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Recap / Steven Universe S5E8 "Back to the Kindergarten"

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Original airdate: December 22nd, 2017

Production code: 1053-138

Steven, Amethyst, and Peridot try to spruce up the Kindergarten.


  • An Aesop: Just because something has been damaged, even irreversibly, it doesn't mean that there's nothing else worth saving.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Peridot again uses her Kindergartener skills to analyze the hole a Gem came out of, accurately predicting what kind of hair one of the Amethyst at the Zoo would have, simply from the trace deposits of iron.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Kindergarten won’t be habitable for life anytime soon, Peridot still misses Lapis and the barn, and Connie still hasn’t contacted Steven, but upon passing by a field of sunflowers, the trio decide they can rebuild elsewhere.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Steven, Amethyst, and Peridot take the train to the Kindergarten instead of the warp pad as they did when Amethyst first brought him there, which Peridot lampshades. The soundtrack even plays an instrumental of their song 'On the Run', which they sang in the boxcar on the way there the first time around.
    • Peridot moved back into Steven's bathroom after Lapis ran away from Earth and took the barn with her.
    • Amethyst gets 8XJ's name wrong, or at least which exit hole is hers.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Instead of letting Peridot continue to wallow in grief, Amethyst drags her out of the bathroom (without her depressing music) so they can leave the house, get some fresh air, and go with Steven on a trip to the Kindergarten.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Peridot's depression over Lapis leaving her and taking nearly everything they have plays out to be like a reluctant divorcee's. She's even crashing at Steven's house, despite his difficulty in hosting her.
    • The limp, languid, and sickly state Peridot is found in at the beginning of the episode is very akin to a hangover. What Peridot consumed to get that way, or if she even consumed anything at all is left ambiguous.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Amethyst says Peridot has a "green thumb", and Steven annoys Peridot by pointing out it's true both figuratively and literally.
  • The Drag-Along: Peridot agrees to visit the Kindergarten, but is so unenthused that Amethyst finds it necessary to carry her out draped over the shoulder.
  • Fusion Dance: Steven and Amethyst Fuse into Smoky Quartz to defeat the Gem monster.
  • Gaia's Lament: Despite attempts otherwise, the soil in the Kindergarten proves completely incapable of sustaining life and seems to keep actively draining it even with the Incubators deactivated. Plants that are planted perfectly healthy crumble to dust within a day of taking root, and this is even with the added nutrition of compost brought in from elsewhere.
  • Hard-Work Montage: A montage shows Amethyst, Peridot, and Steven making a garden in the Kindergarten.
  • Heel Realization: Peridot recounts how living close to nature has changed her views of the Kindergartens, and seems ashamed for being involved with them.
    This used to make sense to me. I thought life was generated in a Kindergarten. Formless, aimless energy channeled into new, useful Gems. But life doesn't start in a Kindergarten. It ends here. I've gotten used to plants everywhere. Bugs and breeze, and sunshine... all of that has been sucked out of this place. It's with the Amethysts that were produced here, and now this place is nothing but a miserable husk.
  • Heroic BSoD: Peridot is extremely depressed from Lapis leaving.
    Steven: So, what have you been up to?
    (Peridot mumbles incoherently with her face against the floor)
    Steven I, uh, couldn't really hear you there.
    (Amethyst flips Peridot over to reveal the disgusted look on her face)
    Peridot: Nothing.
  • Hope Spot: After Peridot laments how the Kindergarten permanently sucks the life out of the area, the trio find a flower that inexplicably bloomed there. Believing the Kindergarten is becoming habitable again, they spend the rest of the day planting sunflowers. Not only do the sunflowers die within a day, it turns out that the "flower" they found isn't actually a flower, but the nose of a Gem monster poking out of the ground.
    Peridot: (indignant) OH! OF COURSE! (gets Swallowed Whole by the monster)
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Peridot dramatically monologues about how the life force was sucked out of the Prime Kindergarten and used to make Amethysts, and now all the Amethysts are gone.
    Amethyst: Hey!
    Peridot: All the well-made Amethysts are gone.
    Amethyst: Yo, not better!
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    Peridot: Nothing will ever grow here again! Not even this flower!
  • Iris Out: Over Steven and Amethyst hugging Peridot, with Peridot hugging them back at the last second.
  • I've Heard of That — What Is It?: Amethyst suggests they plant hydrangeas in the Kindergarten after the sunflowers. Steven asks what those are like, and Amethyst admits she doesn't know, she just thought they sounded good.
  • Life Drain: The Kindergarten seems to actively suck out the life energy of any nearby plants.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Peridot states that her relationship with Lapis was helping her deal with her banishment from the Gem Empire and her loss of direction that resulted.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Peridot reacts to getting eaten by a Gem Monster with annoyance rather than pain, fear, or even genuine anger. Justified in that previous episodes established that Peridots can take a lot more punishment relative to other Gems.
  • Mess of Woe: Peridot ends up turning Steven's bathroom into a disaster area in the midst of her depression.
  • Mr. Exposition: Amethyst lampshades Peridot's role as one, when trying to get her out of the bathroom and suggesting that they go on a trip to the Kindergarten.
    Amethyst: You could make us feel dumb by telling us all the stuff we don't know!
    Peridot: I miss that.
  • Ocular Gushers: The puddles on the floor of Steven's bathroom are implied to be Peridot's tears.
  • Planimal: The new Gem monster seems to sit somewhere between a star-nosed mole and a giant turnip.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: Peridot states it was foolish to think they could restore the Kindergarten, and Steven's reply of "Tell me about it." prompts a rant about how it was just a distraction from her other problems and proves everything is hopeless.
    Amethyst: Yeah. We got the subtext.
  • Stealth Pun: Iron deposits in an Amethyst's hole are a sign that she has curly hair. So it's (a) curling iron.
  • Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Steven and Amethyst attempt to cheer Peridot up by getting her to plant sunflowers in the Kindergarten. It fails, but the sunflower field right outside renews her hope for future opportunity.
  • Swallowed Whole: The Gem monster eats Peridot. She's freed when Smoky Quartz poofs the monster.
  • Tempting Fate: On their way to check on the plants they planted at the Kindergarten, Amethyst remarks "The Kindergarten looks better than ever!" Cue Description Cut to Steven, Peridot, and Amethyst finding their field of sunflowers dead and slumped over.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Peridot's been crashing in Steven's bathroom for a while now, and by the time the episode begins, she's starting to chafe against the other characters. Steven's uncomfortable with not being able to use his bathroom properly even while trying to remain sympathetic, and Amethyst is ready to drag Peridot out in order to make her get ahold of herself.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • With Peridot occupying the bathroom again, Steven has "three things I have to do in the sink now", and washing his face is just the one he doesn't mind Amethyst seeing.
    • Peridot has gotten so used to sitting like a lump in Steven's bathtub that her way of saying "I need to go to my room" is "I need to go to the bathroom".
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Peridot lies down in this position while on the train car.
  • Visual Pun: Steven and Amethyst are positioned as if in a wheelbarrow race, then Amethyst shapeshifts into an actual wheelbarrow.