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Recap / Steven Universe S5E2 "The Trial"

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Steven declares his awareness that his mother has done something bad. And that whatever Homeworld has in store, he's ready. But there's no reply.

Steven stands alone in a pale, pink, featureless rounded-edged room. He is in there long enough for a montage of him moving around and yelling for anyone to let him know what's happening. He even calls for Lars. But there is no answer. Steven finally begins to settle down when the wall slides open and reveals a harried looking blue gem who introduces herself as Zircon. Zircon says they have only a brief minute to prepare his defense and asks what Steven knows about the shatterinig of Pink Diamond because the files are all unbelievable.

Steven sticks to his story, insisting he did it, much to Zircon's consternation. Zircon advises him not to say so even if it's true. Their brief moment passes, and they're summoned out into the Homeworld version of the courtroom. Another Zircon appears, this one greenish-yellow, and smirkily asks if blue Zircon isn't committing treason by defending a rebel.

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Blue Zircon: I was assigned to this!

Yellow Pearl and Blue Pearl arrive, each giving extended greetings to herald the arrival of Yellow and Blue Diamond. The two diamonds look at Steven. Yellow declares that they should shatter "Rose" just for looking the way Steven does. Blue says she wants the trial, to hear what her story is.

Blue Diamond: I want to know what she thinks we're going to do with her. Because I want to do something ... worse.

Yellow Zircon begins the Extended Greetings to her diamond but Yellow dismisses the necessity for full formality due to time. So Yellow Zircon gives a bit of an opening, brings Lars to the room to show how hideous the creatures are that Rose turned on her own kind for. Lars tries to talk but Yellow Zircon bubbles his head to mute him. She then pulls Eyeball Ruby to give testimony. Eyeball gives a highly biased and completely shortened version of the events of "Bubbled". Steven insists that he's only glad that the Ruby is ok. Ruby is sent out of the room and Yellow Zircon rests her case. Yellow Diamond is satisfied but Blue Diamond insists that the defense be given the opportunity to speak.

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Blue Zircon is lost on what to say but Steven cuts her off, once again declaring himself guilty. Blue raises Steven's platform and asks how Rose shattered Pink Diamond. Steven makes what he considers an educated guess, describing the conflict, guilt, and sadness Rose must have felt in doing the deed, and that she must have used the Breaking Point to do it. All through the confession, the Pearls are rather puzzled, and Blue Zircon is banging her head against the wall, but not hard enough to poof herself.

Blue Diamond leans in as Steven finishes, angry, astonished, and confused.

Blue Diamond: It was a SWORD!

Blue emits such a huge wave of grief that everyone in the room is immediately forced to cry the tears she cries. Yellow gets up and declares a short recess so Blue Diamond can collect herself.

Blue Zircon demands to know why Steven was using "if's" instead of "what" actually occurred. Steven just sticks to his insistence that he did it. He finally says Rose did it, and since he has her gem, he has to pay for what she did. But Blue Zircon realizes that Steven really has no idea what happened. When pressed, Steven shakes his head to confirm that he doesn't know.

Realizing that the reason the Diamonds want "Rose" to explain "how" she shattered Pink is because the official story doesn't make sense, Blue Zircon comes out with renewed energy and begins to paint Rose as a flawed Gem who turned on her own kind out of a misguided attachment to the Earth, and that as the Diamond overseeing Earth's colonization, Pink was Rose's enemy- therefore, Rose had everything to gain by shattering Pink. But, Blue Zircon adds, while Rose may have wanted to shatter Pink, could she?

She then asks for (and receives) permission to present Blue Diamond's palanquin. Once it appears, she does a walking re-creation of the crime scene, describing how witnesses saw Pink exit her Palanquin and take a few steps forward before being attacked from the front by Rose, shattering under her sword's blow. She describes that while everyone knows these details, no one has asked how this could have happened.

Blue Diamond: I've been asking that question!

Corrected and chastened, Blue Zircon continues, explaining that at the time Pink was shattered, Rose had already been a recognized threat for several centuries. There were no Rose Quartz soldiers in Pink's entourage, and none in her guard - so how could a Rose Quartz, with no business being anywhere near Pink Diamond, get so close in the first place? Where were Pink Diamond's attendants? Her Agates, her Sapphires? And where was her Pearl? Yellow Diamond -already impatient and eager to end the proceedings - is getting very agitated by Blue Zircon's line of questioning.

Yellow Diamond: They were with her, of course! They saw the whole thing!

But Blue Zircon is undeterred, pointing out that none of them saw Rose's approach. If Pink's court was indeed with her and already knew Rose was a legitimate threat to their Diamond, wouldn’t her Sapphires have seen Rose's assassination attempt coming? Wouldn’t her Agates, upon seeing Rose, immediately try to fight her off in defense of their Diamond? And even if Rose somehow did manage to slip past all of Pink's security, past all these defenses, wouldn't her Pearl- her made-to-order handmaiden, who would never leave her side unless directly ordered elsewhere- have noticed Rose and cried out in an attempt to warn Pink? How was Pink Diamond taken so completely by surprise?

Blue Diamond is captivated as Zircon concludes her analysis, claiming that whoever shattered Pink was someone already close to her- someone her guards would allow to get near her with no questions asked or suspicions raised. Someone Pink would listen to if they asked her to stop the Palanquin and step outside. For the killer to have gotten so close that not one Gem raised an alarm or even attempted to stop them, it would have to have been someone they wouldn't have thought to be alarmed by. Someone with the authority to cover up their crime by pinning it on Rose Quartz, who was already branded as a terrorist-and the perfect scapegoat.

Blue Zircon: Someone with supreme authority. Someone... like one of you!

Blue Diamond looks shocked. Yellow Diamond rises to her feet, and Blue Zircon realizes she said too much. She tries to walk back her statement only for Yellow Diamond to poof her via smashing. Smugly, Yellow Zircon says "Case closed, right, My Diamond?" only for Yellow Diamond to turn on her and zap her into poofing as well.

Blue Diamond jumps to her feet, scolding Yellow for being so angry and poofing the Zircons. They begin arguing. Steven and Lars realize they have an opportunity to escape and race to the palanquin. As Steven gets a rudimentary grasp on the controls, they look up, distracted from their argument by the motion. Steven sends the Palanquin leaping into the sky, through the roof, and it wobbles then falls from the high tower.

Yellow Diamond blasts a hole through the wall and calls after "Rose", saying that while she may have been able to hold her ground on Earth...

Yellow Diamond: You're on our world now.

The Palanquin continues plummeting and is soon lost from sight in the darkness.


Tropes:

  • Ambiguous Situation: Blue Diamond claims that the culprit used a sword to shatter Pink Diamond. We already know from Bismuth that the sword Rose normally used (the one Connie now wields) was incapable of shattering gems, but it's unclear whether or not Rose had another sword that did the trick, or if it's a clue that Rose could not have shattered Pink Diamond as was claimed.
  • Angry Collar Grab: Defense Zircon holds up Steven by his shirt collar when he states he doesn't know how the assassination happened.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The Zircon defending "Rose" asks a very pointed question during her closing argument — how was Rose, already a recognized threat for several centuries at the time of Pink Diamond's shattering, able to get close enough to kill her? There were no Rose Quartzes in Pink's army or entourage by this time that she could disguise herself as, and surely somebody in her entourage would've attempted to stop Rose, or at least warn Pink Diamond. Yellow and Blue Pearl noticeably react when she asks where Pink's Pearl was during all this, if not by her mistress's side, where she could have warned her.
  • Bad Boss: Yellow Diamond poofing Defense Zircon is somewhat understandable, given she just accused her of shattering her fellow Diamond. Poofing Prosecuting Zircon for speaking, however, is this trope.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Defense Zircon, who is assigned as "Rose's" defense.
  • Berserk Button: Zircon hits Yellow Diamond's when she suggests that a Diamond was responsible for shattering Pink Diamond. Yellow poofs her on the spot.
  • Bridal Carry: Steven does this to Lars while they are escaping from the arguing Diamonds.
  • The Bus Came Back: Eyeball is seen for the first time since "Bubbled". Here, she plays the role of an eyewitness at the trial.
  • Call-Back:
    • Steven assumes Rose broke Pink Diamond's gem with the Breaking Point, which he learned about in the episode "Bismuth".
    • Once again, Yellow Diamond refuses to listen to reason, and trying to hurt the Gems who have insulted her. This time Blue Diamond manages to restrain her, and the turn of events allows Steven to escape with Lars.
    • This episode confirms that not only did Navy rescue her teammates, she also ratted the Crystal Gems' continued existence out to the Diamonds.
  • Cassandra Truth: Zig-Zagged. Blue Diamond seems to believe that "Rose" is guilty, but she doesn't accept Steven's confession at face value though Yellow Diamond wants to go straight to the execution. Instead, she prods him about how Pink Diamond was killed, and sobs when he reveals he doesn't know. It's because she is trying to find out how Pink died, to find closure and an answer for how a Diamond could have fallen. She also seems to have been questioning the main story.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: After Yellow Diamond poofs the Zircon lawyers, Blue Diamond confronts Yellow to make her calm down. While they're arguing, Steven and Lars use the opportunity to escape by stealing Blue Diamond's palanquin.
  • Courtroom Antic: The court's tone is somewhat informal and the defense was forcibly rushed, leading to things like one of the judges repeatedly trying to call a verdict immediately only for the other judge to insist they continue, the suspect making a rambling testimony about things he didn't actually witness, the defense attorney banging her head on the stand in response to her said testimony, and the court artist making ridiculous sketches.
  • Courtroom Episode: The episode is Steven on trial as Rose Quartz for the assassination of Pink Diamond, with Zircons as lawyers, Yellow Pearl as stenographer, Blue Pearl as courtroom artist, and Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond as judges (and presumably jury and executioner) with their Pearls announcing them like bailiffs.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Defense Zircon's case is built on the fact that no one saw Rose's shattering of Pink Diamond coming- despite the fact that Rose couldn't hide (there were no other Rose Quartzes active) and Pink's entourage would have included Sapphires, who of all gems should have seen it coming.
    • The Diamonds' expressions show that they decidedly did not see someone having the guts to steal Blue Diamond's palanquin and make a run for it coming.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Defense Zircon fears that if she loses the case, then she and Steven will be shattered, which is a tad bit unfair since she was assigned the case with only a minute of preparation.
    • Yellow Diamond poofs the Defense Zircon for accusing the diamonds of shattering Pink Diamond, and the prosecuting Zircon for speaking out of turn.
  • Emotion Bomb: When Blue Diamond becomes especially broken up over Steven's inability to properly recall Pink Diamond's death, she emits a blue wave that causes everyone around her to become teary-eyed (except Lars, since it doesn't work on full humans).
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Defense Zircon deduces that Pink Diamond could've only been shattered by someone close and important enough that her army, court, and even Pearl wouldn't have seen it coming, and for her to get off her palanquin and lower her guard for her assassin to strike her. Considering Diamonds only act so casually around each other, Zircon deduces that the only way that Pink could've been shattered was if one of the Diamonds betrayed her.
  • Eureka Moment: Steven has been brought to the Gem Homeworld to be put on trial for the shattering of Pink Diamond by Rose Quartz. While trying to prepare his case, Defense Zircon is exasperated to learn that Steven doesn't really remember what happened way back when- and realizes that the reason he's being put on trial at all is that the official story has glaring contradictions.
    Defense Zircon: ...You don't know how it happened. I get it. There's a reason why they want you to explain how you did it. It's because it doesn't make sense!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Blue Diamond is appalled that Yellow poofed both of the Zircons, and begs her to restrain herself.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: A justified case; Rose was no exception to the general rule of Quartzes being very large, but Steven is a human child less than half her height.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A variation. Defense Zircon has a Eureka Moment about the shattering of Pink Diamond and launches into a Spotting the Thread monologue, where she points out that Rose Quartz was already a recognized enemy of the state by the time she would have allegedly killed Pink Diamond, all gems of that type had already been removed from Pink Diamond's court (so subterfuge wasn't an option), and Rose would have had to get past Pink Diamond's court of Agates, Sapphires, and her Pearl to get close enough to do the deed. She realizes Pink's death could only have been orchestrated by someone with enough authority to cover up the actual events...culminating in accusing the most likely suspects: the Diamonds, who are presiding over the trial. In this case, the Oh, Crap! is not because of the implications of the explanation itself, but rather due to the realization that she just accused her supreme leaders of killing their own sister right to their faces.
    Defense Zircon: Uhh, disregard that last statement, I might have gotten carried away! (POOF!)
  • Face Death with Dignity: Steven says he will accept any punishment that the Diamonds have, shattering included, as long as they spare Lars and leave the Earth alone.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • One of the points Defense Zircon brings up in her defense is that it would take a implausible number of failed spot checks for all of Pink Diamond's entourage, including her Sapphires and her Pearl, to miss Rose Quartz's approach, especially since she was unique and a known criminal.
    • The Diamonds arguing distracts them and their Pearls, allowing Steven to use Blue's palanquin to escape.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Zircon defending "Rose". If she loses the case, she gets shattered. If she wins the case... well, Yellow Diamond didn't even let her finish once she began prying into the story of Pink Diamond's demise.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Blue Diamond wants to do to "Rose" is apparently worse than just shattering.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: After Defense Zircon makes the mistake of hitting the Diamonds' Berserk Button, Yellow Diamond casually walks over and poofs her by crushing her with one finger. Justified by Yellow Diamond being large enough that she could easily hold Defense Zircon in one hand, to say nothing of the immense strength of most Gems.
  • Foreshadowing: Before the trial proper starts, the Defense Zircon is reading up on Rose's files, nervously rushing through to figure out a proper defense, but complains that she can't make sense of any of it. The fact the story doesn't add up plays a major part in her final defense.
  • Frame-Up: Zircon comes to the conclusion that Rose was simply not able to shatter Pink Diamond in the way that she supposedly did, implying that someone else (maybe even another Diamond) shattered her and set Rose up to take the fall.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Steven and Lars look over Homeworld while escaping in the Palanquin, there is a building or a structure in the background that looks eerily similar to the depiction of one of the members of the Diamond Authority seen in the mural on the moon. Specifically, White Diamond, who has yet to make an appearance, and who hasn't even been referenced to in series yet.
  • Gasp!: Blue Diamond reacts this way after Defense Zircon implies one of the Diamonds was involved in Pink's shattering, either for the shock of such sacrilegious declaration, or because it actually makes sense.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Lampshaded by Defense Zircon. At the time that she allegedly shattered Pink Diamond, Rose Quartz had been a recognized public enemy for centuries, and there were no other Rose Quartz gems in Pink Diamond's court or entourage. So how did Rose Quartz get close enough to Pink Diamond to shatter her? Why didn't her Sapphires see Rose coming? Why didn't her Agates try to fight Rose Quartz off? Shouldn't her Pearl at least have been able to sound the alarm?
  • Head Desk: Blue Zircon pounds her head against a pillar while Steven is making his "confession".
  • High-Class Glass: Zircons wear them. Which eye it's on seems to vary, and they seemed to be used to pull up information on the Gem on trial.
  • Honor Before Reason: Steven keeps claiming that he is Rose Quartz, because his main concern is to make sure the Diamonds are satisfied with him and don't take his friends, like Lars. While it's technically true, and Yellow wants to execute him regardless of evidence, he only explains to Zircon that he carries Rose's gem and thus must carry her burdens. It's unclear if Blue Diamond would have accepted that Steven is a Reincarnation hybrid.
  • Hope Spot: During recess, when Zircon realizes that Steven doesn't know how Pink Diamond was shattered, she starts to build a case on how the eyewitness testimony doesn't add up and leaves a lot of questions. She presents this after recess, and everyone is listening, including the Diamonds. Then she makes the mistake of accusing the Diamonds of shattering Pink, and Yellow poofs her.
  • Humans Are Ugly:
    • Yellow Diamond finds Steven so disgusting that she says "Rose" should be shattered just for looking like that.
    • The Prosecuting Zircon brings out Lars and calls him "hideous" when defaming Rose's desire to protect humanity.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Diamonds obviously aren't interested in giving "Rose" a fair trial; the Zircon defending "Rose" has less than a minute to prepare her defense, and Yellow Diamond wants to just skip to the shattering. It's Zig-Zagged when Blue Diamond insists on going through the formalities and seems suspicious when "Rose" doesn't remember how Pink Diamond was shattered, with the implication that Yellow only agreed to give "Rose" a trial at all to appease Blue.
  • Mega City: Lars and Steven briefly see a cityscape as far as the eye can see when they escape in Blue Diamond's palanquin.
  • More Expendable Than You: Steven keeps begging for Lars's life.
  • Morton's Fork: The Zircon defending Steven is apparently going to be shattered if he's found guilty. But when she starts to make a strong case in Steven's favor, her suggestion that another Diamond was involved in Pink Diamond's shattering causes Yellow Diamond to poof her anyway (with a clear intention of shattering her later).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Steven healing Eyeball's gem only serves to fuel the case he's indeed Rose.
    Steven: I healed your gem!
    Eyeball: And who else has the ability to heal Gems other than the villainous Rose Quartz?
  • Noodle Incident: Played for Drama when it turns out that the Diamonds themselves only have hearsay from eyewitnesses about Pink's demise, and the reason that they keep focusing on how Rose did the deed is their desire to know themselves.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Defense Zircon when Steven straight-up admits guilt, and again after she accuses one of the Diamonds.
    • The Pearls when Zircon asks where Pink's Pearl was.
  • One-Hit KO: Yellow Diamond squashes Defense Zircon like a bug with one finger, and then blasts Prosecuting Zircon with lightning, poofing her instantly.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Blue Zircon accuses one of the Diamonds of regicide, the reactions of the two Diamonds is telling. Blue Diamond gasps dramatically, as one might expect. Yellow, however, does not immediately fly into a rage as she has before. Instead, she rises with a slight frown and poofs both Zircons.
  • Pun: Eyeball gets called to the stand as an eyewitness.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Zircon lawyers. While the other Zircon for the prosecution is a Smug Snake, she has no reason to believe that she'll lose.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Steven saying he was Rose Quartz, the Gem who apparently shattered Pink Diamond, to Eyeball (one of the Diamond's entourage) obviously means that the Ruby still hates "her".
    • Steven tries to pretend to be Rose and take the punishment for her actions... but he barely has any idea what happened at all or what Rose is actually like, so he clearly gets details wrong and Blue Diamond catches on, even if she doesn't realize the entire truth.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite wanting to do something even worse than killing Rose, Blue Diamond still lets the trial proceed, even allowing Blue Zircon to present her palanquin for the purposes of her argument. She's especially suspicious when "Rose" can't remember how Pink Diamond was shattered. When Yellow goes ballistic, Blue restrains her and tells her to calm down.
  • The Reveal: The story of how Pink Diamond was shattered is revealed- and it doesn't add up.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: While picking apart the "Rose Quartz shattered Pink Diamond" story, Defense Zircon asks a rhetorical question, which Blue Diamond sadly answers.
    Zircon: The question no one seems to be asking is... how?
    Blue Diamond: I've been asking that question.
    Zircon: (nervously) And right you are to ask, my Diamond!
  • Running Gag: Blue Pearl acts as courtroom artist, but most of the sketches we cut to her making are very silly or inane (including Steven doing a jump kick, or drawing an X over his face when his testimony is complete).
  • The Scapegoat: Zircon's conclusions imply that, even if framing her wasn't intentional by whoever did shatter Pink Diamond, Rose was blamed because she was the most obvious suspect.
  • Shout-Out: Blue Diamond's insistence that Pink Diamond was killed by a sword is very likely a reference to the Woodcutter insisting the same thing in Rashomon. Steven, like Tajomaru, describes Pink Diamond's death as being like a big, magnificent battle, with both Rose Quartz being painted as a great hero and Pink Diamond as a great villain.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Defense Zircon was only introduced in this episode and poofed at the end, but in that time she casts doubt on the story that Rose really shattered Pink Diamond and introduces the possibility that another Diamond was responsible.
  • Spotting the Thread: Defense Zircon spots several inconsistencies with the story of how Rose Quartz shattered Pink Diamond. At this point, Rose was infamous, wanted criminal, and the only one of her gem type that was active at the time. So how did she get past all of Pink Diamond's entourage without somebody recognizing her and at least sounding the alarm? On top of that, the explanation that Rose's sword shattered Pink Diamond makes no sense because it was made so it couldn't shatter Gems, much less one of the most powerful Gems in the entire universe. Defense Zircon concludes that Pink Diamond was killed by someone close to her, someone who could get past Pink's entourage with no interference, someone who'd have the authority to have the entire situation covered up, someone... like another Diamond. Of course, right after this, Defense Zircon realizes what she just said and tries a Verbal Backspace, but Yellow Diamond poofs her immediately.
  • Swiss Cheese Security:
    • Lampshaded; Defense Zircon points out that it should have been essentially impossible for Rose Quartz to have gotten close enough to Pink Diamond to shatter her. Pink Diamond was surrounded by attendants, including precognitive Sapphires, Agate bodyguards, and her personal Pearl. Moreover, Rose Quartz had been a known public enemy for centuries and all other Rose Quartz gems had been bubbled, so she would have been instantly recognizable. So how could Rose Quartz have possibly gotten close enough to shatter Pink Diamond without anyone trying to fight her off, or at least sound the alarm?
    • Ironically, the same problem appears in the courtroom. Steven as the defendant isn't restrained in any way, and neither is Lars. Thus when Yellow Diamond attacks the Zircons and Blue Diamond restrains her, Steven takes the chance to grab Lars and steal Blue's palanquin. For some reason the Pearls don't notice the latter until it's too late.
  • Tranquil Fury: Blue Zircon accusing the Diamonds of shattering their fellow matriarch is the last straw for Yellow, who's considered the whole trial an unnecessary farce thus far, and for a brief moment she's utterly calm and silent when she crushes Zircon for her impertinence. She's calmed down to regular fury when Yellow Zircon's brownnosing aggravates her.
  • Villain Ball: Yellow Diamond makes no effort to chase after or use her lightning powers on the escaping Palanquin, instead choosing to taunt Steven and Lars from afar as she points out this is their planet and she has no reason to suspect that "Rose Quartz" won't get shattered.
  • Wham Episode: Thanks in part to Steven's testimony, Zircon spots a lot of holes in the story of how Pink Diamond was assassinated, and infers that the killer was probably not Rose Quartz- and may, in fact, have been one of the Diamonds.
  • Wham Line:
    • Blue Diamond dramatically insists that Rose used a sword to shatter Pink Diamond, but we know from Bismuth that Rose's sword is incapable of doing such a thing.
    • The Defense Zircon realizes her case may be salvageable and tells Steven that "There's a reason why they want you to explain how you did it. It's because it doesn't make sense!"
    • Zircon gives a long explanation of the holes in the story behind Pink Diamond's shattering before Dropping the Bombshell.
      Zircon: No, whoever did this was already close to Pink Diamond. [...] and someone with the authority to cover it up afterwards! Someone with supreme authority, someone... like one of you! (points at the Diamonds)
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Invoked. Prosecutor Zircon points out how Rose sacrificed her Diamond and her status to protect humans and betray her kind, and uses this as 'evidence' of how guilty and despicable Rose is.
    Yellow Diamond: Well, I'm convinced. Time to execute!
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Yellow Diamond wants to move on to the shattering. She only doesn't because Blue Diamond insists on going through the trial.
  • Zorro Mark: Yellow Diamond exits the trial room to make her declaration to "Rose Quartz" by cutting a diamond shaped section of the thick walls and sending it flying with one hand.

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