Steven Universe 4×01 Review: The Kindergarten Kid
The Steven’s Summer Adventure event has been packed with some pretty heavy episodes, including yesterday’s “Bubbled“, but today we got a bit of a break with “The Kindergarten Kid”.
“The Kindergarten Kid” began with the Crystal Gems going through the Beta Kindergarten and bubbling all of the corrupted Gem monsters. I really liked the little moment when Pearl noted that Jasper keeping the corrupted Gems in cages was disturbing, and Amethyst had a good point when she asked, “Isn’t that what we’re doing?” Thankfully Garnet came back with the perfect answer – when they bubble the gems, they’re cared for and can’t hurt anyone or suffer themselves.
Meanwhile, Peridot obviously wasn’t taking the whole thing seriously. She still has a lot to learn, and that’s what “The Kindergarten Kid” was all about – although the episode handled her lack of knowledge and dismissive attitude about the monsters in the best way possible. At first she was laughing at them, saying “I can’t believe these dumb things used to be Gems”…though this could be based on the fact that apparently there’s nothing like these corrupted Gems on Homeworld.
When the final Gem monster escaped from the Crystal Gems, Peri’s response was that she didn’t understand how they could have “let” it do so… which then led to her being invited to help in a far more direct manner. That being catching the last Gem monster on her own. I loved that Steven wanted to tag along with her, though, especially considering his reasoning – he wasn’t worried about Peridot, he was worried about the corrupted Gem, all alone and out there by herself.
It was great that Peridot immediately accepted Steven’s help – not only that, she was happy about it, exclaiming, “With you and me teaming up, that thing won’t stand a chance!” Of course that wasn’t exactly the case, as one “Peri Plan” after another failed. And those Peri Plans did get increasingly more ridiculous, so that “The Kindergarten Kid” turned into something straight out of a Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner episode of Looney Tunes.
Granted, Peridot’s first plan – to drop the drill on the monster – actually wasn’t a bad one, and she was easily able to remove each of the drill’s metal legs. Unfortunately, when the drill finally fell, it fell on her, not on the monster. After that she became more and more desperate, from “cannibalizing the injector to make a rudimentary canon” (which backfired when she finally had the monster in her sights), to simply trying to drop a boulder on the monster from above. At this point the monster knocked her and Steven off the cliff and then flicked the boulder off as well, causing it to land on Peridot (…but of course).
We did learn a little bit about peridots in “The Kindergarten Kid” – including, as Steven observed, that they “don’t poof easily”. “Us peridots are tougher than we look,” Peri told him. Later in the episode, she also made a comment that she is “smarter than your average peridot”, though I’m torn about whether that’s fact or just something Peridot wishes was true. She’s certainly very stubborn, which was something we already knew but was cemented by her statement, “Let it be known that I, Peridot, refuse to move forward or back until I am victorious.”
Peridot’s frustration was, well, frustrating, as she started yelling about failing against the “stupid cloddy dumb-dumb monster” even as Steven tried to explain that corrupted Gems aren’t dumb, “they just think a little different”. Peridot still didn’t get it, insisting that “nothing that thing does makes any sense” and claiming that it was only escaping them due to luck. Honestly, Steven has a bit more patience than I do, because I think I would have broken down and started throwing marshmallows (or something) at Peri a lot sooner than he did.
One thing I love about Peridot is the fact that she still doesn’t know a lot of “Earth terms”; in this case, she asked Steven, “Why are you bombarding me with your confectionery pop rocks?” While perhaps not the best way to teach everyone a lesson, this seemed to be the only way for Steven to make Peridot understand that the monster they were trying to catch had been screamed at in fear and chased away from its first safe hiding spot…and now it had an “angry green gem trying to poof” it. Eventually Peridot broke down and reacted about the same way the monster had been reacting.
I wish that this had led to Peridot finally understanding how frustrated the monster must have been, but she still wasn’t 100% convinced – when they found the corrupted Gem again, the first thing Peridot said was that she still couldn’t take it seriously. (Oh, stubborn Peri…) But Steven was there to remind her to “think like a monster”, and at first she seemed to be doing well, waggling her tongue and hopping just like this particular corrupted Gem did. Unfortunately Peridot still lost her patience a little too soon and ended up in what seemed to be a losing fight, and when Steven tried to help, the monster simply kicked him out of the way before running off with Peri, at which point they fell off a cliff together…again, very Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner style.
At first Steven was worried about Peridot (and rightfully so), but when he reached the bottom of the cliff it was to find Peridot climbing out of a hole in the ground with the monster’s gem in her hand. At this point the rest of the Crystal Gems appeared, and Garnet admitted that they’d never left – thanks to her future vision, they knew it would be funny to watch Peridot attempt to catch the monster. Of course Peri being Peri, she refused to be overly embarrassed, another quality that I love about her. Instead she admitted that while catching the monster was harder than she’d thought and that “this corrupted Gem was an adversary worthy of my skill”…and then she bubbled the gem without even meaning to (or really even knowing what she was doing). Steven instructed her to tap the top of the bubble and explained that by doing so she was sending it “home”…and “The Kindergarten Kid” ended with the bubbled Gem appearing in the barn with Lapis, which I, as a lover of all things Peridot and Lapis, am of course super excited about.
Although this episode had a few serious moments, overall “The Kindergarten Kid” was a lot lighter than the episodes from earlier this week, and a very welcome installment in Steven’s Summer Adventure.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.