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Recap / Steven Universe S5E20 "What's Your Problem?"

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Amethyst convinces Steven to take a day off while they search for Ruby.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Amethyst's motivation throughout the episode is getting Steven to open up about his feelings and have him let go of his Guilt Complex. This is because both of those flaws have caused tons of unnecessary pain for him and the others in the past, and she wants Steven to become emotionally healthier so he won't hurt himself that way anymore.
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    • Amethyst also seems to realize that she is part of the reason why Steven's so bad at taking care of his own emotional health, as she admits that the Crystal Gems were wrong to make him their Living Emotional Crutch during this episode. Figuring out that you've indirectly given your little brother figure major low self-esteem isn't such a great realization to come too.
  • An Aesop: There’s nothing wrong with looking out for other people, but at the same time you have to take care of yourself. Also, you are not responsible for other people's problems and actions. Additionally, always unloading your emotional baggage on someone will eventually weigh them down and there eventually comes a time where one has to mature up and solve their own problems more often.
  • All of Them: Amethyst orders a pizza with "literally all the toppings" from Fish Stew Pizza. It looks like a fish and cheese casserole, complete with a whole fish sticking out of it, and they alternately eat it with spoons and by wrapping it up in the crust.
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  • Aside Glance: Amethyst looks straight into the camera at one point while Pearl and Sapphire continue crying.
  • Assurance Backfire: Pearl tries to comfort Sapphire by telling her that Ruby will return, because without her "there would be no Garnet, and... what on Earth would we do without Garnet?". Soon Pearl is crying along with Sapphire at the prospect of Garnet never forming again.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Amethyst spends the episode trying to get Steven to open up about his emotions over The Reveal because she knows that he’s really bad at acknowledging his own feelings, especially if someone else is having problems. She also refuses to dump her own feelings onto him because she knows that will kickstart his Guilt Complex, which is the last thing he needed at that point.
  • Breather Episode: Amethyst tries to invoke this by getting Steven to take a break from all the stress. Ultimately Subverted, however, since the episode still deals with the emotional "Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond were the same person" fallout.
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  • Broken Pedestal: While she's taking it much better than Sapphire did, Amethyst is still angry about Rose's lies, especially how it keeps causing trouble for those who weren't originally involved. Subverted by Steven, whose Rose pedestal was more or less already broken way earlier on.
    Steven: I'm relieved that she didn't shatter anyone, but... she lied to everyone. I mean, I'm not surprised. I knew she was a liar.
  • Character Development: Amethyst has taken notice on how much responsibility Steven has taken on over the last few seasons, so she’s trying not to explode her problems onto him and let her take care of Ruby once they know where to find her. This is partially so he can still be a kid, and partially because Amethyst has realized that she needs to step up maturity-wise with Garnet literally falling apart and Pearl being too close to the issue to actually deal with it. Steven takes note of her development and points out she's somehow become the most mature of the Crystal Gems, much to her comical horror.
  • Cliffhanger: Ends with Amethyst and Steven within sight of Greg and Ruby.
  • Compliment Backfire: When Steven says Amethyst is being the most mature Crystal Gem, she's very annoyed on realizing that he's right, but ultimately takes the compliment.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Steven first looks for Ruby in the ocean, referencing when she evaporated most of the Keystone Motel pool water.
    • Amethyst says she doesn't want Steven to have another thousand-year old Guilt Complex over his mom's actions.
    • Jenny mentions meeting Greg and Ruby at the "Brooding Hill". It's the same place that Ronaldo said he went to brood in "Full Disclosure", with the corresponding Keep Beach City Weird post also calling it by that same name. "Lion 4: Alternate Ending" also showed Greg had started hanging around there.
  • Deconstruction: This episode deconstucts Steven's desire to take on other people's problems. Amethyst tells him that looking out for others is great, but the way he does it means that he neglects his emotional health, which has caused a bunch of problems in the past. She also bluntly tells him that he is not responsible for anything that his mom or anybody else did, his Guilt Complex is extremely unhealthy and unfair to himself, and he doesn't need to deal with other people's problems if he's having them himself.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-zagged; Amethyst hasn't really gotten over Rose lying to everyone, but refuses to dump "another thousand year old complex" on Steven, a fourteen year old child.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first place Steven and Amethyst search for Ruby is at the car wash, but Greg doesn't seem to be around. They later discover Greg is WITH Ruby, somewhere else quieter.
    • Sapphire questions why Ruby would be a cowboy when trying to find her using Future Vision. Turns out to be a reference to the next episode.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Ruby's letter has a scratched-off part before her signature, which appears to be a Heart Symbol.
  • A Friend in Need: Ruby runs to Greg, who comforts her on Brooding Hill and buys her a pizza.
  • Funny Background Event: While Steven is handing out fliers in an attempt to find Ruby, Amethyst is in the background goofing off in various ways during the montage. Later revealed to be plot relevant as it was her attempt to get him to calm down and focus on his own emotional well being for a moment by having a bit of fun, instead of worrying instead of anyone else's (ie; Hers or Ruby's) until he's cleared his own issues up.
  • Guilt Complex: Amethyst has noticed Steven's tendency to blame himself for other people's problems, and tried to convince him to let someone else handle things for once. During her outburst, she also tells Steven that he is not responsible for other people's actions, and blaming himself for the bad things that happen to everybody is not only unfair to himself, but is extremely emotionally unhealthy.
    Amethyst: I feel like, I don't wanna say, "What about me?", okay?! And I don’t wanna be bent out of shape, I don't wanna be stuck in the past, and I'm not responsible for what Rose did. None of us are! Not you, not Pearl, and not Garnet! But I am responsible for me! And right now, I am NOT gonna dump another thousand year old complex on you or anybody else! I'm ending it RIGHT HERE! I am the Ding Dong Sunshine Future — your friend FOREVER! ...And I'm not going to fall apart on you.
  • Immediate Sequel: Starts right where the previous episode ends, with Sapphire discovering a letter left behind by Ruby following their apparent breakup.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: As Steven leaves to find Ruby (with Amethyst shortly tagging along), Pearl comedically starts to lose control of her sobbing as she's crying with Sapphire.
  • It's All About Me: Defied by Amethyst. She has her own thoughts and conflicts about the revelation about Rose, but thinks that too much of this has been dropped on Steven lately and wanted to make sure he was adjusting properly without having to worry about what she's going through (which is similar to what he's going through, since she looked up to Rose as a parental figure).
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Deconstructed; Amethyst admits during this episode that the Crystal Gems were wrong to burden Steven with issues that he shouldn't have to deal with as a fourteen-year-old kid, because it gave him such a huge Guilt Complex that he started to neglect his own emotional and mental health.
    Amethyst: (As she leaves for Brooding Hill to find Ruby) Let me take care of this, Steven! No adult should be putting anything else on you. Just let someone else take care of it for once!
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • Jenny assumes Ruby was "really red" because of how much she was crying.
    • When Amethyst is trying to fly away in helicopter form, she told Steven to get off her back, meaning in dealing with her issues, only for the camera to switch to show him hanging from the the tail of the helicopter form—which if the rear blades are her lower body, is her back. Amethyst then tells Steven, who is hanging on inside her head/cockpit, to "get out of [her] head".
      Steven: Am I getting too personal?
      Amethyst: Dude, you're literally inside my head!
  • Literal-Minded: When Ruby's note says she's "running away", Steven is sure she left by foot instead of warp pad because "she's usually pretty literal".
  • Logical Latecomer: While Amethyst is still feeling the brunt of Rose's lies, she doesn't have as much emotional closeness to the Pink Diamond reveal as Pearl and Garnet do. This allows her enough distance to see that Steven is suppressing his baggage and he had previously sacrificed himself to save the Gems and his human friends. Amethyst doesn't want to lose Steven again.
  • Made Myself Sad: Pearl starts crying with Sapphire after her attempt to assure her led to her realizing that Garnet may never exist again if Ruby never comes back.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Greg gives Jenny such a big tip that she can buy a pair of boots, in part to apologize for how far out of her way she went to deliver it. She happily tells Kiki, who can't believe it.
  • Noodle Implements: When searching for Ruby using her future vision, Sapphire sees Ruby as a cowboy and wonders aloud why she would be doing such a thing.
  • Ocular Gushers: Pearl and Sapphire cry these over Ruby running away.
  • Parting Words Regret: Sapphire becomes broken up upon discovering that she has driven Ruby away by wrongfully denouncing their entire relationship as one of Pink Diamond's lies, seemingly ending Garnet's existence in the foreseeable future.
  • Percussive Therapy: Just like the last time Steven and Amethyst got super frustrated with each other, they end up so mad they start physically fighting mid argument. By the end of it they've vented their stress and anger and come to a better understanding of each other.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Amethyst releases these when she realizes that Steven is right and she's the most mature Gem by default.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Pizza as a metaphor for emotional baggage.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Steven leaves to find Ruby, Amethyst continues playing her game, then immediately leaves as Pearl and Sapphire are still crying over Ruby.
  • Series Continuity Error: This episode starts at the exact moment the last one ended. However, that episode ended at night, and this one starts in the morning.
  • Sins of the Father: While Amethyst and Steven are at the pizza place, the former laments how everybody, even those who weren’t involved in the Gem War, is still paying for the trouble that occurred.
    Amethyst: It's not fair! We shouldn't have to deal with any of this. We shouldn't have to fix any of this, we weren't around for her stupid war! This.. This is everyone else's problem.. This is nothing to do with me... And you! This is nothing to do with you!
  • Size Shifter: Amethyst shrinks down so small that her Gemstone makes up the majority of her body at one point.
  • Skewed Priorities: Explored. Amethyst started a video game and didn't realize that Ruby had run away. She also wants to continue playing with Steven rather than find Ruby. Towards the end of the episode, however, she reveals she's trying to hold herself together for Steven's sake, which likely means she was as distraught as everyone else is and was trying to handle it on her own and didn't have the focus for Ruby.
  • Stepford Smiler: Amethyst is taking The Reveal about Rose better than Sapphire did, but she's still dealing with complicated emotions about it. Instead of dealing with it though, she focuses on trying to help Steven through things and make sure that it will cheer him up because, as she later explains, she's refusing to let him have to be the one to deal with her issues on it. At various points it's clear she WANTS to vent and is very close at points to losing her composure about it when Steven pushes her, but is refusing to let herself reach that point out of respect for Steven and his own issues, placing his needs above her own.
  • Tears of Remorse: Sapphire cries these when she finds out Ruby has run away, regretting having lashed out at her to make her do it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: The "Good" part is debatable, but Amethyst and Steven's pizza "with literally all the toppings" only gets one bite taken out of it before the two of them leave it behind due to Jenny inadvertently giving them Ruby's location.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: More like Took A Level In Maturity in Amethyst's case, who has decided for herself that she's not going to let Steven take on her emotional baggage anymore, and resolves to take responsibility for herself.
  • Tyop on the Cover: The Episode Title Card lacks a question mark.
  • Verbal Backspace:
    Steven: Amethyst, are you ok?
    Amethyst: NO! I mean... YES!
  • Warrior Therapist: Deconstructed; As Amethyst tells Steven, there’s nothing wrong with looking out for other people, but at the same time you have to make sure you take care of yourself or else things will end up worse for everybody.
    Amethyst: (When asking Steven how he feels about The Reveal) But like, aren't you mad?
    Steven: Kind of? I don’t know. I can see how she was good. And bad. And bad and good, but... I guess what really matters right now is how hard Garnet took it.
    Amethyst: But what about YOU? She’s YOUR mom! [...] Ugh... I'm trying to find out how you feel about all this!
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Played for Laughs. Amethyst is horrified when Steven declares that she's the most mature Crystal Gem.


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