Steven gets frustrated with the Gems for not doing what he wants, leading him to discover his mother’s room in the Temple, where he gets everything he wants.
Amethyst: We gotta go on a mission.
Steven: What? Not again! You guys promised we’d hang out!
Garnet: A dangerous artifact has appeared in the northern hemisphere. We need to go retrieve it.
Steven: But mini-golf is so much fun! There’s castles, and windmills, and I like it, and…
But evidently the mission is urgent, leaving Steven all alone to brood and play a mini-golf video game (and Pokémon clone). Then they return right when he’s trying to watch the secret ending he unlocked, first interrupting him and then accidentally breaking the TV.
Every kid has their share of bad days, and I can’t blame Steven for getting angry for once.
Steven: That was the secret ending! Now I have to replay the final dungeon all over again! It’s not fair! I can’t go mini-golfing, I can’t play my game, I can’t stop going to the bathroom because I ate all that creamed corn…so much corn…I just wish I had a place for myself.
Then his gem starts to glow again…
Pearl: Rose’s door…Steven, your Gem is opening your mother’s room.
I’ve just got to mention that this episode has some striking imagery, and that and anime references seem to be the calling card of this episode’s story people, Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu.
But then Steven does something rash and stupid (I imagine staying up all night playing a video game doesn’t help with rational thought).
Steven: It’s never about what I want to do, is it? Well now I have a place where I’m going, and you can’t come!
This is the appropriate reaction to Tiny Floating Whale.
Upon discovering that the pink clouds can make anything he asks for, he chooses to watch the ending of the video game…but then discovers a major drawback: The room can’t make actual food. Which makes sense for a Gem’s room, since food isn’t a need for them.
Steven: Can you believe this? Now I have to go out for donuts.
He walks out the door to discover that it’s gotten dark, and the Gems are nowhere to be seen…
This is a fantastic sequence, as the lighting, sparse sound effects, and odd tinkly music combine to create an eerie atmosphere. When the only characters who seem to be acting normally are Onion and Frybo (which, y’know, was burning up last time we saw it), you know something is horribly, horribly wrong.
Steven: Dad, I’m freaking out! I feel like I’m stuck inside of some crazy dream!
His “Dad” shows up after he asks for someone to explain what’s going on, and at least Steven manages to calm down enough to talk things through (whether it’s actually to himself or not).
Steven: The Gems were trying to tell me something about Mom’s room, but I was so mad I didn’t listen. They’re always leaving me behind, and I guess I wanted to do it to them, too.
Greg: That’s not so bad. Everyone needs some alone time now and then.
Steven: Yeah, it was really fun for a while, but now the whole city, everyone and everything is acting really weird.
Then he finally realizes/admits that the town isn’t real, and suddenly it all falls apart.
They even manage to make CONNIE creepy!
Steven: I’m still in the room! This is all wrong. I don’t want this.
Tiny Whale: What do you want, Steven?
Steven: I want to be back with the Gems!
That cute little whale had an oddly deep voice, especially considering that it only made cute noises up until that point…
Amethyst: You made Rose’s room build a whole town?
Pearl: It can’t handle a task like that! Thank goodness you’re okay.
Steven: I’m sorry I got mad. I get it now. Things can’t always go exactly how I want.
And then they all do what he wanted to do in the first place.
This episode raises a lot of interesting questions (the ones about Rose mostly go unanswered for a few seasons), but one of the subtler ones is what might happen when Steven wants something that the Gems can’t or won’t give him. Sooner or later he’ll find something he refuses to back down on (because everyone will have conflict with the people they love), and that’s guaranteed to change their dynamic somehow.
Until next time…