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Recap / Steven Universe S1E41 "Horror Club"

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Evening in Beach City finds Steven excitedly waiting outside the Big Donut. Lars, doing his usual too cool for school schtick, ends up in a conversation with Steven despite himself. Steven excitedly announces he's going to Ronaldo Fryman's house to watch horror movies and invites Lars to come. Lars disparages Ronaldo as "social napalm", and refuses to go, but once Sadie joins Steven, he hesitates a bit then eventually follows along, smirking and making remarks the whole way.
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Ronaldo is truly in the spirit of spookiness, answering the door in costume. His enthusiasm is somewhat dampened by the presence of Lars, but Steven's eagerness lets him shake it off. Ronaldo goes on to explain the movie they're going to watch, about an evil bear. Lars smirkily disparages this as well, insulting the movie's bad special effects and Conspicuous CG. Ronaldo, offended, informs Lars that the CG is in the remake. They're watching the original, old VHS copy. Sadie is actually excited about this, but worried that the movie will be too scary for little Steven. Steven assures her it will be fine.

Steven does turn out to be fine as he ends up "watching" the movie from behind the sofa. Ronaldo asks if he isn't missing too much and can see okay that way. Lars makes another smirky remark and suddenly the TV goes dead. The kids begin to seek out an explanation, but weird things begin to happen. Ronaldo is frightened, but excited, though his first concern is getting "the civilians" to safety. He's impressed by Sadie's cool head in a crisis, and asks her if she wants to help investigate the haunting.

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They get to the ground floor and they're suddenly attacked by a horde of moving scarecrows, with one almost getting at Lars. After some struggle they're able to get them out of the house. Ronaldo accuses Lars of being the cause by attracting the spirit with his jerkassery, Lars demands Sadie to ditch Ronaldo and Steven, because he's sure they're doing all this to mess with him, and that it can't be a real haunting. Sadie refuses, and the floor opens beneath her, swallowing her up. The boys make their way down to the basement, where Steven says something about the house being hurt and angry. On the wall, there's a pulsing, heart-like growth with "Lars" carved into it. Beneath it, a mouth forms, opening hungrily.

Ronaldo picks up Lars and throws him into the house's gaping maw, in hopes that the angry spirit possessing the house will give back Sadie. Steven rushes after Lars, shielding them both with a bubble. The bubble overpowers the mouth and shatters the wall, revealing an unhurt Sadie.

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The source of the haunting is revealed: a large black gem that Steven takes into his hands. It plays a hologram from years earlier: Lars and Ronaldo were once friends, and were planning on making the lighthouse their clubhouse. When Lars carved his name into the wooden panel of the wall, the house felt it and struck back at him. Ronaldo happened to catch a photo of it, and when he announced his intention to take it public to prove the truth of paranormal activity, Lars asked to see the photo. Embarrassed at the idea of Ronaldo publicizing him in a moment of vulnerability and uncoolness, he "tore himself out" of the photo, essentially destroying it — and their friendship. The two argue about why Lars cares so much about what other people think of him. Lars counters that Ronaldo should hear what other people say about him. The two part company, their friendship in as many pieces as the photo.

Ronaldo wants to examine the gem more closely, but Steven says it needs to rest, and bubbles it off to the temple. Lars is all the more embarrassed at having his childhood cruelty and vulnerability exposed. Sadie leaves with Steven, as the two figure maybe Ronaldo and Lars want a chance to mend their friendship.

Lars doesn't seem to want to, but the episode decides to Iris Out on his grimace as Ronaldo tells him to take it down a notch.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl don't appear.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ronaldo, after getting a reaction from the "spirit" that he liked (something hitting Lars), asks for some more. Cue pretty much everything that's not nailed down flying around the room.
  • Blooper: In-universe, Ronaldo worries he missed the part of the movie where you can see the sound guy.
  • Broken Tears: Ronaldo's eyes starts to get watery while he's preparing to throw Lars into the monster's mouth in order to please the "evil spirit". If they're tears of rage over Sadie's loss or remorse over sacrificing his former friend is unknown.
  • Cat Scare: Steven suddenly appears in front of Lars accompanied by a Scare Chord, briefly scaring Lars and making him very pissed off.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Scarecrows are briefly shown around the lighthouse, then they end up blocking the exit.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Ronaldo believes that Lars is the reason they're being haunted and is proven Right for the Wrong Reasons when they find out what is going on.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The scar Sadie got across her cheek in "Island Adventures" is visible several times, and has mostly healed.
    • The club meets in the lighthouse, which Ronaldo showed he hung around in "Keep Beach City Weird". The fence put up in "An Indirect Kiss" after Amethyst fell off the cliff is also visible.
    • Steven bubbles the gem like he learned to in "Monster Buddies".
  • Creator Cameo: Creative director Ian Jones-Quartey provides the voice of the terrible actor heard from Evil Bear 2.
  • Diving Save: Sadie saves Lars from a flying mug by diving into him.
  • Easily Forgiven: Ronaldo tries to let the house kill Lars as an ill-conceived attempt to save Sadie. This is immediately forgotten once Steven saves everyone, and even Lars doesn't seem that upset over it.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Sadie: Wow! (turns to Steven, who smiles) In this cut you actually see Evil Bear eat the hermit's leg! Hah—Oh! (turns back to Ronaldo) Is this gonna be a bit much for him?
  • False Reassurance: In the flashback, Lars insists he's "just" going to take himself out of a picture, even though it's mostly a picture of him and thus is rendered completely worthless by taking that part out.
  • Foreshadowing: Not in the show proper, but in Ronaldo's Keep Beach City Weird blog. Over two months prior to the initial airing, Ronaldo answered an ask regarding his "first encounter with the weird," vaguely explaining an encounter in a real haunted house and how the photo he took was destroyed. The same incident gets further elaborated on in the Pensieve Flashback towards the end.
  • Ghost Butler: The door to the upper area of the lighthouse slams on Ronaldo and won't open. Everyone smashes it down and goes across, then the pieces reform in place.
  • Gilligan Cut: Steven claims he'll be fine watching the movie. The next scene shows him behind the couch.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The view cuts to Ronaldo's face as the wall mouth starts to close on Steven and Lars, only to show that Steven managed to summon his bubble.
  • Halloween Episode: Even though its first airing was not season appropriate, this episode has all the hallmarks of one. Fall, blowing leaves, cooler weather, scarecrows, costumes, flashlight under the chin, and a literally haunted house. Word of God via Matt Burnett's Twitter confirms this was a Halloween special. For Valentine's day.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: The hologram the gem projects is monochrome blue and transparent. The audio quality is also a bit muffled.
  • Human Sacrifice: After the spirit takes Sadie, and Lars' name is displayed on the wall's pulsing growth, Ronaldo offers Lars up to the spirit to get Sadie back.
  • I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Steven barely bats an eye at the actual danger in the house, yet was the one most scared of the fictional horror in a movie.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Young Ronaldo brags about how the picture of Lars getting hit in the face by what appears to be a board will make them both famous, not understanding that Lars is embarrassed about everyone seeing him like that and knowing he's friends with Ronaldo.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ronaldo claims the spirit is haunting a person (Lars) and thus a poltergeist, not a ghost. Usually, those terms are used in opposite manners.
  • Iris Out: On Lars's very angry face as Ronaldo gives him an Ironic Echo.
  • Ironic Echo: When Ronaldo gets emotional about the quality of the original film he's showing at the party vs. the remake's quality, Lars tells him, "Take it down a notch." Ronaldo repeats this back to him at the end of the episode when Lars gets worked up about how their friendship ended.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: The movie Ronaldo shows is Evil Bear 2, and the cover shows it's a giant teddy bear.
  • Kilroy Was Here: A young Lars carved his name into the wall of the Lighthouse basement, but the building turned out to be possessed by the spirit of a corrupted gem, so it attacked him and held a grudge.
  • Love Triangle: Ronaldo and Sadie starts to show some romantic interest in each other, which Lars gets upset over.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode starts out as lighthearted but gets more serious very quickly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lars hurt and angered the gem in the lighthouse when he carved his name in the wall, causing it to attack him and the gang when he returned.
  • Never Recycle a Building: The lighthouse has remained abandoned since Ronaldo and Lars were young children. Bizarrely, it still has electricity.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Steven and company think a ghost is causing the events at the lighthouse, only for it to end up being a gem.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Sadie and Steven talk about the gem in the lighthouse, and Lars thinks they were talking about him.
    Sadie: All that lashing out was just from feeling hurt and trapped for so long.
    Lars: I didn't mean to rip [the photo] up, OK! You can stop talking about me now.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: This episode has a distinctly horror film-esque theme.
  • Pensieve Flashback: The Gem shows the memory of when Lars and Ronaldo's friendship fell apart.
  • Poltergeist: The "ghost" moves all sorts of objects around and throws them at people, although it was actually a gem with telekinesis.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Ronaldo believes that Lars is the reason they are being haunted, because of Lars' emotional instability. He's right about Lars being the cause but it's actually because of him carving his name in the lighthouse and unwittingly hurting a Gem that was there.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Ronaldo shines a green flashlight under his face when the power goes out.
  • Scary Scarecrows: The Gem takes control of some scarecrows to attack the group.
  • Seen It All: Steven has been on so many adventures with the gems that when Ronaldo apologizes for getting them mixed up with the "ghost", he simply says that "it happens".
  • Serious Business: Ronaldo takes horror films very seriously, and calls Lars a "blasphemer" for confusing a movie's remake with the original.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Lars only decides to go to the club meeting when he finds out Sadie is going.
    • Sadie pushes Lars out of the way of a flying mug, putting her arms around his head, and they briefly glance at each awkwardly.
    • Ronaldo and Sadie start bonding when he says he was impressed with how she handled herself during the ghost attacks, and Lars is clearly upset about it.
    Sadie: (after hearing some noises) What was that?
    Lars: It was nothing! We're all just hearing things, seeing things and feeling things that aren't real!
    • It's hinted that Ronaldo has a bit of a crush on Sadie, which has Lars suddenly insisting that he was more worried about her, and ran to her rescue faster.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Ronaldo isn't pleased to find out Steven brought Lars to the horror club meeting.
      Ronaldo: Steven, you're friends with Lars?
      Steven: Yeah! Isn't everybody?
      Ronaldo: (inhales deeply) Oh boy.
      Steven: Yeaaah!
    • Lars sinks down to the floor when he realizes Sadie and Steven will find out he used to be in Ronaldo's club.
  • Timeshifted Actor: The young Lars and Ronaldo in the gems' recording have different voice actors than usual.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Lars and Ronaldo hung out when they were kids, but their friendship fell apart after Lars destroyed a picture of a wall attacking him in embarrassment.
    Lars: (about to be thrown at the lighthouse's mouth) Come on man, we used to be friends!
    Ronaldo: And you threw me away!
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Sadie is sucked through the floor, and Ronaldo tells Lars the house should have taken him.

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