STEVEN UNIVERSE – EPISODE 9 “TIGER MILLIONAIRE”

Ep. #9
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Jan. 20th, 2014
SONG: No
SYNOPSIS: Steven catches Amethyst sneaking out at night to join an amateur wrestling ring and wants in on the fun.

image
I can’t believe it took nine episodes to focus on a Crystal Gem. Out of the three, Amethyst makes the most sense. The past eight episodes revealed Garnet to be a stable rock (no pun intended) who has her act together. Pearl tends to assume the worse, but is otherwise capable of taking care of herself. By contrast, it falls to Amethyst to have a focus point because she’s still immature in many ways. This is all surface level, mind you, and until later episodes start to really dig into the nuances that make up the characters, having a wrestling-centric episode devoted to Amethyst’s playful Id makes complete sense.

Pearl chews out Amethyst after another mission because the latter punched a creature called a Blood Polyp. There is but a speck of its goo on Pearl’s elbow which is just criminal to a neat freak like her, but Steven is absolutely coated in the stuff. Amethyst is crude and acts before thinking, but it’s all the qualities that make her so awesome! Garnet has to mediate on this for a sec before telling Amethyst that she needs to shape up. Amethyst is offended and storms off to her room.

In the middle of the night, Steven wakes up to find Amethyst sneaking out of the house. He catches her entering a warehouse where she has shapeshifted into a massive wrestler known as the Purple Puma. There she plays the “villain” role and absolutely clobbers her opponent.

image

Steven catches her after the match where he learns Amethyst comes here to blow some steam and be herself. In the ring, she can be as crass all she wants and people will lap it up. Steven wants to join, also hampered by Pearl’s strict rules and Garnet’s stoicism. This is really the only time Steven outwardly criticizes both of their personalities. Usually Steven tends to appreciate them for who they are and work around it by following his own gut instincts. To see this side of Steven is quite foreign that I wonder if this was just season one finding its footing.

Since Amethyst has yet to win the tag-team event, she partners up with Steven. The next day, Steven crafts his own wrestling persona: Tiger Millionaire, son of wealthy tiger parents who made big bucks in the coconut mines! They enter the ring the next night. The Purple Puma lays havoc until one of her opponents blinds her. Steven hops in, playing up his role as the money-grubbing feline, selling cash to his competition and smacking them with his briefcase. The distraction affords Purple Puma a chance to dive in and end the match. The feisty felines win and they continue to do so in every match onward. Lars in particular, having no idea Tiger Millionaire is Steven, ends up his biggest fan.

The secret team takes a turn for the worse when Lars approaches Steven to autograph his soda cup. Still playing the baddie, Steven smacks the cup away, saying he can’t afford it. Lars is crushed, instantly losing faith in his role model. Steven quickly realizes that Tiger Millionaire got a little too real and what was fun “on stage” isn’t when it’s directed to his fans.

Steven is down in the dumps the next day. Amethyst tries to cheer him up and gets serious, saying no one should make him feel like garbage. Steven asks if that’s how she feels. Still stone cold, Amethyst mumbles that she doesn’t feel how she wants to feel.

The next night is the Tag-Team championship. All that stands between Purple Puma and Tiger Millionaire and the championship belt are their next two opponents. Before the match can start, Pearl and Garnet jump into the ring, having found out via Steven’s adorably crude drawing advertising their match. Pearl tells Amethyst to come home, but she refuses. Amethyst is very angry that they’re ruining her fun and starts attacking her comrades. Steven can’t stand fighting amongst his family, so he quickly grabs the referee mike and while in-character, explains how Purple Puma feels left out and judged for who she is. Wrestling is the one place where she can unleash her style of brash without scrutiny, so to have it taken away would strip her of what makes Amethyst her.

image

Garnet and Pearl gets the message and joins in on the game, pretending to be “wrestling-haters” so the event can still continue. The fans cheer, including Lars, whose faith in Tiger Millionaire is restored. Garnet and Amethyst apologize to each other. Steven and Amethyst then ends up “beating” Garnet and Pearl and winning the belt.

I have no interest in wrestling, so much of the enthusiasm surrounding it is lost on me. I know there’s such a thing as a “heel” role where a wrestler plays the antagonist, so I understood that, at least. It’s not too dissimilar to playing an acting role to entertain people, after all, but it strips “Tiger Millionaire” from being a personal favorite.

The lesson is fantastic though. Amethyst’s brash personality and the criticisms she gets from others seem fit to set up a plot about how she needs to control herself and be a better person. Amethyst’s sassy nature is her lifestyle and there’s rarely a position where she can let it out in a healthy manner that won’t hurt anyone. Wrestling was the perfect outlet for her outgoing wildness and while there is merit in both Pearl and Garnet’s words that one should be serious when the situation warrants it, neither were right to take what meant something to Amethyst. There might be some justified claim of using Gem powers against humans, but no one seem to be hurt from it and to quickly assume Amethyst would casually put human lives in danger was part of the problem that caused this misunderstanding to begin with. The point is better to give Amethyst a hobby that will make everyone happy as oppose to stripping it away and forcing her to bottle up her true feelings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *