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  1. #61
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    Fusion Cuisine is full of trope for sure but at the truly least it also has a neat hint snuck in there if vigilant! Have you found it, maybe? I completely missed it first time around.
    Garnet's phone call was absolutely the best part about the episode other than seeing Alexandrite.

    I'm gonna confess I was like hmmmmm ok at the end of Garnet's Universe first time around but I've come to appreciate its silliness.
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  2. #62
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #34: WATERMELON STEVEN
    abrams/jo

    cool, one hundred pieces of money!

    honestly you never know where a su plot is gonna Sprout from but steven waking up to a Patch Of Him Fruit was definitely a surprise. i was asking myself up til the moment of the reveal WHAT does this title mean, how could it possibly be signficant or important? then it all became clear. even so, how could such a silly concept of Stevens But Fruit fare?

    yet this is pretty splendid. the episode manages to create a motif immediately with the thematic watermelon title card followed by steven and greg's melon seed tricks. the scene is alot of fun, very creative and cute, always enjoy bonding moments with these two but it shows a creativity that says they're gonna get a surprising amount of mileage outta the melon. heck the scene itself even has a delicate red duskiness like the fruit itself, its Poetic usage of fruit! though when greg eats the RIND to make steven's crown NO too far bad episode!! still, even in these early scenes they make Melon focal. its not important yet, but we establish the theme, and comedically, which i'd say is very refreshing. alot of the little comedic touches really sell this one, its very naturally integrated into the episode's evolution, especially once they become sentient. alot of times this series feels like it uses comedy as an aside, as comic relief. this time however the most twisted elements are the source of the humor, innately. hissing watermelon Bois huntin ppl down and fuckin their shit up and all, but also cute touches like baby melon mimicking steven's movements. so then the early scenes have helped establish a theme and a tone very firmly, even when things get tense we are still dealing with Watermelon Stevens. its a nice way to flip the prominence of the melon on its head in mere minutes though, giving the episode a firm focus and consistency while having fun ramping up the absurdity.

    the bits on the boardwalk where he's selling the melons are perhaps the weakest, especially due to prominent ronaldo - though i struggle to criticize any episode that gives me ronaldo getting pummelled by fruit. i'm not entirely sure why steven's decision is to sell them anyway, you'd think he would want to get to know them. sure they're Inanimate initially but steven's natural attachment to all living things, and the Human shape of the fruit, i figure would enable him to try and wake them or do something with them. i guess it prevents another Steven Try and Fail To Powers situation though, and it does give us an opportunity to bounce the silly premise off our human denizens. most of the results are predictable but work well enough to set in motion in the important remainder of the episode, and again, get ronaldo slaughtered, which was deserved enough as is but after that extraneous phone bit agh. too bad onion couldn't have gotten thrashed too though.

    the episode uses silly means to get to its ultimate points but its an episode about sentient watermelons so i suppose i should let that slide, especially because once the action kicks into high gear with the melons confronting everyone even slightly targeting steven is when, thats when i knew this one was sticking with me. its a ridiculous delight to see these melons trying to make scary faces and acting as a mob to take down the gems, their Dead Seed Eyes and lack of voices make their actions alot funnier, like them digging amethyst a grave, them all in unison angry eyes when pearl so much as lays a hand on him - and the hissing oh the hissing, so good. its all funny stuff but it also does well to illustrate whats actually going on here. steven has reached the point of being able to summon his sentient plant beings to fight and protect him, but not to the point of controlling them. he is something of a background figure to the action, he didn't even actually save the day which is a great touch and makes for the fantastic sequence of them leaping onto baby melon (rip), so intent to protect steven that they harm their own. forgoing logic, or perhaps never having it all, only bending to steven's control if only he had it. all the melons know is if you're against steven you're against them, a good START but their good intentions only lead them to hurting people, and steven has no way of handling the situation. it all just sorta unfolds without him being able to keep up, as soon as baby melon leaps from onion's arms.

    yet if steven has any agency as things go awry its in maintaining that a solution be more harmonious, opting to try and find a non-violent solution to helping everyone. it Doesn't Totally Work but gives steven an opportunity to chastise the melons and have some manner of control over them, just enough anyway to let them go. all of this is genuinely well thought out, plays with steven's potential role as a more dominant force in battle and his ability to control an army of Plant Warriors to protect and serve for the gems, creates yet another parallel with rose to illustrate his shortcomings, and elevates a motif from amusing throwaway bits into a manic mob of wild creatures, once again illustrating the unpredictably and unwieldy nature of steven's always evolving and hard to track powers. all true. yet it's Melon People! it should be so silly and then end at that. but it manages to do both quite well. how funny can you be with watermelon? how Important can watermelon be? few shows could answer those questions simultaneously but this one manages it quite successfully. probably more watermelon jokes than i've ever seen in one place, and that alone is my kinda success. i love weird themed comedy that feels unique to its source, and top that with some genuine points about steven's place as a gem, and leave the door open for the melon stevens as they walk off into the Unknown to Think About What They've Done (cept that one that was killed by a seagull), then you find yourself with a package thats as satisfying and standout on its own as it is along the rest. it buys the premise twofold, indulging the silly and inspecting the implications. now to watch ronaldo get fucking Whomped again. ahh yeah baybee thats the stuff

    B+

  3. #63
    nsfw pilcrow's Avatar
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    ahhh it's time for me to :snail: and try to catch up with foose's Blazing reviewing speed. Some eps I admittedly don't have a lot to talk about without spoilers so I'll just try to keep it to tossing out spoiler-free thoughts and ranting about boarders.

    Island Adventure! This might be my fav ep of the series up to this point. Well okay excluding Ocean Gem. but hell I'll go out on a limb and say that this rivals Ocean Gem. The two eps are almost polar opposites in what kind of story they try to tell - Ocean Gem is as "big" an ep as you could ask for 26 episodes in, dropping heaps of worldbuilding, action, and plot on the viewer. Meanwhile, Island Adventure is as intimate an ep as you could ask for 30 episodes in, isolating the minimal number of necessary characters in a minimal environment and letting the character work take the spotlight. And yet both knock it out of the park. ah what a good show.

    Anyway Lars and Sadie are definitely my favorite townies too, and I think Rebecca would also agree - they were basically the first characters conceived for this show, dating back to her college days, and you can tell the Crewniverse really cares for telling their story right. Any more about them and I'll be diving into spoilers though so I get to shut up now.

    The song, however, is spoiler-free so I get to gush about that a bit. It's definitely the best song so far - really shows off Rebecca's ear for quaint little ukulele melodies. I'm indifferent on the arrangement adding some strings in the background cause I think the song sounds just fine alone (if you wanna see for yourself, original demo vs remastered arrangement), but ultimately it's not really a big difference.

    As for the art, it's easily one of the most visually stunning eps so far. The color palette effortlessly blending the mysterious geodes and the warp pads with the environment are gorgeous. I think a couple of these backgrounds were my desktop background for awhile? Good thing those ~unsolved mysterious geodes~ will make sure we come back here someday.

    But Wait that's not all - as if the stunning backgrounds weren't enough, storyboarders Raven Molisee and Paul Villeco go all-out with their boards on this ep to really make the interactions between Lars and Sadie feel real and vulnerable and intimate. Raven and Paul I think are the best at doing really expressive boards, which you can even see in their 1A episode assignments (So Many Birthdays and An Indirect Kiss in particular). Paul's mostly in charge of the fight scene and it's rock solid, but Raven's expressive boards in the Lars-Sadie scenes totally steal the show here. The nuanced emotions conveyed in every single board during the scene leading up to their kiss is mindblowing. If you're gonna click on any link in my linkdump post, click on this one. Actually I probably shouldn't have buried the most important link at the very end of the post. ah well.

    so yeah that's my spiel for Island Adventure and how the FUC is Keep Beach City Weird the same grade as this masterpiece wtf foose

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  5. #64
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #35: LION 3: STRAIGHT TO VIDEO
    johnston/liu/sugar

    sometimes i feel like even in s1b maybe we shouldn't still be following similar patterns but maybe that's because i can't always write my way out of them. i've done my best to not blame the show for my lack of being able to encapsulate an episode but i think sometimes i fail, so let's turn this common complaint of mine on it's head for once: what's magical about how su operates with its wayward mysteries worming their way into steven's life is the consequences and unfolding are never outright predictable. there is an overwhelming sense of destiny to su, it all ties together but its never certain how or why, its all leading to those big moments but you never know when they'll strike. the show's crew is smart to not reveal their hand too quickly, you can never pinpoint the tone that will carry an episode, only what will initiate its events. lion 3 begins almost suspiciously normal but in a series as prone to deep lore as sitcom tropes as to fun filler mayhem as to character studies you can't predict anything from the jump, and that only further drives the sense of excitement when you do get the answers. it makes sense, steven's life is that of the gem, but also that of the human being, and his day beginning with him picking out snacks is as fitting as any other opening. yet we don't skimp on the details, lion is present at the outset, we get sadie's anecdote about her mom, we set the scene quickly. that's art, that's cinema, thats age old technique adapted for the Kid Screen because children aren't stupid gosh dangit and these guys know that. the value of parsing out the key elements of the story beforehand makes repeat watching even more rewarding as we begin to appreciate the story as if we're now floating above it observing the machinations, whereas before we were merely on the ride with steven, knowing that there was obviously SOMETHING going on but not quite what.

    the episode's first half is pretty light besides inferences to the Mane Dimension - whatever this is actually called feel free to inform me in the space below - with cute jokes like lion with the bag on his face (insanely accurate cat joke i must say as a man with 36,028 cats) and steven's bad cookie puns. still, details, steven pointing out the picture of his mom, and well the more lion is prominent on screen the more the mirroring of rose and lion starts to become very blatant (though in what way its still not entirely clear). it's clever, the episode is somewhat fooling you because you don't know Exactly what will unfold but all the same its screaming in your face LOOK YOU DOPEY DOPEFACE IN FRONT OF YOU. or at the very least its screaming in steven's face, and then im screaming in his face LOOK YOU DOPEY DOPEFACE IN FRONT OF YOU. lion 2 made it clear that one way or the other lion is privy to information that steven isn't and in a sense is trying to push him towards that aforementioned Destiny. oftentimes it just falls into steven's lap but everything can't be good/bad/dumb luck, sometimes when you begin dipping your toes into that Destiny Pool you're gonna awaken something at the bottom. or something. metaphors are weird. the fascinating thing is the episode threatens for a good chunk to be about almost nothing but thats sort of the point. its steven somethow missing the opportunity for discovery and further understanding of exactly what he's desiring pretty early through his own general naivety. it plays pretty believably and its a decietfully clever way to begin unveilng. if this is the start of Much More it makes sense to toy around first, tease the audience, give steven time to figure things out or lion no more patience for him not to.

    there's even that weird dream sequence with dogcopter which almost infers that the Mane Dimension Or Whatever is also just a dream. we know that's impossible though, the Pink Hair Grass, the context of lion laying on his face, it just feels like thats someting goin on, but then we still pull back for a moment for the dream sequence. i can't entirely crack its purpose but i tried to take the words of Dogcopter to mean something (boy thats a sentence). you can take the first about art as a conversation as a reflection of the show itself but that almost seems self indulgent for a show that wouldn't be interested in such self-congratulation. but i will assign to them for them, because every choice you make is indeed a statement, and the precarious tightrope act of making the right choices when every choice will follow you has to be utterly terrifying to maintain, so props to the show for dedicating themselves to pushing to pull this off. as for his last words about ignoring labels and being true to yourself well thats just steven. you could almost see this (if you want and maybe im being ridiculous here!) as Rose Talking To Steven From Within In A Form He Would Understand. they're words about steven being steven. steven has worried about being a good gem this entire time to one degree or the other and it peaked not too long ago with a desperation to be his mother, so a moment of being told Just Do What You Can Do is a powerful one in a strange way, just veiled. plus the way the dream tells him Take A Deep Breath before he reenters the mane, hmmmmm. even if thats a total reach i think it says something about the ambiguity this show plays with so constantly. its intriguing.

    so then, the dimension itself. it's gorgeous, the delicate grazing pianos and wafting ambience underscore it fantastically with a serene heavenly warmth and glow that makes it feel like a sort of afterlife, but more of an alterlife. it begs some questions, why is steven needing to hold his breath mostly. the way we peak into this dimension consecutively, to the point that steven is just Whacka Moleing outta the dam thing like ok stop teasing me!! all that is a great way to show me this..place, and it really captures a tone that lets you know there is a significance eminating from it. the music is a large part of this, its immediately totally different and feels Sacred and rich with some sense of history or mystery. it feels vast, infinite even. it makes me leap backwards in my mind. how did rose make sure steven would find lion, why lion at all in fact? is this the best way to lead him into a dimension containing info of her? well it works, it does make sense. stevens a half human half gem so Magic Pet! perfect. the little island with various old trinkets of rose is beautifully designed and offers alot of little curiosities. whats that flag? whats with the bubbled artifact? nice shirt. oh and a damn treasure chest OPEN THE CHEST aww he left the chest. its always Tease Tease Tease! of course for now all that matters is the tape, and that brings us back to our central point.

    steven has wanted to be his mother, steven has wanted to understand how his mother did what she did but alot more than anything he just wants to know his mother. it seems any time he brings her up, even when she feels so alien, he understands the weight of her importance, but theres a big difference between tales passed down to the degree that they become almost like fairy tales, and seeing her for the first time. the scene is truly touching, as you see the huge smile on stevens face as he gains this confirmation of what a pure and beautiful being she was and how thats within him, and the capacity for him to love and create harmony and embrace the wonder of life as a human being is something that feels only confirmed and assured in his mind and heart. its not like the tape is new information, we and steven knew that rose gave up her corporeal form to create him, but the simple yet resonating reason is what really sticks.its the most definitive statement on The Gems Loving Earth and it makes the idea that rose could even be a gem in contrast to the mysteries that lie beyond earth seem impossible, yet it says alot about steven as well. yet whats amazing is this actually forgoes all the destiny stuff. its tough to encapsulate what steven is meant to be or do as a gem, but as a human being, its clear he's meant to...be, to embrace the beauty of this planet and its people and animals and plants and things and sounds and feelings. he feels it, but whats more is i feel it. when steven feels the beauty of the world its not that i dont believe it but he is a lovable naive kid who is only slowly seeing how harsh and insane the world beyond him can be. what makes that love from resonate is when it doesnt break his resolve no matter how grim things get, and here is where scenes like him marching into the water pillar in ocean gem feel like they can be traced back and legitimized. that feeling of love for all things that triumphs over all fears and troubles, and though i dont know where rose fits into that puzzle, im sure i haven't been told she's important for no reason, im sure steven isn't the center of this...Universe hahaha, for no reason. steven's love is rose's love, and of what i know by now, its unbreakable. all the love steven has of being a human is enough to carry him in the most tempestuous times, and now thats been affirmed more than ever. steven feels more than ever who he is and what he is, and whatever he may need to endure, that love will carry him, as he has been able to prove before. his humanity is love, his love is his humanity, its a gift that will resonate in still untold ways. for now, call your mom.

    A

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  7. #65
    nsfw pilcrow's Avatar
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    As much as I blab about Ocean Gem being the point of no return, I honestly think Lion 3 is the true beginning of the story of Steven Universe. Exploring Beach City, setting up character dynamics between the gems, hell even introducing Lapis - it all feels like a prologue, intricately setting up the premise of our journey before Steven (and by extension, of course, the viewer) takes the all-important first step. And Lion 3 is that first step.

    Throughout our prologue, it's already easy to start seeing what sort of message the Crewniverse is trying to tell the world with their show. But Lion 3 is where all the pretense is dropped and we're no longer just implying the themes of this show - in fact, we have Rose, one of the most important characters to the show thematically, outright tell Steven the "thesis statement" of the show. And really "thesis statement" sums up this episode very well - even 5 seasons later, Steven and the gems' decisions and struggles constantly question and affirm what Rose says here. It's that central to the show.

    But enough about abstract themes that I'm bad at writing about. The important storyboarder to note here is clearly Rebecca herself, who as you'd expect, boards the entire tape scene herself. After all, it's her story, her vision, so it's her thesis statement to write. She also sneaks in a scene-for-scene homage to Cowboy Bebop's Speak Like a Child. Rebecca and her anime references smh (this is a meme take note of it)

    Lion 3 also gives us a unique opportunity to check out how episode outlines are written before the storyboarders actually board the ep - here's Ben Levin (one of the two main writers at the time, the other being beloved troll Matt Burnett) with the outline of the episode. It's pretty interesting to see how the final product is shaped by the different writing styles of the individual boarders, and in this case, the influence of the all-powerful Rebecca. (look it's interesting to me so just pretend it's interesting to you too so you don't hurt my feelings okay thanks)

    I'm glad you brought up the music that accompanies Lion's mane cause it's one of the most interesting musical cues of the show. It starts with a sustained sense of tension as the piano seems to struggle to catch a melody and the background effects put a sense of uneasiness throughout the whole track. Then halfway, suddenly everything resolves into a gorgeous piano piece that you might already recognize as Rose's theme. Really it encapsulates the whole prologue of the show very aptly - Steven stumbling through the world without a complete sense of reason, before finally seeing everything fit together thematically. And the stroke of genius here - the first part of the musical cue is Rose's Theme backwards. Did I blow your mind cuz that sure blew my mind.

    And as a final note, the other reason I think of Lion 3 as the true "start" to Steven Universe is because of the episodes that come directly after it. Obviously I don't get to go in-depth about this, but once you watch the next run of eps I think you'll see it too. Also this oughta get you to watch the next couple sooner ufuckn
    Last edited by pilcrow; 10-14-2017 at 10:57 PM.


  8. #66
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    nah probably not

  9. #67
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #36: WARP TOUR
    molisee/villeco

    it's a changing of the seasons. right from the opening everything seems to be going swimmingly, pearl and amethyst discussing a successful mission, whatever it may have been. this to me is a great way to start here, we've played with the building blocks long enough its time to start dismantling and reassembling until we find new apparatuses for navigating unseen territory are left in front of us. the episode gives us immediate success to obscure where the potential of failure will sneak in, while it slowly turns out it looms large over the entire episode. what really stands out is how the feeling of inversing the series only expands from here. here's whats amazing about the majority of this episode in terms of characterization: it's steven's episode. what i mean by that is not Steven is the main character, he's always the main character but often what he does or says or how he affects the story can be judged in a way that could plausibly perceive him as interchangable, especially as a crystal gem. his most powerful expressions of heroism have derived from his humanity, not his gem..anity. Gemanity. sure. let's go with that for now. not so here however, where steven becomes privy to information that no other gem is wise too. THIS is where i get the goosebumps, it may not seem like much but think about it: this series opened its doors to me as a presentation of a young boy slowly learning the ropes of being a gem as the dark details are obscured from him until theres no choice left. when those details culminated and unleashed unavoidable truth in ocean gem that was a sight and moment to remember, a feeling of no turning back, but its here that we drive that point even further. steven is no longer merely in the thick of the gem business with them as it happens, he is in deep enough to be finding wild secrets and mysteries on his own, to a degree that the dynamic shift in his assured feeling become the piloting conceit to the character conflict until near the end.

    it's easy to forget even as a viewer that steven is a gem like them. the beauty of steven's character is heavily rooted in him as a human being, as i discussed extensively last time, but steven is the totality of two disparate sides working together to create an equillibrium that allows for him to work on these two levels equally well if potential has been properly tapped, which it has. still, with all his silly impulsive choice, well intentioned disasters and general dopey demeanor, it isn't like pearl's dismissal of steven is irrational. you could paint it a number of ways, you could see it as pearl simply not believing steven has that potential yet, that steven could see things they don't. you could see it as pearl being unable to accept that things could change beyond her comfort moreso however, and when that diverts to abject terror in the end, it says alot. meanwhile garnet seems to want to comfort steven but feels confident because the warp pads have been kept in check and amethyst is Amethyst. it is the moment of steven confronting pearl that is so definitive of him in the episode. steven is filled with a greater sense of agency and purpose than ever before because for the first time he isn't being dragged along or tossed into mayhem but is intead attempting to lead the charge based on his own discovery. when he lashes out at pearl you sense that he has reached the point that he is sick of not being taken seriously, sick of being looked at as less than equal in the group despite generally proving himself. its a human conflict, but its also a gem conflict as the reasons begin to unveil themselves, and suddenly everyones actions tie very neatly.

    before we get to the Big Scary Dorito, the details. the cinematic qualities of su only continue to grow, the gorgeous passageways that connect the intersecting warp streams look fantastic and capture this amazing sense of whats just beyond the world we are familiar with so far. just peek you head out of these streams we see so often we don't even consider them, and suddenly built-in tropes become lore, become contextualized and immersive. the episode also does a great job of establishing its continuity well beyond character behavior with the various warp locations, seeing the geode is still Not Exploded - im scared of this thing u guys - seeing the goat has Fuckd which isn't really story info but its nice to see the world is alive and things are happening. heck right down to steven's breakfast stickers on the inactive warp pads, its these touches that could so easily feel like mere isolated jokes but then they become important. its hard to articulate how that switch is made and how satisfying it feels, but its that touch that can turn anything into something crucial. hell it manages to feed into this episodes cliffhangery qualities. IT ALL CONNEC

    but yes, peridot. this is where the fan meets the shit no doubt. we've seen another gem before but we've never gotten much a sense of their behavior. lapis had an ambiguity to her, a disdain for the other gems but all that did was blur the lines further. peridot on the other hand is shown here to be calculated and ruthless, squishing her little Robot Pad Repair Buddy without thinking. it speaks to that abject lack of humanity that the gems are perhaps meant to have. the crystal gems exhibit human feelings and ideas and behavior to a degree and perhaps thats just becoming accustomed to the world of earth, perhaps it was being around rose her love of humans rubbed off. who can say, but the disparity here is stark and noticeable. also Preparing To Locate And Manually Reactive Kindergarten eh. sounds adorable, probably aint! anyway, its a tense moment, and it climaxes a tense episode. tensions run wicked high through the duration of the episode, and characters clash in memorable and striking ways. once our answers begin unfolding, that tension is validated but consequently feels as though it only begins to tighten, to the point that garnet refuses to let this unfold further, at least for now. there is no real resolve, it all speaks to this feeling that while you could trace the gems' reaction towards steven's assertions through the episode to alot of factors, the simplest of all may be just that they didn't want the answers. here steven finally feels fully like a gem, and while before the others were carrying him into their wild mysterious world, now its his turn to carry them further than perhaps they were ready to go.

    A


  10. #68
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #37: ALONE TOGETHER
    mitroff/florido/sugar

    it's impossible, or at the very least inappropriate!

    fusion has been a confusing thing to sufficiently crack. it's tough to disconnect the romantic or even sexual undertones of fusion dances especially considering some of the visuals in this episode, not that you have to disconnect them but when the episode displays stevonnie as an object of affection for many characters she comes across it feels a bit squicky. perhaps however the mistake i'm making there is treating fusion as strict mathematics. garnet says stevonnie is neither two people or one person, but an experience. such nebulous terminology leads me not towards a concrete understanding but it does let sort of put the issue to rest for now. so if i need not overthink the implications of how stevonnie is viewed with regards to the other denizens of beach city, how do i properly view her? him? them? i guess the first thing to hash out is that while i'm sure this show will deal in its way with gender like it does so many important and underdiscussed topics, this episode TO ME doesn't really seem to be about that. if stevonnie isn't even displayed in the lens of being "people" at all bringing gender in may seem to miss the point, however it does create an interesting disparity in how stevonnie would view themselves vs. how everyone else does, and how that creates a discomfort that begins to dismantle the illusion. how the town views stevonnie, to perhaps no fault of their own, is as female, it would seem. though maybe we can just say they view them as Attractive. easily potentially uncomfortable territory, and im not even totally sure how to unpack the disturbing come ons of Whoever Kevin Is near the end with regards to what its meant to say about steven and connie indvidually if anything at all. perhaps thats where im meant to, again, discard the math. stevonnie isn't steven and connie, stevonnie is stevonnie. right. man this is a head trip. let's try to make some sense of it.

    there is a certain perversion of beauty that creates a stark impression of a reality that disregards that which fusion represents. the opening minute or so of dancing is superb, utterly adorable and expressive of the sheer fluidity and majesty of the ritual and how it manages to culminate in this feeling of pure..expression. so perhaps it isn't about gender but i think you could plausibly say there is a certain value to how the episode perverts expression. steven and the gems dance, steven and connie's dance, these are each different but they use dance each in ways that feel inspiring, moving, creative and artistic in a sense, expressive of one's self to a point that is embracing one another's expression. the sheer disparity of amethyst and pearl's choices of dance and by extension their very disparate expressions of self are cast aside for a greater purpose in giant woman for example, and here the inverse is an effortless sweet dance between steven and connie that feels like an effortless expression of their feelings for each other, their comfort with each other, its loose and vibrant and natural. its non-labelled expression, and stevonnie is as an ideal a non-labeled expression in the form of an avatar. this isn't really about stevonnie in terms of what they can do as a gem, its about the wonder of that expression and freedom and "togetherness" for the two of them, the sheer joy felt initially of just Being what they are. yet that still addresses the math, and disregards the "alone" of the equation. here's where the perversion sets in. every interaction in the episode between stevonnie and someone else treats them in a way that is, again if not gendered then at least seen as an attractive force. the first few, sadie and lars and sour cream, are harmless and more inklings of this perception, but its where our creeper kevin turns dance from harmony into war that expression becomes a weapon and loses it beauty. dance represent the coming together, but now it expresses a need to defend oneself, it becomes desperation. this feels like the first time i can ever confidently say i could be insanely off base but i hope this theory is at least entertaining?

    still, the "alone" part. thats what im having trouble with. must be the math i can't seem to discard, what a quandary. there are inklings of each of the two within stevonnie, mostly stevens hankering for donuts and the referring back to connie's fear of dancing in front of everyone. perhaps i've been overthinking it though. lets leap out of theory mode and just look head on: steven and connie fused dont have steven or connie with them. right. that makes sense. connie felt comfortable dancing with steven so him not being there immediately causes a discomfort compounded by the environment treating that previously free form of expression as a controlled sense of self. i've read in places this episode is about consent and while id say the more point blank manners of showing that are mr creepy fucko in the club its that sense of taking what was a beautiful choice which expressed itself purely and trying to manipulate it out of them thus killing its beauty that really stands out to me. up until they Unfuse (defuse?) the episode seems to be getting kinda vaguely but intensely unnerving. steven and connies fusion can be a beautiful thing but how do you share it from the same perspective on the outside as you understand from the inside? and what are the implications that have to be addressed? seeing fusion used in such a Major Plot Non-Specific Way makes it hard to crack initially, we dont know what stevonnie is capable of in a way that resonates with the series. its more of an encapsulated allegory, the discomfort never seems to quite be from them being fused aside from well y'know being Alone Together.

    fusion serves greater purposes than this however, perhaps on such a simple level being fused becomes discomforting because being together means you're no longer...together, and add to that what seem like rather harmless encounters that treat them as explicitly no longer steven or connie, on a level more characteristic than vaguely regarding expression, its easy to get psyched out and lose that sense of you. but if stevonnie is totally new, wouldn't they not feel that? but if stevonnie is still steven and connie in a sense, wouldn't they feel more united? its complex shit and maybe i'm not supposed to understand it yet. whatever the case may be, however you wanna look at it, the general point is fusion changes you. changes how you feel, changes your perception of yourself (or what "yourself" is) and definitely changes perception from everyone else. maybe there is also an allegory for transition or concrete gender expression here but im still a fucking amateur here. these are my training grounds for discussing the Big Stuff so if i'm missing the target here rest assured its probably because i'm looking for targets in unconventional places because people are always more impressed when you make those shots. does even that make sense? im gonna stop talking now. good episode.

    B+

  11. Thumbs Up To This Post by: kupomog

  12. #69
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    I can't wait to get back to a keyboard tomorrow

  13. #70
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    Even with the few episodes about it we've seen this far in the series, fusion has taken on so many different connotations and meanings and represented so many complex character relationships that it's definitely hard, if not impossible, to nail down some sort of concrete definition or rhyme and reason behind how fusion works and what it represents. But I'd argue that that's the point - at its core, to Steven and the crystal gems (and of course, to the viewer), fusion is a manifestation of love. And just like love, fusion is a very malleable and abstract concept that can be different not just between different people, but also be different between the same people depending on their state of mind and their emotions. We see this throughout the entire episode - sometimes, Stevonnie is comfortable existing as themselves, interacting with the denizens of Beach City as a single entity. Other times, we see Steven and Connie's conflicting emotions start to take over, making Stevonnie more Steven/Connie and less Stevonnie and leading to Stevonnie seemingly talking to themselves. And really, that's the core definition of fusion to me - a conversation. At times, Steven and Connie are in perfect unison, and other times, they're going through different emotions, but in their entire existence, Stevonnie is a result of an ongoing dialogue between Steven and Connie.

    Of course, that's not to say that my thoughts toward fusion invalidate yours or that yours are somehow incorrect. I think the greatest part of the dynamic way fusion is written throughout this show is how it allows each viewer to interpret it how they want based on their own past experiences and perceptions toward love, whether it be a fluid conversation, a loss of individual identity, a unification greater than the sum of its parts, or...uh whatever egg thinks of it. Have fun reading that.

    Alright enough lovey-dovey bullshit let's get to the meta stuff. First off can we just admire the title card for this ep for bit. The ethereal color scheme here really makes this episode feel special. The pink sky and general color palette throughout the actual episode contribute to this otherworldly feel a lot too.

    Concept art! I got some neat ones for this ep. Here are some of the earliest Stevonnies from Rebecca herself which in all honestly look a bit too much like the pilot art style. There's also some character designs from the rave scene that, according to the model sheets, are all Crewniverse people. The only one that's really easily identifiable is #2: Ian Jones-Quartey, supervising director and famed husband of Rebecca.

    Besides Rebecca, the episode is storyboarded by Katie Mitroff and Hilary Florido (which later becomes Hilary and Lauren Zuke), whose work imo is marked by really visually pleasing character models, so I'm glad they got to tackle the first big Stevonnie ep. As much as I like their work, sadly the best boards I wanna highlight in this ep are instead from Jeff Liu, who did the entire sequence of Stevonnie running across the beach. It's frankly a testament to how accurate Jeff's boards are that the rough sketches here translate almost exactly to the final version you see in the ep. also please enjoy some Stevonnie moshing courtesy of Ian Jones-Quartey

    I don't usually get to point this out but let's take a minute to salute the Crewniverse for casting AJ Michalka as Stevonnie. It's legit scary how appropriate her voice is as a combination of Steven and Connie. Plus she's a good singer for any Stevonnie songs they might wanna do, hint, hint.

    And speaking of songs, there are quite a few great musical cues in this ep. Be warned, the related videos for these show spoilers:
    - When the gems try to get Steven to fuse: Fusion Disco (Fun Fact: this was actually released by the composers by popular demand)
    - Steven and Connie dance on the beach: Alone Together
    - Stevonnie runs on the beach: Twilight Run
    - Chiptune club music, if you're into that: Be Cool at the Club

    And finally, look at this Stevonnie doodle by season 4 guest storyboarder and lowkey hardcore SU fan Takafumi Hori from Japanese anime studio Trigger. It really doesn't have anything to do with the rest of my post but Hori doodles are great and you should look at them.


  14. #71
    nsfw pilcrow's Avatar
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    OH I actually forgot to brought this up but the Crewniverse has confirmed that Stevonnie goes by they/them pronouns - see this tweet from head writer and beloved troll who deleted his tweets for some reason Matt Burnett

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    #38: THE TEST
    florido/mitroff

    cheeseburger backpack has been earning it's importance in secret increasingly throughout the series. perhaaaaps it ramped up the buffoonery to a degree that was a bit excessive for the sake of a point but it established a great early stage steven was can juxtapose him against now, and its consequences - or Supposed consequences as it were as this episode addresses them as non-crucia, but its more about the significance of the moment against a bumbing steven - have a potent effect, even if the episode ends pretty light. here we stand with a much different steven, facing one of his greatest mistakes in the face and openly regretting it. hes become a more adept thoughtful guy while still retaining his knack for keeping things light and fun, always still making sure to do things like spouting one liners - in this episode to himself in fact! still, he's faced great foes, learned to better understand his powers, his sense of purpose has been affirmed and his desire to chase that potential has become more urgent and focused. steven's missions in s1a feel much like the crystal gems designate them; they're tests. here we have the test with the seemingly most potent and damaging effects in failure, yet it turns out to not be such a big deal. its a fascinating swift betrayal that well precursors the events that follow, a betrayal that once contextualized was the gems doing their best.

    if steven's intentions and behavior don't shine through to express his maturation and a fresher sense of focus and passion towards his Gemliness the episodes focal format managse to make it clear. here we have, for the first time explicitly, a fun little Steven Only adventure. or so it seems. steven's prior failure is unacceptable to him so he has to prove himself. i think whats worth noting immediately is, he does. technically steven doesn't really fail any of the tests inside this three room Lie Chamber. he escapes the boulder, leaps the gaps, hits the corresponding Musical Tiles and what have you. in the past steven would need guidance to even stay focused on the task at hand and keep things moving, now he can handle it by himself. the proof is there in his actions, even when he does get into a bit of a scrape - or idea of a scrape anyway - in the final room its nothing that seems too much likes he's really unprepared or not paying attention. how great of a gem he is in terms of being well prepared for missions isn't even really the point, its more how much he does actively intend to prove his worth and..does his best! themes! they're fun and fun to write about kids! still yes he does well enough to show his intent and focus pay off and his experience hasn't been all for naught. when his own pride toward his ability is on the line he pushes to make sure he makes the others happy.

    the chambers are a fun setpiece largely, alot of it feels like a great explicit way to toss steven into somewhat familiar dangers to see how far we've come and what we've learned, or what steven has learned. nothing too flashy but just enough to get the point across and have a fun bite-sized adventure segment in the middle chunk. some nice design touches such as the defining tinting of each room, love the way the torches all fly out of the way as the first room is illuminated as well as the vines hanging all around the room. oh and the balloon doors get me those buy me those get me at least one. one balloon door. or more. however many you want to get me i will say yes to. they're even complete with a great Level Completed style jingle which feels so uplifting, the kinda sounds you wanna hear to signal your triumph. second room has that great fizzling ambient synth string tone that carries the rhythmic melodic bloops of the tiles well, its vaguely ominous but very soothing. the third room has some great subtle animation touches with steven, as he smoothly maneuvers the fire walls while looking just a bit surprised at himself at the end. he's clearly come so far and yet he's probably still just getting used to the idea of that. he's confident but just now getting there.

    ah but lets break his little soul shall we? the slow reveals of the chamber's farce is expert and cruel, each new reveal meant to make things easier or literally impossible to fail more absurd than the last down to the lack of pattern in the tiles and Invisible Floor above the boulder room gap. its definitely a moment where i was thinking oh shit the gems dont believe in steven. surely that can't be right? right? and what sense would that make, if they set up a fake obstacle course and he "fails" it he learns nothing anyway, it wont make him better on missions. still it feels as though they're babying him, they're not giving him the credit he deserve for all he's done so far. its a bit painful, it gives us steven proving himself but then snatches it away. i've mentioned before how im a sucker for Things Are Not As They Seem setups, and i love the way steven steps outside of the puzzle as a whole and sees its outer structure. it all looks so manufactured, the way the blades phased thru the rigidly square blue block and all.

    steven has been reasonably treated with trepidation through the series in letting him handle big missions, but whats fascinating is seeing the treatment of him by the others, most notably pearl referring back to warp tour, still treat him with a bit of a quality of condescension. they don't disrespect or disregard him, but he's still not to their level, he's still not quite the gem he can be, all true and fair but there is a sense that they are the leaders and he is meant to follow and learn, and that nothing can change from that idea. furthermore theres the feeling that they want steven to do well but they're still afraid of his failure, which isn't unreasonable but does question their positions with dealing with steven currently. are they not giving him enough credit for how far he's come? pearl says steven has come so far early on but this doesn't really say alot for how they see him in terms of his ability. still the Why is whats important here, though it doesn't necessarily clear their slate as it does create a troubling duality. what seems like them having a lack of confidence in him is them trying to affirm his confidence in himself. it turns out he didnt really need them to condition the situation to predetermine his success, but they cant know that. when pearl worries if steven hurt himself, after all we've seen, its a bit annoying, a bit like how dare you? but its clear she means it, but its not the sort of statement to instill confidence, but she does mean it. she wants him to see his potential but through that she doesn't risk it. its carrying success at the risk of the feelings of steven. the problem is well illustrated in both amethyst and garnet's words. amethyst's simple "we're bad at this" suffices but garnets deliberation that steven is nothing like them and beyond that, nothing like anyone, maybe they cant control or understand him. if only they knew they didn't have to to the degree they worry. still, the worry is valid. steven's loss of his confidence has been damaging in the past, but i mean him finding this out may not help his confidence either? all the intentions are technically good but map it out and well amethyst is right, you're bad at this.

    still, is what they did wrong? its extremely hard for me to say. through this we dont' see the gems understand and appreciate stevens potential from a position of seeing him legitimately succeed, but considering theyre trying to nurture his confidence to augment his ability they must already believe in him, but then why the fake tests? the gems try so hard to make steven a good gem, but as garnet says he is more than that. the old rules may just need to be tossed out, every time steven has fought those rules there has been risk, but largely its worked out, often he's made the right decision and sometimes he has grown so much hes found his way into pushing the narrative forward and plunging everyone else into the consequences instead of the inverse of the initial constant. its jarring and probably frightening im sure, and they dont know how to deal with it. fair enough, so the risky move they make is more or less a failsafe, to give steven the confidence to a gem that they believe he needs. the truth though, again garnet's words, "we don't know what he needs". steven's successes in the episode are his own, the only stopgap are those trying to help him without knowing how. for all the entangled questions about right and wrong they're just...doing their best. they don't know what to do, all they know is they want to make steven feel better, and they didn't want any margin for error. i could volley this conundrum in my head for way longer but the point is it gets you thinking. ultimately steven does the right thing and congratulates them on a great challenge. it gives them the idea that he succeeded, it also gives them confidence in their ability to help him because even when they screw up their intentions are clearly good and even if it doesn't immediately come through they do believe in him. his descriptions of the challenges do well to show them specifically how he can overcome them and maintains actual truth too to the events. its a very sweet and sincere ending that says alot about how steven is. he's clearly great at being a gem, and maybe they dont totally realize that yet front-to-back, but steven is more than his missions. the test he passed maybe wasnt the one he was expecting but it says way more about him than avoiding deathtraps.

    A


  16. #73
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #39: FUTURE VISION
    abrams/jo

    alot of stuff that doesn't work in this one but its all gonna be me Broken Recording through the frustratingly cyclical "steven learns new thing and kinda bumbles through it" methodology that seems increasingly superfluous if i babble too much so let's discuss what does work. mainly i think the thrust of the episode is a sturdy one, steven desires to be a better gem, seeing his childlike possessions and behaviors as a manifestation of a regressive form of himself that he wishes to consciously discard. the episode acts as a tug-and-pull between the desires to be a greater gem and the innate still roaming naivety within him. its a bit of a "steven's in over his head" idea that works rather well when the pieces finally come together. steven wants to be a great Crystal Gem but is he totally ready to go all-in? future vision provides a good way to show steven something he is well beyond the understanding of at this juncture, garnet's very thorough and imaginative explanation drifiting through his poor head. in a way it feels like a metaphor for the entire series in terms of the Unknown Events to come, steven fears that which he doesn't know and as a gem he has to take this things on. like it or not though he is susceptible still to his regressive tendencies, and becomes fascinated in a childlike way with future vision first with glee, then with trepidation and eventually with hypochondriac level anxiety. the escelation is a good Idea, giving us an understanding that steven is an eager beaver and may end up paying for it, eyes wider than his stomach for what could be on his plate next if you will. slap all this on paper (or a website like im doing now), sounds pretty nice, very thorough, allegorical, you could even tie it into the events of warp tour, the lingering fear of the future, steven being in a position that he is starting to wander into stark unknowns. theoretically, everything is structurally sound and logically polished.

    so...what's the big scuff in the paint job here (what the fuck does that mean kaos)? well if i may make a direct comparison, this reminds me of so many birthdays where steven's worries seem too isolated in cartoonish fashion. they dont relate at all to the tangible future, perhaps near-future, of steven's life. they dont really seem to acknowledge steven's danger-prone behavior even, all of his worries are so absurdly silly to a point that is downright unrealistic. is this an allegory for ocd? it well could be because thats the only way you're gonna genuinely be worried a refrigerator will topple and kill you. i suppose the methodology of letting the potentially heavy topics go down easier is appropriate for a kids show but these guys have proven their worth in telling heavy stories without needing to soften the blow too much while still creating uplifting or ultimately thoughtful hopeful content. the core is this feels untied to every thing that has happened. it could be an episode of basically any episode of any tv show because it all but disregards continuity. we can address the framework of steven wanting to be mature but finding the roadblock of well his own impulses and his innate mindsets he's yet to unwire, but its tricky to immerse oneself in that if there's no conneciton to the grander scheme. it could just as easily be Rando Kid A in Kids Show For Kids wanting to be a Man but realizing hes not ready or whatever. this is slightly more sophisticated but buries it deep under layers of jokey vignettes and absurdity that takes a bit too long to make its point and even when it does doesn't totally feel aligned with what the rest was saying. at some point your desire to tell jokes will betray you.

    again, danger-prone steven should be afraid of an uncertain future, his big line is "the more i know the more i know i dont know" which is very accurate and frightening towards his future. and even if you want to make this feel like a more isolated analysis of the characters growing irrational fear being burrowed into by a catalyst of Future Potentials being tossed out very clinically by garnet as she's just trying to give steven the info he desires, you have to do more than Ono Steven Might Get Burnt By Coffee or Giant Wasps. so my option is to disregard the point until the end which makes the point loses its grip on this particular episode. i get that it provides hes still childlike, hes supposed to be a gem, but hes too attached to old ways that are innately against what he desires. that tracks through the episode, but it doesn't feel totally thought out in terms of how they pace these scenes out and how the tone shifts. its a bit abrupt, but it does work to a degree. steven wants to be a gem but that entails alot more than he's ready for clearly, and perhaps his human side cant always benefit him. being a bit too human - or perhaps just being a bit too naive - may betray him and overwhelm his senses in the face of new information by the way it relates back to him. again tho this all feels like a great concept troubled by its presentation.

    yet, what matters here is garnet. garnets decisions always seem like they Have to be the right decision, she is so calculated and focused that you feel assured by her choices, and she clearly knows how to steer the ship. really this episode feels like the defines her sense of unwavering cool calm collectedness, if she so intimately knows the wild branching waters that she must pilot through to escape danger to a point that its instinct, shes probably well used to it. she doesn't know the right outcome unquestionably it would seem but has enough intuition to work through the equation and find the correct path. its all this that makes her seem so spiritually connected to everything that happens, so her calm never wavers. with this confident position it stands to reason she doesn't really need to worrywort over steven like pearl would, and can treat him like an equal. theres great value in that and its generally adorable when the two are together but the inverse is giving steven a peak into how things truly work unfiltered leads to him having to deal with those consequences, and whats more is she seems to know it. the risk she takes is noble, to help them be closer, and by extension give him a greater understanding of something that clearly runs very deep which gives him that big step towards being the gem he wants to be. obviously its not gonna be such a quick transition, regardless of how well the episode presents it to me the point is still in there that like or not, wanting change isn't the same as changing. nonetheless garnet made a mistake at the risk of steven for the sake of them both, and in her acknowledgement for a brief moment her rigidity is shaken. her point that ultimately steven makes his own future says that the paths you see are still yours to navigate, as explained earlier, but all steven could gather was Uncertain Potentials and lost his damn mind. steven comes to and even he realizes he was kinda being a dipshit this whole episode but whatever. this is a warts-and-all lesson in steven's current position as a gem, it felt regressive in some ways but in that theres a point to make about progress not being a straight line and all. i do wish garnets line about seeing so many things that can hurt steven felt like it tied directly to stevens own fears but maybe that naivety is part of the point. im gonna be wavering on this one for awhile. i guess ill say i enVISION alot of POTENTIAL for its ideas to develop in the FUTURE! i could also say that about every episode though so.

    B -


  17. #74
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #40: ON THE RUN
    johnston/liu

    there's always been a fascinating disconnect between amethyst and the other gems that is comparable to steven. we knew she was a bit adolescent in mannerisms, she's had rebellious streaks and childlike fits and loves to fuck with people, she's often just a comic relief, an aside to the action to mellow things just enough, but she also has a weird sense of humanity just in that she seems to embrace it a little easier. earth customs come easier to her and shes far more interested in activities and behaviors befitting the common lovable slob. all of this works and has kept her a nice engaging change of pace, someone a bit more on steven's level to juxtapose pearl's more motherly behavior, and garnet's leveled but always calculated sensibility. the casual tone and ability to crack jokes at a moments notice that leaves her and steven this immediate connection has always been endearing. they've related through an inability to really feel part of the team at times, tiger millionaire did a great job at expressing how they felt as though they didn't get the respect they deserved or they were being controlled to some degree, and when that was pretty well proven when pearl and garnet find them amethyst ultimately lashes out in that teenage manner that speaks to her irritance at power that restricts her, but perhaps moreso the fact that the same power that takes her freedom is the reason she sought said freedom. whatever she wants to do to be herself, its taken from her. the underlying bitterness amethyst harbors is rarely brought up but it can definitely contextualize scuffles between her and pearl than sometimes seem a little more intense than you'd expect. sure pearl's motherly hovering and anxiety are prone to leading to amethyst rolling her eyes at her and cue a little bickering, but it wouldn't have been surprising at all to learn that indeed, it runs deeper than that.

    dangers are afoot, the lurching possibility of a terrifying prospect that haunted the crystal gems before returning is hard to brush off. at the end of warp tour they were all extremely panicked, and here that panic resurfaces. it's important to make pearl's observations remarks intently callous here i think, she paints a broad ominous picture that doesn't get into specifics because all that matters to tell steven is well things were bad and we can't let it happen again. even without the details its nice to get a little concrete perspective on the crystal gems "loving earth" thing, and it does make me wanna see a bit of that. some flashback action would be sick, soon enough im sure! i do have to assume rose lead the charge perhaps to pearl and garnet's reluctance to defy the orders of the homeworld gems for whatever specific Bad Thing they were gonna do that could have jeopardized the safety of the people of earth. the loving sacrifice they makes definitely speaks volumes towards rose's powerful love of earth after all. many holes left to be filled even with this tidbit, timeline specifics and all. so much left to uncover. so very very much. sure hope that hiatus ends. what's interesting here i think is that pearl never says anything directly about amethyst with regards to the important details being directly about her, but she doesn't have to. the relationship between the two is difficult but its usually about silly frivolous things right? well yes but if amethyst is indeed harboring the mentality of a teenager or similar it wouldn't be out-of-bounds to say even the smallest spats between the two create an impression of how she's viewed. she's already felt alot of disrespect, and shes clearly very different and behaves differently than pearl and garnet. these aren't big deals on their own, but the compounding of frustrations about the past and pearl's Reasonably callous but still totally callous way to describing it without regarding amethyst as some exception is very key to understanding why she seems to lash out so quickly. it like so many other things is a slow burn but the perspective it was coming from has only now reached a sense of actual relevance to the overarching story, informing smaller moments with the grand scheme and vice versa.

    ever impulsive and slightly disconnected from reality steven is a good catalyst to give amethyst her desired escapism. their montage of leaving beach city is delightful - also they've left beach city alot technically warps and all but seeing them actually Leave it on regular roads feels like it has this weird significance to it, the way we are slowly making our way to disturbed desolate lands that are explicitly earth, it precursors that very well. the song here is brilliantly deceitful, steven's chipper little click-clacky acoustic campfire tune going from warm and breezy to outright corny with the jaunty whistling. at peak happiness, when steven is grasping that Episode Title like a mission statement of embracing the unknown, in comes amethyst running from the known. steven being oblivious to her lyrics is a neat trick where it feels like he's so lost in the moment that he doesn't catch the significance, even joining along for "but home's a place that i have never known". it seems so intrinsically negative, yet for steven it could easily be a statement of opportunity, home still lies ahead and all. nonetheless steven is not the point, though steven thinking he is in a way is a great way to lead us into the heavier points of the episode without dragging us straight into the fucking kindergarten for a mood whiplash for the ages.

    much the way pearl and amethyst's relationship has always had the same key dynamics it does here but only better carved out, steven and amethyst's relationship begins to make more sense too. sure they still have similar mentalities and desires that help them get along, similar senses of humor and tendencies to goof off or trying to have the most fun in a situation possible. whats more though is amethyst doesn't need to worry about the past with steven, he knows the idea that something is "bad" but he doesn't even connect that to amethyst, heck he thinks shes from homeworld still, and furthermore thats not even the story of the episode to him at first, but amethyst can easily put her trust into him because the pre-established judgement isn't there, he isn't of the gems to put to rest the supposedly horrible project that brought her to life. with that, even showing steven the kindergarten isn't necessarily a terrible thing to her, she just looks at it like memories, fondly recalling the climbing rock and the hole she was birthed in. still got that good hole smell. yet are these truly her memories or more escapism? there's no denying that the kindergarten is a starkly terrifying setting, the massive drills - point for ronaldo? - and numerous concave sections in the towering trenches scraping the foggy sky, feeling like a relic of war, but moreso a wound still fresher than it seems. amethyst's behavior definitely seems as though its masking a darker truth but in the context of feeling unwanted and like a scab they decided not to pick off, its clear that, unfortunately, her ties lead here, and if feeling left out due to this makes her feel being with pearl and garnet isn't home then this must be home. home is what formed her damaged, and while its to blame for her being unable to find home elsewhere to her understanding, its all she has, its what will accept her. its disturbing, but its hard to blame her.

    the fight in this episode..man its alot to take in. it does well to define their tumultuous relationship and it takes no real sides. the brewing up to the fight is intense with pearl not taking amethyst's feeling into consideration against amethyst spitefully revealing still vague but ominous details. the way amethyst tries to drill (heh drill) the point home that she is one of these Bad Gems and all pearl thinks of is steven's feelings is a good touch to say alot about her priorities here. again though this has been brewing all series long just not with what we know now and not under such intense context. the relationship in which pearl disregards where amethyst is coming from and amethyst feels unwanted. a good little moment to me is pearl going "i don't want to fight you" While pulling her weapon. sure she needs to defend herself but its another touch of pearl's priorities being a bit out of wack, shes been powered by her fear all episode and its made her lose sight of the blatant disregard shes had for amethyst which just compounds previous similar tiny moments with a further declaration that she doesn't seem to think much of amethyst. amethyst's behavior is quite primal and unflinching, brutal and emotional, still with that tinge of teenagery with her retorts being a bit bratty but it works its like a kid throwing a tantrum but a very powerful kid in a very important scary situation where their emotions are being manipulated and its not fucking ok and she wants you to know that and understand that even if she has to hurt you because she feels like its all shes supposed to do. if all amethyst can see as home is the kindergarten under this bevy of emotion and stress, she might as well be the Parasite she says she is. pearl's intent to fight seems unwilling to waver too, all she knows is to push back against what threatens her, her stark terror now illuminated by a setting clearly too disturbingly familiar. the fight itself is tense and weighs heavy on the heart with the apocalyptic grand pianos storming downward at such a pace that has at the same time a disturbed crawl and a subtle sense of racing at you. it feels like its getting faster at times but i dont think it is. great touch with the progression gaining just a tinge of elegance amidst the chaos during the sequence of pearl avoiding amethysts attacks still with poise even in such a situation, as though she treats this battle no differently, which itself has this insulting undertone, amethyst clearly treats this very differently but pearl is just trying to do what she always does to protect herself. it may not even be intentional but you can definitely pick apart a disconnect that lends characteristic subtlety even to these fight scenes.

    eventually amethyst's only option is to be direct, though it comes in a cathartic rage that seems like its the only way to get the gnawing demon to surface when it seems like the fight is only fueling her to avoid the truth of whats going on and pearl is unable to understand. whats fascinating is if you think about why pearl is fighting her perspective is just amethyst attacked her, she probably assumes its all because she yelled at amethyst for revealing too much too steven, for treating her in a way thats ostracizing and infantilizing. in a way she's right, amethyst doesn't want to be endlessly reminded of the horror of what happened, but whats also worth noting is pearl never does. pearl is callous in what she says but never calls amethyst horrible of course, its merely thoughtless because of course she knows amethyst was part of it, the biggest part remaining. the ultimate truth that pearl's reasons for not really adjusting her attitude towards the kindergarten and the past work of homeworld gems on earth to lead to things like amethyst are because she doesn't think of amethyst in such a way is a fascinating almost ironic disconnect. pearl is so sure amethyst shouldn't be seen as the mistake or disaster here that she takes no time to think, its when it all begins to build and she keeps not thinking that it shows her priorities are still lost but even so, her intent is never malicious toward amethyst even when fighting her, shes just doing what she thinks she supposed to do. so is amethyst, and a telling moment is when she reels back realizing the damage she's doing, a frightening reinforcing of what she sees herself as. in desperation, its time for pearl to actually Talk to amethyst, which it feels like has never really happened yet. their final talk here is a very touching one, it makes it clear that the disconnect between the two has a birthing ground - in a sense quite literally - that has been hard to shake, but all they needed was a moment to paint the picture distinctly of the disconnect. this is where those Little moments between the two feel more relevant than ever to me. amethyst and pearl being very different is ripe for many opportunities but the disconnect it provides here is potent, allowing the break through those walls to be powerful and heartstring tugging. its easier said than done, but maybe these two just need to understand each other, and maybe the first big step there is letting amethyst know she's not as out of place as she thinks. pearl accepts her, always accepted her clearly, and wishes she knew that. hopefully now she does, maybe the disconnect mends itself in just knowing that how she sees herself isn't how everyone else did, so theres nowhere to run to and nothing to run from. maybe now she can finally go home.

    A


  18. #75
    Low & Lazy Tromboon's Avatar
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    wow peyrin you really really like this show huh? damn. Looking at storyboards and the music make me get anxiety ahahaha I'll never have that much fun what am I doing with my life

    Quote Originally Posted by peyrin View Post
    I don't usually get to point this out but let's take a minute to salute the Crewniverse for casting AJ Michalka as Stevonnie. It's legit scary how appropriate her voice is as a combination of Steven and Connie.
    I'm not the kind of guy who writes these kinds of essays about tv show episodes, (or I'm certainly not in a phase of my life where I have the energy to do that) but I just wanted to say this... Absolutely fantastic voice, I love how AJ mimicks Steven's laugh and I love Stevonnie as a concept and as a character.

    This show Really could have used watching this as a child.
    Even the noblest concerto can be stripped of its beauty and soul

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    lol I am ashamed at how much of these write-ups I can do by memory. but nah a significant portion of it takes some researching to compile

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  21. #77
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    Would people like it if I posted the storyboarders' promos in front of each episode? They're pre neat. I probably shoulda done this way earlier.

    Anyway I ranked this ep fifth best of the season so I'm glad you got it way up there too. Amethyst and Pearl's strained relationship is one of my favorite character arcs in the show - Giant Woman and On the Run are really the only two major eps in season 1 that focus on it, but the tension between them constantly existing in the background of other eps really makes this payoff feel earned, even if it's only the second ep about it. We know this show is more than capable of head-on character development (just look at Steven between ep 1 and now), so the way they handled Pearl and Amethyst in the background of everything else going on is quite a feat.

    I think foose pretty much summed up all the rest of my thoughts on this episode so might as well just start dumping links on you guys again. This ep is quite a feast for the eyes in how many new backgrounds we have - some recurring, some one-time (no spoilers!!). The stark contrasts between the different color palettes used in the ep really emphasize how ominous the Kindergarten is made out to be. We start on a bright sunny day, reach sunset on the train, and descend into darkness for the Kindergarten.

    Oh hey this ep has a song. It's Amethyst's first song. This is actually one of the few songs not written by Rebecca - it's written by storyboarder and occasional music guy Jeff Liu. Here's his demo for the song (featuring kalimba!), which also has the animatics for that scene. The retooled melody in the final version is honestly a big improvement to me, but I guess preferring this demo version isn't that big of a crime.

    Other than that animatic, Jeff only posted this single storyboard of Sadmethyst (I'm sorry).

    On the bright side, Joe Johnston has some incredible boards in the final scenes. Although he's not my personal favorite drawer of Amethyst (that boarding team shows up in season 2 get hyped), something that's unique to Joe is how organic his Amethyst animation is. In most standard Amethyst scenes, you don't see her right eye, but Joe is really great at showing parts of the right eye if the motion of the scene warrants it. It's evident in most of the Kindergarten scenes (most of the first half of the ep I'd wager are Jeff boards) - here are just some quick examples from skimming through the ep. Joe also just generally knocks it out of the park with some intensely expressive faces, as well as some impressive fight scenes. Pearl gracefully dancing her way around Amethyst's attacks is a great touch that foose pointed out, and fortunately for us, there's a GIF of it. The frame rate on those boards is downright impressive.

    So yeah great ep. But never fear - two of the four eps I ranked above this in my s1 ranking are still yet to come!! get hyped!! write another one soon you bum!!!
    Last edited by pilcrow; 10-26-2017 at 10:36 PM.


  22. #78
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    I actually thought of that episode very recently, that the animation right when Amethyst says "I didn't ask to be made" is great and I remember thinking that it... isn't cringe. Which I expected it to be. And that's impressive :^

  23. #79
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    10 minutes into this ep, when Steven storms through the obstacle course and confronts the gems, you're ready for a cathartic conversation between Steven and the gems. One that gets to the bottom of some big mystery that the gems are shielding from him, or a realization that the gems aren't necessarily always in the right. But it doesn't happen. And it's a crushing moment, when the payoff of the episode seems to be completely squandered. But it's also a huge moment for Steven and his maturity in recognizing that he can't always be asking the gems for help and getting his ass saved by them - and in fact, around this time we start to see Steven helping the gems in missions sometimes, instead of things always being the other way around. So it's a thoroughly disappointing ending, but an extremely necessary and powerful one at that.

    Even with all the great Steven character work, the highlight of this ep might be its one-of-a-kind setpiece, an obstacle course created seemingly out of nowhere. Supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey talks here about how the minimalistic set was designed to be a buggy video game. There's also a nearly two-minute animatic of the climactic scenes - it's an fascinating hodgepodge of first pass rough drawings that lay out the setting and really refined character drawings that try to get across as much of the gems' conflicting emotions as possible. And of course the background designers do a great job as usual bringing the set to life.

    The Test is boarded by Hilary and Katie, who as I probably have mentioned before really shine with expressive and fluid character drawings. Here's a ton of boards from Katie Mitroff featuring a bit of color commentary about how the set was designed. Katie's Pearls are honestly a little wonky to me, but fortunately her Stevens are on point throughout the entire ep.

    Hilary does a lot of Japanese high school promos that have absolutely nothing to do with the ep. But they're fun anyway. Here's one of em (maybe the first? I can't be assed to check) for this episode. There's also Stare Pearl and Aaaaaaaaaa Pearl from her boards.

    The soundtrack of the whole ep is cool and VGM-ish - the one track we have is from the moment when Steven marches through the course to confront the gems. The four-note piano motif from the Pearl room being incorporated into the track is pretty neat if I do say so myself.

    Something cool I didn't notice until it was pointed out by fans more rabid than us is the neat parallels between Serious Steven and The Test. Fortunately some person with a ~passion for graphic design~ made an infographic all about it so I don't really have to explain it.

    And finally, please enjoy concept art for Balloon Door.


  24. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by peyrin View Post
    .

    The soundtrack of the whole ep is cool and VGM-ish - the one track we have is from the moment when Steven marches through the course to confront the gems. The four-note piano motif from the Pearl room being incorporated into the track is pretty neat if I do say so myself.
    Am I missing something, or isn't it there? You're not talking about the end when the piano plays the Crystal Gems theme song?

  25. #81
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    the four piano notes at 0:19

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    oooh of course I thought you were talking about the 'Pearl's Room' piece (makes no sense but I've been listening a lot to that piece lately) and actually transcribed it for the piano :>

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  28. #83
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    #41: HORROR CLUB
    molisee/villeco

    happy almost halloween! this holiday season sucks so lets celebrate its dumbness the only way i know how: by reviewing a show i was going to review anyway that just happened to make a Spooky episode.

    i guess ronaldo is the perfect lowbrow fiction dweeb and conspiracy nut type to act as a catalyst for well-worn horror tropes and themes as far as su characters go, if you wanna go such a direction in su, which why would you. the horror or whatever you'd call it is...fine. the tricky situation with playing with tired tropes lovingly is you're still playing with tired tropes. here's the thing, if a trope is tired, then legions of tv shows, movies, comics and whatever have already expressed their love and homage for it via using it at all. its almost redundant to say "i like poltergeists" or whatever. to the credit of the art team of the show however alot of these scenes look pretty great, the array of various eerie muted greens that have a bit more a nuclear glow as flashlights touch portions of the scenery, and the later stark contrast of crimson reds near the end and the delicate baby blue of the flashback all give different tones that signal the emotional space any given scene is residing in well. most of the scenes in the episode focus into very specific uniform pallettes that catch the eye as a whole and blend to create these moods that act as solid undertones to the action or lack thereof, as it rises, falls, and dissipates. the demented minimal synth soundtrack is also quite effective in capitalizing on the effect of building and releasing tension without too many cheats - the only jumpscare is a fake one at the beginning with steven which is frankly pretty funny. also quick aside but the one very specific z-movie adoration laced line i like for its specificity is ronaldo's about missing the bit where you can see the sound guy. with that and Evil Bear im guessing its a shoutout to evil dead which is uh yeah bad by any objective measures BUT ER anyway!

    still, while all of that is important and the intricacies intact in the proceedings make them far more dazzling and amusing than they would have been if they were merely flat, the core ideas borrowed are too damn familiar to wrangle me in on their own, and for the most part they are on their own. the horror elements and actual character stuff only dovetails by the very end so theres no use trying to hash out how they intertwine because they barely do. they're all scared at the scary stuff happening. duh. the stuff itself well talking to spirits, minimal lighting, poltergeisty occurences of shit flyin everywhere, the works. im not even sure how some of this works, so this gem in the wall caused Generic Kids Laughing Noise Scare Thing and Evil Scarecrows I Think? what. why. it doesn't even really track with the episodes twist because nobody is actively harming the house at the time that shit goes sideways, i get that its after lars for what happened way back but the way it does things is just trying to fuckin murder everyone it feels like. the problem trying to establish a point that transcends the familiar scare tactics the episode employs is just too difficult and innately almost impossible because to follow all of the tropes you have to treat it like the source is straight up evil or at least malicious enough that it seems less selective with its behavior. there are moments where lars is more targeted and that works but its not really consistent because the episode seems more interested in reveling in the tropes as is and then haphazardly assembling the pieces after all is said and done (or well by the time sadie sinks into the floor). ronaldo points out that the thing must be after lars but i dont see how thats well enough telegraphed myself.

    nonetheless obviously it was, and while the character stuff here isn't bad, its a bit slapdash and on-the-nose to me. the best stuff is actually before the flashback, toying more with lars' misunderstood perception of those around him he deems inferior as a sort of coping mechanism slash projection of his own fears of being himself or being a version of himself that doesn't look good or that has to accept potential rejection. lars sees ronaldo as a dork, regardless that would be true, but whats effective is how jovial sadie is around him and she even seems to find him quite sweet and endearing, not quite sure to the point of being attracted to him but enough that she seems to like him and spending time with him, she appreciates his compliments and such after the initial poltergeist insanity. these aren't particularly complex ideas, its human condition stuff that plenty of people grapple with (myself included but without the "trying to be cool" part cuz i literally dont know how), but it still toys with how lars is trying to be the version of himself he thinks people will like but doesn't realize how repellant it can be, whereas his perception of ronaldo is relative only to himself. this is nothing new but the context of giving sadie a chance to pal around with one of the most undeniably dorky characters in the series and having her have little to no reservations about it does speak volumes about lars and the unnecessary position he lodges himself in. lars doesn't make himself look good throughout so its no wonder it all links back to some real wounds. these scenes are...not bad but not extremely well written to me? i understand ronaldo's frustration with lars, perhaps not his fucking homicidal rage that leads him to nearly feeding lars to the Wall - again tropes and Horror Behavior before internal logic - but yes his frustration. seeing the younger lars tear up the picture of him after ronaldo's excited discovery of his Supernatural House says it all, lars is already prioritizing irrational fears of perception to a point that is tainting his relationships, creating a cruel irony that will follow him well into these current years of his life. this works, what doesn't work is pointing it out, literally having ronaldo say "why do you care so much about what other people think?". like thanks i got it, and i have enough faith in the kids of the world who are sophisticated enough to understand the themes of this to not need it said to them. same with the thing with lars carving his name in the wall, pretty sure it was pointed to enough to make the point clear.

    still, not a bad scene, seeing ronaldo have a breakthrough towards supernatural evidence and having it literally torn to shreds is striking when you consider hes still chasing such ideas looking more and more like a nut to the world around him - maybe, im perhaps projecting like lars. i relate alot to lars i think just from a different position, and as frustrating as it is, lars refusing to have a heart-to-heart with ronaldo at the end, racing off and refusing to let his emotions simmer and reveal something he may not like, it speaks to the cycle that shackles him. its profound, its just in a really weird episode. its also interesting to consider that his friendship with ronaldo may be what planted the seed of insecurity second hand by hearing what people said about him, since said friendship was clearly being obscured. lars calcuates himself to quite a degree, but he also reveals his insecurities quite blatantly, i like the bit where sadie is talking about the gem and lars takes it to be about himself. at first i felt this episode kind of frustratingly circumvented lars in a way that felt redundant but it says alot about how hes meant to be portrayed, as if his episodes cant even allow him genuine steps forward or further letting down of his guard. its the attempt to have it two ways that leads this one down an interesting and unique, but rickety path

    B-


  29. #84
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    #42: WINTER FORECAST
    abrams/jo

    the increased efficiency with which this series has been integrating important development into stories that feel valuable contained on their own has been very impressive, and as usual i cannot pretend to predict these episodes. the vitality hasn't wavered a bit and is only growing stronger over time. case in point this entire delightful experiment which packs in alot despite most of it never happening. this is what i think an idiot like egg would probably call ALL A DREAM? NOOOOOOOOOOOO THIS IS THE WORST!!! 5.5/10. yet even as it casts information into the land of the hypothetical it never loses anything, if anything its a clever way of placing info into the consciousness of steven without others being privy. its a silent adventure of sorts, and its intriguing to see it happen so soon. the way this series picks up and drops and retrieves elements is very natural and as such it could happen at any time. the way future vision has immediately made its return says alot about its significance, and initially seems to say alot about steven's growth, that so quickly he has gathered the ability that tortured him and revealed a space of immaturity and naivety so recently. of course even knowing it wasn't of his own volition the concept is thoroughly enthralling and theres alot of angles to tackle and they seem to take advantage of this.

    it may not be the immediate shift of steven suddenly gaining a power that was previously unattainable and frightening with no assistance, but it still provides a great contrast to the nebulous terror of the idea with a much more concrete display. i like that steven endures every potential scenario until its disastrous end, which varies and escalates each time to help him solve the equation of what he's dealing with. its very much like a time travel story - one of my favorite kinda tropes - but reshaped to suit a context befitting him. im always sure to be wary when this show is deceptively normal but you can never be sure, i see steven and connie palling around or greg going through various silly outfits and im like ok whats gonna happen. when they get to connie's house *makes not to look up how to spell connie's last name for future reference* it all seems so normal with intent to toy with the universes and the...thems. ok hold on. maheswarans. nice. im good at languages. this idea was exciting as you need a little down-to-earth storytelling to help humanize the universes to the maheswarans but also you need to give more stories to the human characters to help make the show's actual implications feel more meaningful on a grand scale towards the planet that has faced and Will Probably Again Face danger quite soon. of course just steven and connie's hanging out time and the endearing greg scenes do this fine and while the overbearing parental behavior of the maheswarans is worth cracking open eventually, you can't do literally every story at once. so lets get Future Visiony!

    this is a great trick on garnet's part, its clear at the end of future vision there isn't really a sense of closure towards him understanding it. so what can be done? well lets put him Within the scenarios themselves. i imagine garnet is adept enough at future vision to know the paths ahead well before having to endure them in her mind, like theoretically she just has a spiritual connection of sorts with her own abilities so she need to not carve through every prospective possibility to find the best road and instead knows the rivers in front of her enough to navigate as though its second nature. steven inversely slowly gains the realization of whats going on at all and thus has to see every scenario through to the end. its a very clever learning exercise for steven while providing some fun and insightful scenarios that ramp up each time to keep you on your toes. the first one is deceitfully simple, the second provides a bit more disaster on the part of mr maheswaran but it has more of an Alternate Ending feel, still it gives us a closer scrape for our characters than we're used to, specifically the ones who cant handle the volume of disaster they're facing. so when its a human its a car crash, but when its the gems its a fucking Exploding Shard? btw what, whats goin on there! i enjoy that garnet lets steven see this, pearl in the scenario is worried steven witnesses them trying to destroy the galaxy warp, lending a bit of credibility to the notion that maybe she still doesn't deem him ready to face these frightening mysteries despite clearly being a gem too, shes not willing to let go and accept that yet, it did well to craft the plot of warp tour and though steven was right that doesn't immediately resolve her resignation. inversely clearly garnet, the one who admitted their collective faults towards recognizing his value and equivalent position as a gem, would make sure not to betray that trust by allowing him to see this scenario as well, even though for all intents and purposes towards the most relevant parts of this partiicular adventure it is not important. but it is, of course it is, in some way. its also a nice way to nod to the Arcs taking place whether we are deep in their trenches or not. just that one scene takes such a huge swerve without forcing it and then leaves it in the dust in spectacular disaster. i assume they did this thing they were doing without fail since steven didn't show up? did they destroy the galaxy warp in the main timeline OFF SCREEN. dope. dope af way to tell us if so, really neat way to make a world feel as though its moving without being toooo convenient. fakeouts seem to be this episodes specialty even without the future vision motif being used, like steven picking up a guitar only to play NOTHING NOOOOOOOO FUCK U 5.5/10

    the "Ending" where they go back to steven's place is a great fakeout especially cuz it feels so much like the actual end. ah of course what happens is they Dont take her home immediately cuz it cant go well, connie stands up to her parents to an extent that she defies authority, steven realizes the power hes dealing with perhaps like hey he Has future vision now, wowee they grow so fast, being so much sooner after the first time speaking volumes to his rapid growth! it all lines up so perfectly that it being another fake is pretty damn funny. at least connie didn't have her cell tossed in the damn snow, and at least greg didn't have his keys tossed in the damn snow. of course once we see the gems doing the Important Thing its clear somethings gonna go awry, but its good to take expectation and roll with it like that, because it lends itself well to the unpredictability of the concept. aside from being a sequel to future vision, its also almost a sequel to the test, its garnet giving steven a real test, a real chance to prove himself. he gets the required info from her but its up to him to put the pieces together. sure its not a Gem test really, its not wild video game obstacles, but its still proof of his ability to endure these wild new territories as a gem and use them in any capacity, be it in battle or just getting a friend home before a snowstorm. there isn't alot to say about the way it wraps, as its simplicity, its conflict free wrap up, is sort of the entire point. we gain no real potential threads for development or toy with the story as it stands in a way thats trying to be clever after the fact. its just...hey she gets home and they stay overnite. its a remarkably simple story finish where a story stops even feeling written, because free from the what ifs all there is left is to just...be. so thats what they do, steven and connie staring out at the snow as they hoped they'd get to. its a sweet ending, kept in a profound silence as it feels steven navigated the choppy waters to earn them that moment, no strings attached. in an episode so heavy on concept for the sake of escaping the roadblocks that act as story, its only befitting that you can't really write anything about it. its best to just appreciate it, and watch the snow with them. take this silence as a break earned by the endurance of the noise.

    B+


  30. #85
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #43: MAXIMUM CAPACITY
    florido/mitroff/sugar

    hey man it's cool, i've seen your junk before.

    when we lifted the curtain on steven universe and were made privy to its wild mysterious world, obviously there was a complicated unsorted past rife with complicated unsorted feelings, many of which were left behind and forgotten about, some of which characters have buried or run away from. its no wonder we haven't gotten an amethyst and greg ep before now because here you have two nuts that are tough to crack in different ways. greg moreso because hes just so casual he seems intent to not let the past become the ugly present, and amethyst because shes unwilling to face it head on. because of this you'd basically have to force these characters together to have them end up in a context too close for comfort and even then they'd basically have to force themselves even further into the dillema that causes them to burst. in this episode our two most slacker-prone characters fall into an old habit which seems frivolous but soon reveals itself to be a way of running from the past Using the past because facing the past, of course, happens in the present. its profound somehow despite lil butler being...just too much for me. yet, returning to treasured memories to prevent oneself from revisiting the ugliness that surrounded it makes sense. its almost like the inverse of a traumatic trigger memory, its the picture of escapism that gave some sense of reason or meaning to what seemed unfair to amethyst. all she and greg seem to have is lil butler and as soon as thats torn away her resentment returns. greg clearly doesn't want to deal with her behavior and knows getting as sucked into the show as he has is beginning to present uncomfortable implications for what she's doing. whether she manipulates him for some spite, for the desire to maintain this image of a pristine nostalgia that sits in a bubble apart from the feelings she cant allow herself to encounter, or a combination of the two is very unclear but what is clear is that in a cruel twist, allowing themselves to fall back into an old habit places them in a framework that allows them to revel in the joys of the past, but it also puts them in a place reminiscent of the bad times that maybe required them to find this escapism, or perhaps broke them away from this? again its not yet clear, and maybe it doesn't need to be. amethyst is definitely selfish and childish in this episode and there were times i even began rooting against her, but i can't know what she feels shes lost and her tendencies towards childish behavior are nothing new. her emotions explode without warning which initially i found too jarring but i realize thats how amethyst works. the always deceitful calm of the first four minutes or so presents an amethyst operating on a level of not talking to greg About things, just cracking jokes and thumbing through his garbage. the storage shed as a metaphor for these unsorted feelings may be a biiiit on-the-nose but having them holed up Inside the garbage watching garbage not dealing with their Real garbage, theres something inspired there that took alot of sorting through to get.

    this show has so many times been able to provide perspectives that are nuanced so you can see a perspective both ways that makes sense to each character, and you don't so much root for one or the other as you root for them to fix it, find a way out of these emotional trenches. what's odd is i don't feel that much with this episode but it's not as big an issue as i'd initially felt. the issue is sort of one-sided, thats the point. greg would gladly still be friends with amethyst, its her who can't let the past go. this could easily paint her as the bad guy but clearly she has alot of baggage with him thats unresolved, and he knows this but hes willing to look past it and just watch some silly shows with her, not because its all they have, but because it just seems like a good time. their perspective on spending this time together is very different, so you can barely compare the two. if greg has an issue its being a bit clueless, which is nothing new. he and amethyst have no Active bad blood, but the simmering difficulties of the past that he cast aside, well maybe him casting it aside doesn't make it okay, if it isn't mutual who is he to say everythings all tidy? maybe theres still alot of junk to sort through. maybe at some point keeping all those memories, good and bad and whatever, unsorted and unattended to has consquences, it all comes spilling out seemingly apropos of nothing. the greg/amethyst relationship is one thats been so unspoken that perhaps its frustrating to gain so little insight on it until it explodes out of amethyst in a correlation that feels a bit tenuous, her behavior even knowing her seems a bit harsh considering her keeping greg away from steven, but this is as much of their past as i have. its really not my business to say so far, and perhaps that means they Should have said more, but then perhaps that totally defeats the purpose kaos you fucking idiot.

    there is so much beyond the basic framework too that intrigues me. the pivotal scene begs many questions: what was amethyst's relationship with rose, why did it mean so much, how did amethyst and greg forge any form of friendship despite amethyst's resentment. they're quite alike clearly, they like the same stupid things and have a tendency toward laziness that moves into the absurd. for all this however, its not enough. steven's line that correlates the episode directly to the shed is very funny and thoughtful if definitely on-the-nose. all greg has been trying to do is clean up the past but he got sucked into it, yet in the midst of getting sucked into still neglected it. its not entirely his fault, amethyst simultaneously uses the show to bury her feelings and insists upon greg to stay within this moment, a bubble away from their problems. they're both neglecting, for reasons of cluelessness or fear or whatever. regardless, you can't ignore these feelings forever, eventually you have to clean house. whats interesting is it seems things are so cluttered that alot of the details are buried in said clutter. even pearl can't explain in her memory what happened with amethyst and greg watching lil butler, eventually they just...didn't. alot of details aren't in place, but alot of details being in place would imply these two have hashed out anything. theirs is a dynamic deadset on circumventing the truth for easy comfort, neglecting a ticking bomb so long they don't realize one of them is the bomb. as silly as lil butler is you can tell it means Something to them and they share alot of laughs over it, this is their good times. is it all of them? who can say, we wont know until their good times are more than a break away from dealing with the clutter. escapism, avoidance behavior, im all too familiar with it, maybe so much that i had a hard time sifting the clutter myself, or maybe accepting that i cant really. looking for logic when the point is how buried it is says alot about how much work there is to be done, slowly, incrementally. at the very least the shed gets cleaned and rose and greg's picture frame is fixed. baby steps, big encounters as a gateway to little improvements. its not up to me how steep that hill is.

    B

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  32. #86
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #44: MARBLE MADNESS
    johnston/liu

    an incredibly Part Two affair in a very good if honestly largely standard way. we dip into even hairier territory than before, we have the CGs presence revealed to a homeworld gem, and we establish a further sense of steven's naivety being a valuable guiding beacon as well as a symbol of impending disaster. i do think steven seems a it overtly boneheaded considering he can tell the gravity of the gem's responses to what's taking place here. he still makes a fine point, a reestablishment of his position in many previous episodes that allows for a greater risk instead of the interminable fight of futility. seeing the kindergarten in these moments of reservation for the other gems really helps mirror this episode with on the run in a sense, that feeling that fighting, in many ways, is becoming increasingly more a detriment, that their fears cant just be extinguished and deeply internalized notions of surviving a situation are failing them, and now thats been directly applied to the unending terror of these increasingly larger marbles plummetting like meteors harboring their prophetic doom into any place with a working warp. this reaches back to the summarizing blast through old locales of warp tour while letting the final destination have a significant purpose. an excellent touch with amethyst actually mirroring pearl's unease about the giant marble carrying them to the kindergarten, shifting entirely the context of this place after the pivotal events of that great episode. the way the marble ends up using the warp carries that intriguing surreal sense, stepping into enemy territory literally on said enemy's back, pushing further into carrying the gems further than they were prepared to go. pearl finally admitting outright she has no idea what these marbles are, admitting "we don't know anything", is a great closure to the tension that didnt have time to settle and unravel in warp tour as well. the CGS aren't used to not knowing what to do, and when they dont have a solution all they can do it demolish whats set in front of them in hopes it will work. it doesn't.

    the episode wastes no time getting into its insanity, as though the Arc has been lying in wait long enough and is like Fuck this connie nerd book shit its time to psychologically damage the gems! some excellent action sequences here, the way they keep breaking into the casual tone the episode attempts with steven and connie's book conversations. its a neat subversion that plays against the monster-of-the-week motif of early on, this isn't organically created specifically by steven, this isn't caused outright the actions of the episode and this isn't built to in that old sense, it just happens, its random and frightening and order doesn't exist anymore, really it never did. the gem's mission based objectives create a sense of patterns and harmony upon which to achieve their goals, so any challenge can be structured and tackled, fitting that traditional cartoone episode format very cleanly. these marbles dont give a flying fuck about your structure, fuck you they're here fight them. its wild, its the feeling that normalcy is losing its grip in many ways, and it should feel like that. the thing that which they've been fearing keeps reminding them that its coming, its not going to stop trying, its ever lurching closer into frame to resume the horrible acts of the past that they need to defend the earth from in the first place. this is a great way to extrapolate their terror into that primal reactionary destruction, even garnet has no plan but masks that by making sure she notes that all that matters is each one at each time is gone. the CGs are without a clear solution, and they're facing territory that they never wanted to leap back into and new territory alike, the fight or flight response only makes sense. when they know nothing they assume there is nothing to need to know because well what can we do? what can we possibly learn? this thing needs to be stopped, thats all there is to it! that's where steven's response comes in, and it's, well as garnet herself well summarizes at the end, a sketchy choice.

    steven does what he did in warp tour but with none of the displayed maturity or focus which is jarring and strange, and he basically signals their doom. through steven we learn the marble's intentions, i dont even really disagree with his decision to climb aboard the marble and follow it to the kindergarten, its dangerous and maybe even stupid but steven's trust in following danger to its source and confronting has helped him before. maaaaybe even that explains why he thinks he can just talk to peridot, his dealing with lapis gives him this feeling that he can make things peachy keen between whoever he's dealing with. maybe, but even with lapis he was walking headfirst into danger after a long arduous battle and didn't know what to expect. here he leaps into frame cluelessly talking to someone who is clearly up to no good. i can't quite tell what he expects to happen. the biggest issue is just how it seems to contradict the intent of warp tour's character development. steven is a gem just like them and despite his continued necessity for growth he has proven himself capable, so you'd think even in his boundless curiosity he'd display a little tact or sense, it almost seems contrived. he doesn't just leap up and talk to peridot in warp tour but here he decides ah yes thats a thing to do. its a bit of a lazy way to get the gears moving but it's not a humongous deal im sure we will continue to see this particular issue being hammered away at by the show for awhile. largely steven's almost inane curiosity and openness to follow terror to its source is intriguing, it does well to continue the point of warp tour as well, as the other gems look on at the underground tunnel leading to the base where peridot makes contact with a sense of profound dread, steven once again taking them further than they were ready to go, in reality they probably never wanted to go further than they had already been going. were it up to the gems the show would just be their old s1a adventures. well in that case phooey on them gimme stupid steven dragging them into hell!

    what's interesting is how the episode also sorta continues a subtle neglect of steven. not in a huge way, just the gems are in such a rush to vanquish these marbles that they never wait for him to join in, they leap into the warp without him, stuff like that. they're so set on their goal that they forget steven. this episode is a part two indeed but its also a bit of a different perspective on what warp tour already did. in that respect despite its transformation from close scrape to total encounter with peridot, its a slight derivative. steven knowing nothing and going with the flow works, steven learning more and wanting to be respected as a gem who has grown works, but reconciling the two is difficult. i'm not gonna overthink it for this particular episode though. its possibly im even being nitpicky but this series has done a pretty excellent job of tracking an incremental growth in steven so when that falters im always a little curious, especially when it relates back to the most important developments in the series. it seems steven should be a little more frightened, seeing the rest of the gem's responses, but even if he thinks that fear is useless and cyclical, you'd think he'd have enough of an understanding of it to not just start impulsively fucking their lives up. its a weird way to begin blossoming some of the most important events in the series so far and i can't feel it definitely could have been done with more grace. the final scene inside the base with peridot is Yet Another good mirroring of the warp tour sequence with her, nice green tinting right down to the emerald shade of garnet's...shades. it also has a nice inverse feeling, before even though the galaxy warp is a gem thing it felt like an alien on earth, yet now even though the CGs are the familiar characters here they feel like aliens in this unfamiliar base beneath one of the most frightening places associated with the gems. plus bringing up the red eye and its purpose after all this time is a great way to present how long this has been unfolding, the chilling idea that all this time things have been brewing and earth has been being watched. i keep referring to these two but its not even just because they're of the same arc, theres just this tone of a frightening persistance that cant be eliminated and the episode carries that through pretty impressively, we've been through just about all of this very recently, but we went through alot of "go to this place and capture this monster" situations too, despite the gap between arc episodes this seems to insinuate this has been the gem's lives for a bit now - the winter forecast scene addressing it did a great job toying with such an idea, that they've obviously been on this since it happened and its continuation just presses on them harder. for as hard as they've been pressed, i just wish steven recognized it, or else its a bit hard to be on his side in the end.

    when things get intense steven manages to find this almost childlike form of zen and perhaps thats his way of putting his love and faith into the most dire situations, but there's a limit and he just leaped way over it. even garnet has to put her foot down when he suggests actually talking to peridot, but he does it anyway. if im gonna play devils advocate here, it seems steven sees this situation as adjacent to following the marble, trying to get answers instead of avoiding what you don't understand, or else maybe you won't be able to get anything done. maybe the truth is if steven doesn't what he does, then arriving to this point is all for naught and they resume slaughtering marbles to prevent anything from happening. maybe this is inevitable, i suppose that is what the episode is trying to say the entire time. i just can't help but feel like giving steven a smidge more awareness would sell his decisions better, he seems only focused on what he thinks is the right idea while disregarding the words of the others, this does not do well to sell him as the mature gem he demands to be recognized as in the previous arc episode, though it does sell him as a gem who, regardless of the mode he's in, will send the others further into uncharted territory. in many ways, its no wonder they don't always trust him, yet in others, the truth may be they don't have a choice. they certainly don't when he begins blabbing that there are humans on earth to a homeworld gem trying to reactivate a place he knows his bad like i dunno man use some damn context clues or something ok ok ill stop, but goodness gracious. at the very least i get the sense that he finally realizes he's dealing with something very alien now, and his old Steveny tricks may not be the Only answer. he's clearly able to get them to stare evil in the face, just maybe let someone else do the talking.

    B

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  34. #87
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    Pearl and especially Garnet's reaction to them watching the show again was aces

    The line about them sitting in garbage sifting thru their own garbage was gr8

    gonna reread old views for more scattered thoughts before I go to MM

  35. #88
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #45: ROSE'S SCABBARD
    molisee/villeco/sugar

    pearl's perception of the past is a complicated one. oftentimes its the past that drives her into such overwhelming anxiety that it prevents measured consideration of more reasonable options in exchange for reactionary fight or flight patterns. yet its also been presented before and now signficantly more that her retelling of the ancient history of the wars long passed have a strange romantic slant to them from her perspective. its hard not to paint her affection for rose as, how do i put this lightly, Gay As Fuck, but its way more than that. she looks at the battles selectively from the position of someone who was victorious, who vanquished the bad guys and saved the planet, following those principles she so deeply admired in rose, being rose's confidant and feeling assured she and her were linked profoundly in their unity in this journey. she wishes not to disturb the old battlegrounds, as if they're relics meant to be left exactly as they are, messy in a strangely harmonious way where every discarded weapon represents the warrior fallen on both sides. humongous axe by the way, like Concerningly large. guess i better prep for fucking ginormous gems? or maybe all the Big Gems perished! but yes, pearl has a love for what Was, and it all seems to relate back to rose. many of pearl and steven's headbutting moments have toyed with this idea. her reservations to accept steven's way of doing things relates plenty to her fear, as has been discussed in the two arc eps thus far, but its in this one we get a little more to the root of whats really happening. pearl doesn't want the change of resuming the nightmare that she romanticizes because the nightmare is set in stone as at least being by her side, and without rose things changing seems to make no sense. it's all like a branching timeline away from a comfort zone she desires.

    yet perhaps in that comfort she put way too much of herself within her being a piece of rose. steven being the embodiment of rose, having her gem, having access to the sword and being privy to the information of the location of the rose's armory doesn't bring her comfort because it exists beyond the context she understands things in. lion being analagous to rose is so point blank obvious as though its practically slapping you in the face but pearl treats him as a mere mutt pretty much. pearl's love of rose becomes a selfish possessive complex in which it needs to revolve around her, but thats because all she seems to understand for sure is that she meant alot to rose and rose meant alot to her, and that all having dissipated in front of her makes no sense, and when steven begins to show off how much he already knows, thanks to lion, pearl doesn't treat this in a way thats logical, as in well yes he's what rose sought to create and lion is clearly a guide for steven in many ways to understand his mom and who he his meant to be and all of that. the sword being within lion only confuses pearl, because it doesn't involve her, and it paints rose in the context of being steven. pearl can't bear to look at steven because he sees rose, but she can't see rose. she's so attached to this position she harbored in the times she seems to miss for all their terror that reason seems to go out the window. precocious steven in awe at all the Metal Dealies and Armor Guys only irritates pearl increasingly. perhaps because if steven is rose why doesn't he know these things, if she sees rose in him she wants to see More of rose in him. perhaps also because well why does he know this place at all, and who is this dumb lion! all her incredulity and disbelief are constructed upon a narrative where she is less needed in her mind. she's no longer a beloved confidant to an amazing gem, she's now dragging behind as lion has already shown steven these wonders, as she's dumbfounded. in her mind, steven doesn't need her, thus rose doesn't need her.

    pearl wants to feel important, and rose made her feel important. increasingly the narrative has given steven more opportunities for discovery outside of the control of pearl and the other CGs, and pearl in particular has not handled this well. again, this plays out from different perspectives, but its not too difficult to ascribe the events here to moments in warp tour for example just as easily as the simple fact that she doesn't want to believe that homeworld gems are returning. the case there was dire and frightening, the events here are so seemingly casual but pearl harbors them with such gravity they reveal themselves as important in a way steven himself doesn't even seem to carry which frustrates her because of how easily he is able to understand these things, which he should, but where does that leave her? her actions aren't reasonable but they are built on alot of history that steven can't possibly understand. her attempted control of every situation to make sure nothing disastrous happens on a given mission and to make sure steven doesn't see things she doesn't believe he's ready to see plays into that perpetual dedication to carrying on with that feeling of being needed, being able to show steven these great things. he Should be growing and improving to the point that pearl can let go and steven has plummet on his own into danger and she can trust that he's ready, but its not a question of whether or not he's ready, its whether or not she is. she clearly isn't. the closer steven gets to being rose in a sense, the further away rose feels because pearl loses that sense of purpose and sees so much rose in a person who doesn't need her like rose did, in her mind. some great tiny touches here that amplify that feeling of disconnect, like when pearl tries to access lion's pocket dimension only to be snarled out. her lack of understanding compounded with an inability to access something secretive when she was so sure rose shared everything with her only compounds the feeling that her importance was less than she perceived, which only mirrors her fading grip in recent times and That compounding with the constant reminders that rose is gone.

    this is, obviously, way more than steven knows how to engage. the main thing is, steven's probably right, for one reason or the other keeping lion from pearl may have been to protect her, or maybe lion just didn't concern her. its hard to say with so little information, but that isn't enough for pearl. pearl's right, steven hasn't even met rose - like obviously low blow there pearl! - but he embodies her, so of course he would have a better idea right? all that love, all that embrace of managing a harmony of everything around them, rose said that's her, loving him, loving being him. he may not always understand it but his perception is her perception, but perhaps its too familiar but uncanny for pearl. whatever the reason, the reality of the situation is in front of her and she can't accept it. steven is rose, but pearl KNEW rose, and again, pearl sees rose in steven, hears rose in steven, but rose is still not there. it must be all so stressful to be consistently reminded of this. it may inversely explain pearl's continued desire to teach him and lead the way to his growth, to continue to make rose proud, to continue to be there at her/his side dedicating herself to her/him and unflinchingly doing her best to prove herself. when that dynamic shifts, she sees rose abandoning her, and then when she just sees steven, she sees someone who can't possibly know how to be rose, how to embody rose, when she never knew her like pearl knew her, disregarding the obvious truth in front of her that steven knows her way more intimately than even he understands, and its been guiding him in a way that pearl cant keep up with or narratively find her foot in the door for anymore. so what can steven do? he's done his best to make the gems proud but now his actions are making one of them feel ostracized, he's confused and saddened that his growth feels like its created a gap between himself and pearl. what seems to make all of this worse is the lingering feeling that the homeworld gems are going to find their way back soon, and rose isn't there. i'm sure they're all feeling this, but pearl especially must not know what to do. she dedicated herself to fighting with rose despite the sacrifice, and now she's lost her, and now the one who reminds her of her is making her feel like she isn't important in the way she was and she has to face an incoming threat now without her. she will fight to honor rose's beliefs and defend earth as she already has, but even then maybe shes the one who needs some guidance. pearl feels the desire to have a purpose and be a great guide, to make rose proud, but she also profoundly needs rose and the picture just isn't complete without her. fighting for rose's principles matters, but in a world with no rose in it, whats the point? on top of all this her worst tendencies built upon these feeling have all poured out into the open directly onto steven for him to bear to her embarassment. so what can steven do? he may not understand the intricacies of their relationship, and he may not even completely know what her frailties are in this situation to a tee, but he knows how he feels, and as we've learned quite firmly here, how he feels is how rose feels. steven may not be able to access the wealth of memories of rose to deal with these situations as though she never left, but her love lives within him, and steven makes sure pearl knows the only thing that really matters: she is needed, or even when she isn't, she's wanted. excellent moment where steven considers clasping her hand like rose but opts for a hug, it says that he can't be rose really, he cant hope to replicate those exact feelings, but if he can conjure a modicum of that sincere love and honesty while making sure to do so in the way that feels like he's not trying to be something he isn't (even though he is etc etc), thats enough. his simple gesture offers something pearl needs to know, she doesn't need to have a "purpose" or an important position, and rose didn't love her because she was a trusted confidant, she was a trusted confidant because she loved her. pearl's greatness to steven is not conditional, and the whiplash of change around her can settle into that one consistency, that she will be loved by rose forever and she is valued, she is value itself, and she doesn't need to prove it to the one person who knows it better than anyone. the final scene is silly but profound, it seems to accentuate the way things have changed, we see this silly boy doing magic tricks using lion's pocket dimension, but pearl sees rose. what changes, is that maybe she can see both, reconcile both and appreciate both separately as well. after all, for all the jarring differences and confusing similarites, the most important thread that runs from him to her to her cannot break, because steven may not have alot of the complexities that made rose what she was, but her core radiates through him. alot of rose is gone, but her love has not wavered.

    A -


  36. #89
    hickory smoked dude foose's Avatar
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    #46: OPEN BOOK
    florido/mitroff

    today i'd like to talk a little bit about the idea of "filler" in steven universe. the word "filler" is honestly hard to give a firm definition. does a story not matter if it doesn't contribute to the main story? if so then in a relative sense yes, an episode like this constitutes filler against the more actively progressing eps of the series, but filler seems such a dirty word the more i consider it. its almost like treating the episodes surrounding the important events as mere packing peanuts cradling the core material. i dunno about you but i rarely have so much fun playing with packing peanuts. i think calling any of steven universe filler does an ultimate disservice, and i've been guilty of this. when this episode began i was certain it could have well been the least essential and most self-contained fun but not particularly resonate adventure in the show's history thus far, which is no crime but may feel like a roadblock against the exciting arc episodes that lay in the near distance. you could argue this hypothesis is correct to some degree, but this show defies filler. skipping episodes of this show is a testament to your lack of appreciation of the show in stasis. that's the amazing part about this silly fun lovable little adventure, it Uses what we know like so many other episodes but does so as it currently stands. this isn't a way to unlock a new angle or contextualize and ongoing situation, this is the world of steven universe as it exists So Far. when you do the work this show does filler loses its power to create concerning gaps in the journey in almost all circumstances because characterization and various lore based tools in the toolbox and what have you prevent it almost by nature. its almost less impressive to say yes this show thats progressing is interesting. well why wouldn't it be? when a show can sit still and still engage you i think that says way more about the natural state of the world you've created, and it only leads to more excitement, more building will earn even more rewarding "filler" that can toy with the world without needing to push it forward. the journey is enriching because its always turning gears but it shouldn't need to be mandatory to be quality, and you don't want to feel like your show's success relies on a relentless forward momentum when taking it easy allows one to reflect on the good decisions already made instead of leaving them in the dust.

    here we have rose's room being used again, and yet again the room, even with steven's better understanding of controlling it as presenting through him trying to create scenario to please connie's desire for a better ending for her book series, manages to outsmart him and prove there are still little things he can miss. seeing the room first being used for something frivolous is actually interesting because it shows that the tone of the room has shifted, whereas its first appearance ended up a nauseating headtrip for steven he can't just avoid it forever, clearly he's had time to adjust and understand it, mostly. we also are leaping right back in to connie's book series from marble madness. there are ways this could have faltered and become True Filler, if they'd focused too much on the book events. i took the books to be effective in their previous episode because of their juxtaposition with the action, something so plain and normal that it feels as though its meant to be disrupted. of course nothing gets discarded in this series, and hanging onto the books manages to be a good idea. the relation ship of connie and steven continues to be a sweet one but the particular angle this one zooms in on is connie's seemingly more articulated and thoughtful intelligence compared to steven's whimsy and almost aching sincerity (relatable). when we aren't too busy with dialogue that needs to make some big new point we get to appreciate the characters as they are, steven trying to mask his love of the book's ending against connies rant The Fuckin Nerd Babbling About Fiction Like Its Real Life, but especially steven's follow up to resolving her wishes. using gem powers to do Regular Things can be seen alot of ways i suppose but i look at it as a more unfiltered reflection of intentions not bound to one's reactions to concrete tension or more layered character situations. this is just steven wanting to do something nice for his friend, using his powers for Good as always but in a way much more down-to-earth. you need these moments, and once the episode isn't strictly about the books but steven and connie embracing a world of imagination it really begins to click. connie obviously wants to stick to the canon while steven does his best to come up with fun but believable scenarios regarding what she wants. plus its just fun to treat rose's room as a playground for a bit, we have all these important pieces but cant we just relax and enjoy them sometimes? it also uses the gradually earned progress, steven's relative control of the room, connie's greater understanding and enthusiasm in the Magick stuff around her, if its filler its filler that seems like it would have to happen at this point in the journey. can that even be filler then?

    of course then things do get weird. the one sorta new or more directly addressed point of the episode is steven's fear of being rejected by connie for his dimbulbery. its a neat little inverse of connie's own insecurities about steven being so cool and her being a regular human being who doesn't belong on his missions, whereas now she feels like she fits in but he begins to feel insecure about himself as a Human i guess you'd say. ok not entirely but at least the fact that while he may be cool as a gem he could easily be seen as a dopey boy with silly opinions and he's worries about that. the consistent truth is these two like each other not cuz they're mirror images of each others but for their contrasts as well, or maybe it doesn't even have to be that complex, they just like each other. they do their best for one another to be part of each other's lives and include each other and embrace one another. we've seen that in far deeper terms, and perhaps to sliiightly rescind the notion of this filler being in a perfect position, once you Fuse with someone it may be past the point of worrying about your relationship being anything but pretty well solidified, that takes alot of love and trust as is, don't worry about disliking a blemish. then again its way easier to analyze that narrative floating above it instead of living inside it, all the logic in the world cant break the social anxieties cage after all. but yes, Weirdness! the connie clone bit is equal parts weird and enagingly weird. its weird! its creative though, its the room psyching steven out, toying with him psycologically just a smidge, its connie fighting herself, its very strange! it almost seems like the room contrived the situation to teach steven with a bit of tough love to be honest, as his honesty is one of his most valued assets. in this case his dishonesty was from the same desire to spare feelings and keep harmony but honesty toward a friend especially for something so frivolous is not to be worried about, though again easy to say after the fact or if you're not experiencing it at all. nonetheless, it was an interesting twist, seeing steven try his best to be careful with how he operated the room and still making a little flub that determined the conflict of the entire episode. this gemming stuff is hard even when it shouldn't be! i did actually think connie's reservations were leading up to her and steven having conflict over her encouraging steven to the point of his frustration because she just wanted to see him be inspired but it lead to him realizing he didn't have the ideas she had or whatever. im not a script writer you see, it was just a floaty idea and i thought thats where it was going, that she was trying to be nice by being reserved in a way similar to him for Some Reason that would be fleshed out and would reveal steven much in the way the episode still did. what we got instead was a much more SUey result to be sure, the last battle as fake and ultimately stakeless as it is plays with the idea of connie later having a much more firm position as part of the team at times i'd say. im looking forward to seeing her on a big damn adventure. for as weird as it got though, it was just two kids playing and having fun, and that sure doesn't sound like much but it says alot about how this show is so likeable. sometimes its okay to stop building for awhile, oh sure i'm impressed that you keep assembling this structure but im also impressed at how detailed and rich it already is. its like that well deserved pause in a game of jenga, every move is satisfying on its own and increases a likelihood of failure that makes success all the more impressive, but sometimes you just need to relax for a second, reflect and consider your next move, and appreciate what you already have, how far you've come, and wonder what comes next. if steven universe literally didn't do anything else game changing itd still be able to crank out "filler" this satisfying for awhile, because it already has invented a massive playground to enjoy.

    B -

  37. Thumbs Up To This Post by: kupomog

  38. #90
    nsfw pilcrow's Avatar
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    In the context of the whole show, I like to view season 1B (perhaps even more so than 1A) as the exposition season that establishes the starting point for the main characters - how they view the world, how they get along with the other main characters, and what they're fighting for. So far, we've seen this for Steven (Lion 3), Amethyst (On the Run), and with Rose's Scabbard, Pearl's starting line is completely laid out on the table. (You could argue for Space Race as an equally big Pearl episode, although I would counter than Amethyst has a similar ep that "previews" her backstory in Tiger Millionaire.) It's certainly not nearly as subtle as Space Race in letting you know that this is gonna be The Big Emotional Ep, but I think it's important that the emotional core of this ep be very explicit so that it mirrors Pearl not being able to suppress her feelings for Rose anymore. No more tiptoeing around her feelings - we're exposing it all now, so naturally it's gonna feel like a hugely important episode.

    As for her actual feelings, foose pretty much covered this one completely so I'm just gonna muse about Steven for a bit. Sure, we've got this big looming imminent Homeworld arrival, but the real constant thread that's been linking all of season 1B together has been Steven's growth, both as a person and as a gem. It's what brought about these Homeworld shenanigans in the first place, but beyond that, it's what brought Lars and Sadie closer, created Stevonnie, and led to the events of The Test. And here it is again, jeopardizing Steven's carefree relationship with Pearl as dorky boy left in Pearl's care by Rose. But Steven's growth also makes him more capable of responding to these situations, putting him in the position of healing and helping others, instead of it always having to be the other way around. Rose's Scabbard is the episode that proves once and for all that even when the stakes are high and Pearl is at her lowest, Steven does know what his love is capable of doing. It's a really powerful moment, arguably a defining one in Steven's transition throughout this season from bumbling dorky boy to the true protagonist of the series.

    Anyway, for such a big ep, there are surprisingly few links to share (not even a promo drawing smh). But let's try anyway - here's the Strawberry Battlefield, previously seen in Serious Steven. There's also a very detailed storyboard of the Comically Large Axe for some reason.

    Rebecca is usually pretty hands-on with production, but she's credited as storyboarder here for a lot of the climactic scene. Like the Roses in Lion 3, the Roses here are pretty much pure Rebecca - it's hard to quantify because it's not really pilot-y, but there's definitely something unique to Rebecca's Roses that make them so expressive and impactful in these big scenes. Rebecca also works with Raven on the big moment when Steven hugs Pearl, which is storyboarded with almost surgical precision.

    And finally, we also have the beautiful instrumental that closes out the ep, fittingly titled I'm Still Here.




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