Steven Universe: Storm in the Room
February 17, 2017 7:27 PM - Season 4, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Steven spends some time thinking about his mom.
posted by Small Dollar (21 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh Steven. My poor precious baby. There's only so much Greg can do, isn't there?

I had hoped that the Room would be able to pull a lot more from Steven's gem (given Gem tech is linked to the gem itself, not whatever manifestation it is projecting) but I guess there's only so much it can do. Rose was a lot more coherent than most of the figments the Room produced, but still.

Poor kid. He really needs to spend a bit more time with his dad, I think. At least while he processes the last few big revelations. He needs way more emotional support than the Gems can give him.
posted by Jilder at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

"did you make me just so you wouldn t have to deal with all your mistakes?"
posted by eustatic at 8:14 PM on February 17, 2017 [8 favorites]

there's a whole doberge cake of layers in, dead mom, the creative process, the show itself...uf
posted by eustatic at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2017

The Peanuts football gag cracked me up.
Steven yelling at Rose hit me in the feels cause it reminded me of me yelling at my late husband's box of ashes the other day.

Mushroom pizza, yay!
posted by luckynerd at 10:01 PM on February 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Was very relieved Connie's mom was ok. Very introspective episode. One flat note....the end where he acts surprised to see all the Gems...dude you see them every day.
posted by emjaybee at 11:01 PM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, I've wanted to see this for a long time. I figured that ultimately the reason Rose's room exists was as a way for Rose and Steven to communicate, that he room would be able to tap into Rose's gem and bring her out, but Room!Rose didn't have any insights beyond what Steven already knows about Rose. Naturally, Steven never asks her any pointed questions directly, just a bunch of angry rhetorical questions she doesn't directly answer.

I think Steven did get what he wanted out of it, though. Finding out your parents aren't the perfect figures you or other people always convinced you they were is a hard lesson. War is hell, you can't fight a rebellion without shattering a few gems, etc etc.

Also I got a "end of Wizard of Oz" vibe from the final scene when Greg and the gems return, seems like there were some weirdly silly bits thrown into this serious episode.

There's only 30-something confirmed episodes left, I kinda don't expect Cartoon Network to buy any more, so i think they're working toward a conclusion. Maybe like Gravity Falls, Rebecca Sugar doesn't want to extend the show any further than the natural conclusion. All I want is for it to have a satisfying end.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:18 AM on February 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

It is unlikely that Steven Universe is going to end any time soon. It is consistently the highest-rated show on Cartoon Network and it's even more critically-acclaimed than Adventure Time. Of course it is foolish to say for sure what a network executive will do, their heads are just skulls filled with mice, but there's still miles and miles more stories in Steven and his friends, and we're a long way from resolving things. The show is still in production, which almost certainly means they're currently working on Season 6, even if it hasn't been announced.
posted by JHarris at 2:56 AM on February 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

That's actually a good point. It'd be fairly obvious if they weren't working on new episodes still. I honestly don't mind when Steven Universe ends as much as I mind how it ends. Plus, these days there's always a good chance it could get picked up by the Amazons and Netflixes of the world that are way into this sort of show.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:18 AM on February 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was hoping for a JHarris highlights list, not least because I can just favourite that instead of posting a couple which come to mind, then an "Oh, but I forgot..." post and then an "Also, ... too!" post.

Watching this I had a sudden mid-episode fear that before I could show off by Being Right Beforehand the show was about to reveal something I've been meaning to mention for a while. Luckily not!

Something which all of us must have noticed is how the painting of Rose Quartz nearly always has its eyes obscured by that roof beam. That's for a reason. Fact. Her eyes are closed in the painting anyway of course, so they're doubly-obscured. OK, one the one hand eyes are the windows to the soul and it's a clever way of cluing us in to the fact that Rose was more complex and dangerous than we were first given to expect. On the other hand I will stake my hamburger backpack on one simple (granted obvious!) fact: when she died she had stars in her eyes. Whether they were Steven-being-Steven-and-that's-when-she-loves-him-most-from-beyond-the-Gem/Grave stars (because by analogy Rose-being-Rose which I think we've seen anyhow, yes?) or because of something more sinister ("All shall love me and despair"-radiation-burning-Anti-Greg-stars) or most likely something between/combined. Whatever. At the end, stars in her eyes.

There will be tears too, natch.


Fanwanking aside, the Peanuts gag made me laugh too. Again though, it's not just a fun reference, it's also Rose Quartz herself being somehow unreliable/duplicitous/unknowable (to Steven and/or the viewer).

I would like it if the show does wrap up in a finite amount of time. We love the characters and episodes are absolutely re-watchable from that standpoint, yet a lot of the plot developments are in the form of hidden-information reveals which work because they're clearly, plausibly a part of the show's intended narrative from the start. I would not want the show to head up the Easy Anime Big-Bad Escalation Path with progressively more powerful Double-Diamonds, Uber Diamonds, the UnDiamonds and the High Queen Diamond Supreme. I want it to finish (finish well!) so I can buy all my friends box sets to watch.

And finally, oh God, that Lonely Arms game, hahaha! Granted it's no Meat Beat Mania, but SU videogames are consistently great gags.
posted by comealongpole at 10:55 AM on February 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

As for the episode itself....

First off, I watched this one on Actual Television, and caught the end of an episode of Mighty Magiswords before it. I just want to say it really, really bugged me.

The timing was atrocious! It did this thing a lot of recent cartoons do, especially those with short running times, but that Adventure Time and Steven Universe pointedly do not do, which is hyper compress each episode to fit in like a joke every half-second. Hyper frenetic but not in a good way. No pauses to let dialogue jokes land, no trusting the audience will notice jokes without having them all be pointed out, just gag-gag-gag-gag without stop. It was so tiring to watch I turned it to Comedy Central, which was thankfully showing Futurama. It reminded me again just how good we have it with Steven Universe, where every character isn't compelled to be wacky every moment.

* Connie at the beginning, unsure if she should hang around because Steven probably has a lot to think about. "You almost lost your dad!" That's a thing that a lot of shows would just sort of elide ( "Oh, we almost died for the 17th time this episode, moving on!"), and is another example of just how honest and mature Steven Universe is.
* It's already been mentioned by one of you guys, but I too was very worried that something had happened to Ms. Maheswaran when she didn't pick up. The Diamonds were last seen talking about saving more human specimens from Earth, and we have no idea how that plot point is going to resolve but it could mean widespread abductions, which I was half expecting to mean Ms. Maheswaran getting carted off into space as a way to draw the characters into another space adventure. It was a relief when it turned out she was just in surgery. I wonder if this was intended as a purposeful fakeout by the writers? Given the chain of reasons she gave for why she couldn't reply (surgery, covering for another doctor, phone died, patient stole charger), I kind of suspect it was.
* Steven has a "Cosmic Engagement" board game, which is almost certainly intended to be a reference to the classic and amazing board game Cosmic Encounter.
* The whole scene with Steven and Connie playing Madlibs while Connie frets about her mother's absence is really well done. Although I do wonder what arrangement Connie and her mom made concerning her staying at Steven's place while he was gone.
* Notice Connie trying to calm herself down about her mother. She does the meditation technique Garnet taught Stevonnie back in Mindful Education!
* "So, he's back from the spa huh?" "No, I said space!" "Huh." I'm surprised Ms. Maheswaran didn't remark on Steven's funky zoo outfit.
* Soon after that there's a shot of Steven's "room" from the Temple Door, that makes the whole place seem a little uncanny. The "house" that Steven lives in kind of looks like a stage set when you think about it. It's about 50% human, but then there's the cliffside it's built onto, with crystal and exposed stone. It's a weird kind of place to live in, and yet, it's the only real *house* he's ever had. What a creepy home in which to have a teatime of the soul.
* The toilet seat is still up from Peridot showing off her old room to Lapis, I notice.
* After the recent cosmic space adventures, there's something nice and homey about how it shows Steven pulling the stool around in the kitchen as he heats his macaroni and cheese, between the microwave and the kitchen counter.
* (begins to rain) "Ah, that's nice." (THUNDER AND STRONG WINDS) Goddammit, kid just got back from outer space, give him some time, Earth weather!
* One can see a small part of a leaf landed in Steven's macaroni and cheese when he comes in. It's visible both when he's sitting down and in a close-up of the bowl itself. Attention to detail! (Although it seems much smaller in the closeup.)
* "Hey room... it's been a bit, huh? Is that a new cloud? Heh heh heh. Heh...."
* The Peanuts reference with the football is a bit odd, but considering how Lucy messes things up for Charlie Brown all the time, perhaps understandable.
* "Nice catch, son!" (thumbs up) That was perhaps the first indication that room-Rose is pretty much just showing Steven what he wants to see.
* The text of Steven's speech: "This is how I want you to be... but I don't know if this is who you really are. I've learned things about you, things you wanted to keep secret. You locked Bizmuth away inside Lion because she wanted to shatter gems, and you never told Garnet or Pearl -- but then you shattered Pink Diamond. Now all of Homeworld has it out for Earth, and the Crystal Gems, and me! You put us all in danger, and you just--disappeared! I finally know the truth, I know what you are. You're a liar! I thought you never wanted to hurt anyone, but you hurt everyone! How could you just leave Garnet, and Amethyst, and Pearl, and Dad, they don't know what to do without you. Maybe they didn't matter to you as much as hiding from the mess you made! And that's why I'm here, isn't it? Did you make me just so you wouldn't have to deal with all your mistakes? Is that all I'm here for?"
* Huh, apparently Rose's Room has weather.
* The surprised "And Pearl too?" at the end might have to do with Pearl's prior attitudes towards Greg, although I thought the show had made that more obvious previously.
posted by JHarris at 1:48 PM on February 18, 2017 [9 favorites]

Anyway, sorry to be late with the list, it was half done when I got caught up in other things. I really think there's a ton more stories left to tell, especially with the direction the show is going, which is obviously toward having gems interact with humans more often. There's been very few episodes like that so far. To mind comes only Tiger Millionaire, Beach Party, Last One Out Of Beach City (and there only at the end), Too Short To Ride and The New Crystal Gems. There are lots of possibilities in that that have so far been left in the storyteller box, and lots of them are hilarious. Ronaldo hanging out with Peridot alone could fuel like half a season.
posted by JHarris at 2:06 PM on February 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cheers for sharing your thoughts JHarris, you'd be forgiven your lateness if forgiveness were required! Do love the toilet seat observation, that would not have occurred to me at all.
posted by comealongpole at 2:34 PM on February 18, 2017

That football gag - for him to laugh after falling on his back and yell "Touchdown!" is just so Steven.
posted by tomboko at 3:45 PM on February 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

* The toilet seat is still up from Peridot showing off her old room to Lapis, I notice.

Alternately, because the only person who uses it regularly is a 14 year old boy.

On the subject of Rose's eyes, I don't think we get to see her eyes for real until like, Lion 3: Straight to Video. We get to see a hologram of them in Rose's Scabbard, but her eyes are often hidden or closed prior to Lion 3. Every time her motives seem hidden, so are her eyes.
posted by Jilder at 6:21 PM on February 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

"So, he's back from the spa huh?" "No, I said space!" "Huh." I'm surprised Ms. Maheswaran didn't remark on Steven's funky zoo outfit.

I figured the quoted question was Ms. Maheswaran remarking on Steven's funky zoo outfit.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:06 PM on February 18, 2017 [6 favorites]

Bringing up Last One Out of Beach City reminds me of an important fact. There needs to be a resolution with Pearl and Mystery Girl. I think Pearl having a happy relationship with a human would be a great way to conclude her story, but there's a lot to explore there. I hope we get to see some of it.

I'd totally buy Cartoon Network canceling Steven at just about any point, but I also suspect it will be renewed for at least one more season.

I've noticed the ongoing threats Steven faces generally get resolved in one episode with little fanfare. Lapis escapes to Homeworld and comes back with reinforcements, who are quickly subdued. Peridot escapes but is caught and rehabilitated. Malachite is found and defeated. The Cluster is bubbled. Jasper is corrupted and bubbled. Greg's kidnapping and rescue are one of the few times a multi-episode problem has a multi-episode solution. I feel like the ultimate multi-episode problem of the Diamonds and the fate of earth will have a similar resolution that will put Earth and Homeworld in an uneasy truce. No more diamonds getting shattered, no upheval of Homeworld culture, just Homeworld allowing Earth to carry on in peace thanks to Steven. I think that the real final climax of the show will be Steven's fight to understand who Rose was and who, as a result, he really is. I figured he'd get this insight from Room!Rose, but I guess he'll have to get it from someone else who knew her and doesn't have Rose-tinted blinders on: one of the diamonds.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:52 AM on February 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

It really depends on what your definition of "resolved" means, as I see it completely differently, that all these situations took quite some time before they wrapped up.

You could say Jasper got bubbled in one episode, but you could also notice that it actually took place over a story arc of six episodes: Gem Hunt, Crack the Whip, Steven vs. Amethyst, Bismuth (two episodes really, although mostly a digression in the arc to give Amethyst a new weapon), Beta and Earthlings. And how do you "gradually" bubble a gem, anyway?

Then there was the arc where Pearl took advantage of Garnet to fuse for personal gratification that took several episodes to resolve.

Lapis escaped, but there was a huge leadup to her return, in which she personally warned Steven, and the other gems were frightened out of their wits, and it took two episodes for its final end, The Return and Jailbreak.

The stuff with Peridot took quite a while, starting with episode 36: Warp Tour, and advancing it in 44: Marble Madness, then the arc that goes through 49-52 (The Message through Jailbreak), then there was the whole business with catching Peridot and her coming around, that started at 70: Catch and Release, which began the Barn Arc, finally wrapping up in 80: Gem Drill. I think you could argue that it should have taken longer to drill and resolve the Cluster, maybe a two-parter, but as a bottle episode, that might have strained the writing to have just two characters handling a while half hour.

Finding and beating Malachite took at least one intermediate episode, Chille Tid.

That these arcs are resolved in a single episode really depends on your point of view. Endings *are* usually one (or two, in the case of two-parters) episodes, but that's the nature of endings, and they're usually the result of a plot building up for some time.

It is true that the show has a status quo that it returns to, but A. that's the kind of show it is, about Steven growing up in a quiet coastal town and not at a time of war or extreme want or something that would make it a completely different story, and result in a completely different Steven, and B. that status quo is getting mutated over time, as Peridot and Lapis get settled in on Earth, Connie becomes a competent fighter, the Crystal Gems' opinions of both humans and Homeworld change over time, and we learn more about humans both ancient (William Dewey, Buddy) and Vidalia, who are more closely tied to the gems than we thought.

Anyway, thank you for reading my comment. This has been another episode of FANDOM OVERTHOUGHT! We now return you to your regularly scheduled plates of beans.
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on February 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

"So, he's back from the spa huh?" "No, I said space!" "Huh."

Quoting this to highlight one of the things I love so much about this show overall. Almost every show and book, especially from my childhood, where magic and the real 20th / 21st century world co-exist, magic has to hide itself. Or be hidden by others. Or the grownups never believe it, even when confronted with direct evidence. Muggles can't visit or even know about Hogwarts. Superheroes have secret identities which can never be revealed. For the longest time, grownups denied Snufflapagus's existence. Etc.

Any other show, at least from back then, and Connie would be saying "No, I didn't say space. He was at the spa. Yeah, the spa. That's it." The honesty of SU is amazing and wonderful. I hope I'm around in 20 years to see how the show's honesty rubs off on the kids and young adults of today. Because sometimes I think the barrage of books and shows from my own childhood gave an unpleasant message I've somehow internalized.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:56 PM on February 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

The need for secrecy in those shows and books is in order that the events can be believable in terms of our world's status quo, so that they can be realistically be set in "our world." If this stuff were widely known it'd change the world, which is not only a difficult worldbuilding puzzle but also can make the setting so unrecognizable that people can't immediately understand it. But the secrecy dodge has gotten so old and hoary now that it's become an overbearing trope, to the extent that's it's gotten romanticized itself, which is unhealthy.

Steven Universe fixes that by only appearing to be set in our world. It's an alternate Earth, a fact that is both very subtle and undeniable -- money is different, towns and states have different names and the world map is a bit different, but there's still all the familiar elements of human culture up to and including arcade games and microwave mac and cheese.

Human beings in SU's world know just enough about gem magic to know it exists, broadly speaking, and that it's generally not something to get involved with for safety's sake, an attitude that probably comes from 5,000 years of well-meaning Crystal Gem warnings, monster attacks and Ocean Town-style disasters.
posted by JHarris at 9:22 PM on February 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

This is at least a year old, but I still like it. A fan comic entitled Connie Maheswaran, or, What to Do When Your Life Becomes a YA Novel.
posted by JHarris at 8:48 PM on February 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


That episode was intense.
posted by kyrademon at 3:26 PM on August 23, 2018

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