Time for the next two recaps. I’d have done one last week for us but was representing this little squad of geeks known as Geeks OUT at PAX West in Seattle. Tally ho, gem fans!
Future Boy Zoltron
Steven is hitting up the boardwalk when Mr. Smiley wheels out an old-timey fortune telling machine, a la Big. Steven plays his luck a few times at the machines but is dissapointed. Mr. Smiley lets it slip in conversation that he used to be a comic. Steven lovingly taps Zoltron, and breaks the thing. Steven pleads with Mr. Smiley not to ban him, and just like that, Steven is pretending to be Zoltron to make up the costs for breaking the robot.
Sadie and Lars show up, and Steven gives a logical, heartfelt fortune that emboldens but freaks out the customers. Steven helps several other Beach City regulars. He is on a roll until a new, sad-sack stranger shows up. The stranger asks a string of heavy and vague questions, clearly hoping for catharsis, but instead unnerving Steven.
Steven wished he could see the future, and Garnet, having seen this unfold, bestows Steven with future sight. Despite the future powers, Steven sees sadness for the stranger. The stranger reveals that he is Mr. Frowny, Mr. Smiley’s former partner. As soon as he can, Steven informs Mr. Smiley. They were a comedy duo; Mr. Smiley implies that they may have been more than simply business associates.
Mr. Smiley resolves to find Frowny, and tries to make up. Mr. Frowny is hesitant until Mr. Smiley launches into their old bit. It pulls Frowny out of his shell enough for the two to part on good terms. Steven concludes that this good deed repays the debt of breaking Zoltron, to which Mr. Smiley reminds him that Zoltron cost thousands.
Final Score Time
Additions to the Lore: We learn Mr. Smiley once had a comedy routine with Mr. Frowny. Also, we meet Mr. Frowny. We learned more about Garnet’s future vision via the visual metaphor of it working like a slot machine.
Geek References: Zoltron is ripped straight from old fortune telling machines, like the one from Big.
Queer References: Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowny are heavily implied to have been more than former business partners.
Final thought: This was a cute episode, but it honestly lacked a lot of the heart we are accustomed to. Also the animation seems to have been done by a new team because many sequences appear to be trying to be Steven Universe instead of being it. Also, the notion of making light of clinical depression is rather uncomfortable. It wasn’t a terrible episode, just ultimately forgettable. That is why it receives 2 gems out of 5.
Last One Out of Beach City
Amethyst is super hyped to go to a rock show with Greg. Her sails are soon deflated when Greg has to cancel last minute. Pearl, in an effort to stretch her boundaries, opts to go to the show with her instead, and brings Steven. Everyone is shocked but game to try.
Pearl agrees to a wardrobe change to fit in, and so dons a leather jacket and jeans. It works quite nicely on her. Pearl even attempts to drink juice despite her revulsion to food consumption. Turns out they are all going to go see Mike Krol perform, an actual real-life artist. All is going well until a punk-alt beauty with pink hair walks into the Big Donut. Pearl gets her breath taken away and acts all goofy.
While in the car, Steven intones that the girl resembled Rose, and it clicks for everyone why Pearl went all scatter brained; she was smitten. The alt girl rides past on her motorcycle, but Pearl loses the chance to make a proper second impression due to a stop light. In a fit of rebellion, Pearl runs the red light and speeds up to catch the girl. She is just about to catch up when the cops show up. Continuing her rebellious streak, Pearl commences a car chase. Amethyst is pumped, Steven is terrified. The three actually manage to shake the cops but Pearl is over her rebellion. She removes her new dressings and regrets ever pretending to be cool. Amethyst won’t have it and expresses how impressed she is by Pearl.
The three eventually make it to the party on foot, because they ran out of gas. Mike Krol is rocking out. The alt girl is there. Pearl actually goes up and starts a conversation with the girl. She thinks she struck out because the girl only gave her a “code”. Amethyst and Steven tell her the “code” is actually the girls number. Pearl picked up a chick!”
Final Score Time
Additions to the Lore: Pearl has a rebellious side, and doesn’t always want to be the straight-laced one. A new unnamed, pink haired girl character is introduced as a possible love interest for Pearl.
Geek References: The episode is set up as a buddy teen road trip movie out of the 90s, right down to getting the girl in the end and closing credits with pop outs/characterizations for each character.
Queer References: The major plot of the episode is about Pearl picking up a girl. This may be one of the most overtly queer episodes to date.
Final thought: Usually when a character breaks form as abruptly as Pearl, it is seen as sloppy. In this instance it was artful, allowing Pearl to be humanized. The content of the episode was surprisingly mature, with glorification of criminal acts, hinted profanity and drinking, and overt lesbian themes. It was truly fun, and the frame of a road trip movie motif was wonderful. I genuinely hope the new character makes a return. For giving us so much in-your-face queerness, this episode receives 4 gems out of 5.
Next Episode: “Onion Gang”, September 15 @ 7:00pm EST
Please feel free to add things I missed, your reactions, theories, and whatever else you’d like in the comments!