Steven just wants to have a fun scary movie night with his (human) friends. Not in this show.
Steven naturally invites Lars to come along, and although he turns down the offer when he hears Ronaldo is hosting, he changes his mind when he learns that Sadie is going. Between Lars’ obvious derision and Ronaldo’s reaction, it’s quickly established that there’s some bad blood between the two.
Lars: I’ve seen that. It’s boring! And that stupid fake CG bear hardly looks like it’s killing anybody.
Ronaldo: CG? Blasphemer! You saw the remake! I have the original. A true fan would accept nothing less.
Lars: Woah, man, take it down a notch.
Sadie: Woah, wait, how did you get a copy of that? Can I see the box?
Apparently Sadie is into horror flicks, but she reasonably questions whether Steven will be. It all works out when he just sits behind the couch, I guess. And then the power goes out.
Lars: Probably just a fuse.
Ronaldo: Or maybe it’s a ghost!
Then we get to the “horror” portion of the episode, which is kind of a bizarre blend of horror movie tropes and Scooby-Doo antics, with a heavy dose of Poltergeist references. I was seriously shocked to discover that this was not originally aired as a Halloween episode.
Ronaldo: I’m so sorry! I had no idea there was this violent of a presence here.
Steven: It happens.
Lars: No it doesn’t! It’s not a ghost!
Sadie: Who cares what it is? We need to get out of here!
I can definitely relate to Sadie’s “eyes forward” attitude – although it has its limits, like that one time she trapped them on an island (she’s never gonna live that one down).
Ronaldo: This is no run-of-the-mill haunting – it’s a poltergeist! A ghost only haunts a house, a poltergeist haunts a person. They’re usually attracted to the terrifying inner world of the emotionally disturbed.
Apparently this is the correct definition of a poltergeist, contrary to the (admittedly foggy) impression I got from the movie Poltergeist. No, I don’t care for scary movies, why do you ask?
Anyhow, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the “spirit” is intentionally targeting Lars – little things like all the things aiming at him and it saying his name.
Lars: Sadie! You’re not an idiot. Do you believe all of this? All this stuff – they’ve got to be doing it somehow! We’ve gotta ditch these guys, come on!
Sadie: I’m not ditching anyone.
Then Sadie gets abducted, because they couldn’t pass up a good Poltergeist homage, I guess.
So they head into the basement, where Steven suddenly starts sensing the “spirit” (because all the supernatural activity is just Gem stuff, of course).
Ronaldo: It should’ve been you.
Ronaldo: It took her, but it should’ve been you, Lars!
And it all deteriorates from there, what with Sadie the voice of reason out of the picture (I mean, Steven is kinda still a voice of reason, but not forceful enough to get through to the increasingly panicky Lars and Ronaldo).
Ronaldo: Spirit! I deliver the package of darkness! Return to us the innocent Sadie!
Lars: Come on, man! We used to be friends.
Ronaldo: And you threw me away!
But Steven won’t just stand by and let his friend get hurt, so he jumps in after Lars and makes a bubble, which is apparently strong enough to defeat the monster, simultaneously rescuing Sadie.
Of course it’s really a Gem (which somehow got stuck in the walls of the lighthouse), and it conveniently recorded the inciting incident for the whole affair.
Turns out Lars and Ronaldo were actually friends once upon a time – they were even thinking of starting a (secret) club, possibly of the ghosthunting variety. But the problem arose when Lars decided to carve his name in the wall, at which point the Gem acted up and Ronaldo quite naturally interpreted that as some sort of haunting (which I suppose it kinda is, given a somewhat liberal definition of the term). And he just so happened to get a picture of it on his polaroid.
Ronaldo: Lars! When you turn on the TV tomorrow, this is what’s going to be on every station!
Lars: B-b-but you said this was secret!
Ronaldo: Our first paranormal discovery! We’re gonna take on the world together!
But Lars let him down, tearing himself out of the picture (and effectively ripping up the whole photo).
Lars: Aw, come on, Ronnie, you know I can’t let people see me like that…
Ronaldo: What? What’s the matter with you? Don’t you know how important this was? What do you care so much what other people think?
Lars: You wouldn’t say that if you knew what other people say about you!
This is another one of those occasions where I can’t help but pity Lars. He just doesn’t know how to stick up for his friends, and because of that, he doesn’t really have any – at the start of the series, Sadie seemed to be the only one besides Steven who considered him a friend, and we all know how those two are. Some people just naturally care a lot about what “other people” think, and that’s not something they can just stop caring about overnight, no matter how illogical it might sometimes seem. He’s scared of being laughed at, so he protects himself with a thick layer of sarcasm and tries not to care about anything.
Sadie: So all that lashing out was just from feeling hurt and trapped for so long.
Lars: I didn’t mean to rip it up, okay? You can stop talking about me now.
Until next time…