Steven Universe 1.2 “Laser Light Cannon”

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Anais and Roz recap episode 1.2 of Steven Universe! Spoilers, amusing tidbits, and our thoughts on “Laser Light Cannon”:

 

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Roz

I didn’t realize it until now, but both Episode 1 and Episode 2 start with a new food shop in small town Beach City, because Steven loves donuts and French fry bits. This might be why Steven is a little soft around the middle. It suits his character that Steven seems soft. He is loving, enthusiastic, and kind. But inside of Steven is a magical shield to protect his friends and his planet. His strengths and weaknesses come from the same place. Amethyst cheers him on to get fry bits from Fryman, because the Gems don’t judge Steven. They support him. Even if it’s nagging for hot grease balls.

It’s just my personal taste here, but frybits seem gross. Anais? Can you weigh in on this? I guess people like bacon bits, which must be similar.

Still, those weird little touches make Steven unique. He gets his salty, greasy snack and then turns to appreciate the sunset. When he notices a second large, bright circle in the sky, the game is afoot. Garnet, being a Gem a few words, just says, “This is bad.”

Bam! We’ve got an adventure brewing.

Because this is only Episode 2, when Pearl first sees Amethyst and Steven, she has to go full Pearl on them, to reestablish her character. She’s the bossy “mom”. It’s always bothered the bf that when Steven grabs Pearl’s telescope to check out the object of doom, he moves it. Which means it’s totally not set on the ball in the sky anymore. Telescope nerds be all up in that continuity error! I argued that the object is moving so fast, it got out of position while Pearl was busy lecturing. Only some concerns were assuaged.

So, just how bad is this thing in the sky? Oh, it’s bad. It’s going to crash into Beach City and kill everyone in town. The stakes are set. This is life and death for everyone Steven knows and loves. Is this a kid’s show? Because, damn! All writers take note. Good kids stuff can be dark and scary and full of truth. Kids deal with almost everything we adults do, and they don’t have all the skills to cope yet. I guess this is the heart of Inside Out and why we loved it so much. And why Anais and I adore Steven Universe the way we do.

Also, when do we get these magical, adult coping skills? Can I place an order, please.

The next bomb for Steven? His mom’s light cannon can destroy the object of doom. But she’s gone and her stuff is all missing. Emotional stakes! Steven wants to get his dad to help but the Gems don’t think Greg can handle it. So, we learn that Steven is still the kind of kid who looks up to his dad as a hero, and that the Gems see Greg as a mess. Greg Universe owns the car wash in town, and honestly, I’m with the Gems on this.

Greg’s storage locker, where he thinks the magical light cannon might be, gives me OCD, organizational, heart palpitations. It’s my nightmare. There have to be all sorts of things growing and living in all that junk. Why? BURN IT. BURN IT ALL DOWN. Steven, with his usual fearlessness, leaves no box unchecked, no T-shirt cannon unfired, no bongo drum undrummed. And the real reward here is backstory: Steven’s dad was a one man band who met Rose one day and then they lived happily ever after until she gave up her physical form to create Steven. Whoa. Let that information nugget creep into your brain. If anything, it raises more questions than answers.

And then Greg says…

IF EVERY PORK CHOP WERE PERFECT, WE WOULDN’T HAVE HOT DOGS

Mantra.

Steven and Greg find the light cannon and drag it back to the Gems. But can Steven activate his gem in time to save everyone? Of course he can, with a little help from his family. I fuckin’ love this show.

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Anais

This second episode is not as centered around food but we do get our first view of Beach City Fries, the town’s French fries booth. We didn’t have French fries booths where I grew up but old ladies sold grilled peanuts and homemade coconut sorbet on the beach and at the movies. Yum. Steven and Amethyst arrive at the booth at sunset to get an end-of-the-afternoon snack: fry bits. That’s how you know Steven is a good little guy: he knows the burnt crispy bits are the best part of getting fries. But what’s that in the sky? A GIANT RED EYE ROBOT THING. I remember that when I first saw this episode, I thought Steven U was going to become some kind of monster-of-the-week superhero show and didn’t really get why this particular monster didn’t seem to be doing anything except for falling. This makes more sense now. I bet this is some kind of device sent by Yellow Diamond. The ep is not really about it though, it’s more of an excuse to start talking about Steven’s mixed lineage.

Indeed, when Amethyst brings back Steven to Garnet and Pearl, they know exactly what’s up. Judging by Pearl’s face it’s not good news. What to do? The only thing that could annihilate this new enemy is Rose Quartz’s Light Cannon, which is apparently nowhere to be found. Steven suggests that his Dad, Greg, might have it, but the Gems won’t hear it. They don’t trust Greg, which sort of makes sense when you consider the fact that Steven lives with the Gems and not with his Dad. Now we know two things: a, Steven has a presumably not very bright Dad, and b, Rose Quartz had some pretty neat weapons and was powerful and very awesome. I mean, she owned a light cannon. A LIGHT CANNON. 

While the Gems literally throw themselves at the enemy, Steven decides to try it his own way. He heads to the local car wash, where his Dad parks the van that serves as his house. Steven manages to wake up his Dad and the man is probably the last kind of person you would have expected to become a father if this were any other show. Greg Universe doesn’t exactly look cool. He’s probably in his late thirties or early forties, with long hair, an unkempt beard a giant bald spot, and a bad tan. Greg Universe isn’t a super hero, he’s a normal dude with a waffle iron. He’s surprised but glad to see his son. A hug later and they’re talking saving the world. Greg is not really into adventures: he is just a civilian with no particular fighting abilities. However, he takes Steven to his storage unit, hoping that the light cannon will be in there.

You know, I recently had to clear a storage unit I had in the South of France and it does have some kind of magic about it. It’s basically like searching an old attic or a garage for treasures when you’re a kid, except you’re an adult and every object becomes a madeleine de Proust. Steven is a kid, so for him it’s less of a walk down memory lane and more of a treasure hunt. For us, it’s the perfect occasion to learn more about Steven’s parents.

Oh my God, Greg Universe loves cats. I already love him. He also owns golf clubs that he never uses because he only likes the idea of golf. It’s like me with my yoga mat. I like the idea of me being a yogi. In practice, I only use that thing three of four times a year, tops. But I’ll be better at it. Eventually. Greg universe also has a drum, a t-shirt cannon, and… a bunch of copies of his old CD! Yay for music! That’s also when we first hear of the famous concert where Rose and Greg met. I can’t wait to get to this episode. It’s so good. Meanwhile, Steven finds the cannon, which blooms like a rose when it shoots its light beam, because of course it does because this show is amazing. Everything’s not perfect in the end, but Steven and the Gems help each other save the day once more.

By the way, you might be wondering why a being like Rose may have liked one Greg Universe? Well, if every porkchop were perfect, we wouln’t have hot dogs.

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Four screenwriters candidly writing about film, television, novels, comic books, video games, and fanfiction.

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