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Tear Jerker / Steven Universe Season 2

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Full Disclosure
  • Steven's entire disposition this episode vacillates between no-nonsense and deep personal introspection after the events of Jail Break, and it's extremely disconcerting and sad to see such a vibrant boy barely crack a smile for the whole episode.
  • Greg's reaction to Steven's recounting of the last two episodes' events. He winds up having a panic attack in front of Steven, despite attempting to save face and appear supportive. Both of the Universe boys need hugs this episode, really.
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  • Steven avoiding Connie for the whole episode, up to hiding among the ruins of Peridot's ship. They're practically the One True Pairing for the show and a good portion of the fan-base, so seeing Steven try to end their friendship over text because he doesn't want her getting hurt because of him is absolutely heart rending to watch. Doubly so because Connie was more than willing to go back to being alone if he'd just tell her to her face. And it's extra hard because we already know that Steven is her first real friend and she even states herself that without him, she will return to this state.
  • Steven spilling his guts to Connie after tearfully admitting that he still wants her for a friend is both this and Heartwarming. This kid seriously needs a hug. The kicker? He actually does get one from Connie.
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Joy Ride

  • Steven tells the Cool Kids that he sometimes thinks the other Gems blame him for Rose not being around anymore. Of course we know that the Gems love Steven to death and wonder why he would think such a thing... and then we remember Pearl's breakdown from Rose's Scabbard especially that brief Death Glare she gave Steven while he was chasing after her.
    • The Cool Kids' horrified reactions are this, too. All of them have family issues as well, but they pale in light of Steven's fears and insecurities. How long have the Crystal Gems been ignoring this?
  • Steven getting stuck in the escape pod, causing the Gems to mistake him for Peridot and attack him. When Jenny gets Garnet to stop before the final punch, he's curled up in the Troubled Fetal Position.
    • The look of pure horror on Garnet's face when she realizes that she was attacking Steven the whole time, and nearly killed him.
  • Garnet telling Steven how very disappointed she is in him for not taking the escape pod straight back to the temple must've stung pretty bad, considering those were his original intentions to begin with.
  • The Cool Kids all stepping up to the Crystal Gems and telling them to cut Steven some slack before he runs himself into the ground can REALLY hit home if you're in a situation where everyone expects so much of you that you rarely get a chance to even breathe. The way the Gems react to this also shows how little they know about human nature and raising children yet again.
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Say Uncle

  • All Uncle Grandpa wanted to do was help Steven summon his shield, but his Reality Warping freaks out the Gems so much that they decide he's a threat and attack him.
    • Can also be applied to the Fan Dumb as well, as the episode and especially the UG team got a ton of internet backlash as soon as it was announced, despite the fact that it was born out of a friendly collaboration by both show's creators.
  • Pearl's so frustrated and confused by Uncle Grandpa's antics that she spends most of the episode yelling and screaming, as if she were having a prolonged panic attack. It can be kind of uncomfortable to watch.

Love Letters

  • Steven and Connie doing their best to try and let Jamie down gently, instead of giving him Garnet's brutally honest rejection letter, only for him to misinterpret things and think she is interested, causing him even more heartbreak when his hopes are dashed.
  • Though it's funny out of context, Jamie theatrically letting the random letters go in wind could be chalked up to him believing he's doing the recipients a favor by protecting them from whatever heartache these letters could hold.
  • A depressed Jamie also makes a very quick cameo in the new intro, looking somberly at the sea.

Reformed

  • When Steven tries to quiz Greg and Pearl with a personality quiz that may poke at their personal flaws, their uneasy reactions imply they're pretty sensitive about their respective flaws (Pearl's being "neurotic" and Greg's being he "wishes he were a better role model".)
  • Steven gets really sad, even crying, the first time Amethyst is "poofed" in front of him.
  • As the episode progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that Amethyst still has some issues about how the other Gems see her.
    Garnet: I don't want this!
    Amethyst: Well, what do you want! Just tell me and I'll do that!
    Garnet: I can't tell you, Amethyst! You have to figure this out for yourself!
    Steven: She can't! She doesn't want to think about herself!
    Amethyst: What?
    POP!
    • Even worse, this was foreshadowed earlier on in the episode. When Steven asked a personality quiz question that got too personal about her flaws, you can tell it makes Amethyst uncomfortable.
  • Garnet and Steven's fear over Amethyst's rapid regenerations and unstable penultimate form become much worse when you realize that they may very well be afraid of her edging on the brink of corruption again, falling very much into Adult Fear as Amethyst is the youngest of the Crystal Gems sans Steven.
    • Her later admitting to herself she was too hard on Amethyst doesn't make it better.

Sworn To The Sword

  • It's implied that Pearl is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Rose's death.
  • Connie's brief stint believing that Steven's life is worth so much that she is worthless speaks a lot about how lonely she was before meeting Steven and how much value she puts on their friendship. Likewise, the fact that Pearl felt the exact same way towards Rose for almost the whole time they knew each other, even while acknowledging that Rose tried to make her feel like she was "everything." It really puts into perspective how utterly lost she sometimes acts now that Rose is gone.
  • Apparently, Pearl wanted so badly to protect Rose during the war that she let herself be killed. Again... and again... and again...
    Pearl: You just think about the life you'll have together after the war... And then you do it for her.
  • Adding to the above, Rose was by all what we saw and heard of her a very strong and capable Gem in her own right, not to mention one with healing powers and a strong barrier, meaning that Pearl didn't need to sacrifice herself so recklessly for her sake. But she did so anyway, because that was the only way she could think of to validate her existence. In her mind, since she was worth nothing, the only semblance of difference she could possibly make, no matter how small, was to give absolutely everything she had for the sake of the person who was worth the most to her.
  • "WHY WON'T YOU JUST LET ME DO THIS FOR YOU, ROSE?!"
    • This implies that Pearl might have had a similar argument with Rose in the past.
      • It gets much much worse when you think about what Pearl's final argument with Rose must have been about. There's no way Pearl was all right with Rose sacrifice her life to give birth to Steven.

Keeping it Together

  • The fact that, apparently, all of the Gem shards the Homeworld was using in their Fusion Dance experiments were once Crystal Gems, and fallen comrades of Garnet and the others.
    • Worse, this seemed to be completely unknown to the Crystal Gems. Their former comrades were trapped in that nightmarish states for thousands of years, deep underground and they didn't even know it. It was even implied that they have been actively looking for the remaining shards that they knew were out there... and now they know where they were the whole time.
    • Worst of all is that, if you watch closely, none of the Fusion monsters are actually hostile to Garnet; the biggest one is actually just grabbing onto her, as if pleading for Garnet to help them. Garnet seems to understand in the end, but even then she has no idea how to help them.
  • Garnet being so disturbed by the realization of what the Homeworld was doing that she doesn't even defend herself, and nearly splits apart into Ruby and Sapphire.
    • The damage isn't done there either. Upon coming to the conclusion that these are indeed the Gems they were looking for, the camera swaps back and forth between Garnet's sudden and abrupt emotional changes, ranging from Sapphire's horror, to Ruby's rage.
      Garnet/Ruby: (annoyed) So this is what Homeworld thinks of Fusion...
      Garnet/Sapphire: (worried) We couldn't have known they would do this...
      Garnet/Ruby: (mad) This is where they've been! All the ones we couldn't find; they've been here the whole time!
      Garnet/Sapphire: (scared) Rose couldn't have known...
      Garnet/Ruby: (infuriated) This is punishment for the rebellion!
      Garnet/Sapphire: (terrified) It's not our fault!
    • The sentence So this is what the Homeworld thinks of Fusion... sounds especially hard to take from Garnet of all people, given how this means "so this is what they think of me". Fusion for Garnet is what feels right, what feels natural, and she sees the Homeworld twist something so important and precious to her into a thing of terror and punishment.
    • If it was possible, it's become even more tearjerking now that The Answer has rolled around. We learn in that episode that Garnet was the first known Fusion between different types of Gems. Garnet may blame herself since it's possible that Homeworld created the monstrosities with her in mind.
    • When the fusion knocks her visor off and begins to grab her, a tear flows from Garnet's right eye. Ruby's eye.
  • How terrifying must it be to live in a society where that is a potential punishment for dissenters, where they keep Gems in-line with fear of being used as fodder in experiments like this, and as a part of the Cluster.
  • Take a look at Amethyst when they talk about the kindergarten. She still looks uncomfortable about her origins despite being reassured by Pearl in "On the Run".

We Need To Talk

  • Greg, Rose, Garnet, and Amethyst doing a homemade music video together, while Pearl just sulks in a corner not joining in the fun.
  • Pearl sadly realizing that Greg is Rose's favorite.
    • To make things worse, it's been hinted at that Rose had human lovers before Greg, and Pearl was envious of every one of them, but convinced herself that they were just "phases," that a Gem could never form a real connection with a human because their lives are so short and humans cannot fuse. Until it turned out that Greg was definitely not a phase, and Rose seemingly formed a deeper connection with him in a few short months than she ever had with Pearl.
  • Steven's face at the very end of the episode, when Greg tells Connie she can talk to him about Gem stuff any time, human-to-human. You can tell he's conflicted, and worried he is not seen as human, even by his own dad.
  • Greg and Rose realizing that their relationship is full of holes. She just sees him as the most adorable and charming human she has met, without seeing him as a real person... because she's not a real person. He starts to cry when he realizes that she's just as lost as he is.
    Greg: This is so weird... You really are an alien! (laughs hysterically)
    Rose: Why are you laughing? (Greg's laughter turns into sobs) Why are you crying...?
  • Rose saying that it's a good thing that Greg doesn't know anything about her past. The war left scars on all of the Gems, Rose especially if you take into account her personality and the toll it must have taken on her to fight and kill her own kind.
    • Or that, considering she is The Leader, she "failed" her friends and comrades and had hundreds and thousands of her friends die with only being able to protect two from death.
  • Pearl's treatment of Greg is pretty disheartening.
    • Rose's treatment of Greg as well, while they're out on the stage. At first their exchange is lighthearted and humorous, but when Greg expresses his fear that Rose doesn't respect him, her response is to laugh, as if he's told a joke. Not only that, but she continues doing so, not even listening to what he is saying until he hits her with the Wham Line / Armor-Piercing Question.
      • During the music video, Greg at first has fun doing the video. But going by his surprised expression, Rose's solo was improvised. Look closely at how his entranced smile disappears into a frown and stays rather disturbed while she sings about Greg and humans in general are fun to play with and how she finds them "entertaining". He probably realized at that moment that his alien girlfriend may not take him as serious as he thought and instead thinks of him as a fun toy, leading to him being depressed before Pearl even approaches him and what makes him so desperate to fuse with Rose. Even though Rose hadn't meant to hurt him (maybe in her view, she was even praising him), it deeply upset him.
      • Food for thought: Greg left behind a possible promising career as a musician because of Rose. However, when she laughed at his sincere attempt at Fusion, for a split second he may have regretted doing so. Why? He left behind his dream for someone who only thought of him as a "novelty".

Chille Tid

  • Pearl's first ever dream is about how she still pines after Rose.
  • In a mirror of Pearl during "Sworn to the Sword", Lapis wants to keep Jasper tied down with the weight of the world's ocean for Steven, despite the enormous strain it's placing on her.
    • Also, just look at how injured Lapis appears. It's not just mentally straining her, it's physically, too!
  • The first dream Steven has shows Lapis with water flowing out of her eyes and mouth and it simply looks like she's crying a literal tidal wave.
  • "No. I'm not Lapis anymore. We're Malachite now."
  • "Just let me do this for you!" Bookends with Pearl's outburst about Rose in the first Stevenbomb 2.0 episode Sworn to the Sword.
  • Steven apparently has the power to connect to other Gems via his dreams, but Steven can't do anything about Lapis as she slowly loses control.
  • A more subtle one, but in Steven's first dream (before Lapis bursts in), he's imagining himself and the Gems all as humans, through the framework of traditional sit-com. It's a reminder about Steven's concerns about his own humanity which came up in "We Need To Talk".
    • This also puts an even more heartbreaking spin on Rose's Scabbard, as it's shown that Steven sees Pearl as the closest thing he has to a mother. Imagine feeling like that person blames you for the death of someone they love...
    • Later, Steven even says he has some issues he needs to work out.

Cry For Help

  • Amethyst feeling left out when Garnet chooses to fuse with Pearl instead of her. Her insecurities about herself are visible during the episode since Sardonyx is a massive foil for Sugilite, and Garnet and Pearl seem so happy to fuse together. In her song, it's clear that Amethyst blames herself for everything that went wrong with Sugilite and sees the choice to form Sardonyx as Garnet saying that she's too unreliable to fuse with - despite Garnet sharing the blame with her. She spends a great deal of the episode in a self-loathing depression because of it.
    • Heck, Amethyst even has a song that's essentially the equivalent of "Strong in the Real Way".
  • The Reveal that Pearl fixed the hub after they broke it the first time because she wanted to keep fusing with Garnet. And even though it made Amethyst feel bad, she understands why Pearl did it and tries to explain it to Garnet, who angrily shuts her down.
    • And think about the problems this caused Garnet, she takes Fusion very seriously, and then someone she really trusts abuses it for her own selfish needs. Not to mention, not only could they have spent this time searching for Peridot, but other messages could have gotten out thus a better chance for Peridot to get the message across. Arguably, Garnet is justified in her anger. As if the events of Keeping it Together wasn't enough...
  • Ultimately, Sugilite is brought out to destroy the Communications Hub for good. No doubt some of Pearl's own insecurities she had during "Coach Steven" came out when she saw her, on top of the massive guilt she had for tricking Garnet the way she did.
    • Pearl's expression as Sugilite destroys the hub, she's clearly broken by what she did.
    • Amethyst, though she really wanted to feel useful throughout the episode due to Sardonyx's power and control, visibly shows that she doesn't want to fuse with Garnet the way she is. Sugilite is absolutely pissed as usual, but now driven by Garnet's cold fury with Amethyst can't do nothing about it but to follow Garnet's orders. Although Amethyst has her Character Development to forget her insecurities for a while in favor of protecting Pearl's actions, she's clearly not happy that another conflict rises between Pearl and Garnet. Not to mention how Garnet, of all people, forces Amethyst to fuse despite the latter's reluctance because she could relate to Pearl and why she lied to the crew. What's even worse is Garnet herself, blinded by her anger, defies everything she claims about what Fusion is all about.
  • Garnet's angry outburst for Amethyst to stop defending Pearl is pretty justified from her perspective. Yes, Garnet understands that Pearl had her reasons but she doesn't want to hear them, what's more, Amethyst's words ring all too similar to what Jasper taunted Garnet with before their second battle: Fusion is just a cheap tactic to make weak Gems stronger. For Garnet, Pearl's actions felt like even her teammates think of Fusion, of her very being, as just a means to an end.
  • Pearl and Garnet are not talking to each other at the end of the episode. We saw Pearl-Amethyst conflict (On The Run) and Amethyst-Garnet (Reformed) and now Pearl-Garnet over the former's casual views towards Fusion, something that Garnet takes very seriously as an expression of trust and love in order to accomplish their goal. But there's even worse than that: the Crystal Gems still have issues to resolve.
  • Sardonyx's last words to Steven in the episode are a reassurance that if Garnet and Pearl ever need her again to remind them that she's always there to help. After it being apparently a long time since her last summoning, it's heartbreaking to think that she'll likely not be used again. At least until Garnet and Pearl mend bridges...
  • If you remember how Ruby and Sapphire couldn't bear to spend another second apart from each other, you might begin to understand Pearl and Amethyst's desires to fuse with Garnet. Being with the one you love, someone who is strong, dependable, understanding, patient, gentle, and constantly by your side. You can't really blame them for wanting to feel a little less alone in the world.
    • It then gets worse when you follow that line of logic. Pearl and Amethyst are clearly needing attention and love, but are looking for it in other, stronger people. Garnet herself must feel betrayed, after having genuine feelings of family and friendship, she gets lied to, and realizes she's just an object for them to cling on to, but not truly love for who she is.
    • Really, this whole episode is indicative of the serious emotional issues plaguing each of the Crystal Gems and their inability to really deal with them. Garnet's extreme reaction strongly suggests that she's still having trouble processing what she saw in the Kindergarten, and that she might have really needed her Fusion with Pearl to be a positive experience, to affirm her own views on Fusion. Pearl's issues surrounding her relationship with Rose Quartz were front-and-center in the last couple of Pearl-centered episodes, and her deception could suggest that she's trying to move on by strengthening her relationships with others, albeit in a wrongheaded way. And Amethyst is still suffering some pretty obvious self-esteem issues. While Garnet is a fine leader for most things, she seems to have difficulty providing the emotional support that Rose Quartz once provided for the group. Which leaves Steven to try to help sort through these interpersonal issues, something that's rather unfair to expect of a young child, but is not unheard of among families in real-life. But even now and then, Steven starts to think that the Crystal Gems blame him from the loss of his mother.
  • The way this episode closes out is pretty sad: No adorable shrinking star-wipe. It's just the TV blinking off in a star-shape pattern.

Keystone Motel

  • Pearl and Garnet still aren't speaking, and Pearl went looking for Peridot for three days straight in an attempt to make it up to Garnet.
    • And it clearly isn't working. Pearl tries telling Garnet that she's been searching everywhere and they're sure to find Peridot eventually, and is met with complete silence. What sells it is Pearl eventually just saying what she means by all of this.
    Pearl: I'm sorry.
  • Garnet apparently goes with Steven and Greg to Keystone just to get away from Pearl.
  • Garnet is so conflicted by what happened with Pearl in the previous episode that Ruby and Sapphire unfuse because they can't come to an understanding about how they feel about it. Just before the Fusion comes undone, you can see Ruby take control of Garnet and forcibly end the Fusion just to get away from Sapphire.
    Garnet/Ruby: If you're not going to listen, then you can just go!
  • After Ruby smashes the table, Steven just walks out of the diner. He wanted to get away from all of the arguing and negative feelings. He thought that by taking Garnet she would probably have calmed down after the events of the last episode. Instead, Garnet defused because of Ruby and Sapphire's bickering about the situation and it got out of hand. He started to think it was all his fault because of the fact that all of this followed him.
    • Not just that. He drops his plate on the floor, letting it shatter, then walks away with tears in his eyes. You know you've screwed up badly when Steven is crying. He has his limits too.
    • You want to know when you've really screwed up with Steven? When he isn't talking to you. And when he talks, it's nothing but either anger and/or self-blame.
    Steven: I was so happy when Garnet said she was gonna come on this trip with me and dad! Home's been awful! Here's been awful! I thought you wanted to have a fun time, but everyone's been acting awful too! It- It just came with us! I don't understand! Is it... Is it me?
  • Ruby and Sapphire realizing how their arguing has affected Steven, making up and re-fusing back into Garnet.
    Ruby: No! Steven, it's all us!
    Sapphire: But we made him feel like it was his fault.
    • Sapphire's reaction is especially heartrending. As the source of Garnet's Future Vision, she already knew that she and Ruby would make up with Pearl and everything would work out, but without Ruby's single-minded determination and focus she never stopped to consider how this would happen, instead focusing solely on the future resolution rather than the present. When she realizes this, she begins crying.
    • The fact that it's Sapphire who becomes vulnerable and breaks down in tears as well really nails home how bad this situation is. It's not uncommon to see Ruby emotional and angry - we literally witness that aspect of her personality from the second she's on-screen. But Sapphire is so level-headed and calm about most things and for the majority of this incident has remained so. When even a Gem who has Future Vision and for the most part knows how things are going to turn out, you wouldn't think anything could upset her.
  • Garnet still hasn't entirely forgiven Pearl for what happened at the end, where Amethyst is apparently trying to comfort her, but at least she's speaking to Pearl again.
  • In a harsh Call-Back to "Joy Ride" Steven blames himself for the argument between Ruby and Sapphire. This is bad enough, that he thinks he's responsible, but what makes it even worse is that it happens to Garnet. Steven has seen both Amethyst and Pearl lash out over Rose being gone, which he believes they blame him for, but he has never seen such an ugly side to Garnet. He was probably just latching on to their fight as proof that Garnet must have blame him, probably due to the strain she has as the leader of the Crystal Gems since Rose's passing.
    • On one hand, it's very sweet that Steven just accepts Ruby and Sapphire, and doesn't subject them to playing twenty questions — which is impressive given Steven's curious nature, especially regarding Gems and Fusion. On the other hand, though, because Ruby and Sapphire generally don't like to split up, it's not likely that they'll have many opportunities to interact with him one on one... and they were so busy being angry, they wasted an opportunity to let him get to know them. Sapphire makes a token effort, but doesn't even attempt to control her freezing powers, driving Steven from the room when he wants to watch TV with her. There might be some justification in that, as Garnet, they know Steven inside-out already, and forget that the reverse isn't true (he didn't know they existed for then a decade ), but it's still sad that they couldn't pause for a second and think "This sucks, but better make the most of it for the kid's sake."
  • If you look at Ruby and Sapphire arguing from Steven's point of view, it heavily looks like two parents being on the verge of getting a divorce and are so busy fighting that they don't even notice their child. It's particularly distressing for anyone who's experienced this before, especially for a child as young as Steven, since before Garnet had always acted as a Parental Substitute for him. It's also Truth in Television that children of divorced parents often feel like they're the cause of their parents' breakup.
    • Steven might know that if Ruby and Sapphire won't make up, Garnet would cease to exist. And he will lose another parental figure again and the Crystal Gems will not function the same again without its leader. And the list of the things Steven feels are entirely his fault is getting longer.
  • Greg does his very best to keep up Steven's spirits during the trip, downplaying the tension between Ruby and Sapphire so his son can still enjoy the vacation. However, it becomes increasingly clear throughout the episode that he can't honey-coat the issue for much longer, and after Steven walks out of the diner in tears, he can only mutter a forlorn "Aw geez".
    • The scene just before Steven snaps has Greg almost desperately still trying to make light of the situation, despite it being clearly obvious that nothing he says will be able to placate Steven anymore. In a way, Greg's glossing over of the situation possibly made things worse for Steven, because he promised his son that things would be better during breakfast, when it only got worse.
  • One thing glossed over is how bitter Steven acts in the episode when the going gets rough. Sure, it's common for kids to lash out in particularly frustrating situations, but Steven is a kid whom we've gotten to know for his Incorruptible Pure Pureness. At first, his line, "Am I fated to pee outside in the grass too?" when he addresses Sapphire sounds funny at first, but then you realize that he's clearly showing signs of frustration - and then you realize that Steven, before, would never act so blatantly annoyed. All the conflict he's had to endure since Jail Break appears to be getting to him...
  • Both Ruby and Sapphire may have all the right reasons to be furious with Pearl for tricking them in "Cry for Help", but only Sapphire was truly willing to forgive her. It's easy for someone to just stay angry at someone who offended them, but to be willing to forgive and let go takes a lot of courage and willpower. Yes, she appeared insensitive and detached to Ruby and Steven because of it, but in her mind, all she was trying to do was "the right thing".
  • Consider what Garnet described herself as to Steven in "Keeping It Together": an embodiment of Ruby and Sapphire's love, the strength of which allows her to stay fused for so long. So what might Garnet Unfusing and Ruby saying "Garnet's not here" in the diner look like from Steven's perspective?

Onion Friend

  • Amethyst confessing to Vidalia that with Garnet and Pearl still not taking to each other, she's feeling trapped at the temple. Earlier in the episode, she's very quiet and sullen, which is very unlike her.
  • How Vidalia and Amethyst were once close friends, but grew apart. It's especially jarring how old Vidalia looks now, while Amethyst still looks like the paintings Vidalia made of her.
  • A heartwarming tearjerker: Onion revealing his private toy collection to Steven. After Steven searches through Onion's collection, the latter shows and gives Steven the Explorer Gal figure. Just as Steven is about to give Explorer Gal back to Onion, he gestures Steven to keep it.
  • Steven's quiet, sullen expression as he watches Vidalia break through to Amethyst during their alone time. It can easily be read as him begrudgingly going to deal with Onion again (which is most certainly part of it), but it could also be read as the face of a boy who realized that he just can't always solve his loved ones' problems. This is especially sad considering that he unsuccessfully tried to talk to Amethyst during the beginning of the episode.
    • It can also be interpreted as Steven realizing that, if Onion's anything like his mother, then Onion looks up to Steven during the hard times when his father and half-brother are fighting. And maybe, he and Onion aren't so different in their personal family struggles.
  • A small and somewhat insignificant one, but we first met Vidalia in "Story for Steven", where she was implied to be a one-night stand for Marty. We find out in this episode that Sour Cream is her son, and most likely Marty's. Not only that, but she offhandedly mentions that Sour Cream and Yellowtail are "always at each others throats." It must be secretly hard for him having to deal with the fact that he's an illegitimate child and that he seems to not really care for his step-father and half-brother.
  • The "Dad's Home" chart, which reveals exactly how often Yellowtail is away from his family. Since he's a fisherman, it's very long.

Historical Friction

Friend Ship

  • Pearl admitting while trapped with Garnet in the shrinking room that she's "just a Pearl", can't function without someone telling her what to do, and that Fusing with Garnet was the only way she could feel the same self-assurance and strength Garnet does as a Fusion.
    • Between Jasper's scathing comment on her being "a defective pearl" and what Pearl says about herself this episode, then adding in her extreme devotion to Rose Quartz to a point of pulling Senseless Sacrifice, it seems to confirm that Pearls are a low caste in the Gem hierarchy, meant as servants to those of higher ranking.
    • Garnet admitting she isn't as perfect as Pearl thinks she is and that Ruby and Sapphire's disagreement over how to handle the situation caused her to split up. Amethyst's stunned "That really happened...?" only adds to this: evidently, in all those millennia the Crystal Gems have known each other, there have only been a handful of times Garnet was split up.
    • Pearl revealing that not only does fusing with Garnet allow her to feel the confidence and security she lacks, but that Garnet is "the perfect relationship... you're always together," and she wanted to be a part of that. Forming Sardonyx basically serves as a balm on every painful thing in Pearl's life... her insecurity, her feelings of uselessness, and the fact that she's lost the love of her life.
  • This is the episode that lays out most clearly how hard being Rose's replacement as the leader of the Crystal Gems has been on Garnet. She admits that she's not the strong, cool, confident Black Boss Lady archetype that many viewers have assumed her to be: she's a person with sometimes strong feelings and insecurities, who sublimates them for the sake of her friends and Steven to give them at least the illusion of the cool leader type who always knows just what to do. Admittedly, in previous episodes there have been significant hints that this was the case, but this is the first time Garnet has come right out and admitted that she sometimes needs to look to the others (including Pearl!) for strength.
  • Steven and Amethyst, in this episode in particular, are presented a lot like two kids who just want their parents to stop fighting.

Nightmare Hospital

  • Connie's mom saying she and and her father need to talk to decide how long to ground Connie for having a sword... by using an abacus to figure out how long they need to punish. Connie's remark on she hates that abacus imply this is a regular occurrence in the household.
  • We get to hear the noises a passive Cluster Gem makes. It's nothing short of a continuous, anguished moan, reinforcing the fact that these things exist against their components' will. Until Steven and Connie get too close, all they seem to be able to do is lie there and suffer.
  • When Steven sees Connie together with her mother at the end of the episode, he hugs Rose's sword a little tighter...
  • Connie's mom realizing her little girl has been hiding important things from her because she's scared her parent's strictness will keep her from seeing her (first real) friend.
    • And the idea that you thought you were a good parent who knew everything about their child but you missed something as obvious as your kid's glasses not having lenses for a whole year... it's like working with Clark Kent for years without ever realizing he's Superman.
    • The bigger revelation that not only is your child afraid of your strictness and narrow-mindedness to the point of deception, but that she actually distrusts and possibly resents you for it, even though you do love them and you genuinely thought you were doing the right thing. All the good parenting you assumed you were doing is only establishing and reinforcing the idea that if anything new, wonderful, and different happens in their life, they have to shut you out just to hold on to it, and that they don't feel like they can have a real life as long as you're in the loop. Think: what would have happened if Connie had gotten blasted by that battle droid from Rose's armory? Or if Lapis had succeeded in drowning her? Or if Steven hadn't protected her from that Holo-Pearl in time? How would Steven, Greg, and the Gems have even begun to explain that to her parents? And how would Mr. and Dr. Maheswaran have handled finding out that their only daughter was leading a double-life that they never knew about until it was too late, all because she didn't feel she could talk to them about anything without being judged or punished or being restricted further?
    • Dr. Maheswaran's state after witnessing everything counts. She's so distraught by the multiple revelations that she's visibly shaking, and freaks out when she encounters Lion.

Sadie's Song

  • Sadie's breakdown at the climax of the episode, and her calling Steven and Barb out.

Catch and Release

  • Despite her status as an antagonist, it's very clear by this episode that more than anything, Peridot is just afraid. She, much like Lapis, just wants to get back home, although for different reasons (Peridot's having to do with the Earth's supposed eventual destruction). You can tell how desperate she is when she resorts to kidnapping Steven not to hold him ransom, but in hopes of his saliva fixing the warp pad to Home World. When it doesn't work, she seems to break down completely.
    • And once she's revealed without her limb enhancers, all her prior appearances in the season, which seemed pretty funny at the time, became very sad when looked at in her perspective. This is basically a child soldier stranded on an unfamiliar planet that she knows almost nothing about except that it is scheduled to be destroyed soon, unable to get in contract with someone who can rescue her, and being actively hunted down by enemies whom she truly believes will greatly harm or kill her if they catch her, probably because that's what happens to prisoners on her own planet. It's a horrifying situation.
  • When Peridot regenerates in the Burning Room, she's terrified, assuming that the Crystal Gems are going to "harvest" her.
    • Made far worse because whatever "harvesting" is it's enough to freak out someone who worked with the Forced Fusions, the Gem equivalent of corpses stitched together and given freakish unnatural life without being the least bit bothered. Clearly it's very, very bad.
  • Peridot's depression about losing her "limb enhancers". Although she brings up how she lost her foot in "Friend Ship", referring to it as an assault, she seemingly very much appreciates Steven giving it back, and clings to it for the last minute or so of the episode.
  • While it's somewhat Played for Laughs with her assumption that everything is a weapon, Peridot's frightened squeak when Steven jokes about using a towel as one goes a long way to demonstrate just how terrified she is, even around Steven.
    • It also makes one wonder just what sort of environment she grew up in/was used to being in that she assumes anything that can be held can be used to harm.
  • Actually, lets look at Peridot's behavior again. Why the hell was she running around like a cat?! The way her whole behavior changes to be more animalistic is... quite disturbing to think about.
  • A blink-and-you-miss-it example; Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet start discussing what they should do about Peridot and Pearl asks how important it is that they should know more about the Cluster. Garnet, sounding tranquilly furious responds with "If it has ANYTHING to do with those experiments she was conducting in the Kindergarten, then very".

When It Rains

  • Peridot is still bitter about losing her Artificial Limbs, making it obvious how important they were to her.
    • Not only is she bitter, but she apparently feels incomplete without them, in something akin to an emotional phantom limb syndrome. She even admits to Steven that she really doesn't have much in the way of information or useful skills without them and could only run when The Gem Mutants at the Kindergarten attacked them.
    Peridot: I don't know anything without my screens...
  • The way Peridot clings to Steven when she's scared by the thunder. She honestly thinks the Cluster is emerging and that they're all going to die, so she clings to him as he's the closest thing to a friend she has on Earth and doesn't want to die alone in the "primitive think chamber".

Back to the Barn

  • Peridot confirms what many people have hypothesized: That Pearls are considered a Servant Race on Homeworld, treated as property or piece of furniture not unlike a table or lamp.
    Peridot: You're an accessory! Somebody's shiny toy!
    • The way Pearl blushes and looks when Peridot reveal this shows she was embarrassed at this being revealed to Steven. This hurts more when she asks what she is for if no one owns her after it has been basically shown her life revolved around Rose and with the whole "Trust" arc where Garnet tells her she needs to find strength in herself and her own motivations.
  • Peridots seem to be in a fairly similar niche to Pearls, being finely-tuned to excel in a singular field and no other. Indeed, it may be that Peridots are merely a different sort of Servant Race themselves, garnering no more respect than a Pearl would. Regardless, if Peridot is indicative of the qualities one can expect from her sort of Gem, then they maybe even less capable of excelling in other fields than Pearls. Pearl, at least, seems to show physical strength and ability exceeding that of a typical human and seems to be equipped with a number of useful abilities. By comparison, Peridot has a stature and physical strength more comparable to that of a child and has displayed no special abilities, when she's left without her limb enhancers. Even more-so than Pearls, Peridots are trapped by the role that was decided for them.
    • It might even be the case that Peridot's poor attitude was rooted in more than just wounded pride and prejudice. With her abilities so limited, it might be that the only thing that Peridot has going for her are her technical skills. If someone could just come along and show as much skill in the one field that she was designed to excel in...
    • The implication that Peridot severely envies those high on the Gem hierarchy judging by how she believes Pearls are status symbols to be flaunted around. When she tries to "take claim" of Pearl at the start of the episode, Peridot has this to say:
    Peridot: [gleefully] A Peridot with a Pearl. What would they say back on Homeworld?
    • The implication that both Peridot and Pearl don't even have unique names but share the same name with every other Peridot and Pearl back on the Homeworld.
    • Generally it feels as if much of Peridot's disparaging of Pearl is a form of projection, her using Pearl to deal with the fact that, though she won't admit it, she feels she herself is as much an accessory, a servant, and a piece of property.
  • Pearl giving it her all when the competition with Peridot devolves into a fight... and still gets beaten. Luckily, the other Gems support her.

Too Far

  • Amethyst getting into a funk because Peridot told her she was "defective" since she's a Quartz, made to be a powerful, intimidating warrior, but her extra 500 years underground means that she's only half the size she should be.
  • When Amethyst doesn't react to her attempts at jokes after they come back from the Kindergarten, Peridot freaks out and asks Steven why. He tells Peridot that what she said hurt Amethyst's feelings, she initially refuses to believe it, but when Amethyst continues to ignore her, Peridot says that it's making her feel smaller, and she has a Tsundere tantrum over it.
    • There's also the fact that, despite being painfully small herself, Peridot associates negative feelings with smallness.
    • While initially a bit sweet, the sheer pleasure Peridot seems to take in her lighthearted interactions with Amethyst and then her reaction when she found out she was screwing it up makes it seem as if Peridot's never had that kind of an interaction with anyone.
  • Peridot has to use the tape recorder Steven gave her to give Amethyst an apology, because she can't bring herself to say it.
    • Her apology is quite sad, because it has Peridot admit that she considers herself to be a failure. Not only because she failed her mission and had to turn traitor to Homeworld to survive, but because she can't even turn traitor right and unknowingly hurt Amethyst (who she considers to be the best Gem among the Crystal Gems). Hidden beneath her arrogance and temper tantrums is a bitter, self-loathing Gem who sees herself as a complete and utter failure.
  • More and more it looks as if the Homeworld goes to great pains to control what its citizens think, apparently even going out of the way to quash notions outside of what they find acceptable. While amusing at first, Peridot's rant about Garnet's sheer oddness further demonstrates that the Homeworld only views Fusion as a technique to win battles, and it seems as if she can't even wrap her mind around the idea of someone fusing for any other reason. Peridot doesn't even seem to have the words to describe it.
    • Worse, given the strong intimacy and understanding fusing seems to inspire among the Crystal Gems, the notion that a bond like that is something to be treated as patently alien and wrong is a bit heartbreaking.
  • The episode's title card is a small one - Peridot and Amethyst are having an argument and on the verge of getting into a fight in the recording room, while outside Pearl and Steven are hurrying to defuse the situation, and Sapphire prays for a miracle.

The Answer

  • The way Gems are quickly disposed of if they step outside their social sphere. It's not really surprising, but the way Ruby and Sapphire panic when Blue Diamond says Ruby's gem will be broken for daring to fuse with one of Blue Diamond's "court" is pretty depressing.
  • The speed with which the entire court of Blue Diamond viciously turns on Sapphire, and especially on Ruby, for the unforgivable offense of having fused outside of their Gem class...when a couple of rebels just killed/poofed half a dozen of their fellow Gems. Apparently Blue Diamond isn't bothered by her people getting their bodies damaged so badly they're destroyed, but if you dare to be a lesser Gem and fuse with one of her noble courtiers, kiss your gem—and your life—goodbye...
  • Blue Diamond, in the flashback, has what appears to has a Pearl of her own. She really doesn't do anything but stand there and look pretty and sad and broken. It's a really terrible, awful life by any stretch, and it could easily have been our Pearl's life too, had Rose Quartz not been so open-hearted.
    • The Pearl stays completely still, except when Sapphire says the rebellion will be stopped; she looks up very briefly and then returns to her formal position. A quick, sad little detail.
  • We get to see first hand what it's like being a low class Gem. Low class Gems are expected to be dedicated to their "superiors" to the point not caring about their lives. This is shown when Ruby express confusion and shame about why Sapphire choose to save her and initially wanted to return her to the Sky Arena at first instead of allowing her fall down from her high status declaring she's a shame to Rubies.
  • Ruby's anguish when she saw that Pearl was going to cut down Sapphire. Note that Sapphire isn't a fighter; she's a seer and noncombatant. So Ruby leaped in the way and did her job —protect her Sapphire — and more than likely expected to be poofed by The Dreaded "renegade Pearl". It's highly likely that Pearl wasn't being a Blood Knight, given later revelations; she was keeping Sapphire from seeing a vision where Rose Quartz was outed as Pink Diamond. She had no idea that she and Sapphire were going to fuse, and cause a distraction to allow the rebelsto escape. Later on, when she's singing with Sapphire about it, she expresses she feels guilty about how now Sapphire is stranded on Earth, and Sapphire has to tell her You Are Better Than You Think You Are and they're on Earth together.
    • This quote establish just how valuable the lives of low class Gems are to others and themselves:
    Sapphire: They were going to break you!
    Ruby: Who cares? There are tons of me!

Steven's Birthday

  • When Greg shows Connie pictures from Steven's previous birthdays, not a single one has Garnet, Amethyst, or Pearl in it. This is the first time the trio are celebrating his birthday.
    • Even worse is the potential reason for why the Crystal Gems have avoided Steven's previous birthdays - the day Steven was born is also the day they lost Rose. It's understandable that, especially early on, they wouldn't have been willing or able to celebrate it.
    • Pearl's little outburst over not wanting to be handed Baby!Steven may seem funny at first...until the realization hits that out of the other Crystal Gems, she shows the most resentment (albeit, repressed) towards Steven for being born because it meant Rose is gone. Seeing him as a baby again possibly brought some sad memories back.
      • With the airing of "Three Gems and a Baby," it's also possible that Pearl simply doesn't trust herself to hold baby!Steven, considering that the last time she did, she nearly ripped out his gem.
  • Connie's tearful Freak Out! over thinking that Steven has become a zygote can be pretty distressing to watch.
  • A subtle one, but the moment Greg offers to take Connie home until they fix everything, Baby!Steven gives out a "what", implying he's becoming more distressed over the possibility of Connie leaving.
  • The implication that not only will Steven outlive Connie, but their relationship will break over him not growing up. He forces his body to age (instead of it happening naturally like in the last birthday episode) to the point where his body is about to break. The thought that Connie will leave him behind once she is grows up really hurts him.
    • And even if he does grow up, it's still sad that Steven believed that Connie would stop being friends with him over him not growing up.

It Could've Been Great

  • In spite of all the bonding that Peridot did, tensions between herself and the Crystal Gems are more strained then ever after she denounces Rose Quartz's revolution.
    • From where Peridot stands, she thinks the Gem revolution only served to "delay Earth's inevitable death"...
      • And they haven't even tried going through with the plan to stop the Cluster. She's given up on Earth, like some doctor abandoning a dying patient when there's still a chance.
      • In a way, she's right: if she hadn't told the Crystal Gems or Steven about the Cluster, it would've been destroyed. Rose's hard work almost ended up being for nothing.
    • The tone in Pearl's voice when she says "Rose Quartz believed all life was precious and worth protecting"; it's worth remembering that Peridot was badmouthing the woman she was in love with.
  • While not tearjerk-y, it's certainly a depressing Reality Ensues moment: While Peridot has shown subtle character growth and a growing fondness for the Crystal Gems, it doesn't change her staunch belief in Homeworld's beliefs. A few weeks with them can't erase thousands of years of being taught certain values. Peridot isn't being "evil", she literally doesn't understand why the others wouldn't want the colony. It's not even necessarily that Peridot was taught that a colony is a good thing, chances are she was born and grew up in one. A colony is what Peridot most likely connects with home, a place to return to and to feel safe.
  • The look on Steven's face when he sees what a finished, Gem colonized Earth would have looked like. It's a mix between sad, horrified, and nauseous, and you can't help but want to give him a hug. The rest of them (sans Peridot) also stare in a mix of horror and outrage.
  • While it led to some very Heartwarming scenes, the very fact that Peridot doesn't understand why the Gems are relaxing and watching the beautiful sunset and Steven had to introduce her to the idea of music as something to be enjoyed, once again paints a bleak picture of Homeworld life.

Message Received

  • The fact that for all their loyalty to Yellow Diamond it becomes abundantly clear that the Gem ruler doesn't care about them in the slightest and views them as completely expendable, only being 'a Peridot' and 'the Jasper I sent with the Peridot' to her. Peridot's reaction to this is understandably heartbreaking.
    • Especially considering how devoted Peridot was to her Gem ruler, gushing about how "perfect, reasonable, and logical" she is mere minutes beforehand. Then for her to see firsthand that everything she believed about Yellow Diamond was wrong, especially that her leader wasn't logical, but a bitter, spiteful Gem willing to destroy all the potential benefits Earth would provide just for a single geo-weapon and to spit in the face of Rose Quartz.
    • In Jasper's case, we later find out this is even more painful because she's an Era 1 Gem, not an Era 2 Gem like Peridot, meaning she's considerably less expendable than than Peridot from a practical standpoint. And yet she's still treated as expendable by those she's loyal to.
    • Peridot was all but begging Yellow Diamond to spare the Earth, logically pointing to the resources that Homeworld can use without disrupting the organic life, but she finally screams, "I won't do it! I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!" Given her Anguished Declaration of Love to Steven when she thinks the Cluster was going to kill them, she was trying to save Steven without turning traitor.
  • While still an awesome moment, Peridot almost immediately falls apart after insulting Yellow Diamond and firmly cementing herself as a traitor to the Homeworld. It takes only a few moments for her to politely hand over the communicator and collapse to the ground in the fetal position, with barely any concern for the fact that the device is about to explode. Till now we've seen her world view shaken and her notions about things bent, but now her whole world has just fallen apart. And she clearly doesn't know how to handle it.
  • Earlier, Steven is devastated about Peridot's supposed betrayal, though it ultimately doesn't take shape. He is even on the verge of crying, something he has grown out of since "Full Disclosure".
    • Amethyst's reaction to Peridot's supposed betrayal is just as heartbreaking. Her expressions just show how much she really valued Peridot as a friend.
  • A small moment, but Yellow Pearl's interactions with Yellow Diamond. While Yellow Diamond shows a Pet the Dog moment with her (not acting like a jerk like she was with Peridot), she flinches at the sound of Yellow Diamond's slightly annoyed voice and has a look of fear on her face when Peridot starts disobeying Yellow Diamond's orders.

Log Date 7-15-2

  • Peridot's complete emotional breakdown in the face of her burning all her bridges and going full-traitor to Homeworld for the Earth. She goes between Laughing Mad and a Troubled Fetal Position while Steven can only watch as his new friend slowly goes insane over her decision.
  • The recording (and the episode as a whole) acts as this when you bear in mind Peridot was still loyal to Yellow Diamond then (up until she contacted her). She was introduced to concepts like gifts, friendship, humor, "Camp Pining Hearts". And she still wanted to contact Yellow Diamond.
    • Not to mention her friendship with Garnet. She was starting to open up to Peridot, and it must've been hard for her to put up a brave front when she learned Peridot (supposedly) betrayed them.
  • Peridot is completely bemused when Garnet praises her for her willingness to at least try understanding CG principles. It's clear the poor girl comes from an environment where nothing but immediate success was ever appreciated- especially given how severely Ruby and Sapphire were punished for outright failing (in Homeworld's eyes, anyway) their duties.
  • The way Peridot looks up, startled, at the sky when Garnet mentions that she can see Homeworld's galaxy from here. Peridot has been wronged several times over by her home planet, but this moment reminded audiences that part of her will always miss her home. The sad little look she gets afterwards just sells it.

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