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‘Steven Universe’ Recap: ‘Onion Trade’

“Onion Trade”
Written and storyboard by Lamar Abrams.

There’s something about Steven’s dad Greg that doesn’t add up. Will we ever really know why Greg distances himself from his son? This week in “Onion Trade,” we explored a dad’s horrible ability to remember things, witnessed Steven’s lack of male role models, and learned a lot more about Onion, a character who revealed quite a few new layers.

While Steven went out of his comfort zone last week to hang with Lars and the cool kids, this week saw him fixating on memories he’d built with his dad a year ago on a special day at the beach. The trip resulted in Greg getting Steven some G.U.Y.S (Guys Under Your Supervision), little vending machine figurines that’d usually find their way to the bottom of one’s toy box. Steven cherishes them more for what they represent than what they do. 

At first I thought that he was just like me. I, too, have hung on to the tiniest of trinkets just because of who’d given them to me over the years. Then as the episode rolled on, and the personalities of the G.U.Y.S. started to take shape, I noticed the toys represented Greg. It’s no surprise to hear that Steven lacks male role models in his life. The closest thing he has to a real father is Garnet, and we’ve seen before how much he idolizes her in “Arcade Mania.”

So, you had the Ranger G.U.Y., who was the most revered one, and then Dave G.U.Y. whose figure comes with tax paperwork that he can carry around. No one wants the regular Dave. The two varying G.U.Y.S. seemed to symbolize who Steven subconsciously wished his dad was (Ranger) and who he really is (Dave); one being the top dog and the other being a lame nobody. 

Speaking of Greg, we haven’t seen him since “Cat Fingers.” If you’re keeping track, that’s eight episodes ago. What really stuck out about the distant dad this week other than his oddly tanned feet was the fact that he didn’t remember a day that obviously meant the world to his son. What kid wouldn’t feel like crap if their parent dismissed their special day like that? It made me wonder about what Greg’s deal was. Why does he continuously choose to be out of Steven’s life? Yeah, the Gems need to train him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t pop in to say, “Hi,” every once in awhile.

That leads to the idea that there is something we don’t yet know about the history of Steven’s parents. We know Greg the mortal was with Rose the Gem, and they made Steven, and she’s no more – but was there some big rule about a Gem being raised by a human? Maybe there’s something bigger keeping Steven and Greg apart, or maybe he’s just a deadbeat dad.

Then you had Onion, the itty bitty kid who never makes a sound. However, we did learn he can talk, just not English. We also found out his dad is a fisherman who looks like a piece of cauliflower. Their interaction in that other language trumped my theory last week that the cool kid, Sour Cream, was Onion’s brother. Unless they’re step siblings…?

Anyway, Onion proved that he’s not as cute and innocent as he appears on the surface. The layers unraveled to reveal that he was a thief. Not only did he pick pocket Steven’s G.U.Y., but he also stole from the vending machine. How he managed to actually get inside the machine is beyond me, but nevertheless, Onion could be classified as a delinquent. The only thing to blame for that is because he, too, lacks a male role model. His dad’s always out to sea, leaving him to wait endlessly. That would make even the best kid crack. 

If you had to sum up “Onion Trade” in two words you’d have to go with “daddy issues.” Greg continued to prove he’s not the best, although there could be something bigger keeping that father and son apart, while Onion’s dad kept him waiting on a daily basis.