Steven's favorite TV show gets interrupted by a magical disturbance. Peridot sends out a distress message to Yellow Diamond on TV, which Steven confirms is happening all over by calling Connie, who also sees the message. The Crystal Gems and Steven go to the communication hub, which was last seen in "Coach Steven". Peridot has rebuilt it, but since the last time Garnet and Amethyst formed Sugilite was a disaster, Garnet decides to fuse with Pearl instead and form Sardonyx.
Sardonyx turns out to be a giant stage magician who wields an oversized warhammer. She's happy to meet Steven and is very efficient at knocking the communications hub apart. She defuses afterwards with no problems, and the Crystal Gems go home and get ready to search for Peridot the next day. Crisis averted!
Except that, come tomorrow, the hub is once more in use, and Sardonyx has to once more take it apart. While the fusion appears to work like a charm, Steven notices that Amethyst is feeling down. The success of Sardonyx just serves to reminder of how Sugilite failed, and she's ashamed of that and acutely aware that Garnet no longer trusts her to fuse with. Steven decides to help her out by taking her on a stakeout to catch Peridot in the act of repairing the hub.
The stakeout, as stakeouts usually are, was rather boring for a while. Steven taught Amethyst a double-vision trick (and showed that she had to brush away the bangs covering one eye to do it). They also discovered a Peridot-shaped cactus, but no Peridot. Then finally, they get something. Someone is showing up in Peridot's escape pod and fixing the hub. Weird, last time they checked, the Crystal Gems had it. Steven narrates what the person is doing. At the top of the hub, they get out of the escape pod and turn so the telescope he's using can see their profile.
Back at the temple, Steven and Amethyst discuss Pearl's reasoning. Steven thinks that Pearl's trying to figure out how it works, but Amethyst is skeptical. The hub activates again, and the Crystal Gems go out to knock it out again. Pearl is eager to fuse again, but Amethyst and Steven are worried about it, and spill the beans regarding Pearl's nighttime activities. It turns out, Peridot only repaired the hub the first time. The other times were Pearl, because she enjoyed the feeling of being Sardonyx and wanted to feel it a few more times before they got on with their Peridot-hunt.
Garnet is absolutely furious with Pearl for breaking her trust. Pearl weakly tries to defend herself, and Amethyst also tries to defend her, saying that both of them loved fusing with Garnet because they were able to share her power and confidence. This doesn't help Pearl's case any. Garnet decides to fuse with Amethyst, and, as Sugilite, they smash the tower into pieces too small to be repaired.
Back at the temple, Garnet is still not speaking to Pearl. Steven and Amethyst watch the end of a Crying Breakfast Friends episode with a similar plot wherein the Pearl-analogue is Easily Forgiven, and the two wonder why their reality couldn't be more like the cartoons.
Steven shuts off his TV, and the episode ends.
- Addictive Magic: Pearl very much likes the feeling of confidence and power she gets when fusing with Garnet, and she'll do anything to feel it more, including sabotaging their hunt for Peridot. The addiction metaphors are definitely there.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Amethyst was upset that Pearl got to fuse with Garnet, ashamed of how Sugilite went out of control last time, and wished to get another chance. She got her other chance, all right- when it was made clear that using Sardonyx would be even worse, as Pearl was deliberately sabotaging the attempts to destroy the hub.
- Berserk Button: Garnet's, as always, is misusing fusion. Pearl lying to Garnet just to have an excuse to fuse pushes it with extreme prejudice.
- Broken Bird: Amethyst and Pearl, as showcased in this episode.
- By "No", I Mean "Yes": When Steven asks if Sardonyx will smash stuff, she initially takes issue with the word "smash", offering a list of "proper words to describe yours truly", but then admits that she does smash things sometimes.
- Not only does the communication hub from "Coach Steven" reappear, Garnet takes Pearl up on her suggestion to fuse.
- Peridot mentions in her message that both her escort (Jasper) and her informant (Lapis) are missing.
- Peridot's message is directly for Yellow Diamond, who was first mentioned in "The Return".
- The Warp Pad for the hub is still down after Sugilite smashed it with a stray boulder, forcing the Crystal Gems to use alternate methods of getting there (like riding on Lion).
- Pearl has fixed Peridot's escape pod.
- Continuity Nod:
- When Steven sees Sardonyx, he says "Giant woman!"
- Amethyst re-uses the phrase "mash it up" to refer to her fusing with Garnet.
- Steven says the exact same thing he said to Sugilite when Sardonyx reveals her weapon, switching out "wrecking ball thingy" for "warhammer".
- As in "Coach Steven", when Garnet suggests fusing with a teammate, the chosen one is overjoyed while the other one sulks.
- Crystal-Ball Scheduling: The second time the hub is up, it cuts off an episode of Crying Breakfast Friends where a spoon is asking why Pear lied to them. In the last scene Pear is Easily Forgiven, contrasting real life.
- Dark Reprise: A heavily distorted version of Synchronize/Sugilite can be heard as Amethyst and Garnet fuse to destroy the communication tower.
- Distress Call: The impetus for the episode. Peridot is desperately broadcasting to Yellow Diamond in order to get off the planet, which alerts the Crystal Gems that she's fixed the communication hub.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Fusion continues to have sexual connotations, especially when Pearl fuses with Garnet (particularly on Pearl's part). If you go along with the "fusion=sex" metaphor, Pearl basically raped Garnet.
- Considering the Power High the other Gems get from fusing with Garnet, it could be indicative of a friend using someone else to gain access to drugs.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Peridot is broadcasting on all frequencies from the communication hub, preempting all ongoing television broadcasts.
- Double-Meaning Title: "Cry for Help" refers to both Peridot's distress call, and Pearl and Amethyst's behavior in regards to fusing with Garnet. It also references Crying Breakfast Friends.
- Downer Ending: The hub is down for good, but Pearl's actions mean that the Crystal Gems spent far more time than was necessary on it, wasting time they could have spent looking for Peridot. Pearl and Garnet are not speaking to each other, and Amethyst and Steven aren't feeling much better off either.
- Epic Hail: Peridot uses the communication hub to send one of these to request for aid at the start of the episode.
- Extreme Omnivore: At one point Amethyst eats a watermelon slice, rind and all.
- Face-Revealing Turn: How Pearl (on the top of the Hub and being looked at through a telescope) gives herself away to Steven.
- False Flag Operation: All the rebuilding of the hub save the first time was Pearl pulling one of these. She repaired the hub and blamed it on Peridot to get Garnet to fuse with her into Sardonyx in order to knock the hub apart again. Garnet is most unhappy with Pearl when she finds this out.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing:
- Directly before The Reveal, Steven and Amethyst notice that whoever's repairing the hub is using Peridot's escape pod, which the Crystal Gems have.
- When Pearl is eager to fuse again, she notes that she's fine with Sardonyx disabling the tower as much as required, rather than destroying it. She soon admits that she wanted to continue the charade at least a few more "victories". Garnet tears into her for this line of thinking.
- Amethyst is shown reflected in Garnet's glasses when Garnet is telling her that they can't fuse because of how badly Sugilite's last performance has gone awry. When Amethyst and Steven reveal that Pearl was using Sardonyx to feel powerful, she's reflected in them the same way.
- When Sardonyx is formed the second time, she asks if Amethyst and Steven can't get enough of her. Switch out 'Amethyst and Steven' for 'Pearl', and you've pretty much got Pearl's motive for repairing the hub right there.
- When watching Crying Breakfast Friends with Steven, Garnet just shrugs when Steven says he would forgive one of the characters after they admit to a lie. This hints at her reaction to Pearl's lie.Spoon: Why Pear, why did you lie to me?
Pear: I didn't mean to!
- The second time the tower is rebuilt, there's no message, hinting that Peridot was not the one who fixed it.
- Amethyst's song could have just as well have been sung by Pearl after the events of this episode. Amethyst sings about how, the first time, she was using the fusion to feel strong (Pearl is using Sardonyx the same way), how she sees a "tower made of [her] mistakes" falling down (Pearl watches as Sugilite destroys the tower she rebuilt), and her desire to make it up to Garnet (Afterward, Pearl is desperate for Garnet to forgive her).
- Garnet says that she can't see them finding Peridot in her future vision, again hinting that Peridot didn't fix the tower the second time.
- Godzilla Threshold: Sugilite has become this—she's extremely powerful, but after she went out of control last time, Garnet doesn't want to use her unless there's no other option. Of course, discovering that Pearl had been repairing the hub to have an excuse to become Sardonyx forced Garnet's hand.
- Hidden Eyes: Amethyst has them for a brief moment during her song.
- Incoming Ham:
- Irony: The whole reason Garnet chooses to fuse with Pearl is to maintain control that Sugilite doesn't have, and yet Pearl ends up putting everyone in possible danger because she can't control the urge to fuse with Garnet.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A (possibly) platonic version with Amethyst, who basically says that fusing with Pearl will be better for Garnet. It is, until Pearl takes it too far.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Pearl immediately ends the lies and confesses once she sees she's been caught.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Pearl and Garnet's fusion was long awaited by fans. When Sardonyx appears, she asks Steven "Was I worth the wait?"
- Steven ends the episode by turning the TV off.
- Logical Weakness: Garnet's future vision is useless in discovering the person repairing the hub because she began with the false assumption that it was Peridot, and what she looked for was 'Crystal Gems catching Peridot in the act', which would never happen because Peridot was not actually doing it.
- Megaton Punch: When Garnet and Amethyst fuse into Sugilite to destroy the tower, the very angry Garnet doesn't even bother forming Sug's Meteor Hammer, instead opting to smash it to oblivion with a single double-fisted punch. The look on Pearl's face says it all.
- Mood Whiplash: The intense scene with Sugilite destroying the hub is immediately followed by Crying Breakfast Friends.
- My Greatest Failure: Amethyst feels that Sugilite going out of control back in "Coach Steven" is hers, since she got carried away because they hadn't fused in so long and she loved the Power High she got when they did so. During her song, she even says "I see a tower built out of my mistakes".
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Sardonyx goes "OH-HO-HO-HO-HOOOOO!" at one or two points. Bonus points for doing the pose.
- Not Me This Time: Peridot repaired the hub the first time, but she is innocent of the second and third round of repairs.
- Not So Different: When Garnet calls out Pearl for rebuilding the communication hub just to fuse with her, Amethyst tries to defend Pearl saying how they both feel strong whenever they're fused with Garnet.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Let's just say Garnet was very pissed off at Pearl when she learned that Pearl was lying to her for an excuse to fuse.
- Garnet reminds the Gems how brash (Garnet) and reckless (Amethyst) Sugilite was and can be. After Pearl is found out to be fixing the communication hub so she could fuse with Garnet, Sugilite reforms and is indeed reckless in how she annihilates the hub, but with no brashness or cockiness about it. Pearl seriously pissed Garnet off.
- Garnet herself is outraged by Pearl's behavior to a degree never seen before, not even when Steven knocked her shades off in "Mirror Gem".
- While she usually is very respectful about fusing (which is part of the reason she is mad at Pearl in the first place), Garnet's anger leads to her demanding that an obviously uncomfortable and unwilling Amethyst fuse with her.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Played with when Steven reminds Amethyst that binocular vision is indeed an option while teaching her how to do the floating finger illusion.
- Percussive Maintenance: When static appears on the TV, Amethyst first tries kicking it a few times.
- Plot Parallel: Spoon (Garnet) and Pear (Pearl) have a conflict. Spoon and Pear make up by the end, but Pearl and Garnet do not.
- Power High: Amethyst explains that fusing with Garnet can be addictive because of how powerful it can make the other Gems. She's totally right. Garnet is none too happy that the others have been using fusion this way.
- Reality Ensues: Garnet is very angry with Pearl for tricking her, not to mention that messing with fusion is something of a Berserk Button, so of course there wouldn't be any resolution in a single episode. Amethyst and Steven sadly lampshade it at the end.
- The Reveal:
- Garnet and Pearl form Sardonyx when they fuse.
- Pearl has been rebuilding the communication hub after Sardonyx first smashed it, so she'd have an excuse to fuse with Garnet.
- Sequel Episode: This episode addresses the mistakes made and actions taken in "Coach Steven." There are numerous other parallels between the episode, such as Garnet's insistence on being "careful" instead of "huge" (when it was the other way around last time), the unfused Gem having a song, and going to the communication hub to destroy it.
- Shout-Out: There's a Nintendo GameCube near the TV and Sardonyx looks like a Great Fairy from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
- Spanner in the Works: The only reason Pearl was caught was because Steven decided to cheer up Amethyst (who was humiliated about how Sugilite had gone so out of control that she couldn't be used) by taking her to stake out the communications hub to catch Peridot when she went to repair it. They instead discovered that it was Pearl who was repairing the hub, and it all went downhill from there.
- This Is Reality: With Garnet and Pearl no longer speaking, Steven and Amethyst lament that people don't just immediately make up like they do on cartoons.
- Tranquil Fury: After Garnet and Amethyst fuse into Sugilite, Sugilite notably says nothing and just smashes the tower.
- Trying Not to Cry: When Garnet asks Pearl to fuse with her, Pearl tries not to tear up with joy. Played for humor.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Garnet's perfectly reasonable decision to fuse with Pearl instead of Amethyst is nevertheless responsible for the plot of the episode. Because Sardonyx carefully disassembles the tower rather than just smashing it, Pearl has the means to keep repairing it, and it's because Pearl wants to fuse with Garnet that she goes to such lengths to create an excuse to do so.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Garnet finds out that Pearl has been rebuilding the communication hub tower, she's furious, since she's been wasting their time on a wild goose chase while Peridot is still out there, trying to contact Homeworld and likely signalling for a full-scale invasion of Earth. Cue the return of Sugillite smashing the tower to irrevocable proportions.