Steven Universe: Now We're Only Falling Apart
July 2, 2018 7:17 PM - Season 5, Episode 19 - Subscribe

After the shocking revelations of A Single Pale Rose, Sapphire runs off. Steven follows her, and Pearl explains the true story of the origins of Rose Quartz.
posted by JHarris (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I went ahead and made the post, after reloading Fanfare a dozen times saying, "๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡พ ๐Ÿ‡ฎ ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ณ ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ด ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡น."

I probably won't be able to make it tomorrow, it's all on you guys!
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on July 2, 2018

I'm very happy that, now Steven knows, Pearl's been released from her geas and can talk freely about what happened.

That "Sapphi
re" at the end was so cute.

A lot of people were down on RQ/PD after the last big revelation, thinking how much of a bad person it made her look. I'm impressed by the show's writing, that they knew how it would look that way, and made it look that way to Sapphire, and had Pearl give her perspective. Not that it wraps everything up all tidy-like but it shows the perspectives.

And they gave depth to the early Pearl/Pink relationship! PD keeps rhetorically asking "can you imagine this, can you imagine that?" and Pearl's all like "yes my Diamond, I will imagine it" and just takes that and runs with it.

On that note I'll pass along a theory I saw on reddit: sometime during this bomb we'll see Rose Quartz despondent after the corruption superweapon hits, then run across our Amethyst and find hope again. So that in the end, Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst all end up inspiring Rose in some way.
posted by traveler_ at 9:04 PM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think that for PD, colonization was just a game; she didnโ€™t understand its impact on a planet. And once she understood that, her next revelation was how little the other diamonds value gems. She canโ€™t imagine the corruption weapon until itโ€™s used.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:15 PM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

i think at the point where she wanted her own colony, her perspective as a diamond was that the inhabitants of these planets were just ants occupying an ant hill that they can pave over for their own purposes (yes, I borrowed that analogy from another show that some of you might know). so when she's down there as a quartz, she saw firsthand how colonization affects these planets.

the story filled in a few gaps, and I'm certainly happy that Garnet was the first different-gems fusion they all had ever seen, and it inspired Rose.
posted by numaner at 9:28 PM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't mind making the post for tomorrow but apparently CN is super lame about letting you stream live from their site. Not only do you have need to be on the full site, you have to have a cable subscription (that part i can actually tolerate), and also be using Flash! No one uses Flash anymore! And when you go on the mobile site, it tells you to stream live from the app, and there's nowhere I can see in the app that says live stream. Ugh.

(I ended up watching this on youtube, one of those here-watch-it-before-they-take-it-down dealies)
posted by numaner at 9:31 PM on July 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

About the silly unicode letters up top -- I just noticed that, on Android, it takes the silly little allcaps letters AND MAKES THEM INTO HUGE ANNOYING COLORED EMOJI LETTERS. So, sorry about that.
posted by JHarris at 1:37 AM on July 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

It did fill in the gaps but it feels a bit... fast, like a sizeable chunk of Roses's character development happening in 10mins. It was well-done; going from "I want to see my troops being born because they're my new toys" to "I want to hang out with them because I'm lonely in my splendour and genuinely interested in these amethysts' lives" to "the whole process is harming this life I hadn't even known about" was great and fit with what we saw of her in Steven's dream/vision but it still happened in something like a day, as Pearl told it?
Might be putting too much on the representation of time in a single SU episode flashback, could just be inherent in the form.

Also good to see that Pearl's independence wasn't something purely granted her by Pink Diamond. She prompted and tentatively nudged Pink and clearly had thoughts of her own, however much she sought to reign them back. That's really valuable.

It was interesting to see how Rose's attachment to life on earth and disagreement with the gem social order were not exactly the same thing and didn't appear simultaneously. The rebellion started for the former and only picked up the latter down the line (with true empathy for humans not coming for several millennia after that, with Greg).
I liked how it was Garnet that prompted that reflection and how seeing the scene from a different perspective showed Rose to be less wise and all-knowing than she appeared in 'The Answer'. She was surprised and only halfway through her erstwhile political development.

I trust the writers not to presume that this completely absolves Rose - all the Bismuth thoughts popping up again - and Sapphire's take on it that Rose was really inspired by Garnet was a nice one but I'd be disappointed if it's left at "and that's how Rose grew up" for the rest of the Stevenbomb in favour of (what is sure to be genuinely lovely) Garnet relationship stuff.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 2:46 AM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

There's still a lot about Rose that we don't know. Lion, and how she gained the power to give Lion those abilities, and the pocket dimension, and all the stuff with the gem moss, and how she gained plant powers, and so forth.

One nice touch was Pink Diamond, in the first scene with her, noticing Pearl looking at her out of the corner of her eye (and blushing a little when she looked away), then asking if she could imagine running a colony would be this boring. Pearl replied, "I could imagine, if you want me to, My Diamond!" The reaction from Pink was kind of embarrassed, even then.

Remember that Pearl said she had been given to Pink Diamond thousands of years before PD was given the Earth. That's a long, long time. She probably had met Yellow and Blue Pearl during that time.

Also note. In the map of the world that Pearl projected while on the moonbase, we get a look at South America. It's still misshapen, and has a large island off its coast. This is presumably early enough in the gem invasion that the results of their activities were not visible on a global scale yet. It's possible that, in some ways, Earth is just different in this timeline.
posted by JHarris at 3:20 AM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also: why would Yellow and Blue Diamond be so against Pink just warping down to Earth. Did they suspect something like this might happen? Did Pink have a prior history empathizing thing life? Or was it just something seen as beneath a Diamond's station?

And (sorry, I'm going through the episode bit-by-bit)... Pink Diamond still had her floating power here, as we see when she (as Rose) leapt down from the warp pad in the kindergarten. Also, when she lands and puts Pearl down, look at Pearl's face. There's a frame or two of discomfort for her there. This is quite a while before the kick-ass warrior Pearl she would become.

Pearl: "These Amethyst guards can be so rude!" Did Pearl have more experience with them than Pink at that point? Did she serve as her liaison on the planet?

Rose: "Don't you see what's happening? We're finally HERE! And am fitting right in! None of that dumb salute stuff! Thank you so much for talking me into this! I couldn't have done this on my own!" Awww.

When Pink took the form of a Quartz, she picked a Rose Quartz, which we still haven't seen any of besides her, but with the distinct hair. The hair was in Pearl's projection too, so they must have seem Rose Quartzes before. We still don't know much about them apart from PD cosplaying as one.

Two Amethysts hadn't emerged yet. One comes out. Rose: "Welcome to Earth!" That Amethyst: "That is the first, and nicest, thing anyone has ever said to me!" I presume that it would actually be quite a long long time before the last Amethyst made it out.... She would emerge, we found out, much later, when no one was around. Imagine Rose discovering her. The war, and its results, has come and gone. But there's still one Amethyst, after all that time, at long last, to greet.

The combination of the two, PD and Pearl. "Pearl! You're so smart!" and Pearl's bright "Yes, my Diamond!" responses. She had been given to PD thousands of years before to make her happy, and, as she told Steven and Amethyst, nothing ever could, until now. I guess this was really where the two's relationship together really began.

Notice how she tried to catch the butterfly. Not carefully, but with a closed hand. Even know she realizes that gem production will mean the destruction of Earth life, she doesn't yet realize how fragile it is, compared to gems.

Okay, some geography. We know that Beach City is in Delmarva. We know the Prime Kindergarten is within a day's train ride from there, meaning, not hugely far. Rose and Pearl spot a human family from a distance, who must logically be Native Americans. It's interesting that the show hasn't depicted native cultures before now. (One exception was a totem pole in Greg's storage unit.)

In the shots where Pink is telling the other Diamonds that she didn't want to go through with the colony, and wanted to preserve Earth life, Pearl is standing beside Yellow, then Blue, Pearl. So, she must have known them.

In the shot where Rose and Pearl left after Garnet first joined together, the surrounding gems aren't shown in silhouettes as they are in The Answer. Two of them are Amethysts, and two are Topazes (possibly the same ones we met earlier).

Pearl trying to fuse with Rose is adorable. "Fu-sion Activate!," while trying to life her up. I guess Pearl doesn't know how fusion works yet? Maybe she's never fused, with Pearls, before? Maybe the dancing process is something they discovered to help gems of different types to fuse.
posted by JHarris at 4:00 AM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

I thought the episode was really well-done, if rushed. I'm amazed at how few episodes feel rushed given their short length! Always nice to get some Sapphire time.

But like... I'm JONESIN' for some Peridot, you guys.
posted by duffell at 5:48 AM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Regarding how Pearl attempted the fusion, I think it makes perfect sense -- if you remember how the Homeworld Rubies fused, they basically just jumped on each other's shoulders in a sort of pyramid formation and off they went.

I also wondered if the "imagine" thing wasn't some kind of built functionality for Pearls -- one that our Pearl made her own, yes, but not necessarily a unique quirk (in the literal sense of "unique").

It would be nice if the SU equivalent of native Americans weren't confined to flashback and zoo-captives descended from abductees.
posted by inconstant at 7:00 AM on July 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

(JHarris, on my machine about โ…” of those letters actually render as little flags, everywhere a pair of them make a valid ISO country code. Which is a wonderful little puzzle but hard to read. Those letters are actually unicode region indicator symbols.)
posted by traveler_ at 7:12 AM on July 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

This also casts a new light on Blue, at the human zoo, talking about how much Pink loved the place.

Imagine Blue and Yellow presenting it to her: "we know you didn't want to destroy all life on Earth, so we made you this weird, awful parody of a human community! do you like it?"

Pink: " much! So much. Wow. Thank you. I love it and don't find it horrifying at all."

and Blue and Yellow are both like "there! we fixed it. problem solved."
posted by nonasuch at 9:04 AM on July 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

I do feel like it took them more than just a day for PD to come to value Earth life. What we saw was just Pearl telling a story in a short time. I can imagine (!) while she's trying to convince Yellow and Blue to not colonize Earth she kept popping back down trying to find more reasons to convince them with.
posted by numaner at 10:09 AM on July 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

and another thing!

After "A Single Pale Rose," I know a lot of people were upset at the implication that Pearl had never truly been free, that she had always been trying to please Rose and follow her orders. This episode complicates things in a way I REALLY like.

Because Pearl tells us: she was made to make Pink happy. But none of the things that Pearls are supposed to do actually made Pink happy. The things that made Pink happy were all the things that Pearl wasn't made for: having ideas, imagining things, thinking for herself.

It was Pearl, doing things she wasn't built for, who led to the creation of Rose Quartz, and planted the seeds of the rebellion. It's so much more complicated this way, and so much more interesting.
posted by nonasuch at 10:24 AM on July 3, 2018 [16 favorites]

As for the letters up above, ha ha, all these browsers. Make sure to test not just your Javascript on everything, but your comments too! UGH
posted by JHarris at 12:32 PM on July 3, 2018

Is Peridot meant to mirror Rose? She too fell in love with Earth after seeing it for herself. She kept calling herself โ€œLeader of the Crystal Gemsโ€ and joined Steven on the throne at the Moon Base. Her conversation with YD may have triggered memories in YD.
posted by divabat at 7:25 PM on July 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

What this does to me is cement how young and foolish Pinkie was. She asked the other Diamonds to stop, then went and started a rebellion as Pearl's OC version of a Rose Quartz, because that's the efficient way to do it? Presumably?

I'm glad Pearl was 'defective' from the start and had her own will even while serving. Maybe as a function of being a gift? She certainly wasn't custom built for Pinkie.

I did like getting the other side of Baby Garnet's fall down the ravine. I've seen side by sides of the Answer's version and this episode, and it's pretty much frame for frame the same, without being identical. It's good.

Things I'm not keen on? Sapphire getting over 5000 years of lies so quickly. She's right, after all - the whole rebellion was started on false pretext and Rose telling Garnet to never question - it changes when you know who's doing the telling. It took them how long to get over Sardonyx? Multiple episodes. And as far as lies go Pearl's was much less massive than the whole Pinkie/RQ thing.
posted by Jilder at 11:13 PM on July 5, 2018

It appears, to me, like Yellow and Blue had always looked down on Pink, and were essentially running colony construction for her, assuming she was incapable to do it herself, or too soft-hearted, or indecisive, or even outright incompetent. It was her first colony, after, all, after thousands of years. She outright told them she wanted to halt the colony, and they told her to "finish what she started."

I have a guess about what's going to happen in the episode tonight. The Diamonds show up, but now know Steven's gem is that of Pink Diamond's. (One of the robonoids on homeworld scanned it, they could have maybe gotten readings from it.) Instead of being angry, they're actually kind of impressed--they consider Steven to be Pink Diamond (maybe going through "a phase") and never thought she could be capable of something like the war. Maybe early in their existences they, themselves, had rebellions, although of a lesser nature.

That is F'd up, of course, considering all the gems that got corrupted and shattered, and would further prove how little the Diamonds care even about fellow gems, and Steven calls them out on it. That's as far as I got in guessing.
posted by JHarris at 7:49 AM on July 6, 2018

I rewatched all the previous episodes with my spouse before we got into the new bomb. Something she brought up that I've been wondering about: why is Pink so much smaller than Yellow and Blue, when gems don't grow or age?
posted by Foosnark at 4:15 AM on July 9, 2018

I have two theories regarding Pink Diamond's size:

1) Pink Diamond is an "off-color" and just came out smaller than she should have been. One must imagine this would play into Rose and Amethyst's interaction, which we've seen surprisingly little of.

2) Pink Diamond was created close to the end of Homeworld's viability as a gem-producing world and as such reflects the scarce resources of the time. One thing that I can't recall being addressed is how much control gems have over what gems get produced, it seems like it's a function of the planet's makeup (Earth has been described as good for making Quartz soldiers) so it's possible that Pink's production was spontaneous rather than planned.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:58 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

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