Steven Universe Review: "The Test" (Season 1B, Episode 12)

Ow.

“I’m now the owner of the golden can opener. Yes… yes…” – Garnet. Ah, the thrills of opening a can WITH GOLD!

Airdate: January 22nd, 2015
Written By: Hilary Florido and Katie Mitroff
Plot: It’s a rainy, miserable day in Beach City. While looking for another board game to play with the Gems, Steven comes across the Moon Goddess Statue. One thing leads to another, and Steven finds out that his trip to the now-destroyed Lunar Sea Spire was a test – and a relatively easy one at that. Demanding a new challenge, the Gems create a module for Steven to avoid high-intensity dangers. As he almost finishes up, he finds out that this test was fixed, as well.

Review:

Dear Cartoon Network schedule builders, thank you for your obsession with Teen Titans Go and “The Answer”. Because of that, this episode barely airs on TV. I betcha that Rebecca Sugar probably wrote several letters to this extent, and Cartoon Network simply responded by threatening to go back to the days of November 2015, when Teen Titans Go aired with a borderline illegal frequency on the network. (Yes, we get it. The award for sound design went to Rob. Please shut up.)

So, anyway, “The Test”. Whereas “Warp Tour” focused more on driving the plot forward by introducing one of the show’s most beloved characters (by featuring her squishing one of her robonoids), this episode focuses more on fleshing out the Crystal Gem Trio, their relationship with Steven, and how the hell they can function as guardians – especially with the specter of Rose lingering over the quartet.

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Steven Universe Review: "Warp Tour" (Season 1B, Episode 11)

Whoever thought of this defense mechanism owes Brad Bird some money.

“Sneeze into your anticubital fossa!”Pearl, giving advice that could very well screw the quartet all over. Or save them…

Airdate: January 8th, 2015
Written By: Raven Molisee and Paul Villeco.
Plot: While in transport between planets, Steven accidentally sneezes his head out of the warp. Whilst there, he catches sight of a foreign object being pulled within a warp. Pulled back in, he becomes convinced that he saw something, while the others insist that they are alone, stuck on Earth. Trying to ease his mind, they take a tour to the various other places they’ve traveled to in the past, eventually causing Steven to relent.

However, he overhears them reveal their true intent of the trip – just to pacify the kid – and is genuinely offended, especially at Pearl, who’s been more arrogant than normal. With the trio thinking that the kid’s gone nuts, an exhausted Steven is finally ready just to shut up about the whole thing when he comes across the UFO – one that takes him into the warp pad, puts him on the brink of death, and brings the Crystal Gems within inches of an alien technician…

Review:

Ah, here we are. The final part of what I consider to be the Steven Universe “Imperial Phase” trilogy.

If “Lion 3” was the bedrock for Rose to be placed on, and “Alone Together” the centerpiece for Steven and Connie to transcend notions of friendship and gender, then “Warp Tour” is the episode that formally cemented Steven Universe as a piece of dramatic science fiction – a transition that started with Lapis Lazuli’s release in “Mirror Gem” – via its introduction of what would become one of the show’s most beloved characters. Continue reading

Steven Universe Review: "Lion 2: The Movie" (Season 1A, Episode 17)

Honestly, the difference between this and IMAX? IMAX is slightly less deadly. Slightly.

Airdate: April 23rd, 2014

Plot: Steven and his once bubble buddy Connie want to go see Dogcopter 3, the movie based on a series of books. To try and get to the theater in time for the showing, they take Steven’s really, really pink lion. However, said lion takes a little detour through a wormhole into a cave full of armor, weaponry, and all that.

Review: We’re about ten episodes away from Steven Universe‘s first “epic” story – the “Mirror Gem/Ocean Gem” two parter. Those episodes are often cited as the moment that propelled Steven Universe from merely a quirky Cartoon Network cartoon into one of the most lauded science fiction shows of all time. From that moment on, episode upon episode became laden with heavy character development, emotional levity, and an awesome soundtrack from Sucrose and Co.

However, the seeds for what seems to be the show’s current critical “imperial phase” (to steal a saying coined by the Pet Shop Boys) have been sown all along – even as far back as “Gem Glow”. Few episodes in Season 1A, though, laid more seeds than “Lion 2: The Movie”
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