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Recap / Steven Universe S3E19 "Steven vs. Amethyst"

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Steven and Amethyst compete against each other while training with Pearl.


Tropes:

  • Acrofatic: Steven during the agility test. Even Amethyst can't help but be impressed.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Steven and Amethyst after their Epic Fail of throwing punches at each other break down into giggles while prone on the ground. Amethyst asks what they are doing in trying to fight so badly so as to prove they don't deserve praise.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Pearl Points", which are rewarded for punctuality, perseverance, and positivity; and the Pearl Prize Pouch.
  • Adorkable:
    • Pearl, when talking about "Pearl Points" and "THE PEARL PRIZE POUCH(!)", sounds like an enthusiastic preschool teacher.
    • The Holo-Pearls are significantly less creepy in this episode. Not least because they say "High-five: Accepted!" as part of their programming.
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  • Adult Fear: While they turn to pride when they find out the full story, Garnet and Pearl clearly are having this reaction when Steven informs them Jasper showed up while they were gone.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Remembering the previous Holo-Pearl mishap, Pearl has modified them to be less lethal, getting past this somewhat.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: In this universe, the Nintendo Gamecube system is known as the "Dolphin." "Dolphin" was the code name for the system that eventually became the Gamecube.
  • Alternate History: In a very minor version of this trope, this episode reveals that the Nintendo GameCube goes by its project codename of Dolphin in this world. Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Always Someone Better: Amethyst starts to feel like Steven is this to her, due to being so much more skilled than her to the point of winning all three of Pearl's competitions. Steven argues the opposite is true. In particular, it turns out, Steven feels like Rose is this to him, due to her mastery of the powers that he's still struggling to learn. In their actual fight, however, they tie.
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  • Arch-Enemy: Amethyst seems to be coming to view Jasper as hers, seeking to grow stronger for the sole purpose of beating her.
  • Bad Liar: To make Amethyst feel better about losing their earlier competition, Steven challenges her to a fighting game and purposefully throws the fight and compliments Amethyst all the way through, but he does it so unconvincingly that Amethyst doesn't fall for it at all.
  • Brick Joke: Amethyst drops whole eggs into the garbage disposal, and claims she's making egg salad. Later she retrieves the eggs and eats them along with an entire jar of mayonnaise.
  • Can't Catch Up: This episode is largely about Amethyst starting to feel that she's falling prey to this relative to Steven. Their fight, however, shows it's more Steven caught up to her while she remained stagnant, and thanks to the wake up call, Amethyst is looking to subvert this trope.
  • Combat Breakdown: By the end of their fight, Steven and Amethyst are so exhausted that neither can manage to lift anything, and their last attempt at a punch has both completely miss each other.
  • Continuity Nod: Steven and Amethyst play a video game version of "Lonely Blade".
  • Cross Counter: Subverted. Instead of simultaneously punching each other, Steven and Amethyst both miss and fall over.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You ruined the ruins!"
  • Diagonal Cut: Steven manages this to one of the stone columns — with his shield.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Amethyst's speech about not being able to do everything others can sounds like a handicapped person whose parents told them they could do everything other kids can do, only to grow up and realize that that's not true. Right down to her tone sounding embittered and betrayed, like she'd been lied to.
  • Emo Teen: Amethyst behaves like one as she continues to brood over her losing to Jasper, giving lethargic verbal responses to Steven and the Gems and doing passively violent things like throwing eggs into the garbage disposal.
  • Epic Fail: At the end of their fight, Steven and Amethyst try to punch each other, but they both miss.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a fight between well, Steven and Amethyst.
  • The Fettered: Both Steven and Amethyst are like this during their fight, since they're trying to each prove that they are the worst and the other is better. Amethyst notably saves Steven from floating off before smashing him into rocks.
  • Graceful Loser: The Holo-Pearls are programmed to say "Defeat Accepted" when beaten.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted, Steven has been training as hard as he can under Pearl, and it shows as he is now about equal with Amethyst. Inversely, Amethyst not putting effort and hard work into growing strong has seriously bitten her in the butt.
  • Heroic BSoD: Amethyst spends most of the episode in one of these, resulting from her defeat by Jasper in the previous episode.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Steven remarking Amethyst's accomplishments and strength only makes Amethyst feel worse as she argues that Steven is catching up to her and leaving her behind. Then Steven argues back that he's still the weaker link, and they go on and on until everything boils down to fighting to prove who's the worse of them. And during that fight, both brought their game up to a new level (Amethyst adding more strategic thinking and Steven using his powers fluidly) but keep bringing themselves down while complementing the other.
  • High School A.U.: The title card has Steven in a classroom with just Amethyst, implying that the latter has detention or a recovery test.
  • I Let You Win:
    • Pearl thinks Amethyst is doing this in the competition with Steven. She isn't, so Pearl's assumptions only make her feel worse.
    • Steven lets Amethyst win the Lonely Blade fight to make her feel better. It doesn't, and she can easily tell Steven was letting her win.
  • Immediate Sequel: Starts just as Garnet and Pearl are returning from their fruitless search for Jasper they started in "Crack The Whip".
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Pearl assumes that Amethyst is going easy on Steven for the sake of his confidence, and tells her such, when it couldn't be less true. She also seems to get to her a bit when talking about being Weak, but Skilled compared to their opponents.
    • Steven notices that Amethyst is feeling down about the practice with Pearl, so he decides to let her win in a video game. While his heart was in the right place, Amethyst knew he let her win and being given a "pity win" isn't something a lot of people like.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Steven and Amethyst fight. Ironically enough, they fight to decide which of them is worse. It helps them talk out their issues, however, and to get the frustration out of their systems.
  • Most Annoying Sound: invoked Pearl reacts to the garbage disposal this way. She can't finish her sentence because Amethyst keeps dumping eggs in it and turning it on and eventually just shouts, "JASPER'S BACK, LET'S WORK HARD!"
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded by Amethyst when Steven inadvertently modifies his bubble, making it spiked. Though Steven just feels this proves his point of being the worst Gem since all of his powers are discovered by accident and he often can't figure out how to do it on purpose until much later. He's quick to adapt in this case, though, retracting the spikes before popping the bubble.
  • Not So Different: By the end of the episode, Amethyst discovers she's not the only one with confidence issues. Steven's been training so hard because he feels like he's stuck in Rose's shadow.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Amethyst when she sees Steven reaching her level and even surpassing it.
    • Steven briefly freaks out when his Not Quite Flight sends him sailing out of the arena and into the clouds. Amethyst uses her whip to grab him.
    • Amethyst has a minor one when she realizes she should have known Steven has the same confidence issues compared to his mother.
    • Steven and Amethyst when Pearl sees what they did to the ruins.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Amethyst seems to be taking this attitude towards Jasper, expressing a desire to be the one to defeat her.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Pearl is shocked when Amethyst says she wants to train.
  • Pun:
    Pearl: You've ruined the ruins!
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Amethyst began the series much stronger and more experienced than Steven... but she slacked off on training and didn't improve while Steven did. So naturally, Steven caught up and is beginning to exceed her. Having an experience edge on someone means nothing if you don't train to keep it.
    • Steven's attempt to make Amethyst feel better by letting her win in a video game doesn't work for two reasons: One, being given a "pity win" isn't always great for a lot of people. And two, it doesn't really help with what's actually bothering her.
    • Amethyst's size "defect" always having been brushed off by those around her, who insist it's not a big deal and that she can be anything she wants to be. The fact that it is a very real handicap that's making itself known leaves Amethyst deeply embittered.
    • While the fight between Amethyst and Steven is awesome, Pearl is naturally going to be enraged at the amount of destruction they caused in the process.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: Steven notes he usually forgets his Not Quite Flight, but remembered it this time.
  • Shoehorned First Letter: After hearing Pearl's alliterative explanation of Pearl Points and the Prize Pouch:
    Amethyst: Pamazing.
    Steven: There's some pgreat stuff in that pouch.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Arguable, since the foes throwing punches past each other trope is fairly common:
      • Superman and Doomsday threw punches that knocked each other over and left them lying on the ground.
      • Naruto also has a fight in which the opponents knock each other over.
    • One of the characters in "Lonely Blade" resembles Mokujin, and another resembles Ice Bear.
    • Steven's game console is a "Dolphin." This was the codename for the Nintendo GameCube.
  • So Proud of You: Pearl and Garnet's reaction to Steven and Connie beating Jasper.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Steven transforms his bubble shield into a spike ball.
  • Super Strength: Steven shows enhanced strength, being able to burst out of a pile of rubble with enough strength to send a large piece flying multiple meters over to Amethyst.
  • Super Toughness: Steven gets slammed into the sky arena with enough force to create a sizable crater. While he's somewhat injured, he gets back up and is able to walk it off.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: After a fight that tires Steven and Amethyst out so much they can't even land a punch, they burst out laughing.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Steven has gotten much better at this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Steven has taken a lot, to the point he can fight Amethyst to a draw now. However, this is precisely the issue: Amethyst feels like she's a failure due to him having gotten leagues stronger while she hasn't changed at all. Amethyst manages to take a small one by the end of the episode by adding some tactical thinking to her fighting style, and looks set to gain more now that she's realized she's Unskilled, but Strong.
  • Trash Talk: Inverted. Steven and Amethyst spend their fight complimenting each other and belittling themselves.
    Steven: Whoa! I did not see that coming! That was amazing.
    Amethyst: No, it's not! I don't do anything amazing. You're the one who's amazing. (after seeing Steven's spiky bubbles) What?! Is that new? (Exhales sharply) Because it's awesome!
    Steven: No! It was an accident. Accidents are not awesome!
    Amethyst: What? Don't save m-(The shield hits her head while returning.) Whoa. Ughhh. That was great.
    Steven: You think that was on purpose?
    Steven: ...I think we're both too good to be bad fighters.
    Amethyst: That's what you think.
    Steven: What does that even mean?
    Amethyst: I don't even know.
  • Understatement: After he and Amethyst destroy the ruins and Pearl finds the damage, Steven says he doesn't think he or Amethyst will see the Pearl pouch anytime soon.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Followed up from the previous episode: Amethyst actually decides to join in Steven's training with Pearl. While she claims it's for fun, it becomes clear she's attempting to remedy this. Unfortunately, her temper gets the better of her and she falls back on this during the fight with the Holo-Pearls, resulting in Steven handling four with more strategic moves (namely throwing them into the air with his shield where he's able to take out all four in one move). However, her fight with Steven in the end does show more strategy than any of her previous fights (such as blinding Steven with a dirt cloud so she can wrap him up with her whip), showing she's at least making an attempt to think more tactically.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Pearl mentions this when introducing Amethyst to the training.
  • Wham Line:
    Amethyst: I can't even be the one thing I'm supposed to be, y'know?
    Steven: Of course I do. I'm... not Rose Quartz.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Amethyst remembers how Rose once told her she was perfect the way she was and she could be anything she wanted to be; unfortunately after losing to Jasper, Amethyst can't help to compare herself with the other Quartz and bitterly doubting Rose's words as she feels she's not even what she was supposed to be.

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