Follow TV Tropes


Reality Ensues / Steven Universe

Go To

Beware of unmarked spoilers!

    open/close all folders 

  • Many episodes in the first season are based around Steven (and thus the audience) learning that his guardians aren't just one-note caricatures who are only there to support his own story. They have their own fears and insecurities, their own trauma that they deal with, and raising a child who's also unique in the universe is sometimes immensely stressful for them. This culminates in "The Test", when Steven overhears them realizing that they may be failing as caretakers and in upholding his mother's legacy.
    • This also extends to the human supporting cast as well.
      • Steven's father is shown to have his own doubts and fears, being more than just the typical "parent" character that only interacts with the protagonist, as shown in giving up his dreams of being a musician to be with Steven's mom.
      • Connie, Steven's best friend, yearns to have the legacy, powers, lifestyle and supporting family that Steven has compared to her well-intended, but overbearing parents, cultivating in wanting to contribute to the adventures rather than just being the Tag Along Kid. She overcomes this by training to be a sword-fighter under Pearl's tutelage in "Sworn to the Sword."
      • Even Jerkass Lars has his own issues, as demonstrated in "Island Adventure", where he opens up to his co-worker, Sadie about feeling lonely even when he's around people. Despite his abraisive attitude, much of it seems to stem from his fears on how people view him, as seen in "Lars and the Cool Kids" and "Horror Club", which reveals that he and Ronaldo had a falling out as children where Ronaldo took a photo showing potential supernatural phenomenon, but had Lars ripping it up because it had him in it looking like a fool and not wanting to be made fun of over it.
    • Steven's confusion about his mother, Rose Quartz, pokes some holes in Deceased Parents Are the Best. Yes, Rose was amazing and left him a legacy, cool powers and several emergency contingency plans. None of these can replace a dead parent you never knew. Steven's feelings for her are VERY complicated given how little he knows about her and he outright admits that they're too confusing for him to possibly find thoughts of Rose calming. He's deathly afraid that he can't live up to her example, even nursing a not-entirely-unjustified dread that the Gems might secretly blame him for her loss. What we've learned about Rose also shows she wasn't perfect and likewise had her own goals, flaws and trauma beyond just dying to give Steven his powers and some angst.
      • This comes to a head in "Storm in the Room", where Steven reveals he feels a great deal of resentment over Rose lying to the other Gems and abandoning them, leaving him to deal with the consequences of her actions, and openly wonders if he only exists to deal with the mistakes Rose left behind. Even when the projection of Rose sincerely reassures him that he was created to live his own life, not to fix her mistakes, it's not enough to completely erase all his doubts and fears, and he still has to face the very real consequences of her actions, which her friends are dealing with the aftermath of, and her enemies are planning revenge for.
  • Easily Forgiven is almost always Averted. Several instances throughout the series (Such as the Sardonyx Arc) show that if someone is seriously upset about what you did, they'll need a lot of time and space to forgive you. While Steven is an All-Loving Hero who forgives easily, even he has limits on his forgiveness. It also shows that just because one person instantly forgives someone, it doesn't mean anybody else will; For example, Steven forgives Lapis for what she did, but Greg (whose leg was broken in the fight against her), and Connie (who almost drowned because of Lapis) don't initially forgive her despite them willingly hanging out with her.
  • It is quite unrealistic for every member of The Empire to be Always Chaotic Evil. Of the Homeworld Gems that have been shown, only a very few have been genuinely evil. Lapis was a civilian who has gone through hell, Peridot was an indoctrinated civilian who has been lied to her entire life, Centipeetle turns out to have simply been a corrupted Nephrite soldier doing her job to avenge her Diamond (a Benevolent Boss) with neither anger nor malice towards her enemy. The entire Quartz crew for the Human Zoo turn out to be friendly and playful individuals abused by a Bad Boss and are willing to help the Crystal Gems with their rescue mission even though they were previously on opposite sides in the war. The Topaz duo secretly hate their jobs and would rather be together but are too afraid to do anything about it. Defense Zircon is a Nervous Wreck of a lawyer who was just trying to do her job, and the Off Colors are a group of defective Gems and Permafusions who went into hiding for their defects and choices. Likewise, it eventually turns out it is equally as unrealistic to expect every member of La Résistance to be Always Lawful Good, with the reveal of Bismuth who, while not evil, had some very extreme and dangerous views and has become unstable to the point of trying to kill her own allies if she must to kill the enemy, implying there may be more Crystal Gems who are willing to put their own personal motives over the safety of Earth. The main cast aren't exactly saints themselves either, as a result of becoming part of a rebellion for thousands of years, they don't exactly abide by the laws enforced by humans and are quite chaotic at best. Amethyst can be prone to violent outbursts and has the mind of a rebellious teenager, Pearl was obsessively in love with Rose to the point where she was willing to put her above all else and is the most bigoted towards humans, and Garnet is mostly indifferent to the feelings of others and can be brutally honest about her thoughts. Even Steven has a few glaring flaws, such as not understanding there are genuinely bad people out there, a tendency to neglect his own emotional health, stubbornness, impatience, and often acting without thinking.
    • Zig-Zagged with Rose Quartz, despite being genuinely kind and loving to everybody, kept some dark secrets from her loved ones, including Lion being a magically undead lion resurrected from her powers, Bismuth's betrayal, and especially The Reveal that she was actually Running Both Sides of the war as Pink Diamond, who turned out to be completely different from her tyrannical sisters and started the rebellion for Earth's freedom. Not to mention that the worst thing she's ever done before she was made was abandoning her former identity's playmate, Spinel, because Pink outgrew playing with her and wanted to move on to other things.
  • With the Diamonds, it turns out that Blue Diamond, Yellow Diamond, and White Diamond were constantly Abusive Parents to Pink Diamond, overruling all of her attempts to do things differently, and pretty much all of their onscreen interactions with her in flashbacks, or through her son Steven in Season 5, is filled with Kick the Dog moments, with her being last in The Chain of Harm. As it turns out, all this, as well as the fact they were all Evil Overlords convinced Pink Diamond that the other Diamonds didn't care about her at all besides how useful she was to them and The Empire. And this led to her secretly betraying them by Faking the Dead, becoming Rose Quartz for good, and running away from her abusive family forever with no intention of ever returning.

    Season 1 
  • In "Laser Light Cannon", Steven manages to get said cannon to destroy the Red Eye... but it was still close to the town, so pieces end up raining down and causing a lot of damage. This example is sort of played for laughs, though.
    Amethyst: Steven, you just saved most of Beach City!
  • In "Arcade Mania", Garnet has become entirely absorbed in a DDR-like game called Meat Beat Mania, to the point that she's ignoring a monster fight happening a few yards away. Garnet is clearly indicated to be playing with superhuman ability, while Steven plays roughly like a human child. Steven decides that the only way to break Garnet's trance is to defeat her in the game. Steven dramatically picks up the controllers, shouts his determination to succeed — and is soundly and immediately defeated.
  • In "So Many Birthdays", Amethyst eats a five-year-old burrito... and almost immediately gets food poisoning.
  • In "Coach Steven", Steven tries to train himself extra-hard so he can get strong faster. The only thing that happens is that Steven is so sore and exhausted the next day that he can barely move.
  • In "On the Run" Steven and Amethyst decide to try life out on the road, similar to an expy of The Box Car Children. The former quickly finds out hay isn't terribly comfortable and living on your own, riding in a box cart, etc., isn't very fun.
  • In "The Return", the Crystal Gems use all their tools and skills to defend Earth from the Homeworld Gems... and lose spectacularly after all of their attacks are completely No Selled. Going up against a hyper-advanced enemy using technology that's 5,000 years out of date tends not to go well.

    Season 2 
  • "Say Uncle", a crossover with Uncle Grandpa, has the reactions from the Crystal Gems when they see what Uncle Grandpa is capable of. Instead of being mystified and whimsical about it, they're downright terrified, and quickly decide that he's a threat to not only Steven but also the world. Indeed, Pearl in particular seems to slowly Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • In "Love Letters", Steven and Connie attempt to take a selfie, but due to her holding the phone backwards so the camera faces them, she keeps missing the button.
  • "Cry for Help": Pearl breaches Garnet's trust by rebuilding Peridot's hub so they can keep forming Sardonyx. Garnet gets so angry to the point where she demands that Amethyst fuse with her to completely destroy the hub. This Downer Ending both shows and lampshades the fact that a serious betrayal of trust is not something that could be dealt with in the span of time it takes for a single 11-minute TV episode. The next three episodes are all about each of the Gems finding a way to deal with their feelings about the fallout and it is only in the fourth after, "Friend Ship", that forgiveness can happen.
    • To fully demonstrate the contrast, the episode of Crying Breakfast Friends that Steven was watching has Pear and Spoon forgive each other after Pear's mistake. As this is happening, Garnet passes by Pearl without a single word, with the latter only sighing in regret.
      Amethyst: Man, it sure would be nice if things worked out the way they do in cartoons.
      Steven: Yeah, it would...
  • "Keystone Motel" just goes to show that while going on vacation can be a nice way to escape your every day worries, it's no substitute for sorting through your problems.
    • Garnet demonstrates through Sapphire and Ruby that there are two extremes of handling a problem, neither are particularly correct. Ruby stews in her anger towards Pearl, but it proves destructive to those around her (literally). Sapphire tries to "be the bigger Gem", but as long as she bottles up her feelings over Pearl's deception, it proves to be just as unproductive.
  • Also in "Friend Ship", Peridot uses an old, abandoned Gem starship to set a trap for the Crystal Gems, and while she does almost kill Garnet and Pearl with it, the ship is shown to be in a state of severe disrepair after several thousand years of neglect with most of its systems not working properly. Furthermore, Peridot, a modern Gem, struggles to figure out how to operate the archaic and severely outdated Gem technology, which leads to her almost getting captured by the Crystal Gems.
  • In "Nightmare Hospital" Steven and Connie try to hide Rose's sword by disguising it as a coat rack. Connie's mom sees through it almost immediately. It also shows that Connie's mother isn't intentionally malicious, as most cartoons and shows would portray someone like her to be, but honestly trying to do what she thought was best for her daughter. When she is called out on her Meddling Parent behavior and sees that Connie isn't weak, she realizes that she simply made herself out to be someone that Connie was afraid to talk to about what was going on in her life and promises to do better.
  • Multiple episodes demonstrate that romance and relationships require understanding, communication, and hard work, and can't just be built on the feelings of one person or even both people. When Jamie tells Garnet that he's in love with her in "Love Letters", Garnet outright tells him that Love at First Sight doesn't exist and that his infatuation with her is just that. Greg and Rose meeting in "Story For Steven" being Love at First Sight is ultimately deconstructed in "We Need To Talk", showing how openness and honesty are much more important to a healthy relationship than a big Love Confession.
    Garnet: Love takes time, and love takes work. And you have to really know the person. And you literally have no idea who, or what, I am.
  • "We Need To Talk" also does this to Interspecies Romance. Neither Greg nor Rose have any idea how the other thinks or what they expect from the relationship, and it's only when they acknowledge these differences and break down the miscommunications that they gain some understanding.
  • A minor one from "We Need To Talk": While the Gems are jamming with Greg, Pearl fuses with Rose to become Rainbow Quartz and steals the show with a dance, then does a Mic Drop to end the song, explaining that only Gems can Fuse. Greg declares that he will learn how to Fuse with Rose and does his own mic drop... Then quickly chides himself because microphones are expensive.
  • Played for Laughs in "Catch and Release" when Peridot tries to escape from the Crystal Gems by flushing herself down the toilet. It doesn't work.
  • In "Back To The Barn", Peridot assumes winning their duel will grant her instant respect and show that she is superior to Pearl in the group's hierarchy, only for the Crystal Gems to instead rally around Pearl for the good fight she put up.

  • Peridot has been taught for her entire life that Fusion is useful only in combat, and that Fusion between different types of Gems is the ultimate taboo. It takes nearly a month for her to come to accept Garnet as a fusion, and even she backs out of Fusing herself when Garnet offers in "Log Date 7-15-2". Deeply-ingrained beliefs like that don't just magically go away. The same goes for Peridot's beliefs regarding Rose Quartz and her own beliefs regarding Earth and the Rebellion, in "It Could've Been Great".
    • Peridot's whole redemption arc smacks of this. Her attempt to come clean and tell the Crystal Gems vital information for an Enemy Mine? Initially shot down, the Gems bubble her without listening, assuming she's lying out of desperation. Steven goes to talk to her about it anyway? She may be willing to work with him, but sees the others as captors she doesn't want to cooperate with. Peridot then assumes she and Steven can handle the Cluster situation on their own, without the Crystal Gems, only for him to shoot that down by pointing out they do need the others. Her prejudices cause instant friction with the group, whether she's being intentionally dismissive with Pearl or trying to become friends with Amethyst but saying the wrong thing. Even after she's pushed to a breaking point by Yellow Diamond refusing to listen to her and not letting her Take a Third Option, siding with the Crystal Gems is not a triumphant moment, but instead leaves her curled up on the ground groaning in distress before having an emotional breakdown afterwards spilling into the next episode as the gravity of what she did hits her. She later admits in "Gem Drill" that part of her will always miss Homeworld, even if she's learning to accept things and move on.

    Season 3 
  • In "Super Watermelon Island", Malachite keeps an upper hand during her fight with Alexandrite and even manages to get the latter on the ropes, and if it weren't for the Watermelon Stevens distracting her, she most likely would have won. Yes, Alexandrite may look intimidating and is technically composed of twice the amount of Gems as Malachite, but Malachite is composed of the ultimate Quartz soldier who was literally made for fighting, even able to outmatch a fusion like Garnet (nearly twice), and a bitter waterbender who was able to handle all three Crystal Gems at the same time with her gem cracked, on an island surrounded by water. Alexandrite, on the other hand, is composed of a common Mook, a diplomatic Seer who clearly wasn't made for fighting, an Unskilled, but Strong, lazy Quartz soldier, and a servant previously used as a status symbol. While each are badass in their own right, they don't have the best team chemistry because of their contrasting personalities. It was extremely lucky their Fusion was able to pull through in the end.
  • The Cluster is at the center of the Earth, so when Peridot and Steven drill to it in "Gem Drill", it takes them several hours and at points, they go through magma, not just solid dirt/rock.
  • When Steven and the Crystal Gems return home for the first time after dealing with the Cluster in "Steven Floats", one of the first things Steven does is go to the fridge to get some food... only to immediately keel back in disgust when he realizes all of it has spoiled in their absence.
  • "Barn Mates" subverts several tropes, such as This Is My Side and Easily Forgiven. When Lapis sees a redeemed Peridot as a Crystal Gem with Steven at the barn, she was not happy to see her again at all. When Steven, who told the two Gems that he saw this on an episode of a TV show, tries to divide the place for Lapis and Peridot to share half of the barn, Lapis outright refuses and explains to Steven the problem isn't space, but rather being near Peridot herself, because she was the reason she was dragged back to Earth. When Peridot wants to make Lapis see her better self through several attempts, Lapis didn't magically become happy for her in any of these attempts for Peridot's convenience, resulting in her angrily telling her to leave. And Peridot accepts her decision, just calmly walking away. Only when Steven calls her out for this behavior and says that Peridot has tried hard to show her that she's changed and she hasn't even given her a proper chance that Lapis decides to give her a chance.
  • In "Too Short to Ride", Peridot reveals that she's an Era 2 Gem, a member of a post-war Gem series deliberately created to be weaker than Era 1 Gems to avoid straining Homeworld's declining resources. Previous episodes revealed that the Diamonds have an extremely uncaring attitude toward their Gems. "The Answer" showed that they are willing to shatter healthy Gems for even minor mistakes. "Monster Reunion" showed that at the end of the war, they didn't give their soldiers sufficient time to escape Earth before launching the planet-wide Corruption attack meant for the Crystal Gems, resulting in hundreds, possibly thousands, of their own Gems being caught in the blast radius and transformed into monsters. In the present, Homeworld is running out of resources to create more Gems. Callously throwing away the lives of your subordinates because We Have Reserves will eventually result in these reserves running out. Especially in Homeworld's case, since Gems are unable to reproduce biologically.
  • Steven has always been a Wide-Eyed Idealist, believing that showing an enemy kindness can help them reform and change. While it works for Peridot, Lapis, and The Cluster, his confrontations with Bismuth, Jasper, and Eyeball force Steven to learn that while there's nothing wrong with trying to resolve things peacefully, it won't always succeed. Some people are so wrapped up in their ideas and beliefs that they won't listen to reason, just because you offer somebody a chance to reform doesn't mean they'll automatically accept it, and some people are simply bad people and even saving their lives won't change them at all. Those situations also forced Steven to learn that sometimes Violence Is the Only Option.
  • Jasper imprisons a bunch of Corrupted Gem monsters to serve as her 'army'. As soon as they're accidentally freed, they all run for the hills because they want nothing to do with her, and when she Fuses with one to attack the Crystal Gems, it breaks the Fusion and bolts, having been forced into a Fusion it didn't want, in order to fight a battle it wanted no part in.
    • In the same episode, Peridot tries to use her new metal powers to control metal bars. She can make them wobble, but she can't break them free of the stone they were set in, and given that she was previously shown to be able to control only small things, trying to move something much bigger without much practice likely strained her powers. She only manages to use one as a weapon as a last resort.
    • Also, Jasper's fights with Amethyst show that being Unskilled, but Strong can only take you so far, especially fighting an opponent who is not only physically stronger than you, but has literally thousands of years' worth of combat training under her belt.
    • Likewise, this episode shows that being indoctrinated to be a soldier from birth can have noticeable, detrimental effects to one's sanity. Jasper, in her very own words, had been fighting since the day she was born and as such, she puts her entire self-worth in her fighting ability. When she's finally defeated and about to be Corrupted, she violently and completely rejects Steven's assistance, feeling that she's a failure who truly deserves what she gets.

    Season 4 
  • "Mindful Education": Steven, in light of everything that has happened to him recently, finally breaks down thanks to him bottling up his feelings. As mentioned above, his confrontations with Bismuth, Jasper, and Eyeball forcibly tell Steven that talking to them isn't always the answer and, in light of learning that Rose Quartz did some questionable acts in her time, makes him have an emotional breakdown because of this.
  • In "Last One Out Of Beach City", as noted by Pearl, while everyone in Beach City knows that the Gems are actual aliens, that doesn't mean that everyone else does, meaning that while Pearl has been on Earth since before cars were even invented, she can't legally obtain a driver's license since no one would believe that she's from another planet or her exaggerated age, and thus can't afford to get pulled over while driving.
  • In "Three Gems and a Baby" Greg tells the story of when Steven was first born and how each of them handled it. To put it bluntly: Horribly. Steven being a Half-Human Hybrid meant that no one from either species understood how his biology worked or how to properly take care of him, especially when his gem starts glowing. This culminated with the Gems kidnapping Steven and Pearl going so far as to almost rip his gem out in an attempt to free Rose.
  • Throughout the entire series, the Gems have been keeping secrets from Steven because they don't think he's ready to know them, but these have a tendency to reveal themselves at the worst time. Steven finally gets fed up with this in "Steven's Dream" — especially in light of learning that his mother shattered Pink Diamondand proceeds to chew them out for never telling him important things that he deserves to know.
  • A minor Played for Laughs one in "Adventures in Light Distortion". The Gems dismiss Peridot's Technobabble about the Ruby ship... but it turns out the calibration was pretty important, especially when the ship goes faster than light. Peridot is an expert in Gem tech, after all.
  • Steven and the Crystal Gems have constantly tricked the Rubies, sent them into the empty void of space, and stolen their ship. In "Room For Ruby", Navy crashlands back onto Earth, and appears to pull a Heel–Face Turn; but it turns out that she was simply taking advantage of Steven's Defeat Means Friendship beliefs so that she can find out where the ship was and steal it back from the Crystal Gems to save her squad. This subverts Easily Forgiven by showing that of course she doesn't want to become friends with the rebels who caused her misery and separated her from her crew.
  • "The Good Lars" is another episode showing Lars's Character Development. In it, Lars (who is genuinely turning over a new leaf and is going from being a jerk to a Nice Guy) is invited to a potluck with the Cool Kids. Steven and Sadie encourage him to bake something, as cooking turns out to be a passion of his, but he's very shy about it. After all, having spent so long keeping to himself and acting as someone he wasn't, actually opening up is scary to him. After much pep-talk from Sadie and Steven, Lars finds new determination to go... Until he gets cold feet; then he trashes his dish and bolts. One day of support isn't going to make anxiety and self-esteem issues vanish. It isn't until "Stuck Together", "Off Colors" and "Lars' Head" that he starts to grow out of them.
  • In "I Am My Mom", Aquamarine and Topaz wrangle together the near-entirety of Beach City to bring back to Blue Diamond. Topaz's method of keeping them trapped is shapeshifting her body until the humans are stuck inside her torso. So, when the Gems try to attack, they struggle to not harm any humans while doing so.

    Season 5 
  • "The Trial":
    • This trope is invoked by Defense Zircon during Steven's trial, when she points out that the story of Rose Quartz shattering Pink Diamond makes absolutely no sense whatsoever when you stop to think about it: Rose was a recognized enemy of the state and there were no other Rose Quartzes in Pink Diamond's entourage, so Rose couldn't have used subterfuge. Pink would have been surrounded by Agates (who would have tried to fight Rose off), Sapphires (who should have seen her coming), and a Pearl (who would have cried in alarm), so Rose couldn't have just walked up to her. And the claim that Rose shattered her with her sword is impossible, because Rose's sword was made so it couldn't shatter Gems. Defense Zircon concludes that Pink was thus most likely shattered by someone who was close enough to her to evade suspicion... someone like the other Diamonds.
    • Related to the above, effectively accusing your bosses of murdering their sister right to their faces is a HORRIBLE idea, especially if they're giant sized and one of them has a serious Hair-Trigger Temper. After Defense Zircon makes her accusation and tries to back up on it, a furious Yellow Diamond immediately poofs her.
  • Gem bodies, being sturdy Hard Light projections, are fantastically durable and can withstand great punishment. Even half-organic Steven exhibits no small amount of Super Toughness. Fully-Human bodies, on the other hand, most certainly do not. So in "Off Colors", when the robonoid he's clinging on to explodes and hurls him into a rock face, Lars is killed almost instantly. Thankfully, it turns out that Steven's healing powers can resurrect the recently dead, but it's still a brutal reminder that humans are far out of their league when dealing with Gemkind.
  • When Steven succeeds in getting back to Earth from Homeworld thanks to Lars' new Pocket Dimension hair creating an Extra-Dimensional Shortcut with Lion's mane, the first thing he does is rush to the kitchen to wolf down water and food. Being stuck on an alien planet for over a day with lifeforms who are The Needless would make anybody extremely hungry and thirsty. The only reason why Lars isn't is because thanks to his resurrection making him a human version of Lion, he seems to no longer require food or drink.
  • "Dewey Wins" deconstructs the Heroic Sacrifice trope by showing the ramifications after Steven returns to Earth after turning himself in to Aquamarine and Topaz to save the others from the Zoo.
    • Steven just returned from Homeworld due to a move that could have gotten him killed. This episode starts with Greg and the Crystal Gems watching him worryingly from the window as he leaves to take Connie home.
    • Steven expected some respect for performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone. Instead, he finds out Connie is absolutely furious with what he did and gets a tounge-lashing from her. She deconstructs the concept by pointing out that 1) it was an incredibly risky and foolish move that absolutely terrified everybody because they all thought he was dead, 2) Connie believes Steven's sacrifice proves that he didn't believe or trust that anyone could have helped him with Aquamarine and the Topaz Duo despite the fact that they had taken on worse enemies together and won, and 3) Steven acting like the emotional anguish he put his loved ones through doesn't matter was not okay.
      • And then, after Steven innocently asks what she means, she and Lion leave in anger at his insensitive attitude towards the emotional anguish he put everyone through.
    • After Sadie learns about Lars' Disney Death and the fact that he's still on Homeworld (albeit with some nice Gems who are also hiding from the Diamonds), she pretty much freaks out and breaks down crying. While Lars might have been able to Came Back Strong, it doesn't change the fact that her coworker, friend, and possible crush died. Lars' parents are also not happy with what happened to their son. It also reinforces that while Lars was an insensitive jerk, there were those who still cared about his well-being and safety.
    • Mayor Dewey's Head-in-the-Sand Management finally catches up with him after the alien abductions, as it caused most of the town to make him into The Scapegoat since he was their leader and he didn't really do anything about it. This inspires Nanafua to run against him to become mayor herself and fix the problems in Beach City. And Dewey, who has run unopposed his entire life, has no idea what to do when someone is actually running against him.
    • Steven tries to take the blame when the town blames Mayor Dewey for the alien abductions, so that Dewey will be reelected. He is technically correct that it's his fault, and that the mayor had nothing to do with it since even the Crystal Gems couldn't stop Aquamarine and Topaz from flying off with the victims. No one will hear of it; the Beach City residents know that Steven is a child while Mayor Dewey is an adult with heavier responsibilities, he shouldn't have been put in that position in the first place, that he also gave himself up when no one expected him to do such a thing and were screaming at him not to go with their captors. People like Sadie and Jamie saw that Steven was risking his life while trying to rescue them. The Gems and Greg in the meantime also reveal they understand why Steven made a choice like that, even if they aren't happy with his choice, because it's what Rose would have done and they've unwittingly impressed on him that he needs to live up to her legacy.
    • Steven finally realizes what Connie meant after going on an almost identical rant with Mayor Dewey. He tries to call her and make amends, but she doesn't respond. Like the "Cry for Help" example in Season 2, serious friendship problems cannot be solved within an 11-minute episode. It's not until "Kevin Party", four episodes later, that they fully reconcile.
  • "Kevin Party": Kevin, having apparently never had a positive relationship in his life, has no idea how to help Steven and Connie, since they're not dating and that's the best he's ever had (and even the one relationship he mentioned ended badly, from what we hear).
  • "Jungle Moon": Yellow Diamond's initial refusal to give Pink Diamond her own army and planet is justified. Letting someone with little understanding handle a task and reputation so big would be very stupid, irresponsible, and dangerous to the stability of the empire.
  • As of the revelations from "A Single Pale Rose":
    • Pink Diamond tries to be a different ruler than her sisters, both of whom are older and extremely powerful Control Freak matriarchs. They then wrested control of the colony from her because things have to be done the same.
    • Pink fakes her death, thinking the other Diamonds would leave after she was gone. Pink was very wrong. While Yellow and Blue were dismissive of Pink, they were still family and actually did care a lot about her. The other Diamonds weren't just going to disappear after something like that. What they did was much, much worse than she was expecting.
    • As Rose Quartz, she spread rumors of Pink Diamond being as cruel as her sisters and merciless. It convinced Garnet and Bismuth, who never met Pink. But who didn't it convince? Eyeball and Jasper, who knew her in life as a Benevolent Boss.
  • The revelation that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond are the same person has some different reactions from the Crystal Gems.
    • Pearl, being the Secret Keeper, is simply relieved that she is able to talk about the truth now, as she was instructed to not let anyone know Pink Diamond was also Rose Quartz until she managed to work around the order and let Steven "see" the truth for himself.
    • The revelation is too much for Garnet to handle, resulting in her unfusing like she did back in Season 2.
      • Ruby is pretty happy to know that the person that the Crystal Gems believed to be evil was actually on their side.
      • Sapphire, on the other hand, is angry and devastated that Rose had been lying to everyone about herself and begins to question whether or not her relationship with Ruby was a lie. Pearl manages to explain that Rose wasn't, in fact, using the Gems for her own personal gain, and simply a good yet flawed leader. Which leads to Sapphire realizing she said some hurtful things to Ruby and wanted to apologize for them... only to return and see that Ruby had run off in tears while Pearl was explaining everything. The narrative just doesn't automatically stop in their tracks when a main character leaves the room, after all.
    • Amethyst, on the other hand, simply doesn't think that she needs to talk about it. When Steven asks why, she explains that it isn't fair for her to dump her own opinions of the issue onto him since it involves something that happened a long time ago and that it is especially unfair for Steven to keep putting himself down on something that happened before he was even born. And with Sapphire and Pearl currently in hysterics over Ruby running off, Steven realizes that Amethyst is now the most mature Gem at the moment.
    • Bismuth tries to play off the revelation as being unaffected but it, but ends up screaming into a lava pool to vent after Steven told her the truth.
      Bismuth: It all makes sense now!
      • Bismuth herself has a moment of this when she sees the consequences of Pink's shattering. Turns out shattering a Diamond results in them retaliating, meaning her Breaking Point and fight with Rose was basically pointless.
    • Because Peridot is an Era 2 Gem, she's never had any emotional investment in either Pink Diamond (who she may not even know existed until Jasper mentioned her if the rest of Ruby Squad is an indication) or Rose Quartz (who she's only heard about and never met in any capacity). In fact, she doesn't know any of the information regarding the motives and Gems in the Rebellion, which makes her the only one in the group to ask who Bismuth is when Steven frees her from her bubble.
    • "The Question" shows the before-unmentioned consequences of Garnet, or Ruby and Sapphire's relationship. The two have been fused almost forever. Yes, Garnet is really just Ruby and Sapphire together, but Garnet is also her own person, and fusion means being with one or more other people in the same body. So Ruby, who has been Garnet almost her whole life, knows little about herself without her. She spends the episode trying to live and develop without Sapphire.
  • When Steven un-bubbles Bismuth again, it's in the room in the temple where all the corrupted gems are kept in bubbles. Except Bismuth poofed in the middle of a fight with Steven, knew first hand that Rose was not above poofing and bubbling her allies... and nobody had gotten around to telling her about corrupted gems during her last appearance. Unsurprisingly, Bismuth freaks out as soon as she reforms, and refuses to listen to a word Steven says until after she's already freed a corrupted gem.
  • In the Diamond Days arc, the Diamonds expect Steven to be an exact replacement of their long lost 'sister' once he proves that he has Pink Diamond's gemstone, even though he told Yellow and Blue outright that he doesn't have any of Pink or Rose's memories. He was also raised human, who, as Rose put it, have the ability to change, and to grow up, and that puts him at odds with the Diamonds expecting rigid conformity. Eventually, Steven accidentally breaks a societal taboo, seen below, because he couldn't be Pink Diamond very well, any more than his mother could.
  • "Together Alone" has a Downer Ending that demonstrates that even elites cannot flagrantly violate societal norms without consequences. Steven and Connie accidentally fusing causes shock among those at the ball. Seeing Ruby and Sapphire, Pearl and Amethyst, and two Jades who were ecstatic at seeing more fusions fuse to defend them proved to be the last straw for Yellow Diamond, as she almost immediately poofs all the fusions and locks Stevonnie in a room as punishment.
    • It happens earlier in the episode as well: Steven is planning the ball so he can talk to White Diamond, working under the assumption that all the Crystal Gems will be able to come as they are. When Blue shows up it's made very clear that while Blue and Yellow are willing to tolerate the Crystal Gems' differences in private if they want to appear in public they will have to follow the same rules as everyone else.
  • "Change Your Mind" shows that keeping secrets and faking your death from your loved ones and family will surely enough cause heavy resentment, pain, and confusion in them despite your reasoning which is what Blue and Yellow show when Steven confronts them to save the Crystal Gems. Even if your reasons are justified, alienating yourself from your loved ones is sure to cause them a lot of emotional pain especially if you return years later as a "worse" or different person from who they knew.
    • When White Diamond pilots the Diamond mecha, it's considerably more unwieldy than when the pieces were operating independently, and all she can do is flail about and hope to hit her targets. No matter how perfect you think you are, piloting a ship designed for 4 pilots all by yourself is hard.

    Steven Universe: The Movie 
  • The Diamonds' behavior in the movie has them acting particularly clingy around Steven, wanting to get him to stay and even resorting to over-the-top guilt-trips to do so- which include things such as disbanding armies, not shattering Gems, and, in Blue Diamond's case, "not crying". White Diamond, when giving her reason on why Steven should stay, even lets out a Freudian Slip about "lower lifeforms". While it's all Played for Laughs, it goes to show that, even if they're already improving, two years of said improvement is hardly enough to completely fix 6,000+ year-old habits.
  • The Crystal Gems' initial battle with Spinel leaves them defeated since they are going against a completely new Gem with a new form of weaponry that none of them seen before.
    • Not to mention, odds are that they were fairly out of practice in the ways of combat due to it being peacetime.
      • On a similar note, the Crystal Gems' second fight with Spinel goes much better for them since they're ready for her and aware of what she can do, while Spinel no longer has her weapon and is in the midst of a breakdown.
  • Spinel spent the last 6,000 years eager awaiting Pink's return and was utterly crushed when she found out she never did, and never intended to return. Her abandonment trauma causes her to have a panic attack at the concept of being "left alone" now that she's "done what (Steven) wanted" and shut off the injector, just like how Pink Diamond left her alone after Spinel did what she wanted; and when she sees Steven had the Rejuvenator, her trauma causes her to immediately jump to the conclusion that she was going to be betrayed again, and he was going to use the Rejuvenator on her to wipe her memory. And during her climactic fight with Steven, she completely lashes out, lampshading that Steven can't possibly sing a song to make her feel better. Even in the end, when she's finally calmed down, it's implied that she hasn't completely gotten over her trauma.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: