There’s no place like home.
Earlier today, I scrambled to get my “Hit the Diamond” review up before the new episodes aired and just barely met my deadline. In that review, I commented, several times, that it was pound-for-pound one of the funniest episodes of the series. Going as far to say that I didn’t think I laughed that much at an episode of Steven Universe since “Steven and the Stevens”. This episode was even funnier.
The episode begins with the Crystal Gems returning to the temple and to Beach City. To be honest, I loved the content during the Peridot/Cluster arc so much that I wasn’t really feeling homesick but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a pleasure just to be back to the familiar settings and citizens. Despite 83% of the material being dedicated to just Steven and the Gems, the series does an admirable job of reacquainting the viewers with the primary residents of Beach City after such a prolonged drought through Steven’s imaginations. As he mentally figures out who’ll get doughnuts before him, we’re quickly treated to glimpses of several civilians in a way the re-establishes their personalities. Peedee is punctual, Smiley loves doughnuts, Lars is a jerk and a bad employee, Ronaldo is paranoid, Onion is a freak of nature, and Mayor Dewey uses shallow means to ensure voter support. Sadie’s kindness and relationship with Steven is obviously touched upon as well. It’s impressive that they managed to incorporate the personalities of many Beach City inhabitants in such a brief manner to help hammer in the point of the series return home.
But as I’ve said, most of the content is set around the core members of the Crystal Gems as they deal with repercussions of Steven’s new found powers. After discovering what has become of the food in the fridge during their absence, Steven goes out to get a doughnut at the Big Donut only to arrive after closing. Sadie informs him that if he gets their first thing opening, he can have the first fresh doughnut of the day. Among his excitement, Steven discovers he has the power to jump really high and safely float down. This discovery leads to Steven jumping higher than airplanes flies which ends up with him floating down an incredible slow pace, one that’ll sabotage his chances to get that sacred doughnut.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to Garnet, Pearl and Amethyst trying to get Steven down, and the results are simply magical. They don’t succeed but the comedy here is really spectacular. From Amethyst mixing up Steven & Lapis’ powers to the resolution of Garnet’s future vision being close enough, the episode is just filled to the brim with great jokes. Steven’s fantasy sequence where he dies is probably the highlight but it’s really hard to pick. There was just so much hilarity in here, Pearl’s reaction involving her trying to catch Steven was top-notch stuff, Garnet stealing somebody’s cellphone, Amethyst’s jet-pack suggestion, and Garnet’s Metal Gear Solid moment are just a select few of many well-crafted jokes displayed in this episode. The only other one I want to bring up is Pearl’s “I would’ve liked a hug”, which was just perfect.
I’ll be honest, I did question why they just didn’t use Amethyst’s whip to help accelerate Steven’s descent (considering a boat was incapable of helping him fall faster I understand it probably wouldn’t have ended up working but it seems strange that they didn’t try it at least) but with comedy this rich, there’s no tangible way I can hold it against the episode. Besides, the actual resolution is classic Steven Universe, as Steven himself laments “My floating power’s tied to my emotions. Ugh, right, just like all my stupid powers!”. As usual, the emotions correspond to the powers in a way that’s expresses something more meaningful than just magical mechanics. Happiness has him floating on cloud nine, keeping him safe from the harm of his action whereas negative thoughts lead him to fall faster, putting his entire life in danger. It’s simple, sure but with the simplicity holds a subdued power. On it’s own, it’s not the most powerful message but matches so intrinsically with the rest of series to help make this one of the most thematically sound series I’ve seen.
Steven Floats kicks off the Summer of Steven with a bang. Aside from Gem Drill, this is my favorite of the season thus far and I’m expecting the series to churn out many more winners in the upcoming weeks. This episode was only one of two the premiered tonight, Drop Beat Dad being the other. Originally I intended to cover them both here but I’m pretty reliant on the Steven Universe Wiki to add the visual flare of these posts so I’m going to have to wait for them. Hopefully tomorrow that piece will be up. Thankfully, this episode aired over in France two months prior for some strange reason, so the images we already updated.