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Recap / Steven Universe S3E11 "Beach City Drift"

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Original airdate: July 22nd, 2016

Production code: 1031-090

Steven and Connie face their biggest foe in a car race.


  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The cars are animated in CG anytime they're racing.
  • Acoustic License: Stevonnie and Kevin are able to carry on a conversation even when they're in separate cars, with the windows up, going fast enough that the air resistance should drown out anything they would say.
  • An Aesop: The more you make an effort to hate someone, the more you allow them to control you, and moving on can sometimes be the best revenge.
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?:
    Greg: (afixing a "Dad on Board" bumper sticker) This baby's a Dondai Supremo from the era of frosted tips, mood rings, slap bracelets.
    (Connie and Steven stare in complete silence)
    Greg: You know, before you kids were born.
    Connie: What a time to be alive.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: At first, Kevin doesn't think there's anything supernatural about Stevonnie, believing them to be just one kid on another's shoulders.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Connie gets Steven off their Beat Them at Their Own Game plan asking why they even need to play his game.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After Connie's Armor-Piercing Question, Steven tries to justify Kevin must pay for his callousness, and insists they're not obsessed with him. Connie points out that Kevin is literally their driving force behind the race and their second time fusing as Stevonnie. This is the wake-up call Steven needs to hear, as it's a gut punch that someone he detests so much has influenced something so personal to him and Connie.
  • Artistic Licence – Law: Steven and Connie fuse in order to be legally old enough to drive, after the latter says it's "against the law" for kids to drive. Problem is, simply being an adult doesn't make you a legally qualified driver, you still have to pass an official driving test to earn a drivers licence, something Stevonnie clearly hasn't done. Probebly justified as Steven and Connie are only kids and might not understand this. In fact, a later episode, "Last One Out of Beach City", implies that Steven believes that all adults have drivers licences.
  • Ascended Meme: After "Jailbreak", the internet made jokes about Garnet being "two lesbians in a trench coat trying to sneak into an R-rated movie". In this episode, Kevin calls Stevonnie "two kids in a beautiful trench coat".
  • Attention Whore: Kevin seems to need the attention of others to satisfy himself, and his Jerkass behavior seems to be at least partially to keep people interested in him through hatred. When Stevonnie stops responding and leaves, he has a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Bad Vibrations: Steven's water bucket ripples as Kevin's sports car drives up.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Steven and Connie's plan was to beat Kevin at the race. Subverted when they de-fuse and realize it's not worth it.
  • Berserk Button: When Steven sees Kevin, he's mad. When Kevin starts picking on his father, he's vengeful!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Steven and Connie, very nice kids, both want to get back at Kevin for being a jerk.
  • The Big Race: The plot of the episode centers on a downhill street race between Stevonnie and Kevin.
  • Bland-Name Product: Greg's new car is a "Dondai" while Kevin's is a "Himitsu" (Japanese for "secret"), apparently playing on Hyundai and Mitsubishi.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Kevin doesn't recognize Steven and Connie at the carwash, despite all Steven's rage at him. He does remember Stevonnie, just not the kids Stevonnie split into.
  • Call-Back:
    • Greg still has most of the $10,000,000 check he was given in "Drop Beat Dad" and subsequently spent on a ritzy vacation to Empire City in "Mr. Greg". When Kevin runs off without paying for his car wash, Greg consoles himself by saying "What do I care? I'm rich."
    • In "Mr. Greg", one of Steven's suggestions was that Greg use the money to buy a house and/or a car. Greg rejected both at the time because he has his van, but changed his mind here out of a fondness for the Dondai.
    • Kevin, the guy who harassed Stevonnie in "Alone Together", shows up to get his car cleaned. Steven and Connie immediately remember both him and their disgust toward him, though it takes longer for him to recognize them until Stevonnie appears.
    • Also like in "Alone Together", Stevonnie gets overwhelmed and has a panic attack which is visually represented by abstract hallucinations.
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, Greg explains how he's always wanted a Dondai Supremo, with pictures showing him hugging the car and mimicking a Spaghetti Kiss (before the owner called the cops on him).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kevin's car was previously seen in advertisements in Empire City in "Same Old World" and "Mr. Greg".
    • Before the race begins, Kevin whispers "It's Kevin time", which was what he said before he started dancing in "Alone Together".
  • Cool Shades: Steven dons a pair of aviator sunglasses when pretending to drive Greg's new car.
  • Death Glare: Steven, of all people, stares at Kevin with unrestrained hate as he's leaving the car wash.
  • Entitled to Have You: The reason Connie and Steven hate Kevin is that he wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Stevonnie being a Graceful Loser and not responding to his insults freaks Kevin out; he can't imagine them genuinely not being interested in him as even an enemy anymore.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Kevin might be racing with the Cool Kids, but that doesn't mean they care for his narcissistic behavior. It's implied that even Ronaldo, widely seen as the town's nutbar conspiracy guy, ranks higher on the social totem pole than Kevin. Kevin, for his part, seems to neither notice nor care and actively feeds off of their dislike.
  • Fusion Dance: Steven and Connie fuse intentionally twice, both times offscreen.
  • Graceful Loser: After Steven and Connie agree that Kevin isn't worth obsessing over, they admit defeat while shaking Kevin's hand, say the view was nice, and walk off happily. This infuriates Kevin, who was enjoying his win and was hoping to rub it in Stevonnie's face.
  • Hallucinations: During the race, Stevonnie's focus on getting back at Kevin to the exclusion of all else culminates in a vivid hallucination of the mountains, sky, and track behind them disintegrating and turning to darkness. This causes Stevonnie to bring the car to a stop, defuse, and for Steven and Connie to reassess their situation.
  • Hated by All: No one likes Kevin, and they boo when he wins against Stevonnie. Similarly, the episode's title card has Kevin flirting with a very unamused Stevonnie as Jenny, Ronaldo, and Lapis look at him in distaste, while Steven and Connie rush to Stevonnie's aid.
  • Hate Sink: You know Kevin is a scumbag if Steven snarls at his very presence only after the second time they've met. This is deconstructed when not only is Steven consumed with that hatred for Kevin, but it feeds into a vicious cycle where he tries to retaliate Kevin, only to make the latter happier for it.
  • High School AU: The promo title card has Kevin being his creepy self to Stevonnie as they're getting on their bike in front of the school. Confusingly, Steven and Connie are also in the image, worriedly running toward Stevonnie.
  • Homage: The car race homages Initial D, including CGI cars, anime speed lines, and Eurobeat-inspired music. Stevonnie and Kevin's cars greatly resemble those driven by that manga's protagonist and his first opponent, respectively. Kevin's Car also resembles Drifter from Roary the Racing Car.
  • Hourglass Plot: When Stevonnie first gets to the race track, they're consumed with rage towards Kevin, who's happy with it, because it's feeding his ego. After losing the race without complaint, Stevonnie goes away happy with the fact that they enjoyed the view, as Kevin desperately insists that they're obsessed with him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: At the end, Kevin tries to claim Stevonnie is obsessed with him, when it's really the opposite. May count as Psychological Projection.
  • Instant Expert: Steven and Connie have never driven before, but Stevonnie can use a stick shift as if they've practiced, with drifts as good as a stunt driver. Steven did show at least some working knowledge of a stick shift back in "Lars and the Cool Kids", but that hardly covers their precision driving.
  • Irony: By walking away and being the better person(s), Steven and Connie/Stevonnie wounded Kevin's ego, with the implication that he's obsessed with them now.
  • It's All About Me: Kevin is extremely self-centered, who thrives on pleasure and amusement taken from people's reactions to him, even it is hate. Steven and Connie moving past caring about him causes him to fall apart, and he can't comprehend them not caring about him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: When Stevonnie asks why Kevin is a jerk all the time, he claims it's a facade that stems from his sick little brother... Then he laughs that off, admits his having a brother was a lie, and says he's a jerk because it amuses him.
  • Just Ignore It: Greg advises Steven to just ignore Kevin, and Connie tries to do so, but can't. The lesson finally registers when Stevonnie defuses due to focusing on winning and revenge.
  • Karma Houdini: Stevonnie "borrowed" Greg's dream car for a race without asking for permission, since Greg's suggestion was to simply not give Kevin the satisfaction of letting him push their buttons. As far as the episode tells us, they manage to drive it back without being caught.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Kevin didn't have any real reason to insult Greg and drive away from It's A Wash without paying. He just did it to be an ass.
    • When confronted on why he's such an ass, Kevin tells a story about how he's hurting inside due to his seriously ill younger brother...and then immediately laughs it off, says he was lying about the whole "sick little brother" thing, and proudly states the only reason he's an ass is because it's funny!
  • Kids Driving Cars: Steven and Connie fuse into their Older Alter Ego Stevonnie to drive, reasoning that it's just kids that aren't allowed to drive (never mind that they're still unlicensed).
  • Literal-Minded:
    • When Greg says he felt it was a good idea to buy a new car, Connie immediately points out the giant "!!USED!!" sticker on the side.
    • Steven says he hates Kevin, and Greg objects to such a strong, four-letter word. Steven follows this up by calling Kevin a "creep", and when Greg protests, Steven insists it's a five-letter word.
    • Connie says she smells what's Steven stepping in when she finds out his idea. He then replies "Ew".
  • Loophole Abuse: Greg gets mad about Steven describing his feelings for Kevin as "Hate", telling him to "watch the four-letter words". He chides Steven again when he calls Kevin a creep, causing Steven to protest "That's five letters!"
  • Magic Pants: Connie's jacket aside, this time Stevonnie is dressed solely in Steven's outfit, but Connie's outfit is fine once they split apart.
  • Mundane Luxury: Greg's favorite thing about the Dondai isn't its engine power or handling (though those are up there), but the tape deck it comes with.
  • Mundane Utility: Steven and Connie fuse so they can race Kevin. Played with, in that their motives end up causing the fusion to fail, and it's only when they do it for fun that they're able to fuse again.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Steven is shocked to realize that he and Connie are obsessed with Kevin, and that they only fused to beat him.
  • Narcissist: Kevin is extremely narcissistic and self absorbed.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Just to drive home that Kevin really is as bad as we remember, he bosses around Greg and calls him "Grandpa" before driving off without paying the carwash bill.
  • Nitro Boost: Kevin uses a nitrous boost at the last minute of the race to win.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Steven has been kidnapped, threatened with death, thrown in a cage and many other horrible, horrible things, all while being the nicest, most optimistic kid you could ever meet. So when he goes on about how much he hates Kevin without even trying to hide it, you know he means it!
  • Power Incontinence: Stevonnie de-fuses because Steven and Connie are more focused on winning than they are on enjoying themselves. They fuse again once they decide to forget about Kevin and just have fun.
  • Precocious Crush: Kevin assumes that Stevonnie (who he thinks is just Steven and Connie in disguise, not their own person) has a crush on him, or at least trolls them about it.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: While Kevin won the race, he has an angry tantrum when Stevonnie acts like a Graceful Loser and they drive away from him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Steven and Connie, the respective teacher and librarian in the show's episodic title cards' High School AU, are seen rushing worriedly towards Stevonnie, a student whom Keven is trying to flirt with.
  • Restrained Revenge: Stevonnie decides that living well is the best revenge to take against Kevin, so they just walk off contently after losing to him. It works even better than they intended, as he ends up being the one obsessed with them.
  • Revenge Before Reason: As justified as Connie and Steven's hatred for Kevin is, trying to get back at him is just making them angrier and Kevin happier.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Kevin accuses Stevonnie/Steven and Connie of being "obsessed" with him because he's so irresistible. As Steven is horrified to realized, his hate for Kevin reaches the point of obsession.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Once they decide to race for fun instead of trying to teach Kevin a lesson, Stevonnie doesn't mind coming in second, since they did pretty well for their first time driving a car.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Throughout the story, Stevonnie has been fixated on "beating" Kevin at his own game somehow, only to make Kevin more pleased, and angering themselves more and more. Once Steven and Connie decide to fuse and finish the race for their own sake, Kevin's taunts lose their edge, as they're starting to enjoy themselves as Stevonnie again. And this is what truly gets under Kevin's skin.
  • Skewed Priorities: Towards the climax, Stevonnie nearly gets into an accident from how stressful obsessing over Kevin has become. When Connie and Steven manage to come out of the experience unscathed, they share a relieved sigh for a moment. ...Before Steven voices how thankful he is that the Dondai Supremo is okay. At hearing this, this is the moment Connie realizes their fixation on "beating" Kevin is going too far if their well-being has taken a backseat.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Steven and Connie want to get back at Kevin, but realize they're wasting their time obsessing over him. But ignoring him drives him crazy, so they actually do get the best of him anyway.
  • Symbolism: As the race against Kevin progresses, Stevonnie has a hallucination where everything but Kevin's car falls away, from the sky to the mountains and even the road. The only thing left is Kevin's car and his visage, reflecting Stevonnie's laser-guided fixation on him. After Steven and Connie resolve to let go of their hatred and Kevin and finish the race for their sake, Stevonnie no longer pays mind to Kevin. Instead Stevonnie notices and enjoys the view of Beach City and the lovely night sky, beautifully indicating Steven and Connie have moved past their obsession with beating Kevin.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Kevin assumes Stevonnie are children on top of each other in a costume, which is metaphorically true.
  • Tranquil Fury: Steven says Connie doesn't look mad at Kevin, and she replies that she's thinking angry.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: When their Fusion fails and they spin out, Steven and Connie are able to discuss why it failed, re-fuse, then make their way back to Kevin even though he should have logically made it to the bottom in that amount of time. It's implied Kevin slowed down to let them catch up, since he wants them to see him win.
  • Troll: Everything Kevin does he does to frustrate people, including Stevonnie, for his amusement.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Kevin gloats when he wins both races, and it's even implied that he slowed down so that Stevonnie could see him win.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kevin loses his cool when Stevonnie ignores his gloating and casually drives away. He shouts out at them as they leave, loudly insisting that they're still obsessed with him.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: Steven and Connie fuse to become an adult and borrow Greg's car to race with Kevin.