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Recap / Steven Universe S1E8 "Serious Steven"

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The episode begins with Steven waking up in Funland. He then sees that all of the teacups on the ride have been thrown out of position with everyone else riding in them. The episode then surges to two weeks after the incident with Steven and the other Gems in the teleporter, Garnet mentioning that this is his first serious mission. Steven brings his ukulele, but it floats away, causing him to go after it. The Gems arrive at the Gem Battlefield, and Steven falls out of the warp stream into a patch of strawberries. While covered in strawberry jelly, Steven is suddenly attacked by a small swarm of butterflies and Garnet says, "They're just butterflies, Steven". Steven thought they looked bigger when on his eyeballs. As Amethyst laughs at Steven's words, Pearl thinks she is having second thoughts of having Steven with them but Garnet shushes her and says just look at him.

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While walking through the strawberry field, Pearl mentions how it used to be a battlefield for the Gems, represented by all the swords in the ground. Eventually, the Gems find a large, upside down pyramid temple. Inside, there are murals of depicting the traps that lie within the maze as well as a picture of Rose Quartz, battling another Gem. Steven finds a strange, smaller pyramid and touches it, causing it to flip over. Everyone inside then begins to gravitate towards a hole in the ceiling. Eventually, they fall into a large room with multiple doors. Pearl decides the group should split up and suggests that she should stay with Steven. Amethyst picks Steven up, suggesting to go with him, but Pearl takes Steven back, saying that Amethyst and Steven are just a disaster waiting to happen. Garnet chooses to take Steven with her while Pearl goes with Amethyst.

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Garnet and Steven travel through three trap rooms, with Garnet doing most of the work and Steven usually needing to be saved or carried. In the third room, which was incredibly dangerous with axes, fire, spikes, and lava, after feeling queasy, Steven has a flashback to the Funland trip two weeks ago, where he and the Crystal Gems went on the teacup ride. Pearl was riding with Amethyst, misunderstanding the point of the ride. Meanwhile, Steven was riding with Garnet, but Steven eventually gets sick and falls out of the ride, landing on Mr. Smiley and breaking the lever. The ride speeds out of control, sending all the teacups flying with the riders inside. Mr. Smiley then angrily banned Steven from all the rides forever after Steven woke up. Back in the present, Steven wakes to realize Garnet carried him through the third room because he fell asleep.

After exiting, they find themselves in the room where they started. Pearl finds them and tells Garnet that they arrive back where they started after three rooms no matter which path they take. Amethyst is seen running through the doorways trying to find an exit but gets progressively more injured by the traps and hazards. Pearl admits she doesn't know what's going on, and Amethyst flies out in a block of ice. As Pearl goes to free her, Steven asks Garnet what they should do. She says they'll have to keep going in as long as it takes for them to find the exit. Horrified, Steven has a small breakdown as he believes it's his fault he's in this situation, just like with the teacups. Pearl tells him not to think that way but Steven realizes that the temple must have been like the teacup ride. Each room they entered rotated to connect them to another room, sending them out another door leading into the main chamber.

Garnet breaks through the floor and they all fall into a large mechanism that causes the temple's rooms to rotate. Garnet throws Steven at his request to the centerpiece and he removes the gem controlling it, causing the temple to explode. The Gems emerge from the rubble and compliment Steven on his ingenuity. The episode ends with Steven strumming on his ukulele singing the Serious Song, only to be interrupted as he's attacked by a swarm of butterflies once again attracted to the berry jam coating his body.


Tropes:

  • Big "WHAT?!": Steven yells "Whaaat?" when he and Garnet travel down three room in a straight line and end up in the same room.
  • Bizarrchitecture: For starters, the building above the maze is an upside-down pyramid. The rooms all lead back to the entrance hub, which confuses the Gems. Steven figures out that the rooms rotate because they give him the same dizzy feeling as in the teacup ride.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The first room Steven and Garnet go through has fire. The second has spikes. The third has fire and spikes, plus swinging blades.
  • Brick Joke: When Steven first gets to the field, he gets covered in strawberries, which cause butterflies to swarm around his face. At the episode's end, he gets covered in them again and starts singing, but the butterflies come back and interrupt him.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The episode takes place in a Futuristic Pyramid that, like much ancient gem technology, is very ancient in appearance.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Steven and Garnet enter the second hallway, there's a rumbling sound even though nothing visible is moving. It turns out that was the entire room rotating ninety degrees.
  • Collapsing Lair: Removing the gem powering the maze causes the moving parts to dissolve and the upper part of the structure to explode.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Pearl brought a teapot to the Teacups ride. Bonus points for being one of the rare cases where the one who missed the point acknowledged it first.
    Pearl: I misunderstood the point of this ride.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Garnet and Steven are suspended above a whole floor of flames, but face no injury except a small part of Steven's hair catching fire. Garnet can swim through magma. Steven, not so much.
  • Cutting the Knot: Steven figures out why every door leads them back to the main chamber they started in: each room rotates and connects them with another room which leads them out a different door back into the main chamber. Garnet simply smashes through the main chamber's floor, which leads them to the rooms' gem-powered turning mechanism.
  • Diving Save: Garnet saves Steven from falling into a fire pit by jumping horizontal to catch him and landing on the wall so hard her feet are planted into it.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Steven flips a switch in the entrance room, causing it to flip over and dump the group in a maze below.
    Steven: Hey, what’s this thing? It’s like a cool floaty triangle thing.
    Pearl: Well whatever it is, you probably shouldn’t touch it.
    (Steven touches the pyramid, it flips around, and the room starts to shake)
    Pearl: Steven! What have we told you about touching magical things?
    Steven: Definitely… always… never do it!
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Garnet is spontaneously able to summon the key to the temple into her hand, rather than pulling it out of either of her gems (which even then is usually something only Pearl does).
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Steven having to depend on Garnet and getting sick even though he'd be serious makes him say it's "just like the teacups". This makes him realize that the rooms are moving beneath them so they'll always be brought back to the same chamber, giving him motion sickness. Pearl makes the same conclusion seconds later, and is embarrassed when Garnet points out that's what Steven just said.
  • Exposition Already Covered: Garnet breaks the floor to reveal a spinning mechanism under the room they were trapped in. Pearl deduces that this made the corridors they explored always wrap around to the main chamber, creating a seemingly endless loop, only for Garnet to interrupt that Steven already figured that out. Pearl quickly shuts up in embarrassment.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Steven attempts to emphasis that he's being "Serious Steven", but waits until Pearl stops holding him like a football to continue.
  • Fainting: Steven passes out when he enters the last room of the maze he and Garnet are in after he remembers a traumatic ride on the Teacups with her that endangered everyone due to his own upset stomach.
  • Field of Blades: The maze is surrounded by what was once a Gem battlefield. It's since been overrun by wild strawberries, but swords are still stuck in the ground everywhere.
  • Harmless Freezing: Amethyst runs into one door, then comes back into the central chamber seconds later, in a block of ice. As soon as it breaks, she's fine.
  • Iris Out: Over Steven's dropped ukulele.
  • Meaningful Background Event: After the group enters the pyramid, a mural in the background depicts Rose Quartz standing up to another Gem, hinting at the Gems' past on Earth.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: The disaster with the teacup rides resulted in the cups falling something like twenty or thirty feet (some in water others on the wharf). Everyone seem unharmed; the humans actually seem less affected by the crash than the Gems, despite being less durable and falling further.
  • Persona Non Grata: Steven got sick on the teacups ride, jumped out of it while it was in motion, and landed on Mr. Smiley, causing him to break the switch and send the teacups flying all over. Mr. Smiley, while still smiling and laughing angrily, tells him "You are banned from all the rides. Forever!"
  • Pretty Butterflies: They're pink and fluttery and love strawberries. They swarm up to Steven when he keeps getting covered in squished berries.
  • Rapidfire No: Pearl refuses to let Steven go off to explore the pyramid with Amethyst.
    Pearl: Nooo-no no no, you two are a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: The episode opens with Steven regaining consciousness from a crash while his ears are ringing.
  • Skewed Priorities: As Garnet is deflecting spike traps falling from above her and Steven, he pauses to re-tune his ukelele.
  • Spikes of Doom: The second room Garnet and Steven go into has spike-covered pillars descend from the ceiling. Steven accidentally activates them trying to read the symbols on the walls.
    Steven: (looking at a pattern on the wall before the trap is triggered) It looks like there’s lots of triangles hidden in this room.
  • Stealth Pun: When in the area around the maze, Pearl notes that "it's wild strawberries as far as the eye can see!" In other words, there are strawberry fields, forever.
  • Symbolic Blood: Gems don't bleed, but strawberries grew over a Gem battlefield around the pyramid. So everywhere you look, there are weapons covered in red.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: The chamber above the entrance of the Pyramid Temple contains a multitude of hallways, each leading to three boobytrapped rooms, which simply loop back around to the main chamber. Underneath the floor there's another room with loads of little spinning pyramids that make the hallways rotate, powered by a Corrupted Gem stuck inside the obelisk in the center.
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