Now that I’m done with my Steven Universe series, I figured I’d cap it off with a list of my favorite episodes! As per usual, these are just some of my personal favorites, not necessarily “the best”. I try to avoid major spoilers, but I am including a few from Steven Universe Future, so read on at your own peril. I do, however, list them in chronological order, because I cannot rank them.
An Indirect Kiss
Why can’t I cry?
I thought about including “Lars and the Cool Kids” instead as an episode about Steven’s complicated feelings toward his mom featuring some beautiful landscapes, but this wins out by dint of being a Connie episode. And the smattering of anime references don’t hurt either.
Lion 3: Straight to Video
Take care of them, Steven.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for anime references. And Rose. And Lion being an adorable kitty. Seriously, though, if I had to pick a top 5, this would definitely be up there.
You are an experience. Make sure you’re a good experience.
And this is another episode that would be on the shortlist for a Top 5! Because Stevonnie is life and I love these two to death. But it also serves an important worldbuilding purpose by helping the viewers wrap their minds around the concept of fusion.
I’m not gonna let you stand there and remind me of everything I hate about myself!
Honestly, I struggled to decide which of Amethyst’s episodes to include, but in the end it was the song that tipped the scales. It might not be the best song musically, but it’s full of (sometimes conflicting) feelings, and the whole number helps balance out the darker feelings and atmosphere that follow.
I am made of love And it's stronger than you
I chose this one to represent the plot-centered episodes, since it does so much in ten minutes., including revealing Garnet’s secret, Steven being adorable and saving the day, Garnet’s amazing song/fight, and my girl Lapis making me feel feelings. Also, you know, setting up the next two seasons of plot.
Don’t you think you deserve to have a little fun?
This is just one of those episodes where Steven’s friends are looking out for him by making space for some chill time, and it is a wonderful thing, especially after the emotional climax two episodes ago. It’s the sort of story that often gets glossed over, but that’s one of the reasons I love this show: They never forget that Steven’s still a kid.
You’ll do it for her- that is to say, you’ll do it for him.
This is another episode that combines several of my favorite things about the show – character development for Connie, a fantastic musical number, and our first real glimpse of Pearl’s relationship with Rose (also, JAM BUDS!).
You already are the answer.
This episode just has a lovely aesthetic and a sweet story, and that’s all it needs.
It’s a chronicle of my descent into madness!
This is my choice for best Peridot episode, mostly because she works best as comic relief and some of her funniest moments are contained here. But it’s also fun just seeing her finally connect with Garnet.
It’s over, isn’t it?
Because how could I not include the musical episode?
Don’t forget, you’re obsessed with me!
This is basically the second draft of Garnet and Pearl’s conflict from season 2, but I feel like that’s more a sign of the depth of the concept than lack of creativity. Also this is just better, partly because it stars Stevonnie, but mostly because it’s more concise and has a far more satisfying resolution.
Hey, we all gotta grow up sometime, right?
While I generally feel like the Rose flashbacks are superfluous, there are enough of them that I felt compelled to choose a favorite. I seriously considered “We Need To Talk”, until I realized “Mr. Greg” covered basically the same ground with better songs (and more resolution). So I settled on this one because it actually does a great job depicting Greg’s situation, not to mention fleshing out Rose’s personality. Also, I had to include Vidalia somewhere, because she is awesome.
In the heat of battle, you’re not gonna have a swimsuit!
I’ll be perfectly honest: This is here entirely because it features Stevonnie’s first battle. Well, not entirely – it is fun to see the kids hanging out with Amethyst, too. But it’s still mostly Stevonnie.
This is just a beautiful episode with striking visuals and a wonderful message (and song!) about managing stress.
There’s nothing here but me.
This is a quieter, more reflective episode wherein Steven struggles to reconcile the flawless picture he’s been raised to have of his mother with more recent revelations of morally questionable actions she took during the war – and the pressure that’s put him under.
Wow, Lars, I missed you.
I seriously considered combining this with “Jungle Moon” (as it is clearly a two-parter), but decided against it just because I enjoy them for different reasons. This one is just so satisfying, as we finally get to see Lars embracing his weirdness with the help of his new friends. He’s finally found a place to belong, and it is beautiful.
Until then, we survive.
This episode makes the cut through a combination of colorful alien landscapes, Stevonnie being awesome, and a dash of portentous dream-visions!
I can’t just let go of what happened to me!
A lot of people seem to prefer “Alone at Sea” as the quintessential Lapis episode, but since I never related to the whole toxic relationship dynamic, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. It was down to “Same Old World” and this one, and this won out thanks to that devastating song.
Now We’re Only Falling Apart
Please don’t ever stop!
It might seem weird to include this instead of “A Single Pale Rose”, but I felt like that episode was a little too hyper-focused on The Twist to do much character development. That’s what this episode is for, recontextualizing Rose’s relationship with Pearl (and Garnet) in light of that revelation.
Why is this so familiar?
I just love how this episode manages to flesh out Rose’s character entirely by drawing parallels between her and Steven. The song isn’t exactly a standout, but it is rather Steveny, which is welcome enough at this point in the story.
It doesn’t matter! I’m gonna fix it!
If you choose to watch just one episode of Steven Universe Future, make it this one. That’s only partly because it’s detached from the series’ main arc – it’s also a surprising look at how abusive power structures can keep causing harm even after they’ve been torn down. Also Utena references.
I think I’ve forgotten how to talk to humans.
Honestly, a lot of this season just hit a little too close to home for me (either in awkward or painful ways), and this is the only one with a high enough concentration of happy/chill that I can mostly just sit back and enjoy the experience.
I’d rather be me with you
This episode is just so sweet…until it turns out like you kinda knew it had to.
It’s time to show Steven some love.
This is exactly why Steven Universe Future needed to exist.
Be the Steven you want to see in the world.
This was just the perfect way to end the series. That is all.
Until next time…