Top 5 Worst & Best Steven Universe Episodes (Feat. Lea C)

Howdy! I think many people would agree that Steven Universe can be a very unique, artistic show. While some people are split on the series,
I’m personally in the category of enjoying it. And with the conclusion of the 5th season,
and the Steven Universe movie… I feel the show has broken a lot of new ground. The show’s offered a lot of discussion
on various sensitive issues… Has complex and fascinating main characters… And I personally find it just a pleasant experience
to immerse myself in the Crystal Gem world. There’s often an intensity in the raw emotion of the show that I very rarely see in other cartoons. And it often gives its message
that’s a good combination of visual and verbal. But despite the writers mostly listening
very closely to their viewers… The show has made its share of pretty stupid mistakes. But I think these episodes
mostly come from experimentation. And just having a show with an extraordinarily
large range of creative freedom. But these *mistakes* have certainly resulted in some annoying, boring, or just headscratcher episodes… That make you wonder
what such a talented team was thinking! So let’s look at the good, and the BAD… In the “Top 5 Best & Worst ‘Steven Universe’ Episodes” But when it comes to “Steven Universe,”
there’s one person who I consider a Real Expert on it! Lea C: Hello Strider! So you’d like a second opinion on these “Steven Universe episodes? Strider: Ah, welcome Lea! Absolutely! If you’d like to help, it’d be a pleasure to have your input! Lea: Sure! Even if we don’t agree on every episode, I’ll do my best to give my opinion on what I think of them. Strider: I appreciate that, Lea! Thanks! Let’s get started! For the fifth worst… “Future Boy Zoltron”
[Season 4 – Episode 5] (Sigh) Every now and then, a long running series just has to make a forgettable episode. And this one’s at the start of the list
because I don’t think this one’s all bad. But Jeebus, is it a snore fest! Steven accidentally breaks an attraction called Zoltron! And has to work off the debt to Mister Smiley. Lea: I agree that this episode isn’t terible, but it also didn’t need to exist. Other side episodes of the show tend to at least add something to the narrative and lore of the world… But this one doesn’t really do that other than reveal some of Mr. Smiley’s… Albeit boring, backstory, & introduce Mr. Frowney, who isn’t even a characters we see in more than 1 episode. And this brings us to what I consider the show’s biggest weak point. Its minor human characters. I find Smiley an unpleasant, often passive aggressive character. Steven: Mr. Smiley! Mr. Smiley! Mr. Smiley: Hey! Don’t break character! You broke enough things today! And he never comes off as funny
or entertaining to me at all! Generally, he’s just awkward to watch. And that’s the problem
with a lot of the jokes in this episode. I don’t mind an episode
of Steven just hanging out in town… But pratically every single joke just makes me feel awkward an uncomfortable. Mr Smiley: (Raised voice) Do you know
how expensive this machine was!? Steven: I-it was an accident! Strider: I mean, did this episode contribute.. *anything!?* Lea C: Well… It does show at least that Garnet’s future vision can lent in real time to someone for long periods of time… But something similar was already shown
back in “Jailbreak”… When Garnet showed Steven
how to find Pearl and Amethyst. If the point of this episode was to show that Garnet could temporarily transfer her powers… Episodes like “Winter Forecast” and “Future Vision” already did it better. Strider: In my opinion, “Future Boy Voltron”
was a rare misstep for this show. And to be fair, they kind of made up for this episode in the previous episode. Speaking of which… Steven: Zoltron sees… Sadness in your future. And for the fifth best… “Mindful Education”
[Season 4 – Episode 4] I think something “Steven Universe” excels at
is the way it weaves life lessons into its episodes. And in my opinion, few episodes show this better than “Mindful Education.” It deals with Connieexcessively ruminating on her mistakes, and trying to run from her thoughts. It’s an episode that with a lot of people because of how it deals with intrusive thoughts & how to let go of them. While the episode also revolves around anxiet and negative feelings around having done something bad… It also focuses on how we tend to dwell
on our mistakes and shortcomings. Connie’s example is.. perhaps a little less serious than some of our own life examples. But does do fine to explain mindfulness. Connie is feeling horrible for
accidentally hurting a classmate. And she ends up in a negative thought spiral. Whether a person is ruminating on black thoughts,
or simply a mistake from the past like Connie… The method the episode teaches of accepting your thoughts and allowing the emotions the thoughts bring… Is incredibly valuable. And it’s so important for dealing with
fear, grief, regret, and ruminating thoughts. Because when you allow yourself to feel those emotions the thoughts bring, they can begin to lose of one their effect on you. Garnet: To find balance..
you must understand your feelings. To understand your feelings..
You must see them clearly without running from them. Lea C: It’s okay to feel bad about things
and accept that you’ve made a mistake.. But it’s also important to realize
that one mistake isn’t the end of the world. If a person acknowledges the hurt and pain they’ve caused themselves and others… They will be better able to move past it. The line, “Take a moment to ask yourself if this is how we fall apart” is such a life saving line! Because it reminds you to stop and think if what you’re worried about is really as big of a deal as what you’re making it up to be in your mind. Strider: Well said, Lea. I agree. On the more practical side of things… The way the episode portrays [Stevonnie’s] thoughts made me feel like I was right there in their head. I really felt I understood Steven and Connie’s pain.
And the animation played a big role in that! The colour scheme and visuals are simply STUNNING
for capturing the emotional feelings in a unique style. Stevvonie: Take a moment to think of just..~♫
Flexibility love and trust~♬ Strider: “Mindful Education” is
a beautiful, valuable episode… The captures the characters’ personal struggles… Or perhaps even encouraging viewers
to be mindful of their own though processes. Connie: I spent all that time feeling BAD instead of doing something! It’s like, I was trying not to think about it, and that just made it worse! And for the fourth worst… “Island Adventure”
[Season 1 – Episode 30] Now, Lars improved *tremendously*
as the series progressed! And we’ll discuss it more later… But this particular episode certainly shows why it took viewers so long to warm up to it! The episode’s about Steven warping himself, Lars, and Sadie to a beach and uh…. Accienally getting stranded. And it feels like almost every single piece of dialogue
from Lars is constant whining! At this point in the show, I really was starting to wonder why Steven and Sadie even bother putting up with him. But on the plus side, the “Wherever You Are” is one of the better “Steven Universe” songs. In fact, it even made it to Jem and my “Best ‘Steven Universe’ Songs” list! It’s soothing, it’s catchy, and it’s down to Earth. Lea C: I can agree that, beyond the song, this episode is pretty forgettable. While in my opinion there was obvious romantic implications between the two before this episode… I don’t really think traping these three on an island was the best way to go about it. Steven playing matchmaker with Lars and Sadie fits his naive personality at this point in time… And at he very least, that was good. Strider: Yeah, true, Steven does fit his character at the time prety well. But Lars’ constant moaning and groaning
really wears on my patience. And Sadie’s.. uh… “Methods” of wooing Lars seem..
Less than healthy… You see, it’s revealed that Sadie purposefully stranded them there. Because apparently she was tying to help Lars by giving him a vacation? I dunno, that action has always kind of fallen into the
“creepy” category for me. And it seemed out of character for a down to Earh character like Sadie. She was trying to get herself and Lars together… But frankly, it was extremely slimey for Sadie to strand everyone there just for her own gratification. Lea C: While I could see Sadie’s frustration in not being able to help Lars… It really just comes across as her being
possessive and pushy. People need to want help in order to change… And for Sadie to force it on him wasn’t the best way to go about this. It would have been better if the invisible Gem Monster to have cracked the Warp Pad when they first arrived… Or have guarded it shortly after their arrival. Then the rest of the episode could have played out normally. As is, it just makes Sadie’s character into
an over-possessive individual… Who’s trying to force unwanted help onto Lars. Sadie: You were just going to leave, but I knew how much you really needed this! Why don’t you ever let me help you!? Strider: Even the whole “Player 2” thing rubs me the wrong way. Lars: You’re the best, Player 2! Strider: Personally, I don’t think in a healthy relationship you’re just someone’s Player 2. I think, sometimes, you should be Player 1 as well. While they take a lot of measures to rectify the issues from this episode later… At this point, Sadie and Lars’ relationship feels pretty unhealthy. And not one I’d personally try to encourage
to a younger audience. And for the fourth best… “Change Your Mind”
[Season 5/4-part finale] While this isn’t confirmed to be the series finale… Particularly after the movie… I’m not quite sure what more they can do! Because.. All the loose ends
are pretty much tied up in this episode. The title alone is a great hint to what the episode is going to center around. Many people consider the show offering a representation for various non-conventional… And LGBTQ identities. And this episode tackles that in a very straightforward, yet creative way. The Gems + Diamonds being controlled by White Diamond are given black and white colour schemes. Which is a great representation of someone having a Black and White mindset. And forcing their beliefs onto others. The reveal of who Steven’s Gem actually is beautifully represents being born a certain way. Though honestly, I did feel White Diamon did come around a little too easily. And personally would’ve liked to see the show better acknowledge some people will not be open to change or introspection. Lea C: That was one of my main issues too. The supposed “redemption” of White Diamond felt rushed, and I feel she should’ve put up more of a fight. White: I feel.. Ridiculous! Yellow! Blue! Yellow: She’s off.. Colour… Lea C: But I do think all of the symbolism, and the way that White Diamond controlled.. Or bleached… Was excellently portrayed. As far as the main plotlines go, it did basically wrap up the series in a bow… While still allowing for the series to continue beyond this point. Strider: Yeah, I guess there are directions they could go after this episode… As the movie demonstrated! But these points aside, there’s a real sense of
epic + scope to this episode that we rarely see! And seeing Obsidian’s transformation was one HELL of a thrill! There’s an intensity, atmosphere, fast pace,
and epicness to this finale– That captures much of the spirit of the show! (Obsidian unleashes a mighty battle cry) Peridot: They’re huuuuuge!!! And the third worst “Steven Universe” episode is.. “Rocknaldo”
[Season 4 – Episode 18] And episode centered around.. *Ronaldo*… Already feels like a repeated mistake by the writers! Yet alone an episode that features him joining the Crystal Gems! And annoying them constantly
by being obnoxious and stuck-up! Pearl (Done before it started): Uh-uh. No! You are *not* living here. Strider: I mean, I do understand having an episode that focuses more on being funny. And every now and then, the show does make a good, more comedy-focused episode. But to me, this episode did nothing! But show off how intollerable Ronaldo can be! I think for most people, this episode will either be too annoying, as Ronaldo’s whining gets old very quickly… Or too boring, because Ronaldo joining the Crystal Gems doesn’t lead to anything– But more of him *whining*! Nothing actually progresses here! Lea C: Ronaldo is a character that doesn’t really bother me personally… But I understand why this episode is one of the ones infamous for being widely disliked. Ronaldo was in character for the episode, and was as wacky and weird as usual… But it’s one of those episodes that for sure added nothing to the over-all story… Other than pushing the narrative that Ronaldo is weird, which we already knew. I don’t think most people are bothered
by Ronaldo being weird though… Being weird is awesome! I’m personally very proud to be weird! What I think people are annoyed about by Ronaldo is how obnoxious and self-centered he was– Even when Steven offered kindness to him! The whole episode, it feels like Ronaldo’s manipulating Steven’s kindness. None of what Ronaldo did felt like it was coming from a place of companionship or interest. Lea C: Well, I can see where you’re coming from. I think episodes like “Keep Beach City Weird,” “Rising Tides, Crashing Skies,” and “Watermelon Steven” … Do a much better job at demonstating Ronaldo’s quirkiness anyway. The only good thing I found about this episode was Pearl constantly mispronouncing Ronaldo’s name… And showing in general how much she still doesn’t understand humans. Pearl: Uh.. I’m sorry, Blood-Fry. Lea C: We also can’t forget the meme-worthy expression that this episode graced us with. Was there anything you liked about the episode, Strider? Strider: Parts I liked? Well, I did think the way Steven told Ronaldo off was pretty satisfying. Perhaps the message behind this episode is that you can’t help everyone? Which is actually a very profound, important message that I’ve mostly only ever heard “BoJack” touch upon. Ana Spanakopita: You have to stop yourself. Because there are some people you can’t save. Cuz those people will thrash and struggle. And try to take you down with them. Steven: Y’think he’ll be okay? Amethyst: You’ve worried about him enough Steven. And for the third best… “Mr. Greg”
[Season 3 – Episode 8] This is perhaps one of the series most mature episode… As it touches on a handful of very real, raw, emotional topics. It’s about Greg becoming rich after one of his songs has turned into a burger jingle. Jingle: And I know in my gut it’s been worth the
“5 ninety-five!” Now I’m filthy stinkin rich! And he offers to take Steven and Pearl
on vacation to Empire City. Steven: And let’s bring Pearl! Strider: Well, he offers Steven, and, uh, Steven pushes Pearl to come along. Lea C: The episode highlights how Pearl wants to move on from Rose, but she has no idea how– And is frustrated that she can’t. Steven realizing that Greg and Pearl would be invaluable to one another’s recoveries… Decides that this is the perfect opportunity to try and mend their relationship. Steven: Both love me and I love both of you~♬ Strider: While many “Steven Universe” episodes have one good song… “Mr. Greg” is loaded with good songs! All of which have their own unique sense of style. And help set up the next scene perfectly. But to me, Pearl’s song “It’s Over, Isn’t It?” steals the spotlight of the episode. Pearl: It’s over.. Isn’t it?~♩
Why can’t I move on~n?~♬ Strider: Pearl’s resentment of Greg was something that we always kind of knew was there. However, this song shows just how much pain Pearl has been holding onto. It made me sympathize with both of these characters. Because I like both of them. And I can see how much of this is just life. Love triangles happen. Loss happens. And sometimes it can be very hard to let go of the things, or the people we love. But eventually, Pearl and Greg are able to break though their barriers, and even dance together. Lea C: Pearl and Greg dancing seems to be their way of fusing, similar to how Greg and Rose fused- Back in the episode “We Need To Talk” It’s a very good sign their beginning to push aside their fued and help each other to heal. Strider: And it’s worth noting that all of this is done within 11 freaking minutes! I mean, talk abut taking advantage of every single second you have! In my opinion, “Mr. Greg” is another of those episodes that highlights the best elements of “Steven Universe.” And the *second* worst “Steven Universe” episode is… “Onion Gang”
[Season 4- Episode 7] I tend to give “Steven Universe” a lot of credit for its main characters. To me, just about all the main cast are likeable, relatable, and entertaining! However, the minor character Onion… I still have honestly no idea
what to make of this rotten kid! But maybe.. That’s the whole point of him! He’s basically nothing but a silent menace, and there’s basically nothing that stands out about him! So imagine an episode that’s just filled
with knock-off Onions! Minor-minor characters! (Dry as can be) Woo-woo! It makes for about as interesting of an episode as watching REAL onions grow! No, not even that! Watching plants can be beatiful and tranquil! And this episode certainly isn’t beautiful or tranquil! Steven: Woooaah… Lea C: Silent episodes can be wonderful, but
“Onion Gang” is a stark reminder of what not to do! This episode adds nothing to the series other than reaffirming that Onion is weird. You could’ve gotten the message across that Steven needed more friends… Or just needed to hang out with more people that just the Crystal Gems… Without creating a secret fighting club! In fact, other episodes like “Joy Ride” do that just fine! Strider: While the episode tries to add some charm to the Onion Gang– And portray their way of fun
as nothing more than different… It just felt dull to me! And I feel like the episode is trying to force the audience to like these characters! A lot of the “beauty” of these scenes feels very artificial and hamfisted. And many of their weird activities
just feel overly-whimsical. Steven: Alright, whew! No more weirdo friends! Lea C: Onion’s friends are also mischievious, and also mean-spirited in many of their activities. I don’t mind this… It just makes the episode episode seem incredibly out of place, & like it doesn’t belong in the show at all. It’s a common problem with the Onion-centered episodes in general. Strider: I guess I can see Onion being more of an “experimental” character? To see if they can make a character that doesn’t talk interesting? Which I’m sure they could do! And while I can admire the attempt… It’s safe to say that I definitely don’t think it worked! To me, the emotional conflicts and dialogues
are part of what make “Steven Universe” so memorable. And, well, Onion has zero of that. And I think the second *best*
“Steven Universe” episode is… “Rose’s Scabbard”
[Season 1 – Episode 45] This was probably the first real time
that we saw that hidden side of Pearl! Her complex relationship with Rose
was part of what made her, to me anyway… One of the most relateable characters in the show. It starts off with Pearl finding out that Steven’s pet, Lion, was kept secret from her. And it basically sets off
a huge character conflict for her. But seeing as Pearl had talked about Steven’s mother like a goddess for the whole series up to this point… It was a conflict I was able to empathize with.
[Volume sensitivity warning incoming] Pearl: What do you know!? You never even met her! Lea C: For me, this is a staple episode of the show. It’s one of those episodes where the gut punch
doesn’t weaken over time… But instead gets stronger the more context we’re given. Little did we know that this episode would be one of the most defining moments of the show… As well as give a sneak peak of where it was headed for tone and subject material. Strider: Yeah. It’s an episode that demonstrates just how 3-Dimensional all the main characters relationships feel. The episode is special because it has more meaning if you watch it after the “Single Pale Rose” reveal. We all knew from that episode alone that
Pearl was in love with Rose… But given more context to their relationship made it all the more upsetting. Even the words “My Pearl” have a completely different meaning after watching the big reveal. It’s one of those rare instances where an episode gets better + more powerful over time + with more context– Which is why I think that
it’s one of the best episodes of the show. It was very carefully written with the Rose/Pink Diamond reveal in mind. Strider: And I think that’s part of why I think
“Steven Universe” excels! We’ve come to expect that almost everything we see matters in the show. And it tends to make me pay more attention
to what’s being shown to me. Lea C: The Crew-niverse was not afraid to cross a line that was very easy to mess up. If they executed this scene any other way, I don’t think Pearl would be as well-recieved as she is now. This was her first defining moment in the show
giving us a glimpse at how complex she is. Mental health challenges can be ugly. And it’s very rare to see a show so unapologetic about portraying it realistically. Steven: Well… I think you’re pretty great. And before we get to number 1,
let’s go through a few quick Honourable Mentions. “Keystone Motel”
[Season 2 – Episode 15] After Pearl takes advantage of Garnet into fusing with her in “Cry For Help”… Garnet falls apart. With Ruby and Sapphire coping very differently with their turmoil and trauma. Finding themselves split apart even further by their dissonance. This gives us an intriguing look at the psychology of Garnet. And we can see she has more complexity than we were previously shown. Ruby: Y’know what’s nice about being split up? Sapphire: What? Ruby: I get to look at you. “Last One Out Of Beach City”
[Season 4 – Episode 6] As we’ve said, Pearl’s unrequited love for Rose is a major aspect of the series. And Pearl recovering from her grief is a big aspect of her character arc. And in this episode, we get a rather soft story Pearl joining Amethyst and Steven- One a trip to a Punk Rock show. In an effort to show how “cool” she can be. What follows is a *very* interesting evening. Where Pearl makes a connection with a mysterious woman she has a crush on. It also has a nice message about there being
different perceptions of cool. This episode’s refreshing, because its tone and feel are like nothing I’ve seen in the show since. The whole scenario of their night out and their exchanges are very relateable and down to Earth. “Sword to the Sword”
[Season 2 – Episode 9] I think this episode teaches the importants of companionship and self-value. I’d say this is the first episode that I really started to see that strong bond between Connie and Steven. Steven: We’re a team! She’s the strawberry! Connie: And he’s the biscuit! “Can’t Go Back”
[Season 5 – Episode 17] “Can’t Go Back” is an episode that has explored all the turmoil Lapis Lazuli has experienced. And this basically culminates in Lapis deciding to run away for the third, and final time. Which is a very powerful moment for the series. While I have mixed thoughts
on Lapis’ treatment of others… I think this is another great example of where the show shines. In simply offering a peaceful, insightful exchange between two characters. On a moon base… Lapis: What if the Diamonds show up?
What if something BAD happens!? Steven: Well, what if something good happens!? (Lapis laughs mildly mocking) “Reunited Part 1”
[Season 5 – Episode 23] A very pleasant same-sex wedding episode between two well-loved main characters. And I’m glad to see it broke some new ground for the animation industry because of this wedding. It’s a sweet, carefully crafted, and satisfying wedding. Without ever saying the word wife! To skip over the more Conservative
and stupid insecure censors. Anyway, as for the dishonourable mentions… “Kevin Party”
[Season 5 – Episode 10] While admit this episode’s probably
a relateable scenario is for many teenagers… I really don’t think we needed
an episode centered around– One of the most irritating
and self-centered characters in the show. Kevin. Kevin: If I can’t be the coolest… I at least gotta be seen hanging with the coolest. “Dewey Wins”
[Season 5 – Episode 5] Just an uneventful romp of an upset Steven trying to help Dewey with an election. But eventually even Dewey admits he’s a bad candidate! And I’m mostly left wondering
why Steven is even helping him! I think Dewey gets a little more
redeemable in this episode… As he relents and gives the election to Nanefua. And Nanafua becoming a new mayor
did feel earned and satisfying. I also like the revelation Steven has at the end. To me, it felt really relateable. Steven: I still feel… betrayed. That’s probably how Connie feels… Dewey: Yeah, I dunno what you’re talking about,
but I”ve gotta find a new job. “Barn Mates”
[Season 3 – Episode 4] Lapis has always had a lot to work through
as a character… And she often has difficulty with impulse control. But she does seem in line with her own character. As a lack of impulse control can happen in PTSD. And the idea that Lapis has probably struggled a lot
with impulse control since her traumatic event… Does seem very evident in this episode. Lapis: I don’t want. Your garbage! [Sound sensory warning] Strider: She treats Peridot horribly here! And it’s hard to forgive her character
for just how cruel she acts. Over-all, I just didn’t enjoy this particular episode. But anyway, onto the number ones! And personally, I think the number 1,
WORST “Steven Universe” episode is… “Escapism”
[Season 5 – Episode 28] (Disgusted groan) How do you take us from the edge of our seats for the second-to-last episode of the season… To complete and utter mind-numbing boredom!? I mean, Jeebus! The episode before this ended with Steven & Connie revealing they could fuse! The biggest taboo on Home World! They were thrown in jail shortly after witnessing the Crystal Gems get poofed! So after all that intensity and Plot development… What do we get next? (Steven shouting through a watermelon) Strider: We get to watch the lives of those stupid, stupid Watermelon Stevens! I can literally hear the story grinding and screeching to a halt with its runaway freight train pace! And honestly, does anyone find these things remotely cute or interesting? Let alone cute enough to spend the entire second-to-last episode of the series finale dealing with them!? Lea C: I know this episode is agreed upon by many to be among the worst… But, I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here and disagree. Strider: Huh.. Really? Lea C: Yeah, in fact, I think this episode
was far from the worst. I consider it the calm before the storm! And considering “Change Your Mind” was the next episode, and “Together Alone” was directly before it… I think it was a well-needed break from all the action. Strider: Well, I can certainly agree that it was a calm… And I don’t mind the calm. In fact, the island setting
is among one of my favorite settings. But personally, to me anyway… Nothing about the characters, story,
or setting felt important. Even when Steven is put in peril… There’s not one second where I care! Because I know he’s gonna be fine! Lea C: I actually found the character
and setting very interesting. I felt that this episode had a lot of strong symbolism. There were the peaceful watermelons,
and there were also the violent watermelons. These two tribes were meant to be symbolism for the pacifist and bellicist idealogies. Strider: Those are some interesting observations, I get where you’re coming from there. But personally, I just hate the watermelon Stevens! They remind me of one of those stupid “pwecious” Disney characters from the 60’s! And even when they’re playing around
in their cutesy society… I just feel completely uninvested watching them. This episode plays Steven’s danger so chipper! And the longer it goes, the less of a point
there seems to be to it! The show has always been about
if peace and love can vanquish all… Or if sometimes you need
to take a violent approach to stop evil. The symbolism was happening right before the fight with White Diamond… Because Steven was going to need to choose one way or the other in order to defeat her! That, or he would’ve needed to
use a combination of the two ideologies… Which was shown at the end of the episode by the two tribes working together to get Steven off of the island. Strider: I think if I had also gotten that message from it,
I would have been much more tollerant of it. But personally, watching the episode myself… I’ve never seen anything
on the show’s contrast between those ideologies. In fact, I generally felt the fifth season swayed way too much towards peace, diplomacy, & tollerence solving all. Lea C: Well, I don’t think the episode could have come
at a better time… And I think the main reason people dislike it so much is.. They were impatient to get to the much anticipated fight between Steven and the Diamonds. Strider: Although I think that is an element of the viewers reaction… I personally don’t think that was the sole reason
for the bad reaction. If, for example, I got a filler episode about Lars or Sadie’s personal lives instead of this… Maybe somehow related to Steven
communicating with them? Even if it was slow and boring,
I would’ve been okay with that. Sure, it still would’ve been
a jarring break from the action… But at least I’m invested and interested in those characters. But I just don’t give two hoots
about cutesy watermelons! After so much intensity, and character development,
and the over-all quality of the fifth season… To shovel in an episode that feels like an early season 1 reject, it just felt very jarring! Lea C: Well, as a standalone episode, I certainly don’t consider it to be the worst of the show. Strider: Well, I respect your opinion, Lea! And I appreciate hearing your unique perspective on the episode. And what you got out of it. What would you personally pick
as your least favorite episode? Lea C: I think my least favorite would be “Onion Gang,” which we mentioned earlier. Strider: Well, I think that’s a great choice too! Anyway, onto the best! And personally, I think the number 1,
BEST “Steven Universe” episode is… “The Trial”/”Off Colours”/ and “Lars’ Head”
[Season 5 – Episode chain 2, 3, and 4] Strider: I’m sorry, I-I just couldn’t choose
between these three. Like the Crystal Gems themselves… I feel these three are at their best
when they’re watched together. “The Trial” delves into what “happened” between
Rose and Pink Diamond. And it results in one of the most
shocking endings from the show. But also gives us a good feel
for the ruthlessness of Home World. There is still a real sense of peril, and terror at this point. The Diamonds are still the mass-genocide committing, Fascist, evil beings they began as. Until, apparently, all the Nazi equivalents needed was to be talked to, and have a freaking bawl with their sister! Yeah, I’m sure Hitler would’ve been totally into that! “Off Colours” gives us a glimpse into the lives, and minds of the outcast gems. And it really captures the struggles of oppression. And I believe it even brushes on the difficulties of being born with disabilities. The Off Colour Gems are beautifully represented. They’re shown to be real people. And this is one of the best portrayals of disabilities
I’ve ever seen in cartoons! And it also shines a light on their personal strengths. And “Off Colours” + “Lars’ Head” took the final step… In turning one of the most
obnoxious characters in the show… To one of the strongest, and likeable minor characters. Throughout these episodes, we see so much more growth, and relateability from Lars. The fear, the beautiful, elegantly shown message,
the terror inducing soundtrack of mystery… Steven: Lars. It’s okay to be afraid. Strider: Even the action’s fantastic! The fact that Lars’ fear and fragility is shown, and him conquering that fear… And his physical fragility… It’s just such an amazing demonstration
of his humanity! It also includes what I consider one of the most beautiful, but heartbreaking sacrifices in the show. And the ressurection itself is so perfectly timed! And so powerful! Damn, this scene! This scene, and the exchange after, it-it’s probably my favorite moment in the entire show! Whether it be in bookes, or movies, or animation… Resurrection moments can be so powerful! I think if they’re done right, and that’s a big if… They can break through and create some of the most impossibly powerful and emotional moments– In all of entertainment! We can feel the heaviness, and terror of their situation! Their surroundings! Yet there’s still such profoundness
to what we are learning through it. The gripping trial, the looming mystery of Rose,
and the harshness and terror of the Diamonds… Running as fugitives
within the heart of a foreign, unknown galaxy… Death, and rebirth… Character revelations… There is just so much
about these three episodes that his me! I apologize for bending the rules, but I personally consider these three episodes together… The BEST “Steven Universe” episodes of all! Lea C: Hm.. While I agree that
all of these episodes are fantastic… I would personally consider episodes like
“Rose’s Scabbard” better. Strider: Yeah, and I can definitely understand you preferring “Rose’s Scabbard.” I just personally found these episodes so profound! So eye-opening! So emotional, atmospheric, and revalating… That I couldn’t NOT put them at number one! I realize I’m pretty biased on this. How about you, Lea? Did you have a favorite of these 3? I say my favorite of the three is “The Trial” simply because I think it portrays Steven’s early relationship– With the Crystal Gems perfectly. And even to an extent,
his relationship with them up until the end of Season 5. He’s always withholding the truth from them to not hurt their feelings, even when his take a blow as a result. And I think this episode showed the first instance of that maturity and sacrifice coming through. Strider: That’s a good point. Though Steven is severely chewed out for his sacrificial behavior later on. And, I’m mixed on that. So, what’s your number 1 favorite episode, Lea? My favorite episode is still “Rose’s Scabbard”
for the reasons that I mentioned earlier. If I had to with no bias, however… I would have to say my best episode is tied between “Change Your Mind” and “Reunited.” Both of these episodes have a little bit of everything
that makes the show great and unique. They both have musical numbers, action, symbolism, lore, Progressive themes, & emotional moments in them. Whether or not these are the only episodes that you watch, or you’re watching the series as a whole… They’re good and entertaining by themselves. You may be lost on what the story is if you were to watch these by themselves… But it would give you the best representation of what the show is about and what it stands for. That’s what I personally find that
“Change Your Mind” and “Reunited” are tied for #1. Strider: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And.. I respect your opinon. I appreciate you contributing
your own personal favorites, Lea. Hopefully, viewers can find some of their own favorites
in the episodes we’ve talked about. But anyway, when it comes to writing, it’s essential to experiment to stay fresh. And sometimes, those experiments don’t always work. And I hope I never fault the amazing “Steven Universe” team for trying to experiment. Over the last few years, this show’s brought me so much emotional investment. And even some moments of personal insight. When it comes to companionship,
interpersonal connections… And so many emotionally powerful factors… “Steven Universe” has so often delivered, and most of the worst episodes do indeed feel pretty experimental. And as Lea and I demonstrated, what I consider the worst episode, she considers fine. And bad can indeed be very subjective. And thank you for your assistance, Lea. It was a pleasure to have your perspective,
and informed opinion on the show. Lea C: No problem, Strider.
Thanks for having me on the show! If viewers would like to check out my own “Steven Universe” videos, they can find them over on Toon Ruins. Strider: I’ll leave a link here.
And as always, thanks for watching! And I’ll see you next time! Pearl: Got room for three more? Steven: Always. Amethyst: Nice night, isn’t it? Steven: Yeah… Subtitled by (a fan of “Jailbreak” and “Reuinited”) Jadrek Myers. Commissioned by Phantom Strider.
(Also, “Rocknaldo” and “Onion Friend” are least liked for this subtitler.)

100 thoughts on “Top 5 Worst & Best Steven Universe Episodes (Feat. Lea C)

  1. I know a lot of people say that the Diamonds are meant to be Nazi equivalents and call them genocidal, but I think a more apt comparison would be European empires like that of the british and spanish; the Diamonds aren't on a conquest to destroy all organic life in the universe, and they aren't motivated by hatred (the only exception is Yellow when it comes to Earth specifically because she wants revenge for what happened to Pink, and she's under the impression that she can forget Pink and stop grieving her if she destroy everything that had anything to do with her). The Diamonds' conquests are mainly motivated by resources and expansion, so like I said, more like the british and spanish empires, or even an analogy for things like deforestation.

    Rebecca Sugar said in an interview that she wanted to make a show where no one is truly evil, but everyone is just doing what they believe is right based on their worldview, and that's what we're meant to take away from the Diamonds and why Steven was able to change their minds; by showing them that they were wrong. He showed Blue how her actions were wrong, leading Blue to realize that she and the other Diamonds failed Pink, he showed Yellow how the Diamonds were hurting everyone around them, including themselves, in their pursuit for perfection, and he proved to White that she wasn't perfect like she had thought, that she could be wrong. The reason why Steven was able to reach the Diamonds and make them change their mind, is because of how he was able to shatter their worldview, and thus the Diamonds were able to realize that they were wrong.

    I understand why a lot of people thought it was a bit too easy, but on the other hand, from a viewpoint about teaching kids how to handle dissonance, it's wonderful! Dissonance is basically what happens when we experience something that contradicts our worldview; studies have shown that, in those cases, the more invested people are in that aspect of their worldview, be it with time or money, the more likely people are to ignore the contradiction and continue on believing what they do. In this case, children see the Diamonds be confronted with something that contradicts their worldview, and instead of ignoring it or doubling down, they listen and change. That's a powerful message to send kids; that no matter how much they've invested in something, if they experiene something that challenges or downright contradicts it, taking that in and changing instead of running away from it, can be positive. It's more than telling kids that they can solve their problems through talking about, or that everyone has something good in them; it's telling kids that even if they're stuck with bad or toxic mindsets or beliefs, they can change for the better, but in order to do that, they must also be willing to admit when they're wrong, be vulnerable, and "leave their own head"

  2. Honestly I feel like Jail Break should at least be on the top 5 list if not the honorable mentions, it is executed insanely well, brings the big dramatic reveal of Garnet being a fusion, makes Garnet grow as a character exponentially, and moves there story along well while still bringing a great song

  3. Best ep for me was Mirror Gem. It’s because of that episode that the show has become more mature, more powerful, and more beautiful than ever.

  4. Now I really wanna watch Steven universe XD
    BTW I personally think familiar, roses scabbard, and a single pale rose. Are best but that's just my opinion 🙂 feel free to disagree and maybe put your favorites in the replies

  5. I remember, years ago when we were super exited because of the barn mates clip, now we are by the new intro after the movie… amazing how times change

  6. Recognizing their are too many honestly great episodes for just about any 2 best lists to match, I really appreciated PhantomStrider's picks and what he highlighted about them.
    Otherwise, I say no Steven "worst" list is complete without "Onion Gang" (THE only episode that felt just plain poorly executed, independent of preference), so I appreciated that. I do think the beach city/side character episodes get the shaft, less because it's fair and more because the gem episodes are so consistently good, but his other picks were probably as good as any. However I hardcore side with Lea over him on Escapism – great way to connect the dots on what we've seen from Steven's "out of body" power and a fitting, moderately entertaining adventure for him to go through, trying to call for help from across the universe.

  7. ok escapism IS the worst episode and the fact that we had to wait 2 WEEKS for Change Your Mind just killed all of the tension built up for the episode

  8. I feel like the series is at it's strongest when it uses the fantastical elements of the setting to portray mental struggles (e.g. illness)
    Yeah, we can't relate 1 to 1 with a situation, but they work as incredible metafors.
    I'm so glad many kids get to grow up with and learn from this.

  9. One great episode in my top 3 is earthlings it brings amethysts best arc to a conclusion when Steven gets through to her and they become Smokey for the first time it also finishes Jaspers downward spiral acting like an animal just before she becomes corrupted and lashing out before breaking down and refusing Steven's help.

  10. There's also the creepy hospital episode, that had mayor Silent hill vibes
    I don't remember the episode name, but it's a good one

  11. *AHEM* So NO ONE is going to mention SU colaboration with UNCLE GRANDPA!?!?! You think those episodes mentioned are bad but this one, THIS ONE is T E R R I B L E

  12. Island adventure is literally my fave episode it got me into the series and is really important character development

  13. I disagree, I like mr. Smiley. I think he adds a little spice to a background character even if he is a little boring. The reason he is passive agressive is because he’s supposed to smile

  14. I like your different and better track mind on change your mind. It seems like you actually care and think more on it than the rest.

  15. Well, one of the next villains is a watermelon steven monster, so maybe that worst episode will beco e better as a context point at some time

  16. My list:
    1. A single pale rose/Change your mind
    2. Lars’s head
    3. Reunited
    4. Rose’s Scabbard
    5. Message Received/It could’ve been great
    Movie is better than all of them though

  17. "Zoltron sees sadness in your future" was funny, but yeah, it was basically pure filler

    Island Adventure was interesting. The whining fits his character/was realistic, but honestly Lars really stepped up over the course of the episode and adapted. It's valid to not take it well when you're stranded on a dangerous magical island. And he was 100% right to be upset at Sadie for hiding the fact that they could leave at any time, leaving him stranded from his home, his normal life, his hobbies, his goals, etc. The player two thing was a weird tangent for you to go on.

    I liked Ronaldo in that Lighthouse episode with Lars, or his bit part in that restaurant war episode. His post-season 1 scene was funny too. I despised Rocknaldo.

    Escapism was a breather episode, but it was needed- easy way to make some callbacks, have a reason to have the remaining Crystal gems know they need to go to homeworld/setup for CYM, the watermelon resolution/aftermath of the Malachite fight and how the watermelon society changed was great. Also it's like all of 11 minutes, as opposed to all the plot progression double+ length episodes that were plentiful in the last half of season 5

    On the other end, CYM's problems should keep it out of any top of the series lists. The "identity"/black and white stuff you talked about in your video felt like a stretch.

  18. Mindful education deserves to be #1 best but everyone has their own opinions and I respect yours.

    Commits sad face 😭🥺

    On an unrelated note I also realized that Steven could've bubbled the off colors and Lars. Like in monster buddies Garnet bubbled Steven

  19. In my opinion 5th is a pretty good episode showing to the lives of other characters that the crystal gems work so hard to protect not my fav but it’s an inside on the life of their people

  20. Did anyone else notice in Mr.Greg when pearl,Greg,and Steven sing the last song the coloration is pink,blue,and yellow or the coloration of our 3 diamonds?

  21. I hate escapism so much because I was led to believe that Escapism the song would be for an emotional character development moment, but instead it was wasted on,,, watermelon steven

  22. The worst episode of Steven Universe is every episode that makes Mayor Dewey as the main character by the episodes doing nothing with the story line

  23. to be honest, i personally don't mind the filler episodes. sometimes when a show does nothing but advance the plot in every single episode, it can feel like its going at a breakneck speed. episodes like escapism were actually pretty entertaining imo, since we got to see something that we would've never seen if the only thing that happened was just the main plot

  24. My problem with this video is that during the island adventure part.because during that part you keep insulting Lars but barley talk about Sadie even tho in the episode Sadie basically kidnaped Steven and Lars and at the end acts like it’s larses fault because he wanted to go home and at the end they act like Sadie did nothing wrong

  25. I honestly love Rocknaldo. Basically a parody of the fanbase, poking lightheay fun at OCs, fanfiction and the usual weeb jokes whenever Ronaldo is around.

  26. I honestly dislike how Pearl's love interest doesn't really come back. They set up that storyline and it just went nowhere.

  27. Least favorite is Onion Gang.

    Favorite is Mirror Gem/Ocean Gem for being what got me into the series. They also had some lovely animation.

  28. For Mindful Education, I feel like you glossed over the fact that it was not Steven's fault for what happened to Eyeball, Jasper or Bismuth but another product of Rose's war. He tried to reason with them but they were beyond it, Until Bismuth's redemption. He wasn't at fault but felt like he was tho the only one at fault is Rose.

  29. The whole point of the episode with Lars, Sadie and Steven traped on the island, and the player two mind frame was to define significant other. To go into something not alone, but with someone that will have your back. That is a very powerful message to bring to the youth of this world because YOUR ALL SO STUCK UP AND SELF CENTERED. Now does that mean that Sadie and Lars relationship is health? There's no such thing as a healthy relationship. The more you struggle, build bongs, break and rebuild the stronger you and that person become. And against all odds you won't be a piece of string attached together, you'll be the strength of a Universe.

  30. alright i know steven universe like broke ground having a same sex wedding, but

  31. "LBGTQ identities"

    Um, it's L GB TQ

    Honestly, I'm kind of offended that he couldn't even get the acronym correct. It's so prominent in the series~
    I just can't.

  32. The rocknaldo I was kinda okay with until Ronaldo kicked steven out of his OWN HOUSE he literally kicked the person who saves everyone abd has alot of trouble out of his own house and the gems do nothing to get Ronaldo out

  33. In my opinion the best episode is “On the Run” I think it is the most important episode to Amethyst’s character arch and it truly shows how sometimes people lash out or try to hide when hurting. Amethyst now (in my opinion) is the most mature crystal gem, and she needed this episode to help her get to her true potential.

  34. You should've put Garnet 's universe also in #1, I don't know it was just really boring to listen to

  35. I’m with Lea on escapism. It was definitely intended to be the calm before the storm, but I understand where the people who dislike it are coming from. I personally was able to look past the disappointment from not having a plot developing episode and I think it was really a beautiful episode

  36. I mean, I don't think White Diamond should have put up more of a fight. She's been putting up a fight for thousands and thousands of years, everyone reaches that point after a long time of fighting the inevitable I think.

  37. boy, sometimes I cry so hard for this show
    but when I think about it

    I'm crying because of a drawing that moves :/

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