Episode Description: Steven is so excited to be home that he jumps for joy and jumps way too high.
Just like last week’s Hit the Diamond, you might assume that this episode description is a misdirect, but it isn’t. That’s literally pretty much the entire episode.
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 Future Vision blocks, which will include spoilers for the entire series.
We open on slightly eerie, darkened shots of the empty beach house, a setting we haven’t seen since Back to the Barn. The Crystal Gems warp in, and Steven is thrilled to be home. He’s less thrilled that the refrigerator is full of spoiled food, including an object that is now unrecognizable as a cake.
This setup makes more sense for the viewer than for the character. Sure, we haven’t seen the house in months. However, there’s a convenient warp pad next to the barn, making the house less than a few minutes away. Why did Steven sleep in the barn instead of his own bed? Why did they just let all the food in the fridge spoil when Steven could have easily returned to the kitchen for meals?
You may also notice that the Crystal Gems have just kind of… left Peridot and Lapis behind at the barn despite the fact that they barely get along.
Unfortunately, from this point on, the screentime for Peridot and Lapis dries up considerably, to the point where they only put in a few appearances per season.
This lovely shot of Beach City seems like they’re trying to remind viewers of the show’s usual setting just in case they’ve only been following the show since the Peridemption arc began.
Steven runs to the Big Donut for a snack, and sees Sadie closing up. “Hey, Steven, haven’t seen you for a while. You missed all the earthquakes,” she says, presumably referring to the earthquakes caused by Malachite and the Cluster.
Steven is upset that he missed his chance for a donut. Sadie tells him that the Big Donut has now started baking their own donuts “after that workplace safety lawsuit was thrown out,” a reference to “the accident” Sadie talked about in Joking Victim. She tells Steven that if he arrives at the Big Donut first thing in the morning, he can have the first fresh-baked donut of the day.
I do like his exchange with Sadie that he’s starving but doesn’t exactly want a meal. I get that.
Steven sets his alarm for 6:55 and looks out over the balcony at the ocean. I appreciate how quiet and slice of life this episode feels compared to all of the craziness that’s happened on the show recently.
Steven is so happy to be home that he jumps for joy, and suddenly accelerates far into the air, floating gently above the Temple statue. He floats slowly to the ground, landing daintily on one foot in a manner similar to his mother. He realizes he’s found a new power — he can make himself “super light,” jump very high, and float to the ground.
Testing out his power, he jumps from the beach house all the way to the top of the lighthouse, then leaps off of the lighthouse high into the sky, past the clouds.
Interesting logo on this airplane, wouldn’t you say?
Steven admires the view of his hometown from high in the sky before realizing that he’s floating downwards very, very slowly, and that it will take him a long time to reach the ground again.
Amethyst emerges from the beach house, offering Steven a “last chance for some cake.” Steven is too far away for her to hear him, but he manages to get her attention by throwing his flip-flops at her. She looks up at him and shrugs it off before heading back in the house. “Wait, can Steven fly? Yeah, I think I remember that.”
She runs out again a second later. “No, no, I’m thinking of Lapis!”
Amethyst begins bouncing in the air, giving Steven just enough time to talk to her briefly. His attempt to summarize this problem: “I could really use your assistance dealing with the sudden appearance of — a power previously unbeknownst to me which I can’t control.” Steven, when did you swallow a dictionary?
It seems like Amethyst could just grab his hand and pull him down, but apparently this would not work for… reasons.
Amethyst fetches the other Crystal Gems. Garnet quietly contemplates the situation, while Pearl deals with it very well, as you can see in the above screencap. Suddenly, Garnet jumps sideways out of the frame. The sound of glass breaking and a car alarm is heard and Garnet returns with a phone.
Garnet: I found a phone.
Amethyst: Whose is it?
Garnet: That’s not important.
Steven receives a phone call, and we see that the phone Garnet stole is Kofi Pizza’s. She previously tormented him by destroying Fish Stew Pizza’s sign, back in Beach Party, making them a kind of sitcom nemeses, if one nemesis was an alien lifeform who is mostly oblivious to the damage she is doing.
Garnet tells Steven that Rose could control the speed of her descent, but Steven can’t figure out how to do that. He asks the Gems to keep him company until he lands.
Amethyst tosses snacks up to Steven, accidentally hitting a seagull. Garnet plays checkers with him, winning easily. The sun begins to rise.
Okay, so, if they can’t pull him down to Earth, it seems like Lapis could fly in and grab him. Right? Not that they ever think to call Lapis in for situations…
Steven’s alarm starts going off, and he panics and says he needs to land right now. He tells the Gems there’s no time to explain why. It seems like it would be easiest to just send one of them to go get him his fresh donut, but this episode doesn’t seem terribly interested in logical solutions.
Instead, they weigh him down with various objects, including a leather jacket, a bowling ball, and a ship. Amethyst even transforms into her Purple Puma alter ego. None of it alters his descent, which actually kind of makes sense, physics-wise? I don’t know why I’m trying to understand, it’s not like a magical floating boy makes sense either.
The leather jacket looks a lot like the one Pearl will wear in Last One Out of Beach City.
Steven dejectedly dumps all of the things to the ground, the boat crashing somewhere below. He imagines the people of Beach City going to buy fresh donuts, in a daydream sequence that seems like an effort to remind people of who the town characters are, since we haven’t really seen any of them since Sadie’s Song. There’s Peedee, Mr. Smiley, Lars, Ronaldo, Onion, and Mayor Dewey.
Dream Mayor Dewey buys donuts for the entire town and for all the starving children of the world. They all gather sadly around the donut meant for Steven, not knowing where he is, and I love their exaggerated sad faces.
It is a little sad that Steven dreams about the town having this kind of a reaction, when Sadie barely seemed to realize he was gone, and she’s probably one of his closest friends among the townies. I doubt Kofi would be too broken up about it, especially since Garnet just stole his phone, and Onion never seems to actually feel sad about much of anything.
“And then they’ll feed my donut to a dog, and then I’ll die,” says Steven, as imaginary bones rain out of the sky near the Big Donut. I love the melodrama of this sequence. It’s very teenage.
Back in the real world, Steven is suddenly falling much faster than before. He tries to get the Gems’ attention, but they’re in the middle of an important discussion: “Yeah, but if he did have a jetpack, he could just put it on upside down.”
Steven tries to call them, but he dropped his phone while offloading the boat. “Why do all my powers keep coming and going? I was just so happy to be home!”
Steven has a revelation: “My floating power’s tied to my emotions! Ugh, right, just like all my stupid powers!”
This episode is fairly slight overall, but I think this moment does represent a bit of a turning point. This is one of the first times Steven’s been so openly negative about his powers. He’s definitely transitioned out of wide-eyed, everything-is-so-cool S1 Steven – after everything he’s been through, and a non-negligible amount of trauma, he’s starting to take on a more measured view of Gem powers and missions.
This also recontextualizes a couple of prior scenes. Notably, in Rose’s Scabbard, Steven is floating through the air as he leaps after Pearl, until she shoots him a withering gaze and he begins to sink like a stone. That was likely an early manifestation of this power. Another example is It Could’ve Been Great, where Steven, despite being part-Gem, does not acclimate to the moon’s gravity in the same way the others do. They chalk it up to his being half-human, but perhaps he was so happy to be on the moon that he was naturally bouncing.
Steven tries to think happy thoughts to slow his descent. Donuts won’t work, because he’s not going to get any. “The beach – no, that’s where I’m gonna die!” I enjoy how dark Steven is in this episode. It reminds me of Future Vision where he keeps imagining horrible things happening to him.
“Mom? Oh geez, those emotions are complicated!” It isn’t the first time he’s had mixed feelings about his mother – for example, back in An Indirect Kiss, he talks about how he doesn’t know how to feel about Rose. It is interesting that Steven would go to this before thinking of, say, Connie or Greg.
There are a lot of references, both direct and indirect, to Rose in this episode. It seems intentional, as we shift away from the plot about Peridot, Lapis, and the Cluster and into the plotline that will dominate the rest of the series, how Steven relates to his mother and her legacy. Mr. Greg, in which Pearl sings about her abandonment and hurt over Rose’s decision to have Steven is right around the bend, and from there we’re going to get Amethyst’s arc where both she and Steven feel like they’re not living up to what they’re meant to be, Jasper’s issues with how both Rose and Steven recruit Gems to their side, and Rose’s conflict with Bismuth, among others. These have less easy answers than many of the conflicts that came before.
Steven looks up and sees the Crystal Gems on the beach, and realizes that they’re always there for him and that they make him happy. Meanwhile, Garnet tells the others that she’s foreseen that Steven will learn to control his powers and land safely behind her, ready to give them a hug. With perfect timing, he lands with a painful-looking splat. “Close enough.”
It’s very cute that we’re getting this nice moment of bonding with Steven and the Crystal Gems here, something we haven’t had in a while.
Garnet tells Steven he must run to the Big Donut. Pearl sadly says that she would’ve liked a hug. Aw, Pearl.
Steven runs to the Big Donut, and it turns out he isn’t late at all, because they always open later on Sunday mornings. It’s unclear why Sadie is opening the shop from the outside when she’s presumably been inside baking the donuts, but whatever. (Maybe Lars is baking them.)
She presents Steven with the first donut of the day, and he’s so excited he leaps in the air and slams painfully into the ceiling.
This episode is not really anyone’s favorite, but I really enjoy it. It has a lot of cute and funny moments and serves its purpose well as a transition away from the barn arc (which, admittedly, is my favorite) and into the Season 3 arcs back in Beach City proper. It also provides some decent emotional setup for what’s to come.
Next time on Steven Universe Rewind! Speaking of emotional setups, here’s an episode about having mixed feelings about your parents. I’m sure that has no parallels to how Steven’s feeling. It’s Drop Beat Dad.