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Recap / Steven Universe S4E22 "The Good Lars"

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At the Big Donut, Sadie asks Steven to taste a pumpkin, and upon doing so, Steven declares it's delicious! It's not only delicious, it's a pumpkin cake shaped like a pumpkin. While he gushes over how clever it is, Lars, the baker, says it's simple to bake six crescent shaped cakes and use cream cheese frosting to hold it together in the shape of a pumpkin.

Before he can go on, though, Buck Dewey enters. Lars flies into a panic and hides the cake, then leaps to wait on Buck.

Buck: I would like to order ... you to come to dinner.

He explains they're throwing an ironic potluck like the adults do. Everyone should bring a dish.

Steven and Sadie of course encourage Lars to bake something, but he's leery of doing so. Those are The Cool Kids throwing the party, and although he enjoys baking, he's worried it's an uncool thing for him to do. But Steven and Sadie persist, and with their help he makes a dessert for them to taste: an Ube — a purple yam cake. They taste it and declare that not only is it amazing, it should be what he brings to the potluck.

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At the potluck, Steven is first to arrive, with snack sushi.

Sour Cream: I brought the drinks.
Jenny: I brought the pizza!
Buck Dewey: I brought the assorted fruits.

There is a knock and it's Sadie — who didn't bring a dish, but brought paper plates for the dish Lars brought. No one is disappointed, and Sour Cream is delighted at not having to do the dishes.

Steven volunteers to go find Lars. He looks at Lars' house but his parents say he's not there. He checks the Big Donut, which is closed. After having searched everywhere he can think of, he does his high jump and shouts Lars' name at the top of his lungs ... before finally thinking to just call Lars on his cellphone. Unfortunately Lars doesn't answer, and Steven can only leave a voicemail.

He returns to Sour Cream's house and for some reason looks in the trash — there he finds evidence that Lars was within steps of coming to the potluck, but chickened out and trashed his beautiful dessert. Disappointed, he returns to the party. When it breaks up a little later, he and Sadie discuss their disappointment. Sadie finally says she should stop trying to make him happy and focus on her own life. Steven bids her goodnight, and as Sadie walks alone, two now-familiar shadows loom once more out of the darkness.

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Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: The Crystal Gems are absent for the third episode in a row.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's not clear if Lars decided not to go to the party or if the ones casting the Sinister Silhouettes stopped him from going. The fact that his cake is in the garbage with the lid closed over it suggests the former.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Steven wonders if he has some way to contact Lars "with my mind", hinting that he may try to use his empath or Dream Walker abilities. Steven pulls out his cellphone and calls Lars' number instead, though that doesn't work.
  • Call-Back:
  • Character Development:
    • The episode humorously alludes to Steven's in Season 2:
      Lars: That's pretty smart. When did you get so mature?
      Steven: Sometime between learning to summon my shield and learning my mom was a war criminal.
    • Previously, Steven and Sadie's attempts to help Lars could go to the point of overstepping personal boundaries (especially in "The New Lars" and "Island Adventure"). By this point, Sadie has come to realize they can't force him to be happy, and that maybe she should focus on her own life first.
  • Cliffhanger: As Sadie walks off into the night to head home, the same Sinister Silhouettes from the last episode come into view.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: To "The New Lars". Also, Sadie calls out "Lars and the Cool Kids" by name.
  • Disappointed in You: Sadie and Steven are let down that Lars bailed at the party at the last minute. They wonder if they should have tried harder to get him to come, but Sadie realizes pushing him more could have made things worse.
  • Freudian Slip:
    Lars: If I show up to this party with my family's weird purple cake and with Sadie, everyone's gonna know I love baking and everyone's gonna know I love... This isn't gonna be an ironic potluck!
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Lars' ube roll can already be seen in the curbside trashcan when Steven arrives, indicating he's already come by. This shot came immediately after Lars saying he'd meet Steven at the party, forming a sort of inverted Gilligan Cut.
  • Hope Spot: Lars seems ready to finally open up to someone besides Sadie and Steven, but he never shows up to the potluck and Steven finds the food he cooked in the trash outside.
  • I Am Not My Father: Sadie rejects pushing Lars any harder to socialize, reasoning that she's sounding too much like her mother.
  • In a Single Bound: Steven uses his high jump and float to earth ability while searching for Lars.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Steven thinks Lars' pumpkin-shaped pumpkin bread cake is "the best idea anyone's ever had."
  • Nice Guy: Lars think that "The Cool Kids" are cool because of their cynical world view and aloofness, but Sadie realizes that they are genuinely nice and friendly, easily fitting a kid like Steven and a less sociable girl like Sadie in their group. She notes that they aren't the "Cool" Kids like Lars believes them to be, but they're genuinely cool people.
  • Sequel Episode: Lars's behavior here is mostly following up his Jerkass Realization from "The New Lars".
  • Shout-Out:
    • Lars says "bingo bongo" and then questions where he heard it. "Bingo Bango Bongo" is the song he (or Steven) likely got it from.
    • There's a framed drawing of an AT-AT on the wall of Lars' kitchen.
  • Unmanly Secret: Lars doesn't want anyone to know he can bake because he fears it's a lame hobby.
  • Wingding Eyes: Steven is starry-eyed after eating Lars' pumpkin cake and ube roll.


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