Steven Universe Rewind: Introduction / Gem Glow / Laser Light Cannon

Spoiler Policy: All spoilers up to and including the currently discussed episode will be unmarked. Spoilers for episodes beyond the current point will be enclosed in Fast Forward blocks, which will include spoilers for the entire series.

Welcome to Steven Universe Rewind!

Depicted: The careful, scientific creation of a Steven Universe Rewind article

In this series of articles, I’ll be recapping the series (approximately) two episodes at a time. In addition to recaps, I’d also like to delve into a bunch of the minutiae of the series, such as:

  • Character Development. Did you know that rocks can have multiple layers of deeply entrenched neuroses?
  • Foreshadowing and Recontextualization. SU does a LOT of foreshadowing. There are also many, many things in the series that aren’t exactly foreshadowing, but take on an entirely different meaning once you’ve learned more of the story. For obvious reasons, these will almost always be encased in Fast Forward spoiler blocks.
  • Homeworld Lore and Culture. The series gradually reveals more and more about Homeworld as it goes on. I’m going to attempt to pull it all together as best I can.
  • Background Details. Both funny and dramatic!
  • Music Motifs. I’m not always the best at picking out music motifs, but Steven Universe uses leitmotifs at so many of its critical moments that it would be a shame not to try.
  • Know Your Fusion. Let’s talk about how Fusions work and how they sometimes don’t work.
  • Other Silly Overanalysis.
It’s subtext, Steven!

I only just finished this show after obsessively watching and reading about it for the last couple months so this will be a Learning Journey for us all. I’m very excited to rewatch from the beginning knowing everything I know now. Also, this should be an effective quarantine for me. We’ll see.

Poor Steven, so innocent, eating his Cookie Cats. He has no idea.

So let’s kick things off with…

Season 1 Opening

When I first started up this series, having heard such good things about it, I was a little… underwhelmed by the opening. Based on what I had heard (awesome character development! interesting lore!) the ukulele + clapping sound was not quite what I was expecting. I’ve grown to appreciate it more since. It does a good job of capturing the low-key vibe of the Season 1A episodes, and it works well as a contrast to the later opening that spans across Seasons 2-5.

Our intrepid crew

The first half of the opening emphasizes Steven’s youth and the fact that he is not quite a Crystal Gem yet, which is by far the biggest character thread throughout the first season:

  • He tries to pose with the rest of the Gems, but startles them
  • Garnet ruffles his hair and he looks annoyed
  • He lags behind the Gems as they run together, then passes them with a burst of speed
  • The Gems teleport on a Warp Pad, but Steven kind of awkwardly floats in midair
Hi Connie! Bye Connie!

Steven’s father, Greg Universe, drives his van through the town, and we see a bunch of characters that will be highlighted primarily in “townie” episodes, i.e. ones that don’t involve the Crystal Gems. Most prominent here is Connie, holding one of the fantasy books she loves — we’ll see plenty more of her. All of these characters will be properly introduced in later episodes, but we can see Lars and Sadie in front of the Big Donut, Kiki and Nanefua Pizza in the back, the “cool kids” (Jenny Pizza, Buck Dewey and Sour Cream) hanging out on the boardwalk, and Onion being chased by Mr. Smiley (just behind Connie here).

PSA: Steven Universe Rewind is a Respect Greg Zone.

And now, the main characters:

Stronger than you.

Garnet (voice: Estelle)

The leader of the Crystal Gems. She’s best known for both her physical and emotional strength, and she’s generally the Gem who stays composed and level-headed in times of crisis. However, she can also be prone to stubbornness and impulsive action. In these early episodes, she comes across as aloof and mysterious, and gets some of the funniest one-liners. Over time, we’ll see her open up a lot more and learn some of her secrets.

Garnet has two gemstones, one each of the palm of her hands, signifying that she often serves as the hands of the group — the one who takes actions, makes decisions, and is strongest in combat. All the Crystal Gems wear a star on their bodies, and Garnet’s is across her torso.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Garnet being a Fusion seems pretty obvious in retrospect when you know what to look for, doesn’t it? I think the placement of her gems on her hands is extremely clever, since it serves as a kind of deflection for why she has two — the other Gems all have one, exactly centered (including the other Gems we meet before the big reveal, Lapis and Peridot). Garnet having one on each of her hands maintains the symmetry and seems “natural” until you learn that she’s a Fusion. [/spoiler]

Your ding-dong sunshine future.

Amethyst (voice: Michaela Dietz)

The youngest of the three full Gems, she is cheerful, fun-loving, and largely takes the role of Steven’s big sister. She is generally the most “human” of the Gems, and enjoys eating (everything and anything) and sleeping, two things that Gems do not need to do. She struggles with insecurity and low self-esteem. Steven and Amethyst’s strong familial bond is one of my favorite relationships on the show.

Amethyst’s gem is positioned over her heart, and she does indeed often serve as the heart of the group, acting primarily on emotion. Her stars are on the knees of her pants.

And starring Pearl as Repressed Nerd

Pearl (voice: Deedee Magno-Hall)

Where to even begin with Pearl? She is a smart, fussy perfectionist with possibly the most hidden depths of any character on the show. Particularly in these early episodes, she acts as a fairly traditional mother figure towards Steven, as well as his primary teacher / training instructor. She can be overprotective towards Steven, often trying to shield him or leave him out of dangerous activities. I’m not going to attempt to sum up her flaws because we certainly have plenty of time to get into that (and they’re mostly spoilers anyway.)

Pearl’s gemstone is on her forehead, signifying her intelligence and the fact that she often serves as the brains of the group. She is adept at both combat techniques and engineering. Pearl has a small yellow star on her chest.

…I love Pearl so much, and I know a lot of other people here do too. We’re going to spill a lot of ink about her.

If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs.

Steven Universe (voice: Zach Callison)

Steven is, of course, the protagonist of the show. He’s the only known half-human, half-Gem hybrid in existence, born when his mother, Rose Quartz, fell in love with the human man Greg Universe. He’s cheerful, optimistic, empathetic, and is more or less an unending fountain of love for life. At this point in the series, he is still very young and is a Crystal Gem in training. In these early episodes, his immaturity can be somewhat grating. I advise a new viewer to push through that, because Steven’s character development is beautifully done and well worth your time.

Steven’s rose quartz gemstone, inherited from his mother, is located on his bellybutton — and Steven does often act from his gut feelings! Steven almost always wears a red shirt with a big yellow star on it.

Gem Glow

Official Episode Description: Steven thinks his favorite ice cream sandwiches are the trick to summoning his magic shield.

Actual Episode Description: Later on when sad and horrible things happen, people will make jokes about how this show started with a goofy episode where Steven thought that he could use ice cream to summon his shield.

The title card of each episode usually reflects where the episode is set (or at least, where it begins). Most episodes, especially in the first season, take place in Beach City, and receive the title card shown above. This structure is a large stone hand that sits outside the Crystal Temple, where the Crystal Gems live. On top of it is a Warp Pad for teleporting, and the washer and dryer where Pearl washes Steven’s many, many star shirts.

Welcome to Beach City!

We open with an establishing shot of Beach City. Despite its name, it’s really more of a small vacation town. The full time population is quite small, and most of the businesses cater to tourists who visit for the beach. Behind the hill, you can see the arm of the Crystal Temple; on the top of the hill is the lighthouse that will be later occupied by Ronaldo Fryman.

Steven’s favorite of the Beach City businesses is the Big Donut, a donut shop that also sells other assorted foods and coffee. He’s friends with the store’s only two employees…

These two are the best townies.

Sadie Miller (voice: Kate Micucci) is the young adult who works at the Big Donut — and really the one who does pretty much all of the work. She’s mature and responsible when it comes to her job. She can be a bit shy and introverted and has difficulty with social situations, but she’s a good friend to Steven and treats him almost as a little brother.

Lars Barriga (voice: Matthew Moy) is the other young adult who works at the Big Donut. He’s somewhat lazy and lets Sadie do most of the work. He can be mean and sarcastic and is frequently irritated by Steven. He suffers from low self esteem and a desire to fit in with the “cool kids.”

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]It’s weird seeing normal human Lars in these early episodes knowing he eventually becomes an over-the-top anime-esque space pirate, isn’t it?[/spoiler]

Steven is distraught because they’ve discontinued his favorite ice cream treat, Cookie Cats. (In his defense, when they are shown later they look absolutely delicious).


Lars, annoyed with his whining, tells him he could buy a Lion Licker instead. It’s one of those popsicles you would sometimes see in ice cream trucks where there are weird melty gumballs that are supposed to be eyes, but they never stay in the right place, so instead it looks like Spongebob Squarepants has his eyes melting down his face. Steven hates them and I can’t really blame him. I never liked these things either. Having a weird frozen gumball with your ice cream is gross, and if you’re buying an ice cream treat why on earth would you get something without chocolate?

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]We have a few episodes to go before Steven gets a much better Lion![/spoiler]

Sadie suggests that Steven could take the old Cookie Cat freezer home with him if he misses Cookie Cats so much, which he does.

An establishing shot of the Crystal Temple. The wooden beach house in the front is where Steven generally lives. The Gems all have personal rooms inside of the Temple itself.

Oh… oh no.

Steven walks into the house with his Cookie Cat freezer in tow and is immediately attached by this Gem Monster, called a Centipeetle.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]I had honestly forgotten that the Centipeetles show up in the very first episode of the show. Yes, the seemingly random monster-of-the-week from the first episode actually has a tragic backstory complete with mini-redemption arc, because that’s the kind of show this is.[/spoiler]

Many Gems have the ability to summon a weapon from their gemstone, and this scene shows off the three main Gems’ weapons. First, we have Amethyst’s whip.

Next, Pearl’s spear, which she uses to gracefully attack the Centipeetles from atop the Crystal Gems’ main Warp Pad. Behind her, you can see the door that leads into other parts of the Crystal Temple.

Finally, Garnet is punching and ripping the Centipeetles apart with her gauntlet weapons, which emerge from the gems on her hands.

Steven thinks the Centipeetles aren’t so bad, but goes back on that when one of them spits a pool of acid onto the floor.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]This foreshadows Steven eventually taming a Centipeetle with a bag of Chaaaaaps in Monster Buddies, which eventually leads to the aforementioned tragic backstory. We learn that the reason they’re trying to get into the Temple in the first place is to get back to the ship once captained by Nephrite, who is now the corrupted Mother Centipeetle.[/spoiler]

Amethyst points out that the Centipeetles they’re poofing don’t have gems, which means they’re being created by a Mother Centipeetle. Steven wants to join the other Gems in searching for it, but Pearl points out he can’t control his shield yet.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]I’m watching this episode and writing about it not long after watching Change Your Mind, and it’s certainly jarring to see Steven “regressed” back to being a tag-along kid instead of the defacto leader of the Crystal Gems he becomes!

Here, we’re seeing the dynamic he eventually sings about in Familiar:

I bet she drove them crazy all the time.

They love her but they’re leaving her behind

With more important places they should be

Than hanging out with someone just like me.[/spoiler]

One of the Centipeetles gets into the freezer, which Steven opens to find a load of Cookie Cats. In the foreground you can see a glow bracelet.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]That’s the same glow bracelet he’s going to give to Connie in Bubble Buddies!

I’m glad we don’t have to wait too long for Connie. She is a treasure.[/spoiler]

The Gems bought them for Steven because they heard they were being discontinued, and Steven is overjoyed. He sings the Cookie Cat commercial jingle.

If you’re new to this show, get used to things like the lyrics to a commercial jingle being foreshadowing for heavy plot developments later.

He’s a frozen treat with an all-new taste

‘Cause he came to this planet from outer space

A refugee from an interstellar war

And now he’s at your local grocery store

Cookie Cat! He’s a pet for your tummy!

Cookie Cat! He’s super duper yummy!

Cookie Cat! He left his family behind!

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]I love how this seems like a totally random, goofy jingle the first time through, and then when you rewatch it it basically smacks you in the face with foreshadowing. I probably don’t need to spell it out if you’re up to date, but pretty much all our protagonists are refugees from an interstellar war, and one of the two biggest driving actions in the series was Rose leaving her family behind (the other being her choice to have Steven).[/spoiler]

This is the first song in the series (apart from the opening), and the first time Steven sings in general. They get much better, promise.

Steven eats the Cookie Cat, and his gem begins to glow. He tries to summon his weapon, but he has no idea how to do that. The other Crystal Gems attempt to explain, starting with Pearl.

Pearl tells Steven he must imitate the dance of falling petals from a tree, which completely baffles him. This is the first appearance of Pearl’s official theme, a slow and somewhat melancholy piano piece. Pearl’s explanation, while confusing to Steven, perfectly matches her graceful, dance-like fighting style.

Amethyst asks Steven if Pearl told him “that petal thing,” and says that for her, summoning her weapon “just happens.” Again, this perfectly matches Amethyst’s carefree personality (and is a minor example of how she often serves as the polar opposite to Pearl.)

Steven: So I’m supposed to work really hard and not try all at the same time?

Garnet: …Yes.

Garnet advises him to “channel the collective power of the universe through [his] gem,” which only serves to confuse him further.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Garnet’s talk of channeling collective power is very fitting, given how important fusion is to her![/spoiler]

Steven isn’t any closer to figuring out how to summon his shield, so he decides to recreate the conditions that caused his gem to glow previously, having all the Gems gather in the kitchen in the same positions. It doesn’t work, and Steven laments that “maybe [he’s] not a real Crystal Gem.”

Hold that thought, Steven, because we’re going to come back to that again and again.

The other Gems reassure him that he is one of them, “even if your gem is useless.”

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Some projection from Amethyst there, I think. [/spoiler]

He bites into the Cookie Cat ice cream and finally manages to summon his weapon from his gem, complete with a traditional Magical Girl transformation.

The Crystal Gems, especially Pearl, are thrilled to see that Steven has a shield.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Pearl is the most excited of the Gems when Steven manages to summon his shield — which was also his mother Rose’s gem weapon. It’s heartwarming in a way, but also worrying if you know her history of conflating Steven and Rose.[/spoiler]

One thing I really like about this is that Steven, the main character and only male character in the main group, is wielding a weapon that is primarily defensive. Indeed, Steven’s role on the battlefield is more often to provide support than offensive power, and the rest of his eventual power set backs that up. He’s also completely unselfconscious about the fact that his weapon is pink and sparkly because Steven Universe (both the show and the person) give no time of day to outdated gender norms.

Steven is thrilled, and accidentally dislodges the shield at high speed, which bounces all over the house and finally lodges in the TV. “I can summon my shield by eating ice cream!” he declares. (“What’s in these things?” –Pearl)

But there’s no time to think about it, because the Mother Centipeetle and her babies are attacking the beach house.

The Crystal Gems fight the Mother Centipeetle, but its acid spit prevents them from getting close and they end up trapped behind a rock on the beach. Steven grabs the Cookie Cats, the Cookie Cat freezer, and some extension cords, and uses that to bring the freezer out to the beach.

He menacingly eats the ice cream at the Centipeetle, expecting to summon his shield, but nothing happens. The monster attacks; Steven dodges, but it destroys the freezer.

Pose as a team ’cause shit just got real

Steven uses the extension cords to whip the broken freezer at the Centipeetle, electrocuting it and giving the Crystal Gems an opening to attack.

Times Steven Saved the Day by Ignoring the Gems’ Advice: 1

The Crystal Gems weren’t doing so well against the monster until he attacked it with the freezer. If he had stayed inside the house instead, the Centipeetle could have done much more damage or hurt someone.

I choose you!

At first I thought that they basically capture the monster into a Pokeball, because that’s exactly what this looks like. That’s not the case, though. A monster like the Centipeetle retreats into its gem when sufficiently injured, and this monster’s gem just happens to look like that.

Garnet encases the gem in a bubble, and taps it, causing it to warp away. This is logically called “bubbling” and is the main way the protagonists deal with enemy Gems. The bubble puts the Gem in stasis, and tapping on it sends it to the bubbler’s home (in this case, the Crystal Temple).

He left his family behind.

Steven, having eaten the last of the Cookie Cats, buries the wrappers.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]And if you buy that Cookie Cat, who left his family behind, is meant to represent Rose…[/spoiler]

Steven recognizes that he can’t summon his shield by eating ice cream, but the other gems reassure him. Garnet says he’ll learn to summon his shield in his own, Steven-y way, making this the first of many, many episodes with the moral of staying true to yourself.

Final Analysis: This is a decent enough introduction to the series. The way they introduce the primary Gems and their differing personalities is perhaps a little heavy-handed, but it gets the job done. It sets up a surprising amount of things for later. There are also some solid funny moments. I remembered the show having some poor animation early on — and it occasionally does — but when taking screenshots of it I was really impressed by how lovely the backgrounds are and how nice some of the shots are.

Funniest Bit: Steven solemnly saying “Cookie Cat. Now available… nowhere,” as he smashes the broken freezer against the Centipeetle.

Laser Light Cannon

Official Episode Description: Steven must dig through his father’s collection of old junk, and the past, to find the weapon that can save the town.

Actual Episode Description: Greg is gonna drive his van into your heart.

The episode opens at Beach Citywalk Fries, one of the other businesses on the boardwalk that Steven likes to frequent. You can see the Big Donut in the background, and Fish Stew Pizza next door.

Gimme the bits!

Mr. Fryman (voice: Billy Merritt) is a recurring minor character. He owns the fry shop and has two sons, Ronaldo and Peedee. We’ll be seeing our fill of Ronaldo later, whether you like it or not.

Steven has a routine of demanding “the bits,” the little pieces of fry from the bottom of the fryer. (Personally, I’m with Steven on this one. I love the bits.) Fryman initially objects since they just closed, but relents when Steven and Amethyst begin chanting “THE BITS! THE BITS!”

As Steven and Amethyst walk off with their treat, Steven comments on the beauty of the second sun in the sky.

Wait, the what?


That’s not supposed to be here.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]In Marble Madness, we learn that the Red Eye was sent to Earth as a surveillance drone to check for Gem life as part of Peridot’s mission to check on the Cluster.

…how long do we have to go until Peridot? Season 1B? Awww…[/spoiler]

Amethyst and Steven run to where Garnet and Pearl are observing the anomaly through a telescope. Pearl identifies the threat as a “Red Eye,” and says, “I had no idea these things were so big!

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Later, we learn that the Crystal Gems have been on Earth for thousands of years and that Homeworld technology has developed significantly in that time. The fact that Pearl can recognize a Red Eye at all indicates that its basic design hasn’t changed much since Era 1, despite (presumably) being larger.[/spoiler]

Smile and wave.

The Red Eye reveals its… well, its eye, and Pearl says “It’s going to crash into Beach City and crush us, along with a bunch of innocent, oblivious people!”

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]This part honestly doesn’t make much sense given that the Red Eye is later revealed to be a surveillance drone. Why would it be programmed to crash into the city?[/spoiler]

Garnet says the only thing that can destroy the Red Eye is a light cannon that belonged to Rose Quartz, which seems… oddly specific, but okay. Unfortunately no one knows where it is. Steven points out that since it belonged to his mom, his dad may have it.

Pearl says, “Greg is… nice, Steven, but I doubt Rose would trust someone like him with such a powerful weapon.”

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]We’re only in the second episode and we’ve got the two-fer of Pearl throwing shade on Greg and Pearl getting testy that Rose may have had a secret she doesn’t know about![/spoiler]

Amethyst comes right out and says, “Your dad is kind of a mess, Steven.” RUDE. She clearly didn’t see the PSA above that this is a Respect Greg zone.

I believe this is what the children call “yeet.”

Steven still thinks his dad could save the day, but Garnet has moved on to plan B: chucking Amethyst at the thing until either it or she cracks.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Since the Red Eye never makes it back to Homeworld with its report, we’ll just have to imagine Peridot getting a video that consists mostly of Amethyst slamming into the camera at high speed.[/spoiler]

This is the van he’s going to drive into your heart.

Steven heads to the It’s a Wash carwash, where his dad works. Greg lives in the van above — the Mr. Universe paintjob stems from his old days as a musician, as we will see shortly.

Universe’s Best Dad

Greg Universe (voice: Tom Sharpling) is Steven’s dad. As we’ll see later in this episode (and the rest of the series), the show pulls a bit of a clever misdirection with Greg. They set him up like he’s a loser: he’s a washed up rock star, he lives in a van, he sent Steven to live with the Gems, and the Gems seem mildly disparaging of him. I advise you to wait and see; Greg was initially a character I was skeptical about, but before long he became one of my very favorites.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]When I first saw Greg I assumed that one of the sources of conflict in the show would be that he may be a deadbeat dad or otherwise not great for Steven. I was so glad that this turned out to not be the case. Over the course of the series, is there any character that is so consistently there for Steven through everything than his Dad? He may not understand magical gem stuff, but damn it, he loves Steven and he tries so hard. And a lot of Steven’s best qualities come from Greg.

It’s just so nice to see such a wholesome father-son relationship.[/spoiler]

Greg asks him if he’s there to pal around or learn a life lesson, but Steven points out the Red Eye and says he needs Mom’s cannon. (There’s some great timing here with Amethyst slamming face first into the Red Eye in the background.) Greg’s reluctant to get involved with magical Gem stuff, as it could be dangerous, and the Gems told him to avoid it.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]It’s not very surprising the Gems wouldn’t want Greg helping out given their general attitude towards him after Steven’s birth, but you have to wonder if Rose ever tried to involve him with missions or anything else. I don’t believe the show ever says, but I definitely get the impression she kept that part of her life to herself.[/spoiler]

Greg doesn’t know where the cannon is, and Steven asks if it could be in a “cave dungeon or a cloud fortress.”

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Rose effectively had both of these — her armory and her room — which will be seen later. That armory, incidentally, does have Laser Light Cannons inside it.[/spoiler]

Magical storage unit of destiny

Greg thinks it might actually be in his storage unit. Steven acts like he’s never seen it before, which seems a little odd. He lived with Greg before the Gems and obviously visits all the time, and he didn’t know about Greg’s storage unit?

Of course, there’s a number of things in the storage unit that will be seen in later episodes…

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]…such as the t-shirt cannon and the VHS tapes of Lil Butler.[/spoiler]

Steven finds a box of his Dad’s old CDs, and Greg reminisces about when he did a concert in Beach City and the only person who showed up was Rose Quartz.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]This incident will be seen in flashback form in Story for Steven.[/spoiler]

Greg says that he and Rose were always together until “she gave up her physical form to have [Steven],” which is the first time we hear about what happened to Rose. Steven doesn’t react to this, showing that he knows this all well. He accidentally steps on and cracks a picture of his parents, which is one of the first times we get a good look at Rose’s appearance.

Steven apologizes for cracking the picture. Greg says, “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs,” which is effectively one of the thesis statements of the show.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Neither of them suspect that one day Steven is going to say this very thing to Yellow Diamond in an effort to get her to realize that trying to build a “perfect” empire is actually making her and everyone else miserable. And it actually works![/spoiler]

Steven spots the light cannon glowing. Later in the episode we learn that Greg’s catchphrase is actually how the cannon is activated — this isn’t random at all!

The cannon won’t fit in the van, so they put it in a wagon and drag it along behind them.

Steven puts on his Dad’s old CD, and we get the second song of the series. Steven enthusiastically sings along and I recommend that you do too.

The song’s lyrics are almost certainly about Rose, his magical space girlfriend:

And if we look out of place
Well, baby, that’s okay
I’ll drive us into outer space
Where we can’t hear what people say

On the way to the beach, they drive past Sadie, Lars, and Mr. Smiley, looking up at the menacing Red Eye.

There’s some really gorgeous use of color here as the Red Eye bathes everything in a menacing red light. Its vibrations begin causing damage to Beach City, ripping off part of the roof of the beach house and the sign from Beach Citywalk Fries.

They need to fire the cannon right away, but Pearl admits she doesn’t know how it works, which may be the first and last time she admits she doesn’t know about something of Rose’s. She asks if Steven can do it, considering he has Rose’s gem, but he doesn’t know how either.

In our second time in two episodes, Steven mildly berates himself for being useless. Greg tells him not to worry, they’ll think of something, and Steven repeats his mantra from earlier: “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs.”

That’s what it takes to activate the cannon.

It’s interesting that Rose left this cannon with Greg instead of with the Crystal Gems, isn’t it? Maybe she wanted to give him some defense against potential threats, or maybe she thought that Steven could one day use it, but she doesn’t seem to have told him how it works, either — unless he simply forgot. The fact that Greg’s catchphrase is its activation code shows how important Greg was to her.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Rose’s rebellion against the stifling “perfection” of the empire, which ruthlessly grinds down anything out of line, is what led her to form the Crystal Gems in the first place — it’s no wonder that she liked Greg’s line about the hot dogs.[/spoiler]

The cannon forms a Rose Quartz-shaped missile as it fires and finally destroys the Red Eye.

The wreckage of the Red Eye rains down, and Amethyst congratulates Steven on saving “most of Beach City.”

Times Steven Saved the Day by Ignoring the Gems’ Advice: 2

The Gems didn’t want to bother asking Greg about the Light Cannon, so if Steven hadn’t done so, they wouldn’t have found it in time and the Red Eye would have presumably destroyed Beach City.

[spoiler title=’Fast Forward’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Also, considering its function as a surveillance drone, it would have sent footage of the Crystal Gems to Homeworld, causing them to potentially send Jasper to deal with them much sooner than they actually did. Steven would have had far less training and character development, they probably would have all been captured and sent to Homeworld prison, and the Earth would have been destroyed in the Cluster.

…up to S3, a whole lot of these “what if Steven listened to the Gems” scenarios are going to end with the Cluster destroying everything.

Future Vision: There’s a good chance that Garnet saw Steven finding and activating the light cannon in time, and let him have the victory instead of interfering.[/spoiler]

This is basically Steven’s current family. It’ll get significantly larger.

Greg tears up knowing that Rose used his catchphrase as the cannon activation code, but quickly panics as the tide is washing his van out to sea. Steven repeats the mantra while touching the cannon, which seems dangerous, but thankfully he doesn’t finish it.

I could even learn how to love

Each S1A episode ends with an instrumental version of the song Love Like You. This song has very meaningful lyrics later on in the series.

Final Analysis: This is a solid episode that introduces Steven’s heartwarming relationship with Greg and gives us our first real information about Rose Quartz. The bits with Amethyst being chucked at the Red Eye are funny, and some of the animation on the beach is really gorgeous.

Next time on Steven Universe Rewind! If you could pick one, would you rather have a Cheeseburger Backpack or eat a Together Breakfast?

Next: Cheeseburger Backpack / Together Breakfast