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‘Steven Universe’ Recap: ‘Rose’s Room’

“Rose’s Room”
Written and storyboarded by Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu.

Reading beforehand what this episode was supposed to be about, my mind completely went somewhere else. Steven’s at that age when boys want alone time for a very specific reason and while I was 99.9% sure Cartoon Network wasn’t going to go that far, I thought they’d at least allude to that idea of adolescence and growing up. Instead we dived into the real reason (sort of) that Steven wanted to be left alone, and dug a little deeper into the idea of his parental units via a room and the weird, strange world created by said room.

“Rose’s Room” starts out with Steven eating an insane amount of creamed corn so that he can collect the $5 coupons for mini golf. Excited to complete his task (did he actually need the physical can…), he was quickly shot down by the Gems who said they didn’t have time to play golf with him. Instead, Steven becomes unhealthily engaged in a golfing/fantasy-video game centered around golf, and is just about to experience the end of the game when the Gems return and interrupt the game. After he wishes for a place of his own, his gem lights up and opens the door to his mother’s room. Not listening to the warnings of the Gems, Steven enters anyways and is met with a rose-tinted, cloud-packed room where one’s every wish is granted from quadruple bunk beds to all the donuts you can never eat because they go poof as soon as you try to pop them into your mouth.

It was all fun and odd games until things took a turn. Much like “Steven the Sword Fighter,” this episode was a bit dark. The room created a freaky world where Beach City was in an altered state: Sadie and Lars were robotic, the Gems were nowhere to be found, Onion remained pretty much the same little mute, and Greg was actually better than usual – more on that later on. It was as if Steven had fallen through the rabbit’s hole and landed in a place that was no place like home…at all. Luckily, he wished to be back with the Gems and all was well again, especially since he finally got that round of mini golf.

There were three things that caught my eye this week: the idea of alone time, the idea of father figures in Steven’s life (both dad and Garnet), and the idea behind Rose’s room.

Here’s my problem with the alone time, other than it not being a symbol about the obvious need to be alone when a young boy is transitioning into a man…Steven was so against being alone at the start. He freaked out because the Gems were too busy, but as soon as they had free time, he freaked out again because they’d interrupted a game. That was a pretty quick change of heart. He went from needing companionship to not wanting it at all, and then back to where he started. I just wish he’d wanted that time to himself from the start. I think that would’ve made the idea of wanting the Gems around a lot stronger in the end BUT then they would’ve had to rewrite that whole mini-golf beginning.

Then there was Greg. I’m not a fan of that guy because we haven’t really gotten to know him. He’s either a great dad who’s letting his son live out his destiny in a better environment, or he’s a lazy dad who only comes around when completely necessary. In any case, Greg was the only character in the bizarro-Beach City that made actual sense when Steven approached. At first his words were filled with insight, but then he started spitting out clichés about honesty and even his son called him out on it. What’s that say that in a made-up world where everything is opposite, and you’re suddenly this great father figure? Maybe that you suck in reality? Even at almost 20 episodes into the series, not a fan of Greg.

Speaking of father figures, did anyone catch when Steven said that Garnett could fit into Greg’s old golf pants? Like I’ve said for weeks, she’s the dad of their modern family and they really drove that home with her actually wearing them when they finally made it to the course.

And then, Rose’s room. Of course Steven’s gem would be the one to unlock it, that was no surprise, but did the Gems really know what was beyond those doors? A place where dreams come true, but are often nightmares–a lesson in be careful what you wish for. Was that always the case for Rose’s quarters or was this some type of lesson that an absent mother was sending her son? I want to lean toward the Gems not knowing what was in that room, and their fear of Steven going in was based on the fact that they didn’t know what to expect or the harm he could’ve faced.

The idea that Rose’s room was this place where things appear perfect but aren’t says something about her character. Look at the Gems’ rooms from “Together Breakfast,” they each represented the Gem perfectly. Pearl’s was clean and sharp, Amethyst’s was chaotic, and Garnet’s a mystery. This makes me think there’s a big secret waiting in the wings about Steven’s mom. She’s always painted as this great Gem, but could the reality be that she isn’t?