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Recap / Steven Universe S4E5 "Future Boy Zoltron"

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"Zoltron says..."
After accidentally breaking Mr. Smiley's fortune telling machine named Zoltron, Steven takes its place and tells people their fortunes.


  • Absentee Actor: Pearl and Amethyst are absent in this episode.
  • Becoming the Mask: Both Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney had this problem. Mr. Smiley smiled a lot, even when he was furious or sad, and after some time doing the comedy act, he realized that Frowney was sad, even off stage.
  • Breather Episode: This episode is way more relaxed compared to the emotional previous episode.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: When Steven tests his quarter on Zoltron, he asks a question about his future. Zoltron merely gives him lucky numbers. Steven then asks for his quarter.
  • Call-Back: Once again Garnet lets Steven use her future vision to solve a problem.
  • Clark Kenting: Everyone who seeks advice from the the Zoltron game seems to be genuinely unaware that "Zoltron" is just Steven Universe with a robot costume and a funny voice.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: Steven spots Onion going towards the arcade with a crowbar, presumably to steal tickets. He warns Onion that he can be imprisoned if he's not careful. Instead of giving up, Onion returns wearing a ski mask.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Visible in the Funland Arcade is a cabinet for Meat Beat Mania 2. Steven broke the cabinet for the first one back in Season 1's "Arcade Mania".
    • Steven says that he doesn't want to be banned from another one of Mr. Smiley's businesses, referencing the events of "Serious Steven" and "Too Short to Ride".
    • Garnet is hanging out at the Funland Arcade in her downtime.
  • Corpsing: In-universe, during a routine on an imagined stage, Mr. Smiley picks Mr. Frowney up and holds him upside-down to turn his frown around, which makes Frowney chuckle. This brings the scene back to reality as Smiley playfully chides Frowney for "ruining the bit".
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  • Creator Cameo: Ian Jones-Quartey appears behind the Pizza family when Steven is telling Kiki and Jenny their fortunes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Mr. Smiley gets some focus.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Zoltron robot's introduction.
    Zoltron: I am Zoltron. Robot fortune teller from the future. I know your future, because I am from there.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Steven accidentally breaks Zoltron, and before he's been shown to carry things that full-grown adults can't.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney's discussion of their old comedy act makes them sound like ex-lovers.
    Mr. Smiley: I'm here to tell you that... I wanted it to work, all right? But it wasn't making you happy.
    Mr. Frowney: I just wanted you to take it seriously.
    Mr. Smiley: And I just wanted you to have fun.
    Mr. Frowney: Oh, I guess it was never going to work. But I really thought we had something.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Steven doesn't understand Mr. Smiley's If I Had a Nickel quip.
    Mr. Smiley: If I had a quarter for every time someone asked for their quarter back... oh wait. I do! Ba-dum-bump-ching!
    Steven: What?
    Mr. Smiley: It was a joke. Man, I must be rusty.
  • The Eeyore: Mr. Frowney is as frowney as Mr. Smiley is smiley.
  • Exact Words: Steven warns Onion not to steal from the arcade by saying, "If you're not careful, Zoltron sees prison bars in your future." Onion leaves and returns wearing a ski mask, which fools Steven.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Mr. Frowney's eyes are almost always closed, adding to his miserable appearance.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Steven fails to notice a masked Onion walking straight into the Funland Arcade with a crowbar.
  • Flashback: When Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney repeat one of the acts they had in the past, the scene briefly changes to the two acting onstage.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Steven doesn't think about using his healing powers to fix the Zoltron machine. (Which we know works on inanimate objects.)
  • Glory Days: Mr. Smiley used to be half of a comedy act, which was quite popular, since he mentions that he and Mr. Frowney had performed to a full house and standing ovation.
  • If I Had a Nickel: When Steven asks for a refund from the Zoltron machine, Mr. Smiley replies that if he had a quarter for every time someone asked for their quarter back from his machine... oh wait, he does.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Sadie and Lars are creeped out and decide to leave when "Zoltron" knows their names.
  • Irony: Of the verbal kind: when Steven asks Garnet to let him use Future Vision to help a stranger he just met, she coolly says that that "seems like an appropriate use of my powers". She blesses him with Future Vision (and gives Mr. Frowney a quarter) anyway.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: Kofi is carrying two paper bags of groceries, one with a pineapple and bag of bagels sticking out, and one with two baguettes next to a milk jug.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mr. Smiley being a former comedian is a reference to his previous voice actor, who is a comedian (not to mention the "former" part might be referencing the fact that Sinbad isn't his VA anymore).
  • Man Hug: Mr. Frowney gives Mr. Smiley a big hug after doing their act together makes him laugh.
  • Odd Couple: Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney used to be a comedy duo.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Mr. Smiley never stops smiling, even with all of the times he's gotten seriously pissed at Steven for destroying his boardwalk... until he hears about Mr. Frowney.
  • Orphaned Punchline: We don't hear what Suitcase Sam said, but Steven's answer as Zoltron is, "That sounds like a question for your doctor" while looking embarrassed.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • If you know that Zoltron's a person in a costume, it being Steven is pretty obvious, though everyone who doesn't know is fooled. It helps that he does a much better job at predicting fortunes than the original Zoltron does.
    • Onion wears a ski mask after Steven tries to scare him straight.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Mr. Frowney.
  • Poor Communication Kills: It's implied that Smiley and Frowney's comedy act broke up because neither one of them explained the issues they were having with the other.
  • Power Copying: Steven can borrow Garnet's future vision with her blessing (and a kiss to the forehead). We've seen residual effects before, but this is the longest we've seen it last.
  • Reality Ensues: While Mr. Smiley is grateful for Steven for helping him patch things up with Mr. Frowney, Steven still broke a machine that cost thousands of dollars, and is sent back to work immediately afterwards.
  • Recursive Canon: There's an arcade cabinet for Attack The Light, which is a game based on the show.
  • Robo Speak: Zoltron speaks in a stilted manner, which is understandable because it's implied that the machine is very old. When Steven replaces the puppet, he emulates the tone. He introduces himself to Sadie and Lars by saying, "Beep boop, I am Zoltron."
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Mr. Smiley goes "ba-dum-bum-CHING!" after telling a joke.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Steven tries to do this with Onion, which only prompts him to wear a ski mask.
  • Seers: Steven borrows Garnet's Future Vision. As implied before, if one doesn't think of a possibility to ask "what if", the future path will not appear to them. Steven's visions give no positive answers, but when he says this out loud, twice it opens a new possibility.
    • Garnet knew Steven would need her there, and that Mr. Frowney would need an extra quarter.
  • Shout Out:
    • The title is a reference to Future Boy Conan, an anime that Rebecca Sugar cites as a big influence on the show.
    • Along with the aforementioned Attack The Light cabinet, there's also a cabinet for OK K.O..
    • And a cabinet for "Zone of Adventure," referencing the popular Dungeons and Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone.
    • The titular "Future Boy Zoltron" is based on various Fortune Teller machines, including Zoltar from the movie Big and the real-life machine Zoltan.
    • Zoltron's helmet and color scheme are very reminiscent of Rush.
    • Mr. Frowney bears a striking resemblance to Neil Gaiman.
  • Stepford Smiler: When Steven says he didn't understand Mr. Smiley's "If I had a quarter..." joke, Mr. Smiley still has a smile plastered on his face, but he looks and sounds hurt.
  • Take a Third Option: Twice Steven tries using Future Vision to see three future possibilities, but both times he realizes nothing he says will go right. When he tells Mr. Frowney and Mr. Smiley of the sad future he sees, both times his statement opens a fourth possibility that goes well.
  • Third-Person Person: Steven as Zoltron.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Steven's reaction to hearing that Zoltron was worth thousands of dollars and would take more than a bag of quarters to make up for its destruction.
  • When He Smiles:
    • Mr. Frowney finally smiles sincerely when he realizes Mr. Smiley genuinely considers him a friend.
    • This is inverted for Mr. Smiley: he doesn't drop the smiling act until he reminisces about his old comedy partner and how he wasn't a very happy person, both on- and off-stage. Seeing Mr. Smiley look so sad greatly troubles Steven.
  • Work Off the Debt: Steven is forced to replace Zoltron himself when the machine falls apart after he pats it on the back. Steven tries to pass off patching up Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney's relationship as making things even, but Mr. Smiley bluntly tells Steven that the machine was worth thousands of dollars.
    Steven: Beep boop, Zoltron sees cramped legs in his future.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Steven "broke" the Zoltron animatronic (it was pretty busted anyways), so to make up for it, Mr. Smiley makes him Zoltron.


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