Steven wakes to beautiful, distant, ethereal singing and as he calls for the other Gems, is stricken breathless by the harsh memory of what happened to Garnet. He immediately launches into action, finding that the forcefield imprisoning him isn't much of an obstacle. He begins looking for the other Gems, and stumbles across another prisoner: a tiny red Gem no taller than Steven himself. Steven asks if she needs help. She freaks out and turns away, hiding her face from him... before it dawns on her that he's out. She asks how, and he demonstrates. On hearing the singing again, she immediately asks to be let out because she must! find! Sapphire! Even as Steven tries to learn the new Gem's name and who Sapphire is, the little red Gem is clearly panicked without Sapphire, and once safely out of her cell, begins racing up and down the halls screaming for Sapphire, who has paused in her singing.
The first occupied cell they run across, however, is occupied by Lapis Lazuli. Steven offers to let her out, but she refuses, saying that their captors will decide what will happen to her and to Steven's family when they return to Homeworld. She tells Steven that only accepting their fate will give them a chance. Steven insists that they must stand up to Jasper and Peridot because they're mean. Lapis says that's why there's no fighting them.
The little red Gem, still quite distressed from being apart from Sapphire, snaps that she doesn't have time for this, and races off. Steven promises to come back for Lapis before attempting to follow her. It's too late: the red Gem is gone.
In his search, Steven hears Jasper and Peridot arguing. Peridot is still insisting that her mission has been disrupted, but Jasper cuts her off. As Steven hides from them, Jasper punches the wall to make Sapphire stop singing again. She then tells a sullen Peridot that Rose Quartz takes greater precedence than her mission. She orders Peridot to set a course for Homeworld. Peridot complies, grumbling about it all the while.
Once they're gone, Steven moves to free Sapphire, who has resumed singing. She is a blue Gem, also no bigger than Steven, and is surprised that Steven got out; she immediately realizes that it's his human half allowing him to move through the fields unhindered. The moment he lets her out, she hears the other Gem calling and runs off at Super Speed, dragging Steven along for the ride like a human-shaped banner.
Finally, Sapphire and the little red Gem spot each other across a chamber. Sapphire calls the other Gem's name: Ruby. Ruby and Sapphire rush toward each other and the pair meet in the middle of the chamber with a deep hug. There's a tearful reunion in which they each make sure the other is okay. Sapphire leans in to kiss Ruby's tears away, Ruby holds her up and they do the Twirl of Love, laughing with overflowing happiness at being together once again. As they spin around, they begin to glow and merge, and before Steven's very eyes, the light crescendos, revealing the new, joyously re-fused GARNET!
Garnet gratefully thanks Steven, and apologizes for his having found out this way that Garnet was a fusion all along. Steven takes it in stride and asks if he made a good first impression on the Gem duo.
Jasper's approach sounds in the distance, and Garnet tells Steven to go find Amethyst and Pearl, then get to the bridge. Steven says he has no idea where they are, but a kiss on the forehead transfers her Future Vision to him again. Steven worries about Garnet fighting Jasper again, all by herself. Garnet isn't worried in the slightest.
Jasper arrives, and expresses disgust that Ruby and Sapphire have fused again into Garnet, sneering that fusion is just a cheap trick to make weak Gems seem stronger. She dismissively says she's already seen what they are. Garnet laughs and says Jasper really hasn't. As the fight begins, Garnet pretty much tells Jasper off while gracefully and acrobatically dodging the big, beefy Gem's attacks. The telling off takes the form of a song, in which Garnet explains the source of her strength and power.
Steven frees Amethyst and Pearl and they race to the bridge. They quickly subdue a petulant Peridot, tying her with Amethyst's whip, and Pearl takes over the ship, returning its course to Earth. Meanwhile, the fight between Garnet and Jasper has devastated the insides of the handship their brawl knocks them through level after level. Garnet throws Jasper into the reactor core of the ship, causing an explosion that disables the ship and sends it crashing to Earth.
Thanks to the shake made by the exploding core, Peridot gets free of Amethyst's hold, worms her way to an escape pod and launches to Earth. Garnet gets to the bridge to inform everyone the ship is going down and they need to prepare for the crash. Steven says Lapis is still imprisoned, but Garnet says there's no time. The ship crashes to Earth, landing palm open on the hill atop which the temple is built. Lion searches the wreckage until he finds them and roars to free them. Steven's bubble has saved them again, and Steven is delighted that Garnet is a fusion all the time. Amethyst and Pearl are astonished, but a little dismayed since they planned to introduce him to Ruby and Sapphire as a birthday surprise and now they can't. Steven jokes that they can still do it and he'll pretend to be surprised.
There's movement in the wreckage. Jasper lives! She's weak, and wounded, but not down. She angrily sneers that the only reason Garnet beat her was because of fusion something the huge Gem had derided as a cheap trick. She grumbles that they'd have no chance if she had someone to fuse with. More movement in the wreckage reveals that Lapis Lazuli has survived as well. She spreads her water wings and attempts to fly away, but Jasper is too quick; she snatches the blue Gem by the ankle and pulls her to the ground. Jasper asks Lapis to fuse with her. Lapis is appalled and astonished at the very idea. Steven cries out to her not to do it. Jasper reminds her how much she hates the Crystal Gems, how long they kept her a prisoner, and how they're traitors to their own kind that it would be Lapis's opportunity for revenge. She just needs to say "Yes".
Lapis thinks about it for a second then comes to a conclusion. She offers her hand to Jasper, to the Crystal Gems' dismay. Jasper does a quick fusion dance with a passive Lapis, then turns to grin evilly at Garnet, in anticipation of a brutal beating. The fusion turns the two gems into a new, horrifying, monstrous fusion: Malachite who is a giant of a creature. She has six arms, four of which she uses as legs. And now, with access to Lapis's water powers, she laughs, and summons a giant water hand
which suddenly turns into a shackle around Malachite's arm. Jasper's voice demands to know what Lapis is doing. Lapis replies that she's done being anyone's prisoner. More and more water chains clamp around Malachite's appendages, and begin dragging the struggling fusion Gem inexorably into the ocean. Jasper protests, and struggles to break free, but Lapis's will is so strong that Jasper cannot break free from the fusion. Lapis pulls Malachite's body into the depths.
As they vanish beneath the waves without a ripple, the Crystal Gems and Lion are all standing in stunned awe at how it has all ended. Garnet breaks the silence.
- Garnet: Yikes. They are really bad for each other.
The silence begins to close in again but a small sound interrupts: Steven's smartphone. He picks it up, still so shaken from his experiences he can barely say hello. On the other end is an alarmed Connie, who got his message and is calling to make sure he's all right.
See you next season, folks!
- Badass Boast: Garnet's entire song is essentially her boasting about her strength to Jasper.
- Badass in Distress: The Gems end up imprisoned and need Steven to break them out.
- Big Damn Reunion: Thanks to Steven's help, the two Gems Ruby and Sapphire have a joyous reunion before The Reveal of re-fusing into Garnet.
- Big "NO!": Steven yells this in reaction to Jasper and Lapis fusing.
- Bittersweet Ending: Steven and the Gems manage to save the Earth, but Lapis sacrifices herself to imprison Jasper in the ocean, and Peridot is somewhere on Earth. There's also still the problem of Yellow Diamond, the Gem Behind the Gem, who may show up later.
- Black Comedy: As everyone stares in slack-jawed horror after witnessing Lapis dragging herself and Jasper into the ocean, Garnet quips about how ill suited the two are.
- Brick Joke: In the last episode, Steven left a hilariously brief message on Connie's answering machine about the danger facing the town. At the end of this episode, she calls him back.
- Bring It: Garnet dares Jasper to attack several times during their fight.
- Broken Bird: Lapis is so broken down she won't even let Steven break her out of her cell.
- Cardboard Prison: Steven escapes from his prison cell 33 seconds after waking up, since the Force-Field Door of the cell is made to destabilize the physical forms of Gems. Steven, a half-Gem with an organic body, can walk straight through with the only effects being yellow Tron Lines on his body and small electric shocks.
- Clipped-Wing Angel: Jasper and Lapis's fusion Malachite is terrifyingly powerful, having both Jasper's strength and Lapis's hydrokinesis. However, Lapis Lazuli is the dominant mind, and she drags Malachite to the bottom of the ocean to protect Steven, whom Jasper wanted to attack.
- Conveniently Timed Distraction: While Amethyst and Pearl easily subdue and ties up Peridot, Garnet and Jasper are having their fight in another section of the ship where Garnet throws Jasper into the reactor core, causing an explosion. The explosion knocks down Steven, Amethyst, and Pearl, giving Peridot the opportunity to literally worm her way to an escape pod and launch herself to Earth.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The Gem destabilizing technology hurts Gems and only Gems, allowing half-Gem Steven to easily bypass everything in his way.
- Cue the Sun: The Crystal Gems were captured at night, and it's dawn by the time the ship crashes on the hill.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Pearl, Steven and Amethyst defeat Peridot easily. Steven takes care of her Gem destabilizer, Amethyst ties her up with the whip, and Pearl takes control of the ship from her.
- Delaying the Rescue: When Lapis Lazuli refuses to let Steven get her out of her cell, Steven promises to come back for her once the situation is cleared. The ship crashes and Jasper gets to Lapis first.
- The Dog Bites Back: Lapis finally has enough of Jasper and turns on her.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Lapis' dialogue in refusing Steven's rescue ("if we do everything they say, they might go easy on us") is highly reminiscent of domestic abuse victims.
- Gem Fusion has often been a subtle sexual/intimate reference. So when Jasper tries to force Lapis into fusing with her, even though the other Gem seems uncomfortable with it, it paints a nasty reference to an abusive relationship and/or sexual harassment.
- Don't Look at Me!: Ruby tells Steven not to look at her when they first meet, before she realizes that Steven got out of his cell.
- Dragged Off to Hell: After Jasper fuses with Lapis to become Malachite, Lapis uses her water powers to form chains around Malachite and drag both of them into the depths of the sea for eternity.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Garnet declares that The Power of Love is what makes her stronger than Jasper during their rematch. Jasper's takeaway is that she just needs to fuse herself, and she strongarms the nearest candidate into doing it.
- Evil Laugh: Malachite is first formed laughing sadistically.
- Exact Words: Well, more like Exact Lack of Words, but when Jasper said Lapis just needs to say "yes" in agreement for fusing to get revenge on the Crystal Gems, Lapis doesn't say anything. She just offers her hand, and it turns out that while she agreed to fuse, she didn't do it for revenge on the Crystal Gems, but to protect Steven.
- Failed a Spot Check: When Ruby first sees Steven, she freaks out about being seen and tries to get rid of him. It takes her a moment to realize Steven is out of his cell.
- Fan Disservice: Lapis and Jasper's Fusion Dance. It's a short, pretty ballet-esque routine, but Jasper's Slasher Smile and Lapis' passiveness throughout the whole thing make it very creepy.
- Finger Wag: Garnet wags her finger mockingly at Jasper mid-battle.
- Flashback: Steven, upon regaining consciousness, flashbacks to Garnet being defeated near the end of "The Return", with her two gems falling against a black background. It handily shows that her gems changed to blue and red (which wasn't visible the first time around because of the green light covering everything), hinting they're separate individuals.
- Force-Field Door: The cells on Peridot's ship use forcefields which destabilize the physical forms of Gems. What they fail to realize is that Steven's organic, so he can just walk right through and even let others out by blocking the energy with his body. Though the longer Steven holds out against it, the more it progresses through his body, he never needs to do so long enough for it to matter.
- When Steven remembers Garnet's gems falling to the ground, they are bright red and blue, instead of Garnet's deep red.
- The ethereal singing Sapphire uses to lead Ruby to her is the same tune as "Stronger Than You", Garnet's big number as she delivers a much-deserved beatdown to Jasper.
- Sapphire and Ruby seemed to know who Steven is without him telling either.
- When searching for Sapphire, Ruby complains that she "can't see", despite the fact that she's supposed to be listening for Sapphire. Because she doesn't have future vision without Sapphire, and thus can't use it to search for her.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: As Peridot rides an escape craft to Earth, an aerial view of the eastern coast of the United States and Canada can be seen. It looks mostly the same as real life, except close examination reveals a large body of water separating Florida from the mainland.
- Fusion Dance:
- Garnet is revealed to be a fusion of two Gems, Ruby and Sapphire. They're so close they don't need the dance anymore. They can do the Twirl of Love and fuse.
- Jasper derides the process of fusion as a means to make weak Gems stronger. Cue Garnet matching her in combat. When Jasper loses, she proves herself a Hypocrite by trying to get Lapis to fuse with her into Malachite. This backfires when Lapis uses their shared power to imprison them both in the ocean, refusing to allow Jasper to break the fusion.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Lapis agreed to fuse with Jasper so that she could use her water powers to trap them both at the bottom of the ocean.
- Hidden Eyes: After refusing Steven's help, Lapis' eyes are hidden beneath her to hair to show how much she has touched the bottom of the Despair Event Horizon.
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: Jasper impulsively decides to fuse with Lapis, tempting her by promising revenge on the Crystal Gems. She doesn't even consider the possibility of Lapis being able to wrest control of their fused form away.
- Hybrid Power: While being half-human is rather inconvenient for Steven most of the time, in this episode it actually gives him an advantage; having an organic body rather than the body of a regular Gem allows him to simply walk through the energy door of his cell, and renders him immune to the Gem disruptor.
- Hypocrite: Jasper sees Gem Fusion as a sign of weakness. After getting her butt kicked by Garnet, she decides it's necessary after all and convinces Lapis to fuse with her.
- "I Am" Song: Garnet sings a song titled "Stronger Than You" after re-fusing and during her entire fight with Jasper. It's about how she is the embodiment of Ruby and Sapphire's love, and that the love of her friends also gives her strength. According to the composer, the song was meant to represent the love Ruby and Sapphire have for each other, Garnet's joy at being re-fused, and her indomitable spirit. It also features an update of her synthbeat Leitmotif to go with her new design, and is the first time in the show's run that Estelle has been able to use her R&B vocal style to its full extent, and it shows.
- I Never Told You My Name: Steven fails to notice, but Sapphire knows his name without being told. Another hint that she and Ruby are Garnet before the reveal.
- I Shall Taunt You: Garnet's song, "Stronger Than You" is not just her "I Am" Song it's also a verbal smackdown, indicating Jasper has no idea how amazing a fusion is when the two fusing Gems love each other. It's also used to cheerfully and cheekily imply that Jasper can't really lay a glove on Garnet, and that Jasper's rage and brutality just comes from being single.
- Incessant Music Madness: Sapphire hums so Ruby can hear her in another part of the ship, which Jasper irately demands she stops, even though Sapphire's voice is soft and relatively quiet.
- Iris Out: Over Steven's phone as Connie is calling (over everyone still standing in shock).
- It Only Works Once: The Gem destabilizer. In the previous episode, Jasper was able to very quickly and easily defeat Garnet with it. But this time Garnet is ready for it, dodging it repeatedly before taking it away and breaking it in half.
- "Join the Army," They Said:Peridot: "Go to Earth," they said. "It'll be easy," they said.
- Last Villain Stand: Jasper attempts to keeping fighting after their ship is destroyed and Peridot defeated.
- Leave Me Alone!: As Steven approaches Ruby, she tries to ward him off until she realizes he found a way to get out of his cell.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Garnet challenges Jasper to "come at me without any of your fancy tools", but Jasper continues trying to use the Gem destabilizer until Garnet seizes it for herself and breaks it.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Garnet has an interesting inversion of this. When she fights Jasper, her stoic personality goes away and she spends the entire battle smiling and singing. And yet surprisingly fights better than when she was serious.
- Living Emotional Crutch: It seems Ruby and Sapphire, but especially Ruby, have a hard time functioning when by themselves.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Crystal Gems all have this look on their face when Jasper and Lapis fuse to form Malachite.
- Melismatic Vocals: Garnet's song draws out the phrase "of love" into five notes per word.
- Musical World Hypotheses: Garnet's song appears to Alternate Universe or All in Their Head. Not only is it odd that she's singing it while fighting Jasper and seemingly coming up with at least one line specifically referring to Jasper, but it can be heard even in distant scenes and when Garnet is talking to the other Gems in the control room.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: Jasper is still standing, if barely, after all the abuse Garnet put her through, which includes being tossed into a reactor core and crashing with the ship without any shield. Lapis survived that, too, but she was in a cell at the time.
- No-Sell: The Homeworld Gems use Gem-destabilizing technology in the form of tuning fork-like instruments and force fields to attack and imprison, respectively. However, since they are meant to disrupt normal Gems' Hard Light bodies, they are entirely ineffective against Steven, whose body is organic in nature.
- Not So Stoic: When Ruby and Sapphire fuse back into Garnet, she's more happy and excited than ever before. And a little nervous about how Steven will react.
- While Garnet is fighting Jasper, Jasper's visor is already broken in the scene just before Garnet actually breaks it.
- When Peridot tries to destabilize Steven, her hand holding the destabilizer is a normal hand rather than her signature floating rods.
- Oh, Crap!: Peridot is quite surprised when she realized her Gem Destabilizer doesn't work on Steven, and Jasper!Malachite when Lapis hijacks the fusion.
- The Power of Hate: Jasper attempts to convince Lapis to fuse with her for the sake of getting Revenge.
- The Power of Love: Sapphire and Ruby's love for each other is what makes Garnet so powerful.
- The Reveal: "The Return" showed Garnet "poofed" into not one, but two individual Gems. This episode reveals that she a semi-permanent fusion of those two Gems: Ruby and Sapphire.
- Rolling Attack: Jasper does a few during her fight with Garnet.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: Lapis fuses with Jasper in order to do use her boosted powers to drag their new body into the ocean and keep her away from Steven.
- Season Finale: The planned last episode of season one, even if some stand-alone episodes aired afterward from being moved back.
- Security Cling: At the very end of the episode, Pearl clings to Garnet's arm (again) after witnessing Lapis dragging Malachite into the ocean.
- Sequel Hook: Peridot mentions something called the Cluster that the Homeworld is searching for and mentions that it is on Earth. Peridot herself manages to get somewhere on Earth by herself.
- She's Back: Garnet is ready to kick ass when Ruby and Sapphire re-fuse. She clinches this by magically bringing her shades back.
- Space Is Noisy: In addition to the standard noisy space explosion, there is a cut to the outside of the ship as Ruby is screaming "Sapphire!" Aside from being somewhat muted, it's still audible.
- Spanner in the Works: Steven's very existence as a half-Gem allows him to escape his prison and free everyone else, since the containment technology of the jail cells are purely anti-Gem. If it weren't for Peridot and Jasper's failure to predict that Steven could effortlessly thwart the force fields, they would have successfully taken their prisoners back to Homeworld for interrogation and/or worse.
- Special Edition Title:
- Instead of the usual shot of Steven's laundry with a piano riff, the opening credits are in front of a panorama of space with eerie wind in the background.
- Since "The Return" skipped its credits, the ones for this episode are double length, giving enough room for a longer version of the ending theme With Lyrics.
- Stunned Silence: The Crystal Gems don't have a word to say after Lapis hijacks the Malachite fusion and drags it underwater until Garnet breaks it.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Despite being run by a two-man crew, the hand ship has no security measures besides the doors to the prisoner's individual cells and some cameras. Once Steven gets the Crystal Gems out, they're able to head straight to the deck.
- Tailor-Made Prison: The cells on Peridot's ship are made to contain Gems. The Force-Field Doors of the cells use technology that destabilizes Gems' physical forms if they touch it (and apparently also hurts them). This works against them while it's extremely effective against Gems, Steven doesn't have a Hard Light body like full Gems, so he is able to easily escape and let everyone else out.
- Tempting Fate: The second time Garnet sings "Go ahead and try and hit me if you're able", Jasper immediately punches her quite some distance.
- Theme Song Reveal: Twice, and both have to do with fusion.
- When Ruby and Sapphire are fusing, the background music sounds a lot like Garnet's theme.
- Unlike other fusion themes, Lapis and Jasper's themes never harmonize properly, hinting at the unstable nature of the fusion. In addition, during their fusion dance, Lapis's theme dominates Jasper's theme, hinting at Lapis's eventual takeover of the fusion.
- This Cannot Be!: Jasper refuses to admit she lost fair and square, blaming it on Garnet being a fusion and resorting to the same tactic she loathed so much.
- Triumphant Reprise: The melody to the refrain of "Stronger Than You" is a much more bombastic version of the notes Sapphire sings while locked in her cell.
- Tron Lines: Steven gets glowing yellow cracks across his skin when he's being affected by the energies of the Gem disruptor and the Force-Field Door. Since he's organic, the energy can't actually do what it's supposed to, and they fade harmlessly afterward.
- Troubled Fetal Position: Steven finds Ruby sitting balls up with her hands on her face. Lapis does the same after he fails to talk her into helping stop Peridot and Jasper.
- Unusual User Interface: Peridot's ship is operated by inserting her hands into the main console, apparently forming a mental link.
- Unwanted Rescue: Lapis Lazuli doesn't want Steven to break her out of her cell because she has lost all hope. Homeworld is nothing like she remembers, Jasper has a dark fate in store for them, and her return home is partly responsible for them coming to Earth and hurting Steven.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Peridot manages to get into an escape pod and eject to Earth when the ship starts crashing.
- Villainous Breakdown: Jasper loses it when Garnet defeats her, unable to grasp that she lost to the point of resorting to a tactic she believed was reserved for weaklings just to avoid admitting her defeat.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Stronger Than You" is both an "I Am" Song and a long process of Garnet telling Jasper she has no idea what she's up against.
- Wham Episode: Garnet is revealed to be a fusion, Peridot's ship crashes on Earth but she gets away in an escape pod, and Lapis makes a Heroic Sacrifice to beat Jasper.
- Wham Shot: Ruby and Sapphire fusing into Garnet.
- Widescreen Shot: Jasper and Garnet are framed in low angled pan with a curved perspective as their showdown kicks off.
- Wingding Eyes: Peridot and Pearl have their eyes turn to scrolling dashes when they operate the ship.
- You Need to Get Laid: Garnet muses that Jasper's always angry because she's single, in particular saying she's jealous of the connection Ruby and Sapphire share.
- You Wake Up in a Room: The beginning has Steven waking up in a cell with a Force-Field Door.