♫ I can show you how to be strong, in the real way. ♫
The episode begins with Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven warping to the former Crystal Gems Communication Hub. Pearl explains that it is releasing bursts of electromagnetic interference and needs to be destroyed, inciting a confused response from Steven. Garnet then tells Steven that it's "hurting television", which manages to sufficiently motivate Steven to help out. As a joke, Amethyst transforms into a more muscular version of Steven and starts punching the pillars. Pearl stops Amethyst, telling her that they would need a well thought out plan in order to destroy the hub. Garnet decides to use Sugilite, a fusion of Garnet and Amethyst, despite Pearl's warning against the plan, citing that Sugilite is a dangerous entity. Garnet states that "they don't need to be careful; they just need to be huge".
Garnet and Amethyst then fuse via a synchronized dance, creating Sugilite. She forms her special weapon: a combination of Garnet's interlocking gauntlets and Amethyst's whip, forming a weapon similar in nature to a flail. Sugilite then uses this flail to begin smashing pillars. Pearl becomes frustrated and worried and tells Steven that they are going home, disappointing Steven. Steven is hit with debris from Sugilite's carnage, and Pearl hastily teleports them away just before a boulder falls on and destroys the Warp Pad.
Steven goes to the Big Donut to visit Lars and Sadie. His head is wrapped with bandages and he dons a pair of sunglasses, both in order to cover the cut he received from the rock. Lars and Sadie start to laugh as Steven displays his tiny injury, Lars telling Steven to toughen up and be a man. Ironically, he then struggles to open a jar of herring, which Sadie easily opens for him. Steven then comes up with the idea to exercise as a group and suggests Greg should be their coach.
Greg builds basic workout equipment for the group. He also decides to join their workout, saying he'd missed out on exercising for decades. Steven goes to his house for sweat bands and meets Pearl inside. Pearl asks what he is doing outside, and Steven explains that he wants to be strong like Sugilite.
Pearl goes inside the house and begins to sing "Strong in the Real Way" while picking up Steven's clothes. Steven starts the workout with Greg, Sadie and Lars and he begins singing where Pearl left off in the song.
Greg, Lars, and Sadie are up and ready the next morning for the day's workout, but Steven is sore from exercising yesterday. Regardless, he gets up and finds Pearl downstairs questioning where Sugilite is, noting that the Warp Pad is down (because Sugilite inadvertently destroyed it after Pearl and Steven left, unbeknownst to Pearl.) Outside, Sugilite is seen walking home, angrily wading through the ocean. When Sugilite reaches the beach, Sugilite shouts that she is bored and complains that Pearl left her behind, Pearl replying that she thought Sugilite did not need help. Pearl suggests that Sugilite separate back into Garnet and Amethyst, to which Sugilite replies by suddenly kicking her. Pearl tells Sugilite that they (Garnet and Amethyst) have been fused together for too long. Sugilite refuses to split apart and, in her rage, destroys Greg's gym. Steven concernedly asks why Sugilite destroyed his dad's gym and why she is attacking Pearl. Pearl tells Steven to get out of the area and throws him behind a ridge.
Pearl retrieves her spear and starts to fight against Sugilite in an attempt to separate her back into Amethyst and Garnet, though Sugilite hits her with a harsh strike. Greg moves in and grabs Steven to move him away from the conflict, much to Steven's disdain. Pearl launches another attack, knocking off Sugilite's shades. This infuriates her further, prompting her to headbutt Pearl downwards, smack her into the air again, and then slam her back down into the ground with a two-handed overhead strike. Sugilite then swings her weapon at Pearl, knocking away Steven and Greg as well. Pearl, seemingly unable to fight any longer, then gives up right before Sugilite is about to destroy her, stating that she's sorry to Steven, Garnet, and Amethyst, and that she "isn't strong enough to protect anybody or do anything". Steven then tells Pearl via his bullhorn (he was using it earlier to coordinate the workout) that he knows that she can take her down, and how she always knows what to do. Steven's motivation encourages Pearl to get up, ready to take down Sugilite. Pearl looks to the top of the Crystal Temple and seems to formulate a plan. She taunts Sugilite, to which Sugilite replies by attacking with a punch. She misses and Pearl begins to run up the cliff, Sugilite chasing close behind. Upon reaching the top of the cliff, Pearl leaps off and, as Sugilite twirls her flail for an attack, throws her spear at the cliff directly below one of Sugilite's feet, crumbling the portion and causing Sugilite to lose her footing and fall. Sugilite quickly recovers, asking Pearl if she really thought she'd be able to defeat her, before being cut off by the end portion of her flail then coming down on top of her head, causing her to split back into Garnet and Amethyst in a puff of purple smoke. Both are left face-down in the sand.
Pearl rushes over and asks the two if they're okay. Garnet explains how Sugilite overworked their bodies, so she agrees that Pearl was right. Pearl suddenly becomes very excited and proud of herself, and as a result she enthusiastically hugs the fallen Gems, noticing that the two are in pain and apologizes them. Steven said to Pearl "You did it!" and she thanks him. Garnet tells Pearl that she was right and they should have listen to her. Pearl replies she was right and Steven cheers her on which she suggests that they go on a mission. The episode ends with Amethyst asking how long is Pearl going to keep that up, Garnet saying that they deserved it, Lars questioning what just happened and Steven shouting: "Drop and give me 20!" into his bullhorn.
- Sugilite (antagonist, debut)
- Greg Universe
- Rose Quartz (pictured)
- Steven's Boombox
- Steven's Megaphone
- Makeshift Workout Equipment
- This is the first episode to show that a fusion can fuse with a gem, as Garnet fuses with Amethyst.
- The 3 month summer hiatus between "Rose's Room" and "Coach Steven" is the show's longest hiatus to date.
- Sugilite is voiced by popular female rapper/singer, Nicki Minaj.
- This is the first episode in which a Crystal Gem is the main antagonist.
- This is the third episode not to end in a single star-shaped iris, while the first two were "Giant Woman" and "Lion 2: The Movie". Instead it ended with four of them arranged in rectangle pattern, making it also the first episode to feature multiple stars in its ending.
- This is the first episode where Garnet was greatly damaged.
- This is the first time a 3-Gem fusion appears in the show.
- This is the second time a fusion Gem is introduced in the series, the first being Opal in "Giant Woman".
- Third, counting Garnet.
- Pearl and Steven are shown singing and Garnet is shown dancing for the first time.
- Sugilite is the largest character that has been introduced to the series so far, being over two times taller than Opal.
- However, she later loses this title to Alexandrite.
- It is shown that if Gems stay fused for too long, they can slowly lose their individuality.
- This episode was released in South Korea, Canada, Latin America, India, and Bangladesh before being released in the United States.
- Garnet's dance moves while preparing to fuse with Amethyst bear similarities to Michael Jackson's dance moves.
- In the scene where Steven arrives at the Big Doughnut, Lars' shoes are slightly overlapping one another at the top.
- During the montage of Greg done building a gym, he isn't wearing slippers. When Greg is seen again, however, he has slippers on.
- When Steven is singing "Strong in the Real Way", one scene shows that the red and blue stripes on his sweatband switch positions for a split second before changing back to normal again.
- When Sugilite's flail hits Steven, Greg and Pearl, it appears to have landed on the sand in front of the Temple, but in the next scene it appears to have crushed the house.
- In one shot, Sugilite's gems are on her upper hands, even though they are only supposed to be on her lower ones.
- In one scene when Pearl was fighting Sugilite, Pearl's shoes were not colored in.
View the episode's transcript here.