Steven Universe 3×9 Review: Too Short to Ride
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Steven Universe episodes that we’ve been treated to so far this week. (Especially “Mr. Greg“!) But when “Too Short to Ride” opened with Peridot, I was immediately excited, because after three episodes without her I was missing her quite a bit.
While the tablet that Steven gave Peridot at the very beginning of “Too Short to Ride” mostly existed to enhance the plot, everything about him giving it to her – and her reaction – was perfect. I love that he put the bow in her hair and she didn’t even think to remove it, love that Steven thought of her when his dad gave up the tablet, loved Peri’s reaction to the “world wide web” (both because she previously had access to so much more and because when Steven shows her a cat video on “Tube Tube” she asks “Why was this documented?”).
And still I wasn’t quite prepared for what a wild, well, ride, that “Too Short to Ride” turned out to be. I loved the little moments when it was clear that Peridot still doesn’t understand much about Earth. Thinking that Steven meant people when he told her that she could share her life in “140 characters or less” and being so happy that she “harnessed the power of your interlocking fabric strips” and was able to attach the tablet to her arm. And even though Peridot was able to remind herself what “hanging out” meant, later she had to search for “what is fun” on the SU version of Google.
Not only that, but we got to see so many sides of Peri. As usual she was funny when she definitely wasn’t trying to be, but she was also clearly sad when she explained her “shortcomings” (ha, pun), and then there was the angry little Peridot from the past when she pretended to ignore Amethyst. I’m sure it’s because we still know so little of how Pearl, Garnet, and even Amethyst developed into the Gems they are, but seeing Peridot go through it firsthand truly *humanizes* her. And for me at least, this makes her far more relatable. (Plus I may have squee’d just a *little* bit when there was an advertisement for ‘finding cute roommates in your area’ on the tablet and Peridot mumbles, “I’m all set, thanks” because she’s calling Lapis cute and that’s just awesome on several levels.)
But more on Peridot later, because while everything about her was great in this episode, the best parts of “Too Short to Ride” were the antics of the “Shorty Squad”, which turned into the perfect BROT3 by the end. It started with Amethyst and Peridot having some funny banter about the tablet in the beginning, and this was followed by Amethyst trying to win her a stuffed alien, and then eventually Amethyst and Steven tried to teach Peri how to shapeshift (and I loved that they refused to give up until Peridot forced them to). Not to mention Amethyst’s constant use of the word “bro” and her deeming them the “Shorty Squad” in the first place, of course.
I suppose you could say that I’m a sucker for two types of SU episodes – the ones that center around Ruby & Sapphire/Garnet and the ones that build (or rebuild) friendships between characters I love. In this case, it happened to be Peridot, Amethyst, and Steven. (And I mean… who doesn’t love Steven?)
I think “Too Short to Ride” also gave us some great insight into Amethyst. We’ve seen her around Steven a lot, and even around Peridot quite a bit in recent episodes – but in this one, she got *real*. We saw her being friendly, funny, and helpful, but when she told Peridot how she truly felt, it was a bit harsh and a lot true. Yeah, it sucks that Peri is a Second-Era Peridot and “has no powers”, and I felt terrible for her about that…but then Amethyst spoke her mind and it was impossible not to see her point.
Per’, I’m gonna be really real with you for a sec. This whole time you’ve been here you’ve just been focusing on what you can’t do. Of course you’re not having fun! You think that all you are is who you could be, but we don’t hang out with you because of who you COULD be – we like YOU.
It’s such a simple yet powerful statement, and simple yet powerful statements are one thing that Steven Universe has perfected. The fact that it was Amethyst who gave this little speech – Amethyst, who has so much experience with feelings of inadequacy but over time found her true talents (with not a little bit of help from her friends) – served to drive it home even more.
Yet even after Amethyst “laid down the law”, if you will, there were still more lessons to be learned. Because this is when an upset Peridot pretended she didn’t hear Amethyst, and then Amethyst became, well, the Amethyst we see much more often. In a word: impulsive. She tore the tablet away from Peridot and flung it into the air, trying to prove that Peri didn’t need it – but then Peridot reached out for it, screaming “It’s all that I am!”
And she froze the tablet in mid-air.
Steven’s response was, “Peridot…metal powers!!!” Meanwhile, me: PERIDOT IS MAGNETO AND MAGNETO IS MY FAVORITE AND THIS IS PERFECT AND AMAZING!
Also I just love when Peridot laughs. “Heh, heh, heh.”
Meanwhile, Steven was listing all the things Peridot could do with metal powers, but because this show is perfect and amazing her first act is to return to the theme park to, um, “win” the ring-toss game and get herself a stuffed alien.
Side note: Yes, “Too Short to Ride” features them cheating. Of course, it’s at carnival games, and Mr. Smiley even admits that he thought the ring-toss game was rigged, so that’s just a conversation for another time, one that shouldn’t overshadow an overall awesome episode. (Don’t mind me trying to ignore my sometimes-too-strong Hufflepuff leanings right now.)
While “Too Short to Ride” was laugh-out-loud funny, it also harbored a lot of great insight into Amethyst, Peridot and, to an extent, Steven. (I mean, at least he knows how to get rid of Cat Fingers now ::shudder::) It was very refreshing after the little side-journeys that “Steven Floats“, “Drop Beat Dad“, and “Mr. Greg” took us on, plus, you know, I can always use more Peridot.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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