The adorable theme song Steven strums out on his ukulele and how Garnet is the one who starts everyone clapping for him. Steven gets stars in his eyes when he's excited.
The theme song for the show (which is the song from the pilot, but in a higher tempo and keyed up). Steven's song holds so much meaning to the Gems that they'll sing it altogether. The song's optimistic message is arguably better expressed here.
Garnet calling Steven a buttface. It's not because she actually thinks he is a buttface as much as she knows that he'll be able to use a comeback to return before the fight with the knowledge to save the day.
In an overall sense, the parental relationship between Steven and the rest of the Gems is so strong and genuine, that one would think they actually are related.
This is best exemplified by the fact that Steven has three distinctive relationships with the Gems. When he's with Amethyst, she's like a Cool Big Sis whom he's able to have fun and run around with; Pearl is constantly worried over his safety and well being, and with Garnet he's most eager to impress her because she has such complete faith in him and is able to call off Pearl and Amethyst when they're being a bit overbearing.
"You're one of us, Steven! We're not the Crystal Gems without you!" After Amethyst says this, Garnet smiles and nods.
At the end of the episode, the Gems assure Steven that he'll discover how exactly he summons his weapon. And Garnet remarks:
Garnet: Yes... in your own Steven-y way!
The reason why the Gems went out and stocked up on his favorite ice cream snack: because they knew it was Steven's favorite and heard it got discontinued. There's just something incredibly simplistic and sweet about the fact that they did that just because they wanted to do something nice for him for no reason other than just because.
Sadie letting Steven take the Cookie Cat freezer home.
"Laser Light Cannon"
Greg shedding a few tears at seeing Rose in the beam of the light cannon.
Rose using one of Greg's silly Catchphrases as the activation Code Phrase for the light cannon.
The Gems helping Steven hold the Light Cannon.
Greg may be a Bumbling Dad, and he knows that what the Gems do is way out of his league, but he still loves his son enough to help him out with whatever he might need, whenever he comes looking for him.
Similar to that, the relationship between Greg and Rose. Despite what the other Gems seem to think of Greg, Rose obviously loved him very, very much.
Amethyst and Steven hanging out at the beginning of the episode
"Let Me Drive My Van into Your Heart" is a song by one-man-band Greg Universe. When he performed it in concert, no one showed up... except Rose Quartz, the woman who would eventually give birth to Steven Universe.
Hell, the song itself is pretty heartwarming in its own right.
The motherly, almost neurotic concern Pearl shows for Steven. Once they show up at the Crystal Spire, she saves him from falling down a chasm and immediately wants to send him back to keep him safe.
Even though Steven did botch the mission, none of the Gems blame him. They even try to make him feel better about it afterwards, despite how much the tower obviously meant to them.
The entire premise of the episode, which is simply Steven trying to gather all the Gems in one place, just so they can all eat breakfast together.
Steven finds himself in Amethyst's "room", where she declares she's going to add him to the Junk Pile, but in a fun, sisterly, teasing manner, making it impossible to be anything but heartwarming.
Steven spends most of the episode trying to comfort and be a good friend to a fellow child named Peedee, who's having some serious daddy issues and is depressed by his new job. It just goes to show what a sweet, outgoing kid Steven is.
There's something really adorable about the way that Steven tries to help Peedee feel better, even though it's clear he doesn't understand why Peedee is sad. Even if he can't comprehend or fix the problem he can still try and support Peedee through it.
Peedee standing between his dad and Frybo in an attempt to defend the former, despite clearly being scared out of his mind.
"Dad, I'll... (beat) Are you gonna get another costume?" "(beat) Nah... I don't need another Frybo. I've got the Fry-man."
Steven and Greg bonding with a playful water fight.
After the Gems have returned and found that Steven has got his shapeshifting under control, Garnet tells the others that they should have more faith in Steven.
A YouTube comment summed up the climax as thus: Someone cares about you when they're concerned when you're in danger. Someone loves you when you've turned into a metamorphing cat monster and they still only see you as their son.
Steven unconsciously creating the bubble to protect them.
Especially when you realize that this was by accident, and he was risking his own life to save Connie.
Steven keeping Connie's bracelet safe for over a year. Until he worked up the nerve to talk to her and give it back. And what a way to give it back.
Connie: I'm going to disappear without making a single friend... (crying) Steven:(shows her the bracelet) ...We could be friends.
The fact that the scene looks symbolic of a man proposing to his lover using a ring (the bracelet).
Just the fact that they can even recall each other after an entire year.
Steven reassuring Connie when she's feeling overwhelmed.
When Amethyst and Pearl start to be too meddlesome with Steven and Connie, Garnet steps in to keep them from being a bother. Earlier on, she tells Steven to just talk to Connie, rather than let Pearl overplan it.
It's actually helped by making a Brick Joke into more of a Brick Heartwarming. When Steven asked them not to meddle, he said it would "Mess up his funky flow". Garnet repeats this as she drags Pearl and Amethyst away. While it's funny that she took a comment like that so seriously, it's also very heartwarming that she listened, took note and indeed took it completely seriously. Simply because Steven asked her to.
All the Ship Tease moments with Steven and Connie.
Though its because of this incident that Steven realizes the temple they're in revolves in the same manner as the teacup ride.
While all the Gems obviously love Steven, Garnet also shows him a lot of respect. Given Steven's insecurities about being a full member of the team, it's really very sweet.
Just how nice Garnet is to Steven. She's always really kind and supportive of him but it really comes out in this episode due to how much time they spend together. A particularly notable moment (A Crowning Moment of Kindness?) is when she carries him across a really intimidating-looking room full of traps rather than wake him from his nap, probably because she saw how tired he looked earlier.
To elaborate, from the previous two rooms, and due to the spinning nature of the pyramid giving him nausea, Steven gets highly nervous upon seeing the third trap and ends up fainting. But when he comes to and finds that Garnet had carried him through the chamber, she just tells him that he was taking a nap and remains encouraging, rather than telling him that he fainted or collapsed.
Note also that when Pearl goes into exposition-mode about how the place worked to begin with, Garnet immediately tells her "Steven already figured that out". Garnet clearly listens to what Steve says and always takes him seriously, which Pearl in this case, probably with her tendency to think a bit highly of herself, apparently forgot. She's visibly embarassed to be called out on it, too.
Steven's speech about Purple Puma's backstory, which is pretty heartwarming in itself:
Stephen: Can't we have this? Can't we just... wrestle?
After realizing how much bottled-up anger Amethyst holds in towards their no-nonsense expectations of her, Garnet and Pearl especially decide to go along with her wrestling facade and pretend to be the Heels, allowing themselves to be "beaten" so that Amethyst and Steven can have a good time.
Pearl looks genuinely horrified and concerned when it seems Garnet disapproves of Amethyst's need to wrestle.
The "fight" between Pearl and Steven has her pretending to be knocked out by him in an overly-dramatic fashion that's very reminiscent of a parent or older-sibling having a mock fight with a young child.
Amethyst regretfully apologizes to Garnet while she's pretending to be knocked out, who apologizes in return.
Lars's restored love for Tiger Millionaire by the end of the episode after Steven knocked a drink out of his hand by being too "in character".
Lars: I love you, Tiger Millionaire
Steven's complete and utter adoration of the lion, and the lion being completely gentle and passive to Steven in response, not to mention the lion eventually rescuing Steven and helping him reach the desert glass.
Just the image of Steven and Amethyst taking a nap under a pillow fort they made. Further cementing their sibling-like relationship without even saying anything.
Garnet gently teasing and reassuring Steven that nothing can harm him in the desert at the beginning of the episode. Very cute.
On two separate occasions, Steven grabs one of the Gems by the hand as he leads them to a video game he thinks they'll enjoy. He does this to Pearl and Garnet respectively, and it is adorable.
At the beginning of the episode when Steven is in danger, all three gems work together to save him. Garnet catches him from his fall and prevent him from being hit by a monster's projectiles, then Amethyst carries him to safety while Pearl covers their escape.
Steven, wondering if Opal still retains Pearl and Amethyst's memories, is reassured that it's still them by Opal gently singing "Giant Woman" to him.
Steven, upon learning that Gems don't really celebrate birthdays, vows to throw a party for each Gem, hoping to make all of them as happy as his own birthdays have in the past.
A small one, but upon finding a aged Steven laying in the sand, Lion immediately grabs him and rushes him to the other Gems, showing that even Lion is concerned for his new friend's safety.
And after he transports Steven to the Gems, he lets Steven sit/lie against him.
Sadie attempts to cheer up the greatly aged Steven after he has a breakdown in the donut shop, despite not even recognizing him at the time.
The moment when Steven finally reverts to his normal age and the Gems tackle him out of absolute joy should definitely garner a huge sigh of relief.
Garnet keeps wearing the cape and crown she had on for the party Steven tried to throw for her throughout the episode. When told she doesn't have to wear it anymore, she says that "it makes [her] feel important". Dawe.
Steven pretends to fall to perform the classic pie in face gag. Pearl, not realizing the joke and being... well, Pearl, takes about half a second to stand up and catch him, preventing him from falling on his face.
When Pearl, trying to save Steven, fails at the pie gag because she's so upset, Amethyst says "Are you trying to kill him faster?!?" Normally Pearl might scold her for saying something so insensitive, but she's so distraught that instead she cries harder and throws her arms around Amethyst for comfort.
Amethyst`s laid-back attitude breaking as she desperately shape-shifts from form to form, trying to cheer Steven up.
Garnet shaking Steven in vague hope that it`ll do something, ANYTHING to save him.
"Lars and the Cool Kids"
Throughout the entire episode, Steven goes out of his way to help Lars pique the interest of the alleged "cool kids", all while just being his own sincere, goofy, loveable self.
The end of the episode, in which the true nature of the moss is revealed and the kids gaze dumbstruck at the sight of the flowers floating over the city.
When it's all over, Lars tries to give Steven some very well-deserved credit for saving the day. Steven immediately interrupts him to say Lars was the one that drove them all up there. That's pretty big of both of them.
And at the end, Steven and Lars look at each other, smile, and give each other a "chest-five," nodding back to when Steven did it to Lars earlier in the episode.
Steven giving Onion his Ranger Guy even though he tried to destroy the town because Steven realizes he needs it more.
The conversation between Steven and his dad at the end of the episode.
Greg: You went through all that trouble for a toy? Steven: It was more for the memories than the toy.
Pearl offhandedly mentions that she'd be happy to show Steven real sword fighting techniques. Then she feels Steven's hand on her head and looks up to see him staring at her excitedly with stars in his eyes.
The way Pearl cares much more about cheering and reassuring Steven than the sword in her chest. Even knowing it cannot harm her for good, it's still pretty strong.
The Gems don't blame Steven for what happens to Pearl getting stabbed by her own hologram because they know she is going to be fine.
Amethyst comforts Steven by telling her that what happened to Pearl usually happens to her. Garnet teasingly reminds her that it always happens to her. Steven laughs and cheers up.
And there's Steven's reaction when Pearl is finally regenerated. He runs straight over and hugs her, with Pearl just giving a chipper little "Miss me much?". Aaawe.
The way she's shocked for a moment as he almost bowls her over before smiling gently at him and placing a hand on his hair.
Steven tends to Pearl's Gem the entire two weeks she's gone. He talks to it, keeps it warm, and brings it with him to watch a movie. Clearly, he's doing his best to look after her the same way she looks after him.
Steven mentions that Pearl usually helps him clean his room.
"Lion 2: The Movie"
Just about every second Steven and Connie spend together in this episode can induce diabetes. Despite having very different lives from each other, they very much enjoy having fun together.
Steven and Connie can be seen holding hands while they ask for movie tickets.
In the short amount of time that they appear, the Gems make an effort to appear impressive to Connie for Steven's sake, in a rather parent-like fashion.
Steven's adamant determination to show the Pizza family that the Crystal Gems aren't just destructive assholes. He wont stand for anyone thinking badly of his friends/family.
While this is mostly a pretty scary episode, there are lots of little heartwarming moments. Steven eating four cans of Cream Corn just so the four of them can go play minigolf is very sweet, and the Gems actually really do look sorry when they say they can't go. It's cemented further when they come back from their mission and are all happily showing him the stone they brought, clearly thinking he'll find it exciting. Too bad they interrupted him at a bad time this once... and of course, at the very end, they still end up playing minigolf.
Garnet: Guess what? We have time to hang out now.
At the end, Steven apologizes for getting mad at the Gems, understanding that they sometimes just couldn't spend time with him when he wants it. They apologize in turn for having to always leave him behind.
Pearl takes Amethyst biting her on the arm without complaining, because she was too concerned about Steven to care about Amethyst bothering her at the moment. Likewise, Amethyst doesn't retaliate when Pearl accidentally elbows her in the face.
At the end, Garnet does end up wearing the golf pants Steven showed her, probably just because he wanted her to.
Pearl singing out how she wants to be an inspiration to Steven.
While singing, she picks up and folds the shirts he left scattered on the floor in a decidedly mom-like fashion.
How Steven hears her song, is really touched by it, and sings his own bit so it's almost like he and Pearl have a fusion of their own.
Pearl, believing herself too weak to protect the ones she cares about, almost hits the Despair Event Horizon as she faces her teamates' fusion form. Steven, having spent the entire episode worshiping Sugilite and believing physical strength to be "real strength", finally understands what Pearl told him earlier about being strong "in the real way" and begins yelling encouragement to her, reviving her fighting spirit.
When Garnet and Amethyst are finally able to separate from Sugilite, Pearl responds by pulling both into a hug out of relief, though she forgets that they're currently in pain and can't move. Shortly after, Garnet apologizes for not listening to her when they should've.
Sadie's story about how she waited seven hours for a game that Lars wanted and how Lars gave her favorite snack, oyster crackers and played the game with her in return.
Steven and the Stevens
In the end after numerous time-travelling shenanigans, who fills in for Greg in Steven's Beach-a-palooza performance? The Gems of course!
Steven and the Centipeedle's friendship, with the latter performing a heroic sacrifice to save Steven.
The way the Gems comforted Steven after the event, telling him that his mother would've been proud of what he'd done.
Garnet permits Steven to try and tame the centipeedle, in the manner of a parent allowing their child to keep a stray animal as a pet. He runs up and hugs her leg in gratitude.
Garnet: I can't say no to that face...
"An Indirect Kiss
Amethyst teasing Steven for being so worried about her. Especially in light of "On the Run," which implies she was likely doing it because she just wanted to be reminded of how much he loved her.
Amethyst: *giggles* Steven, why are you getting so worked up? *Makes a mock-lovestruck face* What— do you care about me or something?
Steven: *eyes glistening* YES!
Amethyst: Aw, Steven, I didn't mean to make you—*pretends to fall backwards* woah, woah!
Connie doing her best to cheer up the down Steven.
Steven: Everyone expects me to be like my mom...what if I never get those powers?
Connie: Then you'll be like me. That's not so bad.
Even if Connie puts a lot of admiration and awe in Steven's magical adventures, it's shown in this episode she cares about her friendship with him more than any of that, comforting Steven when he starts breaking out in tears about fear that he can't go on magic adventures with the gems without powers.
Connie: (shyly, while holding his hand) You don't need any powers to be here with me.
Also remember that Steven is Connie's first friend. Of course she treasures him!
Pearl showing an outright terrified but motherly concern over Amethyst's cracked gem, proving without a doubt that she really does care deeply about Amethyst.
Amethyst, despite being very disorientated from her gem cracking and losing her ability to speak coherently, still pushed Steven out of harm's way and tried to comfort him when he got upset about not being able to help her.
Lapis Lazuli's interactions with Steven. She calls him a friend while in the mirror and actually is both astonished but touched when he helps her out of it, since he was the only person who ever bothered to talk to her instead of asking for answers she couldn't give. She even risks discovery from the Crystal Gems to inform Steven that she works "just for [him.]"
Greg, Connie and Lion teaming with Steven to bring back the ocean. Then the Crystal Gems, though they were mad at Steven for his disobdience, team along too.
Garnet: You're un-grounded, by the way.
Despite all that happened in "Mirror Gem", Steven is the only one that tries to talk down Lapis Lazuli and the only one she allows to meet her at the top of the water tower, showing they still consider themselves friends.
Lapis Lazuli thanking Steven for fixing her gem, allowing her to return home, the only thing she wanted.
Steven receives a well-deserved hero's welcome from the entirety of Beach City after bringing the ocean back. And it's all set to the calming credits music, too.
There is also a brief shot of Ronaldo and, of all people, Lars, holding up Connie and Steven respectively on their shoulders.
Basically all the interactions with Steven and his dad are incredibly heartwarming.
The song they sing, especially.
After Greg puts his foot down on the space project out of concern for Steven's safety, Pearl works on the ship herself - and then, during the night, sneaks in to wake Steven up so she can show him the spaceship, and says they can take it for an "engine test". Let's reiterate: PEARL, of all people, breaks rules to pal around with Steven, acting very much like a parent who can't wait to show a child a gift they know they'll love.
As Pearl muses about the probability of successfully building a functional spaceship, the one thing that pushes her decision is the glowing look on Steven's face.
Pearl kind of loses it for a bit in this episode. She practically kidnaps Steven for their 'engine test' (which she reveals would take about 50 years, much to Greg's dismay) since she misses going to other worlds so much. But when the engine fails and they bail, Pearl, holding Steven tightly, immediately apologizes to Steven, who in turn assures her they'll go to space together someday. This prompts this adorable exchange.
Pearl: .You know, I think I'd rather be here on Earth.
This clip, shown at the New York Comic-Con. From Steven's song of togetherness to a budding relationship between Lars and Sadie, there's no shortage or adorableness here.
Lars kisses Sadie.
Lars and Sadie (as well as Lars, Sadie and Steven) bonding together while cooking, fishing and eating together is really sweet. Especially since Lars started off not wanting to be anywhere near them.
They even seem to have formed their own little family and household together while trying to survive on the island.
Steven has to pick a Gem to pose as his mother, and sits all three Gems down to figure it out. He has a brief scene that is basically just him listing all their good qualities (and one bad to keep them from being picked), and outright acknowledges all of Pearl's very motherly qualities.
The entire episode is basically a celebration of the close relationship Steven has with Garnet.
Just look at Garnet playing along with Steven's silliness before he asks about her day and try claiming it doesn't melt your heart.
Isn't it remarkable, Steven? This world is full of so many possibilities. Each living thing has an entirely unique experience. The sights they see, the sounds they hear... the lives they live... are so complicated, and so simple. I can't wait for you to join them.
Getting to see Rose and Greg just hanging out, enjoying each others' company.
Seeing Greg and Rose interact together on this video has an extra tugging of heartstrings when you realize that Rose and Greg both know that Rose will disappear when Steven is born, but all you can see is calmness and a lot of love between them. Rose is satisfied with her choice and Greg is supportive of her choice, and they're both just happily enjoying the time together they have left.
Rose Quartz telling Steven how much she loves him. How it's not possible for both of them to exist together, but she'll become half of who he is when he's born. So whenever Steven loves being himself, that is her loving him. Both Steven and Sadie are driven to tears after watching it.
You're going to be something extraordinary. You're going to be a human being. Take care of them, Steven.
Seeing how excited Greg is about how he's going to be a daddy. He even sets up a special introduction for himself, proudly declaring that his son is going to have "the coolest dad in the universe."
The end of the video shows Greg and Rose standing together and about to share a kiss, with Greg caressing Rose's very pregnant belly.
During all this, Steven is just glued to the screen with an expression of pure joy.
At the end, Sadie calls up her mom to say that she really does appreciate the lunches she packs.
Just before then, he Call Back to "Lars and The Cool Kids", with Steven high-fiving Lars' chest.
Pearl and Amethyst actually getting along and complimenting each other's fighting techniques in the opening scene.
Garnet rescuing Steven and apologizing to him when he and the droid fall out of the warp stream. The way she holds him during this is especially sweet.
There's also Garnet admitting the Gems were wrong in doubting his word - even if she herself was the one who insisted they go check for his sake. With this line, she makes it perfectly clear that Steven is very much part of the team.
Garnet: I should have listened to you. You're a Crystal Gem too.
Notice that she briefly sticks her fingers under her shades - she's wiping away tears, likely of sheer relief. Last time she cried at all was in So Many Birthdays when Steven nearly aged himself to death right in front of her. She really can't stand the thought of the little guy getting hurt.
Steven and Connie dancing together alone on the beach.
Pearl's worry over Stevonnie can come across as this when you realize that a half-gem fusing with a full-on human is an unprecedented event, and she has no way of knowing how this might affect Steven or Connie, so she has every right to worry her head off about the two. It's actually quite motherly.
The fact that Garnet's first reaction to Steven and Connie's fusion is just a big, goofy smile.◊ Even more heartwarming when you consider that unlike the other gems, with Pearl being unsure that Steven could ever fuse due to him being half-human and Amethyst just teasing him about it, Garnet always believed that he could do it.
Garnet's words to Stevonnie.
"Listen to me. You are not two people, and you are not one person. You...are anexperience!Make sure you're agoodexperience. Now, go. Have.FUN!" *gives even bigger goofy smile*◊
A lot of Stevonnie's actions come across as either Steven or Connie talking through her, leading to a few of these moments, such as what seems to be Steven assuring Connie that they can break the fusion if she's uncomfortable, while what seems to be the Connie side not only marvels at how amazing the fusion is, but also chastises Pearl for not showing any pride at Steven's successful fusion. In a broader sense, Stevonnie's personality seems to be largely Connie, but with Steven's self-confidence bolstering her, which is probably a big help in the moment below.
In a way, the ending is kind of adorable. After Steven and Connie split from their fusion, they stare at each other for a moment...and then begin dancing wildly and laughing their heads off, having the time of their lives. And this time, neither one cares if everyone else is staring at them.
The ending. Steven discovers that the entire test is fake and designed so that he can't lose and nothing can hurt him. This makes him angry at Amethyst, Pearl, and Garnet until he overhears them talking among themselves about how much they doubt themselves as his parents. So, realizing that the rest of them need confidence as much as he does, he swallows his pride and pretends he didn't find out about the test, instead reacting as though he passed a real test so that the other Gems can feel good and be proud.
Pretty much the entirety of the episode, but there are a few stand-out bits.
Garnet catching Steven, then giving him a nose-boop and calling him a 'cutie pie'.
The two of them spending the whole morning together; exercising, getting breakfast, walking the board-walk...It's usually Pearl and Amethyst who are seen spending time alone with Steven, so this was a refreshing change.
When Lars accidentally spills hot coffee all over Garnet, he sounds genuinely concerned. (According to Garnet, there was also a very real chance where he could have high-fived Steven, and that alone seems rather kind for him.)
Garnet's monologue at the end of the episode:
I took a risk at your expense. There was a chance you would understand [future vision] and we'd be closer. Steven, I see so many things that could hurt you. I should never have let one of them be me. There are a million possibilities for the future! But it's up to you to decide which one becomes reality. Please understand! You choose your own future!
They end the episode hugging (while Garnet casually deflects a bolt of lightning).
We also see, for the third time, Garnet without her shades on. And she's not possessed with rage or Meat Beat Mania this time; she did it so Steven could tell how sincere she was.
"On The Run"
Pretty much everything about Pearl and Amethyst talking in Amethyst's hole.
Pearl "You're the only good thing to come out of this whole mess. I always thought you were proud of that."
When they come out, Amethyst looks away for a sec, then starts to cry a bit again and hugs Pearl tightly, who returns the hug after the surprise wears off.
Complete with a heartwarming reprise of the first few notes of Opal's theme.
Ronaldo's little "turn it down a notch" comment, and Lars' embarrassed reaction. That moment seems to imply they might be able to repair their friendship, or at least let go of the bad feelings associated with it. The post Ronaldo put on his Character Blog some time after helps as well.
Garnet gives Steven a kiss on the forehead. It's actually to temporarily transfer her powers to him, but that doesn't make it any less sweet.
Steven and Connie eating marshmallows and generally being adorable together.
Connie's parents letting Steven and Greg stay the night rather than let them try and go home through the storm.
Connie coming down and watching the snow fall with Steven.
At the beginning of the episode, Steven asks Greg what his favorite type of firework is. Greg responds that he doesn't have one; he just likes watching them with Steven. Cue Steven blushing.
Greg and Amethyst spending time together was pretty nice, unfortunately they got totally sucked into the show and started neglecting Steven.
Amethyst moving all of Greg's stuff to her room so he won't have to throw anything out and getting a new frame for the picture of him and Rose as an apology.
Pearl and Garnet attending the New Year fire-works with Steven, even putting on human clothes to do so.
Rebecca Sugar in interviews talking about how her brother Steven (who's the basis for the titular character) being there for her while working on the show and before that. If you think about how the other three gems are all parts of her, this seems even more heartwarming when watching the show.