Are you ready to save the day? Because the Crystal Gems sure are! Welcome to the very first Steven Universe episode collection! Much like my Wander Over Yonder roundups, these posts will be recapping four episodes at once. Let’s get started with…
Gem Glow (1×01)
Summary: When the Gems buy Steven what remains of his favorite ice cream sandwich, he believes it might be the source of what is making his gem glow.
From the first episode, we jump right into Steven’s world. No backstory explantations. Those will come later. Right now though it’s just COOKIE CAT!
Steven gets upset when he sees that his favorite ice cream sandwich has been discontinued. Lars tells Steven to just make more with his gem, but Steven insists it doesn’t work like that… He thinks… Sadie offers to let Steven take the freezer home to mourn his loss that way.
As Steven enters the house with a Cookie Cat freezer on his back, he sees his guardians/roommates The Crystal Gems fighting off a hoard of centipeetles that have invaded their house. Steven offers to help them find the centipeetle mother, but Pearl tells him that it would be better to leave the world saving up to them until Steven can master his gem.
Just then, a centipeetle breaks into the fridge and starts wrecking it up. Steven shoos it away and then notices a whole supply of Cookie Cats sitting in the freezer. It turns out that the Gems knew that they were Steven’s favorite and bought all that they could find just for him. After Steven happily performs the Cookie Cat rap, he thanks the three of them and tells him that he’ll cherish the Cookie Cats forever… after he eats just one of them…
That’s when Steven’s gem starts to glow for the first time. They try to see if Steven can summon his weapon, but he panics and soon, the gem stops glowing. He asks the three of them what they do to summon theirs and they give him three very differrent answers. Pearl tells him it’s all about hard training, Amethyst claims she can just summon hers impulsively, and Garnet says hers comes from connecting with all living matter of the universe. This leaves poor Steven very, very confused.
He tries his best to recreate what exactly happened the last time it glowed, but it doesn’t work. Steven gets disappointed and fears that he’s never really going to be a Gem. The Gems assure him that’s not true and that he is one of them. Steven feels reassured, saying that if he doesn’t have his powers, he at least has… COOKIE CAT! Oh Steven…
Except that appears to be true because when he eats another Cookie Cat, his gem glows brighter and his weapon finally reveals itself: a shield! Steven celebrates, claiming that he summoned his powers by eating ice cream! Uhhh… I don’t think… Oh forget it.
Right then is when the Centipeetle Mother decides to attack the house. The gems go outside to fight it, but Steven follows them with the Cookie Cats in tow. He begins eating them, but soon realizes that it isn’t working like before. Before he can continue his experiment though, the Mother destroys the freezer and the rest of the Cookie Cats. Steven is visibly upset, but he ends up rallying and throwing the freezer onto the Mother, electrocuting her and giving the Gems time to summon their weapons and destroy her.
Steven mourns the loss of the Cookie Cats, but the Gems assure him that he’ll figure out how to summon his gem someday “in his own Steven-y way.” He tells them he’s okay, but he probably had one too many Cookie Cats in battle. The Gems laugh, and Steven throws up.
The first episode is a solid display of what the show is about. We see how supportive the Gems are and how unorthodox Steven is. It may not be super exposition-y, but we do get a pretty effective portrait of how the universe works. Which, really, is all you need in a first episode.
Laser Light Cannon (1×02)
Summary: When a giant Red Eye threatens Beach City, Steven enlists his dad’s help to find a weapon that used to belong to his mom.
I’M NOT CRYING, YOU ARE.
While Steven and Amethyst are hanging out during sunset, they notice a giant thing in the sky that’s glowing as bright as the sun. Amethyst immediately freaks out and drags Steven home to see that Pearl and Garnet have noticed the same thing. The thing is known as a Red Eye, it’s getting closer to the Earth, and they don’t have a lot of time before the thing crashes into Beach City. The only thing the Gems can think to use is a laser light cannon that belonged to Steven’s mom Rose Quartz, but none of them know where it is. Steven suggests that his dad Greg might know where it is, but the Gems seem… well… skeptical. They decide to try something else, but when Steven notices that plan is just Garnet hurling Amethyst at it in hopes of it cracking, he goes ahead to see his dad.
Steven goes to his dad’s car wash and begins banging on his van doors to get him to wake up. This works and we soon meet Greg Universe, a pudgy, balding man with one hell of a farmer’s tan, a terrible sleep schedule, and a waffle iron for home security. It quickly becomes obvious why the Gems wouldn’t trust him with something so important, but Steven asks anyway if Rose told him where something like that would be. Greg isn’t 100% certain, but it would be anywhere, it would be in his storage unit. Just like my life for the past five years.
With some ingenuity, Steven begins to dig through the “Dad Museum” that is Greg’s storage unit in search for the cannon. During that time, we start to get some backstory of Steven’s parents. Greg used to be a traveling musician, and he once came to Beach City to play a gig. No one showed up except for Rose Quartz and the two were pretty much inseparable after that until Rose gave up her physical form to have Steven. To this day, Greg isn’t really sure what Rose saw in him.
As Greg says that, Steven accidentally breaks a picture of his parents. He tells this to his dad, but he waves it off and says it’s fine. “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs.”
When Greg says that, a glow starts in the unit, revealing that the laser light cannon is in there. Steven and his dad struggle to get it out of the unit and to the beach as the red light grows closer, but after some trial and error and some of Greg’s music, the two get to the beach at the last possible second.
The Gems try to figure out how to get the cannon to work, but no one but Rose really knew how to operate it and rubbing Steven on it doesn’t seem to work. Greg says that they could try something else, starting the line about pork chops and hot dogs. Steven finishes the line, and the cannon activates. Steven and the Gems get it aimed at the Red Eye as it goes off, releasing a feminine light figure towards the giant entity, destroying it once and for all.
Was it Rose protecting them? Was the pork chops line something she used to say from how Garnet is so familiar with it? Am I crying over a character we haven’t even met? Except for a definite yes on that last question, we just don’t know, but we do know that the day is definitely saved and Greg’s van is definitely screwed as it floats out away from shore.
Cheeseburger Backpack (1×03)
Summary: Steven accompanies the gems on a mission to restoring the Lunar Sea Spire and tries to help them with his new cheeseburger backpack.
Okay, this is easily my favorite episode so far.
The gems come home after a mission one day and are immediately getting ready for the next one. Pearl says it involves taking a Moon Goddess Statue to the top of the Lunar Sea Spire, “an oasis for Gems on Earth.” If they don’t do it before midnight, the spire will be destroyed. Steven thinks that this is the perfect opportunity to help them by carrying the statue in his new cheeseburger backpack from the Wacky Sacks Supply Company. Pearl is skeptical, but when Amethyst says it would be educational for Steven, she agrees to let him come along. Steven cheers and begins to pack a whole bunch of supplies for the trip.
As soon as Steven finishes, the four of them warp off to the spire, which is in a serious state of decay. Pearl initially freaks out for Steven, but he definitely proves his own by using a sweater to leap over a gorge that would pull anyone in and using bagel sandwiches to distract Crystal Shrimp and letting the gems pass. Huh… I guess letting Steven come along with ALL THE THINGS is a pretty good thing.
Unfortunately, Steven’s luck begins to run out. His raft floats off down the river running through the spire and when it comes time for him to put the Mood Goddess Statue on the pedestal to return the Spire to its former glory, he realizes he left it at home. The Gems freak out, but Steven decides to see if his Mr. Queasy doll would be an acceptable substitute.
For a second, it seems like it will be! Instead though, the doll explodes and the spire sinks into the sea. Awh dang. Steven apologizes to the Gems, but they forgive him, saying that the spire was in disrepair anyway and hey, 50 percent of his ideas worked! So… 75! Woohoo!
This episode was awesome. It was beautifully animated and such a great display for the characters. We see that one of Steven’s strengths is thinking outside the box, which probably got the Gems a lot farther than they would have without him. And so what if the Spire is gone? There’s still a future to be had for the Gems on Earth and that’s even better!
Together Breakfast (1×04)
Summary: Steven is bound and determined to get all the gems to eat breakfast together, even if it kills him. And it just might.
Much like the previous episode, this episode is a great look into how the Gems work.
All the Gems are out and Steven is feeling lonely, so he decides to make them all a breakfast of waffles topped with syrup, popcorn, whipped cream and a bass-dropping strawberry. Steven calls it a Together Breakfast, but the Gems aren’t sticking around for very long. Garnet has a demon spirit to destroy, Amethyst needs to fix her mess, and Pearl needs to straighten hers. Basically, they’re all going into the Temple without Steven and not stopping for breakfast.
Steven manages to wiggle his way into Pearl’s room, which is neat, tidy, and consisting of waterfalls. Just the way Pearl likes it. Yep, if you need any indicator that Pearl is a neat freak outside of battle, here it is. Also the fact she took it upon herself to clean up Amethyst’s room. As she’s putting her swords away, Steven shouts for her to join him for breakfast. However, he ends up slipping down the waterfall and into Amethyst’s room as she tries to rearrange the mess Pearl “cleaned up.” She tries to eat the breakfast Steven made, but he insists on saving it for everyone. This leads to a chase through the temple and right into the Crystal Heart.
Steven is excited to have them together, but Pearl is nervous since they’re in the most dangerous part of the temple. She tries to get Steven out, but he ends up sliding down through the temple right into Garnet’s part as she’s trying to destroy the demon spirit. Pearl tries to quietly sneak them out, but Steven immediately opens his mouth about the four of them eating together. Garnet becomes distracted, allowing the spirit to escape and possess the Together Breakfast. It becomes a giant breakfast monster and begins to overpower the Gems. Seeing his guardians and friends being hurt, Steven yells at the monster for tearing them apart instead of bringing them together and pushes it into the lava pool Garnet was using, effectively destroying the spirit.
After all that fuss, the four of them make an even bigger and more delicious looking Together Breakfast, but after everything they went through with the demon, they decide that maybe pizza is the better option.
Maybe I’m biased, but this show definitely impresses me already. Four episodes in and we’re already seeing depth to the characters to the point we’re already seeing negative traits. Not to mention the writing is clever as hell and the animation is breathtaking. I really hope Cartoon Network is looking to keep this show around because it deserves all the episodes. ALL OF THEM.