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Recap / Steven Universe S2E15 "Keystone Motel"

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"It's FUSION, Sapphire! What's more personal to us than fusion?"
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Pearl returns via warp pad, and when greeted by Steven and asked where she'd been, she says that she's been looking for Peridot for the last few days, as a way to atone to Garnet for lying. Just then, Garnet enters. Pearl tells Garnet that she's been looking for Peridot and asks for ideas about where she might be, but Garnet's still not speaking to her, and just walks past.

Pearl: I'm sorry.

Just then, Greg interrupts, asking "Who wants to go on a road trip?"

He quickly realizes that this was probably not the time for that, but Garnet asks him to continue. He explains that he has to drive over to the next state, Keystone (as in the state called Keystone, not the Keystone State), to buy car wash brushes from a guy he met on the internet. Steven comments that he doesn't like the brushes as "they feel weird on your fur". But he does like the idea of staying at a motel with his dad, and going to the nearby Best Diner in the World. Garnet declares that she's also coming.

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Greg and Steven are excited for the road trip, but Garnet is not sharing the mood. Her obvious state of Tranquil Fury definitely worries Greg, but Steven is still hopeful that it'll be fun. They drive to Keystone and arrive at the motel pretty late. Steven is still incredibly excited about staying in the motel.

Steven: I'm gonna swim in the pool, order a movie, get free ice! It's gonna be great! (jumps onto one of the beds)
Greg: Not before we check for bedbugs, it isn't!

Garnet is still furious, and she has a visible frown when she brings in Greg and Steven's stuff (including the Cheeseburger Backpack). Greg gets a call, and asks Garnet to hold the fort while he goes to meet the vendor. Garnet's hands are shaking and moving independently, but she manages to give him a thumbs-up, and he leaves the motel.

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Steven is happy, and asks Garnet to bounce on the beds with him, but she's busy arguing with herself. Soon afterwards, the conflicted emotions Garnet's feeling causes Ruby and Sapphire to literally blow a fuse. They continue their argument once they're separated. Ruby is furious at Pearl for tricking them and doesn't want to forgive her, while Sapphire insists that they've got to move past it and forgive her.

Ruby: She lied to us so we'd form Sardonyx! She... tricked us. Don't you feel used?
Sapphire: You're choosing to take it personally.
Ruby: It's FUSION, Sapphire! What's more personal to us than fusion?

Sapphire tells Ruby that while she's also angry at Pearl (while maintaining a monotone voice), the sooner they forgive Pearl, the better it will be for everyone. Ruby tells her: "You're not as above this as you think you are!"

Sapphire: Yes. I am.

Ruby starts using Angrish and pacing. When Sapphire tells her that she can't stay angry at Pearl forever, her response is "Wanna bet?". Sapphire points out that her heat powers, acting up in response to her anger, are burning through the carpet. and Ruby runs outside.

Steven goes out to use the pool and sees Ruby pacing around beside it, scorching the cement around her feet. When Steven asks her if she wants to get in the pool with him, she begins ranting about how it seems that Sapphire doesn't even care about the misuse of fusion and about how, as Garnet, they're always supposed to be mature and "the bigger gem". Ruby wants to cut loose for once and express her anger at Pearl. Steven invites her to cool down in the pool.

Ruby: (while literally fuming) I don't need to cool down.

She does go into the pool, but she continues pacing, ranting, and fuming at the bottom. She creates a warm spot... make that a hot spot... make that a boiling spot! Steven manages to get out of the pool before he gets cooked, but Ruby remains at the bottom, still ranting. Steven quietly returns to the motel room.

It's extremely cold in there. The source of the chill is Sapphire, who says that she's fine. Steven asks her if she'd like to watch TV with him, and she acquiesces. When he realizes he doesn't know which shows are on which channels, he asks Sapphire to use her future vision to find out which channel he'd like best. Steven puts it on, and bundles up in his blanket as Sapphire's powers freeze the room even further.

Sapphire seems to be taking the whole argument thing rather calmly. She says that talking to Ruby won't help, but in the end, Ruby will realize that she can't stay mad at either Pearl or Sapphire forever, and then everything will be made up. It's inevitable that the argument will end—Ruby's just letting her emotions get the better of her. A shivering Steven asks Sapphire if she's doing the same thing. Sapphire denies it, while her powers spread ice around her. Steven goes to the bathroom, only to find out that the toilet's frozen.

Sapphire: Such is fate.
Steven: Am I fated to pee outside on the grass too?
Sapphire: Yes.

Steven leaves the motel room just as Greg pulls up in his van. Greg, who doesn't know about what happened in the meantime, is still happy, and he's brought pizza for him and Steven. Steven is cheered up a little, but he can't summon the enthusiasm he had at the beginning of the trip. Greg's trip went well—the guy wasn't an axe murderer, at least. He wonders why Steven's out in his bathing suit and where Garnet was. He peeks into the motel room/freezer and finds Sapphire.

Sapphire: He's not going to like that it's square.

Greg's not surprised to see her, and asks Steven where the "other one" was. She's still pacing around in the bottom of the pool—or at least, what used to be the pool, as it's all boiled away. Greg is still optimistic that they could have a good time, despite the serious conflict between Ruby and Sapphire. He opens the pizza box—and the pizza turns out to be square. Just as Sapphire predicted, Steven doesn't like that.

Steven asks why Ruby and Sapphire don't just make up, and Greg replies that sometimes people who love each other can hurt each other's feelings, and that it's best to give them some space. Steven, however, thinks that they could work it out if they just talked to each other. Greg tries to reassure him that everything would be better in the morning, and they'd all go to the Best Diner in the World for breakfast. Steven wonders if that would help, and Greg says that "there's nothing like a little breakfast to bring people together".

Come next morning, and it turns out that the Best Diner in the World is actually the name of the diner. Ruby is still angry, and when she doesn't eat her food, Greg asks if she's not hungry. Steven reminds him that gems don't need to eat, but he says that Garnet still liked to eat sometimes.

Ruby: Well, Garnet's not here!

Greg is uncomfortable, but tries to lighten the mood with a comment on how good the food was. It doesn't really work, and Ruby starts shaking the table in her anger. Sapphire points it out, and Ruby comments that she's surprised Sapphire could feel anything at all. Sapphire says that she didn't need to feel it, as she could see it.

Ruby: Everything's...just so crystal. clear. for you, isn't it?

She starts shaking the table even harder, and Greg and Steven only just manage to save their food. Sapphire reassures them that Ruby will eventually burn herself out, and Ruby retorts: "That's what you think! I am an eternal flame, baby!". She then summons her weapon (a gauntlet) and punches the table, flipping it over. Steven is sad—and angry. Greg tries to salvage the situation by saying that they could still bag the food up to-go, but Steven is just done with the whole thing. He throws his plate on the ground and walks out of the diner.

This catches both Ruby and Sapphire's attention, and stops their argument in its tracks. They both follow Steven out of the diner, and he gives a rant of his own.

Steven: I was so happy when Garnet said she was gonna come on this trip with me and dad. Home's been awful. Here's been awful. I thought you wanted to have a fun time, but everyone's been acting awful too! It... it just came with us! I don't understand! Is it... is it me?

This completely horrifies Ruby and Sapphire, who now realize that their argument has utterly wrecked Steven's vacation. Ruby hastily reassures him that it's not the case, and tells him that it was all them. Sapphire then realizes something worse: They made Steven feel like it was his fault. She realizes what she did wrong; her future vision meant that she only saw the time when the issues were already solved, and forgot that they still existed in the present.

Sapphire: No wonder you think I don't care!

Sapphire begins crying, and Ruby tries to comfort her by taking the blame. Ruby's problem was that she was so focused on her present problems and feelings that she never looked for, and indeed actively rejected, any solution. Ruby apologizes to Sapphire and brushes her Blinding Bangs aside, revealing that Sapphire is a cyclops. Sapphire asks if Ruby really thought that she wasn't upset by what happened, as she was just trying to do the right thing.

Ruby: You know what's nice about being split up?
Sapphire: What?
Ruby: I get to look at you.

Now that they're made up, they return to being Sickeningly Sweethearts. Sapphire starts laughing, and Ruby calls her "Laughy Sapphy". Ruby picks Sapphire up bridal-style, and they kiss. Greg comes over, having paid for the meal (and the damage to the booth), and asks Steven if he wants to go home. But before Steven can say anything, Ruby and Sapphire re-fuse. Garnet says that they're not going before they get their free ice.

The group returns home, Steven with a bag of free ice in his arms.

Pearl: You look like you all had fun.
Steven: Yeah! It all worked out!

Pearl greets Garnet, who responds with "Not now" and walks away. She hasn't forgiven Pearl yet, but at least she's speaking to Pearl again. Steven wonders if they can go back. Greg tells him that they might someday—but not to that diner.

Greg: Oh boy.

We Iris Out on Greg's face.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Greg hopes that the guy he's buying stuff from online isn't a serial killer. To a lesser extent, while Steven is happy to be at a hotel, Greg's initially worried about bedbugs.
    • Sapphire, in trying to remain calm and composed to help resolve things for the better, only manages to incense Ruby even more, appear uncaring and makes Steven miserable, the absolute last things she wanted to do.
  • Alternate History: Pennsylvania is called Keystone in this setting (it's the "Keystone State").
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: There is an actual Keystone Motel in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The writers actually had to tell fans to stop writing fake bad reviews for it in fear that it'd damage the motel's reputation.
  • An Aesop: You don't have to forgive someone immediately if you're not ready, but holding onto a grudge and letting it fester about it is not only gonna cause problems for you, but also eveyrone around you.
  • Angrish: Ruby's ranting devolves into this briefly at a few points. Her rant within the pool effectively becomes this too (even after it has evaporated).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Steven storms out of the diner after Ruby's outburst, we get this:
    Steven: I was so happy when Garnet said she was gonna come on this trip with me and dad! Home's been awful! Here's been awful! I thought you wanted to have a fun time, but everyone's been acting awful too! It—It just came with us! I don't understand! Is it... Is it me?
  • The Atoner: Pearl searches for Peridot in an attempt to get Garnet to trust her again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ruby and Sapphire make up, and as Garnet they start speaking to Pearl again, but it's made clear that it will still take time for them to fully forgive Pearl for tricking them.
  • Burning with Anger:
    • Literally with Ruby, whose Playing with Fire powers act up in response to her anger. She ends up evaporating the entire motel room in about half an hour.
    • Inverted with Sapphire, who turns the motel room into a meat locker for the same reason.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Between Ruby and Sapphire.
  • Brick Joke:
    • When Greg first sees Sapphire, she says, "He's not going to like that it's square." This non-sequitur is explained a minute or so later, when it turns out the pizza Greg bought is a square shape instead of a circle like the ones served at Fish Stew Pizza. Steven is shocked, just as predicted.
    • Steven jokes that Greg "might not be his favorite dad". When Greg assures Steven that things will get better between Ruby and Sapphire and gives him some encouraging words, Steven says he is his favorite dad.
      Greg: I knew this pizza would put me over the top.
    • Steven encourages Ruby to take a dip in the pool with him, only to jump out when Ruby manages to put the pool to a boil as she paces in it. Once Greg has returned and realized Garnet has unfused, Steven points him to where Ruby still pacing among the fumes that used to be the pool.
    • The "Free Ice" gag. Mentioned by Greg at the start of the episode, Steven near the middle of the episode, and mentioned by Garnet at the end of the episode (and when they get home, Steven is holding a bag of ice).
  • Call-Back: Ruby and Sapphire are still not over Pearl lying to them in "Cry for Help".
  • The Chains of Commanding: A large part of why Ruby is so actively angry is that, as Garnet, she and Sapphire always have to be the mature and responsible one. With this incident, for once she wants to vent and be selfish after Pearl pushes a very personal Berserk Button.
    • On a more subtle manner, it's also another reason why Garnet went with Steven and Greg. As the leader, she feels she can't let the others see when she is upset so she went with the two to not only get away from Pearl, but likely be able to split up and not concern the team.
  • The Comically Serious: Here we see where Garnet gets it from.
    Steven: Sapphire! The toilet's frozen!
    Sapphire: Such is fate.
    Steven: Am I fated to pee outside on the grass too?
    Sapphire: Yes.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Steven notes that the brushes at his dad's car wash "feel weird on your fur", a nod to the end of "Cat Fingers" when Steven went through the car wash to get rid of the cats that were growing on his body.
    • Greg explains to Steven that people that love each other can sometimes hurt each other's feelings without knowing; Greg went through the same thing with Rose in "We Need To Talk". When he suggests they should give Ruby and Sapphire time and space, Steven says that things would fix faster if they just talk to each other; the same thing Greg and Rose did at the end of the same episode.
    • Garnet's anger from the last episode is taken up a notch to the point where she has to defuse again.
  • Cyclops: Sapphire is revealed to be one, which is the source of Garnet's third eye.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Sapphire was upset about Pearl's messing with fusion as much as Ruby was, but was trying to keep her head cool (literally) and be rational about it (especially with her future vision,) something that Ruby misunderstood as her not caring at all. In an unusual take, Sapphire herself is the one who realizes the rammifications of trying to hide it when she and Ruby try to comfort Steven after he voices his frustration at how everything is going to pieces. Sapphire actually begins to cry when she realizes not that she was hurting Steven and Ruby.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Steven gleefully points out that Ruby made a warm spot in the pool (okay, a boiling spot).
    • Kids who've watched their parents fight will be able to relate to Steven watching uncomfortably as Ruby and Sapphire seem to argue nonstop. Him questioning whether its his fault is just the painful topping to it all.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Steven is excited to hear that Garnet's coming with them, though he is unaware this is so Ruby & Sapphire could get away from Pearl while also going to argue it out. This predictably ends up messing with Steven and Greg's road trip and pushes Steven to his coping limits.
  • Dramatic Shattering: When Ruby and Sapphire's argument erupts in the diner and ruins the breakfast, Steven finally reaches his limit and in an unnervedly quiet moment, just drops his plate (the table was broken by Ruby) before just walking out the diner. It also causes Ruby and Sapphire to stop arguing when they realize what Steven just did.
  • Eating Optional: Steven brings this bit about Gems up at breakfast, to which Greg replies that Garnet likes to eat sometimes.
  • Exact Words: Greg promises to take Steven to "the best diner in the world," which is revealed to be the diner's literal name.
  • Faux Horrific: Steven freaks out over square pizza for a second.
  • Feud Episode: Between Ruby and Sapphire.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Garnet gets strained and twitchy, and both of her hands start moving independently of each other, moments before her internal argument becomes external.
    • Right before Sapphire is revealed to have a single eye, a single stream of tears can be seen running down the center of her face.
  • Flipping the Table: After rocking the table roughly, Ruby reacts rather badly and does this when Sapphire said the behavior would pass and that Ruby would burn out. It proves to be the last straw for Steven.
  • Forgiveness: The major theme of the episode:
    • Garnet is still incredibly mad at Pearl, but on some level wants to forgive her. It's her anger and desire to forgive Pearl conflicting that cause her to split into Ruby and Sapphire, respectively. Even when Garnet is able to reform, she's not quite ready to forgive Pearl, though she's on the way.
    • Pearl is desperate to gain Garnet's forgiveness so she runs around for several days looking for Peridot to no avail. Of course, the loss of Peridot is the least of the reasons Garnet is angry with Pearl.
    • Ruby and Sapphire have their first fight in a long time. After seeing how much it affected Steven, they put aside their quarrel, talk about their issues and forgive each other.
  • From Bad to Worse: First, there's already the conflict at home. Then, at the motel, Garnet defuses, and Ruby and Sapphire are having a serious conflict. Then, the two of them unintentionally wreak havoc in the pool and the room, and then, in the next morning, Ruby goes out of control at the diner and continues arguing with Sapphire as strongly as ever. Steven quietly drops his plate on the floor in what seems to be him finally reaching his limit. This finally gets Ruby and Sapphire to stop arguing to check on Steven, and he lampshades just how awful everything has been.
  • Funny Background Event: When Greg is consoling Steven in the diner, you can just make out the words of Ruby and Sapphire's argument. It sounds something like this:
    Ruby: YOU DON'T KNOW ME!
    Sapphire: How could I possibly not know you? We always fuse! We always fuse, what are you even going on about…[indecipherable muttering] so don't act so ridiculous.
    Ruby: Look at you! *laughs* You don't even know yourself! HA! I'm ridiculous?-
    Sapphire: Yes, yes.
    Ruby: You—!
  • An Ice Person: Sapphire's feelings about the last episode cause her to freeze the motel room.
  • If I Do Not Return: Greg half-jokingly tells Steven and Garnet that if he's not back from the meeting with an internet salesman in an hour, call the police.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Sapphire, because she constantly uses her future vision to look into the future when issues are resolved and forgets about how people are feeling in the present. Unlike many examples, Sapphire realizes this herself and is so mortified she starts weeping.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • "I don't need to cool down" says Ruby as she quite literally fumes.
    • Sapphire is so upset, she causes the entire motel room to freeze up, yet when Steven asks her if she's letting her emotions get out of control like Ruby is, she says "No", all while her ice powers flare up even further.
  • It's All My Fault: Steven wonders out loud if he's the reason why Ruby and Sapphire have been arguing. Seeing this actually causes them to realize what they've been doing to one another and Steven.
  • Jerkass Realization: Ruby and Sapphire realize what their arguing has been doing to Steven emotionally as well as just being with one another—Sapphire disregarded the present because she could see into the future, and Ruby was so focused on the present that she disregarded any possible solutions in the future.
  • Large Ham: Ruby eats a lot of scenery for someone who doesn't need food.
    "I AM AN ETERNAL FLAME, BABY!!"
  • Morality Pet: Seeing Steven finally crack in emotional frustration is the catalyst that makes Ruby and Sapphire forget their anger to check up on him and seeing him just miserable and voicing how awful everything has gotten is enough to get them confess their mistakes and comfort one another.
  • Mundane Luxury: Steven is really excited about going to a motel. Particularly amusing is that swimming in the pool is a highlight for him, despite the fact that he lives on the beach of an ocean.
    • Partly justified — There's a significant difference between the sea (salt water) and a pool (fresh water, albeit treated with chlorine).
  • Mundane Utility: The motel's channels are on different numbers than in Beach City, so Steven has Sapphire use her future vision to find out which one he'll like most rather than search through them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ruby and Sapphire realize that their bickering is messing Steven up to the point where he begins to think that he's to blame for everything that's going on, and are guilt-ridden over their actions towards each other and towards Steven.
    Ruby: No! Steven, it's all us!
    Sapphire: But we made him feel like it was his fault.
  • Nature Tinkling: Because of Sapphire freezing up the toilet, Steven is forced to pee outside.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • While she tries to hide it by acting outwardly calm, it's obvious that Garnet is still pissed at Pearl.
    • Sapphire, meanwhile, acts as if she's already over Pearl's actions, and isn't at all upset about the way Ruby's behaving… but then, it's obvious that she's not freezing the motel room because she wants to. Later, when she realizes how Innocently Insensitive she's been with her insistence on not treating the argument and Pearl's trickery as too big a deal, she starts crying.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Greg is caught in between Ruby and Sapphire's argument and Steven's increasing concern and frustration over how heavy the mood is getting, so he says "oh boy" or "oh geez" a lot.
    • While they said nothing verbally, Ruby and Sapphire gain worried looks once Steven finally loses patience and storms out of the diner.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • The normally level-headed Garnet is so conflicted over Pearl's lying to her that she breaks up into Ruby and Sapphire, who, unlike their usual flirty, romantic selves, spend most of the episode unfused (something they're otherwise shown to hate) and arguing.
    • When Ruby and Sapphire's argument escalates to full-blown yelling at the diner (after Ruby broke the table) Steven shows his anger in a very subdued manner by dropping his plate in furious resignation before leaving. It snaps them out of it immediately, more concerned for Steven's state of mind than arguing.
  • Power Floats: Sapphire demonstrates the ability to levitate, which she uses to move from the floor to the bed.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: Sapphire seems to be so cold partly because she uses her future vision constantly, looking into the future where everything has already been solved, and forgets about how people are feeling in the present.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Ruby and Sapphire are so upset by Pearl's betrayal (though Ruby is more open about it), that their powers (Playing with Fire and An Ice Person, respectively) flare up.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Steven just drops his plate in what seems like defeat after Ruby flips the table and storms out of the diner teary-eyed. It immediately breaks the fight up and they go to check up on him.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Garnet is still mad at Pearl by the end, though she's actually talking to her now.
    • Sapphire's efforts to internalize her emotions make her easier to be around, compared to Ruby's venting, but the effort is made moot when her powers act out anyway. It also doesn't change the fact that she's still just as angry at Pearl in the morning as she was the previous night.
    • Steven may be mature and patient for his age, but he's still an empathetic child who hates conflict in the middle of a number of arguments he'd rather were over so everyone will stop being nasty to one another. It was only a matter of time before things became too much for him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Steven can't take Ruby and Sapphire bickering any longer.
    "Home's been awful! Here's been awful! I thought you wanted to have a fun time, but everyone's been acting awful too!! It-it just came with us!"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: This episode really goes into detail about how Ruby and Sapphire's personalities differ. Ruby is intense and extremely physical, Sapphire is composed and subdued. Ironically, the two reverse positions when they're making up; Ruby is calm, gentle and collected (minus her frantic apologies when Sapphire begins crying) though readily admitting to her mistakes, and Sapphire is mortified to the point of crying openly at how she made everyone else react.
  • Seen It All: Greg is pretty nonchalant that Garnet split up into Ruby and Sapphire as if it's happened before, though he also realizes that things must have gone ''really'' sour for them to split.
    Greg: (after seeing Sapphire) Oh boy. Where's the other one?
  • Sequel Episode: To "Cry for Help". Ruby's and Sapphire's argument is over how they should feel about Pearl's actions in that episode.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: When Ruby and Sapphire make up, they turn into this enough that Steven covers his eyes in embarrassment.
  • Staggered Zoom: Done on Garnet during the van ride to show how she's still stewing over Pearl.
  • Talking to Themself: Garnet just before she splits.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Sapphire, whose neutral expression and tone of voice belies her emotional turmoil. The Power Incontinence she soon displays however rather supports her statement.
    "Can't you see I'm completely engulfed with rage?"
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Greg's opinion about going on a road trip with an obviously furious Garnet. Steven is oblivious until it gets too much for him.
  • Toilet Humour: When Ruby, still Burning with Anger, enters the pool, Steven comments that she "made a warm spot".
  • Tranquil Fury: Sapphire keeps her cool, though it causes the motel room to freeze up.
    • Steven shows this since he just drops his plate with a very frustrated look on his face, but the fact he does so at all is enough for Ruby and Sapphire to see he has finally hit his limit.
  • Trivially Obvious: Greg says of his meeting with the "internet man" that he was not an axe murderer.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: When Ruby gets into the pool, she just walks into it, and continues pacing around and ranting at the bottom of the pool well after it has since evaporated.

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