Steven and the Gems return to the Beta Kindergarten to poof and contain any remaining Corrupted Gems who were imprisoned by Jasper in "Kindergarten Kid". Garnet explains to the group that Corrupted Gems are cared for in the stasis of the bubble, making it different than caging them up like Jasper did. Steven concludes that the Corrupted Gem he sees in a cage is the last one, since the Gems were at the Beta Kindergarten poofing the caged monsters for a good amount of time. The Gems struggle to keep up with the Tongue Monster's agility while attempting to fight it, causing her to escape. Peridot laughs at the Gems' failed attempt to capture the monster, believing that she could have done a better job. The Gems agree to let Peridot prove to them that she can contain the Tongue Monster. Steven accompanies her because he feels bad, since the monster has no idea what she's doing. Peridot tells Steven that they are going to outsmart the monster instead of battling it. Peridot devises a number of "Peri-Plans" to try and poof the Tongue Monster, but each results in either her or Steven being harmed, and the monster always escapes or outsmarts them. That night, Steven continuously throws marshmallows at Peridot in an attempt to make her understand how the monster feels: being under attack, feeling trapped, and feeling frustrated. The next day, Peridot falls off of a cliff with the monster, which poofs the latter. Peridot bubbles it, and the Gems reveal that they never left, and that they were watching.
The Gems return home in "Know Your Fusion", where Steven and Amethyst decide to introduce the person who beat Jasper to Pearl and Garnet. They fuse into Smoky Quartz after deciding on what they are going to show off, leading the absolutely ecstatic Pearl and Garnet to fuse into Sardonyx. Sardonyx takes Smoky to her room in the Temple to give Smoky a bigger stage to show off their powers. Sardonyx allows Smoky to be a guest star on her fake talk show, "Sardonyx Tonight", where an audience she created watches as Smoky is interviewed. After Smoky admits that their only known power is their yo-yo, Sardonyx makes it her goal to try and bring out any other powers they have.Sardonyx has Smoky go through a variety of activities to see if they have the abilities of other Crystal Gem fusions. Smoky is shown to not have Opal's precise aim with a bow, Sugilite's powerful swing, nor Alexandrite's fire breath. This causes Sardonyx to realize that Steven and Amethyst had decided on what they were going to show off to Pearl and Garnet regarding Smoky, and that she stole their show. Sardonyx unfuses which causes her room to collapse since she isn't present. Smoky is able to save Pearl and Garnet by using her yo-yo as a grappling hook, allowing them all to safely land outside of the Temple door. Pearl and Garnet are proud that Steven and Amethyst used Smoky's yo-yo with a new ability.
Steven and Connie ride Lion to the Buddwick Public Library in "Buddy's Book", where Connie wishes to introduce what a library is to Steven, since he loves books. After looking around the different sections of the library, Steven finds a journal under a shelf, filled with pages recording different Gem structures. Steven and Connie discover that it was written by Buddy Buddwick, and while reading the book, they imagine Buddy as Jamie. Buddy writes about how he wishes to make his mark on the world, since his captain has already when discovering Beach City. He decides to become an explorer, traveling around to different Gem structures which Garnet and Pearl told him not to go to. At the Kindergarten, Amethyst tells Buddy that he hasn't discovered anything, and gives him motivation to find the Sandcastle in the Desert. There, Buddy travels for days, and begins to lose consciousness due to exhaustion. Rose Quartz and her pack of Lions approach him, and Rose reads his entries in the journal. She tells him that he should be an author because he writes so well. Buddy listens to her advice, and writes enough books to fill a library, which Steven and Connie realize is why the Buddwick Public Library exists in the first place.
One day, Connie goes to Steven's house in "Mindful Education" for her fusion training lesson with Steven. She appears to be upset about something, and doesn't find Steven's humor funny, when she normally would. At the Sky Arena, Stevonnie is formed, and the fusion faces off against a fusion of Holo-Pearls. While initially doing well in the battle, Stevonnie unfuses when Connie gets the image of one of her classmates in their head. Connie opens up to Steven, telling him that at her school, she accidentally beat up a boy named Jeff because he bumped into her, and her training instincts kicked in. Garnet later takes Steven and Connie to a beach to teach them how they can stay fused when one of them is going through emotional distress. Through the song "Here Comes a Thought", Garnet teaches the two that even if they did something that they regret, and are feeling guilty because of it, they should think about it so that they can move on. Also, Steven and Connie learn that while staying fused, they have each other for comfort. The next day, Stevonnie faces off against an array of Holo-Pearls, performing very well. However, Steven begins to feel guilt about how he handled Bismuth, Jasper, and Eyeball, believing that Rose would be disappointed in him. Unstable, Stevonnie walks off the edge of the arena and unfuses. Steven expresses how he didn't want to hurt anyone, and it takes Connie's reminder of what Garnet taught them for Stevonnie to reform and safely land in the grasslands below.
One day at Funland, while talking to Peedee, Steven looks over and takes interest in an old machine that Mr. Smiley wipes down, in "Future Boy Zoltron". Mr. Smiley introduces the machine to Steven as "Zoltron": a fortune-telling robot. After inserting a quarter, Steven is disappointed to see that Zoltron is barely functioning. Once he learns about Mr. Smiley's comedy past, Steven wishes to learn more information, and asks Zoltron. When the robot doesn't answer, Steven pats Zoltron on the back which breaks the machine. To make it up to Mr. Smiley, Steven dresses up as Zoltron and enters the machine, ready to answer questions. While debating on what to do, Sadie asks Zoltron (Steven) if she and Lars should skip work, and he replies that even though Lars doesn't want to admit it, he loves to do a good job because having people depend on him fills his heart with love and trust. He goes on to say that even though Sadie loves to take charge, she would admire Lars' work. When Onion approaches with a crowbar, Zoltron tells him that he sees prison bars in this future, prompting Onion to put on a ski mask and continue his task. Throughout the day, Zoltron gives fortunes to Kiki, Jenny, Buck, and Ronaldo. Then, a frowning man walks up to the machine and asks him vague questions such as "was it a mistake to come here?" and "will talking to him make a difference?" Disappointed that he was unable to answer the man's questions, Steven wishes he had Garnet's future vision. Coincidentally, Garnet overhears Steven's request and kisses him on the head, giving him temporary future vision. The frowning man returns, and asks Zoltron "what would he say to me now?" The future vision allows Steven to see three futures, but each one disappoints the frowning man. Steven is surprised to hear that the man is there to see Mr. Smiley, and he introduces himself as Mr. Frowney. Later, Steven asks Mr. Smiley what his relation is to Mr. Frowney, and he reveals that they used to be comedy partners. Steven looks into the future, and finds that no matter what Mr. Smiley says to Mr. Frowney, he will remain sad. Mr. Smiley and Mr. Frowney reunite before the latter goes on a bus to leave town, and the two make up.