Steven dreams a memory of Pink Diamond juggling in her rooms for the amusement of White Pearl, who is coloured pink, has two eyes and acts more normally. When Yellow Diamond looks in, the two quickly pretend to have a "proper" mistress-servant relationship, but laugh after she's gone. Then Steven, who's been playing Pink's role, starts throwing up locks of Rose's hair, and things quickly go downhill before Steven wakes up in Pink Diamond's room. On request, the Pebbles have been constructing furniture all night that somewhat resembles the layout of Steven's house.
With Pearl to guide him, Steven goes to the throne room and asks permission from Yellow and Blue to throw a ball. They agree, since it's possible that White could show up, and this could also mark the beginning of Era 3. Yellow and Blue Pearl are lent to Steven to help with the preparations, especially since "Pink" apparently can't remember Homeworld customs. Steven thinks balloons and confetti cannons would be great, but Yellow Pearl informs him otherwise: the ball is going to be a very dry affair, according to tradition, where Steven is expected to just sit on a throne, accept the greetings of Pink's subjects, and not do any dancing. Talking to the Pearls, Steven figures out that Yellow Pearl apparently has no concept of fun, but Blue Pearl likes to draw. A drawing she did of Yellow Pearl leads Steven to deduce that she likes to model, but the conversation ends when Blue Diamond arrives. She's incredulous that Steven wants Amethyst, Garnet and Connie to be there, especially Garnet, stating that Ruby and Sapphire, if they go, will be expected to attend separately. Amethyst will have to wear limb enhancers to meet height requirements. Connie can go, but as "Pink Diamond's pet", something both she and Steven aren't thrilled about. Garnet says she just won't go, and reminds Steven that the ball is the only way they know to get White Diamond's attention for a proper discussion.
At the ball, Steven, as Pink Diamond, gets treated to some utterly rote greetings from multiple Jades as Pearl assures him he's doing great. Amethyst arrives, flippant as ever, and Steven gets down to greet her. While wondering how Peridot ever got around in limb enhancers, she shows Steven that she's managed to figure out how to pick her nose with them, before heading off to join the other Quartzes. Steven, Connie and Pearl are surprised to see that Ruby and Sapphire have unfused and chosen to show up, blending in with the other Rubies and Sapphires. Blue and Yellow Diamond make their grand entrances, announced by their Pearls. But when White Pearl follows, she announces that White Diamond will not be attending, before moving to White's throne and announcing that she will be observing for her Diamond.
Connie eventually suggests to Steven that they dance, since White Diamond didn't come and there's no one to stop them. But when the two get onto the dance floor, White Pearl, watching from on high, frowns. Then Steven and Connie fuse while dancing, leading to Stevonnie having an Oh, Crap! moment when Yellow and Blue get furious, believing that "Pink" has come back from "her" long absence worse than ever. Garnet re-fuses to protect Steven, and she's joined by Opal and a pair of Homeworld Jades, standing in Stevonnie's defence. Yellow just poofs all three fusions before grabbing Stevonnie and throwing them in a dungeon, demanding that "Pink" think about what "she's" done.
- Actually a Good Idea:Yellow Diamond: A ball? We haven't had a ball in 6000 years.
Blue Diamond: We haven't had Pink in 6000 years.
Steven Universe: Yeah. When White shows up, we can tell her why we need her help on Earth.
Blue Diamond: And this could also mark the beginning of Era 3.
Yellow Diamond: You're right. It's brilliant.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Yellow Pearl doesn't at all mind that Blue Pearl has actually been doodling her too, and begins to make poses.
- Ambiguous Situation: White Pearl starts frowning as Steven and Connie dance before they end up fusing, and it's not clear if she somehow knew they could fuse, or was just that upset from the dancing alone.
- All for Nothing: The whole point of throwing the ball is to get White Diamond's attention so that Steven can have an actual conversation with her and hopefully decorrupt the Gems of Earth. When the time comes, however, she doesn't show up, her Pearl attending in her place.
- Animate Inanimate Object: A living, singing disco ball and another four potentially living statues with instruments provide the music for the ball.
- Ascended Meme: The dream version of Yellow Diamond is pretty clearly inspired by the fandom jokes about her giraffe-esque long neck.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: White Pearl seemingly heralds her Diamond:White Pearl: For those in attendance of the Era 3 ball, White Diamond... has more important things to attend to.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The subtext of White Diamond sending her Pearl to the ball in her stead especially when White Pearl starts scowling.
- Big "WHAT?!": Steven utters this once he learns that White Diamond has more important things to do than attend "Pink's" ball.
- Bishie Sparkle: Yellow and Blue spice their grand entrance with the shine of their radiance to emphasize their beauty and elegance.
- Busby Berkeley Number: In a surreal sort of parody, the Homeworld gems all dance in lockstep, and we share an overhead view of the spinning Jades with a very pleased White Pearl. The absurd rigidity, and how the Jades look like cogs, makes the whole thing come off as disturbingly mechanical.
- Last episode, Pearl mentioned Pink Diamond was a juggler. The Dream Intro starts with Steven juggling bubbles, one of many hints that he's reliving her memories.
- Blue Pearl shows some of her drawings from the courtroom in "The Trial".
- Yellow Pearl's interest in modeling was hinted at back in "Jungle Moon" when Stevonnie found pictures she took of herself in the Diamond base.
- In "Alone Together", Stevonnie's formation showed Steven that he could fuse, that Connie could dance in a comfortable light, and that they have a special bond. Here, that special bond throws the ballroom into chaos.
- Fusions that cross Gems and species, especially with a Diamond, still garner a violent response, as Blue is completely distraught by "Pink's" disobedience, and Yellow furiously poofs the fusions while imprisoning Stevonnie.
- Character Check: Yellow and Blue have been portrayed quite sympathetically recently; but this episode reminds us that they are both still vicious tyrants who are still emotionally and physically abusive towards Pink/Steven, whom they still refuse to treat as their equal.
- Cherubic Choir: We see a group of Aquamarines holding the curtains open as the Diamonds are introduced not unlike putti accompanying a goddess (which gemkind see the Diamonds as) in a Neoclassical painting.
- Cliffhanger: The episode ends as Stevonnie is locked in a tower room and all the other Crystal Gems are poofed.
- Closet Punishment: Yellow Diamond throws Steven (as Stevonnie) into a dark room as punishment for fusing.
- Cross-Referenced Titles: To "Alone Together", the episode where Steven and Connie first fused.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Yellow manages to poof the Crystal Gems before they can do much to defend Stevonnie.
- Dawn of an Era: Steven and the Diamonds all agree the ball will serve as the start of Era 3 for Homeworld, but for different reasons Steven wants them to change their ways, while the others, especially the Diamonds, hope that "Pink" returning will make things more like Era 1. Unfortunately for them, things spiral out of control when Steven and Connie fuse into Stevonnie. On a meta level, the episode also aired on New Year's Eve.
- Deer in the Headlights: Stevonnie has this reaction when they realize they've fused, and Blue threatens to force their components apart.
- Defiant Stone Throw: When Blue Diamond threatens Stevonnie, Garnet forms and stands in front of Stevonnie to protect them. Opal follows suit, and a Jade fusion from the crowd joins them. Unfortunately, Yellow Diamond quells any rebellion by poofing all the fusions.
- Delayed Reaction: It takes a few seconds for Steven and Connie to realize they've fused in front of the Diamonds.
- Didn't Think This Through: Connie and Steven dance together to lighten up the mood, under the belief that because White isn't present, she won't do anything about it. Not only do the two of them accidentally fuse into Stevonnie because of their dancing, but just because White isn't present to do anything about it, Yellow and Blue certainly are.
- Disappointed in You: Blue Diamond tears up in disappointment and looks away when "Pink" (actually Steven) fuses with Connie, leading the latter two to be punished by Yellow.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Blue Diamond refers to Connie, who is a dark-skinned human, as Steven's "pet". Judging by Steven and Connie incredible discomfort, the implications may not be lost on them.
- "You aren't thinking of inviting your... 'Earth-friends', are you" sounds a lot like a parent not approving of the company their child keeps, especially in a formal situation.
- Stevonnie fusing in front of the court, and the immediate backlash from Yellow and Blue, is similar to coming out to an unsupportive family.
- Likewise, the Jade fusion hid their relationship from everyone until seeing other fusions, happily declared her joy at not being the only one who feels the same way, and then gets poofed along with the Crystal Gems.
- Downer Ending: Yellow and Blue Diamond are still far from recognizing Pink's desires as important and respecting the Crystal Gems, all of the Crystal Gems (and Lemon Jade) have been poofed, and Stevonnie has been locked inside a dark room by Yellow Diamond.
- Dream Intro: The episode opens on Steven dreaming more Past-Life Memories, this time taking Pink Diamond's place in playing with an unscarred, emotive, and pink-shaded version of White Pearl while Yellow Diamond looks on suspiciously. It takes a sudden dark turn where Steven starts coughing up Rose's hair and White Diamond flashes before he wakes up suddenly.
- Empty Shell: It's implied by Steven's nightmare that White Pearl, Pink Diamond's original Pearl, has been turned into an emotionless puppet as punishment for befriending a Diamond and daring to act beyond her role.
- Fatal Flaw:
- As a whole, the Diamonds' dismissive attitude towards "Pink" and the Crystal Gems ends up making the party an utter waste of effort for Steven, not to mention guilting him about how everyone is miserable.
- Fusions are still Blue Diamond's Berserk Button. When Stevonnie accidentally fuses, Blue worsens the situation by threatening to force Stevonnie to unfuse, and undoing all the good will that Steven had been building with her. The Crystal Gems naturally come to Stevonnie's defense because they don't trust the Diamonds after Yellow nearly killed Steven.
- Yellow Diamond gives into wrath once again when a bunch of fusions defy her to protect "Pink" in fusion form. She poofs the lot and angrily locks Stevonnie up without even taking a moment to calmly defuse the situation and explain that no one is getting hurt.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: A shot at the beginning of the episode shows all four Diamond ships, despite Blue and Yellow's ships being broken down and on Earth in the present, foreshadowing that this is another dream of the past. Pink's ship is also shown to be standing up straight, while it was squatting in the present.
- As the Diamonds go by, the camera focuses on some Jades, two of which keep moving around: The yellow one keeps her eye open and smiles at the green one, who prods her into focusing again. Then the green Jade tears up in Blue Diamond's presence, which the yellow Jade rolls her eyes at. The fact that both are the only Gems who interact with each other implies a deeper connection between them. These two are the ones who later fuse after the Crystal Gems jump into action.
- Blue's patience with Steven starts wearing thin when he asks if his friends can attend the ball. This turns out to be just a taste of fate when she blows up on him for accidentally fusing with Connie at the end of the episode.
- The episode title itself is a Call-Back to "Alone Together", when Steven and Connie first fused. Here, Yellow imprisons them while they're fused as Stevonnie, leaving them together, alone.
- Future Music: A sort of electronic opera plays during the ball. It's inspired by music from Dutch street organs.
- Go Through Me: The Crystal Gems form a barricade with their fusions in front of Stevonnie to protect them, and are even joined by two Jades from the crowd. This time, it doesn't take; Yellow just poofs the lot.
- Heroic Bystander: After the others prepare to protect Stevonnie, two Homeworld Jades suddenly fuse and announce they will help, to the confusion of everyone.
- Hidden Depths:
- Blue Pearl is not only a courtroom artist, but genuinely enjoys drawing. Evidently, Yellow Pearl enjoys modeling.
- The Jade fusion that forms to help the Crystal Gems looks genuinely happy on realizing that they aren't the only ones who like fusing.
- History Repeats: Stevonnie dreams of Connie's mother as Yellow Diamond manhandling Pink in "Jungle Moon". In this episode, when Stevonnie appears, Yellow forcibly grabs Stevonnie and locks them in a room.
- Hope Spot:
- Steven was optimistic that if he threw a great ball, his two families would be able to come together and the Diamonds would finally listen to him. Instead, Stevonnie is locked up and the Crystal Gems are poofed by Yellow.
- When the Crystal Gems prepare to fight, two court Jades fuse and declare she'll fight for them, being thrilled at not being the "only one". Before anyone can fight, however, she gets poofed, as do the fused Crystal Gems.
- Hourglass Plot: In "Alone Together", Steven encouraged Connie to dance with him to get over her self-consciousness. Here, Connie lampshades that Steven feels self-conscious. This proves to be a fatal mistake.
- Humans Are Insects:
- Even when Blue Diamond has learned human lives have value and even deserve some degree of respect, she still sees them as far below any Gem.Blue Diamond: You can bring your Pearl of course, and your pet.
Steven: Uh, pet?
Connie: [resigned] I think she means me.
- Following that thread, Connie and Steven fusing leads to utter disgust and outrage from the Diamonds. Yellow and Blue also only try to talk to "Pink", entirely disregarding Connie (and Stevonnie, though that's a different issue).
- Even when Blue Diamond has learned human lives have value and even deserve some degree of respect, she still sees them as far below any Gem.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: As Gems are The Sleepless, the Pebbles don't understand why Steven is lying down with his eyes closed for hours on end.Pebble: Pink's moving again!
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Steven makes out Sapphire and Ruby from separate groups of Rubies and Sapphires by Sapphire's clothes and hair (all of them are slightly different), Ruby's headband, and both of them wearing wedding rings.
- Ignored Epiphany: Despite blaming themselves for Pink's apparent death, Yellow and Blue don't seem to have gotten the memo that micromanaging Pink was what caused her to betray them, fake her shattering, and run away from Homeworld in the first place. They do the same thing when Stevonnie accidentally appears, which shows they haven't changed at all.
- Irony: Connie, who has the most relation to Pink Diamond's experiences of rebelling against controlling parents, is the one who ruins the ball by fusing with Steven, unintentionally living up to Pink's rebellious nature.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As condescending as Blue Diamond is, she is right that the Crystal Gems must not attend the Era 3 ball or at least play by Homeworld's rules if they want everything to go well and White Diamond to be pleased. Additionally, she has no reason to believe that cross-Gem fusions are their own being and are formed out of love, having been led to believe that it is unacceptable for eons.
- Kick the Dog: Blue Diamond only sees Garnet as a Ruby and a Sapphire, not a separate entity, and just laughs at the idea of calling her "Garnet".Blue Diamond: (smugly) Garnet... does that... call herself a "Garnet"? Ha ha! What would you have her do? Enter with the Demantoids? The Hessonites? The Pyropes? Pink, I'm being very generous, but you can't expect me to
Garnet: I won't. Go.
Blue Diamond: At least the Sapphire in there has some sense.
Garnet: [growls angrily]
- Kick the Morality Pet:
- When Steven and Connie fuse, Blue Diamond threatens violence at "Pink Diamond".Blue Diamond: Pink, this is completely unacceptable! Unfuse or I'll make you!
- Yellow Diamond throws and locks Stevonnie into a dark room when the latter unwittingly breaks several rules at the ball simply by fusing.Yellow Diamond: Pink, you've gone too far, even for you! [grabs Stevonnie and throws them into a dark room] Stay in here and think about what you've done!
- When Steven and Connie fuse, Blue Diamond threatens violence at "Pink Diamond".
- Literal-Minded: After hearing the rules, Amethyst whines that the party is going to be very dry, prompting Yellow Pearl to add that liquid is not allowed during the ball.
- Long Neck: Steven's dream shows Yellow having a comically lengthy one while she's checking on "Pink".
- Loophole Abuse: Subverted. When White Diamond is a no-show, Connie points out that Steven is only not supposed to dance when White is present. She then invites him to dance to cheer him up and remind him that he isn't alone. When they fuse by accident, Yellow and Blue's angry reactions make it clear they don't care if White isn't there, as she'd still obviously object.
- Magic Pants: When Steven and Connie fuse, Connie's skirt and boots disappears, her turtleneck shirt reshapes to only cover Stevonnie's neckline (not the opening over their belly), and Steven's shoes stretch to fit Stevonnie's feet.
- Mama Bear: All the Crystal Gems fuse and stand in front of Stevonnie to protect them. It doesn't work, unfortunately.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": Every Gem at the ball has this reaction when Stevonnie is formed.
- Mistaken for Servant: Blue Diamond assumes Connie is Steven's Human Pet, a suggestion she quietly suffers, but Steven finds pretty alarming.
- Mood Whiplash: When the Crystal Gems all declare the Diamonds need to go through them to get to Stevonnie and fuse to form Garnet and Opal, two Jades suddenly fuse and declare the same thing much to the confusion of the Crystal Gems, with Garnet shrugging at this declaration from a random gem. This is immediately followed by all three fusions being poofed by Yellow Diamond and Stevonnie being locked in a dark room.
- Mundane Utility: Pearl fuses with Amethyst partially to get the latter out of the limb enhancers she couldn't move around well in.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Steven and Connie accidentally fuse into Stevonnie. Blue demands they unfuse or she'll make them Garnet comes to their defense, as does Opal, both declaring she Go Through Me first. Then a pair of Jades fuse and declare the same. Yellow zaps and poofs them all for their troubles, then throws Stevonnie into a dark room as punishment.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Connie suggests she and Steven dance while White isn't around, they accidentally fuse into Stevonnie, and the other Crystal Gems' attempt at protecting them from the Diamonds just leads to them getting poofed.
- Nightmare Sequence: Steven has one in the beginning where he and White Pearl are together in Pink's room (although White Pearl has a pink color scheme instead) and are playing around until Yellow peeks in. Suddenly, Steven starts coughing up curly hair like Rose's, and everything fades until there's only White Diamond staring down at him. It seems to be a "memory-slash-nightmare" in the same vein as the one in "Jungle Moon".
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Connie tries to cheer Steven up by dancing with him and reassuring him that You Are Not Alone as he's trying to be Pink Diamond. This ends up throwing the party into chaos when they fuse.
- Not So Similar: It turns out that Steven's assessment that the Diamonds were like the Crystal Gems failed on one principle level: while the Gems at times ignore Steven because they're busy, they also value his well-being, individual autonomy and life more. Pearl, for example, only verbally told Stevonnie to defuse but allowed it after Garnet told Stevonnie to make their experience a good one. The Diamonds will use force on their loved ones because they prioritize order over "Pink's" well-being.
- Oh, Crap!: Steven and Connie have a moment of this via Stevonnie, who freaks out once they learn they appeared because their components decided to break the rules and dance.
- Pet the Dog:
- Yellow Diamond calls Steven's idea for the ball "brilliant".
- Blue and Yellow Diamond do go out of their way to compliment and encourage Steven when they show up at the ball.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- The thrones of the Diamonds are positioned in the shape of the Diamond Authority symbol, with White's as the biggest and on top in such a way that Pink's throne, which is both the smallest and the only one actually on the ground, looks like it would be blocked by White's legs. It signifies how Pink's authority was overshadowed by the authority of the other Diamonds, and how she was neglected and ignored despite being the emotional support for the other Diamonds.
- The shape of some of the Jades' dresses seen in the ball resemble cogs, and when seen from above they literally appear like gears in a well oiled machine during their dance, tying into the mechanical nature of the ball.
- Sexy Walk: In her grand entrance, Blue waves her Hartman Hips as she walks into the ballroom.
- Single Tear: While Blue Pearl introduces Blue Diamond, a single tear is shown falling under her bangs.Blue Pearl: Everyone, prepare yourself emotionally for the overpowering elegance that is Blue Diamond.
- Skewed Priorities: When Steven and Connie dance and fuse into Stevonnie, Yellow Diamond shouts "Pink, you've gone too far, even for you!" It REALLY hasn't set in for the other Diamonds that Pink Diamond was Rose Quartz, who started a civil war for the freedom of her planet, removed a Diamond from power and inadvertently ended the first Era, and spread a message of love and individuality that has never and likely will never be fully eradicated from Homeworld itself.
- So Proud of You: After making their entrances to the ball, Yellow and Blue tell "Pink" (actually Steven) what a good job he is doing in being a good host after spending several millennia gone.
- Speak in Unison: Two pairs of Jades greet "Pink" with the same speech, at the same time, to drive home how a Homeworld ball is more about appearances than actual enjoyment.
- Sudden Downer Ending: The episode abruptly ends with all the Crystal Gems getting poofed by Yellow Diamond and Stevonnie getting thrown and locked into what looks like a jail cell.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: While most of Yellow Pearl's appearances shows her to be stoic, snobby and a little smug (kind of like Yellow Diamond), here we see a different side of her when she sees one of Blue Pearl's drawings is of her, offering to model at a different angle and even starts laughing when Steven points this out.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Even though the other Diamonds still love Pink, just getting her back is not going to change the way they treat her, as they've been adhering to their roles in the Gem caste system for thousands of years, even before the rebellion, meaning their love for her isn't unconditional and not enough for them to change their ways.
- Overturning an established orthodoxy in the heart of its power is not a thing that happens overnight, no matter who you are. And it goes really, really badly if you try.
- Taught by Experience: Yellow Diamond doesn't give any of the Crystal Gems a chance to avoid her lightning this time and poofs them all at once, unlike when they held her off in "Reunited".
- This Is Unforgivable!: Blue and Yellow Diamond's reaction when Steven fuses with Connie.
- Tough Love: Blue Diamond uses this to warn Steven about why he shouldn't invite his friends.Blue: Pink, quit fooling around! White Diamond is going to be there. We have to present her with our best possible selves, just as our Gems have to present us with their best possible selves. A ball is a chance to inspire everyone.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Connie, despite her best intentions, is the one that throws the ball into chaos by just making Steven dance with her, forgetting how easily they're able to fuse. In a place where fusion is forbidden.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Steven's dream has him vomiting up clumps of Rose's hair.
- Wham Shot:
- Steven's dream at the start of the episode features him playing with an undamaged White Pearl in a pink color scheme.
- After Connie and Steven start dancing together, White Pearl's rigged smile turns into a frown when they fuse, implying that White Diamond is possessing her, or there are some traces of emotions still in her after being made an Empty Shell.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Blue could easily unfuse Stevonnie with her grief wave, or Yellow could shock them into defusing. Instead, unlike with the other Crystal Gems, Yellow merely grabs Stevonnie and locks them in a dark room, though this could be preferential treatment due to Steven's Diamond status.
- The Worf Effect: Stevonnie is shown as a powerful fusion in previous episodes, being able to take on Jasper in a fight. That Yellow was able to grab them quickly shows that Stevonnie may be amazing and strong, but Yellow is more powerful. Granted, they were in shock about what happened and caught off-guard before they reacted to Yellow's attacks.
- You Are Grounded!: Yellow locks Stevonnie inside a pitch-black room as punishment for fusing with an organic in front of all Homeworld, and for the ensuing chaos that it provoked. She even states that she wants "Pink" to think about what she had done.
- You Are Not Alone:
- Connie tells Steven this when she invites him to dance.
- The two Jades that fuse practically Squee when they realize that she's not the only fusion that exists for more than just fighting.