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Recap / Steven Universe S2E25 "The Answer"

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We open with Steven, curled up asleep in the bed of a pickup truck in the barn. A mattress, pillow and blanket have been placed to turn the truck bed into a real bed. Garnet appears at Steven's bedside and calls to him to wake him up. It's midnight, and that makes it his birthday!

Steven happily asks if Garnet will keep her promise to tell him that she's really the fusion of Ruby and Sapphire. Garnet reminds him he already knows that, which he admits he already does. Garnet, all smiles, tells him that he doesn't know the story of how Ruby and Sapphire met. Steven's eyes light up at the prospect of a new story, which Garnet narrates. It all began over five thousand seven hundred and fifty years ago...

Flashing back, we see as Garnet describes it all, that Sapphire was sent to Earth for her powerful ability to see the future. Blue Diamond was her commander, and wanted to know if the rebellion's attack would impact Homeworld's plans for Earth. Three little Ruby gems, all alike but with their gems in different locations, were sent along to protect Sapphire and be her bodyguards. They bantered cheerfully back and forth about what they would do to any rebels who attempted to harm Sapphire. The first said she would punch them in their face. The second said she would punch them all over their bodies. The third said they would just fuse, become stronger, and destroy them utterly. She then bumped into Sapphire in her energetic gesticulating, and fumbled an apology. Sapphire simply smiled, because she had known it would happen.

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Called before her diamond, Sapphire dispassionately told Blue Diamond that while the attack would cause the destruction of seven gems' physical forms, including her own, the rebellion would be crushed, ending it. Blue Diamond thanked Sapphire for her report. Sapphire, accepting that she would be returned to gem form and re-form back on Homeworld, told her leader she would see her then.

Right then, the rebels- Rose Quartz and Pearl- attacked. Pearl made short work of several Quartz gems, and the three Rubies fused into one giant Ruby in order to fight. They didn't last long against Rose Quartz. Rubies One and Two were poofed outright, but the third Ruby, the one who had the earlier, awkward exchange with Sapphire, managed to survive. Sapphire, being the passive fatalist she was, was willing to accept being poofed. But the sole remaining Ruby refused to let it end like that. As Pearl approached Sapphire and prepared to poof her, Ruby gave a mighty leap, sweeping Sapphire up into her arms. As the two tumbled out of the way in each others' arms, they Fused.

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The reactions of all the homeworld gems were not positive, to say the least. Cross-gem fusion, even on accident (as Ruby and Sapphire had just done), was incredibly taboo. Rose, on the other hand, found it absolutely fascinating, and used the distraction to escape. The new, confused and bewildered fusion, separated back into Sapphire and Ruby. Sapphire was stunned. Her prediction, unlike all others before it, had been wrong. Ruby had changed the future. How? Not only that, but Ruby had prevented the destruction of her physical form — saved her! Ruby, for her part, was all stumbling apology. She hadn't meant to fuse, or even known it was going to happen until it had happened.

Blue Diamond, on the other hand, was enraged, and raised a hand in furious declaration:

Blue Diamond: How dare you fuse with a member of my court?! You will be broken for this!

Sapphire, horrified to hear that Ruby would be executed for something that was essentially an accident and, from Sapphire's point of view, a happy one, fled with Ruby.

Ruby flew into an immediate panic, horrified that she had taken Sapphire from her court, away from her Diamond, let alone that she, Ruby, a lowly soldier, had dared to fuse with an elite noblegem such as Sapphire. Sapphire had no problem with her escape, but was still reeling from the realization that the future wasn't immutable. She was frozen — literally— with indecision. Ruby's fight or flight reaction could not permit fighting, so she picked up Sapphire and ran until she found a safe place for the two of them to shelter. Ruby worried and fretted that she'd caused Sapphire a terrible inconvenience by stranding her down on Earth rather than facing her fate, but Sapphire never complained.

Now safe for the moment, the two of them finally got to discuss what it felt like to fuse. For Ruby, it had never felt like that. She had never fused with anyone other than other Ruby gems, so it had always felt like being Ruby — but bigger. For Sapphire, who had never fused at all, it was something entirely new. Ruby was amazed at having a third eye. Sapphire, a cyclops, was amazed at ever having more than one. Over time, the two began to awkwardly get to know each other, trust each other, and their feelings began to grow. Eventually they decided, together, that they wanted to try to fuse again — intentionally. Once they did it again, successfully, their newly fused body took a wrong step and tumbled downhill, landing at the feet of...

Garnet, narrating: Rose Quartz, the leader of the rebellion and her terrifying renegade Pearl.

The pair greeted them warily but Rose brushed off any concerns of them needing to fear her and Pearl. Rose immediately insisted their fusion was more interesting and asked them what they felt like.

Past Garnet: Lost. Scared. And happy...

But full of questions! She asked why Ruby was able to change fate. And why Sapphire was willing to sacrifice for Ruby. And why was she, the new fusion, so sure she'd rather stay this way than do anything else?

Past Garnet: What am I?

Rose stopped her right there. It was enough doubts.

Rose Quartz: Don't you ever doubt this: You already are the answer.

As the flashback ends, Steven looks up eagerly and curiously into Garnet's smiling face.

Steven: What was it? The answer?
Garnet: Love.
Steven: Woooow! I knew it!
Garnet: So did I.

And we Iris Out with little hearts popping!


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Amethyst is completely absent from this episode, as most of it is a flashback which takes place before she was even created. The storybook adaptation of this episode also excludes Steven, only focusing on the flashback part.
  • Act of True Love: A mutual one; Ruby leaped in to save Sapphire from Pearl (changing the fate Sapphire had seen) and was willing to let herself be killed for Sapphire's sake. In return, Sapphire subjects herself to exile from Homeworld so that Ruby can live.
  • Admiring the Abomination: While Garnet was viewed as an abomination to the homeworld gems, Rose Quartz accepted the unsettled newborn fusion with warmth and genuine interest in what kind of person she'd become.
  • Adorkable:
    • Ruby and Sapphire's interactions with each other are extremely awkward and adorable.
    • Ruby's nervous, vulnerable singing. She's probably not supposed to address Sapphire directly in the first place, in their old lives.
  • And Then What?: Ruby doesn't know what to do after Sapphire saves her and shows no desire to return to the colonists or the Cloud Arena.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Being a common low-ranked gem among diplomats, Ruby apologizes a lot in this episode. Especially after fusing with Sapphire, letting the rebels escape and seemingly fail in her mission to protect the blue gem.
  • Art Shift: The first half of the flashback is animated with the background objects and incidental characters in a stark, silhouette-based style reminiscent of Lotte Reiniger's shadow puppet work, while the second half resembles classic Disney, particularly Sleeping Beauty.
  • Big "NO!": Ruby lets out one when Pearl is about to poof Sapphire and another when Sapphire grabs her and jumps.
  • Big "OMG!":
    Garnet: But what you don't know is how Ruby and Sapphire first met.
    Steven: Oh Emm Gee, I don't!
  • Blood Knight: The Rubies are excited by the chance to fight the rebels. The future Crystal Gem Ruby is the most level-headed of the three, pointing out they were sent as a group to Fusion Dance into a single warrior as a last resort to protect Sapphire.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ruby was acting as one of Sapphire's bodyguards, and Rose implies that the answer as to why Ruby and Sapphire were able to fuse without a dance is because of the love Ruby had for Sapphire that she acted on impulse.
  • Bump into Confrontation: One of the Rubies pushes Ruby into Sapphire; Sapphire then says she knew it would happen.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Pearl shows off her Leeroy Jenkins tendencies for Taking the Bullet, and serving as Rose's knight. She's notably more bloodthirsty about it, planning to cut down an unarmed Sapphire.
    • Sapphire carries away Ruby from certain death the way she carried away Steven in "Jailbreak".
    • As Ruby and Sapphire start to dance, Sapphire hums the same bar from "Stronger Than You" that she would in the jail cell in "Jail Break".
    • Rose's talk to the newly fused Garnet closely mirrors Garnet's talk to Stevonnie when they were first formed.
    • Rose says "Welcome to Earth" when speaking with Garnet, the same thing Garnet would later tell Peridot in "Back to the Barn".
  • The Cameo: Lapis Lazuli seems to make an appearance as a silhouette early on in the flashback. Given that gems of the same type seem to have similar appearances, though, it's possible that this is another Lapis.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Blue Diamond plans to punish only Ruby for fusing with Sapphire, since Sapphire is a rare gem, seer, and member of her court.
  • Character Witness: Pearl points a sword at the newborn Garnet, before recognizing her from the arena. Rose is another one, encouraging Garnet to stay as a fusion.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Gems' lack of needing food allows Ruby and Sapphire to survive for days on Earth without worrying about their basic needs.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Steven asks Garnet if she's planning to tell him that she's a fusion for his birthday, which was stated in "Jail Break" to be the reason they hadn't told him already. Garnet points out that he already knows.
    • Pearls were stated in "Back to the Barn" to be servants/attendants for the high class, and one in this episode stands in front of Blue Diamond's palanquin.
    • The episode begins at the Cloud Arena, previously featured in "Steven The Sword Fighter" and "Sworn to the Sword".
    • Sapphire wears a blue diamond shape on her dress to signify her service to Blue Diamond, like Jasper and Peridot wear yellow diamonds.
    • As in "Keystone Motel", Sapphire and Ruby lose control of their ice and fire powers when their emotions get away from them, though not to the extremes of that episode.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: After Ruby and Sapphire fused together, everyone was so shocked at what they saw they completely forgot about Rose and Pearl, who used this opportunity to escape.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When the Crystal Gems raid the Cloud Arena, Pearl cuts her way through four Gems without breaking a sweat, and Rose takes down the fused Ruby in a single pass.
  • Dance of Romance: Ruby and Sapphire get to know and trust each other enough to fuse again, this time with a proper slow waltz to mark their uncertainty and eagerness for fusing again.
  • Defecting for Love: This episode reveals that Sapphire was the one that pretty much defected from Homeworld, dragging a condemned Ruby with her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Blue Diamond wants to break Ruby for fusing with Sapphire, indirectly preventing Rose and Pearl's capture. This is ignoring the fact that it was an accident, that she saved the seer's life, and it was their own fault for being so easily distracted from their goal.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Ruby and Sapphire's skirting around the subject of their fusion is somewhat reminiscent of a couple in a post-sex haze with the both of them feeling awkward afterwards, complete with each of the couple holding their own reservations about it: Ruby, seemingly more experienced at fusion, but entirely new at fusing with another kind of Gem, feels like she needs to apologize for initiating contact/fusion, while Sapphire is fascinated with what it feels like to be a fusion and takes some degree of pride when Ruby tells her it's different fusing with her than it is with other Rubies.
      Ruby: Oh... Um... I just can't stop thinking...
      Sapphire: So... Um... Did you say I was different?
      Ruby: And you hadn't [fused] before?
      Sapphire: Of course not! When would I have ever?
      Ruby: I'm so sorry!
      Sapphire: No, no, don't be!
    • With the revelation that it's normal for Gems to only fuse with Gems of their own kind, the condemnation of the Gems of Blue Diamond's court to Ruby and Sapphire's fusion is somewhat reminiscent of the reaction of people who disapprove of interracial marriage/relations.
  • The Dreaded: Garnet describes Pearl as a "terrifying renegade" but doesn't suggest anything like that of the vastly more powerful Rose. Part of this is probably because Pearl was a normally servant-class Gem capable of taking down Quartz Gems with her swords, thus bringing to mind a threat of Turned Against Their Masters.
  • Dual Wielding: Pearl attacks the Cloud Arena with sabers in both hands.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the crowd of Blue Diamond's court in the Cloud Arena, there appears to be a Gem with the same headshape as Holly Blue Agate, although if it's the same one is unknown.
  • Expendable Clone: Ruby sees herself as expendable, since there are many of her.
    Ruby: Why'd you do that!? I have to get you back up there!
    Sapphire: They were gonna break you!
    Ruby: Who cares!? There's tons of me!
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sapphire was willing to let Pearl cut her down, since she had seen her own (temporary) death. Ruby refused to allow it.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: We never see what Blue Diamond looks like or sounds like as Garnet does her voice, she wears a cloak mostly concealing her head, and she sits in a curtained robot palanquin.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Ruby and Sapphire start to know each other better while exploring Earth's wonders.
  • Freakiness Shame: The Homeworld Gems do not react well to Ruby and Sapphire's accidental fusing.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: You can see what's probably Lapis Lazuli among the shadow figures in the first part of the episode.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Garnet's description of Pearl as a "terrifying renegade pearl" implies that the loyalist Gems saw Pearl this way.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • The Rubies were sent as a group for this purpose. Unlike fusions between different Gems, this just results in a single Ruby several times bigger than her component parts.
    • This episode features the first chronological creation of Garnet. Since it's a new fusion, her form has a chaotic mix of Ruby and Sapphire's colors.
  • Grin of Audacity: Rose Quartz gives one in a close-up, right before taking down the Ruby fusion herself.
  • Hidden Eyes: The episode suggests this is a trait of Blue Diamond. She herself has her eyes hidden by her cloak, whereas her Pearl and Sapphire have Blinding Bangs.
  • Hive Caste System: As a rarely occurring Gem, Sapphire is an aristocrat and diplomat. Rubies, on the other hand, are so common, she gets three of them as bodyguards.
  • Homage: There appears to be some to Disney's Sleeping Beauty. A small one is how Garnet's first form is a messy clash of pink and blue very similar to Aurora's dress after the red and blue fairy fought over the color. A more noticeable moment is when Ruby and Sapphire hum and dance in an atmospheric setting that is very similar to Aurora and Prince Philip dancing. Observe.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Sapphire uncovers her eye; Ruby gets so amazed at Sapphire's face that she started to flame up the ground she was standing on.
  • Intercourse with You: The song that Ruby and Sapphire sing is obviously about the first time they fused, but parts of the lyrics can be interpreted as one person having had sex for the first time and the other having made love for the first time rather than having sex randomly. (See Does This Remind You of Anything? above.)
  • Large and in Charge: Blue Diamond is by far the largest Gem we've seen so far, and one of the highest-ranking.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Ruby impulsively throws herself in front of Sapphire to block Pearl's sword, causing their first fusion and thus derailing Blue Diamond's plan to crush Rose's rebellion.
  • Literal Metaphor: Despite knowing her entire life from beginning to end and everything that was bound to happen in it, Sapphire was at a complete loss over her whole situation because of Ruby's personality being a wrench in the works for her future vision... so she completely froze, literally and metaphorically.
  • Love Bubbles: When Ruby sees Sapphire's eye for the first time, a few circular purple ones appear beside her.
  • Luminescent Blush: Ruby, Sapphire and Garnet blush when they are embarrassed, flustered and bashful over fusing together.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Blue Diamond blames Sapphire and/or Ruby for the rebel's escape, but they wouldn't have gotten away if everyone had bothered to hold off gawking at the fusion to take care of the matter at hand.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: During the events of the flashback, Ruby was on the side of Homeworld. That said, her attempted Heroic Sacrifice (and accidental fusion with Sapphire) averted Sapphire's vision (which would involve Rose and Pearl being captured by Homeworld).
  • No Name Given: Since cross-fusions are so unheard of, the new fusion apparently doesn't realize she's become a Garnet until sometime after the end of this story.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: Sapphire had no idea that Ruby would save her, despite being a seer.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The ferocious band of rebels that has been frustrating Homeworld attempts to colonize Earth is apparently made up entirely of Rose Quartz and her rogue Pearl. Possibly justified in that Steven is imagining what happened based on Garnet's story (which is why Blue Diamond and the other Gems of her court speak in Garnet's voice: Steven wouldn't know what they sounded like in real life) and the only other Crystal Gems Steven knows of (besides Amethyst, who hadn't emerged from the Kindergarten yet) are Pearl and his mother Rose.
  • Off-Model: In one scene, Sapphire's gem is in her left hand instead of her right.
  • Origins Episode: Of Garnet.
  • Parachute Petticoat: Sapphire lands gently after jumping from the Cloud Arena with Ruby by levitating, but the way her dress wafts up seems to visually reference this trope.
  • The Power of Love: "Love" is the answer to the newborn Garnet's question to Rose, asking what allowed Ruby and Sapphire to fuse the first time without a dance.
  • Prophecy Twist: Sapphire was right about her life ending, but instead of dying she gave up her life with Blue Diamond for a life together with Ruby and the Crystal Gems.
  • Rescue Romance: Both Ruby and Sapphire save each other when they first meet. Ruby saves Sapphire from being poofed by Pearl, and in the process accidentally fuses with her. Shortly after this, Sapphire saves Ruby when Blue Diamond orders her to be shattered for fusing with Sapphire, running off with her and escaping the Home World Gems. While the two of them rescuing each other was not when the two of them fell in love, they both appreciate what the other one did for them and it led to them beginning their relationship by remaining on Earth together.
  • Screw Destiny: Ruby saving and accidentally fusing together with Sapphire, because Sapphire conversed with Ruby, which led to Ruby trying to save her, instead of letting Sapphire just stand there and lose physical form. Despite the social stigma, it seems to unintentionally demonstrate to Sapphire that her future isn't set in stone, and therefore she actually has control over her life.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Steven is excited to learn how Ruby and Sapphire met.
    • Rose is implied to have felt similarly, as she tells Garnet to never question her feelings.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Sapphire uncovers her eye, Ruby gets so amazed at the beautiful sight that she started to flame up the ground she was standing on.
  • Space Age Stasis: One of the first social inversions in media. If Jasper and Peridot's reactions are anything to go on (and Jasper's willingness to become Malachite), they only look down on Garnet being a permafusion, meaning cross-gem fusion isn't as taboo as before... at least, when it comes to combat.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sapphire predicted that the Crystal Gems would be captured after destroying her. Then Ruby bucked the script by saving Sapphire and accidentally fusing with her, providing a distraction that allowed the Crystal Gems to escape.
  • Symbolism:
    • Gems being solid-colored while in the Cloud Arena (Homeworld territory) and normal-colored while on Earth to represent collectivism and individualism.
    • Garnet being born with clothes being a fused disarray of Ruby and Sapphire's clothes represent the unexpected, sudden and seemly unnatural nature of their cross-gem fusion. Her face and body are as well-formed and beautiful as usual, representing the potential of their union.
  • Taking the Bullet: Ruby attempted to take the sword slash aimed at Sapphire, but she ended up fusing with Sapphire instead. It was a complete accident.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Blue Diamond orders Ruby to be broken for fusing with Sapphire.
  • Title Drop: After Garnet is formed again, she has a lot of questions about herself that she asks Rose. Rose says that Garnet already knows the answer. Once the flashback ends, Steven asks what the answer is. It's love and we all knew it.
  • The Un-Reveal: The episode builds tension by introducing Blue Diamond, only to obscure most of her features and have Garnet speaking her lines.
  • Ur-Example: Garnet is revealed to be the first cross-gem fusion in all recorded history.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Well, eye, but you get the idea; Ruby gets quite literally hot under the collar after seeing Sapphire's eye for the first time.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Ruby and Sapphire are both stunned, amazed and flustered over how their fusion felt for them. Sapphire, having never fused before, was amazed at the feeling of losing herself. Ruby, having fused before but always with other rubies, was surprised by how different it felt from her regular fusion, as it was usually "always [her], but bigger".
    Ruby: I never had a third eye before.
    Sapphire: I have never had more than one! It was nice.
  • When She Smiles: When Rose tells Garnet, "Welcome to Earth," Pearl gives a big, goofy grin that nearly matches Rose's. She really was so happy with her.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The episode is Garnet's story to Steven about how Ruby and Sapphire met and became her.
  • The Worf Barrage: The Rubies fuse into a single, giant Ruby to fight Rose, only to be defeated in an instant.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: It goes by quickly, but after leaving the cave, Ruby and Sapphire do some exploring, admiring a butterfly then the frog that eats it.
  • You Are Already Dead: Pearl slashes two Homeworld Quartzes with her swords, who look down in confusion before poofing. Also, after Rose hits the Ruby fusion, there's a delay before they unfuse.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Sapphire's view before the events of the episode. She had plotted out the entire course of her life through future vision, and she was so passive in nature that it never occurred to her that she could change what she saw before Ruby pulled a Screw Destiny.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: When Garnet first fused, her hair was a mix of pink and blue instead of the black afro it is now.
  • You Have Failed Me: Blue Diamond orders Ruby broken for fusing with a member of her court, and it's implied that she was going to punish Sapphire for foretelling a future that didn't come to pass, as there's no guarantee that she wasn't going to be wrong again in the future.

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