Steven Universe Reviews Season 01: Gem Glow/Laser Light Cannon

Hey, guys! Apparently, Hiatus Hell is upon us, so time to start my Steven Universe reviews, woohoo!

I’ll try to do one or two of these posts a week, with two episodes each since these episodes are shorter than MLP ones. I think that with MLP I can pick and choose what episodes to review, but SU is one of those shows where almost everything is connected, so I feel like skipping episodes might be a risk. I will skip Say Uncle, though, because I hate Uncle Grandpa with a fury and I just refused to watch it. Besides it has been officially called non-canon, so I’m okay with never having to watch it. >.>

I’ll also share a few of my ships and theories along the way as we go further into the plot and we reach character development posts. I have a lot of opinions on this show, as well as some theories and observations that my ten-year-old nephew pointed out to me during our viewings together which were great.

The ratings will be the same as the MLP reviews. If you don’t remember, here they are:

[Horrible < Bad < Meh < Okay < Good < Great < Excellent]

Much like the MLP reviews, I’ll always talk about the songs, but they won’t factor into an episode’s rating.

So let’s begin. ^.^

Episode: Season 01, episode 01: Gem Glow

Written and storyboarded by: Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu

Episode rating: Okay

Best Character this episode: Pearl

Episode Summary

First things first, this is the catchiest opening theme in existence. It’ll stick to you forever. And you know what? I really don’t mind. I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. ^^”

The episode starts with our titular character, Steven, whining about his favorite ice cream sandwich brand being discontinued. I’m not gonna lie, Cookie Cats look freaking delicious and I honestly believe they should exist in real life.


Someone make this real for me, please.

In this opening scene we’re also introduced to Sadie and Lars who, I was just recently shocked to discover, are voiced by the Asian Stereotype from 2 Broke Girls (when I say stereotype I mean the character btw; not the actor, and why is 2 Broke Girls a thing that exists? -.-) and the really anxious chick that sorta dated Raj in The Big Bang Theory. They’re both terrific actors, I just wouldn’t have guessed it was them in a million years. Anyway, they work in a donut shop and Lars is a bit of a jerk. That’s the gist of them so far.So Steven is clinging to the empty Cookie Cat freezer and Sadie is like “Okay, keep the thing if you want.” and he takes it home with him.

Anyway, they work in a donut shop and Lars is a bit of a jerk. That’s the gist of them so far.

So Steven is clinging to the empty Cookie Cat freezer and Sadie is like “Okay, keep the thing if you want.” and he takes it home with him.

At this point of the episode, you go from ‘kid whining about ice cream’ to ‘we have an infestation of alien centipedes that spit acid’ so freaking fast that you could seriously wonder if a part of the episode is cut off. My sister watched it with me the other day and she literally reacted with “what the hell just happened?”.

Still, we’re introduced to Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl through an awesome scene of them just destroying the things and it’s a pretty damn effective character introduction. My favorite moment is when Garnet says ‘oh there’s a big one somewhere’ and Steven wants to come along to fight it. Pearl is holding one of them little centipedes and very calmly tells him ‘no, no, until you control your powers it’s not safe’, very sweet and motherly and stuff, and then she snaps the centipede’s neck like it’s nothing. It’s really hilarious to me, that moment.

While assessing the damage the ‘centipeetles’ had done to the fridge, Steven discovers that the Gems got him a bunch of Cookie Cats and stuffed them in the freezer. He goes to eat one (after singing the most catchy jingle in the fucking universe) and his ‘magic bellybutton’ starts glowing, which is exciting for some reason we’re not exactly told. And then we get a little bit of explanation on Gem powers when Pearl and Amethyst both try to, in their own way, teach Steven to unlock the power of his Gem weapon. And I like this part quite a bit. I like how both Amethyst and Pearl give Steven complete opposite advice and it’s very clear that the whole process is a personal thing and Steven won’t be able to do it by simply following someone else’s.

I mean, to us, it’s incredibly obvious that it’s not the case, but Steven is convinced the key to unlocking his powers is eating Cookie Cats after retracing the events that led up to his gem glowing and it happening again. That leads to a pretty entertaining climax of the Gems fighting the large centipeetle and Steven trying to help them by eating ALL the Cookie Cats. It obviously doesn’t work, but Steven is able to help by electrocuting the centipeetle with the broken Cookie Cat freezer.

And the moral is… Be yourself… I guess? Also, don’t eat too much ice cream. >.>

My Opinion

When I first watched Gem Glow I just wasn’t ready for Steven Universe. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from the fact that my reaction to it was ‘eh… I dunno’. I think my main issue with it is that I was horribly confused, and I’ll admit that when I came back to this show and decided to watch it through, I was awfully confused for a while. That said, it was still enjoyable. It’s not a bad episode, it just didn’t give us much of who Steven is as opposed to just making him a reason for the Gems to info dump the audience.

It isn’t my favorite episode and it’s not even one I rewatch very often, but like I’ve stated previously; it’s rare for the first few episode of a series to be something spectacular and Gem Glow is a really fun episode if you don’t ask too many questions.


Episode: Season 01, episode 02: Laser Light Cannon

Written and storyboarded by: Kat Morris and Rebecca Sugar

Episode rating: Good

Best Character this episode: Amethyst

Episode Summary

Steven and Amethyst are eating fry bits (four seasons into this show I’m still not sure what those are supposed to be… are they like the leftover potato in the bottom of the fryer or something? That sounds… Majorly unhealthy) and they see this giant red eyeball thing in the sky. So Amethyst freaks out, grabs Steven and they join the other Gems at the beach.

Pearl is snarky and Garnet is… Garnet… And they basically all agree that they need to stop this thing and the only way to do it is with a Light Cannon that belonged to Rose Quartz. At this point, Steven goes “My mom?” because; exposition. That and the only point of this episode is to establish who Steven’s parents are.

They go on about how Rose would have known what to do and that she’s gone and the Cannon is lost. Steven then suggests his dad might have it. All the Gems agree she wouldn’t have entrusted him with such a powerful weapon and that Greg is, in Amethyst’s words “a mess”. Since their best idea is to literally weaponize Amethyst at this point (seriously Garnet spends almost the entire episode throwing Amethyst into the thing and it’s HILARIOUS every time), Steven decides to go look for his dad anyway.

Greg’s first appearance really gives the impression that he is a mess and might imply that he’s a distant parent, but I still found him very likable nonetheless. He seems reluctant to get involved in any ‘magical stuff’, but takes Steven to his storage unit to see if the cannon is there. While Steven is nearly lost in a ‘dad museum’ trying to find the thing amongst Greg’s mess, we get a bit more exposition with Greg talking about being a one man band and Rose being the only one to show when he played a concert in Beach City. I really like this moment. Yeah, it’s telly, but it’s also a very accurate portrayal of a parent telling his kid that one story he’s already told a million times. Steven also breaks a photo of Greg and Rose and this is the first time we see her. Greg’s story is also the first mention of Rose ‘giving up her physical form’ for Steven, although it’s mentioned so briefly I honest to God missed it on my first watch. If you’re wondering what means, btw, we get no explanation here.

After Steven admits to breaking the photo Greg says and I quote “If ever pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hotdogs.” This causes the Cannon to light up and Steven is able to find it in the mess. They tie the cannon to Greg’s van and haul it over to the beach. In the driving sequence here Steven demands they listen to Greg’s CD and honestly… I’ve seen some people comment that they don’t like Greg’s singing voice, but… I really, really, like it. And I think this song is incredibly catchy and adorable.

So they get the cannon to the beach and then… They don’t know how to turn it on. Care to guess what they need to do? Yeeeah. It takes them a while to figure out Greg’s little catchphrase triggers the cannon despite that being how they found it in the first place.

And before they figure it out, this happens:

Seriously, Amethyst makes this episode’s humor.

Anyway, they start to panic, Greg starts reassuring Steven and then Steven says the thing. The cannon activates and they manage to aim it at thing just in time. It blows up the Red Eye and it… is… AWESOME.

And then we end on a joke.

My Opinion

This was the first episode of this show I actually really liked. It’s simple, it’s funny, and gives a little bit more information about the characters. My only issue with it is the same as Gem Glow… Steven’s personality is a bit nonexistent at this point. He’s there to be told about things. Granted that changes, A LOT, as the show progresses but, for a while, I had to question why this show was named after him and that’s not a very good thing.

Still, this raised some interesting questions about Rose and Greg and it shows that Steven has a father with whom he has a relationship with. Although Greg doesn’t seem completely present in Steven’s life, to me it seems that it’s because he doesn’t know how to be. His mention of being told not to get involved in magical things and his reaction to Steven wanting to hear his CD; like it was something unimportant, hint to him feeling like there’s no much room for him in Steven’s life as a Crystal Gem at this point. He also gets very emotional when it turns out his phrase is the password to the light cannons, which I thought was really touching.

The Gems don’t do a lot more than set up and comic relief, but that’s okay. The humor is fantastic and the exposition feels a lot less telly than in Gem Glow. Overall, it’s a solid episode.

So that’s it, guys. First two episodes of Steven Universe and my opinion on them. This show has a slow start in my opinion and these first few episodes are a bit formulaic, as in they have a monster, a mission, an obstacle, and then Steven learns something maybe.

Gladly it starts to stray from that format just a few episodes in and we get to learn more about the characters; which is the best part in my opinion.

I’m sorry I couldn’t get this done last night. I was really tired and I’m still a little exhausted from all the running around I did, so I’m going to take it easy this afternoon. I’ll try to get the next one done on Thursday next week, though.

Stay tuned for the weekend, we’ll have another MLP review this Saturday and Sunday is NITWIT day; because, as you all know, I hate myself. =.=

Haven an awesome day, guys!



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