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Tear Jerker / Steven Universe Season 3

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"Super Watermelon Island"
  • When Steven falls back asleep, Peridot briefly panics, as she's afraid of being alone.
  • Despite everything that's happened, Steven seems worried when Jasper falls into a crevice. It's also kind of Heartwarming.
    • Oddly enough, Pearl also seems to be worried.
  • "And Steven? We love you."

"Gem Drill"

  • We finally get to see the Cluster, but it's nothing like the Eldritch Abominations as seen with the other Forced Fusions. It's a great mass of millions of Gem shards stuck together - millions of broken little minds. When Steven talks through to it, we learn that it has no ill will at all. Every single Gem shard in the Cluster is just desperate to take a form, to be something that it can't help but try to do so, like it has to. Essentially, it's a massively-scaled version of the multishard Fusion from "Keeping It Together" - each shard wants to be itself, but the other shards interrupt its formation with their own need to form.
    • The smaller mutants get a sad side too when Peridot reveals that they're seeking out other Gems so aggressively because they're simply desperately trying to find their remaining shards and be whole.
    • The way that the Gem shards in the Cluster say "no" when Steven tells them that forming would destroy the Earth indicates just how many of them were Crystal Gems like Garnet indicated, and how much they don't want to do anything to hurt the planet they fought and died to protect.
      • When you think about it, the Cluster's very purpose makes you realize something else: not only does Earth represent Rose and her rebellion, it also serves as a reminder that thousands of Gems betrayed Homeworld for something that, in Homeworld's eyes, is insignificant and only worth using as a breeding ground for Gems. So turning those Crystal Gems who died into a weapon will not only render their sacrifice moot, but it will also allow Homeworld to derive immense satisfaction and amusement in the irony that the Crystal Gems destroyed something that Rose vowed to protect.
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    • Just when Steven has finally gotten through to the Cluster, their components suddenly start "taking form" again... this time because they simply can't control themselves. All of their voices then scream this...
    CAN'T STOP... GOING TO FORM... CAN'T STOP... GOING TO FORM... HELP US!
  • Peridot expressing closeness to the Crystal Gems compared to how she views Homeworld. She still feel sad about defecting but her tone makes it clear she felt like nothing on Home World compared to Earth where beings care for her. It just simply add to the fan's pointed out similarities to an abused child.
  • When Steven and Peridot first reach the Cluster, it starts to form, causing the two to panic and believe they were too late. Peridot loudly screams "Do you have any last words?", prompting Steven to hug her and say, "I love you Peridot." The real tearjerking part of this is that Peridot's response is "Wow, thanks," the very same words Steven told her in Log Date 7-15-2 are how people express gratitude on Earth, only this time, instead of shouting the words in a sarcastic attempt to belittle Steven, she says them genuinely, while looking like she's about to start crying.
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  • HELL, who could forget Steven's depressingly, realistically depicted panic attack when he starts to feel the Cluster's pain?! It can easily hit home for people who have frequent problems with panic attacks.

"Same Old World"

  • Lapis flees again when she wakes up... only to return to the barn because she has no idea of where to go.
  • Lapis's backstory is finally revealed, and its this crossed with Nightmare Fuel. She was caught in the crossfire of the war and poofed. After the battle she was taken by a Homeworld Gem and, thinking she was a Crystal Gem, put into the mirror, then constantly interrogated her for the location of the Crystal Gems, with no way for her to say that they had the wrong person. Then, during the panic of Homeworld's evacuation of Earth, the mirror was thrown to the ground and stepped on, cracking her gem. Also, she was conscious the thousands of years she was stuck on the floor of the galaxy warp before she was found by Pearl. No wonder she's distrustful of everyone except Steven.
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  • Lapis realizing she's barely seen anything of Earth despite the length of time she's spent on the planet.
  • This line at the beginning, when Steven's sad that Lapis' leaving so soon.
    Steven: I feel I only get to see you when something horrible's going on.
    Lapis: That's just how it is with me.
    • Fortunately, this time they do manage to spend some time without something horrible happening.
  • Lapis' childlike, hysterical "Right Steven?!" when Peridot explains that Lapis' chosen new home is also her home. Lapis desperately appeals to Steven to confirm that Lapis has priority, when the viewer knows that Peridot is Steven's (hard won) friend as well. It's tough to see the kid put on the spot like that after having such a successful day.
    • The whole scene is funny too, in that Lapis is being more than a little bratty (Peridot was legitimately there first, and was polite and affable towards Lapis on their reintroduction), but how did it look from Lapis' point of view? She woke up, tried to run away, and found she had nowhere to run to. The friend she sacrificed so much for managed to gently talk her round, restore her hope, and encourage her to set up house close to him... and then her jailer ambles along out of nowhere, chatting to her like they're polite acquaintances, and now Lapis is about to find out that her beloved Steven befriended the Gem who dragged her back to the planet.
  • Lapis quickly goes from laughing along with Steven to a trance as Steven points out they're passing over the Galaxy Warp. Steven begins sliding off her hands as they go limp and she almost loses him, only to catch him the second their hands part. When the 'camera' points back up to her, her eyes are watery as she breaks from the trance. This is indicative of PTSD, as was later confirmed by Lauren Zuke.

"Barn Mates"

  • Peridot genuinely wants to be friends with Lapis, and can't understand why Lapis doesn't get that she's changed now. It goes From Bad to Worse.
    • Peridot tries giving Lapis her beloved tape recorder in hopes that it could be used to help Lapis, but Lapis proceeds to only record that she doesn't "want Peridot's garbage" and crushes the recorder right in front of her. Peridot then tells Lapis that she would do anything for her to believe she's changed, which Lapis tells Peridot to leave and Peridot does so (or tried to). To add insult to injuries, Steven was the one who gave Peridot her recorder in the first place.
  • Steven feeling sad that he's unable get Lapis to give Peridot a chance and then expressing his disappointment to her when she destroyed Peridot's gift and told her to leave, looking like he's about to cry the whole time.
    Steven: Lapis, why are you being so mean to her? She's really trying.
    Lapis: Why do you trust her, Steven?
    Steven: Because I know her. Lapis, you're not even giving her a chance! You should've at least gotten to know her before you decided you don't like her!
  • The whole situation can be seen as this. Yes, Steven had a point that Lapis should've given Peridot a chance, but Lapis's frostiness is understandable given how Peridot (with Jasper) forced her tom come back to Earth. It's a rather depressing example of Both Sides Have a Point.

"Hit the Diamond"

  • Peridot spending the episode in a panic, afraid of being dragged back to Homeworld and shattered.
  • As adorable as Ruby and Sapphire's flirting is, it's the fact that they can't seem to stop themselves. They're absolutely starved for one another. Sapphire admits that all she wants to do is look at Ruby, something they can't do as Garnet. It's not that their relationship is an unhealthy one — they're supportive and utterly adoring of one another — but it raises the question of whether remaining fused continuously is really good for them.
    • Furthermore, as in "Keystone Motel", both of them are essentially useless apart. And again, both of them need Steven to drag them back into line. When the leader of the Crystal Gems (or at least her components) requires Steven to be the mature adult, something isn't right.

"Steven Floats"

  • When Steven is trying to slow his sudden descent, he tries to find happy thoughts by thinking of Rose, only to reject that idea because of how complicated his feelings for her are.

"Drop Beat Dad"

  • How strained Sour Cream and Yellowtail's relationship is/was before the end. It's so bad that when the rave falls apart Sour Cream expects that he'll want to gloat about it.
  • Marty hasn't seen Sour Cream in at least nine years. When Sour Cream sees him, he's pretty much in shock.
    • The fact that Sour Cream seems to automatically assume that Marty is here to see him, but he isn't. He even goes in for a hug, only to be brushed off.
  • Marty using his son for the sake of profit. Made worse by the fact that he never actually calls Sour Cream his son and clearly couldn't care less about him.
  • As of this episode, there is no longer any doubt that Greg not only could have been, but in fact would have been a hugely successful and wealthy musician if he hadn't given it all up for the woman he loved.

"Mr. Greg"

  • Pearl getting depressed at the beginning remembering Rose after seeing the commercial.
  • Pearl sings an absolutely heartbreaking song about how she can't get over Rose even after she fell in love with someone else and died. She knows she should move on, but she still can't.
    Pearl: You won
    And she chose you
    And she loved you
    And she's gone
    It's over isn't it... why can't I move on?
    • And then it's revealed Greg (and Steven) heard the whole thing. He walks away dejected, obviously thinking Pearl hates him and may blame him for Rose's death. As they talk, Greg admits he would hate himself if he were Pearl too, because "I knew about how you felt about Rose, but I stayed anyway."
      • Even though they make amends by the end of the episode, Greg must feel terrible. He knew that Pearl loved Rose and was jealous of him, but this is probably the first time that he hears of all that Pearl and Rose went through over thousands of years. He loved Rose dearly, but before he and Pearl talked it out, he probably felt that he "stole" Rose from Pearl.
    • The worst part is that Greg was so convinced there was nothing either of them could do to actually get along, even though he clearly wants to. Back in Season 1, we saw how he has a similarly strained relationship with Amethyst that seemed to end on a happier note, and yet he still doesn't believe (until Steven convinces the both of them) that there is any way he and Pearl can get along despite the fact that the both of them feel no real dislike towards each other.
      Greg: Nothing's gonna fix this, is it?
      • What about the fact that - even after a number of episodes addressing it - Pearl still finds it hard to avoid dwelling on her flaws? During the climax of the song in the second verse, Pearl describes her post-Rose self very unfavourably, suggesting she still believes her best qualities are dependent on Rose's presence.
      Pearl: Who am I now in this world, without her?/Petty and dull with the nerve to doubt her...
    • Pearl sings most of the song passionately, but when she tosses the rose into the wind and watches it fly away, she whispers the rest of the song as a single tear runs down her face.
      • And right before that, just look at Pearl's expressions. They are breathtakingly perfect and absolutely disheartening at the same time - from her pain-filled eyes, to her shouting to the sky, to a spite-filled aside glance to Greg when she sings "you won and she chose you" to her slowly crumbling and then finally crying in the end. Those expressions are a masterpiece in animation, and really shows Pearl's feelings to a degree words simply can't.
    • As Joe Johnston explains it, the scene is about Pearl trying to come to terms that her relationship with Rose was never as complete and deep as she imagined. And if her repeated refrains of "It's over isn't it? Isn't it over?" are any indication, she knows this to be true, she just can't accept it.
    • The real tragedy of this situation is that both Pearl and Greg are good people in a horrible situation that has pitted them against each other, made worse by the fact that they are the only people who could possibly understand the anguish the other is going through, but can't because of their grief and shame.
  • Steven gets Greg and Pearl to actually talk about their feelings. Not only do they reveal that they never hated each other despite being romantic rivals at one point, they actually end up bonding over Rose's memory.
  • When Steven is singing about how he loves both of them and they love him too and that's why they can get along, it almost feels like Rose is singing to them through Steven, or that Steven is doing this because he knows Rose would have wanted it too.
    • The first time Steven sings "You both love me/And I love both of you", you can hear Rose's voice for a split second, right when the background turns pink. Greg and Pearl immediately tear up when they hear her.Note 
    • Six little words.
    Greg: I knew how you felt about Rose, and I stayed anyway.
    Pearl: That wasn't the problem.
    Greg: Then what was?
    Pearl: She fell in love with you.
  • When Greg asked to dance with Pearl in the beginning, she, bluntly says "No!". What makes this moment sad is the pained look on Greg's face, Pearl's shame over her outburst, and Steven's brief look of anger over Pearl's action.

"Too Short to Ride"

  • Mr. Smiley's Critical Staffing Shortage means that he's very sleep deprived. Hard not to feel sorry for him.
  • Peridot revealing that Homeworld has a shortage of resources to make all her generation of gem Peridots (Era 2) which meant she wasn't created with all of her powers. It's the reason she's so dependent on technology, her tech knowledge is her generations only usefulness to Homeworld. No wonder she was so hostile about Pearl being a good technician as her.
    • Made even more apparent by the near panic she demonstrated when the well-meaning Amethyst tried to take the tablet from her and throw it into the ocean. It drove home that Peridot very much believed in the notion that the only useful or special thing about her is her affinity with technology and that she's terrified of losing that.
  • Once again, we're reminded of the fact that Peridot considers smallness or shortness an inherently negative thing, despite being rather puny herself. So much so that she patently refused to believe Amethyst and Steven, when they suggested that she didn't need to be anything but herself.
  • While Peridot discovering that she does indeed have her own powers was a lovely moment, the fact that she took it for granted that Peridots of her era are completely without powers has some unfortunate implications. If Peridots really are mass-produced, that suggests that the Homeworld is so restrictive and oppressive that no gem even bothers to try to do something more than what they believe they've been designed to do, whether it's performing a task they weren't meant for or displaying an unexpected power. Or worse that any who do are destroyed before they can tell others.
  • Peridot's focusing on her tablet and refusing to socialize with her friends after being left out of all the fun is very similar to depressive teenagers who have found that they can't fit in with their intended social circles.

"The New Lars"

  • Steven accidentally triggers an outburst from Sadie, who thinks Lars (who Steven is possessing) is only her friend when its convenient.
  • Lars' reaction in the end to realizing everyone liked Steven in his body better than they do him and no one missed him because of how big of a jerk he is.
  • Everyone's incredibly mild reaction to Steven accidentally possessing Lars' body is a bit unsettling. While it was unintentional on Steven's part and he didn't mean to cause any harm, it was still a massive violation of Lars' self and it's far from unfair for him to be upset by it. No one seems in the least bit concerned by what occurred, with some of them even chastising Lars for how he was reacting. While he is a habitual jerk, the sheer amount of apathy they have about the situation is disheartening.
  • Lars' parents being terrified to even gently discuss his failing grades because they're afraid of his reaction. If you've ever lived in a family that puts a lot of pressure on kids for grades, watching them making entirely reasonable demands and Steven-as-Lars accepting them just as reasonably, even though he has almost no idea what school is and what grades are, is heartbreaking. Lars has no idea how good he has it at home.
  • Steven trying to apologize to Lars complete with a card, only for Lars to rip said card up without even looking at it. Steven just takes it, knowing that he deserves it.

"Beach City Drift"

  • Connie admitting to Greg how uncomfortable Kevin made them as Stevonnie.
    • Greg himself seems pretty rattled at realizing why the jerk produced such strong reactions from Steven.
  • While savvy viewers probably picked up on it a mile away, Kevin actually had the gall to to blame his behavior on a phony Freudian Excuse, which Stevonnie believed, before breaking into laughter and admitting he does what he does because it's fun to him and he loves the attention.
    • Right after that, Stevonnie's emotions towards Kevin become so overwhelming that they begin to hallucinate followed by blacking out and de-fusing.
  • This is the first episode in which Steven freely declares that he feels nothing but hatred for somebody. Given just who we are talking about here, this is very disheartening although the feeling is reasonable.
    • While he has shown no particular desire to befriend the guy, he didn't even say that about Marty, who used Steven's father and completely abandoned Sour Cream for nothing but monetary gain and THEN had the gall to manipulate, use and play to his son's ambitions just to make a profit. Then again, with Kevin, It's Personal.

"Restaurant Wars"

  • Ronaldo loses his girlfriend, Jane, due to a misunderstanding. Poor guy.
  • Jane's POV - She went to her boyfriend's house to return a DVD and apparently caught him cheating on her. And breaks up with him...with tears in her eyes. Steven indirectly caused someone else heartache.

"Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service"

  • Kiki is having Bad Dreams of drowning in cheese after being dragged down every night! Poor girl.

"Monster Reunion"

  • Centipeetle crying when she reveals the cause of her corruption.
  • There's some implication that Centipeetle was a Homeworld soldier... but then she gets to how the Diamonds corrupted the Gems still on Earth. that is the point she broke down crying... and snapped the crayon she was holding in two. And then when she draws the Diamond Authority symbol, the mood turns dark and serious while she growls. The scene just conveys the feeling that Centipeetle feels betrayed that her beloved rulers could do something so painful and horrible to her and her crew despite their loyalty. Imagine being a loyal soldier who faithfully followed orders... only for those leaders to reward you with something so horrible as what happened to her.
    • There are most likely other corrupted gems who were actually on Homeworld's side who also suffered this fate just because they didn't leave Earth in time. This may be a possible reason why they attack the Crystal Gems - they blame the rebellion for the reason they ended up corrupted in the first place.
    • It's strongly implied that out of all the then-active Crystal Gems, only Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl and Rose escaped corruption and that was only because of Rose's shield being able to protect only them from the blast. Lapis was also stuck on Earth at the time and directly in the corruption's line of fire, but she was trapped in the mirror and thus was unaffected. It's a pretty sobering thought.
  • Centipeedle gradually and, apparently, painfully reverting back into her monstrous form, helpless to stop it, and desperately trying to find her crew. The way she looks at Steven during it makes it clear that, even if she can't speak, she's begging him for help.
    • When her arm shifts back into its insectiod form she shrieks, and even though she can't speak she sounds like she's shouting "Steven!" and then after the reversion a desperate "No!"
    • The fact that even though she knows she's reverting back to a corrupted monster, Centipeetle keeps crawling and forcing her way through it just to find some proof that her crew made it out alright. When she sees her old ship, thousands of years old and still where it used to be, she has a look of utter despair on her face as she realizes that it never left.
  • Centipeetle's desperation to open her old ship, trying to tear the vines off the door and resorting to using her jaws when her arms fail. When Steven uncovers the palm reader Centipeetle attempts to slam her hand against it, only for her to revert to monster form completely halfway through, leading to her pushing her stumpy limb against the device over and over again, her head thrown back letting out a wail of despair.
  • At the end of the episode, Steven asks Pearl if he can teach him how to speak Gem. One of the phrases he wants to learn is "I'm sorry."

"Alone at Sea"

  • Lapis letting out her self blame about several major problems.
  • Greg's reaction to the boat sinking.
  • Even though she's the second least sympathetic Gem we've seen (the first being Yellow Diamond), there's something oddly pitiful about Jasper and her newfound obsession with fusion. She's gone from a proud, capable warrior to the Gem equivalent of a drug addict.
    • Worse yet, while shown to be one of the least sympathetic of Homeworld gems so far, it pays to remember that Peridot wasn't so very different initially. How much more of Jasper was there before all of this, how much of Jasper's identity was shaped by the fact that she was likewise limited to only the viewpoints of the Homeworld? Did she possess the same potential as Peridot to appreciate what the Crystal Gems were pushing, and has that potential been dashed by a traumatic experience?
    • How much of Jasper's desire to re-fuse is rooted in a desire for strength, and how much of it is her trying to cope with months of psychological torment?
  • Jasper and even Lapis were both starved for each other. They both wanted to become Malachite again even though it was an obvious unhealthy fusion. As mentioned above for "Hit the Diamond" one has to wonder if long term fusion is good for any gem regardless of how healthy the relationship is. Long term fusion seems to make the gems involved reliant on one another.
  • The general implications of Jasper and Lapis's fusion as being just a deeply-magnified, cartoon version of a mutually abusive relationship. Part of the reason it's so unhealthy for them both is that they've both been experiencing powerlessness, just on opposing sides: Lapis was stripped of her power and autonomy while Jasper was so overwhelmed by Lapis that it destroyed her own over-inflated sense of power and left a vacuum of insecurity in its wake. They crave each other because being Malachite gave them equilibrium by letting each of them use each other as an outlet and a crutch at the same time. The saddest part of that? It's exactly the balance that Ruby and Sapphire have in Garnet, just rendered completely sick and divisive by the nature of their relationship. Under different circumstances, Malachite could have been a very different Gem, and any good that Lapis and Jasper could have done for each other is utterly down the drain.
  • A small note, but Jasper calling Steven a "dulled down version of Rose Quartz". Considering how Steven struggles to live up to his mother's reputation and his belief that the Crystal Gems blame him for his mom's "death"....it stings a little.
  • Really, Lapis throughout the entire episode. The whole reason Steven and Greg rented a boat and dubbed it "Lil Lappy" (the boat's actual name being "S.S. Misery"... good use of foreshadowing) was to help Lapis get over her newfound apprehension regarding the ocean, as was previously noted in "Barn Mates". Every time they find something Lapis actually enjoys, it ends in her somehow being reminded of Malachite. One of the first indicators that this wasn't going to be a completely 'Set a Course for Fun!' adventure was when Greg offered to let her take the wheel, to which she snaps (not directed towards Steven or Greg), "Don't put me in charge!" The big kahuna is when she's helping Greg 'fish the old fashioned way' and the rod snaps as something visibly bubbles up then back down. The rest of the time, she can't stop thinking about Malachite. No matter what Steven does (then again, it's only an eleven minute show, so he really only gets one other chance), it doesn't help. When he tells her the engine's broken, he says to her that it's 'all his fault', and that's when she lets out the above mentioned self blame.
  • Jasper drops a bombshell at Lapis, though it's meant as a compliment.
    Jasper: I thought I was a brute, but you... you're a monster.
  • Lapis drops a bombshell about Jasper to Steven.
    Lapis: I... miss her.
  • Lapis stating this alone heavily implies she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, when you think about how Jasper is the one whom forced fusion on her.
  • As a brief side note, Steven's VA said that this episode made him cry.
  • The implication that Peridot recognized Lapis's emotional distress after the events and consoled her. (Twitter managed by Lauren Zuke, an official storyboard artist and writer for the show.)

"Greg the Babysitter"

  • It's pretty much implied that Sour Cream was an accidental pregnancy and that Marty was a deadbeat dad from the start since we don't see him anywhere. Because of this, Vidalia struggles to support herself and her baby on her meager minimum wage job. When she tells Greg that "we all have to grow up sometime," she's basically saying that she was forced into "growing up," unlike Greg, who didn't have any responsibilities besides himself.
  • After saving Baby!Sour Cream and having a talk with Rose, Greg comes to the realization that he has been acting immature for some time, not growing up or changing who he is.
  • Rose talking about how, at first, she couldn't comprehend that infant and adult humans were the same species. Why? Because they change and learn, whereas Gems don't age and are formed with one set purpose, more like tools to be used than beings that are allowed to discover things about themselves. Not only does it hint that Rose may actually have been feeling trapped or even tormented under her otherwise glamorous exterior, but it really hammers in just how important it was to the Crystal Gems that they protect humanity from Homeworld; they died to preserve the freedom of beings they could barely understand, to give them the chances they never had. And - tears of a happier kind here - remember Rose's home movie? "That's me loving you, and loving being you." Even if he never got to meet her, or worries about not being able to measure up to her, Steven makes his mother happier than she could've ever imagined every day he's alive.
    Rose: When a gem is made it’s for a reason. They burst out of the ground already knowing what they’re supposed to be and that’s what they are…forever.
    • Her explanation also highlights everything that makes Crystal Gems rebels against Homeworld, not just exiles, or criminals, or traitors. Pearl, Garnet, Rose, and Amethyst all live in utter defiance of Homeworld's values, not just its social order. Garnet is a permanent fusion where fusion between different types of Gems is so rare that the largely immortal aristocracy has never even seen it before, Pearl has gone from a custom-made decorative bauble to a Dance Battler samurai, Amethyst does entirely human things and, based on her appearances in some of the flashbacks, has actually aged herself out of a changing self-perception, and Peridot and Lapis are coming along on that journey now, too. Rose may have gone to the extreme of reincarnating herself into Steven's Gem because she probably understood that her ability to change (and the ability of the others to change) would be limited as long as she remained Rose Quartz, leader of the Crystal Gems. There's something heartbreakingly beautiful about Rose, practically a living goddess who could have lived forever, choosing to end her existence as she knew it in order to bring about something better, and having no regrets.

"Gem Hunt"

  • Steven has a brief moment where he hopes he can find a Gem that isn't fully corrupted and cure it fully, only for it to be Jasper, dashing his hopes.
  • Connie's fear over meeting with a Gem Monster for the first time. She's terrified and doesn't know how to respond.

"Crack the Whip"

  • Jasper's Breaking Speech to Amethyst, right before she poofs and tries to shatter her.
    • On a similar note, when Amethyst reforms she seems to be putting a lot of effort into making herself bigger. She's hunched over, digging her hands into the ground, and her form snaps slightly larger in a split second before she reforms, still the same size. It seems Jasper's speech really cut deep, and she wanted to be that big and strong to protect Steven and Connie, but she's still being held back despite her best efforts.
    • For that moment and on, Amethyst had a squint eye.
  • Amethyst getting back to her feet and saying.
    Amethyst: Rose said I’m perfect the way I am.
  • Amethyst reforming, only to see Jasper driven off by Stevonnie.
    • After this, while Steven and Connie are excited over their victory against Jasper, Amethyst gets a despondent look as she says "Oh, good... you didn't need me at all..." This obviously did a real number on her self-esteem.

"Steven vs Amethyst"

  • Amethyst's depression in general. She spends most of the episode silent, with the same expression she had when she was mad at Peridot.
    • And while lamenting to Steven about her insecurities over him becoming more skilled, she bitterly states that she's the "worst Crystal Gem now". In other words, she indirectly states that before Steven improved, he was "the worst" of them all. Considering his insecurities over not living up to them, this must really hurt for him to hear.
      • And Steven's response is also depressing. For the first time, he reveals some of the pent-up feelings of trying to be what the others wanted him to be, and now that he is, one of them resents him for it.
  • The promo is this, in a way. It's just so empty compared to the other ones.
  • Steven revealing that, just like Amethyst feeling like she's stuck in Steven's shadow, he feels that he's stuck in Rose's shadow.
    • The way he brings up his insecurities is heartbreaking in itself, which is best explained by a post by ilost-shelovedyou-andshesgone.tumblr user:
    Okay yeah we immediately see that yeah he doesn’t say “I’m not like my mom.” he even pauses a second as if contemplating which to say but what bothered me about it is his tone his complete detachment and acceptance that he isn’t (not his mom) but Rose Quartz.

    Amethyst says, “I can’t even be the one thing I’m supposed to be, ya know?” Steven KNOWS he’s not as strong as his mom, he KNOWS that he has to fill her shoes, and he KNOWS that he’s expected to be. For Christs sake it doesn’t help that Jasper every time they meet calls him Rose, or reminds him that Rose was a well respected tactician and laughs and insults his family, or calls him “weak” or “a dulled down version of Rose Quartz”.

    Rose Quartz isn’t mom anymore, she’s a title and I don’t know when Rose stopped being a mother figure to him and instead a title for him to try to reach, but it’s honestly heartbreaking.

"Bismuth"

  • Bismuth's sadness at losing her friends. Unlike her fellow Gems, she's a Fish out of Temporal Water waking up to find that all of her friends are gone, except for Pearl and Garnet. The way she lists the names of some of her friends makes the scene that much more poignant.
    • More specifically, before the Internal Reveal, she asks about three former comrades in a chipper, hopeful tone... and after finding out what happened, she practically snarls the same three names.
    • Pearl has teared up before involving Rose or other emotional moments, but just remembering how many Crystal Gems were lost in the war immediately gets her tearing up solemnly again.
  • Steven having to poof and bubble Bismuth by himself is absolutely gut-wrenching when you thought of all the times he was able to peacefully resolve conflicts, especially to a Crystal Gem that was otherwise brutish, but friendly and easy-going. All in order to prevent Bismuth from using the Breaking Point to shatter her opponents or even some of his closest friends.
    • To make it worse, this was the first time Steven truly had to compromise his morals. He managed to keep his kind, loving, pacifist demeanor with Lapis, Peridot, and even the Cluster, but not with Bismuth. There was no discussion, no compromise; it was either him or Bismuth, he was forced to poof her to save himself.
    • The really sad part is that Bismuth is a Crystal Gem. Steven has managed to talk down Homeworld Gems and Gem Monsters, but not Bismuth, who was suppose to have been someone who shared Rose's ideals.
    • It's implied that Bismuth, guilty over surviving when her friends didn't, attacked Steven in the hopes that he would take her out, especially when she tells him to use the Breaking Point on her.
    • Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl's reaction to this. The worst part is... they fully agree with Bismuth being too dangerous to be allowed to run loose at this point and put her bubbled Gem in the Burning Room... and look just plain heartbroken to do it. Bismuth was their friend, and the fact she's become so hateful and obsessed with revenge on the Homeworld that all they can do is put her back in her prison is just plain horrible.
      • Garnet is not wearing her Cool Shades as she sadly puts the bubble along with the others, Pearl sheds tears as she places a hand on the bubble, and Amethyst looks down in regret at being right in her suspicions since she got to like Bismuth in the little time she got to know her.
  • While she had already felt a betrayal of trust due to Rose's refusal to use her more lethal weapons, Bismuth downright states that Rose had destroyed all of her faith in her by not revealing the reason she was bubbled.
    • On rewatching, you'll notice that when Pearl tells Bismuth that Rose had told them that she'd "lost track" of Bismuth, there's a momentary expression of utter confusion on Bismuth's face. That's the moment she realizes that Rose had lied about her to the other Crystal Gems.
    • The worst part out of all this is that throughout the entire episode, Bismuth herself did not reveal what happened between her and Rose to either the gems or Steven. It's as if she didn't want to ruin the memory of Rose to them.
    • On a similar note, the fact that Rose may have chosen not to reveal the truth in order to protect Bismuth's legacy in the eyes of their friends is heartbreaking.
  • Even though Bismuth may be in the wrong, her resentment and hatred for Rose can be empathised with - you have been created to build things, but you're only allowed to build something your bosses want, not what you want. Then suddenly this person comes along and tells you that you, as a sentient being, have the right of free choice. You decide to follow this person, and to pay them back for "freeing" you, you decide to create weapons so the Rebellion can use them to take down your former bosses, only to have this person to tell you to create weapons specifically designed to injure, not kill. A bit off-putting, but since it'll ensure that everyone will no longer have to work for your former bosses, you go with it. One day, you decide to change the game and create a weapon that will ensure a quick victory, but the person who "freed" you takes one look at it and says something along the lines of, "No, you cannot create this kind of weapon." You argue that you are a person of free will and that you have the right to create what you want, but this person tells you that you are not allowed to create any weapon that will destroy innocent lives. When you attempt to go against orders, the person you admired punishes you by sealing you away in an alternate dimension somewhere, completely alone, never telling your fellow rebels about your ultimate fate. During the years locked up, you remember all the inspiring words this person has said to you and suddenly you realize that you are just a tool no matter what you do, and you end up hating the person for turning out to be a giant hypocrite.
  • Bismuth shows within a few moments of being free just how much help she can be, giving Amethyst, Pearl, and Garnet a Midseason Upgrade to their weapons. She's made amazing weapons on her own, and now the Crystal Gems have someone as resourceful and intelligent as Peridot that could possibly help her make something to stand up to the Homeworld's tech edge... and due to her grudge and unyielding hatred, Bismuth ruins all the potential good her release could have done. That is just sad...
  • When Steven lines the Breaking Point up with the pumice dummy's gem, he's visibly tearing up.
  • Bismuth's last words before being poofed. The sad bitterness in her voice as she tells Steven that he may be a better person than Rose is in equal parts chilling and gut-wrenching.
    Bismuth: You should have shattered me back then. At least, if I were in pieces, I wouldn't have to know how little I mattered to you. (crying) You didn't even tell them. You bubbled me away and didn't ever tell your friends. My friends!
    Steven: (also crying) I'm going to tell them! I'm gonna tell them everything.
    POOF!
    • The look on Steven's face throughout the conversation. Rose Quartz has always been The Paragon to the Crystal Gems. Despite his feelings of inferiority, Steven deeply loves and admires his mother, striving to be like her at very chance, hoping to learn as much of her as he can. The look on his face when he discovers the Awful Truth and the praise he gets after Bismuth tells him that he's better than his mother for not hiding the truth about her this time around speaks Broken Pedestal towards Rose.
  • When Steven and Bismuth are talking, he mentions that the other times he's met new Gems, they've tried to kill him at first; he then thanks Bismuth for that not being the case with her. A few minutes later, poor Steven has to fight for his life against her. Ouch.
  • The fact that it took three seasons for someone to finally tell Steven that he doesn't have to be Rose Quartz, but he can be even better by being himself. And it wasn't his dad, or Garnet, or Amethyst, or Pearl, whom he's known his whole life, but a stranger he met the same day.
  • The image of Steven showing up at home, bruised and burned, holding the bubbled Bismuth. He's just gone through an incredibly emotionally draining experience and still has to tell his friends what happened.

"Beta"

  • The premise of the episode is that Steven takes Amethyst to visit Peridot and Lapis in order to cheer her up and distract her from her obsession with Jasper. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Steven is attempting to use his emotional The Chessmaster status to bring Amethyst back to sense- by having her meet with Peridot, her best friend, who also understands Amethyst's struggles with being defective. The problem? Amethyst is so far into her hate-bubble she finds their usual activities and Peridot herself to be utterly uninteresting. In fact, at the start of the episode, Peridot attempts to elicit a hug Amethyst doesn't even seem to notice. The rest of the episode proceeds like "Too Far" without the happy ending- with Peridot desperately trying to catch her attention with quirky jokes, and Amethyst rolling her eyes. It's only when Peridot begins talking about Jasper's origins that she even cares about what Peridot is saying. It's a clever and effective way to show just how obsessed with Jasper Amethyst has become, but it's still heartbreaking.
  • To a lesser degree, one of Lapis's "Meepmorps" is a TV with Mirrors reflecting off of a constantly repeating line from "Camp Pining Hearts" said by Percy of him saying "I just feel trapped." Minor, but it reminds everyone that Lapis still has a ways to go before being fully accepted as a Crystal Gem, or accepting anyone else around her that isn't Steven.
    Steven: (uncomfortably) Is this one about the thousands of years you spent trapped in a mirror?
    Lapis: No. I just really like that show.
    • In addition, it's an interesting way to convey that there are times artists don't even understand the subconscious meaning behind their work. Whether Lapis made the piece reflecting her past on purpose or without realizing, it definitely happened and wasn't just a side bit for viewers to ignore.
  • Peridot's awareness of Lapis' triggers, further proving that Lapis likely folded after the events of "Alone at Sea", prompting Peridot to console her.
    Amethyst: Who has time for any of that when Jasper is out there?!
    Both Peridot and Lapis stop playing their instruments.
    Peridot: Uh, Amethyst, I try not to use the 'J' word so loosely around here.
    • In addition, Peridot checking up on Lapis before she leaves with the others to go to the Beta Kindergarten shortly after the Jasper incident.
    Peridot: Uh, hold on for a second. Let me make sure Lapis is okay... (shouting) Hey Lapis; are you okay?!
    Lapis: (surprised, but still Lapis) Yeah.
    Peridot: Are you sure?
    Lapis: Yeah.
    Peridot: I'm leavin' but I'll be back!
    Lapis: Okay.
    Peridot: Do you need anything?
    Lapis: No!
    Peridot: ...(referring to 'Camp Pining Hearts') What season is that?
    Lapis: Three!

"Earthlings"

  • Despite all her improvement, Amethyst still can't do any real damage to Jasper, and she almost loses hope. Luckily, Steven managed to encourage her, and their hug ends up forming Smoky Quartz.
  • Jasper pretty rarely is the subject of Tear Jerkers, but when she is, she really pulls the heartstrings. Seeing Jasper's final breaking point and her corrupting is pretty heart breaking considering how hard she has worked to defeat Rose for what she did.
    • After yet another failed fusion, Jasper somberly notes that no one she fuses with wants to stay, before breaking into a sad chuckle. This makes her obsession with Lapis even sadder: As unhealthy and twisted as their 'relationship' in fusion was, it's the closest thing Jasper's ever had to positive emotion or a relationship, and her desperate attempt to hold on to it becomes that much sadder.
    • In extension of that, her last words:
      Jasper: I've been fighting from the second I broke free from the Earth's crust! Because of what YOU did to my colony! Because of what YOU did to my planet! Because of what YOU did to my Diamond!
      Steven: Yellow Diamond?
      Jasper: Wha-!? My Diamond! YOUR DIAMOND! PINK! DIAMOND!!
    • Worse still, in the last line she looks frantic and borderline terrified as she realizes that "Rose Quartz" genuinely has no recollection of who Jasper is talking about. Hardwired as Gems are to serve their Diamond, this might be the final insult for Jasper: not only is her Diamond gone, but as we can see from the new Diamond insignia and the various acts of vandalism on the four-Diamond symbol, any proof she existed at all is being erased — even by the one Jasper blames for eliminating her. Imagine grieving for someone only to find the people around you denying that they ever existed.
      • Another way of looking at that is that it's finally dawning on Jasper that Steven and Rose are separate people... meaning that everything she's done thus far and all the work she's put forward to avenge her diamond was completely pointless.
      • A third alternative interpretation to Jasper's outburst is her interpreting Steven's rather clueless reaction regarding the shattering of Pink Diamond as Rose invoking But for Me, It Was Tuesday. Even though Steven's confusion was genuine, imagine the moment from Jasper's POV - you finally meet the killer of your boss/friend/loved one and call them out on their horrible deeds, but their reaction is to act like they don't remember doing it at all, just to sadistically twist the knife. Ouch...
      • Considering Jasper doesn't seem to comprehend having a purpose outside of what she was made to do, Rose Quartz shattering Pink Diamond is less like her murdering a boss, and more like murdering Jasper's mother or even her God.
    • As methodically awful as Jasper has been throughout her arc so far, "Earthlings" makes it tragically clear how deeply twisted her thinking is, and just how lonely being the "ultimate Quartz" has made her: in her last moments of sapience, as Steven frantically tries to save her from becoming a corrupted Gem, she physically claws him away from her, declares herself a "failure" for having been defeated, and accuses "Rose" of manipulating her to try and recruit her when she's at her lowest... when all Steven wants to do is save her from going insane and turning into a monster.
    • Worse, Jasper makes it abundantly clear that she believes that her failures make her completely worthless, not worthy of anything. She even views attempts to help her as being nothing more than attempts to manipulate her, that there's no reason anyone should help her after having been defeated.
      • Word of God confirms the reason why she refused Steven's help was because she hates herself and thinks all the bad things and abuse that has happened to her as Punishment for what we assume was failure to protect Pink Diamond and her colony.
    • Quite possibly one of the biggest gut-punches in the series thus far, After Peridot poofs her, Amethyst somberly scooping up and bubbling Jasper's Gem.
    Amethyst: C'mere, sis...
    • Peridot confirms that the Beta Kindergarten was created hastily after Rose's Rebellion was already in full swing, to churn out more soldiers to fight for Homeworld. Jasper outright says she's been fighting since the day she was "born"; she's the equivalent of a grown-up Child Soldier.
      • Not quite. Since Gems don't have anything resembling a "childhood", or any kind of stages of psychosocial development, the kind of thing being raised as a Child Soldier can strongly affect, she more closely resembles a Shell-Shocked Veteran.
      • That too, but keep in mind that while Gems are born fully-formed from the Earth, they're all innately tied to a specific purpose. Jasper wasn't just made to be a dime-a-dozen ordinary soldier, she was created under duress to fight a specific war against a specific opponent for a specific reason, but that war is over, the opponent is gone, and the reason is now a moot point. It's implied elsewhere that new Gems know what they are and what they're for right away, but we know from Amethyst that they're not born with an innate awareness of the caste system or any of the trappings of Homeworld, not to mention that Homeworld apparently makes soldiers all the time, not just during active wars; it seems clear that whatever preparation a Quartz goes through after being born, Jasper didn't get it. Maybe she didn't have a literal childhood, but she did start her career as a soldier before literally anything else, and it's clear that she's too entrenched in that mindset to function well outside of it, so she strongly fits the trope.
  • A small one, as Steven is talking to Amethyst about how neither of them is like anyone else, he admits that, "Yeah, it sucks." It's yet another reminder of how being the only half-human, half-gem in the galaxy can leave Steven feeling isolated and uncertain. Thankfully it's followed immediately by a Heartwarming Moment, then a Moment of Awesome.

"Back to the Moon"

  • Another sign of Peridot's newfound hyperawareness of Lapis's triggers: When Amethyst has shapeshifted into Jasper, she asks them (in form) if they'd 'like to be prisoners, too.' For a brief moment, Lapis is visibly uncomfortable and Peridot holds onto her arm for physical reassurance. (They, of course, reject the offer.)
  • Eyeball actually tears up when "Jasper" (actually a shapeshifted Amethyst) allows Doc to sit in her lap and steer the Ruby ship for her.
  • Steven's horrified reaction when Eyeball reveals that Rose shattered Pink Diamond.
    • Amethyst, understandably, is as shocked as he is. Garnet and Pearl's reactions imply that they already knew and never wanted Steven to find out.
      • Pearl is visibly shaking, with a hand over her mouth, trying not to scream. This was the absolute worst way for Steven to find out, and she knew it. But even beyond that, the fact that Pearl still wears pink diamonds on her spacesuit and on Sardonyx's shoes points to Pearl having a very personal (and very possibly traumatic) connection to Pink Diamond's demise.
    • This potentially sheds new light on why Rose rejected the Breaking Point—she might have never wanted to resort to that again.
    • Eyeball apparently witnessed said event. Who else did and was messed up by it like Jasper was?
  • After Steven and Sardonyx manage to send the Rubies flying out the airlock, Eyeball drags Steven out with them. Amethyst promptly screams Steven's name and Sardonyx looks on in shock.
    • Amethyst's scream is chilling. This is Amethyst: the laid-back gem who is usually the one who stays calm and keeps a level head when Steven is in danger like in So Many Birthdays. To hear her scream in despair as Steven is sucked into space and possibly lost forever can shake someone to the core.
  • Eyeball looking upon Jasper heroically and hints at having a crush on her for doing significant damage upon the Crystal Gems is sad when you realize she might have lost friends during the war.
    • And she doesn't even know that Jasper has been corrupted, and may never be the same again.

"Bubbled"

  • Eyeball talking about how she and Jasper came to Earth for closure against Rose Quartz.
    • It's worse when she states the war was for nothing. Imagine learning your friends sacrifice during the war and the ultimate weapon to end it failed to stop your enemies; as far as Eyeball knows the war will start over again being just as horrible as before.
  • Steven being forced to fling Eyeball out into space, since she realized that he did use to be Rose Quartz after healing her. After that, he falls into a Heroic BSoD and Troubled Fetal Position as he lonely drifts through space.
    • What makes it more sad is the fact that Steven's diplomacy act gets stomped out again, the first being with Bismuth. Why? The same reason — Because of what his mother did.
    • On top of that, this is the second time in a few days that the poor kid has been forced to seriously hurt people and betray his ideals of always communicating to prevent any fighting. Poor Steven...
    • Actually, given Steven's lost consciousness by the time the Gems picked him up, it's more likely ejecting Eyeball from the bubble used up what little air supply he had, and the Troubled Fetal Position was because he was suffocating. Meaning that by the time the Gems found him he was probably very close to death.
  • Garnet revealing to Steven that yes, Rose did shatter Pink Diamond. You can see his perception of his mother fully crumble in that conversation.
    • An equally sad alternate interpretation is that rather than having his perception of Rose shattered... he was wondering whether or not he'd be forced to make a similar choice some day...
    • Even sadder is children who have parents in prison have gone through something similar. A incarcerated parent or even an ex-con could love their child unconditionally, but may have trouble telling that child they did something horrible or worse yet, the kid could find out from someone else, like a murder. Poor Steven.
    • Even sadder? Throughout most of season 1 and 2, Steven has been desperately trying to live up to his mother's legacy. But, by the end of this episode he has found Gems who have legitimate reasons for hating her. And now Steven is being associated with Rose, but for her choice that left others hurt.
  • Shockingly, the reveal of Pink Diamond has potentially given one to Yellow Diamond too. The "I want that planet to die" and "What do you know about the Earth!?" lines takes on a very different meaning now that we know it caused the 'death' of her fellow Diamond.
  • After his extremely close rescue by the Crystal Gems, the first emotional reaction Steven has to everything that's happened is a mixture of laughing and crying that tows the line between relief and despair. There's good reason for this, too, as the last 24 hours (Beta to Bubbled) may have been the most traumatic of his life, starting with Jasper's corruption right before his eyes and ending with Eyeball (who he was clearly hoping he might be able to befriend like Lapis and Peridot) nearly murdering him and forcing Steven to cast her out into the void.
  • Though its nowhere near as harsh as any of the above, the end credits song suddenly takes on a much darker tone after this episode.

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