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Recap / Steven Universe S5E27 "Escapism"

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Stevonnie has been locked up in a tower after fusing at the Era 3 ball by the Diamonds, with the other Crystal Gems poofed. A look around the room reveals no options for escape, and Steven and Connie unfuse. Fortunately, Connie brought along a snack bar in her pocket for just this eventuality, and they split it. Connie's attempt to use her cell phone gives Steven the idea of using his Psychic Powers to call for backup from Earth, so he goes to sleep as Connie watches over him. However, when Steven manages to reach Earth in the mental space, he finds to his frustration that he's stuck in the body of a Watermelon Steven, instead of just contacting Bismuth directly as he'd planned. As he tries to reach Beach City, he has to navigate a civil war between two factions of Watermelon Stevens, and his determination to build a raft and sail away accidentally ends the conflict as he departs. After his raft is sunk by a storm and a watermelon shark, he's found by Lion, who recognizes him and takes him to where Bismuth and Greg are working on rebuilding his house. Steven finally manages to communicate the need for backup by writing it in the sand before his watermelon body expires. Waking up back on Homeworld, Steven finds Connie has fallen asleep, and admits that the only option left for now is to wait.

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Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Due to having been poofed in the previous episode, Amethyst, Garnet and Pearl obviously don't appear.
  • Actual Pacifist: The old guard of the Watermelon Stevens still follow Baby Melon's example of non-violence. When one of theirs ends up in the other village, they simply huddle around him to escort him out, occasionally painting their star on the other melons.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Steven in his melon body loses his leg to the watermelon shark, and his arm falls off after swimming for hours.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the middle of his It's All My Fault moment, Steven says the Crystal Gems are poofed, he and Connie are locked up, and his dad will be disappointed to have his fourteen-year-old son in jail.
  • Astral Projection: Steven once more possesses a Watermelon Steven to get help from his family on Earth.
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  • Athens and Sparta: The Watermelon Society seems to have developed a schism based on their differing interpretations of their creator (Steven): those who take on a pacifistic, passively-resistant philosophy with Baby Melon as their example (characterized by a yellow star painted on their chest) and a more militant group keeping spears evocative of the tribe's help in fighting Malachite (wearing eye black under their eyes).
  • Big "WHAT?!": Bismuth mouths this when she sees the Watermelon Steven.
  • Black Comedy Burst: A watermelon bird hops off its perch and drops to the ground, since its wings can't carry it. Watermelon Steven later walks past the sliced remains of the bird without even acknowledging it.
  • Breather Episode: Downplayed. While the Watermelon Stevens are a mood-lifter, Steven while possessing one loses two limbs while trying to get to his family and the Watermelon vessel perishes at the end of the episode. And the whole thing is framed as Steven trying to rescue himself and the others trapped on Homeworld.
  • BFS: The warrior tribe leader has a ridiculously oversized spear that looks like it's made from a whole log. Steven uses as a mast for his raft.
  • Brick Joke: A cross-media one: A few days before the episode aired, one of the storyboard artists posted an alternate promo homaging the mobile game Monument Valley. During the episode, Connie remembers her cell phone, which makes Steven realize he can go to Bismuth for help. The next day, a "full" version of the promo was posted, showing the previous one as a game Connie played on her phone while waiting for Steven to wake up.
  • Call-Back:
    • The warp pad on Mask Island is still broken from Malachite and Alexandrite's battle; so at the very least, Steven can't use it. The island itself still has a massive split running through it due to the Cluster's development.
    • Steven encouraging the Watermelon Stevens to fight Malachite has caused them to splinter into a second, more aggressive village.
    • Steven decides to stop bothering with pictures and just writes out a help message in words, the same thing Connie did while trying to talk to Onion in "Bubble Buddies".
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Steven's ability to possess Watermelon Stevens returns and once more comes in useful. So does his connection to Lion, who finds him in the ocean and recognizes him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bismuth earlier had volunteered to stay on Earth to rebuild the Temple, watch over the planet, and protect a poofed Lapis and Peridot. It turns out that while the Crystal Gems' auxiliary team is out of commission, she, Lion, and Greg aren't.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends just when Steven's mind returns to his body on Homeworld after sending for help on Earth. Connie has since fallen asleep, and Steven acknowledges that they'll just have to wait for now.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Steven has been imprisoned for quite trivial reasons, yet thinks Greg would be ashamed at his son ending up "in jail".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Just like Steven in "Bubbled", Connie discovers there's no cell reception off Earth.
    • Bismuth is helping repair the house, as she said she would do in "Reunited".
  • Crazy-Prepared: Since Connie and Steven have basic needs that Homeworld doesn't understand, she carried food in case of an emergency, even when she was going to a party.
  • Darkest Hour: Steven and Connie are trapped inside a dark room with seemingly no means of escape, Blue and Yellow Diamond have turned against them, and the rest of the Crystal Gems are poofed, helpless to do anything about what may happen to them. Steven uses his psychic powers to get help.
  • Determinator: After getting attacked by a watermelon shark, Steven refuses to fail here and fends it off with a spear and by kissing it.
  • Diegetic Switch: The intro to "Escapism" turns out to be played by Greg on his guitar. When he sees (watermelon) Steven, he stops playing, the music continues over the muted dialogue, then the vocals kick in.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Escapism" references both Steven and Connie's wish to escape Homeworld (as evident in the song of the same name) and the episode being a reprieve (though not an entirely peaceful one) from the plot at hand.
  • Fingerless Hands: The Watermelon Stevens' lack of fingers besides thumbs makes things difficult for Steven as he tries to assemble a raft while in one's body.
  • Free-Range Pets: It was said in previous episodes that Lion did his own thing when Steven didn't need him, but this episode takes it even further. Lion finds Steven in the Watermelon Steven's body while he is walking on water in the middle of the ocean.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Steven astral projects to Earth to get help from his family — Lion, Greg, and Bismuth.
  • Grounded Forever: Connie wonders if the Diamonds plan to keep her and Steven locked up for the next hundred years. Depending on if they understand Steven's physical needs (or bother to consider Connie's), there's a very real risk of the two being left to die of thirst. Luckily, Connie brought some food.
  • Hourglass Plot: The Zoo arc was about Steven traveling into space to rescue his dad from the human zoo. This episode is about Steven sending a distress call to his dad and Bismuth because he and the Crystal Gems need help.
  • Immediate Sequel: Takes place immediately after "Together Alone".
  • It's All My Fault: Steven blames himself for bringing everyone to Homeworld. Connie reassures him that he was doing the best he could.
  • Just Ignore It: Since time is of the essence, Steven has no interest in getting involved with the politics of the Watermelon Stevens, both groups essentially trying to indoctrinate him and being a general nuisance to him as he tries to get off the island. Despite this, he seems to bring peace between the groups by total accident nevertheless.
  • Lap Pillow: Steven rests his head in Connie's lap so he can sleep and use his psychic powers.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Lapis and Peridot, the auxiliary Crystal Gems, are out of commission. Bismuth, one of the original Crystal Gems, isn't, but she has to work with Lion and Greg to save her friends.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: There is no intelligible dialogue outside of the opening and closing scenes with Steven and Connie.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Greg reacts this way when Lion emerges with a dehydrated Watermelon Steven and quickly brings him to Bismuth at the temple.
    • When they see the written message, Greg and Bismuth have this expression on their faces when Steven's watermelon body perishes on the shore.
  • One-Word Title: "Escapism".
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After he writes out the distress call, Watermelon Steven's body gives in to the heat exposure and limb loss.
  • Power Incontinence: Steven's original plan was to talk to Bismuth in the astral plane, as he previously did with Lapis. Naturally, he's extremely annoyed when he discovers he's accidentally possessed the body of a Watermelon Steven.
  • Planimal: Steven runs into more watermelon animals:
    • Seen on a branch is a watermelon bird. It tries to fly, but it can't.
    • A watermelon shark swims around the island and stalks Steven.
  • Properly Paranoid: Bismuth made the right call in not trusting the Diamonds and going to Homeworld with the others. She finds out that the Diamonds turned on the Crystal Gems, who need help.
  • Rule of Symbolism: As Mask Island split in half from the Cluster's near emergence, the society of Watermelon Stevens has split in two between those who follow Baby Melon's example and those rallied by Steven to help fight Malachite.
  • Sequel Episode: Although more of a background for Steven's quest to get help, we see how the Watermelon Stevens have fared since Malachite's defeat and the earthquake in "Super Watermelon Island".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The tower that Stevonnie gets locked in is very reminiscent in appearance to that of Rapunzel's.
    • Stevonnie's failed escape attempt is very similar to Pazu's attempt to escape his military capture in Castle in the Sky.
    • The Watermelon Stevens breaking into two fighting groups over having a star on their chest is quite reminiscent of The Sneetches.
    • Steven using the ocean currents to navigate his way back to Beach City also brings back memories of Moana learning to way-find.
  • Silence Is Golden: Most of the episode has no intelligible dialogue. The Watermelon Stevens can only mumble, and the scenes at Steven's home only have a song in the soundtrack.
  • Skyward Scream: When Steven sees that he's back in a Watermelon Steven body, he gets so frustrated he just sits there and screams for a moment.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Watermelon Stevens fortunately don't need to breathe, which means that Steven doesn't lose consciousness when the shark makes him dive deeper. They can, however, dry up in the sun.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The watermelon shark waits around the shore hours for Steven to reenter the water, then follows his raft miles into the ocean. Although given it went away after receiving a kiss, maybe it was just curious, not hungry.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Steven ultimately gets the Watermelon Shark to leave him alone by kissing it, causing it to blush and swim away.
  • Terrible Artist: Steven tries to show the watermelons what he wants to do via sand drawings, but they don't understand what they depict. Later, when Steven tries to show Greg and Bismuth what happened to the Crystal Gems on Homeworld, they don't understand what the stick figures and blobs are supposed to represent. He gives up and writes his help message instead.
  • Threatening Shark: A watermelon shark attacks Steven as he sails on a raft.
  • Time for Plan B: Since talking to the Diamonds and playing by their rules didn't work, Steven switches his priority to rescuing everyone and getting backup.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Now that they no longer have to placate Malachite, the Watermelon Stevens don't need a sacrifice. They happily help Steven build a raft back and send him off with missives of good luck.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: In the process of Steven looking for help on Homeworld, we revisit the Watermelon Stevens on Mask Island.
  • Wanderlust Song: During the silent montage of Steven contacting Lion, Greg, and Bismuth, we hear "Escapism", in which the singer laments being in an awful place they long to break free from.
  • Wingding Eyes: Steven uses five-pointed stars to represent White Diamond's eyes in his sand drawing.


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