Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S03E11 – Beach City Drift

In the eleventh episode of the third season of Steven Universe, Steven and Connie try to get even with someone who wronged them in the past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe.

Trigger Warning: For talk of sexual harassment.

There’s just so much DEPTH here, y’all! I was surprised by the re-appearance of Kevin. (So much so that I actually couldn’t place him until the show actually mentioned the introduction of Stevonnie.) Yet in bringing him back to Steven Universe, the writers get to address MANY THINGS.

Let’s start with why Kevin’s actions at the beginning of “Beach City Drift” are so important. Greg’s response to Kevin’s arrogance is something I see a lot: people who lack the full context of a situation claiming that a person isn’t worth the anger. This episode reaches that conclusion eventually, but it takes a different path to get there. That’s vital because what Greg does is dismiss Steven’s and Connie’s anger, and the end of this story doesn’t.

Once Greg does this, the kids tell him the truth: Kevin ignored their rejection and made them feel uncomfortable. Once Greg learns this, he stops telling them to ignore their anger, and THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. He didn’t know why Kevin enraged them as much as he did, and that context changed everything. Yet this episode went a different place than I expected! See, everyone hated Kevin; there’s not a character in “Beach City Drift” that likes him even a little bit. Thus, I thought this was going to be a tale of besting your enemies, of teaching Kevin a little humility. Instead, it becomes about how anger can become obsessive, so much so that it is detrimental to one’s self.

There’s a fine line that this script walks between talking about unproductive anger and saying anger is useless. It’s not useless, and I started to worry that this story would try to paint the rage that Connie and Steven felt as a pointless exercise. Instead, their anger takes them to a scary place. As Kevin repeatedly berates the two of them in their race down the mountain, Stevonnie just gets angrier and angrier. Which I get! KEVIN IS THE WORST. (Ronaldo gets it.) Kevin knows exactly what he’s doing, and he thrives off of their reactions. It’s about power! In these moments, Kevin exacts a power over Stevonnie, and it thrills him to know he can affect them as he does.

Which is why this ending doesn’t feel like a cop out or some sort of respectability politics bullshit. Once Steven and Connie realize they are obsessed with the idea of getting revenge against Kevin, they change their tactics. Instead of racing to beat him, or instead of concerning themselves solely with revenge, Stevonnie enjoys themselves. They cherish the view of Beach City from the mountain. They accept that getting second place in a race ON THEIR FIRST DAY OF DRIVING EVER is pretty spectacular all on its own. As Kevin watches Stevonnie expresses satisfaction and happiness, it infuriates him.

It’s a beautiful thing to witness, and many longtime Mark Does Stuff readers can attest to how incredible it is to turn a troll’s tactics against them. I love it when there’s concern trolling that’s upended and turned into a joke. I love it when people address nothing in a troll’s terrible comment and instead turn the conversation into something else. I love it when someone tries to exert power over other people through their behavior, and the entire thing backfires on them. That’s what happened to Kevin, and it’s why this isn’t about being respectable and nice in the face of anger. Steven and Connie have every right to be angry at Kevin because – again! – he is the worst. What they choose to do with that anger matters, too, and this technique was exactly what they needed to get over Kevin.

Seriously, in our best Jean Ralphio voices: Kevin is the wooooorrrrrsssst.

The video for “Beach City Drift” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.  Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Steven Universe and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.