ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Oct. 23rd , 2014
SONG: Yes, “Be Wherever You Are”
SYNOPSIS: Steven, Sadie, and Lars are stuck on an island together.
The Crystal Gems and Steven missed out on a Corrupted Gem, so they cut their losses and head home. Steven asks if he can activate the Warp Pad for once, a goal he succeeds beautifully. The Crystal Gems do need to go back and resume their search, but without Steven this time since they’ll be heading underwater and the pesky “no air” thing would be a problem for him. Steven gets a consolation prize: running to the Big Donut to tell a bored Lars and Sadie that he’s the “Warp Master.” They’re super thrilled for him, really.
Sadie gets Steven his donut, but trips on Lars during, prompting the two to argue. Lars wishes he was anywhere but here. Sensing the two could use a vacation, Steven convinces the both to rest on the island he was just in. He can totally take them there, he’s the Warp Master. Sadie is especially game. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
Sadie is thrilled to be on an exotic island, but all Lars see is another beach. He retreats back to the warp pad so he can get back home somehow, but it seems to have vanished sometime after their arrival. Steven doesn’t have a clue and with no reception for their phones, they can’t even contact outside help. Steven at least assures the duo that the Crystal Gems will know they’re missing and find them eventually. This does nothing to cheer Lars up and he grumpily storms off to find reception elsewhere.
Steven and Sadie make the most of their situation by trying to catch fish. Lars still hasn’t given up hope on finding a signal and refuse to help. This angers Sadie enough to jab her makeshift fishing stick into the water, unintentionally killing enough fish for dinner. She forces Lars to pull his own weight and cook the meal. Fortunately, he’s a decent chef and his skills is enough to keep the three from going Lord of the Flies at each other. The two teens finally get along after a rough start, causing them to flirt while a very happy Steven watches.
Steven performs a song with his ukulele, “Be Wherever You Are” and a montage plays with the three slowly adjusting to the island as the days pass by. They get better at catching food, building shelter, and just enjoying the view. Even Lars, previously wanting nothing to do with Sadie and Steven loosens up and in time, they’re a tightknit group. For the lovestruck Sadie, this is a dream come true as Lars is slowly opening up to her, perhaps even romantically. This scene presents a big problem though because it begs one question: where the heck are the Crystal Gems or Greg or Connie? Sadie at least implies that she’s taking vacation hours and presumably Lars did something similar (or at least perhaps rebelliously told his parents he’d be out for a while) so it’s possible her mother knows she’s out, but what about Steven? Did he tell the Crystal Gems and Greg that he’s taking the two out for god only knows how long? It’s never answered (though at least lampshaded once in the episode) and we have to ignore this little incident in order for the plot to work, but it’s confusing this isn’t something that was addressed. Pearl alone would have a fit if she didn’t hear from Steven after a while.
Sadie wakes up the next day and finds Lars outside still trying to maintain some form of contact through his phone. Buddy, that phone’s battery died out days ago. Lars is in despair, wondering if he’ll ever see home again. Lonely and desperate, he kisses Sadie, an act she reciprocates. Then a Corrupted Gem attacks them. This is why the Crystal Gems had trouble finding it earlier: the being was invisible with its only visual cue being its Gem. In order to save everyone, Sadie leads the boys to where the ward pad was, removing the leaves she had covered it with. She had hid the warp pad from view and tricked Lars (and Steven) into staying far longer then necessary because she wanted to help him relax. This is where “Island Adventure” turns from cute, filler fluff into an unfortunate mess. As much as Sadie wanted to loosen Lars up, her actions are extremely questionable, tricking her love interest into doing something he never wanted to do and taking advantage of the romantic atmosphere that had been created during. I don’t think Sadie ever meant for this to last as long as it did nor likely expected a tumultuous love to blossom during, though I wouldn’t put it past her to hope. Much of her actions can even be explained by her teenage impulse and immaturity, but it’s not sympathetic in the least and this adds yet another issue I have with the romantic tension between Lars and Sadie.
Lars chews her out for this and storms off. He trips and slides down a mud pit where the invisible Corrupted Gem is. It almost kills him, but Sadie dives in with her fishing stick and goes to town on that beast. This is an impressive scene because the Corrupted Gems are so powerful that only Steven and the Crystal Gems have any real shot of taking them down. Even the Pizza family had to work together with the Gems to tackle one, but this one is all Sadie. Even Lars is impressed, but a tired Sadie tells him not to read into it.
“Island Adventure” at least understands what Sadie did was messed up and she ends the episode realizing that whatever she and Lars had isn’t going to happen within the context of their situation. Sadie knows to back off at the very least, but it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It’ll only keep doing so in light of further episodes where the show seem content to either dangle the carrot over our mouths expecting us to cheer for them to get together or potentially using this to teach viewers a lesson about youthful love and how it often has issues of its own; that being young and ultimately not ending up with your crush isn’t the end of the world. I still have no inkling which of the two paths Steven Universe is taking, but this might be one of the few episodes that always leaves me uncomfortable.
Well, they can’t all be winners.