Saturday, July 13, 2024

Greg and the Gems Take Steven on a ‘Gemcation”

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Poor Steven Universe. He done messed up big time with Connie. But what about everyone else? After all, he has a trio of space moms and a comet of a dad with their own feelings on Steven’s surrender and return. They also deserve their time to react and work through what happened with Aquamarine and the trial on Homeworld.

While we, unfortunately, don’t have time yet for all the Crystal Gems to get their own episode, everyone shines in the aptly named “Gemcation.”

Spoilers for 5×06 “Gemcation”


Steven starts off the episode agonizing over unanswered texts sent and not yet sent to Connie, full of bad jokes. He’s interrupted by Greg, who is tangled in a water hose and needs Steven help to escape. A text gets his attention, but it’s only Ronaldo asking about an anime he wants Steven to watch.

This is of vital importance to the coming episode.

Greg asks Steven why he’s so glum, but Steven doesn’t want to talk about it and heads back home. Another Ronaldo text interrupts him later while he washes a plate with the dish soap bottle. Greg comes in to ask for help for groceries. Groceries for a special gem vacation at a house Greg just rented! Each gem makes their own pitch in their own adorable way. Garnet wins, as usual. Steven’s reluctant because of these incredibly important Ronaldo texts.

gemcation ronaldo text

In the end, Steven agrees. They head off to the “Cool Ranch, ” and Greg sells the home’s special features. Only Pearl tells them most of the special features don’t work and a snake bites her inside.

Later that night, Steven still stares at his phone, waiting for Connie to contact him. Amethyst comes over to try and cheer him up. Then Garnet gives it a try while they soak in a hot tub. She thinks Steven’s bothered by Pink Diamond, and we get a quick shot the gems fighting terrifying silhouette of the dead Homeworld tyrant. Oh wow, flashback time???

No, Steven tells her Pink Diamond isn’t the problem, and it all goes away. We were so close!

The next day, Steven overhears his dad and the gems discussing what else to try next. Greg thinks Steven’s problem is about Homeworld and he needs the gems for that. They say they don’t know what else to do. Since Pearl is the only one who did not try and knows all about space and Homeworld, she gives it the last shot.

Time for Pearl backstory or lore dumping? No. She says she wishes she had brought Steven to Homeworld, but when she talks about wanting to explain about the Diamonds, she physically can’t. What a tease. Steven finally blurts the truth about what happened with Connie and how worried he is about losing her. Alright, now this is Greg’s wheelhouse, and he goes to cheer his boy up.

Steven admits he was embarrassed because they like Connie, and he worried they would react the same way she did. Greg explains that they all handle their fear and anger in their own way. The cabin was Greg’s way of coping, while Connie’s coping her own way. He then explains that there’s no cell service where they are.

Greg speeds them off to find some cell service. Steven leads them right to the edge of a cliff and Greg complies. What a good dad. Steven gets service, but the only message is one last one from Ronaldo. See, important.

The episode ends with everybody cuddling atop the van.

Delightful Little Gems

  • “Gemcation” has people theorizing that Pearl’s programmed to physically stop herself from telling secrets about the Diamonds, and I love it. I hope this is true.
  • Because honestly, watching her slap her hand over her mouth time and time again was mean.
  • This episode is almost an inverse of “The Test.” Rather than try to help Steven in his mission abilities, now the Gems tried to help him emotionally. This time when Steven overhears the Gems, he blurts the truth rather than hide it.
  • Ronaldo’s text has me questioning everything I’m writing in this review. What a brilliant little tidbit.
  • Now we know gems can’t be poisoned by Earth animals. Pearl’s overdramatic self had to sell it, though.
  • Speaking of overdramatic, check out how dramatically Steven flopped over onto Greg. Easy to see where he learned it from when the Gems jumped atop the van as flashily as possible.

Lingering Questions

  • Is there any gem more adorable than Garnet?
  • What does everyone else think about this Pearl theory?
  • So, does this mean the Crystal Gems fought battles against Pink Diamond? We’re pretty sure, based on the account of her death during Steven’s trial, that there was no larger battle happening when PD was shattered.
  • Will a Gregnet ship be born from Greg and Garnet in the hot tub??? I sure hope not.


Ah, now this was what I expected the first episode after Steven’s return to be like. This was classic Crystal Gems. I talked about it in my review for “Dewey Wins.” The Gems tend to swallow their emotions and ignore them until they burst. Greg cedes to their authority and follows their lead. They could have sat Steven down to talk the night he came back. Instead, they drag him out to the middle of nowhere and try one by one until Steven himself bursts.

That’s not to say Steven’s blameless here. Also carrying over from “Dewey Win” is his refusal to talk about the things bothering him. I have to be fair to the Gems and say they tried. Steven shut them down every step of the way, just like they have for thousands of years.

While he’s not shutting Connie out, and in fact tries desperately to contact her throughout the episode, he never really puts himself out there as he should. He tries to passive-aggressively get Connie’s attention. Just like the Gems wouldn’t just sit Steven down to talk, Steven won’t go over to Connie’s house and confront the issue directly.

They’ve spent thousands of years living this way. Amethyst spent thousands of years hiding her insecurities to the point none of the others knew they existed. Pearl refused to let go of Rose or her resentment towards Greg. Even the Diamonds exhibit the same tendency. Blue and Yellow have spent thousands of years grieving harmfully over Pink Diamond. This is how gems work. They don’t talk. They don’t face things.

Even if they have to use force to avoid it, apparently.

As entertaining as it always ends up being, it’s also sad to see episodes like this, where everyone shows just how little has changed about the habits present from the beginning of the show. All these characters have faced so much strife, have grown so much from that strife, yet retain the habits creating much of the strife. They can handle it better, I guess?

And of course, they’re so much more a family than they used to be.

Think back on who the Crystal Gems were when we met them. Could you imagine those gems taking a “Gemcation” back in season 1 just to make any of their group feel better? Could you imagine Pearl willingly spending days in some small cabin with Greg? Or Amethyst spending that time with Pearl? It’s telling to look back at the beginning of Steven Universe and realize just how different the dynamic was between these characters. I mean, Greg was barely even involved in his son’s life. Look at him now.

An episode like “Gemcation” would have been much more depressing once upon a time. Now it’s a fun episode showing just how close and supportive the Crystal Gems have become.

Or maybe I’m just projecting my own experiences onto the plot in a way the Crewniverse didn’t intend? Ronaldo, what have you done? Can I ever review Steven Universe again?

Yeah, yeah I can.

Images Courtesy of Cartoon Network

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