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
Dylan Hysen, a software developer from the DC area, hosts the Overly Animated podcast discussing everything animation.
 

5 Comments

  1. Tyrone Wells Jr. May 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I like how you defined the scale, I think the grading is a bit hard because this wasn’t a three parter. The first two episodes of the “leak” were clearly joined (with that amazing cliff hanger) but were tonally distinct that the should have been separate episodes. Also, I like the episodic feel of Season 1, so it’s nice we get a bit of a relief. What makes SU special to me is that there doesn’t need to be a monster of the week (or five to play baseball with) to keep things interesting. An episode where a boy jumps so high he has to wait all night to fall back down? I’m in. I like the vibe. There’s literally no other episode like that, whereas Hit the Diamond is intrinsically Space Jam. Still loved it.

    Gonna give: Barn Mates a “lost day old jellybean you find and still eat.” Hit the Diamond is a “coming home from work and petting your neighbor’s dog as he walks it.” Giving Steven floats “calling your cool grandma just to catch up.”

     
    • Dylan Hysen May 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Not sure if your scale is incomprehensible or genius, but I’m glad for the comment either way.

       
      • Tyrone Wells Jr. May 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm

        Just realized something amazing, it’s called the Crystal Gems and the show has real precious moments in them that are complete gems. Maybe it’s just storyboard style, but the shows tend to be a collection of cute character moments. And Hit the Diamond is that, 100%. Maybe that’s why it’s so likeable. Every scene has a little punch to it.

         
  2. Justin Cummings May 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    And here I come to defend something Dylan dislikes, again. I enjoyed Steven Floats quite a bit. Sure its got that Season 1 feel, but isn’t Season 1 the whole reason we got to be where we are now. After the entire barn arc, it’s nice to see the show still hasn’t forgotten its roots, and no matter what it’s still Steven’s Universe, we’re all just living in it. The sheer number of pop culture references they stuck in was incredible, as was Steven’s town monologue. I don’t want another whole season of this, but it was like an old childhood comfort before we go wherever it is we’re headed.

     
    • akp13 June 2, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      I loved this episode a lot, it was a welcome break and had some of the stuff I loved the most from S1. Which is the Crystal Moms, just concerned with this child and trying to figure out how to help him to the best of their ability. And I loved his town monologue too Justin! After my ‘eh’ feelings on most of In Too Deep, this and Hit the Diamond, to me, felt like the show was back on track and back to being the show I fell in love with nearly 2 years ago. Gay and Lighthearted with more subtle worldbuilding. Mostly about Steven and his abilities. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, and how long we’d been away from beach city until they came back either. I’ll probably just repeat this for the feedback podcast, whenever the hell CN decides to drop Summer of Steven.

      Based on this episode I’m thinking we’re gonna see Connie really soon too. Beach City brings more humans and all. I know Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service (ha) was an episode name given out a few months ago, so that’s at least one human episode. And if I’m remembering right there was a Lars one (ugh) and one about Greg. These are all before we hit the supposed Steven vs Amethyst and Back to the Moon episodes. We’ll get to see more about how this big event has impacted normal humans and how they’re responding before hitting space.

       

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