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Recap / Steven Universe S1E22 "Steven and the Stevens"

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Steven needs a musical partner for an upcoming show, and uses a time travel device to recruit the perfect bandmate...HIMSELF!


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  • Adults Are Useless: The other Gems just stand there dumbfounded as dozens of Steven's Alternate Selves have a massive melee and paradox themselves out of existence. The Stevens are in obvious distress, but the Gems make no attempt to stop the fight. In fairness, their Heroic BSoD is rather understandable.
  • All That Glitters: Steven's suggestion that the small hourglass in a sphere might be what they are looking for is scoffed by Pearl, who insists it has to be the largest and most ornate hour glass in the area.
  • Aside Glance: In the final scene, Pearl momentarily glances askance at Steven when he mentions what he did with the time hourglass.
  • Awful Truth: Extended interaction with his time clones makes Steven come to a harsh realization:
    Steven: I can't believe it... I'm so... annoying!
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  • Behind the Black: When Steven asks who's playing the drums, he could have just... looked up to see Amethyst sitting there. But seemingly he didn't see her because she hadn't been on camera yet.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The version of Steven's song he plays at the end readily switches between a happy self-description of the band that fits the tune and detailing how the alternate universe Stevens met their end.
  • Brick Joke: Greg says early on that there will only be fifteen people at the Beach-a-Palooza. It sounds like hyperbole, but at the end there's exactly fourteen, and that's counting the ticket-holder.
  • Buffy Speak: Steven (and the Stevens) refer to the time hourglass as a "time thing".
  • Butterfly of Doom: Steven tries to stop Mr. Yellowtail's boat from getting stuck in his dad's car wash using the magic hourglass. Instead, Yellowtail's truck crashes into a utility pole, which falls onto the car wash and starts a huge fire. This immediately puts Steven off of using the hourglass to change the past.
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  • Continuity Cavalcade: During the time chase the Stevens interrupted the ending of "Gem Glow", briefly showed up in "Rose's Room", and even appeared in an area during the future events of "Ocean Gem".
  • Differently Dressed Duplicates: To distinguish each other, the first Steven puts his hair up in a pompadour and writes the numbers 2 through 4 on the faces of the others.
  • Downer Ending: It's mostly played for Black Comedy, but dozens of Steven's Alternate Selves die in front of him and the Crystal Gems—each of which may have taken an entire timeline with them.
  • Drowning Pit: The temple for the time hourglass is designed so that grabbing the wrong one causes the windows to vanish, flooding it. It drains 100 years later.
  • The End: Instead of an Iris Out, the episode ends with a The End card instead.
  • Eureka Moment: In an argument with the Stevens, Steven 1 declares they'd be nothing without him. Then what he's said sinks in, as he realises he can use the Time Thing to get rid of them.
  • Extendable Arms: Garnet shapeshifts to extend her arm to grab Steven and save him from the flooding temple.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The alternate Stevens dissolve into sand as they're erased from history.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Steven's final version of the eponymous song comically summarizes the episode's lesson as "By the way, don't go back in time / Or you'll destroy yourself!"
  • Foreshadowing: Steven can be heard humming the melody of "Steven and the Stevens" on his way to his dad's car wash.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Both versions of Steven 1 that show up scare Steven. The second one realizes this, leading to his Heel Realization.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Says the first time-traveling Steven to the one who never timed traveled: "Arrivederci!"
  • Heel Realization: Steven 1 regrets his actions when he sees how frightened his past self is of him and how all out war's broken out between the Stevens.
  • The Hero Dies: The Steven that we follow for most of the episode ends up being erased from history. The one remaining after the episode ends thus has no memory of any of the events that occurred except for all of the other ones attacking each other before disappearing.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Steven 1 destroys the hourglass, destroying all the alternate Stevens (including himself).
  • Killing Your Alternate Self: Steven 1 destroys the hourglass before the Steven furthest in the past can get it, destroying all the Stevens from farther along the timeline, himself included.
  • Last Request: Future Steven returns to the sea shrine. He takes the hourglass from the version of Steven who hadn't used it yet (Past Steven) and smashes it, thus causing the later versions of the hourglass and the other Stevens to never have existed in a massive Ret Gone. Future Steven then tells Past Steven to find another way to create a band besides Greg before disappearing. Then:
    Future Steven: Stay cool forever, Steven. Arrivederci.
  • Laughing Mad: Steven 1, after aforementioned Eureka Moment, starts guffawing evilly. It's actually pretty sinister, coming from (a) Steven.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The end features Steven and the Crystal Gems singing a cheerful '60s-esque pop song about Steven watching multiple copies of himself die as the timeline repairs itself.
  • Me's a Crowd: There ends up being a room full of fighting Steven via time cloning.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Pearl nervously laughs as a rushing wall of water threatens to crush Steven.
  • Mood Whiplash: Dozens of Stevens are being paradoxed out of existence. They are in obvious distress. The original Steven knows he is going to die and bids farewell to his younger self just before vanishing away. Younger Steven watches in shock. Cut to the only surviving Steven (and the Gems) singing a cute and upbeat Josie and the Pussycats style song about accidentally creating alternate timelines and watching yourself die. The song itself is the Dark Reprise of a song originally composed and performed by the (now dead) Stevens, keeping the original upbeat tune for extra Lyrical Dissonance. Funny how "we're goin' to make you smile" scans with "by watching myself die".
  • Mundane Utility: Steven gets a time-travel device. He uses it to make a band composed entirely of himself.
  • Mythology Gag: The episode was intended to be a re-work of the pilot and thus contains elements from it. The small hourglass returns and still is a time-traveling device, and Steven uses it to go back in time multiple times (though going back in time creates time clones unlike the pilot, which was Mental Time Travel). The device itself is repeatedly referred to as a "time thing", and the pilot's unshown title was "The Time Thing". Just like in the pilot, Steven smashes it by the end of the episode.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: What kicks of the plot. The Gems have to choose the right hourglass, or the sea shrine will flood, and remain flooded for a hundred years. Amethyst, true to form, just grabs one that she likes the look of, causing the place to flood.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Steven (One) finds that the past versions of himself to be quite annoying.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: The Stevens and hourglasses erased from the timeline turn into sand right before the youngest Steven's eyes.
  • Spoof Aesop: Steven claims in the ending song that he "learned to stay true to myself by watching myself die", a bizarre non-sequitur as it relates to his brief and confusing experience (from his limited temporal perspective).
  • The Story That Never Was: Steven's attempts at Time Travel eventually cause a huge number of Steven's fighting each across time. The original Steven decides to stop it all by destroying the time travel device before Steven first used it, which destroys the Stevens from all other timelines (including the one who broke the orb). As a result, all events in the episode but the first and last scene, and anyone who could remember them happening, are erased.
  • Teleport Spam: Steven and the rest of the Stevens bounce all throughout their timeline in an attempt to outmaneuver each other, ending with dozens of Stevens landing at the moment Steven first found the time hourglass.
  • Temporal Paradox: Steven paradoxes his other selves out of existence by destroying the time hourglass, leaving only the original Steven from before he used it.
  • Title Drop: Steven, Steven, Steven, and Steven form the band "Steven and the Stevens" and work their name into the chorus of their first song. That's TWO title drops in one.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Amethyst doesn't seem to notice anything weird about playing drums for a band with three Stevens in it.
    "I'm down for whatever."
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Steven's reaction to the Crystal Gems' narrow escape from the flooding Sea Shrine is "Hot potato! We're doing that again, right?"

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