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You should build robots. Giant robots!


"Back to the Barn" is the 20th episode of the second season of Steven Universe and the 72nd episode overall.

Official Synopsis

Steven and the Gems head back to the family barn to build some robots.[2]


Back to the Barn Number (006).png

The episode begins with Peridot explaining what the Cluster is to the Crystal Gems back at the Beach House. She uses Steven as a dummy in a box to illustrate the Cluster's formation. Pearl begins to explain the parameters of the machine they must build to reach the center of the Earth and stop the Cluster from taking form, but Peridot interrupts her with her own explanation. Peridot begins to search around the house for parts they can use to help them build such a machine, and in doing so destroys various devices, giving them names based on their functions. A panicked Steven suggests that they should instead head to the family barn where Steven and Pearl previously built a rocket to find parts and build the drill.

Back to the Barn Number (040).png

At the barn, Pearl explains to Peridot that they should first organize all the parts they have in the barn and then draft a blueprint for the drill before they get anything started. Peridot agrees and tries to send Pearl off. She refuses to leave, and Steven supports her decision. Peridot explains to him that pearls can not build anything like this, as they are made to be servants back on the Gem Homeworld. Pearl demands that if they are to build the drill, Peridot will need to listen to her. This prompts her to laugh, elaborating that Pearl was only made to take orders much like the hundreds of other pearls on Homeworld. Steven is surprised to learn that there are many more pearls, and Pearl confirms that fact as Peridot comments that she looks like she is a fancy one. She asks Pearl who she belongs to, who angrily replies with "Nobody!". Peridot declares that Pearl can belong to her now, and Pearl angrily reacts by saying that she did not win Earth's independence during the Rebellion to take orders from the likes of Peridot. Steven tries to settle the dispute but they both refuse to listen to each other. He then suggests that they should host a competition between each other over who builds the better robot.

Back to the Barn Number (092).png

Pearl builds a tall, agile robot while Peridot builds a bulky, powerful mech. Steven introduces the Robolympics, which he explains is a competition that tests all the functionalities of the robots and their efficiency. The winner will be in charge of the Gem drill project. After a lengthy montage of the robots competing with each other, the Robolympics ends in a tie. Steven declares both Pearl and Peridot as heads of the Gem drill project, but Peridot is discontent with the results and demands a tiebreaker. Pearl tries to convince her that the tie is final and that they are the same. Peridot refuses to listen to her, stating that Pearl is beneath her.


Pearl angrily kicks her mech away, and a fight ensues. Eventually, Peridot destroys Pearl's robot and declares herself the winner and the leader of the Gem drill project, and demands praise. Garnet, Amethyst, and Steven rush to Pearl's aid and compliment her. Peridot angrily asks why they are ignoring her and giving attention to a "common pearl". Steven defends Pearl, saying that Pearl is not common at all, and she always tries to be better at everything every day. Peridot asks why she is not leading the project anymore, as per the Robolympics rules, and Garnet calmly responds with, "Welcome to Earth". 

Back to the Barn Number (232).png

The Crystal Gems clean up the aftermath of the Robolympics and Pearl's destroyed robot. Steven notices Peridot confronting Pearl, complimenting how a Pearl such as herself has trained herself to be a knowledgeable technician. She offers cooperation and wants to get started on the drill together. Pearl shows her how to hold a drill properly, and Peridot tells her that the wheels she used on her robot can be useful for the drill. Steven is happy and relieved that the two Gems are finally working together, and the star iris closes on Steven's head as he begins to play around with a hand sock he uses to pretend to be the Cluster.






Instrumental Songs


  • This is the first episode of what the writers unofficially named "The Barn Arc".
  • Peridot reveals that on Homeworld there are copious amounts of pearls, produced to be ordered around and used as servants and status symbols.
    • This reveals that each Gem has a different role in Gem society, determined by their gemstone when they are created.
      • This is further supported by the fact that Peridot also briefly referred to herself as "a peridot".
    • This was previously hinted in "Friend Ship" as Pearl says that she is "just a pearl" and denotes her worthlessness. This is further reflected through Peridot's bossy and instructive dialect towards her.
    • In "The Return", Jasper calls Pearl "a lost and defective pearl", showing Pearl's supposedly disobedient nature.
    • This also explains why Pearl likes doing chores so much.
  • Matt Burnett tweeted that he had been waiting for a part of this episode since he began working on Steven Universe, which he later stated to be the robot fight between Pearl and Peridot.[3]
  • Though not directly stated, Homeworld Gems may be familiar with the metric system (Peridot uses gigapascals as a unit of measurement of pressure).
    • However, the given temperature value of 9800 is probably intended to be in Fahrenheit degrees, since both 9800 K and 9800 °C are much hotter than Earth's inner core, and 9800 °F happens to convert closely to its actual temperature of 5700 K/5400 °C.

Cultural References

  • The episode as a whole is a huge nod towards the "people piloting giant robots"-genre, in which the robots are often called "Mechs" or "Mecha". Notable examples include the Gundam and Evangelion anime franchises, as well as the MechWarrior video game franchise.
    • This is further highlighted by Steven's comment "Stop! Giant robots shouldn't fight!" which is highly ironic since, in most, if not all, cases of this trope the giant robots are used to either fight each other or giant monsters.
  • The title of this episode is similar to Nickelodeon's animated series, Back at the Barnyard.
  • Amethyst's pose for the painting contest resembles the one Rose DeWitt Bukater made for her lover Jack Dawson in Titanic.
  • Pearl's robot's design and concept likely references the two-wheeled automobile robots from the anime Rideback. This is also supported by the anime's protagonist being a retired ballet dancer that uses the rideback robots to perform ballet-like moves, which matches Pearl's ballet dancer theme and her robot's introductory dance.
    Peridot swinging Pearl like a puny god.gif
  • Peridot's robot flailing Pearl around highly resembles the Hulk and Loki's comedically one-sided fight in Marvel's The Avengers.
  • Pearl performs a Super Inazuma Kick from Gunbuster on Peridot during their fight.
    • Also, her flying kick attempt may be a reference to the "Rider Kick" finisher from the Kamen Rider tokusatsu series.
    • The way Peridot catches the kick with her robot claw resembles the method many opponents use to stop Pikachu's Iron Tail move in Pokémon (a show that once aired on Cartoon Network).
  • At least three references to past Cartoon Network shows are made:
    • Peridot's pronunciation of robot as "ro-butt" is possibly a reference to the show Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?.
      • In addition, her robot's rocket-firing butt cheeks are a reference to a scene from the first episode of both Evil Con Carne and Grim & Evil.
        • Robolympics also has another past reference to the Cartoon Network show Robotboy.
  • The way Peridot holds her drill, upside-down with her pinkie finger on the trigger, resembles how Death the Kid wields his pistols in Soul Eater.
  • When Peridot yells "Praise me, praise me!!!!", it could be a reference to GIR from Nickelodeon's Invader Zim. In the episode "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff", GIR throws a police car through the house. Once he does so he says, "I have captured the enemy for meat testing. Praise me, praise me!!!!"
  • When a bruised Peridot asks why the Gems are complimenting Pearl instead of her, Garnet says "Welcome to Earth". This might be a reference to Independence Day, where Steven Hiller says the same line after punching an Alien invader in the face.


  • The Barn from "Space Race" reappears.
    • Steven's drawing references "UUU (Universe & Universe's Universal) Space Travel HQ" from the same episode.
  • Pearl wears the same space suit from "Space Race".
  • When the Gems are heading back to the Barn to clean up after Pearl and Peridot's battle, Amethyst asks Pearl to wrestle with her sometime, a reference to "Tiger Millionaire".
  • The same screen change effect from "Lion 3: Straight to Video" on Greg's video camera appeared at the beginning of the robot games.
  • Inside the barn, there are pieces of the spaceship from "Space Race".
  • Garnet's line to Peridot, "Welcome to Earth", is the same line Rose Quartz gave her in "The Answer".
  • Peridot's line when trying to get Pearl to leave, "That will be all", followed by her hands clapping is later seen with Holly Blue and Yellow Diamond, in "Gem Heist" and "That Will Be All".


Note: Time is displayed in [mm:ss]; [00:00] refers to the point after the title card is displayed and before the episode's start.


  • [01:46] When the scene moves to Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl after Peridot destroys their TV, the microwave she destroyed earlier is back to normal.
  • [01:50] In the first shot of the Barn, the toolbox in front of the chalkboard is not visible. It appears in the following close-up shot of Pearl and Peridot talking and looking into the Barn. It disappears in the next scene.
  • [03:07] A while after Pearl sets the chalk onto the chalkboard, it disappears.
  • [05:14] When Steven is introducing the Robolympics, before the close-up, the chalkboard is blank. When Steven says "Let the games begin!", the chalkboard says "Robolympics".


  • [08:34] When Pearl punches Peridot, the latter's hair color turns slightly darker.
  • [08:42] [08:47] After Pearl punches Peridot, the next two shots of Peridot do not show the new bruise on her face.
  • [09:55] When Garnet says "Welcome to Earth" her design is mirrored.


  • [02:13] When Peridot looks around after telling Pearl to leave, a black outline appears around the bottom edge of her visor, then disappears.


View the episode's transcript here.


Click to view the gallery for Back to the Barn.



ve Episode List
Pilot Pilot
Season 1 A: Gem GlowLaser Light CannonCheeseburger BackpackTogether BreakfastFryboCat FingersBubble BuddiesSerious StevenTiger MillionaireSteven's LionArcade ManiaGiant WomanSo Many BirthdaysLars and the Cool KidsOnion TradeSteven the Sword FighterLion 2: The MovieBeach PartyRose's RoomCoach StevenJoking VictimSteven and the StevensMonster BuddiesAn Indirect KissMirror Gem/Ocean Gem

B: House GuestSpace RaceSecret TeamIsland AdventureKeep Beach City WeirdFusion CuisineGarnet's UniverseWatermelon StevenLion 3: Straight to VideoWarp TourAlone TogetherThe TestFuture VisionOn the RunHorror ClubWinter ForecastMaximum CapacityMarble MadnessRose's ScabbardOpen BookShirt ClubStory for StevenThe MessagePolitical PowerThe Return/Jail Break

Season 2 Full DisclosureJoy RideSay UncleLove LettersReformedSworn to the SwordRising Tides, Crashing SkiesKeeping It TogetherWe Need to TalkChille TidCry for HelpKeystone MotelOnion FriendHistorical FrictionFriend ShipNightmare HospitalSadie's SongCatch and ReleaseWhen It RainsBack to the BarnToo FarThe AnswerSteven's BirthdayIt Could've Been Great/Message ReceivedLog Date 7 15 2
Season 3 Super Watermelon Island/Gem DrillSame Old WorldBarn MatesHit the DiamondSteven FloatsDrop Beat DadMr. GregToo Short to RideThe New LarsBeach City DriftRestaurant WarsKiki's Pizza Delivery ServiceMonster ReunionAlone at SeaGreg the BabysitterGem HuntCrack the WhipSteven vs. AmethystBismuthBetaEarthlingsBack to the MoonBubbled
Season 4 Kindergarten KidKnow Your FusionBuddy's BookMindful EducationFuture Boy ZoltronLast One Out of Beach CityOnion GangGem HarvestThree Gems and a BabySteven's DreamAdventures in Light DistortionGem HeistThe ZooThat Will Be AllThe New Crystal GemsStorm in the RoomRocknaldoTiger PhilanthropistRoom for RubyLion 4: Alternate EndingDoug OutThe Good LarsAre You My Dad?I Am My Mom
Season 5 Stuck TogetherThe TrialOff ColorsLars' HeadDewey WinsGemcationRaising the BarnBack to the KindergartenSadie KillerKevin PartyLars of the StarsJungle MoonYour Mother and MineThe Big ShowPool HoppingLetters to LarsCan't Go BackA Single Pale RoseNow We're Only Falling ApartWhat's Your Problem?The QuestionMade of HonorReunitedLegs From Here to HomeworldFamiliarTogether AloneEscapismChange Your Mind
Film Steven Universe: The Movie
Steven Universe Future Little HomeschoolGuidanceRose BudsVolleyballBluebirdA Very Special EpisodeSnow DayWhy So Blue?Little GraduationPrickly PairIn DreamsBismuth CasualTogether ForeverGrowing PainsMr. UniverseFragmentsHomeworld BoundEverything's FineI Am My MonsterThe Future
Shorts Lion Loves to Fit in a BoxThe Classroom Gems: What Are Gems?We Are the Crystal GemsThe Classroom Gems: How Are Gems Made?UnboxingThe Classroom Gems: FusionCooking with LionGem KaraokeSteven ReactsVideo ChatSteven's Song Time