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Recap / Steven Universe S2E5 "Story for Steven"

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Fly like a comet... soar like a comet ...crash like a comet...
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It's a rainy evening in Beach City. In the Universe van, Greg and Steven are noodling around musically. Greg cheerfully observes that although he's losing his hair, he isn't losing his musical skill.

As they put down their instruments, an old photo falls out of Greg's equipment. Steven asks who it is, and Greg, still cheerful, explains that's one of the last pictures he took with his manager, Marty. Still smiling reminiscently, Greg says, "He's dead to me," but goes on to say that in a roundabout way, he has Marty to thank for how Greg met Steven's mother Rose.

Steven asks to hear the story. Greg insists he's already told Steven the story a million times. Steven counters that he's never heard a version with Marty in it. So Greg gives in and retells the story.

Flashback: Young Greg Universe is college aged, and is peforming his song, "Comet". But when the song ends, it turns out that the audience is empty. Dozens of folding chairs are spread out before the makeshift stage, but no one is in them. However, in the back, there's a beautiful, tall, pink-haired woman, applauding. Greg gives his thank you spiel and plugs the merch table, where Marty is — supposed to be waiting to sell merch, but isn't. Greg goes to man the table, and the beautiful pink-haired woman greets him there. They talk briefly about his album, Space Train to the Cosmos — Greg, poetically, but Rose taking his words in a more literal sense. He gives her a free CD, and is about to give her a T-shirt. Her size isn't on the table, though, so Greg asks her to wait long enough for him to go get one.

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He goes to the back of his van, only for the doors to burst open, revealing Marty and his current squeeze, a young woman he introduces as Vidalia. Marty scolds Greg for giving away free merch, and reminds Greg that he's diminishing his 75% by doing so. But once they get on the road, they'll make more money.

Greg wanders his way to the beach, with the temple on the hill, but it's all fenced off with a sign that says "KEEP OFF THE BEACH ... Please".

He sees a purple owl sitting on the fence while he pensively considers what to do next. To his surprise the owl talks — in the voice the viewers would know as Amethyst. Greg, undaunted, asks if she knows where to find the tall pink-haired woman. The Amethyst owl replies "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you," and flies off, laughing. Undaunted and un-freaked by the sight of a talking owl, he follows her to the cave.

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A younger Amethyst and Pearl are there, the former explaining she met an interesting human. Greg introduces himself, to Pearl's surprise. Garnet arrives shortly thereafter and demands that Greg state his purpose, which Greg explains is to see Rose. She decides the best way to get rid of the human is to throw him over the fence. As Greg protests, Rose arrives. Garnet, embarrassed at being caught, drops him. Rose helps Greg up and as they discuss why he's come, he realizes that Marty's probably done with his party and is ready to leave. He runs off, but not before calling poetic parting words to Rose.

Greg: I hope the stars will align for us to meet again!

As Marty drives the van out of Beach City, Greg's mind is still on the town they left behind, and the woman who so caught his attention. Marty mistakes him for waxing poetic and suggests he save it for performing. Greg becomes enraged at his manager's cavalier and dehumanizing attitude toward women when Greg describes the women we know as the Crystal Gems. When Marty turns to tell Greg that Marty decides what's important because he's the manager and Greg just a spaced out kid, and nearly drives them into a head-on collision with a semi-truck in doing so, Greg reaches his limit. He kicks Marty out of the van, then turns around and puts pedal to the metal back to Beach City, driving straight through the fence and onto the beach.

He returns to the temple, knocks on the door, and announces to no one that he can play for Rose now. He begins to sing, plaintively, hopefully:

Do you believe in destiny?
close your eyes and leave the rest to me...
Do you believe in fantasy?
I have to when it's right in front of me

and Rose, wearing the Mr. Universe T-shirt he brought her, emerges. She asks him politely to go away, saying he's very cute, and she'd love to play with him, but his life is short and she wouldn't want to get in betwen him and what he wants.

Greg's immediate and serious reply stuns her into starry-eyed silence:

Well that's gonna be a problem... you're everything I want!

As the scene returns to the present, Greg and Steven agree that Marty was the worst, but Greg says that Marty made it easy for him to stay...and puts the photo up next to his other photos.


Tropes:

  • Auto Erotica: Subtly implied to be what Marty and Vidalia were doing in the van.
  • Book Dumb: Apparently Greg dropped out of community college.
  • Buffy Speak: Before learning her name, Greg referred to Rose as the "big pink lady", "mystery woman," and other similar names.
  • Call-Back: Back in "Laser Light Cannon", Greg mentioned that Rose was the only attendee to his one-man show. Sure enough, when Greg finishes his song and the effects go away, all the seats are empty and Rose is clapping.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Amethyst has Rapunzel Hair in the present but shorter hair here. When she meets Greg, she tells him that she likes his hair.
    • Pearl's outfit briefly appeared when she was regenerating in "Steven the Swordfighter".
  • Career Versus Man: Gender-flipped. Greg starts to have doubts about being a one-man band, since he fell in love with the "very tall pink lady" but being a rock star was always his dream. Thanks to Marty's jerkassery, it was easy for him to pick Rose as his new dream.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Greg tells Marty about shapeshifting women who appear from beams of light, he assumes Greg is being poetic rather than literal.
  • Cheerful Child: Despite being several thousand years old, Amethyst comes off as this when Greg meets her for the first time, looking more like an 8-year-old girl in a tomboy-like dress than the young-adult/older teenager she looks like in the present day.
  • Chubby Chaser: Greg is one. When he mentions to Marty he met a woman that he likes, the first thing Marty asks about her is how big she was.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Pearl defensively states that she can sing when Rose seems smitten with Greg. Garnet and Amethyst find it hilarious.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Greg thinks he may be late and asks the time, Pearl simply stares up and says "Nighttime?"
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Greg has the reframed photograph of himself and Rose in his van, which appeared in "Maximum Capacity".
    • Greg's song has a vocoder effect on his voice, something he showed he knew how to use in "The Message".
    • The beach has a fence around it, which Pearl mentioned used to be there in "Full Disclosure".note 
    • He also has the picture of Steven with cat fingers that Ronaldo took in "Cat Fingers".
    • The t-shirt Greg gives to Rose is the one we see in Lion's mane in "Lion 3: Straight to Video".
    • Amethyst's behavior is more feral in contrast with the other Gems; after all, she was a Wild Child living alone in the Kindergarten as stated in "On the Run". Presumably meeting Greg helped her mature a bit.
    • The Temple is missing the beach house, like it was when seen in Rose's video in "Lion 3: Straight to Video".
    • Pearl does sing! She sang in "Coach Steven".
    • The sign on the fence reading "Please" is written in Rose's handwriting, previously seen on the video tape in "Lion 3: Straight to Video".
    • During one of the shots in the flashback, you can see a box full of the red-with-yellow-shirts that Steven always wears in the back of Greg's van. Not only that, but back in Lars and the Cool Kids, Steven mentions that he doesn't know where his clothes came from.
  • Crush Blush: Greg's crush on Rose couldn't be more obvious.
  • Cultured Badass: Though Rose falls victim to the same literal-mindedness of the other Gems, particularly in regards to Greg's "train to the stars", she's familiar enough with music that she appreciates that bands have gimmicks and recognized that Greg's was about space. The reason she even met him was from being unable to resist his listening to his music, too.
  • Determinator: Greg doesn't care about a purple, talking owl saying that if he keeps asking stuff, it would have to kill him or the fact that there's a fence blocking the way, super strong ladies that come out of beams of lights threating him or his super jerk manager trying to control his life; he would not stop at anything in order to be with the mysterious pink lady.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Steven asks about Greg's former manager, Marty. Before he tells his story, he says "He's dead to me" with a reminiscent smile on his face.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Greg had enough of Marty controlling his life just to get quick cash.
  • Dramatic Irony: Rose is concerned that she'll ruin Greg's short life, but the viewer knows that Greg will be outliving her.
  • Double Entendre: Marty asks Greg "how big" Rose was, obviously referring to her bust. Greg, who has a thing for tall women, gushes that she was probably 8 feet.
  • Favors for the Sexy: Greg gives Rose a free album and t-shirt, which annoys Marty.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since we already know how they got together. This is lampshaded when Greg mentions that he's told this story to Steven before, except without mentioning Marty.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: As Greg and Marty are leaving Beach City, the camera lingers on a box full of shirts identical to the kind Steven wears.
  • Get Out!: What Greg tells Marty so he can be with Rose.
  • Hair Flip: To emphasize that Greg is not bald, he flips his hair a lot and there's a lot of wind that makes it flow while he's singing in the concert.
  • Hey, You!: Not knowing Greg's name when he first walks into the temple, Pearl cautiously addresses him as "you."
  • How Dad Met Mom: The episode is Greg telling Steven how he first met Rose Quartz.
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Amethyst says this to Greg when he asks about Rose. Greg is more intrigued by the possibility of finding Rose than scared of an owl threatening him.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: When Amethyst is telling Pearl about her encounter with Greg, Pearl asks whether "it spoke to you?" However, once she realizes Greg is actually present, she uses male pronouns.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Greg had a full head of hair and was pretty fit when he met Rose.
  • Jerkass: Marty, who calls Greg a kid and only cares about making money from concerts.
  • Literal-Minded: To show how disconnected they are from humans, Rose assumes Greg's "space train to the cosmos" to be a literal train and is confused as to why he wouldn't want to come back. Later on, Pearl answers Greg's "what time is it" question with "nighttime" instead of a specific hour.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Greg in his 20's was quite cute and not only had his very long hair, but also a pompadour-like hairdo.
  • Love at First Sight: Greg and Rose fall for each other as soon as they meet, although Rose is reluctant to act on her feelings since she knows she'll outlive Greg.
  • Love Confession: "You're everything I want!"
  • Luminescent Blush: Garnet when Rose caught her almost throwing Greg over the fence, Pearl when Amethyst and Garnet giggled over her jealous remark and Steven while playfully teasing his dad over his love for Rose.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Given a nod when Rose initially tries to reject Greg because she'll long outlive him and doesn't want to ruin his dreams (she even said he was really cute and would like to play with him, implying that a relationship between them would be just a dalliance for her even if it lasted his whole life). When Greg tells her that his dream is to be with her, you can tell she's flattered. He also told her that he just destroyed his dreams of being a musician just moments earlier anyway.
  • Meaningful Echo: While talking about Greg's album, Rose asked how he would return (to Earth) and Greg said he'll never return; she expresses sadness because it's his home. Later, Greg expresses his desire to come back (to Beach City) and be with Rose. He then chooses to stay now that he has found home.
  • Mock Millionaire: In the flashback, Marty said he's going to make both himself and Greg rich "and as far as these saltwater saps" knew, they already were.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Marty being a jerk towards Greg made it easy for him to decide to stay in Beach City.
    Steven: Man, Marty was the worst!
    Greg: Oh, yeah, he was awful. But I guess I owe him a lot. He made it easy for me to stay.
  • No Social Skills: Apart from Rose, the Gems really have no idea how to react when Greg shows up to the Temple. It's clear they'd rather not interact with humans at all, since they have the beach fenced off.
  • Noodle Incident: When Garnet warps into the temple, she's carrying two bubbled gems which she quickly teleports away.
  • Not So Stoic: Garnet finds Pearl's jealous declaration about being able to sing hilarious, bursting into giggles.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Rose only knew Greg as "Mr. Universe" and calls him that for the whole episode.
  • Really Gets Around: Implied with Marty's "multiple smaller women" comment.
  • Remember the New Guy?: This is the first we've heard of Marty. This is handwaved when Greg says Marty is "dead to me" because he was such a jerk. Greg also lampshades the fact that he thought he told Steven about him already.
  • The Rock Star: Greg, who dropped out of community college to follow his dream of being one.
  • Rule of Three: The lyrics to Greg's first song kind of parallel his path to Rose:
    • "I fly like a comet": Greg planned to fly to stardom.
    • "I soar like a comet": Marty planned to launch Greg to greater heights in big cities.
    • "I crash like a comet": He crashes —literally— in Beach City and is happy to settle there after meeting Rose — and discovers that his "starchild" schtick has brought him to a genuine person from space.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Greg sang his improvised song "Do you believe in destiny?" at the empty temple, hoping that Rose could somehow hear him. The fact that she appeared, and tried to let him down gently, proves she did and was very flattered.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Amethyst is noticeably younger. She looks, acts, and is treated like a 7 year old despite being at least 5000 years old and looking as old in the present as she did in the painting seen in "So Many Birthdays" from hundreds of years ago.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
  • Tell Me About My Father: Played with; Steven's heard the story before, but he insists on hearing the version with Marty.
  • Title Drop: When Greg is getting ready to tell Steven the story, Steven yells "Story for Steven!"
  • Unreliable Narrator: Downplayed. Marty looked more mean in Greg's flashback than he looks in the photo, reflecting how Greg sees him now that he can tell how much of a jerk he was.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Most of the episode shows how Rose and Greg got together.

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