It's a chill afternoon at the Universe house. Steven is playing a video game, and the Gems are cheering him on and giving him advice. Steven stops, annoyed, when Lion pulls a T-shirt off his bureau and begins playing with it. Steven wrestles the shirt back and puts it back where it belongs. Steven explains to the unconcerned feline that it's a souvenir he doesn't want damaged. Lion goes for the shirt again, and Steven once again fights him for it. Afterwards, Steven decides to go into Lion's mane so Lion can't get to it, and hangs his T-shirt on a branch of the tree in the center of the pocket dimension.
- Steven: (Thinking) Now it's safe on the branch of this perfectly stable magical tree.
The tree proves less stable than thought; the branch gives under Steven's weight with a loud crack! He falls, landing on the bubbled gem that has been floating there for as long as Steven has known about Lion's mane. It distorts and pops like a soap bubble. He emerges from the mane, and alerts the Gems:
- Steven: I've made a horrible mistake!
Steven re-enters to bubble the gem, but before he can, it shines and immediately transforms into a Gem with rainbow hair right in front of him. She raises her fists as if she needs to defend herself, then realizes she's alone. After leaving, Steven quickly explains that there's a Gem in Lion's mane. The Gems ask him to describe her. Steven pops his head into the mane, the Gem in there trying to ask him to stay and help her each time he does. As Steven's description becomes more complete:
- Steven: She's big... with rainbow hair and tattoos...
Pearl: Rainbow hair...? What does her gem look like?
Steven: ...it's an "innie"?
Garnet and Pearl show signs of shock, while Amethyst shows none. They finally ask him to bring the Gem out, and he does.
To the Crystal Gems' astonishment, it is Bismuth — a member of the Crystal Gems herself, long missing. A happy reunion ensues between Garnet, Pearl and the new Gem. They're thrilled because the last they'd heard from Rose, Bismuth had been lost in the Battle of the Ziggurat. Amethyst, however, doesn't know Bismuth. She's never heard of Bismuth, Rose never mentioned her, and as such Amethyst is a little suspicious of her (as well as a bit sullen at being left out of the loop about this team member and good friend). The new Gem is cheerful, boisterous, and cordial to everyone despite Amethyst's dubious response to Bismuth's presence. She is so happy to see her friends again, and asks where the rest of the Crystal Gems are.
The jovial mood instantly turns somber as the group Warps to the Strawberry Battle Field, and Pearl explains that the final battle drove the Homeworld Gems off world, but at great cost; all the Crystal Gems except Garnet and Pearl were shattered or corrupted. Garnet and Amethyst elaborate that Homeworld has recently renewed their interest in Earth. Bismuth responds to this with eagerness, ready to fight Homeworld again. Even though it's been (approximately) 5,300 years since the war, it has only been the space of a few heartbeats for her. She pep talks the Gems by reminiscing about how badass they were in battle even though the odds have always been drastically stacked against them.
Before long, Bismuth leads them to her Forge in the heart of a still-active volcano. Bismuth shows Steven, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl where she worked and made all the material weapons the Crystal Gems used in the war. She explains that after hearing Rose tell her she could choose to be who she wanted, she chose to be the blacksmith for the Crystal Gems. She presents Garnet with a set of claws to go with her gauntlets, and gifts Pearl with an attachment to turn her spear into a trident. After a short time examining Amethyst's whip, she turns the amethyst tips into sharp, weighted morning stars. This is finally enough to win Amethyst over and put her suspicions to bed.
Bismuth and the Gems spar playfully on the beach, Bismuth making playful remarks that indicate just how well she knows Pearl, Ruby, Sapphire, and Garnet. Bismuth invites Steven to join in, as it's a Crystal Gem ritual to spar before battle. Steven, who has been watching the violence, declines, saying it's too intense for him. He instead teaches her some of his rituals: playing badminton, playing cards, eating pizza, and watching TV. Bismuth is a little confused by Lonely Blade and the character's refusal to take up the most powerful sword, even if it comes with a curse. To her, if the weapon is that powerful, it only makes sense to use it, no matter the cost.
Back at the house, Bismuth and Steven get to know each other a little bit. Bismuth admits she likes the new rituals, but still wants to have Steven show her his stuff on the battlefield. Steven says he would but his weapons are all defensive — except for Rose's sword. Bismuth explains that Rose recruited her to the Crystal Gems by telling her she didn't have to serve the Homeworld Elite by only making things for them — and that she could be whoever she wanted to be. Steven describes that as her son, he feels pressured and obligated to be like Rose; that he can never measure up. Bismuth tells him he can be different than Rose — better than her. She decides that as a different person from Rose, Steven should have a new weapon all his own.
The two of them return to the Forge without the rest of the group, and Bismuth enthusiastically describes what she was working on — a weapon she calls The Breaking Point. It is an extremely sharp, pointed weapon with a force application made for the sole purpose of shattering Gems — the purpose of which is made plain to Steven as Bismuth demonstrates it on some pumice dummies. She presents it to Steven, smiling proudly.
- Bismuth: Now you look like you mean bismuth.
Steven is absolutely horrified at the sight of it, and at the idea of shattering a gem — the closest thing to killing a Gem for good there is. She encourages Steven to give the weapon a try. He gamely raises it but winces and stops, saying he's not able to do it.
He asks Bismuth if it doesn't make them just as bad as Homeworld to employ their barbaric methods. Bismuth brushes him off, saying that the Crystal Gems are better because they're killing to protect their friends, loved ones, and innocents from Homeworld's evil and elitist machinations. Steven refuses to use the Breaking Point, and while Bismuth is annoyed, she says that she'll use it herself — until Steven elaborates that no one should use it, ever.
- Steven: I'm sorry Bismuth, but it's not right.
Bismuth: That's exactly what she said. That's exactly what you said.
Bismuth's friendly joviality is instantly gone, replaced by a rage as hot as the lava around them. She suddenly changed her mind about Steven, and doesn't believe he's really a half-human half-Gem child of Rose Quartz; She believes it is Rose, just wearing a new form and pretending to be someone else.
She accuses Steven, who she now believes is Rose, of valuing the gems of Homeworld more than those of her friends and compatriots. With that thought in mind, plus her rage at Steven saying exactly what Rose said about not using the Breaking Point, she goes on the attack! Coming after Steven without mercy, turning her arms into pile drivers and hurls him into walls, she explains that she and Rose fought the same way because Rose didn't understand either, and therefore left Bismuth no choice. Bismuth passionately shouts that she would have ended the war, and liberated all gems from the Diamonds. When Steven finally gains the upper hand, Bismuth angrily demands to know if "Rose" will shatter her. Steven tries to talk her down, pleading that a disagreement need not lead to them trying to kill each other, but Bismuth continues to press her attack.
Steven, battered and scuffed from the fight, can only take up his mother's sword in self-defense. As Bismuth rushes in for a coup de grace, Steven raises the blade. Bismuth gazes down in astonishment; Rose's sword has run right through her. The realization shocks her out of her furious attack.
- Bismuth: [tearfully] You shoulda shattered me back then. At least if I were in pieces I wouldn't have to know how little I mattered to you.
Steven solemnly promises to tell the Crystal Gems Bismuth's story, including the disagreement and events that led up to Bismuth bubbled in Lion's mane. This is what makes Bismuth realize that he really isn't Rose.
- Bismuth: Then you really are better than her.
Bismuth poofs, returning to her gem form. Steven bubbles her, and, after the Breaking Point goes into the lava so it can never be used by anyone — returns home. The Gems immediately are alarmed when they see that Bismuth is back in a bubble. He then says he has something to tell them. With obvious sadness, the Gems all go to the Burning Room, and place Bismuth's bubble there. They then go out on the patio and watch the stars, the past day's events on their minds.
We quietly cut to the credits...
- An Aesop: Your heroes are just as imperfect as you are. Rose may have bubbled Bismuth in self-defense when she realized she was Right for the Wrong Reasons, but worrying the other Gems by lying to them that she went MIA was still wrong. The last thing Bismuth tells Steven before she poofs is that he's better than his own mother for promising to tell the Gems the truth, even if he was the one who poofed her.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Pearl and Garnet both gently touch Steven's head in the final shot, as if reassuring him that what happened was not his fault, and that they're not angry with him for the way things turned out.
- Almost Dead Guy: Bismuth is run through by Rose's sword, but sticks around long enough to have a conversation with Steven before poofing.
- Alone with the Psycho: Bismuth takes Steven to the Forge alone, and attacks when he refuses to use the Breaking Point and insists that it's wrong. Steven defends himself, but he's clearly terrified.
- Antagonist Title: Bismuth, who (while not exactly evil) is indeed the antagonist of the episode.
- Anti-Villain: Bismuth has completely sympathetic reasons for what she intends to do, but that doesn't change the fact she desires to kill Homeworld soldiers even if she doesn't need to, and is even willing to try and murder a friend or an innocent child because they're in her way.
- Anti-Regeneration: The Breaking Point is designed to make sure a Gem is Deader Than Dead by stabbing it directly into the Gem, shattering it into shards that're unable to reform.
- Animesque: While the show always had a heavy anime inspiration despite its western art style, this episode adds in an Eye Catch before and after the commercials. In some ways it also resembles a Short Film: having a plot disconnected from the current ongoing Story Arc (which dealt with Jasper and Amethyst's feelings of inferiority, neither of which factor into this at all), having a unique antagonist that is introduced and defeated by the end of its running time, and introducing a new upgrade for the heroes.
- Apathy Killed the Cat: No one presses Bismuth as to what had actually happened after she disappeared or why Rose kept her stored away in a bubble.
- Apologetic Attacker: Steven screamed "watch out" to Bismuth just as he's throwing the same statue she used against him.
- Are We There Yet?: Steven acts this way while Bismuth leads the Crystal Gems to the forge.Steven: Is this the forge?
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Bismuth was a member of a Servant Race, building what the "elite" Gems told her to before Rose recruited her, and thus abhors Homeworld's aristocracy.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Amethyst immediately forgets her suspicions about Bismuth once she upgrades her whip.
- Audience Surrogate: Having never met Bismuth before, Amethyst is very much the voice of the audience: nonplussed at Pearl and Garnet gushing over her appearance, suspicious of this supposed big friend from their past whom she's never heard of, and then singing her praises after the weapon upgrade.
- Awful Truth: Rose apparently kept Bismuth's true fate a secret because of how her friends would react to her Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Bait-and-Switch: The episode opens with dramatic shots of the Gems telling Steven that he's only got one more chance... and then shows that they're watching him play a video game.
- Bait the Dog:
- Garnet and Pearl are ecstatic to see Bismuth again, and she happily upgrades their weapons. By the end of the episode, they have to leave her bubbled her after Steven tells them the truth.
- Steven is happy to meet a Gem that knew his mother, and a new friend to have at the Temple, since most of them try to kill him at first. She then tries to kill him after he refuses to use the Breaking Point.
- Berserk Button: Do not refuse to take Bismuth's weapons, and do not say certain actions are "wrong" in her presence.
- Be Yourself: Bismuth explains to Steven he doesn't need to be like Rose or live up to her, he can be whatever he wants to be and act the way he wants to, just like Rose taught Bismuth and the other Crystal Gems.
- BFS: The blade to a gigantic sword can be seen in Bismuth's forge. Several other giant weapons are also seen.
- Bittersweet Ending: Steven manages to prevent Bismuth from putting the Breaking Point to use and survives while promising her to finally tell the others what happened to her, but he has to bubble Bismuth to defend himself, and it's clear no one is happy to have to put their friend back in her prison.
- Both Sides Have a Point:
- Bismuth and Rose's argument. Bismuth argued that, since Homeworld doesn't fight fair or hold back, they shouldn't either, and that Rose should give her army the best chance to win. Rose argued that this would make them no different from the Gems they were fighting, it was against everything they stood for.
- Rose's actions towards Bismuth after poofing her. Bismuth is right that Rose was in the wrong for not telling anyone the truth. However, Bismuth did attack Rose in a rage (and later shows she's willing to do the same to Steven), and a soldier who will try to kill their own people out of a desire to kill the other side has no place on a battlefield. Steven's actions reflect this: he agrees with Bismuth on the former point, but he choose to put Bismuth back in her prison due to the latter point (and the Crystal Gems do not object).
- Broken Pedestal:
- Bismuth use to adore Rose, until Rose disagreed with her and then poofed her and hid her away without telling the other Crystal Gems.
- Steven has also learned that his mother was far from perfect, covering up Bismuth's betrayal by lying about why she disappeared.
- Likewise, the rest of the Crystal Gems are heartbroken when they learn what kind of person their old friend has become.
- Broken Tears: Bismuth cries when Steven stabs her with Rose's sword, saying that she would have been better off shattered if she had known how little Rose cared for her.
- Call a Human a "Meatbag": When Bismuth thinks Steven is fully human, she calls him a "meatball". It seems less derogatory than "meatbag" usually is, and Steven doesn't take offense, but hints that Bismuth doesn't seem to much care about the Earth or humans.
- We got a glimpse of Bismuth back in "Same Old World", as the Crystal Gem who poofed Lapis.
- "No such thing as a good war, kiddo," something Greg told Steven several seasons ago. We see the psychological and physical effects of the war through Bismuth.
- Bismuth was the bubbled object in Lion's mane.
- Bismuth correctly points out that Homeworld doesn't play fair; Steven had to stop a Homeworld-induced apocalypse, and had learned about a Fantastic Nuke that corrupted thousands of Gems, including Homeworld's own soldiers.
- Pearl and Garnet discuss Homeworld's "final attack", although they mention it vaguely without revealing to Bismuth that it corrupted all Gems on Earth.
- Steven says that he's glad that for once, a new Gem he meets doesn't try to kill him, something that happened with Lapis and Peridot.
- This is the second time a Gem has mistaken Steven for Rose, and tried killing him because of it. Given Steven's Oh, Crap! expression when Bismuth calls him "Rose," he anticipates her attack.
- Steven uses his spike shield ability that he first learned about in the previous episode.
- Character Title: The episode is titled after the long lost Crystal Gem Bismuth.
- Children Forced to Kill: Ultimately, Steven is forced to vanquish Bismuth. Who is the very first sentient gem directly fighting him of their own free-will. Which makes his fight with her all the more hard on him.
- Convection Shmonvection: Bismuth's Forge is built into a volcano, and her hidden chamber has a lava pool, but Steven is the only one affected and even then he only treats it as if it were a hot summer day, at worst burning his feet slightly on the hot floor of the lava chamber.
- Dark Secret: Apparently, Rose was so ashamed about what had happened with Bismuth that she never told anyone. Part of it may be because she may not have wanted to risk the other Crystal Gems taking Bismuth's side against her.
- Debate and Switch: Bismuth brings up the point that Homeworld doesn't play fair, using it as a reason to use the Breaking Point. Steven disagrees with using it to shatter Gems, though he knows that the world isn't so simple. Before the issue can be explored, however, Bismuth attacks Steven, forcing him to poof her. He then tosses the Breaking Point in the lava.
- Deconstructed Trope: While the Crystal Gems were the good guys of the war, and the ones we've met until now are all genuinely benevolent, just like every member of The Empire isn't Always Chaotic Evil, not every member of La Résistance is Always Lawful Good.
- Just because you are fighting against someone for a purely altruistic reason, doesn't mean that those fighting alongside you have the same motivations.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Bismuth gets poofed again, thinking she'll be bubbled without her friends knowing what really happened, Bismuth tells Steven that she'd be better off shattered. She seems to come back a bit when Steven lets her know he won't keep her fate a secret.
- The Dissenter Is Always Right: Amethyst is the only Gem who distrusts the returning Crystal Gem Bismuth, as she?s too young to have met her in the past and finds it weird such an important friend was never mentioned previously. She drops her suspicion after Bismuth makes her a fancy new flail, but it turns out there was a reason Bismuth was never discussed among the others before.
- Drop the Hammer: Bismuth can form her hand into a hammer and uses it for smithing and combat.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Crystal Gem Star on the Breaking Point, unlike every other one in the series, is bright red, evoking the Red Star and emphasizing that the weapon represents Bismuth's radicalism.
- Double Meaning: The Breaking Point is a weapon with a point that breaks Gems. Bismuth's "breaking point" occurs when Rose and Steven reject this weapon, resulting in her attacking them and getting poofed in self-defense.
- Epic Flail: Amethyst's whip is upgraded to feature spiked weights at the ends.
- Everyone Has Standards: Rose disapproved of using a weapon that would shatter Gems in one hit, and Steven likewise disapproves because "it's not right."
- Eye Catch: Unique to this episode, since it's a half-hour special; after each commercial break, a short animation of the Crystal Gems (including Bismuth) arriving onto a warp pad plays, with Steven running to them, then tripping and parlaying it into a pose. (It's repeated for both act breaks with a differently-colored background for each.) The eye catches also serve as a fake-out, presenting Bismuth as a permanent new addition to the team.
- Exact Words: Pearl tells Bismuth they thought she was captured or shattered. Bismuth replies that "Homeworld couldn't lay a scratch on this gem." Homeworld didn't, but that's because Rose did first.
- Extra-Long Episode: A half-hour long, twice the length of a regular episode, without any credits or title card breaking apart the halves. There's even a Eye Catch for commercial breaks, which regular episodes are too short to use.
- FaceHeel Turn: Bismuth was a Crystal Gem, and one of their most loved members... but ended up becoming a vicious Knight Templar and tries to murder Steven for disagreeing with her.
- Fallen Hero: Bismuth was a loyal Crystal Gem, who was well-liked by everyone... but she ended up becoming a Knight Templar who nearly murders Steven for disagreeing with her (and heavily implies she attacked Rose for the same reason).
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The Gem war happened five thousand years ago, which Bismuth only finds out once she reforms.
- Foreshadowing: All the ways what's Beneath the Mask of Bismuth are foreshadowed throughout the episode:
- Steven says he's done a terrible thing when he breaks the bubble around Bismuth's gem, having assumed he released a corrupted gem. He has no idea how right he is.
- When poofed Gems are released from a bubble, they manifest in the same position they were in when it happened, as though no time has passed. When Bismuth first manifests, she quickly takes a fighting stance. Given that she was fighting a war, the viewer might not think that much of it at first.
- When Pearl mentions the last they'd heard of Bismuth was Rose's claim to have lost track of her in a battle, Bismuth briefly looks very distressed and asks where Rose is. After seeing Steven has Rose's gem, she immediately asks if he knows her.Pearl: It's not easy to understand Rose's choices, but we have to stand behind them.
Bismuth: (looking at her reflection in Steven's gem) Rose really is something else...
- After Bismuth learns that the Crystal Gem army was almost completely wiped out, she angrily states that she could have stopped it if she was there. With a weapon like the Breaking Point, she'd have sufficient reason to believe so.
- Bismuth talks at length about other Crystal Gems, about all the the friends that she loves and misses. She never says a single thing about wanting to protect Earth—the most she acknowledges about Earth or humanity is to call Steven a "meatball" when she assumes he's human.
- Upon hearing Homeworld still has their eyes on Earth, Bismuth's reaction is quite the opposite that the others had in "Warp Tour":Bismuth: Good. I thought I wouldn't get another chance to show those uppercrusts who's boss!
- While watching one of the Lonely Blade movies, Steven pleads Lonely Blade not to use the Artifact of Doom whose power is tempting him. Bismuth questions this, saying it just makes sense to use the most powerful weapon possible.
- The thing Bismuth says she admired about Rose was her Grew Beyond Their Programming philosophy, not her compassion.
- While Amethyst dismisses the idea after Bismuth gives her a new weapon, she feels that there's something suspicious about her. Specifically in how she never heard of her, even from Rose.
- Bismuth's appearance even foreshadows something is "off" about her. Her pink sash looks like an irregular star but in truth is the shape of a military chevron. This hints that her nature is fundamentally different than that of the other Crystal Gems as their clothing is closer to human casual wear. Bismuth's style is much more "militant" than the others' more relaxed stances in life. Further, her Gem is placed in the center of her chest. Like Amethyst, the placement of her Gem signifies she is ruled by her heart. Yet her Gem turns inwards versus the outward protrusion we've seen from every other Gem, Homeworld and Cystal alike, throughout the series. The symbolism is literal and figurative: she has a hole in her heart.
- When he's sitting with Bismuth on the couch and talking, Steven lampshades the fact that every new Gem he's met has tried to kill him and that it's taken him ages to become friends with them after that...so he's awfully glad that meeting Bismuth has gone differently. There's even a Scare Chord playing during the pause while the camera shows Bismuth's alarmed reaction.
- Bismuth's gem is bubbled inside Lion's mane, that is, Rose's personal space. We know that the Crystal Gems bubble gems that are too dangerous to set free, and Rose (then Steven) is the only person who could have known where Bismuth was, making the concept of releasing a bubbled gem hidden by none other than the rebellion's leader a big red flag in the first place.
- Even putting aside Bismuth's ends-justify-the-means Knight Templar tendencies, her Motive Rant when fighting Steven is the deepest the series has gone when it comes to referencing Rose's rebellion and her views about Gemkind.
- Get It Over With: When Steven still asks Bismuth to stop, she angrily asks him to shatter her with the Breaking Point.
- Glasses Pull: Garnet dismisses her shades not once, but twice, to show how focused her attention is.
- Go Out with a Smile: Bismuth laughs tearfully when Steven promises to tell the Gems her story, saying that it makes him better than Rose.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: Rose believed that all Gems were capable of more than what the Diamonds made them for. This belief—rather than her compassion for others—was what Bismuth liked her for.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Bismuth created a weapon that could shatter a Gem in a single blow, called the Breaking Point, which she intended to put to liberal use on any Homeworld they fight. Rose disapproved, and Bismuth refused to take no for an answer. Rose poofed her, bubbled her gem, and lied to the others about her disappearance.
- Hidden Eyes: Bismuth has them while attacking Steven.
- History Repeats: Bismuth offering Steven the Breaking Point goes exactly how it did when she offered it to Rose (which Bismuth more or less narrates): Bismuth attacking them, thinking she's been 'given no choice' and her target poofing and bubbling her in self-defense. The only difference is that Steven decides to tell the others what happened.
- I Am Not My Father: Bismuth tells Steven that he's not Rose, he's his own person—he could be even better than her. Bismuth was actually hoping Steven would be more ruthless than Rose, but is ultimately pleased that he's at least more honest than she was.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Bismuth has a focus on "being her own Gem", love of Rose's belief that Gems could be much more than what Homeworld made them for, and part of her battle cry is "We are important!".
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Steven's argument as to why the Crystal Gems shouldn't use the Breaking Point.Steven: Sh-Shattering Gems... wouldn't that make us the same as Homeworld?
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Steven is forced to run Bismuth through her stomach with Rose's sword in self-defense.
- Innocuously Important Episode: For the most part, it's self-contained, but Bismuth's line about how Rose's Sword is incapable of shattering gems is (at least to the audience) a key point of the Spot the Thread about how a certain major backstory element probably isn't what the characters think it is.
- Ironic Echo:
- Bismuth yells the 'We are the Crystal Gems' line...only this time instead of being a heroic cry, it's intended as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner directed at Homeworld.
- Amethyst mentions that Bismuth's "business/bismuth" pun isn't as funny the second time, and Steven mentions that the third time she uses it will be funnier. When Bismuth does use that pun a third time, however, she's trying to encourage Steven to use the Breaking Point to kill, leaving the viewer and Steven horrified instead.
- Irony: Rose's sword, the non-lethal weapon Bismuth wanted to replace with the Breaking Point, which she believed to be stronger due to its emphasis on lethal force, is what defeats her.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Bismuth turns out to have always been on shaky moral ground, secretly desiring to crush Homeworld aristocracy for their repression without caring about the other Homeworld Gems they would kill on the way. Then she shows herself to be downright unstable when she lets it slip that she tried to kill Rose herself for disallowing such a plan.
- Killed Off for Real: The intended purpose of Breaking Point is to ensure that a Gem will die permanently.
- Killing in Self-Defense: Well, 'killing' in the context of a Gem's physical form. When Rose refused to use the Breaking Point, Bismuth attacked her, forcing her to poof and bubble her. Steven is ultimately forced to do the same thing.
- Kill the Ones You Love: Despite Bismuth's deep admiration for Rose, she still tried to kill her when Rose refused to let her use the Breaking Point. Rose in turn had to poof and bubble Bismuth in self-defense.
- Knight Templar: Bismuth's motivations for wanting revenge on Homeworld for what they've done is understandable. Her desire to shatter them wholesale to the point she'd even try to kill Rose or Steven because they don't agree with her puts her over the line.
- Lame Pun Reaction: When Bismuth uses "bismuth" in a pun twice, Amethyst scoffs.
- Last-Second Chance: After badly hurting her by throwing her own statue back at her, Steven tries to talk Bismuth down, admitting that even if he decidedly doesn't agree with her methods and intentions, they don't have to fight each other. Bismuth tries to force him to shatter her, and when that fails makes one last attempt on his life, forcing him to poof her.
- Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Surprisingly averted. The lava flows much slower and with more viscosity instead of just being recolored water. And instead of sinking into the lava as one might expect, Steven's sandal doesn't sink, instead melting on top of the lava, as it wouldn't be dense enough to sink in lava and it's impossible to see through it.
- Leave No Survivors: As Gems aren't killed by their body being damaged, it isn't strictly necessary to threaten their life to defeat them. Bismuth still created a weapon that deliberately destroys their gemstone, killing them immediately, and had every intention of making this the standard method for the Crystal Gems in battle (though what she would do to enemy gem that surrender isn't specified).
- Locked Out of the Loop: Not only did Rose keep her and Bismuth's argument (and Bismuth's poofing and bubbling) secret, Amethyst and Steven had never even heard of her before.
- Love Makes You Evil: Part of the reason Bismuth made the Breaking Point was to protect her fellow Crystal Gems, and her attack on Steven seems to at least partially have been an attempted Suicide by Cop over the guilt of not being there to save her friends.
- Mask of Sanity: Bismuth is revealed to be an unstable Sociopathic Soldier who held a grudge against Rose for severing their friendship because of her behavior.
- Meaningful Echo: When Bismuth tells Steven he doesn't need to be like Rose and can be what he wants to be, she says he can even be better than Rose. After Steven defeats Bismuth with Rose's sword and promises to tell the others everything that happened to her, unlike what Rose did, Bismuth says that Steven really is better than Rose.
- Meaningful Name:
- Bismuth Crystals in the stairstep style that Bismuth's is in are generally crafted artificially rather than naturally found, lending to the fact that Bismuths are generally carpenters, construction workers, and blacksmiths. Bismuth is also a metal with low thermal conductivity, which would explain her being used to the scorching heat of her forge. In a darker way, Bismuth was originally thought to be the element with the highest atomic mass possible before becoming unstable, but is in fact very weakly radioactive, hinting towards Bismuth's more destructive and unsavory tendencies.
- The Breaking Point: both a weapon designed to One-Hit Kill Gems, and the point where Rose and Bismuth's friendship fell apart.
- Midseason Upgrade: Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst get upgrades to their weapons: Pearl's spear turns into a trident, Garnet gets Wolverine Claws/knuckle dusters added to her gauntlets, and Amethyst's whip is given spiked heads.
- Mirroring Factions: Bismuth loathes the Homeworld Gems, especially the Diamonds...but has ultimately become little better than them. Like them, she considers her own kind's lives as more valuable than others (in the Homeworld's case, organic life, in Bismuth's, the Homeworld Gems). Like Yellow Diamond, she is so consumed by a desire for revenge that she'll go to Revenge Before Reason lengths to obtain it, even if it means harming her own people.
- Mistaken for an Imposter: After Steven responds to the Breaking Point the same way Rose did, Bismuth starts mirroring Jasper's belief that Steven is Rose, just her taking another form. Bismuth takes it back once Steven promises to tell everyone what actually happened.
- MST3K Mantra: When Bismuth complains that the movie Lonely Blade doesn't make sense, Pearl tells her "It doesn't have to make sense. It's entertainment." This echoes something similar Steven told Pearl in "Steven The Sword Fighter".
- Mundane Utility: Bismuth can turn her hands into a variety of tools and weapons, including a badminton racket and rolling pin.
- Naked Apron: Technically the result of an Off-Model animation error, but it still counts. While Bismuth is sparring with Pearl, for a brief moment her pants are the same color as her body, making it seem like her blacksmith's apron is all she's wearing. The same thing happens earlier when Pearl says "Or worse, shattered."
- Never My Fault: While Bismuth is justifiably angry at Rose for not telling anyone what happened to her, she refuses to acknowledge that she was the one who attacked Rose in a rage simply for disagreeing with her, forcing Rose to poof and bubble her in self-defense. She instead justifies it by saying Rose "left her no choice".
- No Man Should Have This Power: Steven kicks the Breaking Point into the lava so no one can ever use it.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Bismuth joined the Crystal Gems for a revolution, but not Rose's. Rose's main goal was protecting the Earth because no one else was going to. Bismuth doesn't express any care for the Earth, just a desire to protect her personal True Companions and destroy Homeworld's repressive aristocracy.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Bismuth was a perfect representation of Rose Quartz's philosophy on Gems being able to grow into something much more than they are, having gone from a Servant Race construction worker to the Ultimate Blacksmith, and was extremely well-liked by all who knew her. She also turned into a vicious Knight Templar willing to wantonly kill gems loyal to Homeworld, and was willing to attack Rose and tried to murder Steven when they got in the way of that goal. Naturally, no one is happy to have to put her back in her prison.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Bismuth's created the Breaking Point because Homeworld "doesn't fight fair".
- Pile Bunker: The Breaking Point is an arm-mounted chisel that uses a mechanical "plunger"-style trigger (like a syringe) to apply force to its point, the intent being to destroy an opponent's gemstone directly.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- If Rose had told Garnet and Pearl what had happened to Bismuth, and if Bismuth had told her former comrades what have happened, they might have been able to help with her emotional baggage.
- Pearl and Garnet fail to explain to Bismuth the Crystal Gems hit by the Diamond's final attack aren't dead, merely corrupted and that Steven is making progress towards saving them. Not only might this have lessened her anger, it might have also prevented her Survivor's Guilt and ensuing rampage as the attack that did it was one the Breaking Point couldn't have prevented (as it wasn't an actual physical attack but a Fantastic Nuke).
- The Power of Legacy: Rose apparently kept Bismuth's fate a secret because she didn't want to taint her memory.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Pearl's spear is upgraded into a trident.
- Pungeon Master: Bismuth is very fond of making puns, most often using her own name in place of "business", but she enjoys giving Garnet more punch for her gauntlets and suggesting Pearl try a trident. Her last weapon, the Breaking Point, even ended up have shrewd word play.
- Remember the New Guy?: Lampshaded by Amethyst, when she points out that no one had ever mentioned Bismuth before. Turns out there's good reason for that.
- Released to Elsewhere: Rose poofed, bubbled, and hid away Bismuth while telling the others that she went MIA. Steven tells Bismuth that he'll tell the Crystal Gems everything right before she poofs.
- Revenge: Bismuth's driving force for destroying Homeworld's aristocracy is for treating her and other "unimportant" Gems as tools.
- Rewatch Bonus: Carefully look at how Bismuth reacts just after she reforms. She has a panicked look whenever Rose is brought up, until she sees that Rose has become Steven.
- The Reveal: Bismuth is a Sociopathic Soldier who Rose bubbled because of her unethical methods.
- Rule of Three: After Bismuth uses her own name as part of a pun twice, Steven says that the third time'll be funny again. It's anything but funny..
- Although as a lighter alternative, Amethyst actually drops the third Bismuth pun of the episode, as an Ironic Echo while sparring with Bismuth. And Bismuth herself finds it hilarious.
- Servant Race: Bismuths were made by Homeworld to construct "important" Gem buildings.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: Bismuth is able to morph her limbs into any form she needs, such as hammers, blades, tennis rackets, rolling pins... Combined with her extremely tough body, her limbs are as tough as any Gem's weapon.
- Shoot the Dog: Steven clearly doesn't want to have to poof Bismuth or fight her at all, but Bismuth won't be talked down and forces him to impale her in self-defense.
- Shown Their Work: The handleless blades hanging in Bismuth's forge all have tangs, the portion of a sword blade that fits into the hilt to make it more secure among other things. There even seems to be variety between full and partial tangs (which offer different advantages) rather than being uniform.
- Single-Stroke Battle: When Steven battles Bismuth, she charges him with the Breaking Point and he replies with Rose's Sword complete with a cut away when the attacks hit. Steven manages to avoid Bismuth's attack, but the larger Gem is impaled.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Bismuth is made out to be a new (old) addition to the team before what's Beneath the Mask are revealed.
- Smoking Barrel Blowout: Bismuth does this after using her Breaking Point.
- Something Only They Would Say:
- Finding Pearl uncharacteristically boisterous, Bismuth half-jokingly asks who she belongs to. When Pearl defiantly replies "No one!", Bismuth accepts that she's got the right Pearl.
- When Steven uses the same phrase as his mother when insisting that they can't use the Breaking Point, Bismuth becomes convinced that he's actually Rose and that "Steven" is an act.
- Special Edition Title: Instead of an Episode Title Card, the episode starts right from the opening, then shows the title and credits over the episode itself right when Bismuth appears.
- Spoiler Title: Thus the need to hold it off until Steven discovers the title character.
- Spot the Thread: Amethyst points out how weird it is that no one, not even Rose, told her about Bismuth. She doesn't have a chance to verify her suspicions, however.
- Status Quo Is God: Bismuth's gem returns to the bubble at the end of the episode.
- Stepford Smiler: Bismuth shrugs off Garnet and Pearl's worries that she was shattered or captured. Later on, she reveals how hurtful it was that Rose poofed her and didn't tell anyone where she was, thinking Rose was ashamed of her.
- Suicide by Cop: It's implied Bismuth attacked Rose for this reason, and why she attacks Steven after mistaking him for Rose. She says she was better off shattered than hidden away, and forces Steven to poof her in self-defense. She even demands him to use the Breaking Point on her, while Steven argues that just because they disagree doesn't mean they have to fight.
- Surprise Creepy: The promos painted the episode as a happy 'meet the new character' episode and the first half reflects it... then Bismuth reveals herself as a ruthless Knight Templar and tries to outright murder Steven.
- Survivor's Guilt: Bismuth's attack and apparent Suicide by Cop attempt on Steven is implied to be because she feels guilty over not being able to save her friends in the war, saying that it would have been better if Rose had shattered her.
- Sword Beam: Pearl uses hers, with Bismuth being surprised, since she couldn't do that before.
- Tempting Fate: Steven says that when he usually meets a new Gem, they try to kill him. Bismuth eventually does after he accidentally triggers her.
- The Reveal:
- The Gem sealed in Lion's mane is Bismuth, a long lost Crystal Gem.
- Bismuth is actually a Knight Templar who planned to escalate the lethality of battle against Homeworld for the sake of overthrowing their government. Rose refused to use the Breaking Point weapon or abide by her Pay Evil unto Evil mentality, resulting in Bismuth attacking Rose, who poofed and sealed her away in self-defense.
- The Teaser: While not before the Title Sequence, this episode is the only one in the series thus far to have a cold opening before the episode's title card shows up.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill:
- Steven will never shatter a Gem, even in self-defense.
- Rose was of a similar mindset, and had Bismuth make it so that her sword would only destroy the body, not the Gem itself.
- Three-Point Landing: Bismuth pulls off a tight one when she regenerates inside Lion's mane.
- Token Evil Teammate: Bismuth has noble goals and cares for her comrades, but lacks Rose's ideals, meaning that she would go to lengths Rose wouldn't consider, like the Breaking Point.
- Trailers Always Lie: The episode's promo suggested that Bismuth will become a new member of the main cast.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Several weeks before this episode aired, there was a preview clip that not only spoiled Bismuth's appearance as a new character and the fact that she knew Garnet and Pearl, but also the fact that Amethyst has a new outfit, meaning she got poofed and had to reform.
- Ultimate Blacksmith: Bismuth made all of the material weapons used by the Rebellion, with Rose's Sword being her masterpiece, and also made some upgrades for the Gems' summoned weapons.
- Ultimate Forge: The forge used to make the Cyrstal Gems weapons is built into a volcano, and powered by the magma therein.
- The Unfettered: Bismuth lacks Rose's ideals, believing that you should do whatever you can to win against your enemies. Best exemplified while they were watching a Lonely Blade movie, asking why Lonely Blade shouldn't use the Demon Sword despite the fact that it was cursed.
- The Unreveal: While it's revealed who Bismuth is and why she was sealed away, why Rose chose to put her with the cache of items in Lion's mane she intended for Steven to find at some point is not.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Steven accidentally uses his mother's words unknowingly when refusing to use the Breaking Point and tossing it away, causing Bismuth to go berserk and try to kill him.
- Villain Has a Point: While Bismuth is actively trying to murder him at the time and opposes her methods and goals, Steven admits that Bismuth does have a point that it was unfair for her friends to not even know what happened to her. He rectifies Rose's mistake by telling the others what happened after poofing Bismuth.
- Violence Is the Only Option: Steven fails to talk down Bismuth, and when she starts going after him without mercy, he is forced to fight back in order to save himself.
- Walking Armory: Instead of using a single summoned weapon, Bismuth prefers to shapeshift her arms into whatever weapon best fits the situation.
- War Is Hell: The Gem War was so terrible that it drove Bismuth to create the Breaking Point.
- Was It All a Lie?:
- Bismuth mistaking Steven for Rose before attacking him, asking if her "new form" was just a trick.
- In her rage, Bismuth asked "Rose" if all her talk, about Gems being capable for being more than what they're made for, was just talk.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bismuth is loyal to the Crystal Gems and their cause, but her methods go against Rose's ideals of holding life sacred, and has plans to violently destroy Homeworld's aristocracy.
- We Used to Be Friends: Bismuth adored Rose's philosophy that a Gem had their own identity and choices to make. To her, Rose's refusal to Pay Evil unto Evil with Homeworld was unforgivable. She also doubted that Rose cared for her, since Rose didn't tell the other Crystal Gems what happened to Bismuth after she was bubbled away.
- Wham Line: After Steven rejects Bismuth's destructive weapon:Bismuth: That's exactly what she said.
- Wham Shot: Bismuth's Breaking Point firing through the Gem of the statue, revealing its true purpose and what's Beneath the Mask.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Bismuth is not amused that Rose lied about what happened to her, and tells Steven in their fight. Steven, notably, agrees.
- What You Are in the Dark: Bismuth goads Steven towards using the Breaking Point to shatter her when they're alone in the forge. Not only does he refuse, but he promises to tell the other gems what happened to her—something Rose was unable to do. Additionally, when not even Bismuth is there to see it, he kicks the Breaking Point into the lava to ensure that it's never used.
- Wolverine Claws: Garnet's gauntlets are upgraded to incorporate knuckle dusters.
- Working-Class Hero: Bismuth was part of one of the lower castes in Homeworld, the builders of fancy arquitectures for "elite" Gems to use. Thanks to Rose's encouragement, she joined the rebellion to follow her passion for weapon forging and she focused on fighting in order to liberated the "unimportant" Gems back on Homeworld.
- Would Hurt a Child: Bismuth tries to kill Steven for refusing the Breaking Point. While Bismuth thought Steven was Rose at the time, this was a justification even less rational than Jasper's similar assumption, as Bismuth had previously accepted that Steven was a different person (which her own friend corroborated). Since Gems are all made fully-grown, though, it's unlikely she even understood what children are.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In many works featuring enemies with Resurrective Immortality, developing a weapon that can permanently kill a previously unkillable enemy would be a godsend and they're Always Chaotic Evil monsters who can be killed without remorse and Bismuth seems to wholeheartedly think that's how the world works. Unfortunately for Bismuth, she's not in one of those shows and thus her creation of such a weapon and intended genocide are morally wrong.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Bismuth tells Steven he doesn't have to be Rose, he could be someone even better, and finds it bizarre that she has to tell the son of Rose Quartz this. When Steven promises to tell everyone about what happened, Bismuth once more acknowledges Steven as his own individual, and says that he is already better than Rose Quartz for doing that.