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YMMV / Steven Universe S5E18 "A Single Pale Rose"

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The reveal that Rose is Pink Diamond and she ordered Pearl not to tell adds a few more layers to both characters.
    • Was Rose/Pink Diamond right to keep this hidden, or should she have made that known much earlier? Also, was Pearl really trying to hide this information because she was ordered not to tell, or did she think of the Loophole Abuse much sooner but simply chose not to tell?
      • It's strongly implied that Pearl literally can't say the truth due to the order Pink Diamond gave to her, whether through some deeply ingrained psychological factor or something physically binding or a magical spell. She seizes up and her hands fly up and cover her mouth involuntarily. Pearl's behavior only stops when the topic of conversation changes.
      • "Gemcation" all but shows (in retrospect at least) that Pearl seemed aware of how to get around Pink Diamond's order or otherwise could try to do so, even without an inciting event to give her an "out".
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    • Did Pearl ever share Pink Diamond's love of the Earth and its inhabitants, or was she simply a Pearl following her Diamond? Joe Johnston's Tumblr post suggests it's a little of both.
      • Furthermore, it puts Pearl's relationship with Rose that much more in question and all the more sad for it, as it implies that Pearl had even less of a choice about becoming a Crystal Gem and staying on Earth or anything else that happened since this reveal means that she was actually following her Diamond the entire time. While she was willing to become a rebel and was not forced into it, the fact that it was her Diamond leading the rebellion seemed to have a major part in that decision. In this context, her relationship with Rose and consistent tendency to put herself in danger to protect her come off as much Harsher in Hindsight, especially given just how much trauma Pearl goes through for Pink's sake only to be left behind in the end. Not only is she the odd one out in the Love Triangle, but she's clearly got some Survivor's Guilt from what her actions caused even if it was at Pink's request. Then after all that, she is the only one remaining who knew the truth about any of it while being completely incapable of talking to anyone about it because of Pink's order. That's a heck of a lot that Pearl had to give up and suffer through, and explains a lot about her poor self esteem and downright self-destructive behaviors we see in the series. It suggests that her feelings and relationship with Rose may have had a lot to do with retaining that initial position under Pink.
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  • Fanfic Fuel: Pearl has at phone numbers of (at least) nine people. Where and how did she get them?
  • Genius Bonus: Before the assassination, Pink gives Pearl a hibiscus, which she then wears the right side of her head. In Tahitian and Hawaiian cultures, not only does it mean "old royalty" and is meant to be a sign of power & respect as well as hospitality, but if it is worn behind the left ear, it means the woman is already in a committed relationship, while if it is worn behind the right ear, it means she is openly available for a relationship. In Pearl's context...
    • In North America, a hibiscus means a perfect wife/woman.
    • In Victorian times, giving a hibiscus meant that the giver was acknowledging the receiver's delicate beauty. In China, hibiscuses symbolize the fleeting beauty of fame or personal glory, or a young female virgin because of its fragility.
    • In Malaysia, the hibiscus represents life and courage.
    • The flower also appears to specifically be the hibiscus syriacus, the national flower of Korea. Pink Diamond's "shattering" occurred in-universe in Korea. What's more, the flower is also commonly known as the Korean Rose, or the rose mallow in the United Kingdom...
      • The Korean name for the hibiscus syriacus is mugunghwa, which is derived from the Korean word mugung, meaning "eternity" or "inexhaustible abundance". Additionally, in weddings, it represents the immortality of love, and in war, it symbolizes the invincibility of military warriors.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
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    • Remember the Cookie Cat song from the first episode? Particularly the bit that goes "Cookie Cat, he left his family behind"? Back then that was just a slightly dissonant line in a silly and lighthearted song, but after this episode it has become a lot more meaningful as Pink Diamond/Rose Quartz more or less did the exact same thing to her Diamond siblings by faking her demise and getting rid of her Pink Diamond persona forever to live on Earth and protect it, leaving the other Diamonds in deep grief.
    • Steven's condemnation of the Rose illusion in "Storm in the Room" sounds even harsher now. Rose/Pink Diamond was a liar who was hiding from her mistakes, even if she did so with noble goals in mind. Somebody even made a fan edit of the scene where Rose was replaced by Pink Diamond.
      Steven: I finally know the truth. I know what you are! You're a liar! I thought you'd never want to hurt anyone! You hurt everyone! How could you just leave Garnet, and Amethyst and Pearl, and Dad? They don't know what to do without you! Maybe they didn't matter to you as much as hiding the mess you made! And that's why I'm here, isn't it? Did you just make me so you just wouldn't have to deal with your mistakes?
    • Every time Pearl has previously covered her mouth, most notably in "Rose's Scabbard", "Back To The Moon", "Steven's Dream", and "I Am My Mom" as well as "Gemcation" where fans started to pick up on this, are now all cast in a different light. Pearl wanted to tell the truth during those times, but physically couldn't. The worst case is "I Am My Mom" when Steven gives himself up to Homeworld, and she's seen crying while her hands cover her mouth. She was seeing her surrogate son surrender himself based on a lie and she literally couldn't say anything to stop it.
      • Actually, the whole sacrifice itself now has been made a bajillion times worse by The Reveal, because it means that the emotional anguish it brought onto everybody and all the negative consequences that occured because of it happened for absolutely no reason.
    • In "It Could've Been Great", Peridot accuses "Rose Quartz" of poorly executing her rebellion and bringing the Earth to a possible end from being destroyed by the Cluster, to which the Crystal Gems don't look kindly upon and Garnet even almost poofs and bubbles Peridot for saying such a thing. As of this episode however, Peridot's accusation is not only horribly correct but also quite condemning...
      Pearl: Rose Quartz believed all life was precious and worth protecting.
      Peridot: Well if she wanted to protect it she did a lousy job! There'd be no Cluster if the Earth had stayed a colony. Now there's no colony, and there's gonna be no Earth, so thank you Rose Quartz, you doomed the planet!
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Ever since Rose shattering Pink Diamond was brought into question, the fans were worried about the implications of the Crystal Gems having lied to Steven about it all this time. Turns out Garnet and Amethyst legitimately did think it was she who did it, while Pearl was physically incapable of talking about it. Plus, it eliminates the apparent hypocrisy of her stance against Bismuth's methods.
    • Additionally, The Reveal means that neither Yellow nor Blue (and not even White) shattered Pink and they really did love her.
    • Since Pink Diamond was the one Amethyst (and Jasper, and the Famethyst) was created for, this means Steven and Amethyst are technically brother and sister.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Fluorite saying in "Your Mother and Mine" that Rose Quartz isn't real. Well...
    • Similarly, Rose telling Greg in "We Need to Talk" that she's "not a real person."
    • All those "Momswap" fics where Blue or Yellow Diamond was Steven's mother were closer to the mark than anyone thought. The ones that made Pink Diamond his mother were right all along.
    • The immediate previous episode had Ronaldo think Pink Diamond's moon base belonged to Steven. Turns out he was right...
  • HSQ: The Reveal that Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond are one and the same, and that Pearl helped Rose fake her death out of love for her. This information turns a lot about the show on its head.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Comparing Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond to Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus.
    • Greg is the one who really killed Pink Diamond. Y'know, with his "Breaking Point"!
    • Changing the names of "Quartz" fusions to "Diamond" fusions (ie. Smoky Quartz—>Smoky Diamond, Rainbow Quartz—>Rainbow Diamond)
    • Steven Diamond Universe.
      • Steven Diamond DeMayo.
      • Nora Diamond DeMayo.
      • Prince Steven of the Diamonds.
      • Steven Quartz-Diamond-DeMayo-Universe.
    • Rose Quartz being Pink Diamond's Gemsona.
    • Steven legally owns the entire planet Earth (and its Moon).
    • Literally everything in the show somehow foreshadowing the Pink Diamond twist.
    • Rose Quartz is the next Undercover Boss.

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