STEVEN UNIVERSE – EPISODE 19 “ROSE’S ROOM”

Ep. #19
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: May. 14Th, 2014
SONG: No
SYNOPSIS: Steven ends up in Rose Quartz’s room.

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Steven gorged down four cans of creamed corns to nab the promotional coupons so he can treat the Crystal Gems for a day of mini-golfing. The Gems have an important mission though, leaving Steven to his whims until they get back. Steven is annoyed, so he decides to tackle his own dangerous mission: Golf Quest, a video game RPG. This scene is one of those little perfections that always grabs me every time. Golf Quest is a marvelous recreation of old 90s-era JRPGs (Japanese RPGS) that dominated the gaming market back in the days. Steven Universe constantly harkens back to that decade and seeing this game is a real trip. I remember the heavy nostalgia surrounding the 70s and 80s in my younger years, but now that I’m an adult, we’ve officially reached a point where folks my age are in the industry where they can draw influence from the era they grew up in. Man, do I feel old.

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Steven binges the game all night, unlocking the secret ending just in time for the Crystal Gems to return with a new Gem prize: The Wailing Stone. They keep interrupting him to show how the Wailing Stone works, distracting Steven from seeing the last cutscene. Amethyst triggers the stone, causing a powerful soundwave that destroys Steven’s TV. So sick of life kicking him in the butt, Steven wishes he had a place to himself. His Gem responds accordingly and the temple door opens to Rose’s room. The Crystal Gems warn him against going, but Steven is fed up with the three and runs in, locking them out in the process. Finally, he has a place to call his own.

Rose’s room is an incredibly simplistic, but beautiful setpiece. Adorned from head-to-toe in pink, the entire room looks like cotton candy heaven: clouds are everywhere, including the floor Steven walks on. What an apt metaphor for Rose’s legacy. Steven quickly realizes that whatever he desires, the room makes. He recreates the ending of the game he played, but foods are a bust as they disappear the moment he tries to eat them. Steven has to leave the place to get his daily donut fix.

Back in Steven’s pad, the lights are off and the Crystal Gems are nowhere to be found. This doesn’t faze Steven, but he notices something is very off once he enters the Big Donut. Both Sadie and Lars are acting weird; overtly cheerful and speaking in unison is something neither of them do, especially Lars. Everyone Steven knows is affected by this creepy bug, including one of the scariest imagery of Connie I’ve ever seen. Beach City itself is equally as bizarre, as if stuck on a perpetually glitchy state. Steven freaks out until he runs into his father. Thankfully, the man looks and sounds like his old self.

Father and son chat over donuts. Steven confesses the problem he has with the Gems and the lack of privacy, but Greg’s suggestion doesn’t help, spouting generic parental advices that has no bearing to the current situation. It becomes clear that he, too is just as broken. Steven figures out the entirety of Beach City is just a recreation he subconsciously made; he’s still in his mother’s room. Wow, no wonder the Gems didn’t want him inside, the power of imagination is too great in there. Once Steven realizes this, Beach City literally falls apart piece by piece. Steven is terrified, fearful he’ll be trapped and alone with no way out. He wants to escape, a request the room finally allows.

The Crystal Gems have been waiting for him the entire time. Steven apologizes for his behavior earlier, realizing that he can’t always get what he wants…then the Gems say they finally have some time to spend with him, so they go mini-golfing. Steven triumphantly declares he always does get what he wants. HA!

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It’s very hard not to relate to Steven when he says he wanted some alone time. As an introvert who tires just from a small social gathering – events that aren’t even that frequent in my time just to give you a perspective – having a room or place of comfort to myself is a haven I cherish. Obligations, family, and friends are moments and people I have and want to fulfill, but when they all start to pile up, there needs to be a breathing space. You can’t function without the time necessary to balance out the stress that’s been placed on you.

Course, that’s not what Steven’s issue is really about, though addressing some of the above was appreciative. “Rose’s Room” is another look at the mind of a twelve-year-old boy, one selfishly putting his needs above others due to a level of maturity he still hasn’t reached yet. If people didn’t put up with him the first time, why should he put up with others? Those silly adults have no idea the trials and tribulations he’s going through (not that I’m undermining genuine problems preteens do struggle with), so he leaves in a huff and foolishly takes the next exit that pops up in his direction.

Rose’s room literally activates his imagination and desires. This is why Greg spouts generic fatherly wisdom because Steven sees him as a supportive, wonderful parent. This is why Sadie and Lars are uniformly happy and subservient, both are distributors of Steven’s favorite donuts. It also doubles as a perception Steven carries that Lars is better than what he usually displays. It’s why Connie returned from her vacation early, still gripping the glowing wristband that Steven treasured for a time. It is notable that the only people who aren’t in Steven’s Beach City are the ones he’s currently angry with: The Crystal Gems.

Unfortunately the room struggles to recreate a large structure like Beach City and the glitches as well as Steven’s problems starts to seep through. How appropriate that he was playing video games earlier because some of these malfunctions could very well be in video games. Steven learns not to bite off more than he can chew – in spite of the ending –and learns the consequences of adolescent tirades, but I can’t help but think this is one, big metaphor for his relationship with his mother. Rose’s room should, by all rights, be a paradise, another relic of his wonderful mom, but much like life, there’s always a catch and soon the tides will turn for Rose Quartz and Steven.

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