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Recap / Steven Universe S3E24 "Bubbled"

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Steven is stuck in a bubble in outer space.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • The Crystal Gems have spent the entire time Steven was with Eyeball looking for him, and were clearly worried sick about him.
    • Steven also faints before the Gems find him, and when he wakes up in the ship, everyone bursts into tears, including Garnet. They seemed to be worried about him suffering health complications due to being in space as a half-human.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Steven spends the episode alone with an unhinged, Ax-Crazy soldier who gladly tries to stab him to death the moment she realizes his gem was really Rose's.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Eyeball doesn't believe Steven when he says he's Rose, responding, "Right, and I have two eyeballs. Which I don't".
  • And Then What?: Steven points out to Eyeball that without his bubble they have no way to get to Homeworld since she'd be drifting off in space, so how does she plan to bring Rose Quartz's gem as a trophy? She doesn't care.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
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    • Steven and the Ruby Squad are Thrown Out the Airlock horizontally while on the moon's surface, which sends them all hurtling into deep space. Doing so would require them to have started out the door at something near the moon's escape velocity, which is about two kilometers per second.
    • Steven's bubble acts as if it has gravity pulling someone to its surface (from the inside or outside) whenever the plot demands, apparently just so he and Eyeball can move around in a non-awkward fashion. While this makes some sense for Eyeball, as Gems are established to have the ability to adjust to any planetoid, Steven is suddenly affected by gravity while being chased by Eyeball inside his bubble. Eyeball also floats when it's convenient.
    • Steven is able to function without a bubble long enough for Eyeball to float away and then make a new one with minimal problems, even though the vacuum of space should have caused him at least a few injuries. He also holds his breath while doing this, which is the opposite of what one should do in a vacuum.
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  • Asteroid Thicket: Steven and Eyeball find themselves in one. They make it out after some comical bouncing around, but one last rock nails Eyeball's gem.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space:
    • The Ruby Squad are unharmed from unprotected exposure to vacuum, implicitly the case with all Gems as they are The Needless.
    • As for Steven, it seems that the rule is "in bubble = can breathe", even if the amount of air in the bubble should logically be very little, or even almost none, as he would have formed it after he was already blown into space at the end of the previous episode. And even if it did have enough air when he formed it, it should be slowly getting harder to breathe as all the oxygen in the bubble gets replaced by carbon dioxide. This goes double for when he dispels his bubble to escape Eyeball and reforms it once she drifts far enough away.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Garnet explains that Rose had to shatter Pink Diamond to save the Earth, because Earth was Pink Diamond's colony. She makes it clear that if there'd been some other way, any other way, Rose would have taken it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Rose Quartz, the Friend to All Living Things archetype, is said to have shattered a ruler of Gem society.
    • Steven when cornered lets Eyeball drift into space after she tries to kill him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Steven is rescued from drifting in space by the Crystal Gems, but recent events have led to everything he believed he knew about his mother being called into question, and the Ruby Squad remain unaccounted for.
  • Blue with Shock: Steven does this when Eyeball starts going on about how the Diamonds will reward her for bringing Rose's gem back.
  • Body Horror:
    • It's not as bad as when Amethyst broke her gem, but Eyeball's body still gets pretty bad before Steven heals her.
    • Eyeball plans to rip out Steven's gem to bring to Homeworld.
  • Bottle Episode: In terms of character and action, most of the episode is Steven and Eyeball Locked in a Room in space. In terms of scenery, though, it's anything but minimal.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: Steven and Eyeball are about to crash into a large asteroid, but fortunately it turns around and is revealed to have a huge hole through it.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jasper back in "The Return" mentioned that Yellow Diamond would want to see "Rose" in such a weak form. Here Eyeball says that Rose's gem would be a valuable trophy and earn her status on Homeworld, and that she was hoping Jasper would have information on the Quartz's location.
    • A Gem once more tries to kill Steven because they think he's Rose Quartz. Steven brings it on himself because he's trying to be nice to Eyeball by telling her.
    • While we don't hear it, Amethyst's body language suggests that Pearl was the one who piloted the Roaming Eye to look for Steven, just like she briefly piloted the Gem Warship back in "Jailbreak", and Pearl is shown piloting it on the way back to Earth.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Steven points out he is Eyeball's only hope of getting out alive in an attempt stop her from killing him, but she refuses to listen to reason.
  • Cassandra Truth: Until he heals her gem, nothing Steven says can convince Eyeball that he used to be Rose.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: As Eyeball is chasing him with a knife to remove his gem, Steven casually ponders what would happen to him if she did.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: In a twist, Steven's healing abilities unintentionally clue in Eyeball that he is Rose in another form, despite several failed attempts to convince her of that very fact previously.
  • Covert Pervert: Eyeball seems very, um, "excited" at the thought of getting her own Pearl.
  • Cry Laughing: Steven and the other Crystal Gems laugh and cry simultaneously after Steven is saved from being stranded in space.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Steven tells Eyeball he is Rose Quartz, technically, so as to make her feel better. The last time a Gem thought so, they tried to kill him.
    • Eyeball attacking Steven in the bubble, which he points out. He then pops it and lets her drift away before reforming it.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: After Steven falls into a BSoD, it pans out to a view of space.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: Steven and Eyeball drift through space.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Eyeball doesn't like being called Eyeball, yelling at Steven that it isn't her name before being interrupted.
  • Evil Gloating: Eyeball does this as she pins Steven down with a knife, talking about the honor and acclaim she will receive for bring Rose Quartz's gem as a trophy.
  • Evil Overlord: Pink Diamond was apparently the ruler of Earth and killing her was the only way to save it.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Steven heals Eyeball's gem after it gets cracked, only for her to realize that he must be Rose after all and try to attack him.
  • Final Boss: In sense way, Eyeball's the final antagonist in Season 3.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Steven attempting to pass himself off as Rose Quartz to Eyeball. He is a Rose Quartz, and it's pretty much the simplest way to explain the circumstances of his birth to a race with no concept of sexual reproduction or genetics.
  • Group Hug: The Crystal Gems and Steven all hug after they rescue him.
  • Healing Magic Is the Hardest: If Eyeball's reaction is any indication, Rose/Steven's healing powers seem to be extremely rare if not entirely unique.
  • Heroic BSoD: Steven falls into one after he sends Eyeball into space.
  • Hidden Eyes: Steven gets these before his Heroic BSoD.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Steven and Eyeball make it through the asteroids and celebrate their success, only for one last rock to smack Eyeball right in the gem.
    • For a moment, it seems that Eyeball will become Steven's newest Gem project after he heals her, and they engage in Tension-Cutting Laughter about how absurd their situation is. Then she continues laughing, and instead draws a knife on him.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When Steven asks Garnet if Rose really did shatter Pink Diamond, Garnet explains that Rose did what was best for the Earth, even if it went against her personal beliefs.
  • Immediate Sequel: To "Back to the Moon".
  • Internal Retcon: Eyeball's statements heavily imply the official Homeworld story is that they were the winners of the Gem War and Eyeball didn't even know about Crystal Gems still being on Earth until the Ruby Squad were sent on the mission to retrieve Jasper. At best, the Homeworld could claim a tie, as the Rebellion ultimately succeeded in their goal to liberate the planet from them.
  • Invisible Subtle Difference: Eyeball doesn't believe that Steven is Rose when he shows her his gem, claiming that it's more of a pinkish red instead of a reddish pink. Steven points out that she's looking at it through his bubble, so of course it will look pinkish.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: When Steven first claims to have Rose's gem, Eyeball responds, "Right, and I have two eyeballs. Which I don't."
  • Knife Nut: Eyeball's gem weapon resembles a mix of a dagger or tanto and a chisel. Notably, this is the first time a Gem of the same type as another one has been shown onscreen summoning a different weapon, confirming Word of God on the subject.
  • Laughing Mad: Eyeball laughs uncontrollably and continuously when she realizes Steven really is Rose Quartz, meaning she can finally get revenge for Pink Diamond.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Steven wonders out loud what would happen if someone removed his gem from his body — a thing many fans theorize about.
  • Mask of Sanity: What little composure Eyeball had completely shatters when she realizes Steven is Rose Quartz, causing her to show how unhinged she truly is.
  • Mood Whiplash: The mood ricochets like a pinball in the last third of the episode:
    • A sincere discussion between Steven and Eyeball becomes funny when she won't believe his claims about Rose Quartz, then things get tense as they hit the asteroid belt, only to become jubilant (and fake out the audience by looking like the moment of bonding Steven usually experiences with those he redeems) when they make it through safely...
    • Then the tension jumps again when Eyeball's gem is hit by a rogue asteroid, leading into Steven healing her (with accompanying comedy), and a moment of shared laughter... which quickly becomes sinister as the Ruby goes Laughing Mad and draws her weapon — a vicious and crude-looking dagger — on Steven...
    • Then that becomes ridiculous as she chases him around the bubble, only for her to prove that she has every intention of murdering him when she catches him, leading to his throwing her out into space before resealing himself in the bubble. Afterwards, everything goes ominously silent. All of the above happens in less than five minutes.
  • The Needs of the Many: Garnet explains that Rose shattered Pink Diamond so that Pearl could be free, that Amethyst wouldn't be purged as a defective gem, that Garnet could stay together, and that Steven could exist. Rose wasn't happy about it, but she saved an entire planet by making one kill.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Eyeball may have her goofy quirks and she's a member of the ditzy Ruby Squad, but this episode shows that she's as dangerous, violent and fanatically devoted to her Diamond as any Homeworld Gem warrior. In fact, her low intellect might make her more dangerous, as she doesn't want to contemplate empathy on Steven's part at all or that killing Steven would doom her.
  • Ocular Gushers: Pearl and Amethyst cry waterfalls from each eye when Steven is rescued.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Crystal Gems managed to commandeer the Roaming Eye and spend the entire episode searching space for Steven, but we only see the moment they find and rescue him.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Season 3's Arc Villain Jasper was defeated two episodes prior, making Steven's fight with Eyeball this.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Steven breaks down so much harder than usual that the Gems look shocked for a moment before they join in.
  • Pun: Steven and Eyeball think they're going to crash into a large asteroid, when it spins around, revealing it's ring-shaped.
    Steven: Oh? Oh.
    • Later, when Eyeball shows him her cracked gem, his cry of distress sounds suspiciously like her gem placement.
    Steven: Aye-aye-aye!
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Revolution has a price; as Greg wisely pointed out two seasons ago, there's "no such thing as a good war." Rose had to dirty her hands to save the Earth and her friends.
    • Despite Steven working together with Eyeball to get through the asteroid field and healing her gem when it cracked, Eyeball's still VERY callous towards him for what Rose did to Pink Diamond, which seemed to have shell-shocked Eyeball harshly. Working with and trying to help someone who's pretty much a PTSD war veteran won't change the fact you're (by proxy, anyway) one of the main causes of their disorder and they'll have a violent reaction upon meeting you.
    • Steven and the others have repeatedly lied to and tricked Eyeball and the other Rubies, so she is understandably hesitant to believe his claims of being Rose Quartz in another form.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Eyeball decides to kill Steven, even after Steven points out they're drifting through space and thus even if she did, she'd be left adrift in space alone forever.
  • Save the Villain: Steven pulls Eyeball into his bubble when her eyeball gets cracked, so he can heal it. She then tries to kill him, since the healing proves he is Rose Quartz.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • Steven was launched into space from the moon and wakes up after at most a few minutes, at which point he sees the moon and Earth as much further away from him than they are from each other. This would mean they were going a significant portion of the speed of light, and yet somehow didn't start separating until Steven woke up. Then Steven and Eyeball end up in strange astral formations that suggest they somehow ended up in an entirely different solar system, which would mean they were going many times the speed of light—yet somehow Steven passes by a man-made satellite presumably orbiting Earth. Still makes for some nice scenery.
    • At one point, Steven and Eyeball pass through an Asteroid Thicket. The Real Life solar system's asteroid belt is a little less than an Astronomical Unit (~150 million kilometers) from Earth at its nearest point, meaning that Steven would have to be travelling incredibly fast to reach it within minutes or even hours. That said, Earth apparently took heavy damage during the Gem Occupation, so it's possible the Steven Universe Earth has a debris ring that our Earth doesn't.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Eyeball shows apparent signs of PTSD from the Rebellion, even thousands of years later.
  • Shoot the Dog: Garnet explains that because Pink Diamond owned the Earth, shattering her was the only way to save the whole planet and it wasn't what Rose wanted to do.
  • Silence Is Golden: Steven's rescue by the Gems has all the dialog muted, the only sound being the song "Love Like You" played over the scene.
  • Space Is Noisy: Steven and Eyeball are able to converse in space, even though Eyeball is outside the bubble for most of it.
  • Super-Deformed: Eyeball is briefly chibified when her gem breaks.
  • Suppressed History: Eyeball's statements imply Homeworld has its own version of how the war went to cover up that the crystal gems effectively did win Earth's freedom.
  • Tears of Joy: All the Crystal Gems openly cry when they find Steven. Steven himself joins in, too.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: Which eventually devolves into Laughing Mad on Eyeball's part; she and Steven laugh when she realizes that Rose Quartz changed into him. Steven thinks they're laughing because the present situation is absurd with both of them trapped in a floating bubble in outer space.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: When Steven can't talk down Eyeball from killing him, he reluctantly dissipates the bubble and tosses her as hard as he can, sending her into space.
  • Tractor Beam:
    • The Crystal Gems, after tracking down Steven, use the Roaming Eye's tractor beam to pull him inside.
    • Steven himself learns to extend his bubble in a similar fashion, to pull a damaged Eyeball inside.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: After sending Eyeball into space, along with learning what his mom did to Pink Diamond, Steven clutches his gem and curls into a ball.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Eyeball, after Steven repaired her gem, tries to kill him as he has Rose's gem without even expressing gratitude to him.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Once again, the Crystal Gems get their hands on and commandeer a modern Homeworld ship for their own use. However, unlike the Gem Warship, the Roaming Eye remains in their possession and in working condition.
  • Verbed Title
  • Victory by Endurance: Eyeball credits Rose's healing power for the Rebellion's ability to stand against Homeworld. Homeworld had more soldiers, but Rose's ability to heal meant her side suffered far fewer losses.
  • Villain Has a Point: Eyeball points out that it's Steven's fault that the Rubies are in space. Steven apologizes for that, though he says if Eyeball is going to be grumpy about it they can float around in space in silence until they die.
  • Visual Pun: Steven says "Oh." just as they pass through the middle of an O-shaped asteroid.

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