Review of “Leaked” Steven Universe Episodes (Spoilers!)

By: Dylan Hysen

 

The inexplicable Cartoon Network leaks continue as the next three Steven Universe episodes have been released in France early. These were legitimate releases, and how Cartoon Network did not coordinate their schedule to release the episodes in the US first boggles the mind. No links here, find them elsewhere if you wish.. I will give you my thoughts on each of the episodes here. The podcast will continue to follow the US release schedule, so this is the only place on Overly Animated you will find the episodes discussed. Needless to say, spoilers in this article and the comments! (But nowhere else on the site)..

Barn Mates

A spiritual successor to “Log Date”, “Barn Mates” is all about Peridot, Steven.. and this time Lapis! This episode is very good, capturing the great humorous aesthetic that made “Log Date” one of the best TV episodes of the year so far. It’s slightly less consistently funny than that episode, but still has incredible moments, the best of which is Peridot’s letter to Lapis. I’m still laughing at “You were just full of such useful information” days later. My other favorite thing from this episode is Lapis’ gleeful reaction to Steven and dour reaction to everyone else, especially Peridot.

It’s not entirely this episode’s fault, but I’m very unsatisfied by where we leave off with Lapis and Peridot. Seemingly at the end of “Hit the Diamond” they’re just happily both living in the barn? I don’t think the end of that episode sufficiently set that up, although what we did see at the end of this episode was great.

I’m going to break out my old FTSW Korra episode-grade scale to rate these episodes, since why not, it’s just my opinion on display here. For reference this is a grade out of 10: 5 is an average episode of television (not just Steven Universe), 10 is the best episode of television of all time, a 9.5 and above is truly excellent, among the best 100 or so episodes of TV I’ve seen.

Grade: 9.2/10

Hit the Diamond

“Hit the Diamond” is so good in so many ways that I think it may be too much? That sounds like a compliment, and is, but it’s also meant as a legitimate criticism. There are a solid five or more areas in which this episode is absurd in the most hilarious ways, and it all amounts to a lot. The experience of watching the episode is certainly incredible, and I think many have and will want to immediately call this one of the best episodes of the show. But looking back it’s not a cohesive unit like I like to see from the best episodes of TV. Give me “Same Old World”, with its razor-focused melancholy Lapis and world-building thematics over this episode with no unifying thread, even if minute-for-minute this episode is better (and even near-perfect).

What specifically is near-perfect about the contents of “Hit the Diamond”? Well.. everything. To start we have the adorable and hilarious flirting of Ruby and Sapphire throughout the game. We have the five Rubys and their antics. We have Lapis’ “Bob” nickname which deserves a mention all its own (set up wonderfully in “Ocean Gem”). And just the fact that Steven Universe did a baseball episode? I think we can officially call this show a pseudo-anime if a beach episode comes next (those being the two most archetypal “random” slice-of-life anime episodes). But yeah, overall this is maybe a top 5 episode of the show, and probably the funniest one ever.

Grade (see above for the scale):  9.6/10

Steven Floats

Considering how good I thought the previous two episodes were, “Steven Floats” was a big disappointment. There’s nothing particularly bad about this episode, but there’s nothing that stood out to me outside of a few throwaway lines. I didn’t find Steven’s new power particularly interesting and there was really nothing else. No, I don’t think things have to happen for an episode to be good, but I do think interesting character moments or anything else are needed. This is the type of episode that I thought the show was past now in the post-season 1 world, and that we consistently are running into a below-average quality episodes every once in a while is troubling for what I consider to be the best show on TV.

The below grade may seem harsh, but I honestly believe this is a below-average episode of television.

Grade (see above for the scale):  3/10

And a bonus and for reference grade for each of the other “In Too Deep” episodes:
Super Watermelon Island: 9/10
Gem Drill: 9.3/10
Same Old World: 9.7/10
 

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