Summer of Steven Masterpost - Steven Universe Recap S03E06-11

Psst! Hey, you like Steven Universe? That’s good, because for the rest of July and the first half of August, Cartoon Network will be airing a new episode of the show every day, five days a week. The entire third season will be done by summer’s end. And we here at Critical Writ will reviewing every single one of them, in weekly posts. 

Also, for the four weeks this whole event will take, the Killjoys recaps are on hold. They'll be back with a four episode recap after the last Summer of Steven episode.

So, without further ado...

S03E06 – Steven Floats

This is the last of the three episodes accidentally leaked in late May, and to be honest, it’s an episode that has a lot to analyze. It does serve as a nice transition between the barn’s tension and drama back into the more mellow Beach City antics.

Steven discovers a new power – controlling the height of his jumps and the speed of his falling – and is temporarily inconvenienced by his lack of control over it. It’s a little bit reminiscent of "Bubble Buddies" (Connie’s introduction), except this time the stakes are noticeably lower and Steven manages to grasp how it works on his own over the course of a single episode. And if you’ve seen more than one Steven Universe episode, you probably guessed that his new power is influenced by his emotions. As he puts it himself, that’s how all his powers work.

On the plus side, we finally see the return of Sadie (a.k.a. the only Big Donut employee most people want to see) and more of the Crystal Gems after their decreased presence during "In Too Deep." And, even if it was imagined by Steven, it was good to see more of the Beach City residents after their long absence during the Cluster/Peridot story arc.

S03E07 – Drop Beat Dad

Rather smartly, Cartoon Network decided to air two episodes on Monday, to make sure they got good ratings for at least one episode. I know most of us, even having seen the leaked episode, would still watch "Steven Floats" out of loyalty to the show’s creators, but some wouldn’t and this way CN made sure they watched at least one of the episodes.

Marty, Greg’s former manager, returns to Beach City, as sleazy and crooked as ever. He’s visiting Greg to leave him something, but by chance he meets Sour Cream–his son with Vidalia that he left behind–and learns of his passion for DJ-ing. I don’t think anyone bought his sudden change of heart but I don’t think anyone expected him to stoop so low to use Sour Cream’s performance primarily to pitch a crappy guacamole soda (actually, “crappy” seems like an unnecessary adjective here).

This serves to drive two points; it’s not particularly wise to expect someone after many years of estrangement to just come back into your life and want to build a connection out of the kindness of their heart. It’s not impossible but it is highly unlikely, especially if nothing in their behavior makes such a personal growth seem likely. Secondly, family isn’t always defined by blood. Marty tries to use Sour Cream’s passion to make a quick buck. Yellowtail, his stepfather, who admittedly would rather SC become a fisherman like him, swoops in to save the day with his son’s musical equipment. It was a beautiful moment of reconnection between the two, especially since all we ever saw Sour Cream do in regards to his stepdad is complain about his desire to follow in his footsteps. Even more heartwarming was seeing him call Yellowtail “Yellow-Dad” and “Dad.”

Oh, and the thing Marty brought Greg? A check for 10 million dollars.

S03E08 – Mr. Greg

The aforementioned check came from a burger chain Marty sold one of Greg’s songs to, which apparently proved successful enough to merit the insanely high amount of money the check provides. So high Greg doesn’t really know what to do with it. He’s a pretty mellow guy and the only reason he opened his carwash was to provide for Steven (and, you know, life’s basic necessities). The two decide to take a trip to Empire City (the show’s New York counterpart), and Steven decides to invite Pearl. He’s a perceptive boy and noticed how she and Greg don’t get along because of Rose. So being himself he decided to give them a chance to make up with each other.

What follows is the show’s first musical episode (if anything, it’s odd that it took them this long to make one) that finally deals with its oldest feud. Ever since their first meeting Pearl has been antagonistic towards Greg at worst, and tolerated him at best. As she reveals in an emotional "It’s Over, Isn’t It?", she could bear the occasional human the all-loving Rose had fun with, because by virtue of their practical immortality Pearl and Rose would still reconnect. That is, until Greg. Until Rose fell in love so much, she decided to have a child with him. And now it’s all over, and Pearl is unable to move on.

Luckily, Steven’s on the job and helps the two connect with the same thing that divided them: Rose. They both loved her–and were loved by herand they both miss her. Their new friendship is cemented by the long awaited dance and cheers from the hotel staff.

Pearl claims they could’ve done it at home but Steven disagrees, and I think he’s right. A change of setting and a temporary inability to live their shared location definitely helped the two finally completely open up to each other and finally connect to one another.

Plus, we wouldn’t get Pearl in that smashing tuxedo otherwise. And that would be a crime.

S03E09 – Too Short to Ride

You know that situation where all your friends can do something/are fans of something and even though you’re all hanging out together, you’re on the outside, not enjoying yourself? That’s Peridot in this episode. And it’s even more pronounced as she’s still new to the whole "having friends to hang out with" thing.

Steven and Amethyst take her to Mr. Smiley’s Funland, but poor Peri is unable to enjoy herself. Her new friends are able to bend the rules of the amusement park with their shapeshifting abilities but she can’t. Turns out Homeworld is stretched pretty thin and therefore forced to create new Gems with less abilities than before. That’s why Peridot required her tech.

So she hides behind her new tablet (Steven’s gift) and impatiently endures her friends attempt at teaching her shapeshifting. Amethyst, showing how much she’s grown over the two seasons, tries explaining to Peridot that they’re hanging out with her because they like her for who she is not for who she could have been. And after a little bit of conflict, it turns out Peri has powers: magnetism. Insert your joke about Magneto here.

This suggests that Homeworld, instead of completely taking away abilities, might be instead greatly diminishing them and burying them deep. But for the time being Peri uses her new skills to get the plush alien she was unable to get before.

So give it up for the Shorty Squad!

S03E10 – The New Lars

Lars is one of the most divisive characters in the show, and his relationship with Sadie is subject to many discussions on its healthiness. Thankfully, the show creators realized that, and thus we have this episode.

After another quarrel between Lars and Sadie, Steven (who has been shipping them pretty much since the start of the show) bodyswaps with Lars. And being Steven he gets to fixing the guy’s relationship with well, everyone. For just one day Lars’s parents have a loving son and the Cool Kids actually consider hanging out with him.

But when it comes to fixing his relationship with Sadie, Steven is way out of his depth. She doesn’t appreciate Lars seemingly changing his mind on a whim and notices the oddness of his behavior. And when Steven tries to confess Lars’s feelings (or at least what he thinks are his feelings), she has enough, calls him out on being a manipulative jerk and kicks him out of her house. That’s when Steven decides to come clean, and because Lars would never apologize (plus she already saw a lot of weird stuff while hanging out with Steven), she believes him.

In the end everything is back to normal, and Lars seems to have finally realized how everyone dislikes him and preferred Steven! Everyone, that is, except Sadie. The final moments of the show suggest that he might actually love her and the relationship between the two might actually become more healthy as a result of the episode’s events.

S03E11 – Beach City Drift

We finally have Stevonnie back for a full episode. And all it took was the return of Kevin the Jerk, the guy who creepily kept demanding they dance with him back in their debut in "Alone Together." Both Steven and Connie are still angry at him, and his asshole-ish behaviour towards Greg just adds fuel to the fire. So they decide to teach him a lesson and beat him at a street race outside of Beach City.

This might be the first time we saw Steven this angry at someone, and it's not pretty. Thankfully, before their obsession devours them, Connie realizes the truth: reacting to Kevin's actions is exactly what he wants. He's obsessed with attention, and Stevonnie is doing exactly what he wants. He's basically the personification of an attention-hungry Internet troll.

Once they realize that, they actually get to have fun racing and almost win, until Kevin uses a cheap trick (a nitro boost). Even then, they're actually the moral victor, especially since they almost won on their first time driving.

And that's all for this week. We'll be back next week with five more Steven Universe episodes. I'll see you then.

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.