Steven confronts the reality of his weird hybrid body and how it might affect his relationship with Connie.
First, Connie’s hat might be intended as a reference to Howl’s Moving Castle (which messes around with aging quite a bit), or Sailor Moon (specifically Sailor Saturn, who reverts to a baby at one point), or both. Or it could just be a nice hat.
Greg: Seems like just yesterday you were a baby, and now you’re turning 14 years old.
Connie: Steven, you’re 14?
Connie: But I’m only 12 and three quarters! You’re older than me? I-I can’t believe it!
It turns out Steven’s looked more or less the same for six years…and once Connie realizes that Steven doesn’t seem to be aging, she finds an excuse to chat with Greg.
Connie: So he’s not going to grow up.
Greg: Well, it’s hard to say. He’s a Gem, and Gems don’t really grow up. I mean, I’ve known the Gems since I was 22 and they never change – they just are what they are. But Steven’s not like the other Gems, he’s half human. So I’m not really sure how he’s gonna age. We’re just gonna have to wait and see.
Connie: Yes, right.
Greg: Are you okay?
Connie: Yeah! Yeah…
And Steven eavesdrops on them because of course he does.
It makes sense that he wouldn’t stop to think about this until he had a “best friend” (probably more than that) around his age, someone he might just want to spend the rest of his life with. And as always, he wants to change not for his own sake but for someone he cares about.
Then Amethyst (incidentally) reminds him that Gems can change their form…
Amethyst: Dude. Your neck
Steven: Oh, what about it?
Amethyst: You HAVE one!
Connie: So you just…grew all of a sudden?
Steven: I had a magical growth spurt, just now.
While I do get the impression that his body’s “age” grows with his mind, this is clearly just him trying to conform to Connie’s wishes (which, I may remind you, she expressed to his dad, not him).
But she certainly doesn’t mind Steven looking older.
Connie: I still can’t believe all this time you were older than me…you should sneak me into a PG-13 movie sometime. […] No, I’m just kidding! I would never ask you to break the law. It’s funny that I have to look up to you now, though.
Steven: Funny good, or funny bad?
Connie: Funny good.
I get the impression her parents might not have agreed to let her spend the weekend if they’d known Steven was technically a teenager…
Then he runs off and shrinks back to normal size, because being “grown up” is apparently exhausting.
Steven: If I can just keep this up for the rest of my life, no one will suspect a thing-
Amethyst: What are you doing?
Steven: Wh-what are you doing?
Greg: What are you doing to your body?
Amethyst: Woah woah woah – have you been stretching yourself out all day?
Steven: No, I was just…slouching.
Greg: Why are you doing this? It really isn’t like you.
Steven: Because, Dad! I can’t stay a kid forever! When Connie grows up and becomes President, what is that gonna make me, First Boy?
I love how matter of fact he is about Connie becoming president and them getting married. But Amethyst warns him that Gems aren’t made to suddenly change their “default” forms like that, and despite his protestations, Steven is obviously wearing himself out.
Connie: Are you okay? It looks like you’re gonna throw up.
Steven: Uh, yeah! Everything’s fine.
Connie: Okay, that’s good. You know, to be honest, I was a little worried before. This might sound silly, but I’m really glad that I’m going to get to grow up with you.
That’s the last straw for poor Steven, resulting in a relapse.
Connie: We were just talking, then all of a sudden-
Pearl: He turned back into a baby?
Amethyst: Dude, I told you! Stretching your body out for that long is not good for you!
Since nobody else has much experience with babies, Greg takes over.
Connie: How can the Gems not know what to do?
Greg: You think they know the first thing about raising a baby? That was all me. But I don’t get it – driving always used to calm him down.
Connie: But, how do we change him back?
Greg: I don’t know! Look, Connie, let me take you home. I’ll call you when this all gets sorted out
It gradually becomes evident that Steven’s mind is still more or less unchanged, he’s just stuck in a body that can’t walk or talk (hence why he’s so inconsolable). At any rate, he freaks out when his dad suggests taking Connie home, because losing Connie is exactly what he’s been worried about all day.
Connie: Wait, no. I want to stay. […] I just want to be there for Steven.
Connie: Don’t worry, Steven. It doesn’t matter what age it seems like you are, I want to hang out with you no matter what. Your dad still has to run his car wash and the Gems have to do Gem stuff, so I’ll watch you when they’re not around. I can come see you when I’m done training with Pearl, too! Doesn’t that sound fun?
Seriously, she camps out with Baby Steven and it is precious. But thankfully, he’s back to normal the next day.
Steven: I heard what you said in the van. It’s…really okay if I don’t age like a human?
Connie: Of course it is! I like you just the way you are.
Then they discover that he has his first facial hair. Evidently puberty just came late for him – it’s not exactly unheard of for boys to get it that late (though maybe not as late as 15, like Momiji).
I should mention that this is an episode credited to Lamar Abrams, and one good thing I can definitely say about this season is that Abrams seems to have improved by leaps and bounds. The miscommunication in this episode is pretty believable, and the resolution is similarly natural.
Until next time…