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Recap / Steven Universe S5E3 "Off Colors"

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Steven and Lars with the Off Colors.
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In the depths of Homeworld, Blue Diamond's palanquin — Steven and Lars' getaway vehicle from the previous episode — lies in ruin. Steven managed to bubble Lars and himself shortly before they hit the ground, so they're mostly okay... after all, their bones are only a little broken. Steven admits that he has no idea where he's going, since it's his first time on Homeworld. The two realize they're being hunted — robonoid drones are scanning for them.

Lars: If you hold perfectly still, they can't see you. I saw it in a movie once!

Unfortunately, his advice proves incorrect. Once the scan beam crosses Steven's gem, it lights up in response and the eye fires at them. The two boys dodge and tumble to the ground.

Lars: I think that movie was about dinosaurs.

The eye comes around for another sweep... Lars demands to know what's going to happen. Steven gives his usual optimistic answer:

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Steven: We're gonna run ... and we're gonna be okay!

Lars stops, and says he's sick of being afraid all the time. He says that the only thing he's not afraid of is baking... then backtracks and admits that he's even afraid of that. As Steven tries to come up with something to say, a red hand emerges from a hole and beckons to them. The eye is about to find them, so they follow the beckoning hand.

The owner of the hand turns out to be Rutile, a gem who is a set of Conjoined Twins. Lars recoils in fear, but Steven assures him that it's okay. They thank the twins for helping them, and the twins lead them into a tunnel that leads to a very old, very immense Kindergarten.

Rutile calls to unseen others, letting them know that it's safe to come out. A fusion that resembles Garnet's first form emerges, nervously demanding to know if Rutile was followed. She is introduced as Rhodonite. A tiny gem who looks a lot like Sapphire but in a different color is introduced as Padparadscha. Finally, an immense fusion is introduced as Fluorite.

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Steven introduces himself as half-gem and Lars as completely human. The other cave gems tell them they'll stand out on the surface of Homeworld because like them, Steven and Lars are "off-color". Fluorite explains slowly that off-color gems aren't needed, because they're different: Rutile came out wrong and only survived because all the other Rutile ran away when they emerged. Padparadscha gets visions, but they're of things that have just happened. Rhodonite is a forbidden fusion of two different gems, and was replaced when discovered. Fluorite is a fusion of six gems, but she's open to adding more "if they meet the right gem".

Before they can go further, the roving eye robonoids arrive. Rhodonite screeches that they were followed after all, and they scatter to hide. Steven and Lars watch as the robonoid scans the empty holes. But eventually it finds Rulite's hole. The twins cringe back from the beam and hold each other's hands as the beam moves inexorably toward their gem.

Lars leaps into action, feeling strongly that he has to do something to help the gems who helped them. He throws a stray rock at one of the robonoids. They turn to scan him...

Lars: [to himself] It's okay to be afraid.

... but since he has no gem, they don't see him at all. Padparadscha makes the same observation in a few seconds. While she's beaming about this wonderful new vision, a robonoid spots her and fires. Lars leaps into action again and knocks them out of harm's way.

Lars: I think that was the coolest thing I've ever done in my life.
Steven: It's not over!

The robonoids make another pass at Steven and Padparadscha, but Lars picks up a heavy stalagmite and uses it to bat them away. Steven draws his shield and reflects one of their beams, destroying two of them. The last one almost finds Rhodonite, but Lars springs into the hole where she's hiding and positions himself in front of her so her gems can't be scanned. He then leaps on the robonoid and rides it around the cavern. It tries to buck him off. He finally takes the stalagmite and stabs the robonoid in its eye.

Lars: Eat THIS!

The robonoid explodes, and the force of the concussion knocks Lars across the cavern and into a giant rock outcropping, where he impacts — hard, then falls to the floor and lies motionless. With the last of the robonoids defeated, the Off Colors applaud Lars' heroism, but Steven immediately recognizes that his friend is hurt and rushes to his side.

Steven turns Lars face-up, but he's unresponsive. The other Off Colors look on as Steven leans in to listen for a pulse, a heartbeat, anything.

Silence.

Steven's eyes fill with tears; he holds Lars' lifeless body and sobs his little heart out. His tears roll down his face to his chin. One of Steven's tears drips onto Lars' face.

A second or two passes, then the spot where the tear fell sparkles and glows. As Steven watches with astonished wide eyes, the glow covers Lars' entire body, then fades to nothing.

Lars stirs, wakens, and sits up; seemingly none the worse for wear aside from a scar over his right eye. Steven's inherited healing powers brought Lars back to life! However, Lars seems to have been somehow altered in the process — the most obvious change being that his skin and hair now sport a familiar shade of pink...


Tropes:

  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Lars and Steven are on Homeworld outdoors. While they point out there's no water or food, the air is still breathable, temperatures are humanly tolerable, and gravity is not noticeably different than Earth's surface.
  • Attack Drones: The Shattering Robonoids are flying drones with a deadly lightning lightning attack.
  • Attack Reflector: After it fails to hide his gem, Steven finds that his shield can deflect the beams the Robonoids use to attack. Lampshaded instantly by Padparadscha via her 'Future Vision'.
  • Back from the Dead: Lars sacrifices his life to destroy the last of the Shattering Robonoids, but Steven miraculously brings him back with his mother's healing powers.
  • Beneath the Earth: The episode takes place deep beneath Homeworld's surface in long abandoned Kindergartens, as that's where the Off Colors have been hiding out.
  • Call-Back:
    • Back in "Earthlings", Jasper mentioned those who don't fit into the Diamonds' system must be purged. We meet a group of such Gems hiding in the tunnels, fearing for their lives.
    • Holly Blue Agate calls the Beta Kindergarten Gems "off color Betas" while deriding them for slacking off while Blue Diamond's visiting. Steven meets a group of Gems who reveal "off color" to be a derogatory term for anyone who doesn't fit into Homeworld's strict Hive Caste System.
    • The episode opens with a view of an enormous figure almost identical to one of the moonbase murals—the white one never mentioned by name, to be specific.
    • Steven calms Lars down by placing his palm on his chest and Lars does the same to him, which was as a sort of Secret Handshake the two made up at the end of "Lars and the Cool Kids".
  • Captain Obvious: One of the Off Colors is Padparadscha, a Sapphire who tends to make obvious remarks because her flawed Future Vision only gives her images of things that just happened. That being said, it also manages to clarify how Lars was able to avoid detection after he gets scanned, so it's not entirely useless.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: The Rutile Twins introduce themselves as an arm sticking out of a hole, telling Steven and Lars to follow them to escape the Shattering Robonoids. Lars is reluctant, but realizes they don't have a choice.
  • Conjoined Twins: Rutile has two upper bodies.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: When the Shattering Robonoids are about to lock on to Rutile Twins' gem, Rhodonite covers her eyes with her lower set of hands and Padparascha's eye with her upper set of hands, even though Padparascha's eye is already covered by her hair.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Shattering Robonoids have no way of tracking Gems besides scanning their gemstones, and can't detect anything that doesn't have a gemstone. Lars is able to block the Off Colors' gems from view and attack the Robonoids without them being able to shoot back at him.
  • A Death in the Limelight: After a series of episodes with Lars heavily in focus, he dies near the end of this episode protecting Steven and the Off Colors. However, Steven revives him right before the episode ends.
  • Diving Save: Lars tackles Padparadscha to save her from a Robonoid, acknowledging it as likely the coolest thing he's ever done.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Off Colors" could refer to both the group of outcast Gems, and to Lars turning pink when Steven resurrects him.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When Lars destroys the drone and is thrown into the pillar, the Off Colors look delighted, as they don't understand how severely he's been injured.
  • The Dreaded: The Off Colors are terrified of the Shattering Robonoids. Given they're basically flying death rays programmed to kill them on sight, they're right to be.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: A non-romantic example; Lars is willing to sacrifice his life for the Off Colors shortly after meeting them. It comes from a combination of gratitude for them saving his life, identifying with their plight as societal misfits, and obligation to make up for his past cowardice.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The Shattering Robonoids scan the environment and attack things using an eye-like apparatus. Lars destroys one by stabbing one with a rock fragment.
    • It's implied that Lars lost his right eye in the explosion that killed him, since there's a long scar running through it after he's resurrected.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Steven mentions Lars shouldn't beat himself up because the robonoids will. He's not wrong.
    • During the Wanted arc and the two episodes before it, Lars is wearing a shirt with a skull symbol on it. He dies and is resurrected in this episode.
    • When Steven and Lars follow the Rutiles down the hole, the cover isn't fully replaced, leaving the hole slightly visible. Eventually the robonoids find their way down there.
  • Freakiness Shame: The Off Colors feel they're 'not right' due to how they're treated by Homeworld. Steven tells them he doesn't see anything wrong with them and just likes them.
  • Fusion Dance: Two of the Off Colors, Rhodonite and Fluorite, are Permafusions similar to Garnet. Fluorite takes the cake by being a six-Gem fusion, the largest multi-type Fusion seen thus far (even more than the four-Gem Alexandrite).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lars deliberately draws the robonoids' attention away from the Rutile Twins, and towards himself. He then realizes they can't see him and uses this to destroy some of the them, at the cost of his own life. Steven brings him back, however.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: When the Shattering Robonoids are about to lock onto the Rutile Twins' gem, Rhodonite covers her eyes with her lower set of hands and Padparascha's eyes with her upper set of hands, even though Padparascha's eyes are already covered by her hair.
  • Improvised Weapon: Lars uses a piece of rock to fight off the Shattering Robonoids.
  • Kill on Sight: Everyone and everything loyal to the Diamonds wants to shatter the Off-Colors on sight.
  • Killer Robot: The Shattering Robonoids, which seem to have 'shoot to kill' as their only setting. Fitting Homeworlds' function minded mentality, they seem to be little more than flying death rays with a scanner.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Lars finally manages to overcome his cowardliness when it counts and manages to handle himself surprisingly well.
  • Meaningful Echo: When the robonoids enter the Kindergarten, Steven gets Lars to calm down by telling him "It's okay to be scared." Seconds later, Lars draws a robonoid away from the Rutile Twins, and tells himself "It's okay to be afraid." as it scans him, before realizing it can't see him.
  • Mega City: Homeworld has a large city layer, but the ground level and below is largely abandoned, with only ruins and Off Colors inhabiting it.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After feeling deeply ashamed for abandoning Sadie while back on Earth, Lars finds himself in a position to save Steven and the Off Colors. He takes it.
  • Negate Your Own Sacrifice: Played with; Lars's deliberate attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice, drawing the Robonoid's attention away from the Rutile Twins, ends with them passing him over because he has no gem. However, when Lars uses this to save the whole group, he dies in the process anyway.
  • Ninja Prop: The episode appears to begin with an Episode Title Card, but instead of cutting to a different scene, the camera pans way down to Steven and Lars, because it was really the beginning of an Establishing Shot.
  • No-Sell: The Robonoids can't see Lars because he lacks a gem. He uses this to his advantage.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: When Lars collides with the pillar, his hair drops down to cover his eye. Upon resurrecting, Lars has as scar over the same eye, implying the hair was covering a lost eye.
  • PG Explosives: When Lars is killed, there is no blood visible despite him being in an explosion.
  • Planet Looters: It appears that the Diamonds used up all of Homeworld's resources making as many Gems as they could, given the massive size of the Kindergarten the Off Colors hide in.
  • Please Wake Up: Steven shakes Lars' body after he falls to the ground after getting thrashed into a wall.
  • Polyamory: Of course, a Fusion need not always be romantic, but Fluorite gives this vibe when she mentions being a six-Gem Fusion, and says "maybe more, if we meet the right Gem."
  • Reality Ensues: A double whammy for Lars;
    • Lars picks up a piece of stone to use as a makeshift club. He strains to do so, as a stone of that size would have considerable weight, especially for a scrawny teenager like himself.
    • Lars is also a normal human without Steven's Super Toughness. Being at point blank of a explosion, getting thrown against a wall, and falling a good ways to the ground is instantly fatal.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Lars redeems his earlier cowardice and selfishness by going out in a blaze of glory against the Robonoids. The effort costs him his life, though Steven is able to bring him back.
  • Running Gag: Padparadscha predicting events that have already happened.
  • Scars Are Forever: Lars feels perfectly fine after being resurrected, and the only lasting injury is a scar on his face.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Lars tells Steven to not move and the Robonoid won't notice them, stating that he saw it in a movie once. After it detected Steven's gem and fired a laser at them, Lars states that he got it from a dinosaur movie. (Funnily enough, the sequel to the book said movie was based on even lampshaded how that idea wouldn't work.)
    • The way Steven brings back Lars to life is very similar to the way Rapunzel resurrects Eugene.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Steven's tears resurrect Lars and give him the same pink hue and pocket dimension hair that Lion has.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted. When the last Robonoid explodes, Lars is tossed into a rock formation, and he falls a great height to the ground. By the time Steven reaches him, he can't hear a heartbeat.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Lars turns out to be very helpful, as the Shattering Robonoids scan for gems to find their targets, and a human like Lars has no gem to scan.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Four seasons after he failed to activate them, Steven manages to use Rose's Swiss Army Tears to bring Lars back from the dead. And change his hair and skin pink.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lars faces murderous Robonoids to save the Gems and Steven.
  • [Verb] This!: Says Lars before impaling a robonoid with a rock: "Eat this!" (and if not for Steven's resurrecting him, it would have been Lars' Famous Last Words.)
  • Wham Episode: It bears repeating: Lars died and Steven brought him back to life. With his tears.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Padparadscha's "Future Vision" is flawed and only allows her to see the recent past. She still seems happy about it, though.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Lars's attempt to use Jurassic Park T. rex logicnote  fails.

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