Here, we have all the chills and spooks that are in Steven Universe. If there's two things that this show is going to teach you, it's that even in the worst situations, there's surprisingly touching moments. And despite how colorful and innocent it appears on the surface, things can unexpectedly spiral into very dark places.
- The concept of shattering. Gems are immortal, since their bodies are projections of light from their gemstone. They can regenerate easily enough when injured. But if the stone itself is destroyed? They can no longer project a whole body, leaving them trapped within their shards for eternity note while trying to rejoin their gem in perpetual agony. To make things worse, The Diamonds dole this out as standard punishment and casually inflict a Fate Worse than Death on any of their subjects who fail or rebel against them.
- The Diamonds. They are ruthless, cold, cruel beings that rule over an empire and have unimaginable power over Gems. We've seen a case in which a subordinate slipped up and Blue Diamond demanded she be shattered. As if that weren't horrifying enough, they've unleashed a weapon upon the Earth that causes gems to be torn apart both in body and mind that's only been described as some kind of blinding flash of light.
- Some of the music in the series manages to be incredibly eerie.
- "Yellow Diamond", the theme of the eponymous Diamond, which is first heard in her first on-screen appearance in Message Received. Whilst it can't be heard much in its first appearance, the piece is incredibly creepy, starting with the general Diamond theme first heard in "Blue Diamond" (and later heard during the corrupting flash in Monster Reunion, which only serves to make it scarier), which "glitches" before snapping into an ominous drone. Eventually, an additional lower drone can be heard alongside it, which grows louder and louder each time it's heard until it finally comes to a loud and sudden end, at which point the eeriness briefly stops until the song ends with a crash.
- The second ending song used during a few of the episodes following Bubbled. "Love Like You" was calming and sweet, but in Season 4 the ending song has been replaced with an ambient drone in an otherwise silent background. Three Gems and a Baby keeps the tense droning, but adds suspenseful piano music and something that sounds like gargled, distorted shrieks. As of That Will Be All, we hear another part, with loud squealing that ends on an audible screechnote .
- The very concept of being a Homeworld Gem is pure, undistilled Nightmare Fuel. From the moment you are born, you have to do the job you were made to do for the rest of your life. The smallest misstep or transgression can be grounds for your superiors deciding to shatter you. You can never take a different job, for fear of being shattered. You can never, ever step out of line, for fear of being shattered. Exploring your identity? Becoming an individual? Thinking for yourself? Forming a relationship with another Gem? Thinking about anything other than serving Homeworld and your Diamond? You can forget it. Fusion, a symbol of an intimate bond between Gems, is forbidden except for utilitarian purposes, and fusing with a different type of Gem for any reason (even accidentally) is grounds for being shattered. And even if you do everything right, obey your superiors' every order, and remain loyal to Homeworld? You're still expendable, and you can still be shattered or worse, as shown by the fates of Lapis and the Gem monsters on Earth. And all of the above is assuming you weren't born with a defect and forced to flee to the underground catacombs, to live your whole life in fear of being shattered on sight. No wonder Rose and the Crystal Gems rebelled.
- The Cluster was contained, but, whether due to it likely never appearing in the future or due to other reasons, an artbook showed what it would look like if it emerged. To say it's the most terrifying piece of Steven Universe artwork to probably exist is an Understatement; the entire entity screams of pure Eldritch Abomination, like a final boss from a Role-Playing Game! And if Peridot's statements about it blowing up Earth from the inside out were not just exaggeration, or if this isn't concept art from before the decision to make the Cluster's emergence result in a Earth-Shattering Kaboom, that isn't even its final form.
- Malachite is most certainly nightmare fuel for three very good reasons. First, let's start with her appearance: She has four eyes, a pair of fangs, and four extra arms on her body that act as her legs. And she's freaking HUGE, about as big as Alexandrite. Second, two seriously unbalanced minds combined into one deformed but extremely powerful body that outclasses Alexandrite in direct combat. Though at range or when destabilized by emotional conflict, still beatable. Third, Malachite is not just a mix of Jasper and Lapis, in theory she is an entirely new individual who's existence is made up entirely of unending emotional turmoil and self-destructive behavior. Even for a show that engages in some of the heaviest nightmare fuel intended for children, that implication is very, very dark.
- There's a 30-second commercial for the 2016 spring event "In Too Deep". Up until this point, no matter how dark the show got, the commercials always tried to market Steven Universe as a lighthearted show. This time around, the clips are edited to be deliberately unsettling. Or, at the very least, to drive home the fact that Steven's dealing with something he barely understands.
- As much as she became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in later episodes, Centipeetle is still the first Gem Monster to appear, and barring perhaps the Slinker she's also the most dangerous one seen thus far; at her full power, during the final fight, she cornered the Crystal Gems and would have probably killed them with her acidic spit if it wasn't for Steven's quick thinking.
- Her design immediately sets the alien, unsettling trend for Gem Monsters in general, with her millipede-like serpentine body, rock-crushing pincer tail, leonine mane that vaguely makes her look like a demented caricature of an oriental dragon, and huge, serrated beak/mandible mouth with a huge, cyclopean eye on the inside. That spews ACID.
- Think Centipeetle's corrupted form was creepy enough? Well, the Steven Universe: Art & Origins book can prove that she could've been far worse.◊
- The evil painting might not seem scary at first, but when you learn via Word of God that its paint was made of ground-up gemstones from other Gems, it gets seen in a whole new light and makes its death seem like a mercy kill.
- Frybo itself. You... just need to see the thing in motion to get the full effect of how Uncanny Valley it is. The effect gets worse when you see it restraining people using its Combat Tentacles and force-feeding them fries. Then things take a turn for the gruesome once Pearl javelins one of its eyes with her spear, causing ketchup to come spewing out, giving the impression of Bloody Eye Scream.
- You might not think being able to turn body parts into cats would be this. You would be horrifyingly incorrect. It comes out looking like a malformed telepod mixture of The Thing, Tetsuo, a monster from Silent Hill, and one of David Cronenberg's unholy creations. For those brave enough, this is the result.◊ For those not brave enough, it's a once-humanoid blob with a dozen cat heads poking out of massive holes in its body, each of them warping and stretching as they shift across its surface.
- The sound... They weren't meowing.
- And the music in the background. That... did not help.
- When Steven starts losing control, he pretty much starts screaming for the Gems to help him... except they're too far away to do anything for him or even know about what he's going through.
- That moment when he comes crawling out of the bushes toward Greg at the car wash. One YouTube comment describes it thus:"Imagine your child crawling out of the bushes with cat heads growling all over them with no way to stop their horrible, painful fate."
- That moment when he comes crawling out of the bushes toward Greg at the car wash. One YouTube comment describes it thus:
- As the cats become even more out of control, some of them seem to emerge from Steven's eyes!
- In this episode the Gems find themselves stuck in what seemed like a never-ending death trap. It was rather unsettling to see both Amethyst and Pearl beginning to get very worried about not only getting out of there, but also that they had no idea how the place worked.
So Many Birthdays
- This episode demonstrates another consequence of Steven losing control of his powers. Should he act too old, his gem will shapeshift and age his body, to the point where his human half will die of old age Steven also appears to have lost his sanity, as he is sitting on the floor and gasping for breath without focusing on the other Crystal Gems.
Lars and the Cool Kids
- Rose Quartz's moss. It seems to have some level of sentience, and at one point succeeds in engulfing the titular "cool kids", who are audibly struggling to breathe, then proceeds to slowly ooze over Steven and Lars as they frantically try to get it to the top of the hill where it supposedly wants to be.
- Much of Onion's behavior is extremely disturbing: he steals a bag of chips from a vending machine, makes his moped explode in flames and tries to drown Beach city with toys for no real reason other than boredom. He even tries to KILL the Gems by crushing them with cars! It doesn't help that he has pretty much the same blank expression the whole time and doesn't get any comeuppance for his actions.
- Onion's expression when he offer to trade Ranger Guy for a replicator wand is unexpectedly terrifying. Made worse by the pitch-black background and growing sounds of fire sirens wailing in the background.
Steven the Sword Fighter
- Pearl gets stabbed in probably the most violent manner a children's show can get away with. Her hologram suddenly comes up from behind with no warning and impales her through the chest. Her pupils shrink to dots, her hair dishevels, and she lets out a gasp of pain. Garnet and Amethyst react in horror, Steven watches in disbelief with tears in his eyes, and only her shadow is seen as her hand loosens on her sword, causing it to drop slowly to the ground. Then the sword can actually be seen through her chest, though there's no blood, and she desperately tries to comfort Steven before she explodes into a poof of smoke. If she wasn't a Gem, she'd be unquestionably dead.
- When Hologram Pearl starts going after Steven, and none of the other Gems are around to help him. He's a young child alone in a dark room with an entity designed to try and kill you with a sword.
- Rose's Room. Basically, Steven ends up in his mother's room which materializes everything he could want, but it's all made of clouds. So he wishes to leave to get donuts. But everyone in the town starts acting weird, barely moving, glitching up and repeating motions or speaking only in repeats of things they've said before. Steven first realizes something is wrong when his dad starts repeating old advice instead of answering what he's actually asking - and then the town starts actually falling apart, revealing itself to simply be another construct and basically crashing under its own weight. It's played entirely for horror and it is terrifying.
- As if Frybo wasn't bad enough the first time, we get to see him again. Except this time, he's not doing anything inherently horrifying. He's just standing there and handing out fry bits. Which are glitching as he replaces each box with another one in the exact same place. While staring out of a dark room.
- Steven sees Connie and calls out for her... Only for her to turn around, revealing that she has no eyes. Then the voice clip from "Bubble Buddies" where she says "He was incredible!" gets played over and over again, echoing throughout the "town", all while she stands there motionless and eyeless.
- The room's representation of Greg. From the moment Steven sees Sadie and Lars, the way everyone and everything acts is so off that it seems obvious to the audience that Steven is still in the room, but when he finds his dad, who responds coherently to what he says at first, it's hard to see anything wrong with him, so the build-up to the reveal that he's also an illusion as his words and actions become repetitive and nonsensical is even more gradual and jarring.
- The general premise of the episode is very much like a Creepypasta, right down to people acting strange and them having surreal faces (with one of them having no eyes). It starts out innocent enough with Steven having fun in his mother's room, but once he "leaves" the room, the atmosphere begins to gradually change for the worse and builds up tension with a short moment of calm before suddenly becoming even more horrific than it previously was and ending with a Wham Line: "What do you want, Steven?". It's then that the utterly terrified Steven openly wishes to be back with his friends. The episode's biggest Creepypasta-like highlight would be this music track (which is appropriately titled "Glitch City"), being almost like a typical video game Creepypasta with unsettling music playing in the background during gameplay.
- Amethyst and Garnet's Fusion, "Sugilite" is undeniably cool, being a gigantic, trollish, four-armed, rock-star looking thing. And then, moments after her introduction, she's shown to be immensely destructive, brutish, and virtually uncaring when she accidentally hits Steven with a rock. And that's before she shows up again, nearly destroys Pearl by sending her into a Heroic Blue Screen of Death mode, and shows that Gem Fusions can actually be a downright terrifying case of rage-fueled identity erasure.
- Lars breathing fire due to Sadie putting too much fire salt on his doughnut. Even if he deserved it, it's still pretty horrifying, especially when he starts running around setting the town on fire.
Steven and the Stevens
- This episode have multiple Stevens building dozens of alternative timeline versions of himself to fight each other. When the starting story Steven sees the chaos and pain this causes, it convinces him to destroy the Time Machine, resulting in all the alternative Stevens to painfully disintegrate around the Steven whose story will play out without the device. Some are begging for help as they die while the first Steven desperately tells that normal Steven to find another solution before disintegrating himself as Steven looks on in horror. Then Steven writes a song about it.
- The part where Centipeetle pushes Steven out of the way of a falling stalactite and gets impaled by it. Once she gets severely hurt, Centipeetle lets out a painful shriek and collapses onto the floor, moaning and making gurgling sounds as she stops moving with her "eye" gem dimming and losing its pupil before she releases her physical form. Even if Gems don't actually die this way, the whole thing makes it seems like actual on-screen death - and a really nasty one at that - to the point of a few foreign countries removing most of the scene.
An Indirect Kiss
- As the crack in Amethyst's gem gets bigger, her form further degrades into Body Horror. And then she starts emitting a series of terrified shrieks...
- Earlier, Amethyst tries to assure the Crystal Gems and Steven that she's not going to get any worse. But then, mid-sentence, she goes into something uncannily like a seizure caused by a brain disease or a foreign object. Just seeing it gives one the second-hand feeling of how sudden and painful it makes it to so much as utter a word.
- Lapis was trapped in a mirror for who knows how many years, with no one to talk to and no one to help her escape it, far from her home planet.
- Steven: What's it like being a mirror?
Lapis (mirror): (Playing back) You work!
- Even without knowing it was Lapis it's horrifying. Garnet asks Steven to hand over the mirror. The mirror's reaction is to scream "Nooooooo!" in Steven's voice. On a loop. It screams and screams and screams...
- The face Garnet makes◊ when Steven accidentally knocks her shades off, accompanied by a discordant Scare Chord. The scene already has a strange, unnerving atmosphere due to how secretive the gems are acting over the mirror's true nature, but Garnet's sudden anger makes her and the others seem outright malevolent.
- The way the water clones mirror their Gem counterparts. Uncanny Valley much?
- How the Steven Clone comes out, first by lifting Steven off the ground, then yelling at him in Lapis' voice.
- Then there's the retaliation the clone does to Connie and Steven. Damn, even if it was in self defense, Lapis was willing to drown both Steven and Connie right then and there a la water orb engulfing the face!
- The rocket ship's explosion near the end. Pearl may have had good intentions to show Steven the universe, but we cannot forget the fact that they both could have died a fiery and painful death by explosion in the reaches of space, far away from friends and family. Greg's screams for Steven as it all unfolds just makes the whole thing more awful.
- As bad as we feel for Pearl in this episode, it's unsettling seeing how she acts. She asks Steven if he wants to go for a "little test drive" while Greg's asleep after he told her no. Then she offhandedly states "I'll bring him back in fifty years!" as they take off, even though she knows Gems and humans age differently. And when Greg tries to tell them to come back over the radio, she casually turns him off while humming. Even Steven is worried at this point, but she just says "I'm going to show them to you".
- During the episode, some of the Gem Fragment limbs try to strangle the internal organs of the Crystal Temple.
- The fish surrounding the island that Steven, Lars, and Sadie are marooned on turn out to willing and able to drag people off the shore into the water, presumably to eat them.
Keep Beach City Weird!
- The episode reveals that Ronaldo isn't just a spacey conspiracy-theorist, but a dangerously deluded and narcissistic Psychopathic Manchild. He believes himself to have supernatural powers, goes into a deep depression when he learns Beach City's happenings aren't focused around him, and when Steven puts on a shoddy costume to cheer him up, Ronaldo bludgeons him with a potato and kidnaps him while still spouting his delusional snake people theories.
- The dinner scene shows that Alexandrite's face is nothing more than just a mask. Then she opens a second, monstrous mouth along her jawline and Amethyst's voice says "I'M HUNGRY!" Pretty creepy. Since the more human-looking one was capable of speech and eating, it'd make perfect sense for a Fusion as unstable as Alexandrite to have more than one mouth, considering past Fusions have had things like four arms and five eyes.
- When the Gems lose control of the fusion, right before Alexandrite unfuses, her face cracks.
- Alexandrite's second mouth is seen again after Steven and Connie decide to run away by getting on a random bus and seeing where it will take them. All of a sudden, Alexandrite can be seen running after the bus, easily grabbing it and lifting it into the air (with Steven and Connie still inside), and then roars "STEVEN!" in a Voice of the Legion.
- Steven almost suffocates when he finds the thing traveling between the warp pads. And he is fully aware that his "victory" in proving he was right leads to nothing other than him dying in the void. Thankfully, Garnet saves him.
- The entire episode is full of psychological horror about how you could suddenly get killed in several different ways, and how you're risking your life by leaving your house.
- To say nothing of the psychological horror of being able to see detailed information on the various ways a person you love can die or be traumatized. Garnet has it rough.
On the Run
- Whatever the hell a "Kindergarten" is, is enough to terrify Pearl. Considering that there's thousands of Gem shaped holes in the face of the mountain, and dozens of those machines, it was obviously nothing good. Then there's the drill machine, its appearance gives it the look of a giant virus. There's a panel on the side showing what looks like an organic heart and viscerae inside, and when one of them fell down, the container broke leaving a 'reddish' puddle. The fact that the whole place is a visual homage to The Enigma of Amigara Fault. The dialogue doesn't help.
- Amethyst: (Sliding into her hole) It's me-sized!
- It's basically implied that the Gems were killing an unknown number of humans and probably other life forms to mass produce more Gems, to the point that they could have wiped out all life on Earth.
- Amethyst's speech to Steven, considering there's implied Sanity Slippage in it. It's easy to forget for a brief moment that this is essentially one of Steven's mothers and that she could be a very real threat to him.
- Steven: Pearl? Was Amethyst really made here?
Pearl: How much did you tell him?
Amethyst: What? You mean about the bad thing? How this bad place is where bad Gems came to grow more bad Gems? Is that what you're talking about?
Steven: They grew other Gems here?!
Pearl: Amethyst, he's not ready!
Amethyst: (Smiling creepily) Oh, but don't worry, Steven. Everything's just fine now.
Amethyst: It all worked out. We won!
Amethyst: (Gets closer and closer to Steven) And we shut this place down so the Earth would be safe from parasites like me!
Pearl: Amethyst! That's enough!
- The ending. Pearl and Amethyst reconcile and everyone happily warp home, leaving behind a shot of the Kindergarten... suddenly, the lighting shifts, and the drill machines and thousands of drill holes on the walls become incredibly pronounced. For just a few notes, the music becomes tense and very threatening as the episode suddenly cuts off.
- The Gem's attack on the group is pretty terrifying, especially as it uses Mind over Matter to attack the group and sucks Sadie through the floor, culminating in a giant mouth appearing in the basement wall!.
Ronaldo: Spirit, I deliver the package of darkness! Return to us the innocent Sadie!Lars: H-hey, come on, man! We used to be friends!Ronaldo: And you THREW ME AWAY! (throws Lars)
- Ronaldo reaches his Rage Breaking Point, picking up Lars and throwing him into the giant mouth. The dialogue Ronaldo has in this scene doesn't help, as it makes him seem even more Ax-Crazy.
- The final vision, in which the Gems try to use the Shooting Star to destroy the Galaxy Warp and keep Earth safe from the Homeworld Gems, only for Steven's return to distract them and make them drop it, causing an explosion that apparently destroys the temple.
- Greg and Amethyst's argument grows worse until Amethyst uses her shapeshifting to make herself look like Rose, disturbing Greg, Steven, and the viewers. Seeing her look like Rose, but with obvious differences... And it's implied that either Greg had Amethyst do that to unhealthily deal with Rose's death in the past, or that Amethyst had done it before in another argument.
- Garnet explicitly says that War Is Hell, and that many Gems died during the Great Offscreen War that occurred 5,000 years ago.
- Steven nearly falls to his death chasing after Pearl. Pearl doesn't bother to help Steven up, completely at odds with her usual Team Mom personality.
- Pearl's glare at Steven◊ is one of the creepiest Out of Character actions in any show ever. It's not particularly scary like Garnet's glare in Mirror Gem, but it's unsettling because, well, this is PEARL glaring at STEVEN. In context, it's even worse, because it seems like Pearl is truly angry at Steven for existing and taking Rose away from her (who was who Pearl cared about the most). O.O.C. Is Serious Business indeed.
- The content of Lapis' message to the Gems and Steven. Not only is Homeworld so advanced and alien to her that she's just as terrified there as she was on Earth, but the Homeworld Gems know that the Crystal Gems are still alive, and they are not happy about it at all. Also, there's the confirmation that Peridot is coming after them, and she isn't coming alone.
- The ending music to this episode starts out normal, but is abruptly interrupted by the sound of something massive and ominous landing, followed by static.
- This sound piece that was released after "The Message" aired, you can only hear a woman in pain in the static.
- Later episodes bring in the massive amounts of Adult Fear that Greg has to deal with. The horrifying war his beloved wife told him about is not only going to happen again, but his son is going to be right in the middle of it.
- Continuing from the Last Note Nightmare from The Message's end credits. The end credits to this episode start out as nothing but static followed by a low, ominous note...
- The tone of this entire episode. Everyone is tense and on edge, faced with an utterly hopeless situation. The background music is melancholic as all hell as the town evacuates, but becomes intense whenever the ship comes into view. Not to mention that the sky slowly turns from dusk-red to a sickly green as the ship nears. Everything in this episode radiates nothing but dread.
- The hand-shaped spaceship. It's mysterious, impervious to most of the Gems' defenses and something about the way it looks and moves is just so... eugh...
- Peridot's blank and emotionless face as she tries to murder the Crystal Gems. The only reason this didn't work was because Steven summoned his shield in time.
- Jasper. A Blood Knight obsessed with beating Rose Quartz this time around, and who takes a distressing interest in Steven after recognizing his shield, mistaking him for his mother.
- Watching her cut down poor Garnet, literally bisecting her in the process. And we get a lovely close-up of Garnet's face after she's been sliced through. It proved to be too jarring for the Gems as Amethyst became astonished, Pearl screamed in outright horror, and Steven does nothing but watch with a great look of shock on his face.
- Seeing her headbutt Steven with enough force to knock him unconscious is jarring.
- The truly scary thing about Jasper is that, despite relishing battle, she is NOT a mindless psycho: she doesn't carelessly charge into battle, she evaluates the situation, stays focused, doesn't let enemy taunts affect her decisions and makes sure to end fights in the most quick and efficient way possible. She is not an out-of-control attack dog, she is a professional soldier, and as seen in the next episode, as such she will do everything to complete her mission.
- The climactic sequence following the jail break, where Jasper decides her best chance of beating the Crystal Gems is Fusing... with Lapis, whom she grabs and hauls in for a Breaking Speech, offering her a chance to get revenge on her former captors. Which leads right into Malachite's debut, with her towering over our battered heroes and gloating about her newfound power.
"Let's stay on this miserable planet! Together!"
- And then Lapis takes control of the Fusion, using her hydrokinesis to submerge Malachite into the ocean. The way the Fusion submerges as it yells is pretty disturbing.
- Malachite's debut is clearly inspired by Ursula's infamous giant scene.
- The several Slasher Smiles that Jasper displays in this episode, especially during her Breaking Speech to Lapis, and when they fuse into Malachite. *Shudders* Each and every one of those smiles falls right into Uncanny Valley, as her teeth are drawn very realistically, unlike the more simplistic, block-like teeth rows most of the other characters have.
"Come on... Just say yes."
- And the look of discomfort that Lapis has as she and Jasper fuse... The dark undertones of this are bound to make one squeamish.
- Some of what Jasper says is eerily reminiscent of an emotionally abusive partner, essentially telling Lapis that she's weak without her and physically needs her to achieve her goals.
- Seeing Greg's reaction when Steven tells him what just happened can be a little tough to watch. The way he's breathing so heavily and clutching his chest, it looks like he's having a heart attack (or at least a panic attack).
- The way that the room-generated Connie starts acting progressively less and less like Connie and more like the people the room made when it generated all of Beach City in "Rose's Room" is something pulled straight from the Uncanny Valley, but it really goes nuts when she basically suffers a Logic Bomb and locks up."I want... what you want... what you WANT-WANT-WANT-WANT-WANT-WANT-WANT-"
- Room!Connie in general after Steven figures out that she's not real. She starts chasing him, she can't be dismissed, she can't be destroyed because she's Made of Air and that Steven said to Room!Connie not to do what he wants, and it culminates when she pins Steven down and forces him to tell Connie his feelings... about the ending.
- At the opening of the fight between Room!Connie and Connie, she chopped the copy of herself across the waist and seemingly killed it. That's right, this show just had a person kill a copy of themself (although thankfully Connie seems no worse for the mental wear after the fight.)
- Steven was less than a foot away from being A) smashed around Peridot's pod and potentially seriously injured, or B) getting punched into outer space by Garnet. Thank God Jenny was able to tell them in time, or that could've been the last they ever, EVER saw of Steven.
- When Pizza Steve shows up dressed like Steven, Amethyst eats him! It's offscreen, but her pulling his sunglasses out of her mouth dispels any doubt about what happened.
- Specifically Pearl goes totally insane in this episode, not being able to take any of the events well. By the point that Pizza Steve appears, she is a wreck who just screams, with her visual appearance turning her into a caricature. Seeing how well-composed Pearl usually is, this really borders on deeply unsettling. Similar to the entry in YMMV, you can either find it funny or absolutely disturbing.
- The Slinker. Besides the fact that it's been creeping around the temple for who knows how long, and it repeatedly manages to force Amethyst back into her gem.
- The Body Horror from Amethyst's rushed regenerations, especially the last one, which has incredibly muscular limbs of unequal size. It gets even more disturbing when it starts breaking down.
Sworn To The Sword
- Throughout her time training Connie, Pearl seems to be gradually losing her mental stability since reminiscing on fighting alongside Rose Quartz and guarding an incoming strike designated for Rose. Near the episode's climax, during her argument with Steven about his importance to her, Pearl completely snaps and drops a Wham Line which comes off as an episode of PTSD.Pearl: WHY WON'T YOU JUST LET ME DO THIS FOR YOU, ROSE?!
- There's something downright eerie about how quickly Pearl manages to convince Connie to give up herself for her "liege" Steven. She doesn't even realize at first why Steven might be uncomfortable with the concept.Connie: No Steven, I understand now! Your legacy, your destiny... you are everything! And I am nothing.
- Made even worse by the fact that Pearl was inadvertently playing on Connie's existing worries. Connie was already insecure about being "normal" compared to Steven and his magical world, and Steven is literally the only thing she deeply cares about since he is her only friend. Then Pearl feeds and twists her insecurities, turning a girl Steven's age into a child soldier that's willing to die for him.
Keeping It Together
- The shard Fusions are more or less dead bodies forced to be artificially fused after they've been shattered, ala Frankenstein's monster. Also Garnet says that all of them were Crystal Gems.
- They also look pretty disturbing, especially the last one we see. They wouldn't be out of place in a Cyriak animation.
- And if the appearance alone of these shard Fusions isn't enough to give you nightmares, you also get to hear the shrieks and cries of what are likely the voices of the Gems themselves.
- The fact that they committed what was essentially graverobbing, desecration, and necromancy all in the name of petty revenge shows just how twisted Homeworld was and is.
- It's worth noting that, besides grabbing Garnet, the Fusion is not violent, like other Monster Gems. Garnet recognized that they were former Crystal Gems. It seems like that Fusion had enough sapience to recognize their former teammate, as well, but was too monstrously formed to actually communicate with her.
- When the Fusion starts to form, before it completely materializes, it takes on a form that has four vaguely humanoid silhouettes sticking out of it... and it makes a sound like faint screaming. Not only does the Fusion have some form of sapience, but it's aware of what's happening to it.
- The dissonant, halting track that plays during the sequence with the Cluster Prototypes is nothing short of pure nightmare fuel. Just listen to it for yourself. It's the accompanying music for each individual Gem that's been forced together mixing completely unevenly. Unlike true Fusions, whose music syncs up at least somewhat, these Gems are constantly trying to be on their own, overlapping in a horrible mess of sounds. They're in so much pain, anger, and confusion that they can only get one single note out in harmony.
- Lapis is still in control of Malachite, but just barely. How long until Jasper manages to take over? What's worse, Garnet implies that due to the two fighting each other yet remaining Fused, something that isn't normally supposed to happen, the resulting anger and hatred will build up inside Malachite until it explodes into something even worse.
- Jasper hasn't taken her imprisonment well. When we briefly see her, she seems to have suffered some Sanity Slippage, and when she sees Steven, she just says "You!" repeatedly before Lapis regains control.
- Lapis saying "No! I'm not Lapis anymore. We're Malachite now.", and the subsequent appearance of the Fusion in the dream.
- The score of that scene is even darker than Malachite's first Fusion theme, being a clash of Jasper's jagged synths and Lapis's melancholy theme, and even has moments of the Harsh Noise genre.
- Malachite has this blank, wide-eyed stare, slowly turns her face towards Steven and just gives off this shout. Somehow, jump-cutting in the middle of that shout to Steven waking up makes it even more terrifying.
- Lapis' first appearance in Steven's dream has her staring directly at the camera as water gushes from her eye sockets and mouth◊, flooding the room Steven is in.
Cry For Help
- When Garnet finds out Pearl tricked her, she is pissed. While it's unlikely she would have lost enough control to physically hurt Pearl, the normally calm, chill, and maternal Garnet going full rage on at Pearl must have scared the hell out of many viewers, and certainly scared the hell out of Pearl. Without Amethyst's intervention, things might have gotten even uglier emotionally before Garnet got control of herself again...
- During the shot of the tower falling on Sugilite, there are some sinister bells ringing... which are quickly cut off by Crying Breakfast Friends.
- At one point Onion seemingly has Steven feed a mouse to his pet snake. At the end of the episode however, the mouse pops up, out of Onion's mouth.
- Onion in general has a number of Creepy Child moments, like when he showed Steven the tape of his birth.
- He licks a potato statue from Steven.
- When Sour Cream starts disrupting the electricity with his music, Onion just stares at Steven, making the scene look like straight out of a horror flick.
- his gigantic teddy bear is destroyed. It looks like it was slit open with a knife...
- It's rather easy to miss, but when Pearl attacks Peridot's hologram, she tries to slash through her gem right off the bat. She has become THAT unhinged by all the recent events.
- The entire sequence of Dr. Maheswaran examining her patient. We're told it's supposedly a car accident victim, but it keeps rustling and moaning beneath the covers, completely hidden save for a pale-colored arm. Then she finds it doesn't even have a heartbeat. It's not long after this that we learn it's no car accident victim...
- The scene of Steven, Connie and her mom running into the "patients" in the pitch-dark hospital hallways at night look like they're lifted straight out of a horror flick. Connie's mom even says her work at the hospital was lifted straight out of a nightmare.
Catch and Release
- At the beginning of the episode Peridot basically kidnaps Steven from his bed. Now imagine being one of the Crystal Gems going to check on Steven, only to find that he's gone.
- When Peridot is unbubbled and notices the bubbled Gems, she asks, terrified, "You're going to harvest me?!" This implies Homeworld might seriously be into experimenting on their own Gems soldiers/citizens.
- Why is Peridot so eager to leave Earth? Well, it seems the planet's been awaiting destruction for thousands of years. The Cluster which still seems to be dormant for now will hatch very soon. And when it does, it's strongly suggested to be capable of killing every living thing on the planet. That thing in "Keeping It Together"? That's nothing.
When It Rains
- And now we know what The Cluster is; It's one giant Fusion experiment incubating at the center of the Earth. And when it emerges? It'll be bigger than EARTH ITSELF. Put simply: Earth is the shell and the Cluster is the chick. And Peridot says that it's made of millions of Gem shards. MILLIONS. If the And I Must Scream quality of the Fusion experiments weren't bad enough, now we have The Cluster.
- Steven and Peridot end up being cornered by a Gem mutant while inside Steven's bubble shield. As Steven is trying his best to hold the thing back, its under belly suddenly opens up to reveal a single eye ball that stares right at Steven. What makes it worse is that Steven only has defensive abilities. He can protect himself, but he can't fight back. And Peridot seems to be absolutely harmless without her Artificial Limbs, with no way to fight or defend herself. Good thing the Gems appeared when they did.
- Ruby saves Sapphire and accidentally Fuses with her in the process. Blue Diamond promptly orders her gem to be destroyed, because Gems are only supposed to fuse with their own kind, and not only Fused with another Gem, she fused with a Gem of a higher class.
- Sapphire seemed very cool about her possible death even if she knew that she would survive since before she joined Rose could only see one possible outcome.
- The fact that Blue Diamond was willing to let Sapphire, a high-ranking Gem and a member of her court, be "poofed" (i.e. killed) for the sake of fulfilling a prophecy made by Sapphire herself sheds some really disturbing light on how Homeworld treats its residents...
It Could've Been Great
- Peridot hits the Crystal Gems' Berserk Button HARD when she speaks about Rose Quartz's rebellion being futile and only delaying the inevitable. Garnet's Tranquil Fury reaction in particular; she grabs Peridot by the shirt front, hoists her up to eye level, and summons a gauntlet while telling her how she's talking about things she doesn't understand. Garnet might have poofed her again before Steven convinces her Peridot's Not Worth Killing.
- The Diamond's plans for Earth can qualify as this. We see a hologram of an Earth consisting of only important Gem structures, with almost all of the planet except for the parts of the crust holding Gem structures destroyed. Made much worse by Peridot gushing over the hologram of the desiccated husk of a planet, calling it "perfect", saying how great it would have been if the colony had been completed, even calling the Crystal Gems crazy for trying to stop it!
- Yellow Diamond finally appears, and she makes full use of her screentime to showcase just how cold, unfeeling and horrifying a villain she is.Yellow Diamond: I don't care about "potential" and "resources". I want my Cluster, and I want that planet to die. (...) You are to leave the Cluster to grow; it will tear apart the Earth, and I will take immense satisfaction in erasing that hideous rock off of our star maps! IS THAT CLEAR!?
- And rather than the cool, calculating and brutally pragmatic overlord so many Gems thought her to be, Yellow Diamond is instead a deeply spiteful and glacier-cold being that would rather disregard potential gains for the sake of pride. The Cluster almost seems like a second thought to the goal of destroying something that offends her. And she almost immediately tries to kill Peridot for her insolence. While cold and terrifying, she's also contemptuous and petty. In some ways, this actually makes her more terrifying than if she truly was simply ruthlessly efficient and imperialistic. What's scary is that it seems more then just being spiteful. She's more vindictive in her tone and mannerism about Earth. It's very obvious that she wants her revenge on the Crystal Gems, and was willing to wait millennia for the perfect way to happen; Letting the planet explode from underneath their feet, with no clue what's happening or how to stop it.
- Yellow Diamond's Pearl, because of how she contrasts sharply with Crystal Gem Pearl and how the latter could have turned out differently. She is also a stickler for rules, but her few scenes show her devoid of Crystal Gem Pearl's compassion or motherly tendencies, and she gives an outright Psychotic Smirk as Yellow Diamond approaches Peridot.
- When Peridot declares that Earth is filled with life, Yellow Diamond corrects her by stating "organic life." This small detail shows just how much hatred Yellow Diamond has for anything not a Gem, and how she regards the lives of others just by categorizing them by their species.
- Though she actually has good intentions in doing so, Peridot's giggling and expression◊ when she contacts Yellow Diamond are unnerving, to say the least. It really hammers in the Sanity Slippage she's been undergoing as a result of being torn between the Crystal Gems and her superiors. Not to mention the way she talks about Yellow Diamond to Steven - it quickly goes from just gushing about her flawlessness to a desperate insistence that their survival only hinges on whether or not she finds them worthwhile, as if Peridot had been brainwashed by a cult or something.
- If you're totally used to the more cutesy art, the exaggerated character designs (God, those bulging eyeballs!) in this episode can unnerve you. I mean, just look at Yellow Diamond's angry◊ face!
Log Date 7-15-2
- Peridot's nervous breakdown at the beginning of the episode is incredibly disturbing.
- Garnet and Peridot's near-fusion dance. At this point, Garnet is the only Crystal Gem Peridot has yet to become comfortable around. Homeworld's prejudices against fusion aside, she doesn't like her, understand her, or feel safe around her — but suddenly, Garnet's proposing something very intimate, and Peridot's consent is not enthusiastic. At no point does her body language reflect anything approaching comfort, and while Garnet stops as soon as she gets a firm "no", their dance mostly involves her dragging Peridot around by the hands and locking her arms around her throat, telling her to "get ready." It's a very out-of-character moment for Garnet, and deeply uncomfortable- and the worst part is, given her character, she probably had pure intentions in mind.
Super Watermelon Island
- The Watermelon Stevens have been sacrificing their own to keep Malachite calm. Thank God Steven wasn't allowed on the mission, or this episode would have been more creepy then it already was.
- The way the smaller Gem Mutants come out of the magma and attack the drill. The first one with the hand might be closest thing to a Jump Scare in the show.
- You remember the page picture? The Cluster is exactly like that, but bigger, alive, and in more pain. And the Gem projection that comes out? It's a great big sea of arms, pairs of legs AND SCREAMING FACES. No wonder Steven had a panic attack...
- Even if it ends well, the psychological, nigh-cosmic level horror of countless minds forced into one in the sequence inside the Cluster's mind is not to be denied.The Cluster: "Want to... have to... need to... must... have to... need to... want to... must... FORM!!! FORM!!! FORM!!!! WANT FORM!!!!! WANT FORM!!!"
The Cluster: "CAN'T STOP!!! GOING TO FORM!!!! CAN'T STOP!!! GOING TO FORM!!!!!! HELP!!!!!'' HELP!!!!!"
- And it soon goes like this...
- Keep in mind, each and every one of those Shards was most likely a former Crystal Gem; Gems who betrayed Homeworld to protect the Earth. The fact they collectively seem to say a Little "No" when Steven informs the Cluster it will destroy the Earth when it forms explicitly shows that they can remember enough of themselves to be horrified they're about to destroy the planet they sacrificed so much for to protect and there's nothing they can do about it. Or so they think.
- Also when focused on a single mind, their collective minds are both capable of some form of telepathy and more then enough to violently overwhelm Steven even without direct contact. The amount of psychic energy they must be emitting, for anything with a natural capacity towards mind reading or anything like that, would probably be mind-meltingly destructive of the My Skull Runneth Over variety. We can only hope that isn't leaking out and affecting humanity, because otherwise... the effects could be unimaginable.
- Steven's hyperventilating, sweating, and clear distress as the consciousness of the Cluster comes into contact with him is a startlingly realistic and utterly terrifying depiction of a severe panic attack, which can hit like a bat to the groin for viewers who frequently experience them, and his FACES during said panic attack are Adult Fear incarnate.
- The downright disturbing music from this episode makes all the above even worse.
Same Old World
- We finally learn why Lapis was in the mirror, and it's not pretty. She had simply meant to visit Earth, but was caught by surprise in the war. She was mistaken as a Crystal Gem by Homeworld and was put into the mirror to be used as a tool for information... despite the fact that, since she was not a Crystal Gem, she couldn't tell them anything they demanded of her. Then, when the war was over and the Homeworld Gems were fleeing, someone stepped on her mirror and cracked her gem. She stayed like that, trapped in the mirror, hurt and unable to communicate, for what was probably thousands of years, judging by Pearl's attire.Lapis: There I stayed. Freedom in sight, but out of reach for ages.
- Reality Subtext makes it much worse when you consider that she was basically a victim of the same kind of thinking that got people killed during the Salem Witch Hunts, sent to Nazi death camps during WWII, and imprisoned during the Red Scare (among other things): we THINK you're the enemy, so you have no rights. The scariest part isn't just it happened to her, but that less fantastic versions of that same thing have happened to people in real life.
- It also resembles Locked (in) Syndrome, a terrifying syndrome in which the victim knows everything that's going on but is completely paralyzed. They're unable to talk, all they can do is see. Oftentimes, they're mistaken as dead and may be killed if someone can't prove they're alive.
- The Gem that poofed Lapis also looks insanely scary, being pretty tall and buff and sporting a Slasher Smile as she poofs Lapis. The fact there's a lot of evidence to believe it's the bubbled bismuth inside Lion's pocket dimension doesn't do much to lessen its scariness.
- When the Homeworld Gems are fleeing, there's a bright flash of multi-colored light in the sky, presumably the event that Corrupted the remaining Gems on Earth besides the imprisoned Lapis and the main gang. The color of the ring of light around that flash? Yellow, white, and blue. And if you listen closely, you can hear the Diamond Motif, just as the flash/explosion of light occurs.
- When Lapis describes how it felt trying to keep Malachite underwater for so long, complete with a thousand-yard stare."It was an endless, crushing darkness. Wet and bleak and suffocating. Water was the tomb I lived in for those months."
- Lapis casually splatting the Roaming Eye. Reminds you just how powerful a Gem like her is.
- The episode closes on a scowling Ruby emerging from the crashed ship, with a gem where her left eye should be.
- Steven imagining his own death; he imagines himself basically rotting away and his bones falling out of the sky.
Too Short to Ride
Beach City Drift
- Connie explaining to Greg why she dislikes Kevin, the way she's describing them the events could be much more disturbing than they actually turned out, and you can practically see the gears in Greg's head grind as he imagines it.
- The entire blackout sequence is this, where Stevonnie is on a road rapidly crumbling behind them while a demonic manifestation of their hate for Kevin charges out of Kevin's car straight at them.
Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service
- Kiki is having a dream of being dragged down into cheese by cheesy hands and drowning every night! No wonder she's so happy Steven accidentally used his Dream Walker powers to enter her dream and save her.
- When Steven and Kiki finally decide to get to her nightmare's source, they discover a monster made of cheese shaped like Jenny. The monster then begins to drown Kiki in cheese while continuing to ask her favors... and poor Kiki still refuses to say no, even when the cheese gets up to her neck.
- Centipeetle relaying her story to Steven, specifically the part where she and a large group of other Homeworld Gems join the fight. She draws a large number of stick figures and then begins scribbling out Gems while making explosion-like noises.
- Remember that flash of light from "Same Old World"? Turns out the Diamonds caused it, and it was the source of Gem Corruption. It Corrupted Centipeetle, her crew and possibly all the other Corrupted Gems we've seen. The only reason Lapis was spared was because she was trapped in the mirror.
- The fact that the Diamonds would use whatever weapon or power that caused it in the first place. It's like willingly nuking a territory captured by the enemy - except nukes are intended to kill, which would be merciful by comparison. The Diamonds' weapon mentally damaged and Corrupted everyone left behind, even their own soldiers, into bestial monsters, just so they could deny the enemy the satisfaction of a straight victory.
Pearl: It's alright Steven. Remember, she's not cracked, she's Corrupted, and that's something different, something nearly impossible to describe.Garnet: It's sort of like if MC Bear-Bear didn't tear the fabric of his arm, but the fabric of his mind.
- The Corruption attack is also a case of Nothing Is Scarier. It's never shown exactly what it is—it's only shown as a giant flash of light.
- The simple fact that, as it stands, there is no cure for this. Rose didn't leave those Gems bubbled out of apathy, as some seemed to fear; it was because even her healing powers couldn't do anything.
- And add in the fact that the Corruption isn't physical in nature, but somehow mental. Imagine feeling trapped in a body that isn't yours...
Greg: "If it weren't for her (Rose's) shield, man, I don't know..."
- Something Greg said to Steven in Season 1 suddenly sheds light on how and why the Crystal Gems managed to survive, and just how close they came to being Corrupted.
Alone at Sea
- Lapis admitting that part of her enjoyed being Malachite, using Jasper as a target for all her anger and frustration.
- This episode basically throws away any subtlety that Malachite's fusion is an allegory for an abusive relationship, which is portrayed in a chillingly realistic way. More chilling is the revelation that Jasper was not the only abusive party here: Lapis was almost or equally bad, admitting that she enjoyed being in control and harming Jasper.
- On that note, the way Jasper says "It'll be different this time! I've changed! You've changed me!" and then later blames Steven for Lapis' refusal—the almost word for word parallels to the words of an abuser are downright chilling.
- Jasper's resurgence is laced with pure horror. She looks like an unhinged addict as she craves to be Malachite again, and threatens to shatter Steven for thinking he made Lapis reject the idea of fusion.
- The build up to Jasper returning. It feels like something out of a horror movie: first Lapis hooking something huge and powerful we never see that snaps the pole in half (implied to have been Jasper), then the boat shaking like something is hitting it from below, then the engine breaking down and stranding them as a storm hits before Jasper finally drags herself up from the ocean floor. It's just an overall terrifying atmosphere.
Greg the Babysitter
- The episode's climax is pure Adult Fear as Greg learns the hard way just how little Rose understands about humans when he leaves baby Sour Cream in her care. He returns to find them both gone with no notice, and when he finally finds them, Rose has allowed Sour Cream to climb up a ferris wheel assuming he'd be fine if he fell.
- Jasper poofing one of the Gem monsters with her bare hands, showing Steven the monster's gemstones in order to taunt Rose, and walking off into the blizzard. Just what does she intend to do with those?
- Just how brutal Jasper is. Particularly when she finishes it off by grabbing its gem and ripping it out.
- Simply Jasper being there while Connie and Steven were alone. This is a Gem who has only gone down to Garnet and Lapis, both serious powerhouses, and she's alone with two kids, one of whom is on their first ever mission and (as we were reminded at the start of the episode) had never been in a real fight.
Crack the Whip
- Jasper shows once again that she's not fucking around with a vicious beatdown of Amethyst.
- Jasper poofing Amethyst, holding her gemstone in her hand with the intent to shatter it. The way she'd done it with such brute force..... it's like she was close to shattering her.
Steven vs. Amethyst
- Steven and Amethyst's fight. Granted, Steven's part-Gem, so he can take the kind of pounding that ensues in a Gem-class sparring match, but as Amethyst brings out the kind of attacks we've only seen in actual combat, one almost wonders if she's losing control and is about to seriously hurt Steven. As the fight wears on, both Amethyst and Steven start getting physically worn down, and it seems like one or both of them will end up getting a serious injury due to exhaustion.
- Bismuth in general once she unveils the weapon. The others just want to stop Homeworld's invasion of Earth, she wants to shatter (i.e. KILL) them!
- Then when she starts going into a Sanity Slippage, we learn what happened to her: when she showed Rose "The Breaking Point", Rose, being a Martial Pacifist, turned down the idea immediately. Bismuth didn't take this well, there may have been a fight (which Bismuth heavily implies she started in rage), and Rose poofed her in the end. She hid Bismuth in Lion and lied to the Gems about her.
- Added to this: keep in mind that everything we've seen so far makes it clear that the Homeworld Gems aren't Always Chaotic Evil. They're the bad guys, sure, but ones like Peridot were simply misled, ones like Lapis were civilians caught in the crossfire, and ones like Centipeetle were just soldiers doing their job. While Bismuth's mentality is understandable, it's made clear she's gotten to the point where she can justify shattering them whole-sell 'for the greater good' and would attack Rose, her FRIEND, because of it. It's quite possible that it wasn't simply the weapon she wanted to use, but Bismuth having become so utterly consumed by hatred to that point that caused Rose to seal her away.
- There was also a bit of Foreshadowing to this, as she barely reacted to hearing that Rose was gone, plus the way she reacted when Pearl said that Rose was "worried sick" about Bismuth.
- Steven vs Bismuth. Full. Stop. Bismuth has officially gone crazy and attacks Steven, thinking he's Rose, and trying to cause a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against "her". As terrifying as the concept is alone, it only gets worse from there. This whole fight shows that not every member of the Gems have the same morals: the others are out for justice, Bismuth is out for blood. Then there's the fact that this is hands-down Steven's most intense fight: Steven doesn't have the home field advantage, he doesn't have assistance of any kind, and his opponent actually wants to kill him!
- If you pay attention to her eyes while she rants and tries to kill Steven, you can notice they grow into snake-like slits.
- She even expresses a desire for death, saying that it would have been better if Rose had shattered her.
- And it gets worse, as this marks the first time in the series that Steven has poofed a completely sentient Gem.
- The fight goes out of its way to show Steven's slipper dropping into molten lava, and the ground of the forge burned the bottom of his foot just by standing on it. Besides the bruising and (thankfully bloodless) cuts on his shirt, his finishing moment on Bismuth shows steam rising up from his bare foot, meaning that he was forced to ignore his own pain to save himself in the heat of the moment.
- As frightening as this is, just imaging it from Steven's perspective. A person you've come to trust and be good friends with takes you to their place and offers you a gift... which turns out to be a weapon they have every intent of performing genocide with. They hand it to you, expecting you to use it... and when you reject it, all the kindness they showed you is gone and they go berserk. They want you dead, and you're all alone with no one to protect you. Your only way to save yourself is to impale them through the gut. It's a Moment of Awesome for Steven, just because he didn't completely lose himself to panic.
- The fact that Bismuth immediately flies into a rage and attacks Steven when he rejects the Breaking Point. No questioning why he rejected it, no trying to convince him, not even an angry Motive Rant. She just instantly flies into a screaming rage and lunges at Steven, simply because he said no. Her words imply she had the same reaction when Rose refused.
- Bismuth's weapon, "The Breaking Point". It was designed by her during the Rebellion, for the specific purpose to completely shatter any Gem on the receiving end. It was very fortunate that Rose was a Martial Pacifist who didn't share Bismuth's sentiments, because if she wasn't, the Rebellion would've lasted a lot longer with fewer survivors, not only from dealing with Homeworld soldiers, but also from dealing with an entirely new army of enraged and destructive mutants created from the leftover Gem shards. And that's not even considering the idea Homeworld would escalate the war in response.
- The actual weapon itself: A pneumatic metal gauntlet with a large, sharp point at the end that can shatter stone with a thrusting impact. Compared to all the spears, whips and hammers we've seen the Gems use, it's uncannily more modern and industrial in comparison, and wouldn't look out of place on, say, Unreal Tournament or even Bloodborne as opposed to a cartoon.
- And there's the fact that if you think about it, the Breaking Point isn't actually very practical as a weapon of war. It's ridiculously short-ranged, has a long priming time, and has to hit squarely to do its job. It would really only work if the target gem had somehow been immobilized first. It's not a weapon of war, it's a weapon of terror.
- Moments before showing "The Breaking Point" to Steven, Bismuth mentions that Rose specifically commissioned her to make weapons designed to poof Gems, not shatter them. Notice how she does an off-side glare and her voice gets quieter as she utters the end of that line. It seems that not only did she want Homeworld defeated, she will stop at nothing until they're all but shards in her hands. Aside from having her weapon rejected, part of the reason why she attacked Rose was because she resented that her pacifistic influence kept her from delivering the justice she thought Homeworld deserved.
- Seeing Bismuth be impaled is this in and of itself, especially given that it was Steven who had to do the deed. It's literally a child having to stab someone they thought they could trust to defend themselves from being murdered. In previous fights in the series, it was either him leading a fairly standard trap or circumstance to poof a Corrupted Gem, or one of the Crystal Gems dealing the blow. Steven having to run Bismuth through is pure traumatization fuel, as Mindful Education would go to show.
- Peridot keeps chatting about how disorganized, haphazard and all over the place the beta kindergarten was, and how it was far from the carefully engineered prime kindergarten where Amethyst was made, since Homeworld made it during the rebellion in a last-ditch effort to get more troops and fast. She points out several faulty holes and how no holes show the characteristics at the perfect one... then they find a huge one. Jasper's. At first, Peridot dismisses it with a "we already knew she was tall", but when she goes up to investigate closer, trying to find fault but not finding any, she is forced to admit that this was the clearest most perfect exit hole she ever saw, with Jasper's leaving it turning the whole of the inside into glass just by the heat of its friction. Repeat, the unstoppable juggernaut of a woman who has battled Rose Quartz, wrestled Lapis Lazuli for the control of Malachite with the whole ocean weighing her down, and has followed our heroes for a few episodes now, is the freak result of a place with poor resources, ran with poor organization and with little to no time. She just woke up into existence there, and did a spin dash-attack so strong to get out it melted the sandstone.
- The final moments of the episode. Amethyst is talking about all the other weird holes when Peridot notices something wrong with one, that it's too dug out and the digging was recent. They then see more holes like that and follow them, coming to holes with bars across the front. Steven then nearly get clawed by a captured Gem Monster. Even Peridot is horrified at who might be doing this... cue Jasper seen in the distance.
- While the Prime Kindergarten was horrifying in part because of how fragile and ordered everything seemed, the Beta Kindergarten is the opposite: due to being a rush job, it's full of deformed and twisted holes, and everything about it just feels incredibly wrong.
- While overlooked considering everything else that happened, Jasper's monologue on what the Homeworld thinks of anyone who doesn't fit their mold is seriously creepy and brings to life some seriously disturbing comparisons to a certain real life group.Jasper: Every Gem is made for a purpose: to serve the order of the Diamonds. Those who cannot fit inside this order must be purged!
- Jasper's fusion with the Corrupted Quartz leaves her a six-legged hideous centaur beast vaguely resembling Malachite.What's worse is that she obviously forced the fusion with the other Gem. When they're separated, she tries again, ignoring the way the other Gem is struggling to get away from her. The show treats fusion as G-Rated Sex and not long after she and the other Gem are permanently separated the creature runs away from her in obvious terror.
- Jasper becoming corrupted from fusing with a Corrupted Gem and slowly turning into one herself, rejecting any and all help from Steven. The Corruption is not instantaneous — we see it creeping up her arm and slowly eclipsing her more humanoid features. As she rants and raves at Steven, it suddenly takes over her face, blotting out her eyeballs in the space of a few seconds and replacing them with tumorous stalactites that resemble the horned growths that the alpine Gem monsters have. We don't know if this was unique to Jasper's Corruption because of the way she contracted it, or whether, despite the sudden, devastating flash the Centipeetle recalled, Corruption is a degenerative condition, rather than an instantaneous transformation. Which raises the horrific possibility of a planet full of abandoned Homeworld Gems, as well as Crystal Gems, watching in horror as their bodies and minds gradually slip away from them, helpless to save themselves.
- Jasper's scream in her newly corrupted form; it's just so grating and distorted from her original womanly voice that it's downright unsettling—-not to mention the closeup of her destroyed eyes and jagged zigzag line of teeth.
- Just before Jasper becomes a fully Corrupt Gem Monster, she yells, with her voice breaking and the shot being an extreme close-up of her face Corrupting before it takes over entirely.Jasper: Wh-?! My Diamond! Your Diamond!! PI-I-INK DIAMO-O-O-O-OND!!!!
- It was hinted at in "Monster Reunion" and "Gem Hunt" that Corruption isn't just a physical injury, but mental as well. Confirmed here as Jasper goes completely frickin' insane as part of the process.
Back to the Moon
- Steven getting blown out of the airlock with the Rubies, and Sardonyx and Amethyst watching helplessly. To see someone like Steven in this situation is terrifying.
- The more horrifying part is that a Ruby (specifically Eyeball) wrenched him away from the door controls. She's so angry that she's willing to kill Steven by exposing him to outer space. Then again, Homeworld Gems don't need air to breathe, and Eyeball probably isn't bright enough to even realize she's putting Steven in danger. But it's still pretty screwed up.
- Eyeball has all the hallmarks of a Shell-Shocked Veteran, and her violently going after Steven once he eliminates any remaining doubt in Eyeball's mind that he is Rose Quartz/has her gem makes a certain twisted sense, since from her perspective, Rose is a regicidal terrorist who got who knows how many thousands of Gems killed. However, her fantasies about presenting "Rose" to the Diamonds take a turn for the extremely creepy when Eyeball starts talking excitedly, even lustfully, about being given a Pearl as a reward. To Eyeball, it's like fantasizing about being rewarded with a status symbol like a shiny new car. To the human audience of SU, who have just spent three seasons getting attached to CG Pearl, and to Steven himself, Eyeball is fantasizing about owning a person with thoughts and feelings, who will be treated as if they don't have any agency or intellect because they're not a "real Gem", despite our Pearl having provided ample evidence to the contrary. Deliberate Values Dissonance and then some...
- Eyeball's sheer relish at the prospect of killing Steven. Which she doesn't try to hide at all. There is a very noticeable change in her voice just before she pulls a knife on Steven, when she outright says she never thought she'd have a chance to kill Rose Quartz. The difference, especially compared to Garnet!Ruby's voice, is jarring.Ruby: I never thought I'd get a chance like this. I can't believe you're all mine!
- Steven's Break the Cutie moment: Having ejected the Ruby into space, he catches his breath, and just curls into the Fetal Position, seemingly accepting that he was going to die, alone. Even the background music was silent and eerie. The camera then pans out, showing the vastness of space. Seeing how small he is against the vastness of space instills a sense of hopelessness/emptiness and dread that feels awe-inspiring as it is terrifying.
- And not too long ago, he learned that his mother was essentially a murderer of a higher-up (akin to assassins of world leaders on Earth) and this was the only thing he was aware of. Had he gone unnoticed by the Crystal Gems, this would also have been the last thing he was going to die knowing about.
- After having his help rejected several times in season 3, Steven, who has taken almost everything in stride, has what can only be described as an emotional breakdown, caused with horrifying hallucinations of Bismuth, Jasper, Eyeball, and finally, Rose, which causes the music to become very unsettling and distorted. Listen closely, and it appears to be a distortion of Rose's theme.
- As much as it is just heartbreaking, Steven's hallucinations all culminate into a glaring Rose Quartz, and Steven's subsequent meltdown about how he wasn't able to save Bismuth, Jasper, or Eyeball from their fates all because he's connected to Rose and her actions against them. If it wasn't for Connie snapping him out of it, they would have both died from the fall.
- The outro music could very well be the atmospheric noise from a horror game.
- Quite predictably for people Onion would be friends with, the group has quite a Creepy Child vibe at times. They pull a prank on Steven by making him think one of them was horribly injured and then died, and they hold bug races where they then smash the winner with a special hammer.
- After the heartwarming ending to this episode, the credits roll, except the music sounds... off, as though it was reversed. The only question is, reversed from what?
Three Gems and a Baby
- Pearl, not yet understanding that Rose and Steven are not one and the same, very nearly pulls baby Steven's gem out. She ultimately can't bring herself to do it, but seeing her (as well as Amethyst and Garnet) being so confused about the entire situation is extremely painful.Pearl: Rose. I know you're in there. I can let you out! (reaches for Steven's gem, voice starts to break) We'll be... together... again!
- The way the Gems kidnap Steven. Greg leaves the room to get one of Vidalia's baby books... and when he comes back, Steven and the Gems are gone. By the time he gets outside they've already taken off in the van. The fact this could easily happen in real life only makes it worse.
- Blue Diamond only came to Earth to grieve Pink Diamond. She spends all of her screen-time crying and never even raises her voice, speaking in a gentle brogue. She still ends up being absolutely terrifying, partly because of the Diamond Authority's presence and because of the eerie music that serves as her leitmotif. You also have to remember she coldly demanded Ruby be shattered for the crime of accidentally Fusing with Sapphire, and while she wants to preserve samples from Earth, she still has no qualms about destroying it. The scary part isn't her mannerisms—she simply comes off as a grieving woman. It's the irony. She's talking to Rose Quartz's lover, AKA the husband of Pink Diamond's killer. The eerie music and way her voice never rises above a whisper only make it worse. The effect seems to be building up to her finding out who she's really talking to and suddenly smashing Greg like a pancake. Thankfully, it never happens, but the anticipation is unsettling. Sure, we find out later she's become much less cruel than she was in "The Answer", but her kidnapping Greg instead is more than a little disturbing.
- Just the fact that one of the Diamonds has been visiting Earth, like it's just this casual jaunt. She then returned to Homeworld before the Crystal Gems managed their faster-than-light trick. Despite the Galaxy Warp being down, Homeworld forces can still reach Earth very, very quickly, much faster than previous ships suggested.
- The moment when Blue Diamond kidnaps Greg to take him back with her to Homeworld becomes pure Adult Fear. Steven tries floating after them, but his targets move too fast for him to catch up, and he comes up too short. Garnet is panicking because she foresaw the whole thing, while also seeing that stopping it from happening would cause Blue Diamond to find her and the rest of the Gems.
- How about the fact that Blue Diamond made a freaking human zoo for Pink (even though the latter didn't want it)? And that the Crystal Gems were never able to save the poor humans... just what is it like now after thousand of years?
Adventures in Light Distortion
- Though mostly comedic, a few of the Gems' "shifts" cross into Body Horror territory.
- When the ship's speed exceeds that of light, stretching out Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl behind the ship over what's implied to be entire light years as they're dragged by their gems, leaving Steven all alone, in a spacecraft that's about to crash into the Human Zoo. The epilepsy-inducing Art Shift does not help matters.
- The abusive treatment of the Quartzes by Holly Blue Agate stationed at the zoo gives off horrible implications for Homeworld. After the death of Pink Diamond by a Quartz, society began treating them like dirt because they were literally born from dirt (Earth), resulting in horrible internalization. It may explain why Jasper was so messed up.
- Just the way Holly Blue Agate casually talks about how Greg was "thrashing about". And then cut to Steven's shocked face. Talk about Lack of Empathy.
- One of the (larger) Amethysts that the Crystal Gems meet at the start makes a joke about throwing Steven out into space. We already saw this in an earlier episode and the threat of it happening again... okay, yes, it was really a joke, but still...
- Steven getting stripped of his clothes, analyzed with photos taken, and his ears pierced. This happens to every human brought there, and evokes some rather startling imagery along with Blue Agate's treatment of Steven that reinforces how Gems don't even see humans as sentient beings, just things that come and go and eventually pass away. While it seems peaceful on the inside, the build-up to it makes it feel like Steven's about to get put to slave work or something.
- While treated surprisingly well, the humans at the Zoo effectively have every aspect of their lives decided. When they sleep, what they eat, how they feel - all carefully and efficiently controlled enough that they don't even know what bad feelings or physical pain are.
- There is also apparently a "breeding program" of sorts, known as The Choosening, to keep numbers up. They do not choose who they get Choosened with, it is determined for them.
- Humans from 5,000 years ago were taken from Earth and put in a zoo. People from ~3,000 B.C. were taken to a ZOO, placed in a false environment, that is floating in space light years from everything they knew, and were NEVER rescued. They were taken from their homes, never to return.
- When Greg rejects the other humans at the Choosening, they all immediately break down as if outright traumatized and horrified by the mere thought that someone they liked would reject them. The fact that they practically chase Steven and Greg like a small horde afterwards doesn't help, even if not maliciously.
That Will Be All
- The reveal that if Yellow Diamond had her way, the entire Rose Quartz species would've been shattered for Rose's rebellion. Yes, Blue Diamond spared them, but it's still a chilling example of Disproportionate Retribution.
- Although for the rest of the episode she is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Blue Diamond has a moment of pretty unsettling Tranquil Fury the moment Holly Blue Agate announces Sapphire had completed a task she'd never given her. It makes the situation extremely nerve-wracking.Holly Blue Agate: You'll be pleased to know that your Sapphire has completed your special delivery!
Blue Diamond: (coldly) What special delivery?
Holly Blue Agate: Erm... The special delivery you requested from Earth, of course!
Blue Diamond: (eyes narrow) I never asked any Sapphire to go to Earth.
- When Blue Diamond becomes forlorn at the window of Earth's "specimens" closing because of the Cluster, Yellow Diamond asks Sapphire if it had emerged. When given the answer "no", she turns to Blue Diamond with an unnerving grin, the lighting putting a shadow on her face, and says: "Then there's still time". In other words? She's planning on going back to Earth to "collect" more humans.
Storm in the Room
- Connie is unable to get hold of her mother when the latter is extremely late picking her up from Steven's. Her growing panic is not only relatable, but pretty terrifying.
- The sudden Mood Whiplash when Steven's talking to Cloud Rose. It starts with him talking about how he was always inspired by her portrait... and then devolves into a long stream of accusations and questions, as the clouds begin to swirl and Cloud Rose lifts into the air, her face shrouded in shadow. The constant flashes of lightning don't help.
Room For Ruby
- At the end of the episode, when Navy betrays the CGs, she doesn't drop her serene voice, cheerful disposition, or sweet smile the whole time. Turns out she was right about getting mad being the only thing she can't do.
- The face Navy has while telling Steven the only problem is that he, Lapis, and Peridot are still hanging on after she'd gotten Steven to open the door which caused them to be sucked out. That wide-eyed, wide smile face while doing so is especially unsettling.
- Some of the music in the episode counts as this. It starts with light, casual music, but then when someone mentions something disturbing, the music plays a Drone of Dread. It's just... unsettling. Some of the stuff the characters say during this period does not help at ALL.
- At the end of episode, it seems the one causing trouble at Funland was Onion, who apparently mistook Steven, Connie, and Doug to be people after him. Steven clears up the situation, everything seems fine, and they drive away. Onion starts walking home, only to hear thudding footsteps behind him. He then turns around to see the ones actually after him. Cue end of episode.
- Just think of the entire episode from Onion's POV: Sure, he broke into Funland, but then he found himself pursued by not only Steven, Connie and Doug, but also by a pair of aliens with terrible powers that he stood no chance against. All he could do was run, and, when faced with the only person who could possibly help him (Steven), his speech problems left him unable to communicate. Trapped, chased, and unable to call for help. That's some Adult Fear and Nothing Is Scarier right there.
Are You My Dad?
- The way the Topaz Fusion carries her prisoners around is terrifying: she unfuses, then Fuses back together around the people, encasing them in her '''torso'''. She isn't especially careful or neat about it, haphazardly hanging them around, barely expose enough of their faces to breath, and maybe leaving one limb dangling around helplessly.Aquamarine: Look at those organics, squirming around.
- Aquamarine in general. Whilst initially quite cute and rather silly looking, she shows herself to be a cruel, guileless character, taking childlike glee in imprisoning the humans and playfully spinning around when she uses her wand to launch Steven into a tree and knock him unconscious, doing so with a smile on her face.
- The build-up to the whole missing-persons plot begins seemingly innocuously, with Steven waiting for a package and the mailman failing to turn up. Then Steven bumps into Sour Cream handing out missing posters of Onion and learns that he hasn't been seen for at least two days. Then he can't find Lars or Sadie and finds Barb instead at the Big Donut, searching for her daughter. Barb doesn't become seriously worried until Steven confirms that Sadie was definitely on her way home the last time he saw her. Barb then says that she saw Jamie just that morning, heading out to deliver Stevens package. Their slowly coming to the realisation that four people they know have gone missing without a trace, and may have been so for hours, is very unsettling, not just because it takes place in a darkened room and is eerily reminiscent of real-life disappearances.
I Am My Mom
- Topaz' response to being attacked directly by Garnet? Expose her torso with all the human hostages sticking out. Naturally, Garnet is stopped in her tracks and Topaz seizes the opportunity to counter-attack. The Adult Fear is very strong in this episode, considering that most of the hostages are children.
- Aquamarine greatly outdoes her appearance in the last episode in the creepiness department, this time displaying several serious expressions. Special note goes to this moment:Aquamarine: Hey, Topaz, can you remind me - I mean, my memory is perfect, but... our orders were to bring back these six humans. I'm just not sure, did they specify... (expression changes to a stern one) alive?(camera shows Steven and the Gems' shocked expressions)Aquamarine: (gleeful tone) You know... I don't think they did!
- This is followed by Topaz gripping Jamie's head threateningly whilst Aqua tells the Gems that, if they care about the humans, they should tell her where "My Dad" is. The fact that they're not only willing to use hostages, but that she acts so gleeful and taunting about it is truly terrifying.
- Jamie's reaction to the above is horrifying too. Jamie has a flair for the melodramatic, but when Topaz grips his head and ever so slightly squeezes, all that he says is "... S-Steven...?" which is so hushed and quiet that it's barely above a whisper. That is the reaction of someone who has dropped all pretense and is very genuinely fearful for his life.
- And whilst not "creepy" and more terrifying in general, bear in mind that, later in the episode, she manages to effortlessly freeze Alexandrite using her wand. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this toddler-sized, bratty fairy Gem is capable of effortlessly stopping Alexandrite. Sure, she probably wasn't the reason she defused, it was most likely the shock and horror of the Gems at Steven's actions causing them to separate as soon as they could move again, but that's still a lot of power for such a tiny Gem to have, especially since her wand doesn't even seem to be her Gem weapon and is probably easily replicated on Homeworld.
- Lars' very obvious trauma from being absorbed into Topaz. When Steven splits Topaz and frees the humans, Lars has a realistic panic attack, shaking, sweating and hyperventilating from the terrifying events occurring around him, while being completely oblivious to Sadie's pleas for him to run with her. Even when Sadie is grabbed by one of the Topazes, Lars is barely capable of doing anything other staring horrified at her, and, after considerable effort, gets up looking ready to fight, takes one look at her, and runs away and hides out of fear of the Gem.
- The episode's ending. Steven reveals that he's Rose Quartz to Aquamarine in order for her to let everyone go, which she does. After the Gems fearfully yell at Steven following it, the episode ends with Topaz and Aquamarine's ship closing and warping away, presumably to Homeworld, as Connie screams out Steven's name. Obviously doubles as a TearJerker.
- The nature of "the list": Peridot's report to Homeworld after "Marble Madness", the same one where the Crystal Gems identify themselves to Peridot. Aquamarine's dismissive rebuttal of Amethyst repeating their identity, while citing the report, hammers in a rather chilling fact: the Diamonds know of the existence of the Crystal Gems in that specific area, but they just don't care. For four seasons, we have seen the Crystal Gems defy Homeworld gems time and time again, but Homeworld Gems barely even consider them a nuisance without Rose, and are dismissed as "Rose Quartz's old lackeys". Given how Aquamarine easily immobilized Alexandrite, one can't help but realize that Lapis was right - a fight against the modern Homeworld is suicide for the Crystal Gems.
- Aquamarine convinces Topaz not to help Lars and Steven by threatening to have her component parts shattered.
- Defense Zircon's circumstances - if she fails to defend her client, she gets her gem shattered. Except that she's defending Steven, who's being mistaken for the Gem who shattered Pink Diamond. Failure Is the Only Option, meaning that Defense's fate is pretty much sealed.
- Blue Diamond again shows that her usual depression should not be taken as being less scary than Yellow:"I want to know what she thinks we're going to do with her. Because I want to do something worse."
- The reveal about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Pink Diamond's death can put into perspective the whole frightening truth of a traitor among friends. Defense Zircon theorizes that one of her fellow Diamonds asked Pink Diamond to stop her Palanquin and walk outside to talk with them, took her by surprise and shattered her, then framed a well known criminal for the act and covered it up with the authority they wield as leaders of the Gem race.
- Yellow Diamond's reaction to Defense Zircon's accusing the Diamonds. Clearly enraged, she poofs her with all the effort of squashing a bug. When Prosecuting Zircon decides to run her mouth, Yellow Diamond instantly blasts her with lightning and poofs her in one hit. That is the power of a Diamond.
- What's especially chilling is the complete lack of rage in Yellow Diamond's expression, at least at first. No hilarious over-the-top expression like when Peridot called her a clod... she just gets up slowly, and promptly poofs Defense Zircon - and then Prosecuting Zircon with nary a word. All with a cold-yet-ruthless savagery, only stopped when Blue Diamond grabs her.
- Even when Steven and Lars escape by stealing Blue Diamond's palanquin, Yellow steps out after them and coldly calls out to "Rose," reminding "her" that no matter where they run, there's no escape - they're trapped on Homeworld, in the heart of hostile territory.
- The most eerie part of Homeworld would have to be the enormous structure of White Diamond looming above everything else, visible wherever you would turn, a constant reminder that the Diamond Authority is always watching.
- The entire situation the title "Off-Colors" are in. They're forced to hide out in the long forgotten and abandoned underground areas of Homeworld, fearing for their lives and knowing if they're found they'll be shattered on sight. Worse yet, their only 'crime' is being different from the norm, some simply for being born with what amounts to a birth defect.
- Lars' death is incredibly brutal for a cartoon. After he destroys the Robonoid, the resulting explosion sends him flying into the nearby rock. He hits it with a horrible crack and falls, hitting a second rock with another fleshy impact. Then Steven checks his heartbeat, only to find none. We just witnessed a teenager die on screen in a rather brutal method. In a kids show!
- The Shattering Robonoids. The fact that these machines were built for the sole purpose of targeting the gemstones of a gem directly rather than poofing them. Goes to show how much Homeworld's capabilities for cruelty have advanced since Bismuth created the Breaking Point...
- It's brief, but when Pearl tries to tell Steven about the Diamonds in an attempt to comfort him, her hand slaps itself over her mouth in a way that does not seem voluntary and her piano theme briefly becomes wild and chaotic. Along with her comment about some things being "impossible for [her] to explain", it seems to imply she's been somehow programmed to be unable to say certain things. The idea of being betrayed by one's own body, even thousands of years after escaping servitude, is terrifying.
Lars of the Stars
- The ending, in which Emerald's ship fires missiles to blast the Star Skipper out of the stars, spiraling towards a nearby planet in flames...
- We see what's left of an apparently failed Gem colony, the planet devastated and broken apart, no life apparent from the moon.
- Stevonnie's dream. It starts out innocently enough, in Connie's house while a larger version of her mother ignores her while talking on the phone. Except then Connie's mother starts discussing the ruthless tactics needed to invade a planet. And then, when Stevonnie tries to get her attention, she turns to look at them... with Yellow Diamond's eyes.
- Just how casual and bored Yellow Diamond sounds discussing and ordering planetary genocide in the flashback. It's just unnerving to see someone discuss it like it's just a day at the office.
- At one point during the argument between Yellow and Pink Diamond, the former grabs the latter's arm hard enough to leave them wincing a bit afterwards. Granted, Yellow Diamond has done a lot worse to those who push the Berserk Button, but it's still painful to watch.
- The look of pure rage on Pink Diamond's face as she smashes her fist into a glass wall. The shattered glass reflects her wide-eyed, snarling face many times over, for added effect.
Your Mother and Mine
- During Garnet's story about her, we see Rose Quartz's meeting with Pink Diamond, where she pleads with her to spare the lives of the humans on Earth. Pink Diamond's response? She has a cold Noblewoman's Laugh and mocks her wish to 'save their lives at the expense of ours' as if she just told her a stupid joke, confirming that the Diamond Authority in general see organic life as not just unequal, but beneath that of Gems. Even if it was part of a fake story, it's jarring to see how much of a clear knowledge Pink Diamond has of Homeworld's ways.
- We get to see the slightest glimpse of White Diamond. It's only her hand, but it certainly leaves an impression. If only going by her hand, she's massive in comparison to her fellow Diamonds, who're already depicted as massive beings, stories taller than our protagonists, and yet their hands only barely fit in the palm of hers.
Can't Go Back
- The Diamonds could use that orb in the Moon base to basically watch anywhere on the planet at any time. Imagine being a Gem assigned to duty on the ground, just knowing that a Diamond could be watching your move at any time. Better think twice about taking a small break to rest, or doing something that would be against The Diamond Authority... talk about Paranoia Fuel.
- No mention of the conversation as a whole? From Blue and Yellow's perspective, they reassured Pink that the colony would be fine as long as she was alive, and then, not long after, she DIES, as if the Crystal Gems came to the same conclusion and decided to act on it. It really puts their issues with it even after this long into perspective. Blue at least, probably blames herself to at least some degree.
- When Pink Diamond is left standing all alone in Steven's dream, a shadow of what looks like Pearl holding Rose's scabbard emerges from Steven's shadow and slowly walks towards Pink, with background music becoming suspenseful and unnerving. She then carefully unsheathes the sword and music gets slightly tenser. Steven anxiously questions the things he's seeing ("Mom's sword? Is that... Pearl??"), and the scene cuts to a close up of Pearl before she suddenly turns around to look in the viewer's direction (her eyes implying hostility and being completely blank), accompanied by a Scare Chord.
A Single Pale Rose
- Amber Cragg's promo image for this episode. Pearl is staring wide-eyed at the viewer with a mix of terror and Thousand-Yard Stare, while holding her phone just over her mouth to hide it as if she's censoring herself. It's utterly chilling, reminding one of a promo for Black Mirror, and serves as a warning for what is to come.
- Since we learn that Rose Quartz is Pink Diamond, that means she was kidnapping humans for her Zoo because of her fascination for them. She never even let them go while she was Pink Diamond (before staging her shattering). So imagine being kidnapped by an all-powerful child into this "Zoo" for her own amusement of humans and then your captor forgetting all about you to fight for you (and quote "live with you"). Leaving you and your offspring trapped with no escape for generations, probably forever.
- The next episode reveals that Blue Diamond was actually the one who created the Zoo because she misinterpreted Pink's begging to spare the Earth. Somehow, that arguably makes it worse, since Pink unwittingly caused numerous humans to be imprisoned away from their home for thousands of years as a result.
- We find out why Pearl involuntarily covers her mouth when the topic of Pink Diamond's death comes up: because she was ordered by Pink/Rose to never speak of the event again. This shows that Pearls can't ever disobey the orders of their owners. Even after thousands of years have passed. Even after their owners' deaths.
- "I want to tell you but I can't." It serves as a really nice hint for two things, one being the impending dark secret (and the layers of Pearl's mind that get worse the deeper you go) and the other being the fact that Pearl likely spent a very long time wanting to tell the truth but couldn't due to the order she was given. To add even more horror to it, Pearl also says at the end that she's been waiting for so long to tell him; basically, at least from the time Steven was born, Pearl desperately wanted to tell of the event and she could never satisfy that need due to her essentially being programmed against doing so, leaving her inner self indefinitely suffering from her desperation while her outer layers never show it. Cripes!
- Pearl's layered consciousness doesn't seem healthy in the slightest, even allowing for Gem psychology being very different from humans'. The top layer is obsessed with organization to the exclusion of all else, which is bad enough but the deeper you go the worse it gets. Particular mention to "War Memories" Pearl, who spends every moment of her existence on her knees catatonic on a battlefield surrounded by all her dead friends.
Now We're Only Falling Apart
- Pearl telling Pink/Rose to "replace" her after a failed attempt at fusion. Remember that all gems are programmed from the very start, so even a slip-up such as this would warrant a replacement. Also, although not explicitly stated, "replace" is most likely a kind way of saying "shattered."
- This turns out to be foreshadowing for what happened to Pink Diamond's original Pink Pearl. Which itself has all manner of horrifying implications.
Made of Honor
- The corrupted Biggs attacks Steven so hard that his bubble shatters, with Bismuth just barely snapping out of her Heroic BSoD in time to save them both.
- The Diamonds have come back for the Cluster. When they forcibly pop its bubble, dozens of white shapes that look like ghosts emerge and manifest into the shape of a single arm, about the size of a Diamond ship, whose red color makes it look like it's been flayed alive with the muscle fibers showing. Luckily, its first act is to punch Yellow Diamond's ship.
- Yellow Diamond's ship is strong enough to give the Cluster arm a serious fight, and it apparently is suffering a Heroic RRoD afterwards. How tough is that ship? How tough is Yellow!?
- We finally see Blue Diamond in battle...and it's terrifying. Both in terms of her killing intent (while still grieving, she's done talking and just wants revenge), and sheer power (when Connie attacks her, she effortlessly stops the sword with her fingers and snaps it as if it were a small piece of glass). Dropping both Diamond ships on top of her isn't enough to scratch her. The most the Crystal Gems can do, while all working together, is ruffle her hair and piss her off.
- Yellow Diamond is a terror to behold. Her very entrance once her ship is brought down is downright scary. She violently punches through the ship and climbs out before she looks down and gives the audience a Death Glare, filled with more anger than her expression shows and bursting with electricity. And to top it off, it also comes with a Scare Chord that helps to convey the idea that, alongside Blue Diamond, Yellow Diamond is NOT someone you want to tangle with. She's also a force to be reckoned with in combat, effortlessly poofing Peridot with her lightning without even giving her the satisfaction of saying she remembers the peridot who called her a clod, and then runs at a terrifying speed for someone so huge at Steven, stomping him into the sand with incredible force. And when Lapis dared her to give her everything she's got, she poofs Lapis instantaneously.
- When Yellow Diamond stomps Steven, she does it so hard and with such force that Steven very nearly dies from being crushed (and not even his shield could save him), sending his consciousness onto an alternate reality plane where he's unable to physically interact with his friends and the Diamonds as Connie fruitlessly attempts to get him to get back up. Aside from making (spiritual) contact with the other characters and talking to them psychically, all Steven can do in this state is watch his friends hopelessly fight two nigh unbeatable beings who are bent on avenging a family member they thought they lost.
Legs From Here to Homeworld
- Centipeedle's (Nephrite) healing. It doesn't sound bad, but seeing it played out does. When Yellow Diamond first heals her, she reverts back to her true form, but her legs are literally jelly and acts like a feral animal. So Blue Diamond heals her psyche and it works... but she's now distraught and repeats the same phrase note . Finally, it's Steven that manages to fix her whole. Then the chances of healing the other corrupted Gems go straight down the drain when Nephrite suddenly goes back to her monster form the moment the Diamonds pull back their hands.
- White Pearl. Not only does she "move" around while not lifting a single finger like her master, but the right side of her face is cracked along with a faint circle where her eye used to be despite her gemstone being intact, and all with a pleasant smile on her face and a cheery, but noticeably robotic monotone voice. Also, when she comes to pick up Steven, and Yellow tells Blue to follow her with them, White Pearl immediately and without the slightest hesitation shuts them down and denies them, and they don't even make a single sound of protest, even as "Pink" is taken away from them. White Diamond's authority is so much higher than Blue and Yellow's, that even her Pearl outranks them in authority.
- We finally get to meet White Diamond in person. Not only is she by far the physically largest Gem we've seen yet, there's also something off about her. Most of her face is constantly obscured by light emanating from her gem, looking as if her entire head is entirely made of light (from certain angles it looks almost two-dimensional). She also speaks in an eerily calm tone towards Steven, especially when she calls him "Starlight." Even after thousands of years after the "death" of Pink Diamond, she acts as if what she had done, the Rebellion, mind you, was some sort of game. Combined with the fact that she just stands there like a statue, completely still with her arms outstretched, and she feels almost robotic. Keep in mind that Blue and Yellow Diamond fear her because of her supposed temper and Pearl describing her as far different to the rest of the gemkind, including the other Diamonds.
- Then there's Blue and Yellow's planning on how to break the news to her (which both decide they'll handle things until White has calmed down, before even bringing in "Pink") comes across as two older siblings desperate to defuse things with an abusive parent before the younger sibling gets mixed up in it. Much like Blue's introduction, the fact that White speaks in such a gentle tone does nothing to make things seem better.
- White Diamond's Lack of Empathy tendencies are chilling. White's dialogue in her introduction to Steven implies that she eventually, or worse always knew that "Rose Quartz" was actually Pink and just played along, and waited for her to return. Notice that neither Blue or Yellow sent a message to Homeworld about their arrival, and how both of the Diamonds were surprised at the crowd that was awaiting their return. This means not only did White allow such a long, horrible war continue knowing it was based on a lie, and kept such a critical piece of information to herself, when she most likely knew that Blue and Yellow were suffering mentally and emotionally for thousands of years with grief; but also knowingly put her "daughter" through a Fantastic Nuke that could have killed her or warped her into a mindless beast, and left her feeling guilt and anguish at what it did to those who she couldn't save. And still she talks about it all like it was just another one of Pink's "games". Horrifically disconnected and apathetic doesn't even begin to describe her attitude in the way she speaks.White Diamond: Pink! There you are! Hello, Starlight! You certainly gave everyone a scare! They're all just thrilled to see you safe and sound!Steven: Um... Hi... I-White Diamond: As for this latest little game of yours, thank the stars it's over! Did you have fun? (Voice turns into a slightly harsher tone and eyes slightly narrow while keeping her cheerful smile) Did you get everything out of your system?Steven: I-White Diamond: (Same tone as before) Good, good. Everyone is so relieved. Welcome home, Pink.
- The fact that Homeworld has Gems built into the walls, and Blue even has a Gem whose sole purpose seems to be her singing comb. When Steven sees a bunch of Wall Gems whispering to each other, they suddenly all look up and away from him after he "catches" them whispering. And when he says hello, the Wall Gem he speaks to looks away uncomfortably and with clear fear, as if she's afraid of even speaking to a "Diamond" like him.
- Blue Pearl saying "welcome back" to our Pearl is so creepy and sad. Pearl's spent millennia living on a planet that valued her, and now she's returned to Homeworld where shes expected to just be a Pearl; it just has this note of finality to it.
- Steven's Nightmare Sequence at the beginning, with him vomiting up Rose's hair as White Diamond just continues to smile down at him.
- White Diamond's appearance in the above nightmare deserves special mention. Steven is much farther away from her than when she first summoned him, so the audience views her from a distance; and thanks to the color scheme of her eyes, she looks like she has no pupils. This also has the effect of making her smile look less Stepford and more Slasher.
- White Pearl silently observing the party from above, completely still, with her unnatural ominous smile.
- What's more scary than White Pearl smiling? Well... White Pearl suddenly frowning at Steven and Connie fusing. Given the fact that we've seen her as completely motionless and monotone with an obviously unnatural smile so far, seeing her emote at all - and negatively at that - is genuinely unsettling. Especially considering that White Diamond can see through White Pearl, meaning that she's the one frowning.
- Just how controlling Blue and Yellow are to Steven/Pink.
- The Sudden Downer Ending of the episode. All of the Crystal Gems are poofed because they came to Stevonnie's defense. Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl all have their physical bodies destroyed by Yellow Diamond right in front of Stevonnie (as well as the random Jade fusion who gets poofed right after crying out in joy at not being the only cross-fusion on Homeworld). Yellow, meanwhile, is acting very much like a mother snapping at her disobedient child, and the ending of the episode has Stevonnie being thrown into a dark room, with them reaching out and begging right when the door closes.
- Though it's mostly a laid-back episode, Watermelon Steven's leg being bitten off and then his arm falling off from rot is very unsettling.
- This episode gives us zero hints as to the fate of the other Crystal Gems (and the Jade Fusion). We can only hope that Blue and Yellow Diamond were merciful enough to just bubble them...
Change Your Mind
- As if White Pearl wasn't unnerving enough, we get another layer added. In a flashback, Blue tells Pink that White has threatened to take away her Pearl. Considering her current status... White Diamond turned her into a mindless puppet with no will of her own in order to punish Pink by making her see someone she loves this way.
- Blue Diamond - Blue Diamond - hurling a ball of energy at Steven while shouting "That's enough!", like an Abusive Parent using force to keep their child in line. It's a jarring contrast to her interactions with him in "Legs From Here to Homeworld" and "Familiar".
- When Blue Diamond defends Steven and Connie from Yellow, even using her powers, Yellow is furious, and Steven and Connie barely manage to avoid being trampled by their fight.
- Listen to how White Pearl says "You're not going anywhere" while cornering Steven and Connie. Even though her voice is still monotonous and calm, you can tell she (along with White Diamond) has had enough of Pink Diamond's/Steven's rebelling and it's time to put her/him in her/his place... for good. Even better? She STILL has her artificial smile and presents us with a vacant stare before shifting her focus on Steven and Connie, which combined with the above makes White Pearl extremely unsettling to look at during that moment. Even better if you take into consideration that White Pearl was originally Pink Pearl and White Diamond is mind-controlling and speaking through her. She's essentially being forced to put an end to her beloved former Diamond's happiness and freedom, all while being unable to do anything about it.
- The temple fusion, Obsidian, while undeniably something to make the fandom dance for joy, is as terrifying as they are awesome. They're an eight-armed fusion potentially larger than the Diamonds themselves, who - much like Alexandrite - has two mouths, with both of them being filled with magma. They speak entirely in animalistic grunts, growls, and screams, all while sporting various scowls and snarls.
- And then... there's White Diamond. She's awoken from her lethargic state, she's ready to take matters into her own hands... and it's clear that she's angry, but you wouldn't know that from her voice.White Pearl: (calmly) You're not going anywhere.
- When White Diamond decides to get involved, she takes her palace/starship and combines it with Pink's leg-ship, taking control of the latter and forming what basically amounts to an armless Giant Mecha. Or at least, it's armless until Blue and Yellow's hand ships show up, which combined with these two diamonds being brainwashed means that the Crystal Gems have to fight the sum total of all four Diamonds' ships, fused into one giant.
- Remember how White Pearl was seen as Pink's Pearl? Now we know why. White Diamond can brainwash any Gem into her puppets, as her idea of perfection. This is demonstrated throughout the special. First, with Yellow and Blue Diamond, and then with the main three Crystal Gems. And yes, they can all act in unison. They are basically an Up to Eleven version of the Delightful Children from Down the Lane. Not to mention they all scream in agony.
- After being corrupted, Pearl's neck twists in 360 degrees. Brrr...
- White's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Steven is nothing short of chilling.White: It's a pity the way you bring out the worst in others. See how you've encouraged their deficiencies? It's written all over their gems. (about Amethyst) Insecure... (about Garnet) dependent... (about Pearl) obsessed...
Steven: No! No no! Guys! Come on! Snap out of it!
White: Please stop "helping" them! You'll only make things worse. That's what you do. I make things better! Here... (snaps fingers and starts speaking through Amethyst) "Oh thank you, White Diamond! I feel excellent now! Oh thank you, how generous of you!" (speaking through Garnet) "Thank you, White Diamond! We feel so much better now!" (speaking through Pearl) "I feel excellent!" There we are! I've removed their flaws! Now there is nothing to hinder my white light from sparkling through them! I'd rather not spread my uninhibited self so thin, you know, but you've made it absolutely necessary. Now all the impurities you've encouraged in them are gone! Now they are brilliant! Now they are perfect! Now, they are ME!
Steven: You're wrong! (White gives him a Death Glare) Please, just listen to me! My friends don't need to be fixed! They're fine the way they are! Flaws and all!
White: There you go again. Do you understand why you defend their flaws? I know why, Pink. (speaks through ALL of Steven's friends) You LIKE surrounding yourself with inferior gems!
White: You enable their terrible behavior, so you can be the best of the worst!
Steven: That's not true! (losing steam) And even if it is... even if it was... you're talking about my mom! You're not talking about me!
(White, the Crystal Gems, Pink Pearl and the Diamonds all start cackling like madmen)
White: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOUR "MOM"? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
- White Diamond removing Steven's gem to prove that Pink Diamond is still in there and that Steven's just a vessel. Steven is powerless to stop her as White is holding him in her fist, and the nails she uses to grab onto the gem are almost as big as Steven himself and look like elongated sharp knives. The way she's animated is Uncanny Valley on steroids. The face she wears while pulling his gem is creepy.White Diamond: Now, Starlight... this has gone on long enough.
- This takes place while White is controlling the rest of the Crystal Gems along with the other Diamonds.
- The music in this scene is by far the most eerie heard from this show. It starts off as a low droning sound with screeching strings. Then when White Diamond grabs Steven's gem, the music quickly devolves into nothing but "Psycho" Strings.
- It's not a Shadow Discretion Shot. Someone brightened the scene and found that the gem removal was drawn in detail with Steven's pained expression.
- Steven's state after she takes out his gem. He's confused, in pain, and seems like he's clinging on to life. His breathing is shallow and his skin is pale. He's too weak to walk or crawl and is barely coherent as he cries and begs for his gem back. To see Steven in pain is nothing short of heartwrenching.
- Stevens belly after his gem is removed. Theres nothing there - no scar, no belly button, just pure smooth flesh.
- Steven is in White Diamond's fist. She removes his gem and there is a smash to black. Next thing we see is Steven on the ground, with Connie over him in panic. White Diamond dropped him on the floor without a second thought! He was dying from internal injuries sustained from the fall.
- Pink Steven's debut itself is horrifying. Seeing Steven with an empty expression is already disturbing, but when White Diamond demands to know where Pink is, he replies with a visceral scream that breaks the throne room in half and is anathema to Steven's personality. He also has a Voice of the Legion.White Diamond: What is this? Where's Pink?
Pink Steven: (quietly) She's gone.
White Diamond: What did you say?! Answer me!
Pink Steven: (turns his head towards White) She's GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!!
- You can feel the grief, rage, and hatred, emotions you'd never expect Steven to show, in that scream. And there's the blank look on Pink Steven's face. This is what an unfeeling, unlimited Steven who does not hold back sounds like.
- White Diamond, an entity that the story had treated as an infallible Physical God up to that point, is scared of Pink Steven. Not only because the truth that Pink Diamond is gone for good is thrown in her face, but also because its power No Sells everything she tries. Even when every possessed body in the room and herself fire on Pink Steven at once, he calmly shields against every attack without any effort before reflecting their attacks right back at them.
- The scene plays like an abused child using their new power to pay back their abusers, no longer afraid of what they could do.
- It gets even worse. This isn't just Steven screaming at White. This is Steven screaming at everyone: Yellow, Blue, Homeworld, the Crystal Gems, and even the fans. Pink Diamond/Rose Quartz is dead and gone, he is NOT her, he's sick of being asked where she is, or to become her, or to fix her mistakes, and he just wants everyone to just SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT HER ALREADY.
- The first thing we see after Steven's gem gets removed. Connie tries to wake Steven up from his point of view that only fills half the frame. The other half fills in when Pink Steven appears, with the two halves showing what each Steven is seeing. Then Pink Steven hits the ground, and then turns to face Steven. Both Stevens seeing each other wouldn't be out of place in a horror movie.
- Pink Steven's relentless march towards Steven with the goal of reunion is terrifying. He lets nothing or no one get in his way and doesn't care what gets damaged or who gets hurt in the process since he's Steven without the emotions that make him Steven. If it weren't for his organic half's begging, he could've shattered someone.
- White Diamond's Villainous Breakdown. She completely loses her composure and attempts a last ditch resort to force Pink Steven under her control. She uses all her power in a fit of rage and everyone she's controlling attacks in unison. The expressions are of no help.White: Don't you raise your shield at me! I only want you to be yourself! If you can't do that, I'll do it FOR YOU!
- Between the voice acting, the phrasing and the context, White Diamond is on par with Mother Gothel as an abusive and narcissistic parent. Imagine being raised by a family figure so obsessed with controlling you that not only have they decided to harm you under the guise of punishment, they will not allow you to stop the damage they can inflict.
- While it looks like White Diamond is heading towards redeeming herself, there's an uncomfortable amount of questions that are left lingering, and more appearing about her Mysterious Past. She implies that the other Diamonds are just Literal Split Personalities of herself that she removed because she resented these flaws that make up who the others are.
- A minor example, but White Diamond's mech ship has eyes and they are unsettling.
- The new opening includes a brief shot featuring the presumed new antagonists much like the one featured in the original extended intro of the Homeworld gems. Said antagonists include an enraged Jasper, what looks like Aquamarine, but with an extra set of legs and a strange amount of red on her body, two newly seen Lapis Lazulis, a Cactus Steven with a huge chest and several heads growing out of it, what seems to be White Diamond tinged pink, and a huge, completely unidentified monster in the back with no visible gemstone. Also, every character's eyes, and in Jasper and the Diamond's cases, facial features are illuminated, with the creature in the back's eyes noticeably gleaming after it moves.