OK, Steven Bomb ended like three weeks ago, but better late than never!
Alright, so we’ve had an episode a piece of brooding/emotional development since the big blow up. It’s time to get down to business… to defeat… the huns…er… Peridot. For starters, Pearl has rigged Peridot’s escape pod to detect warp pad usage, giving them a consistent means of tracking her. When the gems confront her, it becomes painfully obvious that Pearl is going way overboard. She’s under the impression that capturing Peridot would cancel out her past mistakes in Garnet’s eyes, and she’s so over eager she throws off the groups teamwork while fighting, allowing Peridot to escape.
A couple quick things from this opening fight. On top of showing off some new Captain America skills with throwing his shield, Steven really doesn’t take the fight seriously or display any animosity to Peridot. This is pretty much a constant thing with these two… Peridot doesn’t view Steven as a threat and Steven doesn’t view Peridot is evil. He’s talked about her potential to turn good before to Greg and they’ve had completely non-aggressive conversations while the gems weren’t around. In turn, Peridot is practically playful towards him in the fight… not attacking him and imitating his childish taunt, leading to a lot of fan speculation that Steven will be able to turn her good eventually, but only time will tell.
Also, we get this line during the fight:
So yeah… that’s probably important. Even with the gems extended time scale, she’s probably not talking about the Earth’s natural end. A man-made apocalypse seems just as unlikely, we haven’t had much foreshadowing on that end. The likely culprits are either “The Cluster”, the gem-shard fusions hibernating beneath Kindergarten or the incoming Homeworld fleet she sent a distress signal to earlier in the week. Or… and I’m spit-balling here… maybe something else is coming.
We’ve never heard about any other extra-terrestrial lifeforms besides gems… but what if there are? Gems are an extremely long lived species… in peace time there should really be no need for the kind of explosive population growth they were trying for with the Kindergarten on Earth and presumable other worlds. You’d have a serious over-population problem… unless a lot of gems were dying very quickly. The war we’ve been acutely aware of was Rose’s Rebellion, but Homeworld was already seeding planets before that happened… seeding them with templates to specifically create combat oriented gems like Amethyst. What if Homeworld has been at war with one or more other alien races? And their seeding of planets wasn’t meant to be conquest or empire building, but just trying to make up for wartime casualties? What would those other aliens do to Earth… a world full of resources Homeworld could potentially use? Could Steven prove key to defending the Earth from an even greater threat than the Homeworld gems?!?!
Ahem… sorry for the tangent, back on topic. Peridot warps again, this time to an abandoned gem ship in what looks to be South America judging from the holo globe we see, but the shape looks a bit off. Just one of those weird differences in this weird universe. Pearly assumes she’s trying to fix it up and use it to leave Earth, but she’s mainly rigged it as a death trap… a room full of lasers, hallway of spikes, hologram decoys, a pitfall trap into the Death Star’s trash compactor…
Steven and Amethyst muck up the gears driving the compactor to buy Pearl and Garnet a few minutes to talk and hopefully escape. Pearl admits to using Garnet to compensate for her own feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-worth. “I’m JUST a Pearl” (we’ll come back to that) but Garnet shoots back that she has looked to Pearl for strength herself… that she has worth even if she can’t see it. The two reach an understanding and fuse into Sardonyx to escape the trap just in time, but split apart immediately once out of danger.
Pearl’s admission that she feels weak because she’s “Just a Pearl” seems to confirm a long standing speculation… Gem’s aren’t necessarily one of a kind to their stone. The gem making process in the Kindergarten seemed akin to mass production, I seriously doubt every one of those injectors was mean to crank out something unique. Pearls might be a mass-produced type of gem on homeworld. In #48 – The Return, Jasper refers to her as “a defective pearl” which lends credence to this mass production idea… perhaps the standard model looks different from our Pearl, which was enough for Jasper to tell at a glance. And Pearl’s love for Rose likely stems from being accepted and loved by her when the rest of gem society rejected her for being defective. It’s also implied that Pearls aren’t well regarded in gem society in the first place, with the fandom having several theories about Homeworld running on some kind of caste system with the Diamonds at the top, but we don’t really have enough canon-evidence to say for sure.
The gems face Peridot again and do much better, almost capturing her when Steven grabs her by the foot as she tries to fly away. She tries to make him let go by… flicking him in the forehead. With the hand that we established earlier has a laser blaster. She even opts to detach her foot somehow rather than harm Steven to force him to let go… again, seems like there’s some kind of soft spot being hinted at there.
So, we’ve got a foot in the door on catching Peridot, and while the whole Sardonyx situation is not forgotten, they are definitely starting to forgive.