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Recap / Steven Universe S4E23 "Are You My Dad?"

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"Are you my dad? I need to find my dad."
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Steven is waiting for a package delivery while Garnet and Pearl build a sandcastle and Amethyst drinks cans of beans, but is worried when the usually-punctual Jamie fails to show. He eventually heads for the Big Donut when Amethyst agrees to wait for the mail with him, only to find Sour Cream handing out missing person flyers for Onion, who's been gone for a couple days, and the Big Donut closed. Steven goes around to the back, wondering if Lars and Sadie are secretly watching scary movies in the staff room, only to find Barb, who was just dropping off Sadie's lunch and confirms she hasn't seen Sadie since yesterday. Talking, Steven reveals that Sadie meant to come home last night, and Barb is worried both by this and that Jamie never reached Steven's house after she personally sent him off with the package. They head out to search for the missing people.

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Searching the arcade, Steven confirms that Onion is not in the vending machine, only to run into a small blue Gem who asks him, "Are you my dad?" Startled and confused, Steven replies in the negative, and the Gem flies off. Back at his house, Steven describes her to the Crystal Gems and Connie, who are trying to draw her. Garnet drew herself instead, and Steven judges Connie's manga-style drawing the best, to Pearl's irritation. The group splits up and heads out to try and find the Gem. Connie speculates to Steven that the Gem may have been adopted by a human, since Gems don't usually have parents.

Searching the woods near where Onion likes to play with his friends, Connie encounters the Gem while Steven gets stuck in a hollow log. When the Gem repeats her question, Connie offers to help her find her dad if she wants. The Gem reiterates that she's not looking for "your dad" but "my dad". She gets interested when she hears Steven address Connie by name, though, and upon getting confirmation of the girl's identity, yells for someone named Topaz. The ground shakes as an enormous fused Gem appears, with all of the missing people contained within her body, all of them save Onion with their mouths blocked so they can't call for help. Connie draws her sword, but is captured when the Topazes unfuse and ensnare her. Steven manages to get free of the log and tries to rescue his friends, but the small Gem pulls a wand from her head and uses it to immobilize him before throwing him against a tree. As he falls unconscious, he hears the small Gem talking about all they have to do is find "my dad" and they'll be done, telling Topaz that she wonders why Homeworld even sent an Aquamarine when Topaz could have done it herself.

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Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Given that people are going missing, fear is an appropriate response. Sour Cream is putting up "missing" signs of Onion and Barb becomes visibly scared when Steven mentions that Sadie was planning to return home after the party.
  • Alien Abduction: Homeworld Gems kidnap Connie, Sadie, Lars, Jamie, and Onion, and are planning to head back to Homeworld once they find "My Dad".
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Connie brings up the idea of there being Gems like Steven (half-human, half-Gem), Garnet retorts that it's unlikely. Connie asks her if she's sure, which leaves Garnet speechless.
  • Badass in Distress: Although Connie has been training well and taken down large Gem monsters before, when she tries to defend herself against the two Topazes, she gets stuck in their Fusion very quickly, probably because she didn't expect them to be able to do that.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Aquamarine uses her childlike appearance to seem innocent and helpless to the humans. When she finds the ones she wants, however, she lets the mask slip and calls for the Topaz soldiers to absorb the humans.
  • Caged Inside a Monster: Topaz holds the humans she and Aquamarine are looking for in her body.
  • Call-Back: Onion hasn't been seen since "Doug Out", and Lars and Sadie are also missing after the previous evening's party, because of Topaz and Aquamarine.
  • Combat Haircomb: Aquamarine's bow lends to her looking like an innocent lost child, though her actual demeanor is far less cute. When she whips the ribbon off her head, it turns into a wand that projects a Tractor Beam.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Steven sings "Hey, Mr. Postman" again while waiting for a package.
    • Steven asks Sour Cream if he'd checked for Onion in the place where he met his friends in "Onion Gang" or Onion's hidden room from "Onion Friend" (which Sour Cream calls Onion's "office").
    • Barb came into the Big Donut to deliver Sadie's lunch.
    • Barb is initially not worried about Sadie's disappearance because she figures Sadie and Lars are on another "Island Adventure".
  • Compound Title: With the following episode, "I Am My Mom".
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: With the following episode, "I Am My Mom".
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Aquamarine isn't actually a child, but takes advantage of looking like one. Due to being small and having Puppy-Dog Eyes, she can pass among people innocently. This allows her to find out the humans' names without much suspicion.
  • Face on a Milk Carton: Sour Cream passes out "missing" fliers for Onion, who disappeared after the events of "Doug Out". They're repurposed "WANTED" posters.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Steven gives a description of Aquamarine that Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Connie each use to make a sketch. Connie makes a very anime-style drawing that's so outside of the show's (and especially Aquamarine's) artstyle that the clothes and teardrop gem are the only clear resemblance. Amethyst drew what looks like a dog (with wings and a teardrop gem). Pearl drew an adult-sized crying angel wearing ballerina shoes. Garnet drew a self-portrait.
    Connie: I think I made one eye bigger than the other.
    Amethyst: I was going for a feeling.
    Pearl: Honestly, I can't even draw a circle.
    Steven: OK, Garnet, you just drew yourself.
    Garnet: Uh, I like me.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Aquamarine and Topaz fail to realize the significance of a human summoning a pink shield out of thin air. Connie's sword can be explained, but not the shield.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: As the Topaz fusion splits apart, you can see the package Jamie was delivering drop and Lars' panicked crying.
  • Fusion Dance: Weaponized by Topaz, who is actually two-in-one who Fuse over their intended targets to seal them within her body.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Pearl indulges into a little Self-Deprecation pretending not being able to draw when she produces the best drawing of the four (albeit not a very accurate one):
    Pearl: Honestly, I can't even draw a circle.
  • Impairment Shot: Steven, after getting Blown Across the Room by Aquamarine, tries desperately to stay conscious before finally passing out.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Aquamarine and Topaz take things in a different direction once they appear.
  • Noodle Incident: "I know from experience that the Big Donut does not accept magic beans as currency."
  • No-Sell: Rose's sword doesn't poof the Topazes while they're Fusing.
  • Oh, Crap!: Connie, when she realizes that her sword does nothing to defend her from the Topazes.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Amethyst drinks a can of beans because "they're good for the heart", part of the playground saying where the other half is "the more you eat, the more you fart".
  • Questioning Title?: This episode is one of the few to feature punctuation, with a question mark at the end of "dad".
  • Shout-Out: A Creepy Child with a British accent repeatedly asks "Are you my dad?" while ignoring all other inquiries from others? Sounds similar to "Are you my mummy?"
  • Silent Partner: The Topazes (and their fusion) say nothing at all, while Aquamarine does all the talking.
  • Title Drop: Aquamarine asks Steven "Are you my dad?", then leaves when he says no.
  • Tractor Beam: Aquamarine has a wand which can fire an immobilizing beam, similar to Syndrome's zero-point energy gauntlets in The Incredibles and the one that Peridot used on Pearl in "Catch and Release".


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