Somewhere in space
Lars and the Off Colors are fleeing from Emerald, who swears to rain destruction on them. She's been pursuing them since they stole her favorite ship, the Sun Incinerator. Lars taunts her because he has correctly surmised she loves the ship too much to destroy it But not so much that she won't try to disable it and reclaim it.
Out pops Steven from Lars head. He presents Lars with a sub sandwich, then asks if he can bring someone else through.
Steven: Maybe a few pickles bigger.
Lars grudgingly allows it. Steven dives back into Lars hair, then back out with a violet-red twin: Garnet, shapeshifted into a copy of Steven. Once clear of Lars head, Garnet resumes her preferred form and immediately rushes around the deck of the ship gushing at the Off Colors. While she is absolutely sincere in her compliments, the Off Colors are off-put by them, as their experience leads them to believe she's making cruel jokes at their expense. Garnet is brought up short when Padparadscha brings it up.
As they clear the air, the name Rose Quartz is brought up. Some of the OC think she's a bogeyman. Some think she was a terrorist. Some think she doesn't even exist.
Garnet steps up to tell them Rose was real, and launches into a telling of how Rose came to love Earth and humanity. Rose asked Pink Diamond to spare the Earth, only for Pink Diamond to laugh in her face. Rose finally had enough and rebelled, asking other gems if they would join her. The Crystal Gems were born, including a Pearl who belonged to no one and a Bismuth who preferred to forge weapons rather than build edifices for high-status Gems.
Garnet goes on to describe the war, how long it went on, and the toll it took. She describes Pink having called for help, and that Yellow, Blue and White Diamond arrived. Rose was pushed into a Decapitation Strike on Pink to end the war, but this didn't work as intended, as the Diamonds, enraged at the loss of one of their own, reacted with the Corruption Song. Rose was only able to save Pearl and Garnet, who were right next to her at the time, by grabbing them and covering them with her shield.
The story does not have the desired effect. The Off Colors are dismayed because in their versions Rose was the villain, so her defeat was a good thing. In Garnets, Rose was a hero, so her Pyrrhic Victory over Homeworld was a Downer Ending. Garnet tells them that Rose fought for the right of gems to live as themselves, in whatever form. She goes on to point out that they, the Off Colors, are proof that the Diamonds can't stop them from popping up. This gives the OC something to think about, and Steven as well.
Steven muses after storytime to Garnet that perhaps Pink is still alive somehow, because Stevonnie dreamed her memories when they were stranded on the jungle moon. Garnet remains certain that Pink was shattered. But they table the discussion in order to help Lars raid an outpost for fuel.
- Art Shift: Garnet's story uses silhouettes à la Revolutionary Girl Utena for most of the characters, largely obscuring their features.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Steven and Garnet discuss whether or not Pink Diamond is alive. Steven hopes that she is, but Garnet is doubtful:
- Steven points out that he got a vision from Pink's point-of-view on the jungle moon base. Most of his visions are from living people. How could he have received visions from a dead person? He doesn't mention that, according to his trial, the story of Pink's death has a lot of holes, but that's another important facet.
- Garnet mentions that Pink Diamond being alive is unlikely; Rose had to kill Pink to save the Earth. Pink was also shattered in front of a bunch of witnesses, holes in the story aside, and the Diamonds believe that Pink is dead. They wouldn't have sent the corruption beam otherwise. Pink being alive would mean that the Diamonds tried to destroy all the Crystal Gems and Pink's legacy for nothing.
- Call-Back: Garnet finally gets to tell someone the story of the Gem War, Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond's shattering that she started to tell Steven about in "Gemcation".
- The Cameo: White Diamond briefly appears for the first time when the other Diamonds are unleashing their attack on the Gems, though only her arm is visible. It looks like she's even bigger than Yellow and Blue.
- Captain's Log: The episode opens with Lars monologuing an improvised captain's log, explaining how Emerald's attack has slowed their journey by damaging their Nova Thrusters, but the other crewmembers don't immediately realize he wants it written down.
- Compliment Backfire: Garnet tells all the Off Colors they're beautiful. They think she's mocking them.
- Continuity Nod:
- Garnet previously shapeshifted into Steven in "Keep Beach City Weird".
- Steven tells Garnet about the vision he and Connie had in "Jungle Moon".
- Rose using her shield to protect Garnet and Pearl from the Diamonds' attack was mentioned by Greg in "The Return".
- The flashbacks Art Shift and Garnet voicing all speaking characters is similar to what she did in "The Answer".
- Curiosity Causes Conversion: Garnet describes Rose's decision to save Earth as starting with curiosity about its life.Curiosity turned to appreciation. Appreciation turned to fondness. And fondness... turned to love.
- Decapitation Strike: Garnet frames Rose Quartz attacking Pink Diamond as this. Despite her best efforts, Rose Quartz was losing the war, so she killed Pink Diamond as a last-ditch measure to keep Earth safe.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Both the Messianic Archetype Rose fulfils and the LGBT metaphor get amped up a notch, as issues like representation are brought up.
- Downer Ending: In-universe, Rose's tale ends with the Diamonds decisively ending the war, which the Off Colors note is actually worse than their versions because Rose is heroic instead of a monster or evil.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Emerald's attack damaged the Sun Incinerator's Nova Thrusters, which has significantly delayed their path back to Earth.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: Fluorite thinks Rose Quartz, a leader of a war with many extant veterans, doesn't exist.
- Flourish Cape in Front of Face: When Rhodonite warns that the Agates guarding an asteroid mine are dangerous, Lars pulls his cape in front of his face and replies "So are we."
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: As the Diamonds attack the Earth, the view of the whole planet shows◊ Yellow and Blue's light being completely overshadowed by White's.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: In contrast to previous episodes, where Padparadscha would constantly state the obvious in relation to things that just happened, her ability to foresee the past actually proves very helpful twice first by predicting that Garnet would make everyone uncomfortable (allowing Garnet to see that her compliments were having the exact opposite effect and were demoralizing the crew), then by predicting that Lars would push the wrong button to restart the engine (meaning that the engine was fixed, the problem was with what Lars was doing).
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: Rhodonite thought that Rose was "the anti-Gem", the context making it a clear equivalent of calling her The Anti-Christ.
- Innocently Insensitive: The Off Colors are so used to Homeworld's treatment of them that they honestly don't realize that Garnet is complimenting them at first, and she inadvertently makes them uncomfortable. The Rutile twins apparently don't even know what a compliment is.
- The Killer Was Right-Handed: In Garnet's story about Pink Diamond's death, Rose wields her sword in her right hand... but in actuality, she wielded her sword with her left hand, holding her shield with her right.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Garnet's flashback shows Rose protecting her and Pearl from the Diamonds' Corruption attack by using her shield.
- Mundane Utility: Garnet shapeshifts into Steven so she'll be small enough to fit through Lars' hair.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Pink Diamond "laughed a wicked, empty sound" at Rose's request to spare Earth's life, and the visual shows her sticking her fingers out in front of her face.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The episode ends right as Steven and Garnet join the Off Colors in raiding a cache of Homeworld's resources.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Garnet mentions that the Crystal Gems were free to be who they are, all the Off Colors react with immediate shock, including Padparadscha, who notably doesn't have a Delayed Reaction.
- Origins Episode: Though much of it was previously established, this episode most heavily covers Rose's foundation of the Crystal Gems.
- Painting the Medium: Rose doing the job she was made for is visualized as an Eyedscreen of a line of Quartzes hauling rock. When she notices Earth's native life, the letterboxing falls away to expose her surroundings.
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: When Rose first started talking about Earth's life, she was taken to Pink Diamond, and she asked her to spare it. Pink laughed at the idea of letting other lifeforms benefit at the Gems' expense, so Rose rebelled outright.
- Recap Episode: This episode is to remind the audience of the backstory of Rose Quartz, the Crystal Gem Rebellion and Pink Diamond while clarifying some details.
- The Reveal: Garnet tells Steven and the Off Colors that Rose technically didn't win the war; while she saved the Earth from being colonized, the Diamonds wiped out most of the Crystal Gems. We also learn that Pink Diamond was killed towards the end of the war, not at the beginning.
- Rousing Speech: When the Off Colors lament that Garnet's version of Rose Quartz's tale ended in tragedy, all the same, Garnet is quick to raise their spirits by pointing out that even without Rose Quartz, the Off Colors have risen up against Homeworld's tyranny. If they could do it, there must be others.
- Sequel Hook: Steven speculates that Pink Diamond may still be alive based on his ability to connect to her memories on the jungle moon. Garnet isn't convinced.
- Shrouded in Myth: The Off Colors have heard wildly differing stories about Rose Quartz, though with the common theme that she was evil, and she lost the war.
- Sinister Silhouettes: While Garnet says the other Diamonds were furious as Pink being shattered, we see black silhouettes of White, Yellow, and Blue full of stars.
- Smarter Than You Look: Though Padparadscha's pronouncements are late as always, she intuits that Lars is pressing the wrong button on a control panel, something he didn't realize himself until being told. She also notes that Garnet is making everyone uncomfortable with her compliments, which Garnet herself failed to notice in her excitement.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Padparadscha reading into her hindsight visions lets her notice problems that others missed.
- Uncertain Doom: Steven calls Pink Diamond's fate into question after experiencing her memories, since he believes that only works with living Gems.
- Unreliable Expositor: Garnet. It's probably unintentional on her part, but her story does not line up with what viewers have previously learned:
- Garnet's description of Pink Diamond being entirely contemptuous of earthly life and having a cold Noblewoman's Laugh doesn't really add up with Pink keeping humans comfortable and happy in her zoo (which was important enough to her that Blue Diamond saw fit to preserve it and save more humans for it before the Cluster destroyed Earth), and her portrayal in "Jungle Moon" as an Adorkable Cheerful Child and Royal Brat. She's also bigger than she appears in "Jungle Moon", where she's about Stevonnie's size.
- She states that Pink Diamond was shattered by Rose's Sword (which seems to have been the official explanation). But in "Bismuth", the titular Gem, who forged the sword in the first place, said that it was incapable of shattering gems. Speaking of Rose's Sword, she is shown wielding it in her right hand in the flashback. Every other time, she's wielded it in her left.
- Wham Shot: Garnet's explanation of what the Diamonds did to end the war includes a silhouette of White Diamond, who hadn't even been mentioned up to that point. The following scene of the Diamonds readying their attack also shows that White's hand is larger than Yellow and Blue's.