Steven spends half the episode on his phone, and it’s only a little annoying.

SU 132-1

Poor Steven has seemingly been texting Connie constantly since the end of last episode, but to no avail.

Greg: Hey, is everything okay? You’re looking a little glum.

Steven: I am a little glum.

Greg: Do you wanna talk about it?

Steven: Um, it’s just…spacelag. From when I went to space.

And Steven’s refusal to communicate here is the impetus for the plot of the episode!  But at least it results in mostly hijinks and minor discomfort all around.

SU 132-2

Greg: I found a place we can rent for the weekend by searching online. Back in the old days we just went door to door, hoping one was unlocked, but this is the new days!

Steven: Okay, well, have fun.

Greg: Uh, Steven, you’re going on vacation, too.

Steven initially wants to stay (just to wait for a message from Connie?), but with a little coaxing and a bunch of texts from Ronaldo, he relents.

SU 132-3

Everyone’s being weirdly accommodating to Steven (right down to making sure he can sleep in his own bed), but he’s too busy not getting texts from Connie to notice.

Greg: I want you to be as comfortable as possible! Finally have some family time. I feel like you haven’t had that in a while.

Steven: Yeah, maybe.

I mean, it’s pretty understandable why his dad would be worried – first he was worried sick when Steven was taken to Homeworld, and now Steven is being worryingly uncommunicative.

SU 132-4

Thus begins a series of botched attempts by the Gems to get Steven to talk about what’s bothering him.

Amethyst: Man, you can see the stars so clearly out here. It’s pretty, huh?

Steven: Huh? I don’t know, it’s okay.

Amethyst: Hey hey hey! It’s okay, if it isn’t okay.

Steven: The sky?

Amethyst: …Yeah?

Steven: What?

Amethyst: I don’t know. So uh, you really into phones now?

Steven: No.

Garnet takes a shot at cracking the Steven, too, but to no avail (and she doesn’t even notice how he pointedly refuses to put his phone down).

SU 132-5

Then Steven finally discovers the reason (or at least the reasoning) for the vacation.

Greg: Can’t you give it another shot?

Amethyst: What are we supposed to do? He just doesn’t want to talk about it.

Greg: But I know it’s not spacelag. It’s some Gem thing he knows I won’t understand. I don’t know anything about Homeworld, I don’t know anything about your society. Whatever horrible things he saw out there, you guys have to put it into context.

Garnet: If Steven won’t talk to us then the help we can give him is limited. We’ve all tried to coax it out of him, except for…

Pearl: Me?

It’s a surprisingly understandable series of misunderstandings!

Pearl takes a very earnest tone, all while Steven is trying to get up the courage to disabuse them of the idea that he was traumatized by Homeworld.

SU 132-6

Pearl: So, Homeworld. I always hoped you’d see it someday, but I thought I’d be there with you. Being taken there as a prisoner…I suppose it was something of a traumatic experience? It’s just…Steven, I’m sure you have a lot of questions you’d like answers to. Like about the Diamonds, for instance. There are things that are impossible for me to explain, but I want to! I- Steven, I…

Steven: Connie hates me!

Pearl: What?

Hm, it seems like Pearl might know something about the Diamonds she hasn’t told him yet…

But Steven has some more immediate concerns.

Steven: I’m not upset about what happened on Homeworld – although yeah, a lot of that was really messed up, but my relationship with Connie is even more messed up! I left her behind to go to Homeworld, after promising we’d face everything together! I’m sure I really hurt her. I’ve been calling and texting her for a week, but she hasn’t responded once! Connie might never talk to me again!

Garnet: Steven!

Greg: I’ll go get him. I don’t know anything about Homeworld, but I know about this!

SU 132-7

Greg: Stuball, if this was about Connie, why didn’t you say anything sooner?

Steven: I was embar…

Greg: You were…embroidered? Embroiled? Emboldened to talk to your old man about your problems?

Steven: I was embarrassed, okay? You and the Gems all like Connie, and I was worried that if you heard what happened that you’d be mad at me too.

Greg: Oh, Steven, of course we’re not mad. And I’m sure Connie’s not mad either! Well, at least I’m sure she doesn’t hate you. That whole handing yourself over to Homeworld thing was definitely a high-stress situation. It really scared all of us. I’m not exactly over it, either. Carting you off to the middle of nowhere to spend time with you is my way of dealing with it. Maybe having some distance from you is Connie’s way.

Thank you, Dr Dad.  I still don’t really get Steven’s reasoning for keeping it secret (why would he ever think his family would side with Connie over him?), but I do at least understand the impulse.

And then Greg points out that they don’t even have cell service out there in the middle of nowhere.

SU 132-9

Thus begins a quest for coverage!

And when he finally receives his texts…they’re from Ronaldo.

Steven: No messages from Connie.

Greg: You’ll get through this, buddy. I know it hurts now, but give it time.

Steven: I know. I need to let it go.

Pearl: Got room for three more?

Steven: Always.

SU 132-8

This is easily the longest “aftermath from a climax” plotline (unless you count the entire sequel series), but it works for two main reasons.  One, it springs naturally from a legitimately difficult choice, and two, it feels like a natural conflict between two kids despite the heightened stakes.  Connie and Steven may agree on a lot, but they still see the world from very different perspectives, and that means there will be conflict.  The key to a lasting relationship is learning to make up when you do hurt each other.

Until next time…

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