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Recap / Steven Universe S2E3 "Joy Ride"

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You know what to do!

On the beach, The Crystal Gems and Steven are digging up the broken fragments of the ship that crashed there after the big fight with Jasper and Peridot. The Gems are doing the heavy lifting, picking up the big pieces. Steven is still doing his part, though, digging up the little pieces with his shovel. The little guy is putting his all into it and working up a sweat as he goes. When he protests, asking if they really have to clean up every last piece of the ship, Garnet and Pearl confirm it must be done for the safety of Beach City...which also reminds them that Peridot is still out there somewhere, and there are many after-effects of the invasion left for them to deal with. Steven goes back to diligently working, thinking over the events they experienced......only to come out of his reverie to see Buck Dewey, Sour Cream, and Jenny Pizza. They want to go have some fun and want Steven to come along. Steven responsibly declines because he really can't bail on his work cleaning up the beach. They are bummed by his refusal but go without him, promising to see him later.


Hours and hours later, the sun has set, and Steven is in his room bemoaning how tired he is and how his calluses have calluses. A thump makes him look up, to discover a slice of pizza has hit his window. For a moment, Steven is bewildered by the apparent rain of pizza, before he realizes that Buck Dewey is throwing pizza at the window to get his attention. When he comes down to ask why Buck is making it pizza rain, Buck makes a reference Steven doesn't recognize, but once again invite him along with them — starting with delivering the remains of the pizza to Mr. Smiley.

On the road in Jenny's car, the teens describe the troubles in their lives. Sour Cream doesn't want to wear a raincoat or be a fisherman like his gibberish-speaking stepdad. Buck Dewey has a conundrum about being the mayor's son. Jenny doesn't want to be the good twin like Kiki, she wants to be the evil one. But all their irritations pale in comparison to Steven describing that the Gems are alien rebels, hated and hunted by their own people; that at least one of the Homeworld Gems seems to believe Steven is his own mother which may actually be true; and that Steven can't talk to Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl about his feelings because he believes they blame him for his mother's absence.


The Cool Kids acknowkedge how serious Steven's life is and agree he needs a break. A green glow off the road catches Sour Cream's attention, and Jenny drives into the field to see what it is. It turns out to be a glowing crater containing Peridot's robonoid-esque escape pod, crashed and empty.

Steven recognizes it for what it is and responsibly decides that he immediately needs to notify the Gems they've found Peridot's escape pod, and warns the cool kids away from it because it could be dangerous. Sour Cream begins throwing rocks at it, offended that it is an invading ship. Steven tries to convince them it's dangerous, but all they do is continue to throw rocks at it. Jenny wants to take selfies with it but Buck declines because he wants to live the moment for what it is — and also the pod makes the lighting weird. Steven tries to stay firm, but Jenny convinces him to take selfies because she has stickers.

Steven tries to insist he has to tell the Gems, but Jenny, Buck and Sour Cream all encourage Steven to have a little fun with it before doing so. Steven gets into the pod and quickly learns how to make it toddle around on its little legs. He again realizes that he should take it back to the temple, but the cool kids remind him of how much pressure he's been under. Before long he's giving them rides and racing Jenny in her car. Egged on by the cool kids, Steven tries to see what else he can do with the little craft — but he triggers some sort of battle programming. The craft's shield's go up, the cockpit fills with liquid, and it sends up a geometric flare signal that lights up the night sky. The pod runs wild, firing indiscriminately and threatening Jenny, Buck and Sour Cream.

The Gems arrive on scene fairly quickly after the flare, and immediately are ready for battle. Jenny tries to warn them off, but they are having none of it; they ignore the humans and begin attacking, convinced that Peridot is inside and probably weak from the landing since the craft is damaged. Steven tries to call out to them to let them know he's inside, but they can't hear him. Pearl throws her spear into the craft, and Garnet launches into action, soliloquizing all the while about how dare Peridot come here and think she can cause trouble. Before she is ready to throw the coup de grace, though, Jenny Pizza gets between her power fist and the craft, stopping Garnet short.

Jenny: Steven's in there!

The Gems, horrified, stop cold. Garnet cracks the pod open like an egg and releases Steven. They all begin scolding him for playing with the pod instead of coming right to them and letting them deal with it. The cool kids, however, step right up and defend Steven, pointing out that he wanted to tell the Gems at once, but they talked him into having fun instead. They go on to point out to the Gems that while they're sure what he's doing with the Gems is important, Steven has been through a whole lot for a little kid his age, and he needs a break.

The Crystal Gems consider this for a little bit.

Amethyst: He did just break us out of space jail.

It's not long before Garnet comes to a decision.

Garnet:'re ungrounded from TV.

The Crystal Gems then cheerfully join in with the cool kids and Steven, having fun with the remains of the crashed pod.


  • Adult Fear: The Gems actually attack Steven in the pod because they believe he's Peridot, and they are clearly horrified when they see Steven in there.
  • Anger Born of Worry: The Gems are angered with Steven when they find out they could've killed him because he was messing about in Peridot's pod. They lighten up with the Cool Kids point out how much pressure Steven's been under.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Completely averted: when Steven elaborates on the various troubles his life has, despite his age, the Cool Kids are astounded but immediately believe and accept what Steven has said.
  • Beam Spam: Peridot's escape pod is remarkably well-armed for a temporary, single-occupant vehicle, and is able to shoot energy beams in at least three separate direction simultaneously.
  • Blank White Eyes: Steven's eyes turn white after being freed from the pod.
  • Breathable Liquid: Peridot's escape pod fills with a sparkly liquid when it goes rogue, presumably to cushion acceleration. The liquid turns out to be breathable — which is convenient, considering a Gem wouldn't need to breathe.
  • Call-Back:
    • Steven and the Gems are busy trying to clean up the wreckage of Peridot's ship from "Jail Break". Peridot's escape to Earth was seen in the same episode.
    • Steven mentions how he has been grounded from TV for 1000 years after his actions in "Fusion Cuisine". At the end, Garnet finally agrees to restore Steven's TV privileges.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When talking to the gang, Steven mentions, among other things, the events of "The Return" and "Jail Break" to them, leaving them stunned.
    • When commenting about how Homeworld Gems think he's Rose Quartz, Steven mentions that it's kinda true, remembering Rose's video on her being half of him from "Lion 3: Straight to Video".
    • When first approaching the crash site, Sour Cream comments that that the eerie green glow is "as bright as, like, 600 glowsticks". In "Alone Together", he was giving out glowsticks as party favors at the rave he was hosting.
    • As in "Lars and the Cool Kids", Sour Cream detaches the ends of his pants, this time to swing them around like race flags.
  • Crop Circles: Peridot's escape pod landed in a tall grass meadow, creating a huge crater at the center of a glowing square/diamond pattern. After Steven starts to play around with it, he and Jenny write in the meadow "Steven Rulz".
  • Disappointed in You: Garnet shames Steven for not contacting the Gems about finding Peridot's escape pod.
  • Enter Stage Window: Steven gets pizza slices thrown at his window to get his attention.
  • Evil Twin: Jenny describes herself as "the evil twin" between herself and her sister Kiki, though it's more a case of Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Played with. When Steven first activates the pod, it functions as a simplistic walker which Steven controls through hand movements, which Steven gets the hang of pretty quickly. When he accidentally triggers the cockpit shield, however, it enters flight mode and goes berserk. The only function Steven manages to use is the signal flare, and that's entirely by accident.
  • Flare Gun: The escape pod shoots a flare which bursts into a giant diamond pattern, allowing the Crystal Gems to locate it.
  • Freudian Slip: As the Cool Kids are defending Steven, Sour Cream blurts out "Just let him be a DJ!"
  • Genre Blindness: This is the second time the Cool Kids have found something related to the Gems and nearly gotten themselves killed playing with it. The only difference is Steven also somewhat irresponsible, rather than just having failed to dissuade them.
  • Go Through Me: Jenny jumps in between Garnet's fist and the pod to save Steven, who was inside it. Garnet stops in time and Jenny explains what's actually going on.
  • The Heart: Discussed by Buck Dewey when he trying to convince Steven to come along.
    Buck Dewey: You have that much needed counterpoint to our cynical world view. You have to come.
  • Ice-Cream Koan:
    Steven: We can't hang out at night! Night is for dreaming.
    Sour Cream: Night is whatever you want it to be. Time is a illusion.
  • Internal Reveal: Steven tells Buck, Sour Cream and Jenny about the big events of the last season, sending them into Stunned Silence.
  • Just a Kid: Inverted and enforced. The Gems forget that Steven is still a child who just endured a severely traumatic experience and don't give him time to relax. At the same time, Steven forces himself to be more serious in order to reach their expectations. The Cool Kids can sympathize with Steven since they're teenagers with families always trying to impose their will over them, and encourage him to goof around and have a little fun; after all, he's still a kid.
  • Literal-Minded: When the Cool Kids tell Steven "Welcome back to Earth," he assumes they somehow found out he left the planet at the end of season 1. Likewise, Steven declines Buck's suggestion to go mess with "the squares" as he's fond of all basic shapes.
  • Logic Bomb: Buck confuses himself after he says his father can't tell him how to be the mayor's son... because he's the mayor's son.
    Buck: You can't tell me what to do, I'm the mayor's—wait...
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Steven thinks the Gems might blame him for Rose's death. He might have gotten the idea from Pearl's outburst in "Rose's Scabbard".
  • Misery Poker: While driving with Steven, all the Cool Kids vent about their familial problems, and each believes that he or she has the worst life. Steven accidentally wins by talking about his issues, which involve kidnapping, being his own mother, and nearly getting killed. After hearing about this, the Cool Kids stop complaining to comfort him.
  • Mistaken Identity:
    • Steven brings up the fact that the Homeworld Gems think he's Rose Quartz, though he concedes that, given the video in "Lion 3", it's technically true.
    • When the Gems find Steven in the out-of-control pod, they think he's Peridot and start attacking the pod with him still in it.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode gets more serious when Steven starts discussing his issues after the others talked about their decidedly less serious ones. Then they find Peridot's escape pod and have some fun with it, but it really get serious when Steven gets trapped in the pod and accidentally signals the Gems, who then attack the pod under the assumption Peridot is still inside.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Garnet is clearly horrified when she realizes that the Gems were attacking Steven. The Gems also seem to feel guilty to realize that they'd been neglecting Steven's needs after the battle with Jasper and Peridot and he needs time to be a kid to actually be healthy. Steven himself takes the Crystal Gems' calling out to heart, knowing that the very thing they're scolding him for not doing was his original intention to begin with, before the Cool Kids come to his defense.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Cool Kids were the ones who convinced Steven to enter the pod in the first place.
  • Off-Model:
    • Sour Cream's shirt can be seen through part of Steven's hair at one point.
    • Steven loses his pupils when Garnet breaks open the pod.
  • Photo Montage: The screen becomes of a series of pictures taken with a phone three times. First with the escape pod, second with Steven in the pod when it starts going crazy, and the last one with the group having fun.
  • Planar Shockwave: Peridot's escape pods sends out a planar shockwave when Steven loses control of it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If the Gems had taken two seconds to listen to the Cool Kids, they wouldn't have attacked the pod with Steven still inside.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure: Steven's smart enough to realize Buck's "pizza rain" is a reference to something, but doesn't get what.
  • Power Glows: Peridot's escape pod glows from a deep crater and has created a giant diamond pattern in the field.
  • Rule of Three: Steven tries three times to just take the pod back to the Gems. Three times the cool kids shut him down, and the third time is when the pod goes into combat mode.
  • Sequel Hook: Peridot is still out there. And she's near Beach City.
  • Stunned Silence: Everyone except Steven is left silent after his Internal Reveal about a bunch of Gem stuff and him thinking the Gems blame him for his mother being gone. Jenny even turns the radio off for extra emphasis.
  • The Pollyanna: Buck Dewey, after hearing Steven talk about his problems, mentions how suprised he is that Steven still seems so upbeat in the face of everything he's been through.
  • There Are No Therapists: Although talking to Connie helped a little, it's painfully clear here that Steven still has some unresolved issues; the idea that the Gems resent him for Rose's death is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: A very mild example, but the Cool Kids convince Steven to have some fun with Peridot's pod instead of bringing it to the Gems, with disastrous results. Their other interactions are more Positive Friend Influence, as them compelling him to have some fun is shown as a good thing.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Steven eventually crawls in a ball when the Gems attack the pod.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Gems chastise Steven for not bringing the escape pod back to the temple as soon as he found it, but in return the Cool Kids call them out for not giving Steven a break from all the stuff he's been through.


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