Summer of Steven Masterpost Part 2: Steven Universe S03E12-16 Recap

We’re back with more Summer of Steven recaps. This week, we end the series of episodes focused on Beach City residents, get back to the main plot and have another blast from the past.

S03E12 – Restaurant Wars

You know, it’s always the fun episodes that are hard to recap. They are often a blast to watch, but you don’t really have a lot to write about.

Steven comes to Fryman’s fry joint with a hunger for something other than fry bits (or, you know, actual fries). Peedee serves him mozzarella fingers with tomato sauce (...great, now I’m hungry). Unfortunately, those are kinda sorta a little bit not really but close enough similar to pizza, and that violates the old treaty Fryman and Kofi Pizza signed that allowed them to operate next to each other. Thus, the Restaurant War begins.

What follows is a delightfully dumb but fun conflict that forces the two owners’ kids to band together under Steven’s banner and try to make everything better. Plans are made and fail, strategies are formed and losses are suffered, or at least as much as it’s possible in eleven minutes. It’s just fun and proud of it.

Two assorted thoughts before we move to the next one: Pearl and Garnet rock those male waiter outfits (especially Pearl). And this is probably the funniest appearance by Ronaldo.

S03E13 – Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service

I can’t believe it took them this long to use that title.

Continuing their streak of episodes focused on side characters in Beach City, we have an episode focused on the Pizza twins; Kiki in particular. The more responsible of sisters has been covering Jenny for two weeks now, effectively getting no time for herself. This results in nightmares where she’s drowning in a sea of pizza, which only make her more tired, until Steven accidentally appears in one of them. Steven being Steven, he agrees to help her, until all the help drains him, too. Finally he has to make a stand (he’ll help no one if he’s too tired to wake up before noon): he’ll help Kiki one last time and they’ll try to stop the nightmares from the inside.

The episode features a smart lesson for all the kind people in the audience to not take the needs of others before your own. Of course you should help others in their time of need, but it’s also okay to say "no" when you’ve reached your limit. If your friend or family member loves you, they’ll understand. It’s about learning and setting your barriers, something many adults don’t have a handle.

And with that we end our run of episodes focused on Beach City secondary characters and return to the Gem-related plots.

S03E14 – Monster Reunion

We begin with the return of Centipeetle (the show’s very first corrupted Gem/monster that we haven’t seen... gosh, since just before Lapis’s debut). Her return brings a sliver of the much hungered for backstory and a ton of heartache.

Steven discovers that his healing saliva is working and after a battle of wills with Garnet decides to use it to heal his monster friend. That doesn’t work terribly well and Centipeetle ends up being a hybrid of her monster and Gem forms. After Steven helps jog her memory, however, she remembers her backstory and is able to tell it via drawings.

Centipeetle was a captain of a Homeworld spaceship sent by Yellow Diamond alongside many of her kind to fight the Gem war. She was separated from her crew and after the Homeworld armies were ordered to retreat, she got in the range of whatever corrupted her and other combatants. This is something we knew second-hand thanks to Greg since "The Return," but with Centipeetle we can be almost completely certain that this something the Diamonds whipped up.

It’s also amazingly animated with crayon drawings that don’t take away from Centipeetle’s sadness. I especially like the portion where she shows Steven that she was separated from her crew.

Unfortunately, Steven’s magical saliva stops working, and in a series of scenes that’s as close as this show will be able to do body horror, Centipeetle becomes the creature we met her as. Thankfully, with Steven’s help, she manages to find her ship (though I’ll be honest, it’s a tad convenient the ship Peridot used to ambush the Crystal Gems is the one she captained) and manages to reunite with part of her crew who became the same creatures. And if Steven’s expression towards the end is any indication, he’d very much like to confront them about their actions.

S03E15 – Alone at Sea

It’s Lapis’s turn for a focus episode, and this time Steven tries to help her with her current dislike of water. To that end Greg rents a ship and the three off them set off to the sea. Lapis remains divided by her two stances when interacting with others: she’s goofy and playful with Steven, but cold towards everyone else. She also continuously exhibits how amazingly powerful she is, but is also fairly clumsy with it. Her use of her water powers is grand and spectacular, but she’s unable to do anything subtle for now.

Her problem is that she misses being Malachite with Jasper (to Steven’s shock). This is not that uncommon with people who, like her, got out of toxic relationships. On the one hand they know it wasn't healthy, but they can still miss their partner. And then Jasper returns.

She also misses being with Lapis. While her dialogue makes it seem like she’s primarily focused on how powerful the fusion was, you can read between the lines that she actually liked being with Lapis and the abuse they dished out at each other. And Lapis is tempted to return to it, saying how she liked taking it all out on Jasper, but is ultimately able to say no, showing that she’s grown since then. 

Jasper, on the other hand, is unable to take that rejection, suspecting Steven was somehow stopping Lapis from reuniting with her. If she’s ever to undergo a redemption (as I’m hoping will be the case), she first has to realize how wrong she is and want to change. Her willingness to reunite with Lapis and show her she's grown, after a healthy dose of self-examination, might be the catalyst she needs.

S03E16 – Greg the Babysitter

The last episode of the week is another of Greg’s flashback to his time with Rose. He was happy with her, but love won’t feed you or clothe you, and as his (small to begin with) funds drain, he’s forced to beg for money, live off food left at garbage bins and mooch off his only remaining acquaintance outside of the Crystal Gems: Vidalia (friend is too strong a word for their relationship). She herself is busy with baby Sour Cream that she has after her tryst with Marty (typically for him, nowhere to be seen when actual responsibility is needed).

It’s actually hilarious how Sour Cream hasn’t actually changed since his baby days (including his voice), with a pretty “meh” attitude and easily contented. Anyway, after the twelve year old babysitter is unable to show up due to a death in the family (i.e. a hamster), Vidalia is forced to ask Greg to watch Sour Cream.

He does so on the beach with Rose. In a moment of sincerity, Rose reveals that at first she didn’t know babies and adults are the same species. This is understandable; she comes from a species that’s created fully formed, already with their full skillset and a set purpose. Humans are born as a blank slate that get to grow and change over the years.

And after a mishap involving baby Sour Cream getting stuck on the Funland rollercoaster (seriously, how did he even get up there?), Greg realizes that at some point he has to grow himself. This leads him to taking the job at the car wash that he owns by the show’s present day.

And that’s it for this week! We’ll be back with five more episodes next week.

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