Connie asks about the fence, and Steven says it's a long story, and not a happy one. Cue Flashback.
Amethyst is playing around on the cliff's edge, and Steven is worrying that she'll fall. She makes fun of him for being worried about her, and insists that because she's a Gem warrior, she won't fall. But before she can finish the sentence, she does just that.
She lands facedown on an extruded rock with an audible CRACK! Steven races down to see if she's okay. Amethyst plays it off as if her new, unnaturally swollen and googly eye is a neat new acquisition, but Pearl snatches down Amethyst's shirt to the latter's embarrassment and determines that her gem is cracked. Pearl decides that there should be a fence along the edge of the cliff.
Back to the present moment, Connie senses that there's more to the story than that, but Steven is reluctant to go on. Connie presses the issue. Steven agrees to go on if he can wear her glasses. Connie agrees to let him wear them if she can have the rest of his juice box. Steven agrees, but warns it's mostly backwash.
Pearl and Garnet explain that Steven's mother Rose Quartz had healing powers from her tears. She felt real sorrow for others' pain and considering that since Steven has his mother's gem, he may have inherited the power. Steven tries to cry, but fails, declaring himself too tough to cry.
Steven: They don't have any arms!
Amethyst insists it's no big deal, and that she won't get any worse, but as she speaks, she gets stuck on the word "worse" and when she's able to continue speaking, everything she says is backwards! The Gems warp to a place where Rose Quartz had a statue that ran with her healing tears. But when they get there, the fountain is nowhere in sight, and the sanctuary around it is covered in horrible thorny vines. Pearl begins to panic, but tries to stay calm like Garnet. Steven considers how to cry, and Amethyst manages to convey through charades that pain sometimes makes one cry. Steven approaches a thorny bush with intent to prick his finger, but the bush tries to attack. Amethyst leaps to protect him, further damaging her gem. Pearl scolds Amethyst for roughhousing.
Garnet punches through the brambles to the fountain — it's an enormous statue of Rose Quartz, roses in her hair, arms bent to cradle something. But the fountain isn't flowing. Steven becomes emotional at his first real look at his mother, but it's not enough to get his tears flowing. Garnet and Pearl go further into the thorns to investigate, while Steven stays with a rapidly worsening Amethyst, who is pixelating, and having random body parts go noodly and stretchy. He has a tender moment cuddling on the lap of his mother's statue, the description of which makes Connie gaze on him with big, tearful eyes.
The thorns continue to threaten Amethyst and Steven, leaving Steven to scramble around with Amethyst and her flopping appendages. Finally, he becomes upset at being useless, and that his uselessness will cost Amethyst her life. This is enough to make him cry. His tears fall onto Amethyst's gem, but — nothing happens. As Steven becomes frustrated that his sincere tears didn't work, the fountain suddenly begins to flow. The healing waters restore Amethyst to her normal self, and change the brambles to blooming roses. Garnet and Pearl return, and Steven eagerly tells thim his tears restored the fountain and saved Amethyst. Pearl tells Steven that she and Garnet unplugged a clog and that caused the fountain to resume flowing.
As the flashback ends, Connie is incredulous that Pearl would say such a thing. Steven admits that she didn't really say that, but that's how it felt to him. But now that he's told the story, Steven is upset again: he confesses that he's afraid that if he doesn't get a grip on his powers and how to use them, the Gems will leave him behind. He begins to sniffle and cry.
Connie leans in to comfort and reassure Steven that he doesn't need powers to be with her, but stops at a sudden pain in her head. She thinks something is wrong with her glasses and takes them off; when she does, her vision goes from blurry to clear. Connie can suddenly see without her glasses! The children stare at each other for a moment, uncomprehending, then Connie realizes she was drinking out of Steven's juice box (there are sparkles dancing on the end of the straw). Steven shouts in triumph:
Steven hugs Connie happily and thanks her for helping him discover his new Gem power, then runs off excitedly with Lion to tell the Gems. Connie contemplates her glasses, then simply pokes out the lenses and puts the empty frames back on her face.
- Almost Kiss: Steven and Connie nearly had their first kiss until Steven's healing powers restores Connie's vision.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Crystal Gems can be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and be back in two weeks, but apparently even the slightest crack in their gemstone can prove fatal.
- Body Horror: As the damage to her gem progresses, Amethyst's physical body starts to warp. First she gets Fish Eyes, then her head switches with her foot, and finally all her limbs and head pop off while remaining attached to her body by fleshy cables.
- In "Lars and the Cool Kids", there was a dangerous, encroaching plant that, when touched by Rose Quartz's influence, blossomed into beauty. The same is true for the overgrown rose thorns around Rose's fountain.
- In "Steven the Swordfighter", Garnet mentions that Amethyst is accident-prone. This time, that comes back to haunt her in a much more serious way.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Even as the crack in her gem widens and she deforms further, Amethyst seems disturbingly relaxed and unafraid about her situation.
- Chekhov's Gag: Connie says Steven has to share his drink, which he warns is "mostly backwash". It turns out Steven sharing his spit with Connie ends up healing her eyes.
- Continuity Nod: Pearl cowers behind Garnet while clinging to her arm. She did the same thing in "So Many Birthdays" in response to Steven's performance as a clown.
- Dramatic Wind: Used when Connie removes the lenses off her glasses.
- Eye Scream: Inverted. Connie has severe myopia, making it almost impossible for her to see anything more than a few inches in front of her without her glasses. At the end of the episode, she drinks some juice that has some of Steven's backwash in it. A few seconds later, her vision gets corrected to the point where she can see normally without her glasses, leading Steven to discover that he has healing spit.
- Feel No Pain: Amethyst takes a twelve-story fall, and her initial reaction is amusement that the impact gave her a single, bloated, lazy eyeball.
- Find the Cure!: It's initially thought that Steven's tears could heal Amethyst, but most of the episode it spent getting some from Rose that she stored in a fountain.
- Foreshadowing: At one point Steven gets a headache from wearing Connie's prescription glasses. Then later as they're about to kiss Connie gets a headache before it's revealed Steven has healed her sight.
- Friend Versus Lover: It's implied Connie is jealous of Steven's relationship with the Crystal Gems.
- Glasses Curiosity: Steven tells Connie he'll continue his story if he can try her glasses on. She agrees if she can have the rest of his juice box.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Subverted. After her vision is restored Connie removes the lenses off her glasses and puts them back on but without the lenses because she doesn't want to explain to her parents that her friend magically healed her.
- Healing Hands: The Crystal Gems think Steven inherited his mother's healing tears. He doesn't, but he later finds out he has healing spit.
- Healing Spring: The Crystal Gems have a fountain that stores all the healing tears Rose Quartz saved up. The fountain head is the eyes of a statue in her imagine.
- The Hedge of Thorns: Rose Quartz's sanctuary is overrun with brambles that creep around and attack people.
- Hypocritical Humor: Pearl chastising the brambles for being annoying and clingy...while barely holding onto her sanity and sticking to Garnet like glue. It's a little less funny when one considers Pearl called them "a mess without [Rose's] guidance" as well as "directionless" and "pathetic".
- Idiot Ball: Amethyst kicks off the episode by falling off a cliff, at such a height that she has time to say "Ugh, this is so embarrassing". For the team's best shapeshifter who can easily get wings, yes, it is. At the very least she could have turned or placed her arms in front of her chest so her gem wouldn't take the impact.
- Imagine Spot: Steven becomes entwined in rose thorn vines, which then explode as his eyes spill over with healing tears — and then the shot pulls back to reveal that's how he imagined his powers working.
- Immortals Fear Death: Pearl gets really panicked at the idea of Amethyst's gem shattering. Amethyst's is somewhat akin to a kid that scraped her knee ten minutes ago and forgot about it.
- Impairment Shot: Inverted, as Connie's vision goes from blurred to clear — without her glasses.
- Indirect Kiss: The episode title refers to how Steven eventually discovers his saliva's healing properties, when Connie drinking the backwash from his juice box fixes her eyesight.
- Matter of Life and Death: For a Gem, it's no problem to "poof" and recover if their bodies take too much damage. Unfortunately, damage to a Gem's "gem", the source of their regeneration, serves as this.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When the fountain is fixed Steven looks up through the tears to see a figure that looks like Rose Quartz reaching for him but when he reaches the surface he sees that its the statue of her.
- Moment Killer: Steven and Connie's Almost Kiss is first ruined by her headache, then Steven taking off to tell the Gems about his new power.
- Narrative Backpedaling: In the flashback, Steven learns he doesn't have healing tears, then Pearl happily tells him that he will never have Gem powers and that they want nothing to do with him. Cut to the present, where Connie questions Steven, and he says that's not what really happened, but it's what he felt like Pearl said.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Connie finds it hard to believe Pearl would be so uncharacteristically cruel when Steven is narrating the flashback, prompting him to explain it's a projection of his personal fears.
- Percussive Therapy: Amethyst is talking gibberish due to the damage to her gem and Pearl is having her third panic attack of the day. Garnet shushes them, grits her teeth, and proceed to smash a giant rock. Visibly more relaxed, she says: "I needed that". As an added benefit, the rock tore open a path through the brambles and into Rose's sanctum (proving that sometimes Violence Really Is the Answer).
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Connie starts wearing her glasses without the lenses at the end of the episode.
- Real Men Hate Affection: Amethyst tries to mock Steven for being worried when she's walking near the cliff, but he doesn't even get it.Amethyst: Steven, why are you getting so worked up? Why, do you care about me or something?
Steven: (teary-eyed) Yes!
- Sdrawkcab Speech: The damage to Amethyst's gem eventually makes her words play in reverse.
- Smash to Black: Used instead of the usual Iris Out.
- Super Spit: Steven eventually discovers he has his mother's healing powers, but it's in his spit instead of his tears.
- Swiss Army Tears: Rose Quartz's tears had healing powers, which Steven supposedly inherited. He spends most of the episode trying to make himself cry in order to heal Amethyst's gem without success. Rose's fountain has the same power and is what saves Amethyst, much to Steven's dismay. However, he later discovers his spit has healing properties!
- Tempting Fate: While standing on the edge of a cliff, Amethyst reassures a worried Steven that she's not going to fall. She doesn't even finish her sentence before exactly that happens.
- Tele-Frag: The vines around the fountain cover the incoming Warp Pad, but the Crystal Gems warping in blasts them out of the way.
- Tender Tears:
- Steven cried about snakes not having arms because he's so empathic.
- But when he tried to cry to help Amethyst, the tears wouldn't come until he realized his inability to use his powers might mean Amethyst's death.
- Steven gets tearful reflecting on the idea that he may never be able to master his powers and accompany the Gems on missions as one of them.
- Unable to Cry: Steven is usually Prone to Tears, but can't force it even when it might give Amethyst much-needed help. Partially, this is because Amethyst acts so unconcerned with her injuries that Steven doesn't have anything to empathize with. The other half is that people keep bringing up his mother, who he can't feel sad about because he never knew her.
- Wham Episode: Steven discovers he has healing saliva, which cures Connies eyesight so she doesnt need glasses anymore.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The original time of the episode is Connie asking why the cliff they're having a picnic on has a fence around it. Steven's story begins with Amethyst goofing off at the edge of an unfenced cliff. Three guesses on what happens next. Then Steven tells Connie when he and the gems traveled to Rose's healing spring.