments she'd be sure to point out.

    greg is usually passive but he chooses the right moment to stop being a dad and start being a Father. dont let your son die in space, greg! woo! he puts his foot down and "grounds" (heh) steven, though of course to no avail. pearl's character, inversely, is almost frightening in her lack of logic, she spills out reason wall-to-wall with impulse and it seems as though shes just trying to sweep rationale under a big rug where it wont intrude upon her mission. you almost can't blame her though once things get hairy its reasonable to see why greg was so stunned. of course all this time greg didn't think they'd actually pull it off anyway, which kinda makes it better? here's greg, pretty sure he's not gonna build a real spaceship cuz Why Would That Happen, just basically making a soapbox car with wings with his son. dawwww. too bad he's gonna freeze or explode in space. *explosion noise*. excellent moment where greg puts his foot down and says straight up "you are not taking my son to space", and pearl with no regard for his tone simply responds "yes i am!". thats like the whole episode inside itself right there, thats all you need to know to get whats going on here, especially with pearl, but without greg there'd be no pearl or steven left.

    lapis said all the crystal gems cared about was earth. clearly not, pearl nearly gets steven killed - y'know that thing she was preventing fervently like an obssessive mother previously - because she's just that desperate to see space again. her actions in the episode play well into her general grace and efficiency, leaving her with a one-track-mind that disregards possibly dangerous implications. it really speaks volumes to her desire to see whats out there, how she ignores all the panic and worry from greg until its almost too late, and even seems totally ok with taking steven away from him and everyone else for fifty years, certain he'll love the experience because why wouldn't he, she sure knows its grand. there's this zen-like insanity to her in the episode that's an absolute thrill and carries out the escalation to steven experiencing danger as close to home as ever - well as far from home as ever cuz he's in space but you know what i mean!

    its a beautiful episode too, from the dusky skies of later earth scenes to of course the starry infinite outreach of space which pearl is seeing in all its glory for the first time in longer than she can seem to remember. its no wonder she's so transfixed she disregards logic, she even disregards a warning sign which again, seems to antithetical to pearl, but thats the point. all of her convictions go out the window to make way for a new, firmer one that desires a return to what she considers home. sadly, all her dedication and focus can't get her there, not yet. ya just gotta know when to bail. in any case, that's a good way to help appreciate earth. home is whereever you're not dead, as they say. as i say. i said that. i feel like its a good sentiment.

    A -


  26. #53
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    as usual, Joe & Jeff do good work on this ep, but the background artists definitely steal the show here. 1B starts to flesh out the rest of the show's auxiliary settings (including the barn!) so look forward to some more great work from them.

    as for the actual episode, I honestly don't dig the first half very much. Greg and Steven playing with toy spaceships feels a bit reminiscent of the dorkiest aspects of season 1A that unfortunately haven't been completely left behind yet. not that Steven bringing his comically naive ideas to serious gem issues is necessarily bad, but now that we're in the Post-Ocean Gem era, it starts to feel like the show is stuck in its old identity of Dorky Kid + Gems even as their world is constantly expanding and building up to the real shit. fortunately, the rest of the episode gives us a great Pearl character study, scratching the surface of her backstory yet immediately striking at the fundamentals of her mixed feelings toward ho--err, whatever's out there.

    glad you were able to enjoy all of it though, because traces of 1A Dorky Steven will continue to be littered throughout this season, even in eps with some major developments. and this is where I stfu before I get tempted to drop casual spoilers. see you after Island "4/10" Adventure.

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    #29: SECRET TEAM
    written and storyboarded by hillary florido and katie mitroff

    pizza daughter! i'll take one pizza posse card.

    @peyrin said there'd be a bit more s1a steven in these early s1b adventures. i was ready for that, what i was not ready for was an entire episode that felt like an active regression into taking everything eerily not seriously and bouncing around cartoon environments fighting Monster Of The Week Sorta But More On That In A Moment while steven dopes about minding not the important situation but the framework he's assembled around it to pal around instead of acting like a hero which he took awfully seriously two damn episodes ago and pearl and amethyst bicker like children with no real depth other than to cover up a Bad Doing like a couple of ...well like just said children. yeah i dunno, and there isn't even alot else to say here. but let's try.

    it's not like the temple hijinks aren't fun, especially the montages with the Actiony music as they zoom through the temple smackin down Gem Appendages, punctuated with logos like steven thinks he's in a tv show or something (well). i like the animation of the arms, especially the way they Slither down the drain in pearl's room, very creepy. same with steven's big cannonball, that looked nice. i do feel like i'm reaching now, but the general appeal of the temple's design and structure is alot of what holds this episode together, even though yes those ideas are kinda redundant at that. the final battle looks pretty nice too, and is a fine subversion actually on the monster of the week idea in theory, i even like where it garnet seems to be taking it by finally confronting amethyst and pearl for their obnoxious back-and-forth snapping at each other, but i have some definite issues with how we got here.

    the rose quartz bubble holding the shards definitely seems important, and Amethyst wanting to obscure the truth and leap thru the temple taking care of shit herself makes some sense, but Pearl? well i suppose maybe this is so important and crucial and she's breaking her usual streak of steadfast responsbility - or seeming responsiblity - that she would wanna help cover it up, but the dynamic of the character stuff here might would work better if they had different ideas, and steven's whole idea was to find that harmony which he Claims is the point but nah not really. most of the secret team stuff is entire self-centered, steven just wants to make this little mission feel Special and like he's part of some super cool team - which you are you little idiot wtf - and once the second half of the episode becomes that yeah i dunno like steven obviously wants to do this With them but not to make them get along, their bickering in this episode isn't even particularly heavy, they kinda ramp up the whole I WOULD NEVER WANNA WORK WITH YOU stuff unrealistically and suddenly for the sake of making a point they've way more naturally and gracefully arrived at before without needing to shove said point in the face of the viewers.

    then, back to steven, i just have a hard time with how not seriously he takes this. the other two clearly, albeit immaturely, express the gravity of the situation losing these shards - though they take care of them pretty quickly which doesn't do well to mirror that? - but steven treats this like he's in episode three or whatever yes cheeseburger backpack that level of passively wandering through a real situation as if he doesn't know how important this stuff is. it just feels like, okay im fine with steven being immature and dopey hes a kid, him being a bit of a dork or not quite understanding things gives him a juxtaposition against the others, a means of seeing how far he can come. peyrin said space race had some of that dopey steven but it doesn't really bother me, he's playing pretend but his goal is actively to help pearl and although it's a pie in the sky dream when he starts the goal is still direct, earnest and leads to actual success. all steven does here is create superfluous framework that says..well it says to me they actually didn't know what to write here. it just feels like they had an embryo of an idea, with the rose quartz bubble with the shards with the popping and all, but then didn't know what to do with it. it just feels so much less sophisticated, so much more insipidly meandering and aimless, and when it all tries to wrap up with a point about how they're already a team it's like...yeah. i know. the concept feels..fruitful though im not totally sure how they'd handle it, but something about how the gems seem to take for granted having each other to help one another, and having garnet show them that through pretending to be a villain - i do still think thats good cuz i was so sure they would have forgotten a gem shard cuz well thats how they make it seem, thats a good misdirect - but i dunno the point isn't really sold. as hijinks, its passable, but it tries to make more of itself to the point of losing its point inside itself, and when it tries to be fun sometimes its just kinda dumb. it makes the great sin of turning all these fascinating gears turning into..just a cartoon.

    also RIP(IZZA) VIP(IZZA)

    C -

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    #30: ISLAND ADVENTURE
    written and storyboarded by raven m. molisee and paul villeco

    dontcha just hate insubstantial filler episodes that are uniquely developmental with regards to minor characters that it makes feel more human thus justifying their existence and continued use and making the world feel alive and breathing and fluid thus giving a sort of resonance to the importance of the gems and their protecting earth from baddies while also allowing for human stories that play a clever and necessary inverse to the show's more out there magical material while still managing to use said magical elements in a way thats just integral enough while allowing a context that's very relevant to the point we're at in the series from the perspective of our titular character and episode-prominent side characters as well? yes yes, me too. all those things, everything you said. i said. i said that.

    of all the human beings floating around beach city actin' a dang fool, lars and sadie are my favorites. perhaps im just a suck for a slow burn romance between two totally real fragile people who reasonably lift their shields to protect themselves just as often as they find themselves in moments of blissful impulse together, especially with lars being the kinda guy who seems irredeemable and just unlikeable but hey love is stupid and confusing and blind and deaf and all that jazz, and besides that its clear he's masking something more desperately than anyone else in the series. what exactly that something is, besides an affection for sadie, isn't clear. he definitely seems to feel thankful for the moment he lets go and embraces the weirdness steven has sunken him into, but thats also temporary as he rushes back to his phone. he seems homesick but what exactly he misses isn't clear when he has sadie, though his bit about "being lonely even when you're around people" says maybe lars being away from his humdrum life makes him realize there isn't much else to it, that when his posturing goes out the window and he lets those defenses fall he realizes even the people who accept him dont make him feel sufficiently loved, and beyond that i suppose hey he's a regular ol' human doofus taken away from his regular ol' human doofus life outta nowhere he has every right to panic about it.

    sadie seems to take it all in stride, of course that makes sense once you realize she constructed the illusion that keeps them on the island for the sake of helping lars. is what she does the right thing? well..hard to say. if she did it entirely for selfish reasons like to get closer to him that'd be one thing, but at the moment of the kiss she seems entirely taken aback (before embracing, their moments after this before shit falls apart are adorable btw, like when lars grabs her out of fear when the Monstar appear). it seems to me she just knows lars better than anyone else including himself, that he is desperately trying to keep up some facade, this appearance that he is so steadfast and stubbornly maintaining that it even follows him to an island with two people he knows he doesn't have to impress, and even when it dissipates it isn't permanent. lars seems to just really want someone to accept him for who he is, wanting to be the cool guy just so he'll have people around him, and then realizing that may not even help him, still lonely in a crowd. sadie's been trying to crack the tough nut's shell for a well, maybe all she wanted was for a change in scenery to soften it, perhaps partially for her own needs. perhaps more than partially, but i wouldn't call it entirely selfish, if you love someone you want them to be happy after all.

    but even if you're a simpleton of the oval shaped variety you should be able to appreciate this episode, its beautiful vacationy locale with a perfect sense of vague mystery to it, the way the episode sets up interesting roles for the characters to survive on the island with sadie's hunter gatherer abilities and lars' cookin' - take that gender roles! - and uses sadie's later to banish the weird ass Liquid Gem Creature, the quaint little ditty by steven that encapsulates the episode's truth in some succinct nuggets of lyricism. why don't you let yourself just be where/whoever you are indeed. this is probably my favorite song so far; lyrically, how it fits the montage of lars becoming more tattered and islandy but finding joy in abandoning everything that he believed made him him, having a nice time with sadie and all, melodically, all of it, the Woah Ohs, superb. very nice, and it makes sense to have steven sort of narrating this transformation of lars in the episode, always one to be himself and one to see the best in people even the grumpy frustrating lars, embracing the moment as he always does and enjoying seeing them do the same.

    the episode definitely retracts from its progress in a way that feels a bit like a cheat but with a character dynamic so generally engaging im hardly complaining that ill get to see more gradual development. regardless of what holds on for now, what resonates to me is lars clearly wants to embrace all these weird wonders around him, to be part of the experience in a bigger way, to hang out with people who make him feel not alone, rather than just any random group of "cool" people or whatever, though mostly to hang out with sadie. it seems like even though sadie is in the wrong, lars targeted outbursts come from a certain fear, not just anger at being deceived but realizing his real life is still very available for him to return to, right or wrong for him (wrong). once his life as it was returns into frame its like he cant abandon it, all that he really wants he can only maintain a grip on when the alternatives aren't tempting him in some way. its a nice lowkey human tragedy, a guy who knows what he wants but can't seem to accept it in any context but when the other options fall away. the bittersweet ending, steven still naive and joyful natch, punctuates everything well. for him this was just a nice vacation, even as he spied on them smooching. he wants them to come out of their shell and have fun, but doesn't really consider the implications of that beyond just having a good time on a fun magical island. maybe its just hard to consider when you're someone like steven, that for some there is no greater challenge than the seemingly obvious idea of Being Yourself.

    B

  29. Thumbs Up To This Post by: kupomog

  30. #56
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    Fear not, poor 51 results. Someone understands your worth and you have been redeemed.

  31. #57
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    Episodes 23-28 are so good. I found much of the early going a struggle, but Monster Buddies was the turning point for me, when there finally seemed to be some very real stakes involved, something tying all the disparate pieces together.

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    #31: KEEP BEACH CITY WEIRD
    written and storyboarded by raven m. molisee and paul villeco

    ahaha what a stupid filler episo - did he say hollow out the earth? what the fuck?

    ronaldo's story here is generally a loose human tale, one of desiring to be part of a greater truth because of the underlying need to have an importance, instead of just being a regular guy who crazy stuff is happening around, he can be the guy who solves the great mysteries. yet as bonkers as he seems to be in his search for a Truth he rabidly pushes facts aside to legitimize, it'd be foolish to not give the series credit for sneaking in truth, be it his own brand of dumb luck or perhaps he's just too dedicated to his craziness to not have a point. in a way it keeps you guessing, though thats mostly because ronaldo is sketched as such a firm archetype of conspiracy loonies right down to his language, blatantly refuting the truth so he can get to The Truth. you cant always trust facts and books! so if his ideas are so antithetical to being logical and so tied to being a conspiracy nut, why would they have any legitimacy? well, Facts And Books aren't gonna get to the root of whats happening behind-the-scenes under the noses of the civillians of beach city, consider s1a where even our titular hero wasn't privy to the real seedy underbelly of the world he was dealing with beyond his humble abode, why would these people know? heck, why would snake people even sound so weird, beyond the fact that its just not the Type of silliness we're dealing with - though fuck who knows maybe there are snake people like there are 100 episodes in front of me ill be stunned if i dont see a talkin snake person at some point cuz *shrug*.

    yet, allowing him to have a moment of stunnin cartoonish inaccuracy allows a nice misdirect, he addresses the wrong symbol on the dollar. maybe i subconsciously assumed just looking at the Diamond that it meant something, maybe it was already knowing the gems are Space Rocks, i dunno. in any case he's crazy, but he's dedicated, and all he had to do was rearrange the evidence. he clearly had all the details set forth, he just needed to find the pattern. in a world where the things conspiracy nuts desire do exist, why wouldn't they eventually find them? then come my own questions. what is with the diamond? okay okay Great Diamond Authority thats mighty fucking wild and frightening Big If True but why would a diamond be on the Human Dollar Bill? do gems have a greater presence on earth then I The Viewer realize? or is it just coincidence that the diamond is there and leads ronaldo to his still maybe false and insane assertions atop the lighthouse at the end. still, its hard to not to think about. is this why lapis lamented their concern for the earth? fuck man. ronaldo does seem to nail the whole shapeshifting rock people thing after all, he knew Shapeshifting was part of the equation first what with the snake folks, then worked backwards. but the little details already being there for him are interesting.

    its a nice clever tease, make this character skirt that line of legitimacy with his revelations by clearly offering some evidence that he has worked his ass off to the degree that he's found pieces that seem they could snap together, while making his first assertion and general demeanor just tweaked and unhinged enough to try and snatch that reliability away from you, so that when he yells potentially some of the most insane information about the series' lore with proud grandiosity, you're not such whether to chuckle it off or get goosebumps, because the episode actually nails a spot dead in the middle that leaves a big fat question mark on it, as it should. its a great way to spill potentially huge details, to make them sound like conspiracy, to make them sound bonkers especially considering the messenger, but then remember the world you're dealing with. ronaldo's desires to be part of the story may only have legitimacy in a meta way of letting Me The Viewer toy with the information, this more feels like a creative experiment in dropping breadcrumbs for the viewer, maybe. probably. maybe? its a nice dose of mystery and it even manages to level out the episode with sheer bombastic intrigue. i have definitely Clung tight to these last few seconds of the episode because truth be told it feels like thats what the episode is for. the rest is the experiment, setting up the pieces to make the finale feel as uncertain but curious as it should. heck maybe i sound silly even taking it seriously, but if i let myself believe that i'd be removing myself from the intrigue! i can see why ronaldo desires so badly this feeling of being tied into this narrative, its a more exciting life for a regular guy after all, but it can't just be magic. when ronaldo learns the gems are pretty much the source of the problems around town, he's downtrodden, because it's not about knowing there's something going on, its about being involved, and through this episode, there is a surprising sense of involvement. what seems at first innocuous manages to feel like both its Plainness and Weirdness, its Success and Failure, is all part of the plan. it's nice to be part of that.

    B


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    #32: FUSION CUISINE
    written and storyboarded by lamar abrams and hellen jo

    no dinner for one thousand years!!!

    not even the land of #NoFiller can entirely escape the dreaded clutch of *plays dramatic organ terribly* SITCOM TROPES! seriously though how is this s1b? maybe i just declared myself past the habits of analyzing the variations of the early framework too early but do we really have no other way to introduce alexandrite than this? or do we have no other way to handle the idea of steven meeting connie's parents? separately, these are fine ideas on the opposite ends of the spectrum of the show, and while combining them can be novel and efficient, it can also be....stupid. really really stupid. the plot is stupid, steven is stupid, the idea is stupid because it just feels so very recycled and if their intent was to spice it up with GEM STUFF all they actually did was make it feel more insipid and baffling.

    okay okay it's not entirely irredeemable, the relationship complexities between steven and connie that brew are pretty solid. steven coming up with absurd details about his "mother" may be a bit too moronic but his insistence upon bringing all three gems makes sense, beyond all logic he feels dedicated to being honest and after all those three are his family, and he feels a bit betrayed by the idea that he should have to hide that, punctuated while by him noticing her still wearing her faulty glasses. beyond these moments the episode's both kinda scatterbrained and mostly just silly bits, which isn't bad but harder to talk about. its an episode that, like so many s1a episodes, doesn't teach us much new but just plays with what we already know. the new character of alexandrite is interesting, a Gianter Woman with a mostly garnet centric personality when under control which makes sense given her dominance - though perhaps its all three of them together in general that creates a sense of order. she doesn't do alot, the Motherly stuff at the end is a bit forced especially trying to give amethyst a line of Reason like c'mon now i get you have to make this parallel to make the episode work but im not sure its entirely sold.

    i wouldn't call the ending all that satisfying either. we don't actually seem to dip into how connie's parents react to magical stuff, its all about the parental shit, them being lied to, their kid being impuslive and trying to run away. though hey maybe thats the point, maybe they Dont care, but they seem a bit suspiciously Normal for that to play off with no explanation. sadly all the valuable time is wasted on steven's farfetched tales and typical sitcom tomfoolery like alexandrite grabbin all the dang breadsticks. it seems hard to buy that even for a second they'd be like Yes This Is A Real Mother You Could Have. it does seem connie is the most worried one and all they want is sufficient parental figures in any capacity, but it just feels a bit thin. all the episode has to offer besides the important scenes already addressed are jokes about pearl hating food, greg in way too big a turtleneck, garnet's disastrous phone call near the beginning, the silly ass doctor show at the beginning, shit like that. see how do you write about trace comedic bits aside from Yes That Was Good but i digress.

    its all just a foregone conclusion. we know whats gonna happen, we know how steven and connie are feeling, we know their intentions and we know everything will work out. i have to remind myself this is a kid's show, but i also can't let myself excuse lazy writing from a show that knows better. for all its idiocy, the biggest problem is it just feels inconsistent to me. steven says to connie he would be lying if it weren't all the gems and chastises her dishonesty with the glasses WHILE HIS ASS is talking about fuckin apple farms and shit. fuck you ya little hypocrite!! i dunno it all just feels like the writers weren't consulting each other or something, like one person wrote the character stuff and one the comedy stuff and it all just gets jumbled, with no sense of adhering to much of a narrative until its convenient. overall, about what i expected though. it isn't just sitcom because of the LEMME MEET YR PARENTS SCENARIO because that could have been a very telling and intriguing setpiece, sadly it just kinda asks for extraordinary suspension of disbelief and puts very little work into transcending the tropes it latches to. just feels like a freebie for the crewniverse to me. whatever. next!

    C -


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    #33: GARNET'S UNIVERSE
    written and storyboarded by joe johnston and jeff liu

    you just think you've learned what to expect in this show, you say to yourself ah yes a garnet adventure that'll be enlightening and deep and profound, get to know the deepest gem shit, ooh she's holding a Red Thing lets learn about that Red Thing, I cant wai--oh...oh? Oh.

    GARNETS UNIVERSE CREATED BY STEVEN UNIVERSE is a nice trip into the clearly damaged brain of a precocious child with an understanding of adventure both real and fictional. this particular romp sticks more to the latter with it's details, power level readers, animal sidekicks and absurd villains, training sequences and a gradual escalation of the action much like a good shonen anime episode or a level in a video game. by definition its a filler episode but it embraces the idea so firmly that it manages to have alot of fun, its tropes dont right as they're done with a nice peppering of self awarness of material that greatly precedes them, its a filler episode that celebrates the contained fun within filler episodes through the ages. we don't spend much time getting too deep into the implications, if there are any whatsoever, of steven's story in terms of his perception of garnet and vice versa. we know he cares for her, and believes she cares for him, and of course she does. mostly its just funny how much he hammers in the point especially with the doofy picture of himself with her.

    the details do really help this one shine, such as the stark disparity in animation into the two extremes of endearingly choppy animation - with a simplified pallette at that to reflect the lighter tone - and the more detailed sequences like when garnet's training, where the lining draws much more attention to the sense of movement and the intensity and friction of the moment. one of my favorite choices was to stick to an entirely familiar voice cast. you could have had steven voice everyone, or you could have toyed with new people, but the one big way the episode seems to reflect the real steven is through using voices already within his memories in new contexts. of course most of them make perfect sense, garnet's animal pals are the other gems, lars is a Bad Guy, Ronaldo is the baddest guy though which that's bizarre. maybe this is just rule of funny, ringo is an amusing character, washin his Ring and all. the other way it does reflect steven is in that sense that he's a kid who clearly spends his time with conventional fiction of the action and adventure genres, so you get the tropes like AHA FOOL THE ONE YOU WERE HELPING WAS THE VILLAIN ALL ALONG, you get increases in power levels to insane degrees, you get wild battle sequences, you get useless sidekicks who blather more than do anything! extremely accurate stuff.

    still, is steven getting stupider? maybe its antithetical to the self-contained silliness of the episode, maybe its fine to just take this one for what it is but id be remiss if i didn't ask, does steven believe anything he says here? remove all logic you got a fun and creative detour for the series that plays around with things that could be seen as influences to the series, or perhaps the cartoons they saw as youths. play with the internal logic though and its like..does steven think its possible garnet has secret animal pals? if theres anything truly bizarre about this, is that it doesn't much reflect stevens own adventuring experience. there's a warp pad, garnet has her powers...thats about it! of course this is just inconsequential framework to help us arrive at our fun little adventure. on that end it succeeds. the adventure knows so firmly what it is it can just focus on keeping things moving, revealing locales and characters and making it feel like a good old fashioned Cartoon, but not in a regressive way, but in an informed and delightful way. its hard to say how this episode fits into the grand scheme, it doesn't really is the truth. who cares! noseless garnet, "hop" puns, rabbit amethyst and Big Fox Lars, its all just good fun. a love letter to cartoons passed, a nice inverse of alot of SUey elements into something much more traditional, in a context that is silly but properly so. if you're gonna filler, filler like you've been watching filler your whole life.

    B -




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