Test me! Test me!
On a rainy day, Steven and the Crystal Gems are sitting around playing Citchen Calamity, a comically convoluted board game. After Steven wins, he goes to search for another game to play. However, he stumbles across the Moon Goddess Statue and is reminded of how he neglected to bring it along on the mission to the Lunar Sea Spire in "Cheeseburger Backpack", which caused said the mission to end in failure. The Gems attempt to console Steven, but Pearl accidentally slips out that the mission was a non-crucial one and that they used it to stage a test of Steven's developing abilities. Upon learning this information, Steven is annoyed that they were dishonest about the mission's importance, before becoming distraught over the realization that he failed the test; Pearl's tactless admission that the test was meant to be an easy one does not help matters. Moreover, so Steven, determined to redeem himself, demands the Gems give him a harder test to make up for it. The Gems hesitantly oblige.
Steven and the Gems stand before the Temple Door, where Pearl briefs him on the test. It is a custom-made dungeon consisting of three rooms, each designed by one of the Gems to simulate the challenges of a mission. His goal is to thwart all three rooms and make it to the end. Steven swears not to disappoint them this time. Moreover, so the Gems open the gate, revealing a pitch-black passage, and he rushes inside.
First, is Amethyst's Chamber. Steven walks along a path suspended over a bottomless pit; the path is a comically long tongue extending from the mouth of a large statue of Amethyst. Suddenly, a boulder, which resembles a gumball, emerges from the statue's mouth. Steven runs down the track, but it is all he can do to stay ahead of it barely. At the end of the track is a large gap with a hanging vine resembling Amethyst's whip. Steven leaps grabs onto the vine and swings across to the exit of the first chamber. In true videogame fashion, the door explodes into star-shaped balloons and a victory jingle plays.
Next, is Pearl's Chamber. The exit to this chamber is set in the opposite wall, high out of reach. As Steven wonders how to get at it, some of the floor tiles flash in a pattern, each playing a distinctive note. He tries the obvious solution, leaping to each tile in the order they light up, and this causes the floor ahead to rise and form a staircase tall enough to reach the exit. Steven confidently strides up the stairs but is nearly sliced by swinging axes. In a panic, Steven climbs to the exit. The door bursts into balloons and plays the jingle again after reaching the exit.
After that, he enters the final challenge, Garnet's Chamber, and makes a joke to himself about how Garnet turned up the heat. He jumps over several holes in the floor shooting lava, walking confidently to the door when suddenly a spiked pillar comes slamming down from the roof. Steven curls up into a ball, freezing in place, and it stops just above his head. Utterly confused, he steps back to discover that it comes all the way down when he is not under it, but as soon as a part of him goes underneath, it simply stops before they collide. In shock, he walks back into a lava column to find it actively avoiding his body. He shouts that it cannot be true, and decides to go back and test all of the other rooms.
He stands in the path of one of the axes in Pearl's Chamber, where it harmlessly swings through him as if it were a hologram. He then tries pushing the tiles on the floor in a bunch of different patterns, revealing that the stairs would come up no matter the combination. Finally, he plainly walks across the gap at the end of Amethyst's Chamber, seemingly hovering in mid-air, standing totally still when the boulder rolls down toward him. He shuts his eyes frightfully as it approaches, but doesn't move, and the boulder stops right before it hits him, just as he predicted. The boulder begins to roll back up the slope as he walks all the way up through the mouth of Amethyst's statue, coming out on the roof of the three rooms.
Steven walks over the axes and spikes, feeling extremely hurt and unable to understand why they would trick him. Walking all the way to the end, he looks down to see the Gems standing beyond the final door, waiting to congratulate him. He overhears them talk about how it is impossible for him to get hurt, under the assumption that he just needs another "win" to regain his confidence and fix the problems he had been having with his healing powers ever since Greg faked his injury. Amethyst expresses guilt for tricking Steven, believing it is the wrong way to teach him, and while Pearl deems it all necessary for him to be a Gem, Garnet protests and says that he is not just a Gem. Since no one like Steven has ever existed before, she comes to the sobering conclusion that they have no idea what he needs.
Coming to understand their actions, but still angry with them, Steven determinedly walks all the way through the "test," hardly acknowledging any of the traps. He walks through the final door, where the lights come on, and the Gems resume their act to congratulate him. He walks up, maintaining his stern expression, stopping at the end where he falls on his knees and states that he cannot believe they would do something like that. At the last second, however, for their sake he pretends to be none the wiser and exclaims that it was awesome. He wishes that they could have seen him, thanking them, and they all join for a hug, where Steven pauses for a moment before hugging them tighter as the episode ends.
- Beach City
- Lunar Sea Spire (mentioned)
- It is revealed that the Gems can modify certain aspects of the Temple.
- It is revealed at the end of the episode by Garnet that Steven is the first of his kind, referring to the fact that Steven is half Gem, half human.
- When Steven is going through the games he has, he references changed titles of some well-known board games.
- The congratulations scene is a reference to the infamous ending scene of Neon Genesis Evangelion wherein each character clapped and individually said congratulations to main protagonist Shinji Ikari with the opening theme song playing in the background.
- This episode references Indiana Jones when Steven was being chased down by a boulder in Amethyst's chamber.
- Pearl's room was similar to many rhythm based puzzles in video games, where to advance one has to repeat a sequence.
- The lava and spiked crusher in Garnet's chamber were similar to that of some of the castle levels from Super Mario Bros.
- The exterior of the dungeon Steven discovers is similar to 'secret worlds' in video games, where the player can exploit glitches to exit the boundaries of a level. The expanse of black around the dungeon refers to parts of the level that are not occupied by loaded space.
- When Steven enters the first (dark) room of the test, the manner in which the torches appear is similar to the beginning of the battle with Magus in the SNES game Chrono Trigger. The same is true of the spotlights that appear when Pearl and the others are revealed at the end of the episode.
- The hole in the ceiling the Flask Robonoids made in "Warp Tour" is patched up and leaking.
- Steven remains unable to heal via his spit (see "House Guest"), as mentioned by Pearl.
- Several references to "Cheeseburger Backpack" were shown in this episode.
- The Moon Goddess Statue reappears.
- The Gems' mission to the Lunar Sea Spire was revealed to be a test for Steven to see how much he could handle a mission.
- The end of the episode was also mentioned by Pearl.
- Pearl and Garnet's tests were almost identical in design to some of the trap rooms in "Serious Steven".
- When Steven was about to pick up the Moon Goddess Statue, the back part of his pants were colored the same as his shirt.
- In one scene, two of Pearl's fingers were colored orange.
- When the Gems hug Steven at the end of the episode, the colors of the star on Garnet's back are reversed.
- When Steven enters Garnet's test room, the way back to Pearl's room was barred. When he discovers that it was rigged and turns around to go back, the bars are gone.
- Pearl's Chamber plays four musical notes to get the stairs to rise the first time (and second if you count testing them as one). When Steven tests the difficulty, it only has three, and in "Decisive Path" it takes six musical notes to get the stairs to rise.
- On closed captioning, Steven says the game is called Citchen Calamity, even though the cards say "KC."
- When Pearl activates her door, the gem on her door glows yellow rather than white.
- When Garnet was explaining that they do not know what Steven needs anymore since there has been nothing and no one like him before, the middle finger part of Garnet's right glove is not colored in.
View the episode's transcript here.