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‘Steven Universe’ Recap: ‘Giant Woman’

“Giant Woman”
Written and storyboard by Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu.

Last week Steven put Garnet on a pedestal and quickly learned she has flaws. This week in “Giant Woman,” he was fixated on the idea of what Amethyst and Pearl could be if they fused and became the “ultra powerful being” known as Opal.

In the opening scenes, it’s obvious Steven’s never heard of this character Opal. She’s as new to him as she is to us. All we know thanks to a sand animation that Pearl draws is that she and Amethyst have to do a little dance routine to create Opal, who apparently stands very tall and is only used as a last resort.

Meanwhile Garnet has been on a solo mission and returns home to tell the others to retrieve a heaven beetle. We learned last week it’s common for Garnet to do her own thing as she’s the strongest of the gang. She tells Steven to keep the harmony between Amethyst and Pearl who bicker continuously.

It seems like Steven could care less about keeping the peace between the two Gems or the beetle. He’s obsessed with seeing Opal, so much so that he sings a song about her. He may not have kept the harmony between his mission partners, but he definitely had it going on in his voice. Before and after the song comes a cascade of pestering questions that he calls “extremely important.” They’re all variations on “Who is Opal?” such as “Who controls what side?,” “Do you share a stomach?” and so on.

What is it with Steven’s need to see Opal? Was the fascination a symbol for a growing boy going through some changes? It was like when a boy first discovers his sexual awakening. Whatever they’re into is all of a sudden the most interesting thing on earth and they feel like they have to set eyes upon this talked about, but somehow forbidden fruit.

Back to the action, the Gems meet a mountain goat that Steven quickly dubs Steven Jr. Before approaching their final destination they’re met with a predicament: a line of strategically placed floating rocks similar to the ones you’d face in a Super Mario Bros. game. Pearl and Amethyst take to fighting and end up almost killing Steven.

They eventually come upon a mini-beetle temple. It’s literally like a dollhouse but for a beetle—too cute. The heaven beetle’s nowhere to be found, but a giant faceless bird with a jagged beak appears instead. Usually Steven Universe doesn’t make me laugh out loud, but when the bird swallows Steven Jr. leaving teardrop-pupilled Steven to say, “My son!”–well, that was the moment of the week.

Earlier Pearl and Amethyst didn’t think Steven almost falling to his death was reason enough to transform into Opal, but with the bird on a rampage and both Steven and Steven Jr. inside, they have no choice. After Opal saves the Stevens, she is revealed in all her glory: a lengthy four-armed blonde warrior, Hindu deity-like, wielding a bow and arrow with a raspy yet comforting voice.

Once home Garnet isn’t impressed and doesn’t care that Opal’s standing in front of her; all she cares about is if they retrieved the heaven beetle. The realization they failed their mission undoes Opal, and Amethyst and Pearl are back. Thankfully Steven and Steven Jr. wasn’t the only thing that big bird swallowed. While inside the belly of the beast, Steven grabbed the beetle. Garnet is not only impressed with Steven’s catch, but that he helped Amethyst and Pearl fuse.

Just when you think that’s it, Garnet dropped a bomb. She mentioned Steven will be able to fuse one day, too, like Amethyst and Pearl. Yet another Gem gift Steven has that he really doesn’t know all that much about.

  • SarahJesness

    You made a gif of Amethyst dancing? Oh, Kendra, you don’t know how happy you just made me!

    Anyway, I think this is one of the best episodes so far. The setting was pretty cool, and there was lots of good action. Stephen wasn’t annoying in the slightest and he never did anything stupid to put himself in danger.

    (though, nitpick: when Stephen was falling, Amethyst and Pearl wouldn’t have had time to change into Opal)

    • Princess Sparkle

      That damn GIF is hypnotic. I can’t tear my eyes from it.

      • SarahJesness

        Glad I’m not the only one! I was listening to music while reading this article (specifically the “Burning Town” music from the Shantae video game) and it looked like Amethyst was dancing to it. So funny!

  • IcyTea

    This week, Steven Universe’s episode was truly the best and it was at a great pace. The other cartoons such as Adventure Time’s “Betty” was too fast paced for a 11-minute cartoon, such as Betty randomly knowing what to do and not freaked out at the portal and somehow knowing where the hole to the inside of the anti-magic box. Same for Regular Show’s “Rigby in the Sky with Burrito”, but it wasn’t as bad as “Betty” since you had some ironic plot twists and know a bit more about the characters than in “Betty” but it still felt like it was at an uneven pace as well.

    I enjoy how Steven was not as annoying (he never is to me, but for some he is) in this episode, though he was curious who Opal was. The pace was at some great timing so there is time to tell the story and nothing unnecessary was in here that stopped the story, it was all about Steven trying to form a harmony between Pearl and Amethyst.

    Can’t wait for Episode 16!

    (Something noted below, you may read if you want)

    Some people are saying Garnet is a fused gem already, that is false just because she has two gems on her hands, they are to form her gauntlets, if she was a fused gem, then she would have lost harmony between the gems who supposedly form Garnet in “Arcade Mania” which it never happened.

    • Domonic Thomas

      Yo IcyTea, I totes mcgotes agree with you about AT and RS’s most recent episodes. “Betty” was waaaay too fast paced and ended leaving the viewer with a bit of a hole in your heart for poor Betty. Considering how fast paced it was and how it ended with a sort of “character regression” (Simon returning to be ice king) instead of a pro-gression (him staying as Simon for a few eps to show the viewers more about who he REALLY is) they should have put in some kind of implication that the plot of this episode will be revisited.
      As for RT, again I agree that it wasn’t as bad as AT, but I feel to some degree a sense of “rush” however; RT isn’t really known so much for “feels” like how AT (and in my opinion) SU (“Laser Light Cannon”, “Cat Fingers” and now “Giant Woman”) are known for. I look forward to hearing more of your analyses on all three shows! :D

  • Rye 10Lzz

    This show is fun and gives women a place on a network that cancels shows for a diverse set of female characters.

    • IcyTea

      I get tired of the whole “network that cancels shows because of boy demos” thing.

      I understand you are pretty pissed off at shows you like are getting cancelled, but again the people who have said this were just boiling mad when their cartoons (YJ and GLTAS) got canned, but I doubt it was Cartoon Network’s doing, it’s Warner Bros. for the most part. They want money, they want it to be a merchandise success, it SEEMS like they focus on the boy demo because they spend more than girls, but I’m sure girls buy as much as the boys. It’s just that there were more boys buying stuff at the time, now it’s equal since Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and Regular Show merch is being bought by females and males equally (in my opinion).

      Anyway the other incidents about the toy sales such as Sym-Bionic Titan were understandable, it’s sad to let shows go but if it is expensive and it isn’t going to give them a profit back, why would they continue?

      I understand another reason why Sym-Bionic Titan wasn’t kept on, it’s because they didn’t know if Adventure Time and Regular Show were going to be successes in the future, if they knew that or believed in that they may have gave some more time left for it, but you know it was 2011 they were not getting much funds to produce cartoons unlike in 2014.

      • Mike
        • IcyTea

          Oh the guy who got a hissy fit over that?

          Both Smith and Dini were immature regardless of it being related to the topic, again it’s just a bunch of hot air to try to start something when multiple networks know what demos to focus on, be glad Cartoon Network is focusing on the female demographic now. but that doesn’t mean Cartoon Network is garbage because they focus on a certain gender more than the other.

          What about Nickelodeon’s or Disney’s? They focus on different demos and no one is bashing on that, it’s all about opinionated views about what Networks’ demos.

          Ultimately, they all win in the end for getting you to buy their products or watch their shows.

      • Ness

        Sym-Bionic Titan toys never came out though. Nothing ever hit the shelves. We never even saw prototypes. They just came to the conclusion that toys wouldn’t sell. They make these preemptive decisions and get good shows cancelled :/

        • IcyTea

          Again they didn’t want to risk it, I don’t agree on their decision but I don’t disagree either on it.

          In 2011 they never had anything to let Sym-bionic titan get some time to get a toy line.

          Apparently the show had a very high budget but they couldn’t attract any toy lines, if they waited a year if they knew Adventure Time was going to make them prosperous then yes.

    • SarahJesness

      CN cancels shows for diverse female characters? How can they cancel shows they haven’t been making in the first place, AMIRIGHT?! Another reason I hope Steven Universe does well.

  • Sijo

    I disagree that Steven’s obsession over Opal was meant as a parallel to puberty. It felt more like a child’s obsession with a shiny new toy he cannot yet have for some reason. In this case, Steven has lived with the Gems for a (presumably) long time, and this is the first he hears of this secret power. Maybe he was curious as to why they never used it during all those other truly dangerous situations they have encountered already (I certainly do.)

    • Domonic Thomas

      Yeah, I agree with childlike fascination as opposed to pubescent “forbidden fruit”. Loved this episode. I kinda wish Garnet was a little more “feeling” as you indicated saying that, “Garnet isn’t impressed…”. I mean she didn’t have to go crazy, but I felt at least a smile was in order. I guess that’s just her character, still love her though. :) love ALL of em!

  • SarahJesness

    How many other examples you got? Chicks make up 50% of the population; it takes more than a couple diverse shows to reflect even close to that. That’s like saying women are well-represented in the movie industry because Twilight and The Hunger Games.

  • Keen Bean

    I think the strongest point in this show may be the subtlest with the music. When Opal stepped into action and the music got rolling I was literaly intranced by what was going on.

    Also I’m super excited to see what’s to come from other fusions!

  • ddrazen

    I know Steve’s dad hasn’t got much face time in the series so far, but Steve’s own attempt at singing in this ep (following in his dad’s erstwhile footsteps as an entertainer) kind of shows that his dad has influenced him. OK, it’s not Sondheim but it’s still Steven.

  • ddrazen

    I know Steve’s dad hasn’t got much face time in the series so far, but Steve’s own attempt at singing in this ep (following in his dad’s erstwhile footsteps as an entertainer) kind of shows that his dad has influenced him. OK, it’s not Sondheim but it’s still Steven.

  • Cameron Sadowski

    Amethyst’s dancing was hilarious!