[S1E10] Prickly Pair
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After leaving Little Homeschool, Steven has found a new hobby: plants.Tropes: Abusive Parents: Steven inadvertently becomes one when he dumps his problems onto Cactus Steven and threatens him to keep quiet throughout the episode. Alliterative Title: \"Prickly Pair\". Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear how much of Cactus Steven's behavior is intelligence, and how much of it is just mindlessly aping Steven. Baby See, Baby Do: Cactus Steven parrots his \"father's\" words and mimics his actions.Steven: He's repeating me! He's repeating everything I said to him! (gasps) He's copying me. Big \"SHUT UP!\": When Steven gets fed up with Cactus Steven turning his words around, he briefly goes pink and screams \"STOP IT!\". Amethyst yells, \"Be quiet!\" and cuts off Cactus Steven's foot with her whip when it says, \"The Gems don't need me! I thought I could talk to you.\" Bittersweet Ending: Steven talks Cactus Steven out of his rampage, but Cactus Steven still runs off, and Steven resolves to bury his problem down even deeper. Botanical Abomination: Downplayed with Cactus Steven, a cactus accidentally rendered sentient by Steven and which at first doesn't pose any threat, but as Steven projects his insecurities onto Cactus Steven it eventually evolves into a large monster strong enough to fight off against the Crystal Gems. But Now I Must Go: Even after making peace with his creator, Cactus Steven has no interest in staying in the terrarium, and instead runs off. Cactus Person: Steven accidentally animates a cactus with his gem powers, and it imitates him in what he says, what he does, and how he looks, resulting in it being named Cactus Steven. Cant Get Away With Nothing: Lots of people vent their frustrations onto things like stuffed toys or plants. But most people don't have to worry about them becoming sentient and acting on those vented feelings because of their magical saliva. The Chain of Harm: The Crystal Gems unintentionally hurting Steven over the years leads to Steven unintentionally hurting Cactus Steven the same way. Cliffhanger: The episode abruptly ends with Steven quietly claiming \"I think I've said enough...\" Cooldown Hug: Realizing that Cactus Steven's rampage is the result of it mimicking his aggressive behavior, Steven defuses the fight by putting his shield down and giving it a hug. It works, but Steven ends up a pincushion, especially when Cactus Steven starts hugging him back. Cope by Pretending: Steven is apparently trying to recover from what happened the previous episode, except he's doing it by naming his plants after people he knows and pretending they're not leaving him. This, of course, disturbs the Crystal Gems. Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Steven admits he's feeling a loss of purpose now that things are peaceful and most of his friends are going off on their own.Steven: I used to be helpful, but the Gems don't need me anymore. Agh! Why do I need to be needed Environmental Symbolism: The greenhouse has a very similar Diamond pattern as Steven's bubble from the previous episode, and we find he's naming the plants after characters from said episode who are moving on with their lives. Extreme Omnivore: Amethyst is shown eating literal handfuls of dirt. Five-Second Foreshadowing: Garnet warns Steven that he should be careful around his cactus before leaving with Pearl and Amethyst. Shortly after this, Steven accidentally gets his spit on the cactus after pricking his finger on it, which brings Cactus Steven to life. Get Out!: Cactus Steven screams this as he attacks Amethyst. Hannibal Lecture: Steven's vented frustrations towards the Crystal Gems get weaponized by Cactus Steven, who starts repeating them mid-fight and bewildering them long enough for Cactus Steven to get a good hit in. Human Pincushion: On multiple occasions, the Gems are covered in Cactus Steven's spines. Ignored Epiphany: After seeing the destruction it wrought, Steven realizes he shouldn't have dumped his problems on a third party. Unfortunately, he concludes that he should stop talking about his problems at all. Implacable Man: Steven and the Gems cut, beat, and stab Cactus Steven, doing plenty of damage but little actual harm. Being a cactus, Cactus Steven has no organs to damage or hard light form that can be poofed. Pearl: Why is it so durable! Garnet: The cactus is Earth's most resilient plant! Inferiority Superiority Complex: Steven's issues seem to be a tangled mess of a desire to be needed along with a resentment of feeling like he needs help. He has somewhat condescending perceptions of the Gems' flaws but also still wants to them to be impressed by his new hobby. When they're rightfully disturbed by the fact that he named his plants after people he knows to pretend they'll never leave him, he takes it as a sign that his gardening is unimpressive instead of concern for his wellbeing. I Shall Taunt You: An accidental version. While Cactus Steven is fighting the Crystal Gems he repeats what Steven said about each of them, which confuses the Gems due to not understanding why he is saying such weirdly specific things about them, and leaving them vulnerable to be attacked. Not in Front of the Parrot!: Cactus Steven learns to repeat everything Steven says, which comes back to bite the latter hard when he vents his bottled-up thoughts right in front of the plant. No, You: After some time of listening to Steven vent, Cactus Steven eventually grows one arm specifically to angrily point at Steven while firing back his words.Steven: Yikes! Ohh no, Cactus Steven, you look so messed up. What's wrong with you Cactus Steven: What's wrong with you Steven: What's wrong is that you're making me look like a fool! Cactus Steven: Fool! Steven: I wish you wouldn't talk! Cactus Steven: I wish you wouldn't talk! Punny Title: To the prickly pear, a type of cactus. The Resenter: Steven doesn't want to vent to the Gems because he feels like they'll either react poorly and/or in a way that'll irritate him; he feels like Pearl will fall apart leaving him to pick up the pieces, Garnet will once again demonstrate patronizing wisdom by having all the answers and Amethyst will smugly demonstrate her maturity by actually helping. Running Gag: The entire battle with Cactus Steven has Pearl repeatedly being rendered a pincushion. Suspiciously Specific Denial: Cactus Steven repeats what Steven said about each of the Crystal Gems while they are fighting it, and since they don't understand it is repeating what Steven said or where all that is coming from, especially such specific things, it confuses them. The Crystal Gems return home while Steven is grappling with Cactus Steven. Steven meets them at the door, hurriedly insists everything is completely normal but that they should come back in few hours for no reason at all, then runs back to continue the fight. Then the camera pans to a window on the right, showing that the Crystal Gems have a completely unobstructed view of Cactus Steven throwing regular Steven around. Talking the Monster to Death: After the Crystal Gems fail to subdue Cactus Steven in combat, Steven realizes the monster imitates his behavior, so he hugs it while apologizing to it. Cactus Steven returns the apology, but refuses to stay with Steven and runs away. Talking to Plants: Steven is trying to cope with his angst about everyone changing... by talking to his plants, which he named after people he knows. Wham Line: \"I think I've said enough.\" Steven's drained, hopeless tone is like a shot to the heart, especially right after the Crystal Gems have offered him help. Whole-Plot Reference: To the Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein, as both involve the main character creating a sentient lifeform which acts like a monster out of confusion and aggression.
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