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Recap / Steven Universe S2E2 "Open Book"

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Steven finally finishes the last book of the series Connie got him reading after he was grounded from television.

Connie asks what he thought of the ending. Sensing Connie has intense feelings, Steven gives a very generic answer. Connie describes how she was so upset that it seemed to be leading up to subverting these tropes about witches and authority, only to suddenly turn the falcon guardian human so he can marry Lisa, the heroine.

Connie:... They described the wedding cake for fifty pages!

When Steven says he wishes he could give Connie a new ending, the Temple door to Rose's room opens, and Steven recalls that he can ask his mother's room to make anything for him. When he asks Connie what she wants, she immediately asks for the Infinity Fair from the books, but Steven, remembering his first experience with the room, suggests keeping it simple. So Steven asks to be made into the falcon Archemicarus from the books. When Connie asks for the room to make her Lisa, nothing happens. They realize the room only answers what Steven wants. They think for a minute and come up with the idea for a Costume shop that will allow Connie to dress however she wants.While Connie is inside dressing, Connie and Steven discuss colors of outfits, and other things from the history of the story. In his excitement, Steven tries to rush Connie, but she tells him to wait.

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Steven: I want to see you!

In response, out comes Connie in an outfit composite of various elements of the main character from the series, all wrapped with a hooded pink cloak.

The two of them start from where the book ended: Archemicarus and Lisa about to get married. Steven acknowledges that's not what Connie wanted so asks her what she would prefer to do. She turns the question back on him asking what he wants to do. Steven says they decided to start a business selling turkey legs. They end up taking a leg to feed the giant wind lizard. Steven asks again what Connie wants to do next. She turns the question on him again, so he tries to recall what Connie said about all the anti-authoritarian stuff she wanted to see. He conjures a bunch of evil knights who indicate their business is illegal, and they begin attacking the pair. As they duck behind the turkey leg cart, Steven asks Connie again what she wants, and she asks him, again, what he wants.

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Steven says he doesn't want Connie to do what he wants, and as he ruminates on how unlike herself she's acting, the costumed Connie in front of him reacts with stammers, before finally choking up altogether. Steven flashes back to the tiny pink whale, the costume shop, and his voiced desire to see Connie in costume, and realizes what he's done. The Connie he's been pretending with is not the real thing, but a simulacrum based on his not thinking before he speaks.

He states that he's done playing and commands all the pretend stuff to go away. But the faux-Connie doesn't stay vanished. When Steven demands to know why she isn't gone, she tells him that he told her not to do what he wants her to do.

Steven, alarmed, tries to escape on the wind lizard from the books, but faux-Connie grabs its tail. Steven repeats he doesn't want her, but the real Connie; his pleas fall on deaf ears, though, and she knocks him off the lizard. The two of them crash to the ground before the real Connie, who is wearing the same costume but in shades of blue-green. Faux-Connie's outfit changes to Lisa's wedding outfit from the book!

Faux-Connie: I know you like her! And I know you want her to like you!

Steven cries for help and Connie races forward, fearlessly slicing her double in half. Faux-Connie looks stunned and disappears, only to reappear again, straddling Steven's back and grabbing him by his hair and demanding that he tell the truth.

Steven finally admits he likes the ending of the book. He liked that they found a spell to make Archemicarus human, he liked their relationship, and he loved every page of the description of the wedding cake and wanted to draw a picture of it.

This satisfies Faux-Connie and she vanishes without further conflict.

Steven admits he was afraid Connie would think less of him if he was truthful with her because she cared so much about the book. Connie explains that the series is only books, but she cares about Steven much more.

Connie: Of course you liked the wedding. You're Steven; you love schmaltz!

As they leave the room, they each discuss their own perspective on the books, and Connie accepts that Steven's read is just as valid. Upstairs, in his room, there's a doodle of Lisa and Archemicarus in their wedding clothes before the Iris Out.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: The Gems don't appear at all in this episode.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe, Steven and Connie discuss the ending of the book after leaving Rose's Room, with Steven explaining how the ending made sense to him while Connie didn't read that far into the relationship between Archemicarus and Lisa.
  • An Aesop: You shouldn't pretend to like or dislike something just because your friend does—friends can disagree on things without it hurting their relationship.
  • Bad Liar: Steven's really transparent on actually liking the ending of the The Spirit Morph Saga, especially in retrospect. You could even say that he's an open book.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Cloud!Connie pressures Steven into telling the truth about his feelings, even wearing a wedding dress while she pins him down. Steven gives in and admits he likes... the ending of the book.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Connie's first suggestion is to have the room create the "Infinity Market", which is apparently infinitely large and sells everything that was, is, and ever will be made. Naturally, even half of this is rejected as being a bit too much for the room (as half of infinity is still infinity).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Steven makes this mistake with the room again, despite trying to keep things simple.
    • Steven says that he wants to see Connie after she gets into her Cosplay outfit, accidentally creating a copy of her.
    • When he starts realizing that something is up, he tells Cloud!Connie to stop doing what he wants, accidentally giving her the ability to defy him. She ends up forcing him to admit to the real Connie something he was trying do keep hidden, which he's better off for having done. It's also implied that Cloud!Connie was a manifestation of Steven wanting to tell Connie that he liked the book's real ending, as she disappears without a fuss when Steven tells the truth.
  • Broken Base: In-Universe, the ending to The Spirit Morph Saga causes one. Connie thinks that the ending is a terrible Ass Pull that doesn't relate to the rest of the plot and could only have been caused by Executive Meddling. Steven thinks it was a Heartwarming Moment that the whole series had been leading up to.
  • Call-Back:
    • To "Rose's Room", and all the tropes that belong to the titular place. Steven is careful not to overload the room with complex requests, and summons the tiny, flying whale to give him a high five as a demonstration of its power. Steven also ends up making a mess when a poorly worded request is interpreted by the room as a command, and the room only gives him what he wants when he admits the truth.
    • The book series Connie wants to reenact is The Spirit Morph Saga. She gave the series to Steven in "Marble Madness" after he was grounded from television in "Fusion Cuisine". Steven Cosplays as his favorite character in the book series, Archemicarus the magical falcon, while Connie cosplays as the main character, Lisa, complete with her cloak, hood, and Eye Patch After Time Skip.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Connie complains that the final book spent fifty pages describing a cake, Steven says that it deserved no more than twenty. It didn't even have strawberries.
  • Conversational Troping: Connie even uses the word "tropes" when discussing how the book went off message at the end.
  • Executive Meddling: Connie expresses the In-Universe belief that the books ended the way they did because of pressure from the editor forced the author to change the story.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: After Cloud!Connie is revealed, Steven remembers that he asked to see Connie, unknowingly creating a copy per the behavior of the room.
  • Fix Fic: Connie and Steven try to make one with Rose's room.
  • Foreshadowing: Connie says that she wants to mix up Lisa's wardrobe a bit, but when she comes out she's dressed in the book 4 cover outfit, hinting that she's a copy created by the room. You can also hear the telltale *thump* of the room creating something just before she walks out.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: Cloud!Connie's breakdown and reveal.
  • Humanity Ensues: Archemicarus becomes a human at the end of The Spirit Morph Saga. For some reason, Steven draws him as a humanoid bird, though.
  • Interspecies Romance: Archemicarus marries Lisa at the end of Book 4, after being transformed into a human. Connie finds it rather abrupt, but Steven argues that they hinted at it back in Book 3 when Lisa fell into a volcano and Archemicarus freaked out. Connie thought it was because of Lisa's lost sword, since Lisa's ice magic saved her, but Steven counters that Archemicarus didn't know at the time that Lisa had ice spells.
  • Iris Out: Over a bit of fan art Steven made of the wedding at the end of the book series.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Steven summons his cosplay costume of Archemicarus, he does a dramatic pose and the actual character appears in the background. Steven then realizes he's probably going a bit too far and shoos the background away.
  • Left Hanging: We never got to see Connie's preferred ending.
  • Lighter and Softer: In comparison to the previous episode that utilized Rose's Room (which was filled with Nightmare Fuel), this episode has a much more innocent plot. While things still go wrong for similar reasons, the results aren't nearly as creepy.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: In-universe, Connie regrets her purchase of the hardcover edition, complete with world map, in light of the disappointing ending.
  • Literal-Minded: When asked what he thought of the ending, Steven replies:
    Steven: I thought it was on page 917.
  • Little "No": Steven gives several "no"s on realizing the Connie with him is a creation of the room and not the real Connie.
  • Logic Bomb: Steven tells Cloud!Connie he doesn't want her to do what he wants, getting her stuck in a loop momentarily. Trying to dismiss her breaks the loop, which means she's now set on disobeying him.
  • Mood Whiplash: It starts out with Steven and Connie hanging out making a Fix Fic in Rose's Room, only for Steven to accidentally create a cloud Connie that starts chasing him.
  • Not Herself: Connie, once Steven accidentally conjures a room-generated clone of her.
  • Oblivious Mockery: Connie goes on about how terrible the books' ending was, even saying she thinks the publisher made the author water the content down because the books had gotten more popular. Steven secretly loved the ending, making him feel like a complete idiot and that she'll dislike him if she finds out.
  • Official Couple: In universe, Lisa and Archemicarus get married at the end of the last book of the series.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Connie describes the rebels against the crushing authority, which parallels the Gems' rebellion against the Homeworld Gems.
  • Rule of Three: Steven asks Cloud!Connie 3 times what she wants, and three times she answers by asking him what he wants to do.
  • Running Gag: "Keep it simple."
  • Ship Tease: There's a lot of Steven/Connie moments. Cloud!Connie even switches to a wedding dress when she's trying to pressure Steven into admitting his feelings (about the book).
    I know you like her, and I know you want her to like you, too. That's why you can't tell her, but you want to tell her...
    I know what you really want! I know how you really feel!
    That's why you can't tell her the truth. But you want to! You want to tell her!
    Tell her, Steven!

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