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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?

  • hitface

    i dont think rose’s room is inherently dangerous, I think its potentially dangerous to someone who doesnt know how to exist within it. They say that all their rooms are dangerous for steven to be in, mainly because he doesnt have a handle on his own magic powers.
    and Pearl says after steven comes back out and explains the glitchy town that Rose’s room can’t handle something of that size, which explains why it was glitching out and rpeating things. It doesnt reflect on how good a father greg is at all. Its just doing a short form of what steven likes most about his dad, which is his advice. The room is just something that creates what the user wants, but it couldnt handle creating an illusion as big as all of beach city.
    Steven wanting to be alone was also meant to be a result of him being angry that he couldn’t just do what he wanted or get what he wanted. which is.. what he explains he figured out at the end, that he needs to understand that you dont always get what you want (and i thought it was funny that they disrupted this message when steven finally gets to go mini golfing)

    also, im not sure if im into this whole “garnet is his father figure!!” thing. being stern and quiet isnt an inherently male or fatherly thing. Being able to wear a fat old guy’s golfpants isnt a symbol of father status either. parents come in all different forms. for a personal example: my father is a talkative person that coddled me when I was a child and spoiled me, and he did a lot of the cooking. My mom was the quiet, stern one, and preferred to have her time alone, but shed have her moments when she’d also show a softer side. I just think its kind of weird to keep asserting that Yup Garnet Is The Dad when not every dad is like garnet.
    garnet wearing greg’s golf pants is not meant to assert her status as father figure. its just meant to be a joke because she looks absolutely ridiculous.

  • David Fisher

    Each of the Gems’ rooms is designed to respond to the user’s wishes, based on their memory/imagination. The trouble came from Stephen overtaxing its capacity: that’s why people were just looped actions, why there was half a second of tide on repeat; Pearl even says as much at the end. Presumably the reason Greg was so articulate to begin with is that he’s the one Stephen has the most memories of to work with. But the room still ran out of RAM before too long.

    The question is, who does the blue gem on the door belong to?

    • Austin Hutchins

      Possibly Garnet. It’s theorized that she’s a fusion herself.

      • Lemurgavel

        I don’t think that’s possible, seeing as how she’s able to fuse with Amethyst to become Sugilite.

  • Roberto Severino

    Not the best episode of the show by any means but the art direction was absolutely amazing in this one and it even creeped me out a bit (in a surprisingly good way). Can’t wait until they really start getting into more about Rose and her past and characters like Garnet in later episodes.

  • SarahJesness

    Pretty much this. Though it seems that the wish room was operating off Steven’s memory, which still makes sense when explaining Greg: of all the characters Steven comes across in the wish room, Greg is the only one he’s known all his life AND has a close relationship to.

    Though I do think the nature of the room can be used to possibly interpret Rose. But I’m not sure it’s hinting at darker aspects of her character. The reason the wish room got creepy was because it couldn’t handle replicating so much at once. Other than that, it’s pretty great.

    I didn’t analyze this episode as much as I usually did cause I was too busy being creeped out. I liked the use of the distance models in place of regular ones when the room starts glitching; that was so freaky!

  • BlueBoomPony

    Yeah, he wanted to be with them, but later didn’t. To paraphrase Freud, sometime a joke is just a joke. Quick change of heart? Your own gif depicts a day night cycle.

  • I think that the alone time thing made sense in how they went about it doing it. Steven may be growing up, but he’s still very much a kid, as several episodes are prone to point out. And children, and even some adults, can jump between wanting company and desiring alone time. Plus, it’s a full day between those two events, so it isn’t much of a drastic change in desire, so much as it was “You guys left when I wanted to do something. Now I’m doing something else, so please leave me alone until I finish my current task.”

    As for Greg, I don’t think this reflected badly on him in least. This Beach City is an imperfect copy of the real one, yes. But as others have pointed out, both Steven and Rose have a wealth of memories concerning Greg, so if anything, he was the best clone of any being in the fabricated world that the room conjured. Him giving that advice when going into an air guitar was pretty close to the real Greg before the system started crashing and putting his actions on loop. Oh, and I feel that while Garnet is a very powerful figure in Steven’s life, I wouldn’t necessarily call her a father figure. A guiding force in his life, yes, but I still feel that despite him not showing up all the time, Greg still stands as Steven’s main father figure. (As for a mother figure, I’d say Pearl, but this isn’t the time to talk about that.)

    Also, the Gems do comment on Steven’s tale by remarking that Rose’s room couldn’t possibly handle a stimulation of that size. So they were aware about how her room functioned.

    Now to finally get to the episode itself, I LOVED how the alternate Beach City and Steven’s actions within said city. The creepy voice clips and monotone? The use of distance models instead of the standard models to help cement the creepy vibe that Frybo with the glitchy fries started? Steven’s slow realization that he’s still in his mom’s room when his Dad starts acting weirder than normal? The way the world started breaking down? It was deliciously unnerving, and even if viewers knew what was going on before Steven did, we still felt his panic and distress and shared a bit of that with him ourselves. The beginning of the episode was fun, and the final gag was cute, but that bizarro Beach City was what really did it for me this week.

    P.S.: I’d totally play a fantasy golf RPG, even if it was just a browser game on CN’s website.

  • Mzuark

    So am I the only one that seriously had a problem with Steven declaring “I always get what I want”? Between Steven being a spoiled, annoying brat, Amethyst behaving like a child, Garnet honestly thinking that violence is a valid answer to problems and Pearl being a know-it-all(favorite character, but still) oh and the fact that the Gems don’t give a fuck about the people of Beach City

    This cast is starting to feel pretty unlikable.