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Recap / Steven Universe S4E9 "Three Gems and a Baby"

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Greg tells Steven about their first winter together.

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  • Adult Fear:
    • Greg, despite having money to care for Steven and being more responsible, is still new to the father business. He's reading up on the new task, and the song he accompanies it with is "I Could Never Be Ready".
    • Greg has the Gems, apparent friends, take Steven, steal his van, and leave without saying anything to him.
    • The Gems have zero experience dealing with children, and no experience of ever 'being' children. When it's becomes apparent to them that Steven isn't just Rose, they realize they have a small human they know nothing about taking care of.
  • Arc Symbol: Steven gets fussy when his onesie covers his gemstone, so Greg adjusts the buttons to expose it, in a way that looks like the diamond symbol.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Deconstructed. In the flashback, it's clear that both Greg and the gems are scared by Steven, and they don't automatically love him - Pearl in particular just sees him as something between her and Rose, and even her ultimate decision not to tear his gem out is made for Rose's sake and not his. Steven did ultimately bring them together and help them grow and change - but it took time and hard work on both their part and his, rather than happening magically as soon as he was born.
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  • Born as an Adult: When Greg says that he never had a gem when he was a kid, Pearl sadly responds that they (Gems) never were kids.
  • Brutal Honesty: Steven tells the Gems that they "were wrong about everything", but he meant it in a better way than they interpreted.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Steven's gem glows when he's comfortable and surrounded by his family's love, just like in the first episode.
    • Amethyst shapeshifts into a baby, something she does again in "So Many Birthdays".
    • We see Buck and Jenny as kids, playing in the snow.
    • Garnet knowingly tells Greg that Steven will eventually need the razor she got him, predicting the ending to "Steven's Birthday".
    • Greg uses his keys to show the Gems an example of what they should get Steven (they all got him gifts he was too young to use), while doing the "carabiner, carabiner!" thing from "Winter Forecast".
  • Character Development:
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    • In contrast to him being a moocher in "Greg the Babysitter", Greg in this episode pays for his own groceries when staying at Vidalia's place.
    • Mentioned by Steven at the end of the episode, when he says that the Gems were wrong about them not being able to change, as they have changed, especially compared to how they were fourteen years ago. To drive it home, his words are shown over Pearl giving Greg some tea and giving the tea bag to Amethyst; those three being characters whose relationships at the beginning of the show were arguments and avoidance at best, and destructive at worst.
  • Christmas Episode: Zig-zagged, as this is a world where Christmas doesn't exist, but there are constant allusions. It aired on the first day of December, features heavy snowfall in both the past and present, and Greg holding Steven in his van, huddled in a blue blanket and surrounded by the Gems, is strongly reminiscent of a Nativity Scene (with Greg, Steven, and the Gems as Mary, Jesus, and the Three Wise Men, respectively). The Gems in the flashback even come bearing gifts!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Pearl makes tea, she feeds Amethyst the teabags, referencing Amethyst's professed love of them in "Onion Friend".
    • During the flashback, Garnet and Pearl have their debut outfits, while Amethyst has her outfit from the extended opening.
    • Greg and baby Steven stay at Vidalia's house to beat the cold, calling back to Greg and her being close friends (and Greg mooching off her) in "Greg the Babysitter".
  • Counting to Potato: "One, human babies don't glow. And letter number B... what if they do?!"
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the other flashback episodes, anyway, though "Awkwarder and Sadder" might be a better fit. Case in point: The three songs that opened the last flashback episodes were positive and rocky, while this one is downbeat and bittersweet.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Both from Greg:
    • "I was afraid we would become Snowman and Snowman Jr, son of Snowman!"
    • "You unbuttoned all your buttons I buttoned up."
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Gems kidnap Steven, thinking Rose is trying to escape from him somehow. Once they've got him alone, they're at a loss as to what comes next. Lampshaded by Amethyst after Greg asks what the Gems were thinking when they took Steven.
    Amethyst: There wasn't really a big idea... (quickly) Just a bunch of small ideas that never came together.
  • Easily Forgiven: Greg is angry that the Gems kidnapped Steven, but he quickly accepts their apology.
  • Epic Fail: Greg tries to make a makeshift dogsled to catch up to the van. He ends up getting chased by the dog, who is pulling the sled behind it.
  • Five Stages of Grief: The Gems show different signs of these stages during the flashbacks. Amethyst keeps calling Steven "Rose" as if she is in Denial over her passing, Pearl is obviously Angry over her passing when she is seen dropping off the gifts for Steven, the Gems go through a brief period of Bargaining when they kidnap Steven to raise him themselves, believing they can get Rose back somehow, and Pearl has a brief moment of Sadness when she can't bring herself to remove Steven's gem and cries over how growing and changing isn't natural to Gems as it is to humans. While none of them are close to Acceptance yet and still occasionally struggle with Rose's passing in the Present, Garnet comes the closest to this during the flashbacks when she says that this isn't about Rose anymore and from now on everything needs to be about Steven.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: This episode reveals that Garnet did once show Steven that she was a fusion of Ruby and Sapphire, thinking that he was also a fusion. Justified as he was only a baby at the time so he wouldn't be able to remember it.
  • Fusion Dance: Fourteen years ago, the Gems hadn't quite understood Rose was Killed Off for Real. As a result, Garnet became convinced Steven was a Fusion with Rose as one of the components, even splitting up into Ruby and Sapphire to try and coax "them" to unfuse.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: The Gems get Steven a bunch of gifts, but their execution is somewhat off; Garnet gets him a razor, which he will need eventually, but it's presently dangerous for an infant. Amethyst gets diapers, except they're for adults, and thus too big for him. Finally, Pearl gets him a dictionary so he can learn English, without considering that someone would have to teach him to read first.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Much of the flashback deals with how Greg and even the Gems were confused at Steven's exact nature, not quite understanding that he's some sort of half-human/half-Gem hybrid (if it can even be described as that), especially after his gem glowed. The three Gems' interpretations range from the reasonably plausible (Garnet, thinking what happened is analogous to Gem fusion, which is loosely similar), to comically missing the point (Amethyst, thinking Rose just shape-shifted into baby form and got stuck), to the frankly murderous (Pearl, who thinks Rose is trapped inside Steven, literally in that his body surrounds her gemstone... and theorizes that removing the gemstone might restore Rose, not realizing it could kill the baby).
  • Heroic BSoD: Pearl in the flashback was still shaken by Rose's death and entirely withdrawing from Greg, only speaking to him when necessary and spending the entire visit sitting on a table in a Troubled Fetal Position.
  • Hope Spot: When Steven's gem glows, the Crystal Gems have hope that Rose is still alive within him. They realize that this is not the case.
  • The Lost Lenore: Greg is clearly shown missing Rose when he looks at the picture of a young Vidalia, Sour Cream, and Yellowtail. The same applies to the other Gems, Pearl especially, who spends a good number of scenes clutching her legs and barely looking Greg in the eye over what happened to Rose.
  • Messianic Archetype: With all the references to the Nativity, it's clear that baby Steven is meant to represent baby Jesus.
  • Mistaken Identity: It turns out even the other Crystal Gems assumed that Steven having Rose's gem meant he was her, the same mistake Jasper, Bismuth, and Eyeball all made.
  • No Object Permanence: Garnet unfuses in front of baby Steven in order to show him that he can unfuse too (since she thinks he's a fusion). Steven looks around in distress, grabs at the air above Ruby and Sapphire, and promptly begins to cry.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Gems thought that Steven's babysitter kidnapped him (she really took him to the park). Their attempt of getting him back apparently involved throwing a jungle gym at her.
    • Amethyst apparently spent an unknown amount of time in the form of a toilet.
  • Not So Above It All: Garnet, who is known for being the most level-headed of the gems, gets Steven a razor even though he's far too young to need one, and comes to believe he is a fusion similar to how Amethyst believes he's a shapeshifted form of Rose after his gem glows.
  • Off-Model: Amethyst's current outfit is rounded at the bottom like her old outfits, instead of shredded. Considering she barely moves from her spot and her flashback self (who does have a rounded shirt) is prominent in the episode, it's understandable.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ruby and Sapphire are aghast after their unfusing causes baby Steven to cry.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Gems just took Steven, hopped into the van, and left without telling Greg anything. Past Amethyst lampshades it.
  • Pronoun Trouble: The Gems refer to Steven with female pronouns a few times when they think Rose is in him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Vidalia allows Greg to borrow her house for a few weeks so he can care for Steven in a safe spot. It helps that Greg has grown more responsible over the years, and he's paying for his own groceries instead of taking hers.
  • Running Gag: As always, Greg has to play a song for these episodes. Steven even lampshades it. Luckily, Greg has a song prepared in advance for this one.
  • Same Clothes, Different Year: A young Buck is briefly shown playing in the snow, and the color for each article of his clothing corresponds to one for his modern outfit. His snow goggles also greatly resemble the sunglasses he constantly wears in the present.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Due to the Gems having not yet realized that Rose was truly dead and Steven's gem glowing, Pearl came to believe Rose was imprisoned by being part of Steven.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is from Three Men and a Baby.
    • There are also quite a few references to the Nativity, such as the three Gems come bearing gifts, Greg's blue cloak and holding baby Steven making them resemble Mary holding Jesus, etc.
  • Stealth Pun: Steven reminds Greg to sing a song whenever he tells a story about the past, calling it "our little 'arrangement' ".
  • Stock Audio Clip: The sound of baby Steven crying when he wakes up is recycled from "Steven's Birthday".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Garnet's describes her gift's Hollywood Giftwrap as being "made to look like it's been carefully wrapped", almost the exact same description Connie uses in "Steven's Birthday".
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After raising a baby on her own with no help (besides Greg), Vidalia meets a man that she loves, who adopts her child and makes sure they are both happy.
  • Time Skip: The flashback is set at least a couple years after the last flashback episode; Sour Cream is older, Vidalia and Yellowtail are together, and Vidalia's house looks nicer.
  • Understatement: Garnet says the Crystal Gems kidnapping baby Steven was "a bit regrettable".
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Amethyst thinks that Steven is just Rose shapeshifting into a new form and demonstrates the same a few times to attempt to jog "her" memory.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Greg calls the Gems out for kidnapping Steven. Steven does the same thing in the present after hearing it.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Past Pearl has a perfect opportunity to remove Steven's gem, which she thinks will restore Rose, but can't bring herself to do it because she knows how much Rose wanted this, even if she has no idea why.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Just like the last three, though this one focuses on the aftermath of Steven's birth instead of Greg and Rose's growing relationship.
  • Worth It: Greg's van heater has failed to work ever since he installed a minidisc player, but he views this as a worthwhile trade.

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