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Recap / Steven Universe S3E23 "Back to the Moon"

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Following on from the ending of Earthlings; Steven, Peridot and Amethyst have returned to the barn after tangling with Jasper at the Beta Kindergarten to find the rest of the Crystal Gems and Lapis holding the Ruby Squad prisoner in water bubbles. Upon asking Lapis tells them that the Squad just showed up again, seemingly very upset about something so she put them in "time out".

They decide to ask one of the Rubies why they came back to Earth and Steven asks if he can choose, before revealing that he's nicknamed each Ruby based on their gem placement - Leggy, Army, Navy, Eyeball and... Doc. Leggy is released first, but she confesses that she's forgotten why they came back. Steven assures her that he used to forget things about their missions all the time when he started out on missions and Leggy goes to stand "over there". Army is released next and begins threatening to fight the Crystal Gems. Garnet goes "Aww." and there there is a quick cut to Army being restrained under Garnet's arm. Navy begins to tell them, but get embarrassed and runs over to Leggy, flustered; Eyeball insists that she's going to tell them nothing; and Doc finally tells them why they've returned - they checked Neptune and Jasper isn't there! The Squad reforms together and demand that the Crystal Gems tell them where Jasper is NOW or else!

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Cue a voice shouting "Hey!" offscreen. We then see "Jasper", but purple and with a side of Peek-a-Bangs, telling the Ruby Squad that she's right here. The other Crystal Gems and Lapis are stunned into bemused silence, and Pearl says that this will never work... only to be interrupted by the Ruby Squad completely buying it. Eyeball in particular seems amazed, approaching "Jasper" and informing her that she fought in the war for Earth as well as informing her of all the tales she heard about Jasper's amazing skills in battle, apparently having emerged wearing her helmet and taken out eighty Crystal Gems before the sun set that day. She informs "Jasper" that the moment she heard this mission was to look for her, Eyeball nearly dissipated her form and states that it is an honour to finally meet her. "Jasper" states that yup it's definitely her; always large and never small since the day she was made! Eyeball suddenly states that something's different about "Jasper" though, and Pearl readies for the charade to be blown. "Jasper" manages to fool the Rubies again though by stating that her colouration is just a 'tan' from the Earth sun. Eyeball states how she hates this planet, to which "Jasper" agrees and the entire Ruby Squad start kicking up clods of soil and stamping the ground.

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The Squad says that Yellow Diamond wants "Jasper" back immediately, and say that they will take the quartz back to Homeworld. "Jasper" quickly says no and bluffs that she has decided to stay... to keep the rest of the Crystal Gem group prisoner! For the Diamonds. The Ruby Squad applaud "Jasper's" devotion to her duty, but say that Yellow Diamond will want to know so she should fire a message back through the nearest Diamond base. As most of the Ruby Squad wonder where that is, Doc tries to inform them but doesn't know either. Fortunately Eyeball does, and it's on the moon. "Jasper" is alarmed that she'll have to hold this larger shape all the way to the moon, but quickly bluffs the 'holding' as holding onto the rebel prisoners she has. As the Squad leads the way back to their ship, Pearl and Garnet express concerns about how long this plan of Amethyst's can work. Amethyst says she's got this, just to the moon and back and then the Ruby Squad will be gone for good! Steven, Pearl and Garnet go to the ship, but Lapis and Peridot don't want to be prisoners so stay behind.

Inside the Roaming Eye turns out to be much larger inside than it was outside, which Steven Lampshades. Eyeball demands they show respect, and "Jasper" follows suit to the Ruby Squad's pleasure. The Crystal Gem 'prisoners' partake in some bad acting, cursing their capture by "Jasper" with Pearl going Large Ham complete with balletic leaps and gestures. Doc offers "Jasper" the captain's chair and says that she can head them to the moon base when she's ready. "Jasper" stares at the console with confusion, before picking Doc up and telling them to direct them as she is 'too tired' from her Earth time. On the way to the moon, Amethyst checks in with the other Crystal Gems telling Pearl to tone down the dramatics because Army wants to throw her out of the ship. Steven expresses concern that Amethyst has been holding her Jasper disguise for a while, but the purple Gem assures him that she's fine.

The ship lands on the base and they all file out, Pearl still in full ham-mode. Eyeball states that this is an Era one base, and looks up at one of the murals stating that it'd belonged to "her" and it was a shame what'd happened. Leggy asks who she is, and Eyeball tells her that it's Pink Diamond before saying to "Jasper" that it'd probably best if she explains. "Jasper" claims to be too messed up about it still, so Eyeball tells the tale. Earth was Pink Diamond's colony and at first all was going well, Kindergartens were incubating their first soldiers - quartz Gems like "Jasper" - before one of those quartz soldiers began rebelling and "took it too far". Eyeball asks "Jasper" where she was when it 'happened', and claims to have been there and seen it happen - she saw the leader of the Crystal Gems, Rose Quartz, shatter Pink Diamond. Steven is shocked at this news and looks at Garnet and Pearl, both who clearly indicate through their bodies that they were already aware of this fact. Steven denies that it could be true, that Rose Quartz would never shatter another Gem! As everyone turns to stare at him, Doc appears and says there is a problem.

In the very top room of the base, the assembled group examines the remains of the panel Garnet destroyed in a previous episode, noting also that the communicator is gone. As the Ruby Squad angrily condemn the Crystal Gems for this, Amethyst finally loses her hold on her disguise, shrinking back to normal behind the Squad before quickly resuming the shape as the Squad inform her that they'll have to take her to Homeworld to file the report in-person now. "Jasper" continues to assert that she can't go, confusing the Rubies before Amethyst uses Eyeball's earlier hero worship to convince the Ruby to file the report for her instead. The Squad agrees and get into their ship, with Amethyst finally dropping the disguise fully once the door is closed.

The Crystal Gems congratulate Amethyst on holding it together, with Pearl saying that she always knew she could. Steven however wanders over to Pink Diamond's mural again, and the three Gems watch him with concern. At that moment though, the door to the ship reopens and Doc leans out asking if "Jasper" wants a ride back to Earth - only to realise the Ruby Squad have been tricked again! The five Rubies fuse into their larger Ruby form, but Steven quickly tells them to "Take it outside" and opens the airlock door. The large Ruby wedges into the door though, saying that they can't be gotten rid of that easily, before a glow in the room signals that Garnet and Pearl have fused themselves into Sardonyx and winds up for the blow. A smack from the warhammer causes the giant Ruby to unfuse into her separate Rubies but as they fly out Eyeball manages to grab Steven from by the door control and pulls him out with her!

We end as the Gems watch Steven float away from the moonbase...


Tropes:

  • Air Quotes: Doc does these when talking about how they told her that Jasper was "on Neptune".
  • Angrish: Army tries to attack Steven and briefly yells nonsense at him before being stopped by Garnet.
  • Badass Adorable: Eyeball is a Rebellion veteran just like Jasper.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Steven, Garnet, and Pearl play-along with being "prisoners" in the most over-the-top way possible. Thankfully, the Rubies are dumb.
  • Bad Impressionists: When impersonating Jasper, Amethyst does a not-very-impressive imitation of Jasper's deeper voice. Though it's still one of the least bad parts of her disguise.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: It's noted by Steven, and by the reactions of the others, that Rose killing Pink Diamond was extremely out of character for her, and Pearl's traumatic reaction implies whatever happened was very serious indeed.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: How Amethyst manages to come across as Jasper. It helps that the Rubies are still Super Gullible.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Although generally incompetent, the Ruby squad can be quite dangerous if angered.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Roving Eye looks barely large enough to fit the five Rubies from the outside, yet the internal space is nearly as large as the barn.
  • Broken Pedestal: Steven is horrified when he learns his mother shattered another Gem, even if it was one of the Diamonds.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Rubies from "Hit the Diamond" are back.
    • So is Sardonyx, last seen in "Friend Ship"
    • Just like Steven in "Steven's Birthday", Amethyst has trouble maintaining a form larger than her Shapeshifter Default Form over an extended period.
    • The moon base control panel is smashed and the Diamond communication crystal is gone, both of which happened in "It Could've Been Great".
  • Cliffhanger: Steven is blown into space with the Rubies.
  • Crush Blush: Doc really liked getting to sit on "Jasper's" lap.
  • Cry Cute: Eyeball does this when she sees Amethyst-as-Jasper getting too close to Doc.
  • Dark Secret: Rose shattered Pink Diamond; Pearl and Garnet already knew and they never wanted Steven to find out.
  • Deceptive Legacy:
    • Pearl and Garnet already knew Rose had shattered Pink Diamond. But they have gone to pains to only paint her in the most positive light for Steven's sake. They didn't exactly lie, but they kept the worst truths from him. Greg is a bit more realistic about it when Steven asked back in "The Return", explaining to Steven that the Gems were at war and in war people do terrible things.
    • Ironically, Amethyst ends up doing this for Jasper, allowing the Rubies to keep their idolized version of her, rather than the Broken Ace and Jerkass she really was or letting them know she'd succumbed to Corruption and is now a mindless monster.
  • Determinator: The Rubies checked on every other planet before returning to Earth.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Amethyst convinces the Rubies to head back to Homeworld and file a report on Jasper's behalf, but the Crystal Gems don't consider that they have no way off the moon base. When Doc offers them a ride back, their lie is exposed since Amethyst has reverted back to her normal form.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Eyeball asking where Jasper was when Pink Diamond was shattered is reminiscent of people talking about terrorist attacks, especially the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: After Pearl says that she'll never talk.
    Amethyst!Jasper: Huh, I wish!
    Ruby: Yeah, ha ha, she talks a lot!
  • Easy Impersonation: Amethyst shapeshifts into Jasper to trick the Rubies, blaming her incorrect colorization on a tan. The Rubies buy it, even though Amethyst's gem is still visible on her chest.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: This episode makes it clear that Jasper was seen as a hero by many gems on Homeworld, and Eyeball in particular seems to have had strong feelings for her.
  • Face Palm: While all the Rubies kick at the ground and declare their hatred of Earth, the other Gems look shocked, while Pearl has her hand to her face.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Rubies fail to notice Amethyst's gem on her chest.
  • Forgetful Jones: Leggy can't even remember what their mission was, much less why they returned.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Steven is so very much this trope that he has a breakdown when it's revealed his mother apparently killed Pink Diamond. He's very lucky the group reached the next room, otherwise his outburst could've exposed them.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Naturally, the Crystal Gems are not seen as the good guys by Homeworld. At all. Particularly Rose Quartz for apparently shattering Pink Diamond.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Eyeball is a big fan of Jasper, having also served on Earth during the rebellion.
  • I Choose to Stay: To get rid of the Rubies, Amethyst-as-Jasper claims that she intends to stay on Earth to keep the Crystal Gems prisoner.
  • Immediate Sequel: To "Earthlings".
  • Implausible Deniability: When Doc offers the Crystal Gems a ride home and sees Amethyst in her natural form, Amethyst quickly blurts out "I'm still Jasper!" Doc doesn't buy it.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Amethyst asks if Lapis wants to come along by asking if she wants to be a "prisoner". Considering Lapis' history involves being traumatically imprisoned several times, Amethyst is lucky Lapis just found the suggestion annoying.
  • Large Ham: Pearl hams it up while pretending to be a prisoner.
    Pearl: Of all the INDIGNITIES! Do what you wish to us, but I'll NEVER talk!
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Steven points to the Rubies and names them one-by-one, with Doc being the only Ruby whose nickname isn't based on gem placement. This is probably due to Steven's Theme Naming-related granting of their monikers: he likely would have called Doc "Chesty", and that is a somewhat outdated, but still used, English slang term for a woman with large breasts.
  • Manchild: None of Gems take the Ruby Squad seriously, treating them like a bunch of toddlers instead. Lapis put them in bubbles for a "time out" since they came out of their ship really angry, and Garnet finds Army's angry ramblings adorable before putting her under her arm like a parent scolding a naughty child. When pretending to be Jasper, Amethyst even pats their heads affectionately and lets Doc sit in her lap.
  • Memetic Badass: In-Universe: Eyeball tells of Jasper's legend.
    Eyeball: They said you popped out of the ground with your helmet on and took out 80 Crystal Gems before the sun went down!
  • Mood Whiplash: Sardonyx triumphantly smashes the Ruby-fusion, causing them to unfuse and fly out of the airlock. However, Eyeball gets a hold of Steven and yanks him out with her. The cheery rendition of Sardonyx's theme immediately cuts off, and the look of genuine horror on her face is the last thing we see before the episode ends.
  • Moral Myopia: We hear Homeworld's version of events in this episode, and while detailing Rose killing Pink Diamond which Eyeball calls the rebellion going 'too far', seems to completely leave out why Rose Quartz rebelled completely: namely that Homeworld's plans amounted to planetary genocide on every life form that was already living on Earth when they arrived.
  • Morphic Resonance: Along with her gem, Amethyst keeps her purple coloration while disguised as Jasper, something she's able to pass off as a tan to the Rubies.
  • Ms. Exposition: Eyeball, who explains what happened to Pink Diamond.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Steven decides to blow the airlock to flush out the Rubies, even though he has no reason to think they're much of a threat to the Crystal Gems. Lapis captured all five with ease, and Sardonyx is able to poof the fused Ruby with one hit. Instead, Steven's method gets him tossed into space along with the Rubies.
  • The Nicknamer: Steven, who gives the Ruby Squad nicknames based on gem position.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Despite the Diamonds' god-like stature and their subjects' belief they're flawless, completely perfect beings, it's learned that Pink Diamond was killed.
  • Odd Name Out: Steven gave the Homeworld Rubies nicknames based on where their gems are, except for Doc (whose gem placement is on her chest).
  • Oh, Crap!: Garnet and especially Pearl's reaction to Eyeball revealing that Rose shattered Pink Diamond make clear that they already knew, and know this is the worst way that Steven could find out.
  • Opt Out: Lapis and Peridot stay at the barn instead of going on the ship to the moonbase.
  • Overly Nervous Flop Sweat:
    • Parodied; Navy is still wet from being inside of a bubble during her Performance Anxiety.
    • Amethyst starts to develop this as the strain of shapeshifting into Jasper takes its toll.
  • Performance Anxiety: Navy, when she's brought out of the bubble to tell the Crystal Gems why they've returned.
  • Predecessor Villain: Apparently Pink Diamond was originally the ruler of the Earth colony, making her the first one the Crystal Gems went up against.
  • Reality Ensues: Steven learns that despite her personal code, Rose Quartz was still the leader of a rebellion war and had to kill many opponents, including a Diamond.
  • The Reveal: According to Eyeball, Earth was originally Pink Diamond's colony, up until Rose rebelled and shattered Pink Diamond. Steven has trouble believing this, but Eyeball has no reason to lie and the reactions of Pearl and Garnet indicate this is an accurate account of what happened.
  • Security Cling: Peridot grabs Lapis's arm when Amethyst asks them if they want to come along as prisoners.
  • Shoulder Teammate: When Pearl and Garnet fuse, Amethyst winds up resting on Sardonyx's right shoulder.
  • Shout-Out: Steven nicknames the Rubies Leggy, Army, Navy, Eyeball, and Doc. (Doc is the one with glasses.)
  • Single Tear: Eyeball sheds a tear when Amethyst lets Doc sit on her lap, and apparently breaks down crying a few seconds later.
  • Slow Clap: Army does this when Amethyst-as-Jasper declares she must stay on Earth to guard the prisoners.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Not that Eyeball didn't have a voice before, but she said very little in Hit The Diamond. Here, being with "Jasper" seems to bring out her more talkative side.
  • Super Gullible: The Rubies only realize they were tricked after checking the entire solar system for Jasper, and immediately afterwards Amethyst is able to trick them using shapeshifting, despite the color difference.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Part of Amethyst's Bad "Bad Acting" as Jasper. The Rubies aren't suspicious of it at all.
    "Jasper": Yup! That's me! Always huge, never small! All the- all the time since I was made!
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Carried from her moment in the last episode, Amethyst despite her former animosity for Jasper, if anything gives the Rubies a better impression of her 'sis' while impersonating her than she needed to rather than (as one would expect from Amethyst) making her look bad (which given Jasper's default personality, wouldn't have taken much).
  • Taking You with Me: Before all of the Rubies are pulled into space, Eyeball grabs Steven and yanks him out.
  • Theme Naming: Steven dubs four-fifths of the Ruby squad with names which reflect where their gems are located: Army (her arm), Leggy (her leg), Navy (what would be her navel), and Eyeball (duh).
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: When the Ruby Squad fuses to fight the Crystal Gems at the moon base, Steven triggers the airlock to blow them into space. Their fused form is big enough to hold them inside, so Garnet and Pearl fuse into Sardonyx to break them apart. Unfortunately, Eyeball grabs Steven on the way out.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The preview clips for the following episode spoiled that Steven and the Rubies get thrown into space at the end of this episode.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Amethyst disguises herself as Jasper, and the other Crystal Gems (minus Peridot and Lapis) pretend to be her prisoners.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Jasper is seen as a great war hero back on Homeworld to the point the Ruby Squad have Hero Worship towards her, unaware of the fact that Jasper was a Jerkass even to her own people to the point Peridot couldn't stand her. Amethyst reinforces this by behaving as a much kinder version of her.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Amethyst uses hers to imitate Jasper in order to placate the Rubies.
  • V-Sign: Sardonyx makes the gesture with her two free hands while hitting the Ruby fusion out of the moon base.
  • Wham Line: Eyeball retells Pink Diamond's fate to "Jasper". This is arguably the wham line of season 3.
    Eyeball: I was there, I saw it with my own eye; I saw the leader of the Crystal Gems, Rose Quartz, shatter Pink Diamond!
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Pearl thinks Amethyst's Jasper disguise won't fool the Rubies, but it does.
  • You Are Number 6: Eyeball identifies herself as Ruby 1F4 Cut 4ND to "Jasper".
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Like Jasper, the Rubies hold this view of the Crystal Gems, and Eyeball expands on what Jasper said last episode- Rose Quartz shattered Pink Diamond.

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