Steven Universe - Episode 43 "Maximum Capacity"

Steven Universe - Episode 43 "Maximum Capacity"

Ep. #43
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Feb. 26th, 2015
SONG: Yes, the L'il Butler theme song, albeit diegetic
SYNOPSIS: Greg sets out to clean his storage space, but ends up marathoning an old sitcom with Amethyst.

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New Year's Eve is approaching and Steven can't wait to see the fireworks event with his father. As they chat, Steven and Greg journey to their storage unit to dump a couple of junk. Unfortunately it's at maximum capacity. Get it? Greg hasn't cleaned up the place since Rose's passing, but figures now's as good as any time to get rid of a few things. Steven knows the perfect Gem who can help, Pearl! Amethyst! Steven did consider Pearl, but he thinks she'll be too distraught just from looking at the mess. Amethyst lives in a room filled with useless items, so she's the best candidate to organize it. Curiously, Greg is reluctant to accept Amethyst's help, but eventually relents.

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To streamline the process, Steven categorizes three boxes for Greg's stuff: keep, sell, or burn. Unfortunately Amethyst isn't much help – she thinks everything Greg tosses out is worth keeping. She keeps goofing off instead of working, but like Greg, gets awfully quiet when he mentions Rose. Amethyst distracts herself by fishing out a series of old VHS tapes of L'il Butler, an old sitcom Greg used to watch back in the days. If the premise of a child butler serving a rich white family sounds off-the-wall, know that ridiculous sitcom plots like these were common back in the 80s. I can definitely see this existing in real life. Bless Steven's heart, he's still grounded from watching TV for a thousand years and he actually turns his head away so he doesn't have to stare at it. Greg and Amethyst aren't moving, so they decide to pick up the slack the next day.

Steven arrives the day only to find Greg and Amethyst hasn't moved from their spot! They've been having a L'il Butler marathon overnight. Neither of them are ready to get back to work, so Steven tells them to meet up later for the fireworks. They don't make it, though Garnet and Pearl does. Steven learns from Pearl that Greg and Amethyst used to hang out and watch L'il Butler for days until one day, they just stopped. She doesn't know why though.

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Steven returns afterwards only to secretly witness a very revealing, very hurtful argument. Greg snaps out of his funk and suddenly remembers the fireworks event. He's about to leave so he can join his son, but Amethyst keeps urging him to stay. When he refuses, she teases him via shapeshifting, an act that Greg is visibly uncomfortable with. Greg tells her he can't be there for her when he needs to be there for Steven. Now Amethyst is angry; after all, she used to hang out with Rose until she started spending more time with Greg. To really drive the knife home, Amethyst shapeshifts into Rose, something Greg can't even bear to look at without feeling hurt.

This is utterly heartbreaking. Like the Crystal Gems, Greg hasn't really moved on from Rose's passing and the subject matter is still very much a sour point for him. More than that, the driving wedge Greg has with the Crystal Gems is nowhere near resolved. There's always been a distance between Greg and the three Gems, often keeping to their spaces while including Steven in both their worlds. This goes beyond biological differences between the two species; there is a genuinely awkward, tragic element to their relationship. Greg was The Thing that got in the way of the Crystal Gem quartet. He was the one who changed everything that ultimately ended with Rose giving up her form for Steven, taking away a beloved figure Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst relied on. I don't think there is any animosity or hatred - Greg even stated here that he wants to be friends with Amethyst again if it wasn't so painful right now - but their conflict is too personal and too raw for it be fixed with a simple talk. Amethyst lost who could presumably be an older sister (motherly?) figure to her and Greg misses his one true love. Amethyst thrashes out at Greg and deliberately hurts him because she, too is hurt. It's terrible what she did, but sympathetic all the same. They could have resumed their bonding moment, but those L'il Butler tapes ended up burying a lot of denial before it exploded.

Steven steps in when it gets to be too much. He's just as visibly affected by Amethyst's transformation, but he stands tall and tells them that as much as it hurts to lose someone they love; as much as they want to slack off and delay any resolve, they have to learn to let go and move on. Carrying too much of it can affect you negatively and it's not a good thing to hold onto when it does. Amethyst storms out in tears. Greg turns off the TV.

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Steven and Greg return the next day to clean out the place for good, but find the Crystal Gems have beaten them to the punch. Amethyst requested assistance from Garnet and Pearl to organize the storage unit. Amethyst found a solution where Greg can keep all his stuff by storing it in her room since it's filled with random junk anyway, though she did put one thing in the "keep" box: the broken photo of Greg and Rose, now fixed. 

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Updated 07/12/2017 By neoyi in the fan site Steven Universe

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