How can a guy have no faults? To be human is to be flawed! A real hero must struggle!
The episode begins with Jamie approaching the Beach House and calling Steven's name. Steven races to him and they greet each other. Steven asks him if he has "the goods" and Jamie takes out a flyer that advertises his play. He is holding auditions tonight for his play, which is about Beach City's founding. Steven offers himself as an actor while saying it in a foreign accent. After some confusion, they get to work.
At the stage during rehearsal, Steven asks Jamie where the other actors are. Jamie says that they are the only ones, but is optimistic and says that some plays only have one actor in them, so they have a great start. Jamie hands Steven a copy of the script, titled, "Beach City or Bust: The Tale of William Dewey". Jamie says that since this is his first production, the play must be well written. Jamie discouragingly exclaims that the play is funded by Mayor Dewey, with the consequence that he wrote the entire play himself. Steven asks Jamie what the play is about, and Dewey comes on stage to explain the premise of the play. It is a play that documents the founding of Beach City by Mayor Dewey's great great great great grandfather, William Dewey. It is an important play because it has a lot of sentimental and political importance to Mayor Dewey. Jamie is about to start the rehearsal, and offers Dewey to stay, to which he agrees and promptly seats himself.
Since Steven is the only one who showed up, Jamie gives him the lead role of William Dewey, while he himself plays the rest of the characters. The show shifts to painted slides of a crew on deck of a ship, with Captain Dewey addressing his crew. William Dewey is thankful to his crew for joining him in search of a place where he can found a new city. His crew compliments the captain. Suddenly, a sea creature appears and assaults the ship. Captain Dewey reassures his crew that he will save them using his heroic, supernatural ability. He grows into a fifty-foot giant and carries the boat safely to shore. The crew thinks that he is such an exemplary captain that he was voted to become the first mayor of Beach City, ending the play.
Steven compliments Mayor Dewey on his "fantastic" storytelling, while Jamie suggests that although Captain Dewey is a great character, the play would be far better if they brought out his other side and his struggles. Mayor Dewey objects, stating that he was faultless, and accomplished everything on his first try, exactly like he himself when he wrote the play. He asserts that nothing needs to be changed. As Jamie tries to speak, Dewey interrupts him to remind him that he is funding this play. As Dewey exits the stage, Jamie says that it would be a disaster as the story is terrible and William Dewey is an absolutely unbelievable character, not because he grew fifty feet, but rather because he has no character. Steven is confused, and states that the script kept saying that Captain Dewey was very good, but Jamie only takes this point as proof and explains that to be human is to be flawed, and real heroes must struggle. Steven eventually realizes Jamie's point and agrees, while Jamie sadly says that this might be his first and last play.
Steven returns to the Crystal Temple and greets Pearl, who is sitting on the couch blankly staring at the ceiling indicating that Garnet is still mad at her for the events of "Cry for Help". Steven tries to get her attention, and only succeeds after a few seconds. He tells her that show business is rough. Pearl offers help, and Steven says that William Dewey should be an interesting character. Pearl is confused as to how Steven knows who William Dewey is, and he responds by saying that he would be playing him in the upcoming play. He says that William Dewey is a boring character because he is absolutely flawless; to which Pearl says that she wishes she could be so. Steven tells her that it's impossible to be flawless, because everyone gets something wrong some time or another, so people simply must keep going, and that the satisfaction of accomplishment after struggle makes the character and the experience great. Pearl wonders aloud when Steven got so smart. Pearl opens the script and reads it through. After reading it, she says that not only is the play boring, but historically inaccurate. She then asks Steven who wrote the play, to which he says Mayor Dewey. Pearl laughs and says that he wasn't even there during the time, however, she was. Steven then asks what truly happened, and Pearl begins to explain the story.
The scene cuts to Jamie on stage nervously holding the rewritten script. He lauds the new script as being very real as though a primary observer wrote it, to which Steven says that it actually was. Jamie praises the new story as being gritty, passionate, historically accurate, and dramatic, and wants to use this script for the play. Steven implores Jamie to do it tonight, but he says that it'll be impossible, since they need new supplies and they simply do not have time, along with the fact that Mayor Dewey with certainly be very displeased with it. Steven comforts him by repeating Jamie's own words that "a real hero struggles". He agrees, and says that the play will be performed tonight, with Steven as William Dewey and Jamie as the remaining roles.
Late at night, the play is about to start. Mayor Dewey seats himself next to Pearl, and nervously says that he wrote the play. Pearl then stands up and seats herself at the back. Steven and Jamie are speaking to each other backstage. Steven hopes that Mayor Dewey won't be mad about the new script, and Jamie simply says that they just have to see. Steven asks him if he is nervous, to which Jamie responds by saying that this will either make or break his hobby as an actor. The play begins on-stage, and Steven and Jamie as their corresponding actors are on a ship prop sailing through the ocean. William Dewey's crew member asks when will the ship finally reach land, and Dewey reassures him that despite sailing for a long time, they will surely find land eventually. Pearl says hello to Steven during his performance and says he is very talented. Steven introduces himself as Dewey the Dunce, since "[he] couldn't find land even though he was standing on it", and was beginning to suspect that everyone was right about him, to which the audience laughs. During the performance, Mayor Dewey is confused as to why his script is not used, and eventually slouches heavily out of sheer embarrassment.
Dewey's crew member spots the Crystal Gems, and Pearl (played by Jamie) greets William Dewey as a messenger of Rose Quartz. Pearl states that Dewey is headed for a dangerous land, and urges him to turn back. Dewey refuses to listen, and Garnet simply says that he must turn around, otherwise he will be felled by the ocean, adding that humans are poor swimmers. Dewey reluctantly agrees and starts sailing home like the "failed dunce" he is, but breaks his sail. Dewey's ship is lost in the ocean and his crew-mate explains the dire situation. A sea monster appears by the ship and "snatches" Dewey's crew-mate. Before his apparent death, he implores Dewey to go on and keep searching for land, for even though he fails often, he always tries. Dewey grieves over the loss of his crew-mate while another sea monster appears. Dewey is ready to surrender as a giant mysterious figure appears and fights the sea monster. After defeating the monster, the figure approaches Dewey's ship and carries it safely to shore. Dewey is thankful to the "giant woman" for bringing him to shore. The gem fusion warns him not to stay, since this land is dangerous. Dewey refuses to take the advice and decides to stay, saying that he tries despite being on the face of failure, and that is what makes him great. The fusion says that it is fine, with the disclaimer that she might interfere with Dewey again. He decides to name the land in honor of his dead first mate Buddy, but as he enters the stage saying that he is alive and well, Dewey changes his mind and calls his newly found town Beach City. The play ends with a large banner being hung over the stage saying "Dewey For Mayor".
The audience is applauding Steven and Jamie for the performance and for Dewey for supposedly writing the play. Dewey regains composure, and Buck tells him that it was good that his ancestor was a true human being with flaws, which brought the play to life. Jamie is giving autographs to some people while on the stage, while Dewey runs up to Jamie and tells the other people to leave. He congratulates Jamie for the great work, especially for the eventual message of the story, "Vote Mayor Dewey". He offers Jamie a position, Lead Director of Beach City Community Theater and allows him to put up more plays as long as the budget is right. Jamie gets extremely excited over the news, but regains composure and simply expresses gratitude. Steven tells Dewey that a lot of the credit should go to Pearl, since she was an "inside source." Pearl says that she is a gem of many talents, and preservation of fact is one of them. Dewey thanks Pearl for preserving his legacy, to which she replies, "What's 200 years between friends?" while patting him on his head. Dewey nervously leaves to greet the celebration of his citizens.
Pearl contemplates on the fact that she never wrote a campaign slogan at the end of the play. Steven tells Pearl that "art doesn't always need a reason. Sometimes you just gotta make the audience happy. That's why you always end on a joke". They silently stand and stare at each other as the closing star iris closes over Steven's face.
- Bill Dewey
- Buck Dewey
- William Dewey (pictured, portrayed in the play)
- Amethyst (acted as in the play)
- Garnet (acted as in the play)
- Barbara Miller (cameo)
- Nanefua Pizza (cameo)
- Unknown Fusion Gem (in the play)
- Unknown Giant Gem Monster (in the play)
- Ronaldo Fryman (cameo)
- Peedee Fryman (cameo)
- Sadie Miller (cameo)
- Lars (cameo)
- Kiki Pizza (cameo)
- Jenny Pizza (cameo)
- Sour Cream (cameo)
- Suitcase Sam (cameo)
- Harold Smiley (cameo)
- Rose Quartz (mentioned)
- Buddy Buddwick (in the play)
- William Dewey's crew (in the script)
- This episode is symbolized in the promo art for the 3rd StevenBomb by the theater masks of comedy and tragedy.
- It's revealed that Mayor Dewey's ancestor, William Dewey founded Beach City.
- This episode reveals Beach City was founded 200 years ago.
- The Gems were fighting monsters in Beach City's location even before humans settled there.
- Beach City has a theater department funded by the city.
- The Gems allowed humans to settle nearby.
- The sea monster's jaws/beak resembled the Centipeetle Mother and the Big Bird.
- The episode's title is derived from the genre of historical fiction.
- In the play, Jamie keeps referring to Steven's Character as "O Captain! My Captain!", which is a reference to Walt Whitman's poem of the same name, or the 1989 film Dead Poets Society which features the famous poem.
- William Dewey may be a reference to the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus. William seems to come from a European country just like Columbus. They are both looked down upon by their peers. They even both make it to a land that would be colonized in the future with natives already being there (the Crystal Gems were there for thousands of years prior).
- Jamie says, "It is the east, and we are the Crystal Gems", when he is introducing the Gems. This is a reference to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the line, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun".
- Garnet previously advised Jamie to start with local theater at the end of "Love Letters".
- Jamie is wearing a party hat over his nose while acting as Pearl. This is similar to when Amethyst was mocking Pearl's feature exactly the same way during "So Many Birthdays".
- For Jamie's Garnet costume, he wears his "Movie Star" sunglasses from "Love Letters".
- Jamie references "Love Letters" when he says that humans can't swim well as he was acting as Garnet.
- Jamie's love of the theatre is shown again, first mentioned in "Love Letters".
- Mayor Dewey continues to keep a liking for Pearl, first seen in "Political Power".
- This episode could be possibly a nod to "So Many Birthdays". The Crystal Gems are seen rescuing people in a boat. One of those people could be William Dewey.
- Steven dubs a gem "Giant Woman" for the fourth time in the series.
- Pearl admits that she's not perfect, while in "Reformed", Amethyst believed Pearl thought she was perfect.
- Pearl reconfirms the fact that the Crystal Gems were at Beach City long before humans, as first said in "Rising Tides, Crashing Skies".
- When Jamie hands Steven his script, he appears to be holding the revised version of the script with the word 'true' added over a caret.
- After Pearl changes seats, Sour Cream and Jenny disappear.
View the episode's transcript here.