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Recap / Steven Universe S2E12 "We Need to Talk"

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Outside It's A Wash, Steven and Connie are helping Greg sort through some of his old vinyl, such as Orange Magic Orchestra. Connie remarks she's never heard any of his bands because her family only plays classical music and movie soundtracks. Greg puts one of the albums on his turntable so she can hear. He instantly is in the zone, air-guitaring to the music. Steven also begins dancing, and soon reaches for Connie's hand.

Steven and Connie take hands, and begin dancing. Blushing and laughing, they circle, and in a burst of light, suddenly the two are one — they've fused once again into Stevonnie! The fusion looks a little startled, as they hadn't expected that. Greg's exclamation of surprise jars them out of the fusion.

Greg: You two can fuse?!

Connie begs Greg not to tell her parents; they don't know she's doing magic stuff with Steven and wouldn't understand. Greg's response is chill. He tells her he's probably the only human on earth who would understand. When Connie asks what he knows about fusion, Steven echoes the sentiment, then settles in with Connie for a story.

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Greg pops a video into his TVCR and presses play. Greg is on guitar. Amethyst is on drums. Garnet on keytar, and Rose has the mic. She and Greg sing a duet with Pearl sulking back behind the speakers and watching with narrowed eyes. As the song gets to the bridge, Pearl comes onto the stage and whispers something to Rose. The two dance together and fuse into a gem who dances her way through the bridge while an amazed Greg can only stare, barely remembering to keep playing. The song ends, and the two Gems part. Pearl is the one with the mic, and she drops it, giving Greg a lingering, significant, smug look.

Greg: What was that?!

Rose explains that was Rainbow Quartz, the fusion of Rose and Pearl, done because Pearl thought it would add something to the video. Rose departs, having something to do. Garnet departs too, and little Amethyst is engrossed in opening the "payment" for playing the drums — pop rock candy. Greg is left behind, curious about what fusion is. Pearl smugly says that Greg is only a brief distraction for Rose, that will soon be over. When Greg demands to know what makes Pearl so sure, she says it's because he can't fuse, because he's not a Gem. Greg asks if humans can fuse with Gems and Pearl smugly tells him it's not possible. He asks if it's never been tried, and she can't answer with any certainty. Greg declares that he will be the first.

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Later, on the beach, Greg has replayed the video and started trying to replicate Pearl's moves, ineffectively. Amethyst and Garnet arrive, the former excited about seeing themselves in the video. Garnet distracts Amethyst with a stick and tells Greg she believes he can fuse. But that in order to succeed, he can't dance like Pearl. He has to dance like himself.

Taking this advice to heart, Greg sets up a dance floor on the beach, and puts on some dance music for them to slow dance together. But to his great dismay, they dip and have one heck of a kiss, but no fusion occurs. Rose is amused that he was attempting it and giggles. Greg is frustrated and upset, and demands she talk to him like a real person. Rose stops laughing.

Rose Quartz: I'm...not...a real person.

Greg is upset and freaked out by the realization that he's in love with a genuine alien. Rose is shaken by his laughter and tears. They have an awkward conversation about how things are supposed to work with them. Rose has an idea that it's just all supposed to be fun. Greg tells her that being in love with her is torture. Stricken, she apologizes. Greg asks how they're going to make it all work, and that they might possibly have rushed into things without knowing much about each other. Since neither of them is sure what to do, they begin by asking and answering questions. Ultimately, they come to the conclusion that being confused by it all is the one thing they have in common, and break into a joyful, relieved dance.

Behind the rocks a short distance away, Pearl expresses bewilderment that they're dancing despite the fusion not working. Garnet, however, says that it did. Amethyst comments that she thinks Greg is her favorite of Rose's dalliances. Pearl says, sadly, that she thinks Greg is Rose's favorite as well. As the flashback ends, Greg offers to Connie that anytime she needs to come talk to him about human being stuff in relation to Gem stuff, she can. As the two of them high five over being human beings, Steven echoes them, his hand clutching at the gem in his belly, the only thing he has to connect him to his mother besides Greg's memories.


Tropes:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Greg asks Rose to "talk to [him] for one second, like a real person", he may have meant "like [I am] a real person" (because he felt she didn't respected him) or "like [you are] a real person" (because he found her behavior extremely alienating). Rose definitely took it the latter way, and uncomfortably asserts she is not a real person (she apparently just considers "person" a synonym for "human", not a more inclusive term).
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Greg gives Amethyst a snack for playing the drums in the song, which she happily scarfs.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Possibly; this episode seems to imply that Pearl's feelings towards Rose were indeed reciprocated. However, as Rose and Greg dance, Pearl starts to realize that Rose cares about Greg in a way that isn't the same as her relationship with Rose.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: Greg's concern is not whether Rose sees him as a sex object, but whether she sees him as a cute animal to play with (and also a bit of a sex object). Much of the episode involves Greg worrying that this may be how Rose see him and humanity as a whole, and what this might mean for their relationship.
  • Animesque: For one of the promotional artwork, Greg and Rose are drawn this way.
  • Another Story for Another Time: When Greg asks Rose how she met Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, she replies that "Those are three long stories..."
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When Pearl is mocking Greg by telling him that since he can't fuse with Rose, with fusion being the ultimate connection between Gems, he'll never be more than a "phase", he asks her how she knows humans can't fuse with Gems if it's never been tried. Pearl is unable to answer.
    • As Rose is laughing at Greg when he's trying to be serious, he frustratedly asks her "Can you talk to me for one second, like a real person!?" Rose responds with "I'm... not... a real person."
  • Be Yourself: Garnet's advice to Greg is he needs to dance like himself, not attempt to emulate Pearl.
  • Bland-Name Product: Greg has a Somy (Sony) brand television in his van.
  • Bowdlerise: UK airings tone down Pearl and Rose's Fusion Dance, as well as cutting the Say My Name part of Rose and Greg's conversation near the end of the episode.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: In this episode, Pearl looks and acts like a bratty teenager, especially where Rose is concerned.
  • Broken Tears: When Greg realizes that Rose didn't meant to be insensitive with him but is actually just as (if not more) lost as he is about their relationship, he starts laughing and then crying.
    Rose: Why are you laughing? (Greg starts to cry) Why are you crying?
  • Call-Back: Steven and Connie once again fuse into Stevonnie.
  • Call-Forward: Amethyst and Garnet play the drums and keytar in Greg's impromptu band, and they'll play the same instruments later in "Steven and the Stevens".
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Greg says he's worried about the future, Rose tells him to ask Garnet.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Greg holds up a Quadri Nometry album, the one that lead Garnet to leave his van.
    • Garnet and Amethyst play keytar and drums just like they did in "Steven and the Stevens".
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Pearl is jealous of Greg's relationship with Rose, causing her to try to sabotage it and just generally be nasty to Greg. Pearl fuses with Rose to rub in Greg's face that she can do something with Rose that he can't, and after Rose leaves the room she tells Greg to his face that he's just a phase for Rose and she'll soon move on.
  • Cry Laughing: Greg bursts out laughing, with tears in his eyes, when he realizes Rose Quartz is just as lost at sea about their relationship as he is.
  • Culture Clash: Despite their love, Rose and Greg didn't really understand each other very well. The end of this episode seems to mark the moment where their relationship moved from "love at first sight" to something deeper and more meaningful.
  • Date Peepers: The Gems spy on Greg and Rose trying to fuse with both of them aware they're watching and Amethyst doesn't even bother to hide herself and just waves at them when they are spotted.
  • Deliberate VHS Quality: Downplayed; Greg shows a music video to Steven and Connie, and the very beginning is slightly blurry. Then the scene transitions into a proper flashback where the rest is perfectly clear (and includes many different camera angles). Later, Greg reviews the video, and it has the level of artifacting you'd expect from an actual recording.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Downplayed. Greg fixes his gaze upon Rainbow Quartz and it sounds like he nearly forgets that he's playing a song. A stark contrast to the first part of the song, he plays quite eratically during his solo. Even earlier on, when Rose sings her rather innuendo laden verse, Greg's playing continues unchanged, but his eyes and voice are about a thousand miles away.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The "fusion as sex" metaphor gets more fuel to the fire here, especially when Connie asks Greg not to tell her parents that she's doing "magic stuff" with Steven. This episode actually establishes fusion as an emotionally intimate relationship, previously implied by Garnet. Garnet is the one who believes Greg can fuse with Rose and gives him advice on how to do so. Then when fusion fails it forces them to address the problems in their relationship, "fusing" in the human sense by having a conversation that'll lead to a deeper bond down the road.
    • Pearl jealously telling Greg he's just a phase that Rose is going through will remind LGBTQA people of how society at large sees their relationships. Also there are connotations to when people tell those in unusual relationships how they are just in a phase. Likewise, Greg's anxiety about being unable to fuse with Rose and connect with her on that level is reminiscent of asexuals with romantic partners being unable to perform in that manner.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Rose doesn't quite understand the human perspective, which makes Greg worried about their future (to which Rose replies, inquire to Garnet).
  • Extra Eyes: Like most fusions, Rainbow Quartz has more than two eyes, the top two being Pearl's and the bottom two being Rose's. She doesn't have extra limbs, though.
  • First-Name Basis: Wondering about the nature of being in love with a human, Rose for the first time calls Greg by his name instead of "Mr. Universe".
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Downplayed, as marriage isn't a factor at this point, but Greg does realize at one point that he and Rose were rushing into things a bit with their relationship.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From what we already knew, Greg being unable to fuse with Rose was pretty much a given.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • The episode is kicked off with Steven and Connie fusing into Stevonnie, much to Greg's surprise.
    • Rose and Pearl fuse into Rainbow Quartz.
    • Greg calls fusing a fusion dance at one point, instead of fusing like everybody else does.
  • Go Look at the Distraction: Garnet tosses a stick for Amethyst to chase so she can have a heart-to-heart with Greg.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Greg makes a large dancing floor with lights for Rose and him to slow dance on. You can see in her face when he turned on the lights that she's amazed.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Pearl starts to get a bit jealous of Greg and Rose's budding romance, and tries to use his inability to fuse to make him jealous.
  • G-Rated Sex: Very much so. From the smoldering duet Greg and Rose sing, to Rose and Pearl's equally suggestive fusion dance, to Rose's knowing "oh, yes" when Greg points out that the last few months have been great, this is a very sexually charged episode.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Rose laughs at Greg's attempts to fuse with her in order to get intimate in the same way she can with Pearl and she says that she loves humans.
    • Greg assuring Connie that whenever she needs another human being to talk to about Gem stuff makes Steven feel like his father doesn't consider him a human.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Both Greg and Rose show that they are very unsure of their relationship, both also have feelings that the other doesn't really see the relationship as real.
  • Interspecies Romance: Deconstructed. The great differences between Humans and Gems present a huge obstacle to the relationship that is rather difficult to get past.
    Greg: This is so weird, you really are an alien!
  • Irony: Pearl's Shipping Torpedo scheme only brought Rose and Greg closer in the end.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Pearl had a point on her remark on Greg just being one of Rose's many human fancies; if Greg hadn't asked Rose for a serious talk about themselves and their relationship, he soon would just have been another of many "pets" she doted on.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Garnet gives Greg some helpful advice, then lowers her visor to wink at him. Shocked to see she actually has three eyes, but still respecting her friendly gesture, Greg recovers with "Eye/I!...think I get it."
  • Let's Duet: Greg and Rose's song "What can I do (for you)". It began as a Duet Bonding until Rose's solo implied she only found Greg to be passing entertainment.
  • Literal Metaphor: Garnet's description of fusion is about requiring a gem at your being and a body that can turn into light that you're willing to share with someone that is clarified as literal at Greg's inquiry. She then advises Greg not dance like Pearl but fuse his way, that is to say the human way of establishing communication and understanding instead of physically melding.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • When Greg says that he's trying to wrap his head around fusion, Amethyst takes him literally.
    • When Greg says he's worried about the future, Rose brightly tells him to just ask Garnet.
    • Rose asks Greg if being in love with her is "torture" to him. He says it's "the worst". She properly apologizes thinking she's actually hurting him but he says she doesn't have to, confusing her more.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Neither Steven or Connie told their human parents about Stevonnie until now, and Connie's parents are still out of the loop, as she's afraid they won't take it well.
  • Love at First Sight: Deconstructed, as though Rose and Greg did fall for each other at first sight in "Story for Steven", Greg realizes that isn't much to build a relationship on.
    Greg: We rushed into this too fast.
  • Love Hurts: Greg describes being in love as "torture".
  • Loving a Shadow: Rose's singing implies she loves the concept of human beings, giving some red flags to Greg about the nature of their relationship. Greg also realizes he doesn't know anything about her.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Rose and Greg's duet starts off like a typical vaguely-sexually-charged rock song. But then comes Rose's solo, and, with no change to either the music or Rose's vaguely sensuous tone of voice and body language, she sings about how she thinks humans are amusing and how she likes to play with them (apparently like how one would play with a cute dog). Greg is confused as hell by this, and for the first time is acutely aware of both the fact that he doesn't understand how Rose thinks at all, and more importantly, that she doesn't really seem to respect him.
  • Male Gaze: There's some close-ups to Rose's lips and eyes, implicitly showing how Greg sees her all the time.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Rose declared she had loved other humans in the past, that she must have seen move on from her to be with other humans or die on her.
  • Mic Drop: Once by Pearl and once by Greg. Pearl does it out of spite to bring the song to an abrupt end. Greg later does it, but immediately picks it back up when he does it, noting that the equipment is expensive.
  • Mundane Utility: Rose and Pearl fuse into Rainbow Quartz to add a little flair to Greg's video, and because Pearl wanted to make Greg jealous.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Philosophy Majors' album is entitled "Nietzsche's Breakdown." You'd think that the music would be some deep and brooding and about the meaning of existence. Nope, it's just poppy, vaguely psychedelic sounding dance music.
  • Off-Model: Greg's sandals disappear and reappear between scenes during his fusion attempt and conversation with Rose.
  • Only Sane Woman: Garnet is the only one to both recognize and try and fix the problems in Greg and Rose's relationship.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Greg in this case. After the initial shock passes, he's pretty OK with Steven and Connie fusing because of his understanding of fusion.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Amethyst chows down on popcorn while watching Greg and Pearl argue.
  • Pet the Dog: Garnet offers Greg encouragement and advice when he's dejected about not being able to fuse with Rose.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Greg inflicts this on Rose at the end of their dance on the beach.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Greg manually stops the record when Steven and Connie fuse.
  • Say My Name: After only ever referring to him as "Mr. Universe", Rose calls Greg by his name at the end of the episode. Besides sending visible shivers up his spine, it marks a turning point in their relationship.
  • Sequel Episode: To "Story for Steven". In the older episode we get to see how Rose and Greg first met; here we see how their relationship initially blossomed and how the other Gems first viewed their relationship.
  • Shipper on Deck: Garnet seems to support Rose and Greg's relationship, and gives him advice.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Insecure about how close he is to Rose, Pearl tries to rub Greg's inability to fuse with Rose in his face in order to make him insecure enough to give up pursuing Rose. Which backfires spectacularly as Greg's inability to fuse compels Greg to pursue Rose emotionally and learn more about her, which makes their relationship stronger.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A poster in Greg's truck has a dog playing a guitar that looks like KK Slider.
    • Greg calls Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl "Harpo, Groucho and Chico."
    • Orange Magic Orchestra is a riff on the Japanese band "Yellow Magic Orchestra".
    • The Philosopher Mayors' album cover is a shout-out to No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom.
  • Stunned Silence:
    • Greg's reaction to Stevonnie. Stevonnie is likewise stunned that Greg knows and the fusion fails a few moments later.
    • Rose is momentarily stunned when Greg tells her to just talk to him like a real person.
  • Source Music: The music playing as Stevonnie is formed was playing on Greg's record player.
  • Thunder Shock: Greg experiences this when realizing Rose hasn't quite got a grasp on how seriously he wants to take their relationship.
    Rose: I love humans! You're all so funny!
    Greg: [wince of thundercrack]
  • Time Dissonance: Rose mentions that she sometimes feels like things on Earth are moving so fast.
  • The Voiceless: Rainbow Quartz says nothing during her brief time on screen.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Rose has a bit of trouble forming a romantic relationship with Greg, since she can't fuse with him. Greg likewise has trouble, especially when trying to explain it to Rose. In fact, they actually bond some more over how they're both lost with their relationship.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Much like "Story for Steven".
  • Wild Child: Amethyst displays a lot of dog-like behavior in this episode, including running after a thrown stick and getting treats.

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