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Recap / Steven Universe S5E21 "The Question"

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This ol' Ruby rider
Is Ruby ridin' alone
Steven shows some city slickers how the cowboys lived.

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  • Added Alliterative Appeal: In the song Ruby Rider, "she's a sturdy solitary stone."
  • Adorkable: Ruby gets into her cowboy gig and is just adorable doing it.
  • An Aesop: It’s okay to want time away from your partner. You are not and should not be defined solely by the relationship. And if you really want to be in the relationship, some alone time may remind you of why you wanted it.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Ruby really gets into Wild West comics in this episode.
  • Audience Surrogate: Steven is horrified when he first hears that Ruby and Sapphire may not become Garnet again. Likewise, Greg serves as a surrogate for the audience members that believed Ruby and Sapphire needed something like this, gently helping Ruby do her own thing.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • When Ruby declares she wants to be her own Gem, Greg and Amethyst take it rather well, while Steven yells, "Whaaaaaaat!?"
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    • When Ruby admits she still feels lonely and misses Sapphire, Steven says it again in surprise.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Steven implies that he likes eating flour and sugar separately, not just together in cake.
  • Blush Sticker: Ruby at various moments during the episode, like when she gets the idea to propose to Sapphire from the comic book.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: A few times among Ruby, Steven, Greg and Amethyst during their wild frontier adventure. Steven even reads "I miss Sally May" in the Lonesome Lasso comic book with a southern drawl.
  • Brutish Bulls: Ruby tries her hand at wrangling and lassos a bull by his horns. The bull is not amused.
  • Call-Back:
    • Once again in tough times, Greg brings pizza.
    • Ruby gives being a cowboy a try, just like Sapphire predicted in the last episode.
  • Comfort Food: Ruby drowns her sorrows in pizza that Greg ordered for her while on "Brooding Hill".
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  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: Ruby confesses that she enjoys going out on her own, but still wishes Sapphire was there.
    Ruby: Turns out, I'm no good at not needin' nobody.
  • Continuity Nod: Greg compares Pink Diamond changing her name to Rose Quartz to his own changing his last name from DeMayo, which we first learned was his birth name in "Gem Harvest".
  • Cowboy Episode: Ruby spends the episode being a cowboy, complete with Western-style imagery and music.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The title references the season two episode "The Answer".
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title is not only a Cross-Referenced Title to "The Answer", in that Ruby has finally begun to question why she stayed fused with Sapphire just because Rose told them to, but it also refers to Ruby popping Sapphire the question.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: By the time we get back to the Beach House, Pearl and Sapphire have stopped crying and are doing a G-Rated variant of this in tea.
  • Easily Forgiven: Greg takes the revelation that the woman he loved used to be Pink Diamond well, as he can relate to her keeping secrets from each other. Of course, he has an easier time dealing with it than the Crystal Gems, since much of her life was already a mystery.
  • Finger Gun: Ruby points her fingers and says "pow" shortly after getting the idea to be a cowboy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: After Sapphire accepts the proposal and Ruby starts spinning her around, the underside of the former's dress is in the shape of a heart.
  • Immediate Sequel: Takes place right after the end of the previous episode, with Steven and Amethyst finding Ruby after she'd run away following her fight with Sapphire.
  • Instant Expert: Greg remarks on how quickly Ruby picks up the guitar after he taught her how to use one after ten minutes.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: Played for laughs, as Ruby so wants her future to be unknown that she doesn't care if that leaves her barreling off a (literal) cliff.
    Ruby: I almost fell down there. And it was all my choice! YEE-HAW, INDEPENDENCE!
  • Mundane Utility: Ruby uses her Playing with Fire abilities to start a campfire.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Ruby comes to this conclusion about Rose's advice for Garnet never to question herself; she meant well, especially in face of Homeworld's taboo against cross-fusion, but neither Sapphire nor Ruby really spent any time by themselves for millennia. Ruby states that this is the first time in more or less her whole existence when she's been by herself as Ruby.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Downplayed with Sapphire and Ruby's relationship, as they get back together by the end of the episode, despite the trope itself being a major theme this season. Of course, them getting married is still a huge change. But there's also the implication that they might unfuse more often so they can have some alone time.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ruby has never been seen eating food onscreen. The fact that she eats the pizza Greg buys says a lot about how upset she is.
  • Pun: Before transforming into a horse for Ruby to ride, Amethyst says, "I'm always down for a little... horsin' around."
  • Reality Ensues: Sapphire may have realized otherwise, but Ruby is still hurt by Sapphire saying their relationship was based on a lie, and Ruby is seriously contemplating if this is true. The episode also deals with Garnet's place on everyone's "perfect relationship" pedestal as Ruby and Sapphire spend some time apart, realize that Rose was wrong when she told them never to question who they were (both as their individual selves and Garnet), and end up in a much stronger, healthier place for it.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: Ruby decides to make it on her own by emulating the cowboy in a comic book — which even gives her an idea for a marriage proposal. Her first choice was actually a comic about a dolphin, but even Steven wasn't going to pretend that was practical.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Ruby at one point spits out a wheat sprig by saying "ptooie".
  • Snakes Are Sinister: At one point, the group gets menaced by a diamondback rattlesnake, which Ruby scares off with a Finger Gun.
  • Stepford Smiler: Ruby is taking things better than the other Gems have, but her attempts to cheer herself up cause her to keep thinking of Sapphire.
  • To Be Continued: The episode ends without an Iris Out on an in-universe "To be continued" sign from a comic book Steven holds up to the camera.
  • Twirl of Love: Ruby and Sapphire engage in some blissful twirling at the end of the episode, just like they did the first time we saw them together. This time, however, the episode ends without them fusing back into Garnet, symbolizing their growth as individuals.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Ruby does a lot of gratuitous acrobatics just getting around. She can't jump without doing some kind of flip or somersault.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Ruby (with help from Steven and Amethyst) gives a melodramatic proposal to Sapphire as if it were lifted straight out of a Golden Age Western.
  • Wham Line: Spoken by Ruby after she returns to the beach house: "Sapphire, will you marry me?"

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