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Recap / Steven Universe S4E12 "Gem Heist"

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The Crystal Gems approach Pink Diamond's Zoo in the Roaming Eye, a Red Eye watching from the distance as a sentry. Entering the Zoo, the Crystal Gems witness two Amethyst guards next to the entryway. After unfusing from Garnet, Sapphire comes up with a plan to infiltrate the facility. The Crystal Gems will assume the roles they were originally made for: Sapphire is an aristocrat on a special assignment, accompanied by her Ruby guard and Pearl servant, with an Amethyst for additional muscle. They approach the Amethyst guards who ask the Crystal Gems to state their purpose, Sapphire answering, "I'm here to make a delivery to the Human Zoo." The Amethysts inform the group that the Zoo has shut down and Steven has to be thrown into space, only to reveal it was a cruel joke. Holly Blue Agate enters and scolds the guards for not informing her a Sapphire has arrived and orders them to apologize to Sapphire for their incompetence.Sapphire informs Holly Blue that she has a human for the Zoo. Holly Blue is surprised with the delivery of two humans after nothing for millennia and says Blue Diamond will be most pleased. She orders the guards to take Steven into the Zoo, but Sapphire requests a tour of the facility (enabling Steven to remain with them for the moment). Amethyst cannot join the group, for Holly Blue orders her to help the others guard the door. Holly Blue describes the history and areas of the facility. She emphasizes Blue Diamond's "merciful and giving nature", shown in her "selfless" act of preserving the facility in Pink Diamond's memory. Sapphire asks Holly Blue how to enter the Zoo, to which she answers via the service door, a one-way access point that ensures no escape or compromise. Steven whispers to Ruby and Pearl his idea to create a distraction so they can enter the containment area.Ruby quickly comes up with a plan and shouts "Explosion!" She explains to the group she "left the gravity engine idling." After Sapphire understands her plan, she clarifies to Holly Blue that the Roaming Eye's engine will overheat and explode. Sapphire and Holly Blue walk back to the ship to avert the impending crisis. When they leave, Ruby rants about Holly Blue's claims about Blue Diamond being merciful before being reminded by Steven to focus on the mission. Ruby tells Pearl to open the door, but the panel displays a different interface than last time, making Pearl confused and unable to open the door. As Pearl continues interacting with the panel, Steven and Ruby help out by bashing the door. They all stop when Sapphire is heard yelling to let the trio know she is returning. Holly Blue notices the marks on the door and asks Ruby and Pearl if they saw the Amethyst who did it, which relieves the Crystal Gems.Two Amethysts approach to inform Holly Blue of important news. They are at first scolded by Holly Blue but manage to eventually blurt out that Blue Diamond is on her way back to the Zoo. Holly Blue reminds the Amethysts to be on their best behavior and tells Sapphire that Blue Diamond will want to thank her personally for the delivery. Holly Blue tells the Amethysts to take Steven to the assimilation bay. Steven goes through the assimilation process on a conveyor belt. He gets his face photographed for identity, has his body examined for things like temperature and photon sensitivity in the pupils, and is stripped to his underwear. He is then dressed in an outfit with earrings and a loincloth. Afterward, he is taken up through a water chute into the containment area of the Zoo, where he sees Greg being groomed by two humans.



  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: While on the assimilation bay's conveyor belt, Steven fruitlessly tries to avoid the press that changes his clothes by running against the path away from it, even though there's enough room on the sides to have squeezed by it.
  • Acting Unnatural: By Homeworld standards, the Crystal Gems are somewhat unconvincing. Holly Blue Agate doesn't catch on, just assuming them to be undisciplined.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Played with. Like all other Gems, Holly Blue Agate speaks perfect English, but she’s apparently so snobbish she brushes off Steven's occasional outcries as animal babbling.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Pearl has to pretend to be Sapphire's maid servant.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Holly Blue blames the Zoo's Amethysts for the damage to the door, since the others are the party of a Sapphire (and a human).
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  • Both Sides Have a Point: Ruby and Holly Blue Agate in regards to Blue Diamond. Ruby is correct that Blue Diamond ordering her shattered for fusing with Sapphire was incredibly cruel on her part, but Holly Blue is also correct that Blue Diamond preserving the Zoo and those stationed there was rather merciful and implies that she may have changed over the millennia.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Pearl asks if their plan to infiltrate the Zoo is really going to work, Sapphire's initial reply is a blunt "no". But she half-heartedly assures them there's a small chance they can change the future.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When discussing sneaking into the Zoo, Steven whips up an alias for himself. Pearl wearily tells him that what his name is doesn't make any difference toward how conspicuous they are.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Gems are all about crystal structures, and Steven gets to fulfill the toga part when he's forced into a gender-neutral loincloth/vest ensemble.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Sapphire admits the plan to infiltrate the Zoo fails in the future she sees, but regardless declares "Stick together. Play it straight. Let's... change the future!"
  • Dean Bitterman: Agate acts as one, such as when telling two Amethyst soldiers not to run in the hallways. The episode's High School A.U. title card has her angrily berating Blue Pearl in front of a terrified/indifferent class while Steven tries to calm her down.
  • Decontamination Chamber: While being dumped into the Zoo, Steven goes through an "assimilation bay": a conveyor belt where he is examined, stripped, sprayed with what's presumably decontaminate, put in a new set of clothes, then flushed out of the room into the Zoo proper by a rush of water.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "We won't stand out if we look the parts we were made for." Perhaps the single most on-the-nose metaphor for cis-heteronormativity this show has made so far. And if it wasn't obvious enough, Sapphire tells them all to "play it straight."
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In a sense. In order to infiltrate the station, the Gems have to pretend they are Homeworld Gems by acting as Gems normally would. This causes some problems, but luckily nothing that Holly Blue Agate sees as particularly abnormal.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Despite having spent the entirety of Era 2 in charge of the Earth Quartzes Holly Blue Agate fails to notice that the Crystal Gem Amethyst is a newcomer and is wearing a uniform that displays allegiance to Yellow Diamond and not Blue.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: Apparently, the correct way to address a Sapphire is "Your Clarity" or "Your Grand Clarity".
  • Fantastic Racism: In addition to the usual Homeworld Gem class-based attitudes towards Rubies and Pearls and disdain for humans, Holly Blue also shows contempt for the Earth-created Gems, such as the Quartzes. This works to the benefit of the Crystal Gems, as she keeps assuming evidence of their ill intention to be simple incompetence from the Amethysts.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When stepping out of the ship, Sapphire's shoe can be seen for a frame.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: After taking Steven's clothes, the assimilation bay puts him in a strange, unisex vest/waistcloth combination (instantly), and then sticks large, glowing earrings on both ears.
    Steven: Ugh... loincloths.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Steven goes by the alias "Esteban Universidad" (meant to be a Spanish translation of his name, but actually means "Steven University"), and mutters "Pobrecito Esteban..." ("Poor little Steven") as he gets "into character".
  • Heist Episode: Steven and the Gems try to infiltrate the human zoo to rescue Greg.
  • High School A.U.: The title card, which has Holly Blue berating Blue Pearl who just passively takes it, with Steven trying to calm the former down while Ruby and Pearl are trying to sneak out the door to Amethyst and Sapphire. The rest of the class are either terrified by Holly Blue, or look indifferent to what's going on behind them.
  • Hive Caste System: We are reminded of the Gems' structural society, with Pearl being reduced to a lowly servant, Ruby and Amethyst being treated as dumb muscle, and Sapphire being an aristocrat.
  • Hypocritical Humour: When some Amethysts run up and report to Holly Blue Agate loudly, she tells them that they do not run or shout in the hall... by yelling. And when the two try speaking more quietly, she berates them for mumbling, while still shouting herself.
  • Impossible Mission: This episode (and the next few) is the Gems breaking into a highly secure Gem facility, frequented by one of the Diamonds, to rescue Greg and then escape, all without getting caught. Sapphire even outright says their chance of success is extremely slim.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While the rest of Holly Blue’s prejudices are clearly wrong, she's right that the Rubies sent to Earth were too incompetent to be trusted by themselves with their mission.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After having his shirt and shoes taken by force, Steven decides to take off his pants voluntarily to save himself some humiliation. The finger things taking them off wait patiently as he does so.
  • Mean Boss: Holly Blue Agate orders her subordinates around constantly and has zero respect for them; for example, alternately scolding them for talking too loud and then for talking too quietly. She also automatically blames them for any problems, like the marks on the door to the human enclosure, even though it's irrational.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Everyone's reaction when Ruby yells "Explosion!"
    • Everyone starts to freak out when the news that Blue Diamond is returning to the Zoo is revealed.
    • Ruby, Sapphire and Pearl's reaction when Holly Blue Agate orders her Amethysts to toss Steven into the Zoo.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Holly Blue Agate, the administrator at the Zoo, endlessly belittles her subordinates and kisses up to her superiors (including Sapphire and the Diamonds).
  • Reality Ensues: As Pearl lampshades upon seeing the Amethyst guards, it was foolish that the group could think that they'd just be able to walk into the Zoo unopposed.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Holly Blue Agate views her assignment to the Zoo as this, as despite its importance to Blue Diamond, it's extremely remote and also where all the Quartzes produced on Earth were filed away to and forgotten (which is in and of itself an example).
  • Shout-Out: Holly Blue apologizing on behalf of her Amethysts by saying "You'll have to forgive them. They're from earth" is one to Fawlty Towers' Running Gag of "You'll have to forgive him. He's from Barcelona."
  • Stab the Salad: Steven fails to run back a Conveyor Belt of Doom leading him to a giant press... that just puts a new set of clothes on him.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Sapphire's attitude towards infiltrating the Zoo. She bluntly answers "no" when Pearl asks if their plan is going to work and then gives a forced smile as she half-heartedly assures the group that the future can be changed.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: As part of the Crystal Gems' disguise, Steven calls himself "Esteban Universidad". Sapphire goes along with it.
  • War Memorial: The Zoo has shades of this, as it's meant to hold kidnapped humans and Earth remnants like Gems produced there. Considering that Earth was once Pink Diamond's planet, it's fitting.
  • We Need a Distraction: Ruby's idea of a distraction to get Holly Blue Agate away from the Zoo's entrance is to yell "Explosion!"


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