Summer of Steven kicked off last week with ‘Steven Floats.‘ It was the sixth episode of the third season of ‘Steven Universe.’ Although it only officially aired in the US on the 18th of July, it was old news to many. Cartoon Network France released the episode almost a month earlier on May 22nd.
The episode shows Steven finally returning home. All of the previous episodes had been set in the barn and he’d been staying there for some time. His first stop is the Big Donut and he’s disappointed to find it closed. However Sadie promises him the very first fresh donut if he arrives first thing the next morning. This excitement, coupled with his glee at finally returning home, unlocks a new power: Steven can float!
With his new power he begins testing how high he can jump and float down again. However, once he jumps so high that he passes an airplane, he finds that his descent is considerably slow. After several minutes of slowly falling, he catches Amethyst’s attention. She enlists the help of the other gems to entertain him until he comes back down to Earth. However, when the entire night passes and he is still far away from landing, panic starts to set in since he needs to be at the Big Donut for opening time. The gems try to weigh him down with various objects such as coats, bowling balls and even an entire ship to no avail.
When he believes it’s too late for him to get the first donut, he becomes sad. He dreams up this whole scenario where everyone in the town would get a donut except him and then he would die. Suddenly, he notices he is falling faster. Realising that his emotions are what’s controlling his powers, he works on trying to harness happiness again so he won’t plummet to the ground. It’s eventually the fact that the gems cared enough to stay up with him all night to keep him company that slows him down and he lands (mostly) safely. He arrives just in time to get the first donut too!
For a presumed filler episode, ‘Steven Floats‘ is very interesting. For one it contains a new power! Steven’s ability to float is impressive and will likely come in handy later. However, if him smacking his head off the ceiling at the end is anything to go by, he still needs a lot of practice.The emergence of this power too might allow other powers to appear. We might even see a return of abilities he hasn’t used in a while such as his healing powers. It’s also another one of Rose Quartz’s powers. We saw her float gracefully as far back as ‘Story for Steven‘ and it’s fascinating to see Steven inherit more of her abilities.
Speaking of Rose, Steven briefly thinks about her in this episode in an attempt to find happy memories. His response to her memory is “Oh jeez, those emotions are complicated!” Since she died when Steven was born, it is natural that he would have complicated feelings about her. However, this is likely a hint that we will get further Rose-centric episodes in future, hopefully delving into her curious relationship with Steven.
Like many other episodes of Steven Universe, there are a few references to outside media in this episode too. One reference is when Garnet and Steven are playing checkers. When Garnet makes a particularly challenging move, a red exclamation mark appears beside her. This is a reference to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Also, after Steven dreams about how he will die after everyone gets a donut but him, there is an obvious Shakespeare reference. His skull falls from the sky and Sadie picks it up, exclaiming “Alas, poor Steven, I knew him well.” This is a reference to ‘Hamlet’
This episode served as the perfect cooldown after the previous dramatic arc. It had just the right amount of substance to still be engrossing while remaining lighthearted and fun. However, with the rest of season three set to air in the coming weeks, things are likely to get a whole lot more intense.