Steven Universe – Keystone Motel Review
Keystone Motel is an interesting episode of Steven Universe as it not only explores the fallout of Cry for Help, but it focuses in on Garnet’s internal conflict regarding what occurred. This results in us getting to see Ruby and Sapphire for the first time since their introduction in Jailbreak. They have become divided on how to deal with Pearl, and, when Greg decides to take Steven with him on a trip, Garnet jumps at the opportunity to get away from Pearl for a while. The episode largely serves as an examination of the effects that being too focused on your own emotions can have on those around you.
Greg’s initial announcement that he received a sales offer for car wash brushes from someone he met on the internet has much of the standard Greg humor built in to it. He presents the idea of staying at a hotel as some form of grand adventure complete with a swimming pool and free ice, and, of course, Steven is more than willing to go along with it in a wave of childish excitement. However, Garnet surprises them by deciding to tag along as well.
Upon reaching the motel, and performing the obligatory check for bedbugs, Greg heads off to meet the contact he met of on the internet. As he leaves, he tells Garnet to hold down the fort and, if he doesn’t return within an hour, call the police. By this point, it’s clear from Garnet’s silence and nervous twitching that she is literally barely holding herself together. Sure enough, Greg isn’t gone a minute before Garnet splits apart into Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby refuses to forgive Pearl for her actions, stating that she tricked them in order to form Sardonyx, and that there is nothing more personal to them than fusion. Sapphire, on the other hand, has chosen to distance herself from the situation, and maintains that they should forgive Pearl because they will eventually do it anyway. Ruby is eventually forced to flee the motel room since, in her rage, she is incapable of controlling her heat given off by her body, and thus is scorching the carpet with her feet.
Steven goes out to the pool where Ruby is pacing constantly. He tries to get her to calm down and even suggests that she swim with him, but she ends up pacing along the bottom of the pool and brings the water to a boil with her powers. With her ranting unintelligibly at the bottom of the now scalding pool, Steven ends up returning to the room where he finds that Sapphire has caused the temperature to plummet. Steven tries watching television with her, but, as ice begins to form on the walls around Sapphire, he asks if it wouldn’t be best if she tried going and talking to Ruby. Sapphire insists that Ruby wouldn’t listen, and that eventually she will forgive both her and Pearl, so talking isn’t necessary. Steven ends up leaving the room just as Greg returns. Greg argues that it might be best that Steven give Ruby and Sapphire some room and let them work it out on their own.
The next day, Greg takes them all to The Best Diner in the World, (That’s the actual name.) so that they can partake in breakfast together. However, Ruby ends up snapping at Sapphire and smashes the table. Steven, disgusted with how the pair had ruined the road trip experience, throws his plate to the ground and storms out of the restaurant. Ruby and Sapphire realize that they’ve been bringing their issues with them and have been allowing Steven to be negatively impacted by their frustrations. Sapphire acknowledges that she’s been distancing herself from what Pearl did and allowing herself to use her future vision to view it as distant event, while failing to think of Ruby’s emotions. Likewise, Ruby realizes that she wasn’t looking for a solution to the scenario and was simply indulging her anger and apologies to Sapphire for her childishness. They then fuse together into Garnet, and, upon returning to the temple, she informs Pearl that she is not ready to forgive just yet. Despite this, Pearl is ecstatic simply to be addressed by her.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Sapphire has the strangest body design for an unfused gem that we’ve seen. She has no feet and only a single eye, which puts her notably ahead of Peridot and her floating fingers.
- I don’t know how I feet about the fact that, in the world of Steven Universe, (the Steven Universe universe if you will) there is an actual state called Keystone.
- Pearl seems so devastated every time Garnet refuses to respond to her, that even Garnet’s simple response to her at the end of the episode feels exceptionally rewarding.
- Sapphire and Ruby are adorable when they aren’t freezing hotel rooms or boiling swimming pools. The scene where they apologize and make up is easily the highlight of the entire episode.
- “Sapphire, the toilet’s frozen.” “Such is fate.”
- “You really are my favorite dad.” “I knew this pizza would put me over the top.”
Keystone Motel is a great episode that touches upon subjects such as the importance of communication, understanding your own emotions, and understanding the influence that you are having on people around you. The misuse of fusion had already proven to be an issue that could potentially divide Garnet back in Keeping it Together, so it makes sense that Pearls attempts to manipulate her into forming Sardonyx would have a similar effect here. Watching Ruby and Sapphire debate amongst themselves without regard to how they are impacting Steven is actually rather depressing, and could be considered analogous to two parents fighting. Keystone Motel is both a great episode for the two sides of Garnet, as well as a wonderful allegory for what happens when fights break out amongst family members.
Keystone Motel is a wonderful episode that offers a glimpse into the two components of Garnet's psyche, and displays how anger and frustration can bleed into those around us.