Humans find such fascinating ways to waste their time…
This is a largely comic episode in the aftermath of a mission, as in a twist, a “normal” item reeks havoc upon the Crystal Gems.
Steven: I’m taking you to the best place in Beach City: Funland Arcade!
Pearl: Do we have anything else to do?
Garnet: We don’t.
Garnet takes the spotlight once again, but you still get only the barest of hints about her “true nature” and maybe a bit of esoteric character development if you look really hard.
Apparently Garnet doesn’t get video games, because when Steven tries to set her up with a fighting game…
Garnet: I did it.
I mean, the comic timing is certainly on point.
Anyhow, the Crystal Gems appear to be incapable of appropriately amusing themselves at the arcade, so Steven starts Garnet on a rhythm game (something with “no violence”, and thus no reason for her to destroy it) before discovering that Pearl just finds the “let loose and cause mayhem” game stressful (surprise!) and Amethyst is cheating at a ball game to get tickets. Between that and the two (violent) games which Garnet had (violently) destroyed, Steven decides to cut his losses.
Steven: Let’s run.
Amethyst: This place is fun.
I’ve got to say, though, this is one of those episodes with a heightened sense of “chilling with friends”, helped by both the mellow music and the lack of stakes for most of the runtime.
With Garnet mysteriously absent, Steven asks about her role with the Crystal Gems (or rather, her rank).
Amethyst: Garnet’s the boss.
Pearl: Well, we’re all a team…Garnet just has heightened perception that helps guide us toward our mission objectives.
Amethyst: Yeah, she’s the boss.
Pearl just doesn’t want to admit that Garnet is effectively the leader, although to be fair, I’m not sure Garnet would consider herself above them, either – she just happens to be good at leading.
Then these destructive little critters show up, and Steven realizes that Garnet must still be at the arcade.
Steven: Garnet! You gotta come, quick! Those little guys are back, and they’re a problem! Woah, I’ve never seen anyone get this far…but you’ve gotta get back and help the others!
She had apparently been playing the game ever since the others left the arcade the day before, and she doesn’t respond to Steven’s repeated entreaties.
And when he removes her sunglasses, he discovers her third eye, which is clearly focused on the game, and even when he unplugs it she manages to shock it back on. Because when Garnet is focused on something, nothing will break her concentration.
Steven: The rhythm has her! The only way to defeat the beat, is with meat! I have to win!
And then he fails. Repeatedly. Until he runs out of quarters.
And then he snaps.
Steven: I can’t do it. Garnet, snap out of it! What’s wrong with you? You’ve got to stop playing this horrible game!
Garnet: Steven! You won.
This actually stands out as the first of only a handful of times in the whole series when Steven resorts to physical violence – and as usual, he’s doing it more because Pearl and Amethyst are out fighting and in danger than any sense of self-regard (even if he is in just as much danger as the rest of the denizens of Beach City).
But there are still consequences, as the arcade’s owner sees this little act of vandalism and (understandably) concludes that Steven’s responsible for the other broken games (which I guess he kinda is), so he’s stuck providing restitution while the Crystal Gems are outside saving the day.
Until next time…