'Steven Universe' Episode 'Rocknaldo' Recap: If You Thought Ronaldo Was Annoying Before...

  • Adventure
  • Comedy
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Steven Universe 01
Steven Universe. (c) Cartoon Network

Steven Universe returned from hiatus on Jan. 30 with a five-episode gut punch covering themes like grief, loss and responsibility, packed with Homeworld lore and shenanigans. Then “ The New Crystal Gems ” gave us a little levity after all those feels, only to plunge us right back into an emotional ocean in “ Storm in the Room. ” What’s the best way to immediately purge yourself of a swirl of emotion. Think about Ronaldo. Hence tonight’s episode, “Rocknaldo.”

“Rocknaldo” starts off with Steven strutting down the boardwalk as he spots Ronaldo handing out pamphlets and everyone ignoring him. Steven happily runs up to Ronaldo, grabs a pamphlet, then has a seat to check it out. It’s titled “How to Protect Yourself Against Rock People” and is full of weird, uncomfortable lies like “they hate men” (pffft).

Steven marches back to Ronaldo for an explanation. Ronaldo states that his info-zine pamphlets, or Ronalphlets, explain that the Crystal Gems are not rock people, but instead fight rock people. Steven tries to explain that “rock people” is an offensive term as Ronaldo tries to Ronaldosplain his idiotic idea.

Of course he fails. Ronaldo collapses in a huddle on the boardwalk and says he needs some time to think. But anytime the hamsters in Ronaldo’s head start going nuts on their little wheels, we can expect shenanigans of the most irritating caliber, and this is no different. Just after announcing that he’s shutting down his blog and social media, Ronaldo announces that in order to make amends, he will be joining the Crystal Gems. I may have yelled “nooooooo” in slow-motion out loud.

So Ronaldo just rolls on into the Temple with his backpack sans invite. Pearl tries to kill that dream immediately, but Steven wants to give Ronaldo a chance - he’s just excited that Ronaldo is interested in what they do. Steven convinces Garnet, so Amethyst and Pearl go along with it.

As Ronaldo gets settled, he and Steven chat about Ronaldo’s Gemsona (“Bloodstone!”) and his Gem weapon (some katana from some geek con). Steven gamely cuts out a star and tapes it to Ronaldo’s shirt to welcome him to the team.

Then it’s time for a mission. Ronaldo, wildly out of shape, can’t even make it up the stairs. Steven says he didn’t get to go on missions either at first, but will start training him soon, then heads off with the Crystal Gems on the mission.

Once Steven is back, Ronaldo unveils a side of his personality even more irritating than anything we’ve ever seen before, asking passive-aggressive questions like “how did the mission go without me holding you back” as he make snide comments about what “real Crystal Gems” would do. I’ve known too many whiny nerds like this (and been that whiny nerd myself), so the cringe is activating so hard I can feel it in my quads.

In the next scene, Steven listens to a mindfulness app as he tries to fall asleep, only for Ronaldo to inconsiderately start flailing around with his katana. “Funny that you sleep when Gems don’t need sleep,” sneers Ronaldo.

Steven says “Well because I’m human, I get tired…?”

Then Ronaldo replies, between yawns, that he’s not tired at all as he flails around with his idiotic sword. God, save me.

Steven’s not the only recipient of Ronaldo’s completely misplaced sneering condescension. After Connie leaves one day, Ronaldo says Connie’s sword is a rip-off of his, complains that Connie gets a “Mompen” (a Steven’s Mom Weapon) and he doesn’t when Connie doesn’t even live there, and points to the groove his butt leaves on the sofa cushions as an example of the dedication to being a real Crystal Gem which he possesses and Connie, naturally, lacks.

I know the obnoxiousness is over-the-top on purpose, but I don’t know what the point is and Ronaldo is giving me major hives. We’ve all had to kick a guy like this out of our D&D group before. Is the point just inducing flashbacks that make me cringe so hard my shoulder pops out of joint?

Even Steven loses his patience: “You’re just a guy with a blog!” he shouts. Of course, Ronaldo is imperturbable in the face of his own annoying nature and says haughtily, “Is that love? Is that acceptance?” Then Ronaldo kicks Steven out of his own damn house to go for a walk and think. Out of his own damn house!

When Steven realizes Ronaldo has booted him out of his own damn house, he returns only to spot Ronaldo making another ass of himself again. He’s made at least eight asses of himself - by this point the whole couch must be grooved. Steven launches into a great speech that should be memorized word-for-word when delivered to the sweaty, passive-aggressive nerd you’re booting from your D&D group: “You’ve been acting really mean to me, and I don’t love that! I don’t accept that!... This isn’t the Bloodstone club about making Bloodstone feel good. This is my whole life! Do you care about that?”

Upon hearing this, Ronaldo swoons into a dead faint. “Whoa! You truthed him so hard he died ,” says Amethyst in the episode’s best line. But Ronaldo’s just asleep. The Gems drop him off on the boardwalk in front of the fry shop.

Three weeks later, Steven runs into Ronaldo again, who explains what he’s been up to since his unceremonious booting from the Temple. “I took a real long nap, and then I did some hard thinking. I wasn’t acting like Bloodstone, I was acting like… Jerknaldo,” says Ronaldo.

He’s, well, right.

Ronaldo says he felt like an outsider among outsiders: “the ultimate outsider,” clearly an identity that titillates him. He kindly explains to Steven that Ronaldo Fryman should work alone. But Ronaldo still wants to help the cause, so he made a pamphlet about how to help the Crystal Gems. It is the only thing he has done to justify his existence since we’ve first seen him on screen, probably.

Finally, Ronaldo asks why Steven doesn’t go by his Crystal Gem name. Steven reluctantly explains that his Gem’s name is his mom’s name, and other Gems only use it when they’re about to beat him up. Ronaldo asks if he wants that factoid in the Ronalphlet, and Steven says “Uhh, maybe not.” End of episode.

Ronaldo episodes make me want to die. End of recap.

Next up for Steven Universe is an episode titled “ Tiger Philanthropist ” in which Steven tries out pro wrestling… again. Check out Cartoon Network at 7 p.m. EST on Friday, Mar. 3 to watch “Tiger Philanthropist,” then check out iDigitalTimes for the recap. See you next week!

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