Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S01E16 – Steven the Sword Fighter

In the sixteenth episode of the first season of Steven Universe, I was not ready for that plot twist. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe. 

Well, that was bold.

I thought this was going to be an episode about discipline, or perhaps about how you have to be patient when learning a new skill. You know, something along the lines of showing Steven how he might have to practice the boring stuff before he can get good enough to try the harder things! So I had this concept in my head and wondered if maybe this would be a precursor to the training he’d have to go through once he could activate his gem. They’ll be training, right?

And look, this is just something I do when I’m watching or reading things for my sites. I start to formulate theories or some sort of thesis to tie the whole review together, or I try to anticipate what’s coming next, and usually, I don’t vocalize this stuff. It’s just how my mind works and, frankly, how I’m able to write as much as I do. I usually have a pretty strong idea what I’m going to write as an episode is finishing. (Occasionally, I don’t, and I always say that part out of loud.) So, as I watched Pearl criticize the sword fighting in Steven’s movie, I watched as she demonstrated her incredible skill for him, and I watched as Steven got frustrated by his first lesson not being the boomerang sword technique. So, Steven was going to learn about patience, right?

In a way, I wasn’t precisely wrong. It’s just that patience took a different form, since Steven had to wait weeks for Pearl to REGENERATE FROM GETTING STABBED THROUGH THE HEART BY HER HOLOGRAPHIC TRAINER. Look, that is easily the biggest plot twist I’ve seen on the show so far. Of course, that’s how Steven Universe revealed the method by which Crystal Gems can regenerate themselves when their bodies are severely injured. WHICH IS VERY, VERY COOL, if a little disturbing. Unfortunately, Pearl didn’t get to explain this before she seemingly poofed out of existence, so I WAS VERY UPSET WHEN STEVEN WAS CLUTCHING HER GEM. What had just happened? THIS SHOW DIDN’T KILL OFF PEARL IN THE SIXTEENTH EPISODE, DID IT?

I was relieved by the regeneration reveal, and then I had to experience my heart being slowly broken over the remainder of “Steven the Sword Fighter.” The rest of the episode is so hard to watch because STEVEN JUST MISSES PEARL A LOT AND HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITHOUT HER GUIDANCE AND SHE HELPS HIM ORGANIZE AND CLEAN AND WHERE IS PEARL. Even worse, the hologram fighter somehow remains behind and appears to be built just to torment Steven over Pearl being gone. I’m exaggerating, but seriously! All that hologram does is challenge everyone to fights and destroy practically every object that reminds Steven of Pearl. WHAT ABOUT THE TREE, Y’ALL. I AM STILL DISTRESSED OVER THAT.

Like I said, Steven’s patience has a different meaning here. He still has to wait, but it’s for something else. This all culminates in him battling Hologram Pearl, winning, and then activating the Advanced Mode, which he also barely defeats, too. (But he still does! Go, Steven!) I wonder if there’s an explanation for why Pearl took so long to revert back to her corporeal form, but probably not. I’m just glad she’s back.

Honorary mention: Amethyst eating a cloud and floating away. I don’t understand the logic of it, and I don’t care. A+, Steven Universe.

The video for “Steven the Sword Fighter” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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