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Recap / Steven Universe S3E18 "Crack the Whip"

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Garnet and Pearl are preparing to head back to the Great North to hunt for Jasper. Unfortunately, Pearl has forgotten that she had sword training scheduled with Connie — who has arrived early.

Pearl is effusively apologetic, and irritated by Amethyst's needling her. Connie understands and bids the two Gems to be safe. Amethyst cheerfully points out they get the training day free, and asks Steven and Connie what they'd like to do.

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It turns out what they'd like to do — is train. The pair spar on the beach, each showing off how much their skills have improved. Steven is excited to be able to use his floating power in battle, and to generate two shields at a time. He asks if Amethyst is watching, and she tries to fake off like she was, but Steven calls her out on it. In response, she shapeshifts her eyes off her face and onto her feet. Steven and Connie are grossed out but satisfied she's watching. They go back to fighting, and Amethyst dozes off. When they ask if she was watching this time, she shapeshifts into Pearl, and applauds them. Connie protests her form was off.

Amethyst tells her that form and technical skill won't matter in the heat of battle, and that she's in her head too much. She tells them they have to be loose and go with the flow.

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Amethyst: Fighting is about the feeling deep in your guts! What do your guts feel like?!

Steven's guts loudly growl, so they decide they need a snack break, and head into town. Their first stop is the Big Donut, where Sadie is at the counter. Amethyst has shapeshifted into a copy of Lars, and proceeds to steal donuts and sodas from behind the counter.

Steven: Sorry, Sadie. It's just Amethyst bein' Amethyst...by not bein' Amethyst.

A bewildered Sadie is willing to let "Lars" off with a donut, but when she sees how much Amethyst has taken, Steven and Connie have to come out of pocket to pay for it.

Thus begins an afternoon of goofing off, fun and silliness. The trio shake up sodas, eat donuts, chase birds, and do the rounds at Funland. Somewhere along the way they get more glowstick bracelets, before heading to the beach with Lion.

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Connie: I don't think I've ever had this much fun in one day!

But the fun abruptly comes to an end as a familiar shape rises from the water — one of the two monsters that Steven and Connie encountered on their gem hunt. Steven attempts the gentle approach but bubbles up as it attacks. Amethyst, who was funning around on a boogie board, rushes toward shore, wraps her whip around the beast, and poofs it after just a little struggle.

Amethyst: Not a pretty win, but I'll take it.

Steven bubbles the gem monster to the temple, then congratulates Amethyst, pointing out that they had a much harder time when there were two of them. As Amethyst realizes there is a second gem monster, it arrives, with a helmeted Jasper riding its back. Jasper has decided to build her own army to fight "Rose" and her army. Seeing only Steven, Connie and Amethyst, though, she asks where the rest of them are.

Steven: They're not here right now!

Jasper is willing to fight who's present, though. Amethyst says she'll take on Jasper and leaves Steven, Connie and Lion to fight the gem monster. Amethyst declares she'll beat Jasper all by herself. As Connie relishes the opportunity to do better in battle than she did during their gem hunt in the Great North.

Amethyst tells Jasper to get a life. The Homeworld gem retorts that fighting is her life! But Jasper is dismayed and annoyed at her sparring partner; she insists she came to fight Rose. She wastes no time deriding her for being a defective runt. She delivers a brutal beatdown on the purple gem, punctuating every hit with another remark about how Amethyst is supposed to be like her, Jasper — a quartz warrior. Jasper sneers that Amethyst is nothing like what she's supposed to be, so she's a joke. It gets to Amethyst who tries to fight back, but is really no match.

Amethyst: [weakly] Rose said I'm perfect just the way I am.

Jasper kicks Amethyst into the sky and after one more verbal barb, hammers Amethyst with her helmet head — and Amethyst goes poof. Jasper grabs Amethyst's gem and is about to shatter it, declaring it an embarrassment she should get rid of. Steven and Connie rush hand in hand to get Amethyst's gem back and — it is Stevonnie who leaps into battle!

They fling a kick into Jasper's chest, retrieve Amethyst's gem, and in response to Jasper's incredulous exclamation that they used a human in a fusion, growl that they don't want to hear anything from Jasper but an apology. Lion defeats the gem beast. It attempts to run away, but Jasper grabs it and mounts it.

Once more the battle is joined: Jasper atop her gem beast, and Stevonnie astride Lion. Stevonnie leaps into the air, throwing Steven's shield. Jasper catches it easily, ready to laugh in their face. But she didn't expect them to descend from above with Rose's great sword! The blow lands so hard that Jasper is forced down through the body of her mount, which poofs and vanishes. Losing to a fusion — again — enrages Jasper.

Jasper: Fusion. Fusion! It's always fusion!

On the beach, Amethyst has re-formed in a panicked rush. She seeks to join the fight again to protect Steven and Connie. Only the fight's over, and Stevonnie is the victor.

Jasper catches up the remaining monster's gem, and backs up, declaring this only a warm-up even as she retreats back to the sea.

Jasper: Jaspers don't quit. We keep going. Until we get what we want.

Stevonnie de-fuses, and Connie and Steven race to hug Amethyst, happy she's back and appears none the worse for wear. Amethyst thanks them for protecting her, and as the kids rush back to the temple full of the glow of victory and ready to tell Garnet and Pearl what they've done, Amethyst has a sobering realization:

Amethyst: ... you didn't need me at all.

Tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Jasper comes clearly to target Steven, mistaking him for Rose, and was able to find him once he was in the water. Garnet and Pearl were away in the North tracking her down and don't arrive in time to help Amethyst, Steven and Connie fight.
    • Amethyst is clearly panicked and scared for Steven and Connie while she's forcing herself to regenerate, knowing that without her there, it's them versus Jasper and a Corrupted Gem.
    • Also, Steven has witnessed Amethyst become unstable due to her gem cracking, and given she's a Cool Big Sis is worried about her when Jasper poofs her.
  • Bad Impressionists: Amethyst shapeshifts into Lars to get free donuts, but her purple shade and white hair remain. Sadie doesn't buy it, especially since "Lars" doesn't even know his own name, she's just too disturbed to object before Steven explains it's just Amethyst. He and Connie then pay for the stuff Amethyst takes.
  • Battle Couple: Steven and Connie work together to fight Jasper and her monsters. After fusing into Stevonnie, they manage to force her to retreat.
  • Bear Hug: Connie and Steven give one to Amethyst after she reforms and is okay.
  • The Beastmaster: Jasper's plan is to intimidate and bully the corrupted Gem monsters into following her, making them into her own army to battle "Rose".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Stevonnie becomes enraged at Jasper for what she did to Amethyst, and proceeds to fight her, showing just how powerful and dangerous in battle they really are.
  • Big Damn Heroes: While Steven and Connie were present beforehand, Stevonnie saves Amethyst from being shattered by Jasper.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Stevonnie manages to drive Jasper off, but Amethyst's self-confidence seems to have taken a major blow from both her defeat at Jasper's hands, and Steven and Connie handling Jasper without her.
  • Blood Knight: Jasper reinforces this trait, explaining she's this way because it's what she's made for, and reminding Amethyst that it's what she was made for, too.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Amethyst argues against training because one can't prepare for what's going to happen in a battle, in contrast to Pearl's heavy focus on it. Amethyst gets utterly demolished by Jasper because of her lack of skill, but Stevonnie shows her mentality does have a point when one is skilled: the stuff they've learned comes together as a result of not overthinking in battle.
  • Break the Badass: As bad as it was losing to Jasper, it was Steven and Connie defeating Jasper without her that really struck a blow to Amethyst's pride.
    Amethyst: Oh, good... you didn't need me at all...
  • Breaking Lecture: Jasper gives one to Amethyst, and it hits her hard.
    "You could've been me! But what are you instead? Just a joke!"
  • Call-Back:
    • Jasper was able to track down Lapis once the latter was on open sea; here she uses the same tactic to find Steven once he's in the water.
    • Jasper still thinks Steven is Rose and has decided to declare war on the Quartz.
    • Also once again a fusion defeats Jasper in battle, to her frustration.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Stevonnie makes a return to save Amethyst.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Stevonnie's ability to fuse more easily comes in handy.
    • Stevonnie's learned ability to tune out harsh words from "Beach City Drift" helps them avoid Jasper's Hannibal Lecture.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jasper only fights when she has an army of monsters, averting Mook Chivalry.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Connie brings up how she froze during her encounter with the Gem Monster in "Gem Hunt".
    • Just like in "Ocean Gem" Steven and Connie charge in "revenge" for the Crystal Gems. This time they fare better due to combat training and their ability to fuse.
    • Sadie is apparently singing the "Pepe's Burgers" jingle when Steven, Amethyst and Connie walk in.
    • Sadie also gets nervous when seeing someone that looks like Lars and pretending to be him raiding the donut fridge. Steven quickly tells her it's just Amethyst shapeshifting, remembering what happened in "The New Lars".
    • When Amethyst reforms after being poofed, she is wearing a new outfit, which last happened on "Reformed".
    • While boogie boarding, Amethyst calls out "bungacowa!" The dream version of her did the same thing while skateboarding in "Chille Tid."
  • Coup de Grâce: Jasper easily poofs Amethyst and intends to break her gem, but Stevonnie stops her.
  • Crisis Makes Perfect: This is the first time Stevonnie has been in a real fight, and Steven and Connie's fighting skills were previously demonstrated to be somewhat lacking. But with Amethyst's life on the line they suddenly prove to be surprisingly effective, even against the extremely dangerous Jasper.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Amethyst easily thrashes the hulking Gem Monster that gave Steven and Connie fits in the last episode.
    • Amethyst winds up on the receiving end against Jasper, who is everything Amethyst was meant to be. Everything Amethyst does is easily countered by Jasper, and she winds up poofed with almost no effort on Jasper's part.
  • Death Glare: Stevonnie shoots Jasper a few.
  • Determinator: Jasper invokes this, saying that Jaspers never give up until they get what they want.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Jasper obviously didn't see Steven fusing with a human into a powerful warrior coming.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Amethyst's suggestion when it comes to fighting. Deconstructed, as she only thinks in these terms and clearly doesn't like training, thinking it's a waste of time because of this. It backfires when Jasper utterly demolishes her. Stevonnie, however, does this in addition to what they've learned from their training, allowing them to fight without freezing like Connie did in the previous episode or being left outmatched in terms of skill like Amethyst was.
  • Dynamic Entry: Stevonnie kicks Jasper in the chest the moment they're finished forming.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Amethyst quietly admits that Steven and Connie didn't need her after they save her from Jasper.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Jasper can't comprehend any reason Rose would have for taking Amethyst in other than her being desperate for troops. She also can't understand why Steven would fuse with a human.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Like Peridot in "Friend Ship", Jasper has gone through quite a bit of Sanity Slippage that's causing her to act a little ridiculous, but still just as much of a threat. As she's defeated she does a Badass Boast about how Jaspers never give up while slowly receding into the water. Stevonnie's only response is "huh...I guess she lives in the ocean now."
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Stevonnie throws their shield at Jasper, but it seemingly has no effect when Jasper catches it...until it turns out the shield throw was a diversion from an overhead slash that does connect, driving Jasper straight through her Corrupted Gem mount.
  • Exact Words:
    Amethyst (to Connie saying she doesn't have a swimsuit to swim in the water): In the heat of battle, you're not gonna have a swimsuit, Connie! (cue Jasper appearing)
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: While Steven and Connie are practicing, Amethyst just lies on her back. When Steven scolds her for not watching, Amethyst responds by moving her eyes to the soles of her feet so she can still watch while lying down. Steven and Connie are disgusted and amused.
  • Fantastic Racism: Jasper's responds in shock and disgust when "Rose" fuses with a human (Connie).
  • Foil: Stevonnie and Lion versus Jasper and a Corrupted Gem. Stevonnie is made of "love" and Lion is loyal, while Jasper is a Blood Knight with a monster she has enslaved.
  • Fusion Dance: Stevonnie appears again to save Amethyst and stop Jasper. This time, they're so in sync about saving Amethyst that they just hold hands and run at Jasper, and Stevonnie happens.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Stevonnie gives a downward slash directly to Jasper's head. Her helmet leaves her mostly undamaged, but pounds her into the ground like a stake, poofing the Corrupted Gem she was standing on.
  • He's Back: After spending "Alone at Sea" with Motive Decay, Jasper has put aside re-fusing with Lapis to get revenge on "Rose".
  • Hey, You!: Amethyst apparently can't remember Lars and Sadie's names, just calling them "Donut Boy" and "Donut Girl".
  • Horse of a Different Color: Stevonnie rides Lion into the fight against Jasper, who is herself riding a Corrupted Gem.
  • It's Personal: The reason Stevonnie is furious with Jasper: she tried to straight up shatter Amethyst and goes so far as tell Jasper they have no desire to listen to a word she has to say that isn't apologizing for it.
  • Ironic Episode Title: "Crack the whip" is an idiom for bossing someone around. The whole episode is about Amethyst, despite having a literal whip, mentoring Steven and Connie in the exact opposite fashion.
  • Kick the Dog: Though Jasper was hardly a nice or harmless character before, her cruel No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Amethyst, complete with an accompanying "The Reason You Suck" Speech and followed by trying to shatter her just for being "an embarrassment" is definitely one of the most gratuitously brutal things anyone has done on the show so far.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Amethyst's approach to training, combat, and all around life, really, focuses around going with the flow, taking things as they come. Unfortunately, this is no match for Jasper's training.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Lion has spent most of the day lying around, but once Amethyst is in danger and Steven and Connie have to stop fighting the gem monster, Lion easily roars and knocks the monster away and joins Stevonnie against Jasper.
    • Stevonnie's previous appearances have been lighthearted and more about fun. Enraged by Jasper poofing Amethyst and trying to shatter her, Stevonnie gets serious and manages to drive Jasper off, poofing her Corrupted Gem mount by driving her through it.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Lion blows a Gem Monster away with his roar once Steven and Connie take their attention off it.
  • Mad Eye: It's very subtle, but after Amethyst reforms, her left eye is consistently squinting, likely a result of rushing her regeneration.
  • Mama Bear: Amethyst doesn't appreciate a Gem Monster or Jasper attacking Steven and Connie.
  • Mistaken Identity: Jasper confusing Steven for Rose Quartz continues in this episode, and is in fact reinforced, when Steven and Connie fuse and prove to be Jasper's equal in combat.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the middle of Amethyst, Connie and Steven's fun, Jasper appears with the Gem monsters she's captured, ready for battle.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Amethyst and Jasper's fight. By the time it's over, the former is utterly broken, both physically and emotionally.
  • Oblivious Transformation: Steven and Connie fuse instinctively to jump to Amethyst's aid, and they don't actually consciously realize it until Jasper says something about it.
  • Off-Model: In a close up on Jasper's face, her stripes are missing and her mouth is on the side.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sour Cream's reaction when the Corrupted Gem monster roars at him.
    • Amethyst's reaction when she learns there's a second beast.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Stevonnie: I don't want to hear anything you say (holds up Amethyst's gem) unless it's "sorry".
  • Puny Earthlings: Jasper shows this opinion of humans when Steven fuses with Connie. She's promptly proved wrong when the resulting fusion defeats her.
  • Reality Ensues: While Amethyst is able to survive being Unskilled, but Strong when pitted against Gem Monsters and other such mindless creatures, once she's up against Jasper — someone who can think, strategize, and has much more strength, skill, and combat experience under her belt than Amethyst does — Amethyst is absolutely NO match at all.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jasper gives a vicious one to Amethyst.
  • The Reveal: Jasper's collecting Gem Monsters to form her own army, in order to combat "Rose".
  • Rolling Attack: Amethyst and Jasper use this against each other. Amethyst is curb-stomped by Jasper, while her own roll is easily stopped.
  • Russian Roulette: Amethyst, Connie, and Steven play this with cans of soda: Amethyst shakes one can and puts it behind her back with two other cans, and whoever chooses the shaken-up can loses. Steven gets sprayed, and Amethyst shakes her can anyway and gets sprayed as well.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • When the first monster shows up, Sour Cream, the only human on the beach, flees in panic.
    • The second Corrupted Gem tries to flee when it's sent flying by Lion, but Jasper grabs it by its tail and forces it to stay in the battle.
  • Sequel Hook: Jasper escapes again with the gems of the monsters in tow, while Amethyst takes a major blow to her self confidence.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In contrast to Amethyst, who let Jasper's Breaking Lecture get to her and enrage her, Stevonnie just shuts her up and blocks her out (just like they learned to do with Kevin last time they appeared).
  • Smug Super: Jasper is happy to rub in Amethyst's face the fact that Amethyst is a weak runt.
  • Sore Loser: As with when she lost to Garnet, Jasper throws a tantrum when Stevonnie defeats her.
  • Squick: In-universe, this is Steven and Connie's response to Amethyst shapeshifting eyes in place of her feet.
  • Super Strength: Stevonnie is strong enough to throw Jasper back a good distance, and slam her through her Corrupted Gem mount with enough force to poof it.
  • Tempting Fate: Amethyst spends the episode claiming that you don't need training to fight, and that she can beat Jasper one on one. When going up against a skilled warrior with a similar gemstone, however, she loses.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Steven throws two shields at Connie during their sparring match, but she deflects them. Later, during their fight with Jasper, Stevonnie throws their shield at Jasper... as a feint to distract from a powerful overhead slash that ends the fight.
  • This Cannot Be!: As with Garnet, Jasper is angry about losing to Stevonnie and blames fusion again.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both Steven and Connie show some major skills when sparring together, which is enhanced when fused as Stevonnie, who is a match for Jasper.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Again, it's actually the promo for the next episode that contains a massive amount of spoilers for this one, including that Jasper returns, and Amethyst got poofed and had to reform.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Explored with Amethyst, who is bored by training and doesn't see the value of it, explaining why she lacks the skill Garnet and Pearl have. This ends up biting her big time when Jasper utterly thrashes her and nearly shatters her gem.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Jasper again, this time after it becomes apparent Stevonnie is a much more dangerous adversary than she thought.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: Connie and Steven blow off training at Amethyst's urging, following her Loophole Abuse to "go with the flow" in battle for practice.
  • Wham Shot: Jasper catches Amethyst's whip.
  • We Will Meet Again: Jasper says this to Stevonnie before leaving, still calling them Rose.
  • You Remind Me Of Her: After Amethyst reforms, she looks at Stevonnie from behind and notices the similarities between them and Rose.

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