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Recap / Steven Universe S2E21 "Catch and Release"

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Bedtime at the home of Steven and the Gems. Steven brushes his teeth, washes his face, cleans out his ears, and polishes his gem so he can see himself in it. He snuggles under his comforter with his stuffed animals looking on.

Steven: Good night, happy bear. Good night, sad bunny. Good night, playful kitty. Good night, ominous triangle at the foot of my bed. [Beat, then Steven looks again to see the triangle is gone] Whatever.

Steven goes to doze off, but he wasn't mistaken about the ominous triangle. Peridot was lying in wait and kidnaps Steven, off to the Galaxy Warp, where she half-commands, half-pleads with Steven to fix the Galaxy Warp like he fixed Lapis Lazuli's gem. Steven has to take a minute to work up the spit.

Steven: Okay, okay, just give me a second! My mouth gets dry when I'm scared.
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He finally has enough saliva to lick his hand, which he slaps on the warp, but nothing happens. An increasingly frantic Peridot blows her cool altogether and crumples to the ground, babbling semi-coherently about the Cluster, and about them all being shattered. Before Steven can coax any more out of her, Amethyst, Garnet and Pearl arrive, ready to fight because Peridot had the nerve to kidnap Steven.

Peridot tries her usual tricks to get away, but the Gems are prepared. They dodge her force blasts. When she tries the helicopter trick, Amethyst is ready with her whip. When Peridot tries to electrify the whip again, Garnet redirects the shock back and yanks her to the ground.

Peridot protests, still trying to scramble away. She starts to say something:

Peridot: You need me! I'm the only one who knows about —
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But Garnet destroys her form before she can complete her sentence. She is "poofed" and bubbled off to the temple, minus the equipment she was wearing on her hands and feet. That, Amethyst tosses into the ocean.

Back home, Amethyst jokes with Steven about being kidnapped, still not quite getting the concept of "too soon". Steven is consumed by concern and curiosity, certain whatever Peridot was trying to say was important, even though the Gems don't seem to think so. His intense desire opens up Rose's room, and he runs inside. He asks the room to let him talk to Peridot, but all it does is generate a copy Peridot who says the last thing Steven remembers her saying. He demands to know the way down to the real basement, and the room parts its clouds to for him so he can slide down a gem slide-bannister-pole. He attempts a somersault dismount but doesn't quite manage it.

He takes a minute to locate Peridot, then lets her out of her bubble. She re-forms, and is revealed to be no bigger than Steven without her "limb enhancers". After Steven gushes about how cute her true form is, Peridot flails at him ineffectually until landing a hit. When Steven comments that she hurt him, she leaps at him with more slaps until he grabs her wrists and makes her stop. He gets her to calm down momentarily, long enough for him to tell her he's the one who let her out.

Peridot: ...why would you make such a miscalculation?

Steven explains that he wants to know more about the Cluster. Peridot sits across from him until she has him comfortable and ready to listen, then makes a run for it. Steven gives chase, and they end up back in the house. The Gems are immediately ready to fight when they see Peridot is loose again, blocking all the exits. Cornered, Peridot scampers into Steven's bathroom.

She attempts to flush herself down the toilet, though Amethyst calls out that Peridot needn't bother because it won't work (Which Amethyst knows because she's tried). As they discuss what to do with her, Peridot clambers all over the bathroom, trying random things to see what they do. The Gems try to get her to come out, but she refuses, still hurling insults. Pearl speculates on how she got out. Amethyst suggests that they needed a bigger bubble.

Garnet: My bubbles are fine.

Steven nervously admits that he's the one who let her out. The Gems are astonished he'd do such a thing until he explains that she's been talking about a Cluster and hinting at destruction and he thought it was important enough to let her out. Garnet acknowledges the point and asks Peridot to have a civil conversation. The rogue from Homeworld refuses and continues to hurl taunts at them, including one that insults Garnet enough to enrage her.

Steven and the Gems regroup in the kitchen, thinking on what they'll do now; they can't just let Peridot live in their bathroom, especially given Steven needs it. When they ask if he needs it now and he answers in the affirmative, they suggest he go outside. He angrily concedes.

The next morning, Steven returns to the bathroom door and tells Peridot he has something for her. He gives back the foot that the Gems took from her the last time they battled, and after a moment to consider receiving it, she opens the door and allows him in. Peridot sulkily remarks that it's a great souvenir of the last time she got assaulted, and Steven offers to take it back if the reminder is painful. Peridot clings to the last vestige of her limb enhancer, sinking into dismay when Steven reveals the rest of her limb enhancers have been thrown away. Realizing she's confined to her little, unintimidating form, she tries to determine if anything in the room is a weapon. Steven advises her that his toothbrush only attacks cavities, that he never uses the comb, and that a towel only makes a good weapon if it is wet and tightly wound up. He reminds her again that he would really like to help her.

Peridot: I don't think you can help me but... I appreciate the offer.

Steven asks Peridot to let him use the toilet. Being a Gem with no need for biological function, she wonders "For what"? as the star Iris Out closes out on her for the episode.


Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Peridot's unfamiliarity with human everything leads to some endearingly strange behavior, like recoiling in fear at a towel. She also turns out to be Steven's height without her limb enhancers.
  • Adult Fear: Steven is kidnapped by Peridot in the middle of the night while he's safe in bed.
  • Animal Motifs: Peridot shows some cat-like behavior her, like her Cat Smile and running around on all fours.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Peridot's response as to why she is so mad at Steven:
    Peridot: You smashed me into a limbless clod, you trapped me in your bubble-dungeon, and you called me 'cute!'
  • Artificial Limbs: Peridot's arms and legs, which she calls "limb enhancers", are revealed to be artificial. She wears them over her real, tiny arms and legs.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Peridot hides in the bathroom before the Gems catch her again. Fortunately for the Crystal Gems, she doesn't use the window (or even seem to notice it) and the toilet isn't a viable escape route, so she's Locked in the Bathroom instead.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Peridot does not seem to like being called cute.
    • Garnet is willing to have a civil conversation with Peridot, until she's called "a filthy war-machine". Don't insult fusion in front of Garnet, folks.
  • Bigger Stick: Peridot doesn't seem to have any offensive abilities without her Artificial Limbs.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Good night, happy bear. Good night, sad bunny. Good night, playful kitty. Good night, ominous triangle at the foot of my bed."
  • Call-Back:
    • Peridot tries to get Steven to fix the Homeworld Warp with his healing spit, having heard about how he fixed Lapis's gem in "Ocean Gem". When it fails to work, Steven admits that it doesn't always do so, like in "House Guest".
    • Like in "Rose's Room" and "Open Book", Steven instinctively opens the temple door to Rose's room when he has a problem it can solve. Unlike the past two times, he is able to get the room to provide him with what he wants with little trouble.
    • In "Together Breakfast", Steven slid down a pole from the Crystal Temple's core to the room where bubbled gems are stored, passing through what was implied to be Rose's room. In this episode, Steven remembers that the pole passed through the room and uses it to get to Peridot's bubbled gem.
    • Steven returns Peridot's boot, which she sacrificed in "Friend Ship" to escape from the Gems.
    • Peridot mentions the Cluster again, making it clear that it isn't the fusion monsters featured in "Keeping it Together" and "Nightmare Hospital". It hatching is the "expiration date" for the Earth which she was talking about in "Friend Ship".
    • In "Say Uncle", Uncle Grandpa tells Steven that he should polish his Gem twice a day. Guess what Steven does as he's getting ready for bed?
    • At the end of "Future Vision", Garnet deflected a lightning bolt heading for Steven with her gauntlets. Here, she uses them to reverse the charge Peridot sends down Amethyst's whip.
    • In "Friend Ship", Pearl declared that "Next time, we'll get the rest of (Peridot)". She was right.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Steven's motivation for freeing Peridot. Peridot invokes this with her knowledge of the Cluster to keep the Crystal Gems from bubbling her again.
  • Cassandra Truth: The Crystal Gems think Peridot's desperately trying to bluff her way out of getting poofed when she tries to offer them information on the Cluster. Steven is the only one to believe otherwise, so he releases her to get the rest of the story.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The bubbled bag of "Chaps" from "Monster Buddies" is visible among the many bubbled Gems in the temple.
    • In "Keystone Motel", Steven is forced to use the bathroom outside when Sapphire freezes the toilet. In this episode, when Amethyst tells him to go in the ocean after Peridot locks herself in his bathroom, he angrily shouts "What is with you guys and making me pee outside?!"
  • Clothes Make the Superman: All of Peridot's offensive abilities come from her limb enhancers. When she regenerates without them, she's not even a match for Steven.
  • Cuteness Proximity: "Awwww! You're like an angry little slice of pie!"
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Peridot is hostile and violent to the grown Gems, but she calms down around Steven, and he can almost coax her to talk to him conversationally. By the end of the episode, she said she appreciated his offer to help.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Peridot seems to be right on the brink, especially when Steven's spit fails to repair the Homeworld Warp.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Peridot escapes the temple without considering that the Crystal Gems might be outside. She loudly declares her freedom before realizing that they're in the house.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Some of Peridot's behavior, like automatically thinking anything strange is a weapon, running away on all fours, the whole thing with her slapping Steven, and the way she responded to his offer of help imply some kind of abusive past.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Catch and Release" could refer to two different things: how Peridot kidnaps Steven, then abandons him once the Crystal Gems catch up with him and how Peridot was herself captured, but Steven lets her go.
  • Enemy Mine: When repairing the Homeworld Warp with Steven's spit fails, Peridot tries to convince them they need to work together or they're all doomed because of the Cluster. No one but Steven believes her, and when they start listening, Peridot is too mad about them throwing away her robot limbs. It also doesn't help that she keeps insulting them, calling them traitors and idiots the whole time.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Steven fails to notice the "ominous triangle at the foot of [his] bed" is actually not supposed to be there.
    • In her attempts to escape the bathroom that include flushing herself down the toilet, Peridot fails to notice the window above the toilet.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Twice. Peridot escapes into the bathroom, then attempts to flush herself down the toilet.
  • Fantastic Slur:
    • In addition to Peridot's typical "clod" insult (and the "megaclod" variation), she also calls Steven a pebble, the Crystal Gems "dirtbombs", and Garnet a "filthy war machine".
    • While those seem like more like general insults in gem culture than slurs against a category, calling Garnet a "filthy war-machine" in reference to her fusion status definitely qualifies.
  • Fish out of Water: Peridot has no idea what anything is in Steven's bathroom, thinking his towel, toothbrush, and comb are all weapons and the toilet is an escape hatch.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When going to sleep, Steven sees what he describes as an "ominous triangle" (e.g. the obscured silhouette of Peridot's head) at the foot of his bed. He does a Double Take, she's not there, and he decides to ignore it. Seconds later, Peridot kidnaps him.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The bag of chips from "Monster Buddies" can be seen in the Burning Room.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Peridot takes the very risky chance of kidnapping Steven from his home so he'll fix the Homeworld Warp, because she has no other option.
  • Harmless Villain: It turns out Peridot isn't so threatening without her "limb enhancers". Steven can overpower her with his strength alone.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: When Peridot tries to shock her way out of Amethyst's whip again, Garnet turns the electricity back on her, causing her to fall to the ground.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    Garnet: Alright, no more fighting. Let's just have a civil conversation.
    Peridot: As if I'd negotiate with you, filthy war machine!
    Garnet: OK, let's kick her butt.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Garnet poofs Peridot before she mentions the Cluster, and when Steven lets her out she finishes her sentence as if no time had passed.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Steven says good night to his stuffed animals.
    Steven: Good night, happy bear. Good night, sad bunny. Good night, playful kitty. Good night, ominous triangle at the foot of my bed.
  • Laughing Mad: Peridot realizes that Steven can't fix the warp pad and starts laughing uncontrollably.
  • Literal Genie: Rose's Room, again. When Steven says he wants to talk to Peridot, it generates a copy of her to speak her last words. Steven then clarifies that he wants to talk to the actual Peridot and tells the room to show him the path to the basement, causing the clouds to part and reveal the large vein that runs between the different parts of the temple.
  • Locked in the Bathroom: After Peridot realizes she can't escape from the bathroom, she decides to stay held up in there. The Crystal Gems point out they could easily knock the door down, but they decide to wait until Peridot agrees to talk to them.
  • Look Behind You: Peridot tries this with the Gems. It doesn't work.
    Peridot: Look! Another planet to betray!
  • Lovable Coward: Without her weapons, Peridot is terrified of all the Crystal Gems besides Steven.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: Steven thinks Peridot's foot is lucky, while Amethyst thinks it isn't for Peridot.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When Peridot's Artificial Limbs don't poof with her, Pearl and Amethyst react a bit like this is what happened.
  • Malaproper:
    • Steven pulls the "What's that on your shirt?" gag on Peridot. Later, she does it back, but simply asks "What's your shirt?"
    • When Peridot thinks she's outwitted the Gems by hiding in the bathroom:
      Peridot: You may have won the war, but the battle isn't over, crystal clods!
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode opens with an adorable sequence of Steven getting ready for bed and saying goodnight to his stuffed animals. One of them is Peridot.
  • The Napoleon: With the reveal that Peridot is actually about the size of a child, her bravado and poor attitude looks way more like this trope and less like the Smug Snake she previously appeared to be.
  • Nature Tinkling: Because of Peridot being locked in the bathroom, Steven is unable to use it and Amethyst suggests he pee in the sea.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. The episode starts in Steven's bathroom, which he has to use by the end. An offhand comment by Amethyst also confirms that if a Gem chooses to eat or drink, they'll have to deal with the eventual consequences.
  • No-Sell: Peridot tries to send an electric charge down Amethyst's whip, only for Garnet to stop it with her gauntlets. And then return it.
  • Noodle Incident: Amethyst tried to flush herself down the toilet once.
  • Not So Above It All: When trying to search for a weapon or escape route in the bathroom, Peridot takes a moment to look in the mirror at herself after losing her Artificial Limbs and lets out a big goonish grin. Her expression sours when she sees her hand and remembers that she doesn't have her limb enhancers on.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Peridot snuck into the Gems' house and into Steven's room, evading detection even from Garnet's future vision. A desperate move, and all the more awesome given how Peridot manages to make it as far as the Homeworld Warp with Steven and has time to talk to him before the Gems approach.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Peridot in her previous encounters with the Gems was cautious and a No-Nonsense Nemesis. Here Steven notices that she was scared enough to sneak into his house and kidnap him, which was a highly risky move that got her caught in minutes. This convinces him that something has terrified her, and she confirms that the "something" is called the Cluster.
  • Pet the Dog: After everything that's happened to Peridot, Steven is willing to talk to her and let her live in his bathroom for the time being, even giving her back the foot he took from her in "Friend Ship" as a peace offering. She seems to appreciate the gesture, at least.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Subverted with Peridot; when she has her Artificial Limbs to bring her up to typical adult size, she is reasonably dangerous. After losing them, she is not only revealed to be about Steven's height, but is physically weaker than him.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: When Peridot is finally poofed, it's revealed that she isn't a robotic Gem, but rather a normal gem wearing prosthetic limbs to make herself stronger. Without them, she's no bigger than Steven (not counting the hair).
  • Reality Ensues: Peridot tries to flush herself down the toilet, but it doesn't work.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Steven has a mug reading "World's Best Stephen".
  • Security Blanket: Peridot's limb enhancers seem to be this for her. Her lack of power without them aside, she is noticeably less confident and more timid without them, and repeatedly demands them back. When Steven gives her her foot back, she clings to it for the entire rest of the episode.
  • Stealth Pun: Amethyst calls Peridot "home girl", which is rather fitting as Peridot is a gem working for Homeworld.
  • Stunned Silence: The Gems reactions when they see Peridot has reformed and is trying to escape. They quickly get over it and attack her once again.
  • Taught by Experience:
    • The Gems have wised up to all of Peridot's escape methods and are finally able to capture her.
    • On a more comedic note, Amethyst knows that Pearl's attempt to flush herself down the toilet won't work because she's tried it herself.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Pearl says that she's glad the mess with Peridot is finally behind them. Steven frees her barely an hour later.
    • Peridot says that freedom is hers, loudly, before checking to see if the Crystal Gems are in the room. They are.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Averted. As the Gems start to chase Peridot, Amethyst quickly swallows what's left of her pizza in one gulp, including the box.
  • Toilet Teleportation: Peridot gets cornered in Steven's bathroom and tries to flush herself down the toilet. It doesn't work, and Amethyst tells her that it didn't work when she tried it either.
  • Too Soon: After the Crystal Gems get back to the Temple, Amethyst sneaks up on Steven and jokes that she's Peridot come back to kidnap Steven again. She then says it's been long enough to joke about it, and Steven replies that it's only been an hour.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Peridot does this several times; once after Steven fails to fix the Homeworld Warp, once after being released from her bubble, and finally when Steven convinces her to let him use the bathroom the next morning.
  • Un-Paused: When Peridot is regenerated after being Killed Mid-Sentence, she finishes off the sentence she was saying.
  • The Un Reveal: Peridot drops a lot of hints about the Cluster, implying that it's some sort of Gem Doomsday Device, but refuses to give any details about it when asked.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Peridot says the Cluster is going to do something terrible to Earth and probably shatter them all, but refuses to elaborate.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Peridot goes into one when she realizes that her last chance to get off of Earth won't work because Steven's spit can't fix the Homeworld Warp like it did Lapis' gem.
  • Villains Never Lie: Played straight and then inverted. Steven is the only one who believes Peridot is genuinely scared of the Cluster, while the other Gems wait to consider the possibility of a greater threat than the little "angry slice of pie," and Peridot notably lightens up after he assures her that he's not going to hurt her.
  • Wham Episode: Peridot kidnaps Steven in a last, desperate attempt to escape Earth, which fails. When the Crystal Gems finally poof her, her arms and legs are revealed to be Artificial Limbs called "limb enhancers", without which she's as short as Steven. She drops hints that "The Cluster" is some kind of Doomsday Device and she's still holed up in Steven's bathroom at the end.
  • Wham Line: "It doesn't matter what Earth is like! It's not gonna be like ANYTHING soon!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • Peridot's silhouette is at the foot of Steven's bed at the beginning.
      Steven: Good night, ominous triangle at the foot of my bed...
    • Garnet poofs Peridot... and her legs and arms don't poof with her.
    • Peridot regenerates... to reveal that she's about as small as Steven!
  • Wimp Fight: When she regenerates without her limb enhancers, Peridot is reduced to ineffectual slapping when she tries to attack Steven. When she actually throws a punch, Steven just sidesteps and she falls flat on her face.
  • Wingding Eyes: Steven's eyes get smiling faces on them when he sees how small Peridot really is.

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