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.
Official Description: Steven’s desire for some alone time unlocks a new room in the Temple.
This episode opens with Steven inexplicably eating four cans of creamed corn. The Gems make kind of an awkward entrance — not with the warp pad but together from the inner Temple. The room behind them doesn’t look like any we’ve seen yet. The stiff way Pearl says “Good afternoon, Steven” is a little weird.
Steven explains that he was eating four cans of creamed corn to get four coupons for him and the Gems to play mini-golf together. Unfortunately, the Gems have an urgent mission they need to go on, and they can’t spend time with Steven like they promised.
Steven tries to convince the Gems to go mini-golfing by pointing out that he’s found his dad’s old clubs and his golf pants. The golf clubs made a previous appearance in Greg’s storage unit in Laser Light Cannon. Steven points out that the pants might fit Garnet.
The Gems are unmoved, and warp away, Pearl promising to bring Steven something back. In some ways, this episode feels like a bit of a regression from some of Steven’s development so far — Steven is especially childish here, and the Gems don’t even consider taking him along on this mission.
Steven decides to pass the time by playing Golf Quest Mini on his N64, a game that takes bits from Pokemon (as seen above, the setup is almost exactly like Prof. Oak’s lab in Pokemon Red/Blue), The Legend of Zelda (the quote), Final Fantasy and other games. Steven receives a mythril putter. One cute little detail is how Steven has named the protagonist after himself.
Steven plays all night and into the next morning. The game appears to have turn-based gameplay with an action component, and I’m surprised that no indie game has run with this yet. Picture above is the final boss of the game. Steven beats the boss and unlocks the secret ending just as the Gems come home.
Steven is trying to watch the secret ending, but the Gems walk right in front of the TV and start talking to him about their mission. Now I know that Steven’s kind of immature in this episode, but I do really relate to his frustration here!
The artifact the Gems retrieved is called a Wailing Stone. Amethyst activates it, causing an ear-splitting sound that shatters the TV.
The wailing stone will appear again in The Message, picking up a message from Lapis warning the Gems about the arrival of Peridot and Jasper.
A frustrated Steven screams that it’s not fair that he can’t go on missions or watch the ending of his game, and that he wishes he just had a place to himself. Honestly, this is pretty typical and healthy behavior for a kid his age — to want some privacy.
Steven’s tantrum causes his Gem to light up. The door to the Temple opens, and the Gems realize that Steven has opened the door to his mother’s room.
The Gems warn him not to enter, but an angry Steven ignores them and charges into the room, excited to have a place that he can go where they can’t follow.
We actually saw Rose’s Room briefly in Together Breakfast, when Steven slid down a pole through several of the Temple’s rooms.
Steven asks “What kind of room doesn’t have a bed?” and a bed suddenly appears. He realizes he can make the room manifest whatever he wants.
Why does Rose’s Room in particular have this power? As Pink Diamond, she was both immensely powerful and very used to getting what she wanted. When she didn’t get what she wanted — for example, when the other Diamonds denied her a colony of her own — she threw a temper tantrum, much like Steven does in this episode.
Rose’s Room will show up in a number of future episodes. Some of its more notable appearances are Open Book and Storm in the Room.
Steven manifests this adorable tiny floating whale, and oh stars, I want one of these too.
Steven asks to see the secret ending to his video game without being interrupted. It’s noticeable that the dialogue we see here seems very simplistic compared to what we saw before when Steven was playing the actual game. It’s clear that the room can’t really show Steven anything he doesn’t actually remember, and this version of the ending is likely just how Steven imagined it might end.
We get more explicit confirmation that the room can’t show Steven things he doesn’t know in Catch and Release when he asks to speak to Peridot. Steven had no idea what Peridot was about to say, and so Cloud Peridot can’t finish her sentence.
Steven says he’s hungry, and a donut manifests out of the air. When Steven tries to eat it, it poofs back into air.
Steven says he needs to go out for donuts. A door manifests and he walks through it — but of course, if you’ve seen this episode before, you know he hasn’t actually exited the room yet.
The house is eerie and quiet because Steven didn’t want to see the Gems.
Steven heads to the Big Donut. Lars and Sadie are standing next to each other, unmoving, with creepy smiles on their faces. When Steven talks to them, they speak in unison and hand him a bag of donuts. They slide back behind the counter.
Steven chases after them, running out of the back of the shop. Beach City is particularly eerie looking, and Lars and Sadie are nowhere to be seen. Steven tries to talk to Onion, but Onion doesn’t respond. Steven gives up and plops a donut on top of his hair.
Steven walks down the Boardwalk, wondering what happened and AAAAAH IT’S FRYBO. Frybo is just standing behind the window of Beach Citywalk Fries, smiling. A creepy chord plays as he is spotted. I just love the turn for the creepy this episode takes.
Steven stops and nervously asks Frybo if it’s Peedee. Frybo wordlessly places an order of fry bits on the counter, followed by another in exactly the same spot, then another, the plates glitching through each other.
Steven wanders the boardwalk as glitchy music plays. This whole section is a lot like creepypastas concerning unused areas in video games and things of that nature. He spots Connie on the beach and asks when she got back in town. As they talk, he notices the waves are moving in an unnaturally rapid pattern.
Connie turns around, her eyes invisible behind her glasses. “He was incredible!” she repeats over and over, reusing the same sound bite as in Bubble Buddies.
Steven is suddenly surrounded by many of the supporting town cast (and Lion), unmoving, with low detail faces (as they usually appear in the show’s distance renders). He runs, but finds himself in water, sinking down and emerging out the other side in front of It’s a Wash.
Greg emerges from the car wash, looking and acting normal compared to all of the other characters here. It’s likely that Greg is much more sophisticated than the other copies in the town because Rose herself has many memories of Greg, not to mention Steven knows Greg better than any of the other characters, so the room has far more to work with in simulating him.
Steven is relieved, and he and Greg perch on top of the van. Steven explains that he was mad at the Gems because they’re always leaving him behind and he wanted to do it to them too.
I’ve brought this up before, but this is a mirror to the lyrics of Familiar, at the end of the series. Steven can relate to Pink because he was also always being left behind — and in this episode, his angst over being left behind leads him to a room designed by Pink!
Greg says it’s not so bad to want alone time, and he plays air guitar. Steven says it was fun for a while but now the entire city is weird. “Well, the important thing is that you told the truth,” Greg says.
Steven is starting to get nervous and points out that Greg is making less sense than usual. “Well, the important thing is family and friendship, honesty, values, and no one got arrested,” says Greg.
Steven, realizing what’s happened, tries to bite into his donut, only to have it vanish, because he’s still in the room. The city begins glitching with enormous black voids appearing everywhere. Steven tries to run, but the voids catch up to him and he starts falling through space.
“I don’t want this!” cries Steven.
The tiny floating whale appears. “What do you want, Steven?” The whale here is voiced by Susan Egan, also the voice of Rose Quartz.
This tiny throwaway moment is certainly heavy on the foreshadowing. Rose’s desire in having a human baby was that her son would be free of the constraints placed on Gems, who are made for one purpose and punished for deviating. Rose wanted to have a child that could choose to become who he wants.
Meanwhile, Steven spends the entire series struggling with the expectations of who he should be, and ultimately gets himself into a lot of trouble when he starts ignoring what he wants in favor of doing what he believes to be right, leading to the arc where Steven turns himself into Homeworld.
In that light, a manifestation of Rose asking Steven what he wants is fairly portentous!
Steven declares that he wants to be back with the Gems, and he’s kicked out of the room for real this time. He immediately bites down on Garnet to make sure, prompting Amethyst to copy him by biting Pearl.
Steven explains what happened, and the Gems are shocked because Rose’s Room doesn’t have the capabilities to build an entire town.
Steven apologizes for getting mad, and says that he understands that things can’t go exactly how he wants. Honestly, that’s not really the right takeaway from this episode, I think. Steven’s desires to spend time with the Gems and to watch the ending of his game weren’t all that unreasonable. A more fitting aesop might be “careful what you wish for.”
The Gems apologize too, and say they have time to hang out now.
The Gems go mini-golfing, and Garnet is wearing the pants! Steven declares “I always get what I want!” as the episode ends.
That’s not going to be true forever, Steven. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Overall, I really like this episode. Steven is mildly obnoxious, but the concept is interesting, and the creepy, glitching town is very well done. Rose’s Room is also an interesting concept that will pop up a couple more times.
Official Description: After seeing Garnet and Amethyst fuse together into the powerful Sugilite, Steven becomes determined to get super strong.
This episode description is a lot less vague than they normally tend to be, even spoiling the fact that this episode will have a new fusion in it.
Anyway, this episode has it all: character development, humor, lore, a great song, and a cool new fusion. Let’s get right to it.
The Gems warp into this new location. Steven asks what “magical place of mystery” is this, and Pearl is incredibly eager to explain. (If only she were always so forthcoming with vital information.) She tells Steven “This was once a communication hub for Gem-kind. But lately, it’s been transmitting bursts of electromagnetic interference!” Steven doesn’t understand why that is a problem until Garnet points out that it will interfere with TV reception.
This location also features prominently in Cry for Help, which serves as a kind of sequel/followup to this episode — not only do they feature the same location, they also both deal with the fallout of unhealthy fusions. In Cry for Help, Peridot partially repairs this tower in order to transmit a message to Yellow Diamond, and the Gems discover it when the message begins to show up on every TV in the area.
Steven starts ineffectually punching at a pillar. Amethyst shapeshifts and teases that they need a Steven “at least THIS strong for the job.” Steven gets starry eyed and declares the form to be “all the me I could be,” foreshadowing his obsession with getting buff later.
Pearl points out that they’ll be here all day if they try to take out the pillars individually. Amethyst says, “I hate it when you’re right. You get this look on your face –”
“–yeah, that’s the one.” Pearl begins proposing a plan for dealing with the structure. Garnet interjects, “No, what we need is Sugilite. Amethyst, fuse with me.”
Amethyst is thrilled beyond belief. Pearl… is not.
Sugilite, the fusion of Garnet and Amethyst, is the second fusion we’ve seen on the show and the first involving Garnet. Amethyst and Pearl’s reactions here could not be more different than when Steven wanted to see them form a giant woman in the episode of that name. In that episode, they were extremely reluctant to fuse and annoyed at the suggestion that they should, especially Pearl. In this episode, Amethyst could not be more thrilled to fuse with Garnet, and Pearl is very obviously jealous.
The second fusion on the show other than Garnet, of course.
Both this episode and Cry for Help make it very clear: fusing with Garnet is awesome, at least to both Amethyst and Pearl. It’s so awesome that in both cases things go very wrong out of a desire to remain fused.
One of the most obvious potential reasons for this is that Garnet is herself a stable, loving fusion, and getting to be a part of that feels great. She’s also quite powerful and intelligent, as are her fusions. It’s not hard to see how that kind of experience could be addicting.
It’s also the case that, at this point, fusing with Garnet is actually the only chance either Pearl or Amethyst have to experience a stable fusion at all, and that’s a big part of their excitement. Opal is unstable and neither really like forming her, and Steven isn’t ready yet. The fact that Pearl especially seems eager to teach Steven to fuse backs this up.
Just look at Amethyst’s face! Steven, of course, is also thrilled at the chance of seeing another giant woman.
Pearl tries to convince Garnet to fuse with her instead, because their fusion is more conducive to being careful. Garnet says, “We don’t need to be careful. We just need to be huge.”
The events of Cry for Help pretty clearly demonstrate that Pearl’s motivations here have less to do with wanting to be careful and more to do with wanting to form Sardonyx. (Sardonyx is so cool, one of my favorite fusions, it’s really hard to blame her too harshly.)
Garnet and Amethyst’s fusion dance is very, well, suggestive compared to most. The show as a whole is very clear that fusions are representative of close relationships, and not necessarily sex or romance. You would expect the fusion of Garnet and Amethyst to be more on the platonic side, but the bit where Garnet literally spreads her legs apart for Amethyst to jump into her kind of suggests otherwise. A peeved and jealous Pearl shields Steven’s eyes from the display.
The cool, funky music here is Synchronize, and it segues into the beat-heavy and menacing Sugilite theme as the fusion forms. This is a really catchy tune that’s very reminiscent of video game boss music.
Sugilite (voice: Nicki Minaj) is absolutely enormous, much bigger than even Opal. She has four arms and five eyes — extra body parts tend to indicate a lack of harmony, which is foreshadowing for happens. Her weapon combines Garnet’s gauntlets and Amethyst’s whip into a giant flail.
This episode, and the flashback in Know Your Fusion, are the only times we’ll ever hear Sugilite speak. Sardonyx even lampshades it in Know Your Fusion, asking if they still need to pay her.
Minaj does fine as Sugilite, but it’s not a particularly special performance that couldn’t have been handled by a less expensive actress, in my opinion. I would have preferred someone less well known that they could actually have had on the show more than once. This problem pops up with several of the fusions, but Sugilite in particular is probably the worst case.
On a side note talking about Sugilite’s size — more Gems tend to form larger fusions, but this is not a hard and fast rule, as other factors come into play. Sugilite, who is made of three Gems, is larger than many of the two-Gem fusions seen on the show, such as Opal and Smoky Quartz, but there are two-Gem fusions larger than her, namely Malachite. Fluorite is a six-Gem fusion and is smaller than several of the fusions we see. Fusion size has a lot to do with the power and mindsets of the Gems forming the fusion, as well as the sheer number.
Sugilite’s first instinct is to show off for Steven, which is an extremely Amethyst personality trait (and not entirely out of character for Garnet, either). She begins recklessly smashing up the communications tower. She sends rocks flying towards Pearl and Steven, causing Pearl to freak out about Steven’s safety. Pearl kicks a large rock away, and a small rock breaks off of it and hits Steven in the head. Pearl, having had enough, picks up Steven and warps out. Seconds later, an errant rock from Sugilite’s demolition smashes the warp pad.
Steven shows up at the Big Donut with this dramatic head injury, prompting immediate concern from Sadie. He shows off what’s under the bandage — a tiny cut from where he was hit by the rock. Both Lars and Sadie laugh, and Steven is embarrassed, calling himself soft.
Lars says, “If I weren’t so modest, I’d whip out my sweet six-pack and show you what a real man looks like!” We’ll be talking a lot about Lars’s relationship with toxic masculinity and how it very much differs from Steven and Greg later down the line. He struggles to open a jar, finally handing it to Sadie for her to open easily. “I’m not gonna say thanks,” he says, prompting Sadie to punch his leg.
Steven gets the idea that they should all go work out together, to toughen up. “You can beat up Lars! And you don’t have to starve to death if Sadie divorces you!”
Steven assuming Lars and Sadie are a done deal continues all the way through the Future series, where in Little Graduation he ends up losing control of his powers partially because he didn’t realize that Lars and Sadie had moved on from each other.
Greg builds a miniature gym / obstacle course kind of thing for the group. Greg decides he’s going to join the workout: “I’ve been slacking on my workout routine for a few weeks… months… years… *cough* decades…” This is a very relatable mood, Greg.
Steven runs off to get sweatbands, and Pearl walks by.
Greg: Hey Pearl, wanna check out some buff studs?
Pearl: (looks Greg up and down) (complete deadpan) No.
Pearl asks Steven what he’s up to, and he explains he’s starting a gym so he can get strong like Sugilite. Pearl isn’t pleased, and points out that there are different ways of being strong. Steven says he wants to be strong “in the real way,” hurting Pearl’s feelings without realizing it. She goes into the house and begins picking up Steven’s laundry, and we get the very first Pearl song in the series.
Deedee Magno-Hall has a gorgeous singing voice, and Pearl gets some of the all-time best songs in the series. This song is short, but it’s a good one that showcases Pearl’s insecurities.
Can’t you see that she’s out of control and overzealous? / I’m telling you for your own good and not because I’m —
Of course, Pearl’s jealousy about the fusion is very much a part of what drives her actions in this episode.
I can show you how to be strong in the real way
And I know that we can be strong in the real way
And I want to inspire you, I want to be your rock
And when I talk it lights a fire in you
I love how Pearl’s maternal instincts are on full display here. We’ve seen in previous episodes how Pearl really wants Steven to look up to her, particularly in last week’s Steven the Sword Fighter.
We also see Pearl’s insecurity about her “strength” here. Pearl, of course, does not have the raw physical power of either Garnet or Amethyst, instead relying on speed and finesse to fight.
Both Pearl and Steven have this quality in common, where they really want to inspire people. In both cases it’s at least partially tied to their need to follow in Rose Quartz’s footsteps. Rose, of course, was known for inspiring an entire rebellion.
Pearl’s insecurity over her strength is, of course, also related to her role as a Pearl, intended to be a flimsy status symbol for the elites and nothing more. She was never meant to be a fighter and had to work very hard to accomplish what she has.
Steven is watching Pearl from the window, and he picks up on her song and continues it outside as he encourages Lars, Sadie, and Greg to get buff.
Steven’s desire to be a leader and an inspiration is going to be a major part of his character development, until he effectively becomes the new leader of the Crystal Gems. The fact that he picks up the song from Pearl is also symbolic of how much he’ll eventually learn from her.
Exhausted, Sadie asks Steven why he isn’t working out too. Lars points out that he’s been spending all this time singing a song instead. Steven declares he’s switching to four-wheel drive, puts four tires on his body and starts to run.
The next day, Lars, Sadie, and Greg show up at Steven’s house, but Steven is so sore he can hardly get out of bed. Pearl is concerned that Amethyst and Garnet aren’t back yet, and she can’t take the warp to check on them because it’s down.
The house shakes, and they rush outside to see Sugilite approaching as the sun rises. Sugilite reaches the shore and screams that she’s bored and was left behind.
Check out Sugilite’s sweet fingernails.
Pearl suggests that she separate. Sugilite refuses and kicks Pearl away. Pearl yells that she’s been fused for too long and is losing her component parts.
This new consequence to fusing is very interesting. As we have seen, fusions have their own personalities that have combined aspects of their components. Here, we learn that remaining fused for too long can result in the individuals being lost.
The most notable example of this is Malachite, the fusion of hate formed by Lapis and Jasper. Lapis strains so hard to keep Jasper chained into the fusion that eventually they both lose their personalities to it and Malachite becomes a true monster.
The idea of fusing too long being unhealthy is an interesting one, considering Garnet has been fused for over five thousand years. She still clearly retains both of her components — likely owing to the fact that her relationship is far healthier than Malachite’s. However, we still see some potential negative aspects to remaining fused for so long. Ruby and Sapphire have difficulty functioning apart from each other, and eventually Ruby will temporarily split from Sapphire to have some “alone time”.
Sugilite screams that she’s “sick of being split up!” This aspect of fusions is also fascinating. Fusions have their own personalities, but they can only exist as long as their component parts can hold the fusion together. If Garnet and Amethyst split and decide to never form Sugilite again, Sugilite’s own personality is effectively dead. It’s honestly no wonder that she might have a problem with that.
This aspect pops up again in Keystone Motel, where Steven is worried that Ruby and Sapphire aren’t going to re-fuse. If Ruby and Sapphire ever were to split permanently, Garnet — who is quite different from either of them separately — would effectively be dead. Keeping the relationship together thus has much higher stakes than it normally would.
It makes sense that Sugilite in particular would have an issue with unfusing. Amethyst loves the power and desperately wants to feel needed and wanted, which the fusion provides. For Garnet, being asked to unfuse is one of her particular sore spots, because fusion is so important to her. We’ll see an example of this much later in Too Far, where Peridot asks Garnet to unfuse and ends up being put on a leash as a result.
Pearl decides the only way she’ll get Sugilite to unfuse is through force, and so she begins to fight her. This is an excellent early example of Pearl’s hardcore and intense determination: she’s fighting a Gem fusion many times her size.
And of course, Garnet is a fusion so Pearl is effectively fighting three Gems, and two of those Gems were meant to be fighters, unlike Pearl who is meant to be an ornament.
Unfortunately, Pearl suffers a severe beatdown from Sugilite. Injured, she laments that she isn’t strong enough to save Garnet and Amethyst, or to protect Steven. Sugilite taunts her, telling her that she is nothing.
This side of Sugilite is probably coming from Amethyst, who, at this point, has a lot of issues related to Pearl and deep insecurities regarding herself.
Steven uses his megaphone to cheer Pearl on, telling her she’s strong in the real way.
This is one of the first instances of Steven using his eventual empathy superpowers to inspire someone, and it’s very sweet!
Pearl rises to her feet, realizing that she isn’t going to beat Sugilite with raw strength, but with strategy. She taunts Sugilite, luring her to the edge of the hill overlooking the Temple, and leaps off. Sugilite, standing at the edge, begins swinging her flail. Pearl throws her spear at her feet, knocking her off balance and causing her to topple over the cliff, her flail following and landing directly on top of her. This finally causes Sugilite to un-fuse.
Garnet and Amethys are extremely sore from their experience as Sugilite. Pearl hugs them both fiercely — this is the first instance we’ve seen of one of the non-Steven gems showing affection to the others. Pearl doesn’t always totally get along with these two, but she absolutely does care.
Garnet says to Pearl that they should have listened and that she was right. Pearl triumphantly declares, “Yeah, I was right!” It’s nice to see Pearl get a win.
In my opinion, this episode is one of the strongest of Season 1A. All of the elements that make the show great are really coming together here in an episode that packs in character development, humor and dramatic stakes, not to mention one of the best songs so far.
Next time on Steven Universe Future! I learned to stay true to myself by watching myself die! It’s Joking Victim and Steven and the Stevens.