Steven Universe: The Answer
January 4, 2016 2:47 PM - Season 2, Episode 25 - Subscribe

For Steven's birthday, Garnet tells the story of how Ruby and Sapphire met, and how she came to join the Crystal Gems.
posted by Small Dollar (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, lots of new facts about Gems. Positive confirmation of multiples of the same Gem, Blue Diamond, Blue Diamond's pearl, gem position isn't fixed, garnet was the first cross-gem fusion, same-gem fusions just make a bigger, stronger gem. Now speculation/observation:
- I bet each of the Rubies' summoned weapon is armor located near their gem. So enough fused rubies would make a full suit of armor.
- if Blue Diamond was on earth already why send a group of gem diplomats? I guess blue diamond must have been one of the diplomats.
- I'm sure Garnet/Sapphire was quite the get for Rose. Future Sight would be very useful to a rebel group.
- Lapis was visible in silhouette briefly as the rubies were walking. Interesting who gets a silhouette and who doesn't.
-Steven has a lot of birthday to go. Will this whole week cover this one day?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:54 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love initial fusion Garnet, the way she's obviously a blending of the two separate gems rather than a singlular entity. Really neat visual shorthand for this Garnet being the start of a relationship between Ruby and Sapphire with modern Garnet as being a far more integrated and mature relationship

I also think Ruby's "There are tons of me" line is interesting. It echoes how Peridot pretty clearly thought of herself as "a Peridot" and saw Pearl as "a Pearl". Or how newly-fused Garnet saw Pearl as "Rose's pearl". The idea of coming from a place where you are one of many effectively identical beings, and have been made to order so to speak, and how that impacts behavior is one of the heaviest things Steven Universe regularly gets into.

Finally, there were some pretty Jasper looking silhouettes positioned as Blue Diamond's heavies/bodyguards.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:12 PM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Blue Diamond is HUGE.

Early Garnet is adorable. She is already being called Cotton Candy Mom elsewhere.

Blue Diamond's Pearl looked sad. Now I want Pearl to free all her sisters.

Also, cross-Gem fusion gets you the equivalent of the death penalty (shattering).

Ruby showed a bit of individuality first, because the other two Rubies were all "BOOYAH" and she was "Straighten up, meatheads."

Also apparently just bumping into Sapphire was a faux pas. Homeworld Gems=SO UPTIGHT. Revealing themselves to be the rigid hierarchy we had guessed. One that brooks no deviations.

Interesting insight about the initial limits of Sapphire's future vision. It could not account for a Gem acting impulsively. And once she stepped off the path she knew, she was lost and frozen.

All good stuff. Bring on the next.
posted by emjaybee at 5:20 PM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

It felt significant that when Garnet says to Rose, "So I don't upset you?" Rose doesn't tell her it's alright, but rather that her feelings aren't what's important. Given Steven Universe's larger themes of consent and doing right by others, it's notable when they put the feelings of an individual first.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:12 PM on January 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

I was pretty much more excited for this than both christmas and new years and BOY WAS I NOT DISSAPOINTED
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:09 PM on January 4, 2016 [8 favorites]

The first appearance of Garnet was sooooo Stevonnie-like.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:23 PM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Interesting how in Jailbreak Sapphire hasn't changed much (if at all) from this appearance but Ruby has had a significant change in look: her hair. Yet that original hairstyle still carries over in Garnet.

Now I want to know how the fusions are named!
posted by divabat at 8:26 PM on January 4, 2016

Ronaldo updated Keep Beach City Weird!

The "Stronger Than You" leitmotif in the song was nice.
posted by Small Dollar at 8:47 PM on January 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

I liked that Rose immediately put the light back on Garnet and how Garnet feels. Thought it was a good example of Rose being both kindness incarnate and manipulative as hell -- how thrilling it must be to see someone so charismatic and powerful look at you and say that you're more interesting than she is. I'd swear eternal loyalty too.
posted by thesmallmachine at 9:09 PM on January 4, 2016 [21 favorites]

I'd like to see Rose revealed as a villain, a terrorist leader wanting to colonize Earth herself, sending gems on suicide bombings, assassinating diplomats, shattering captured homeworld Gems and seducing a stupid Earthling into incubating her back into her proper form as Pink Diamond by using Steven as a chrysalis.
posted by FallowKing at 9:51 PM on January 4, 2016

Eh... it would be an interesting twist, but it doesn't feel at all true to the character or the tone of the show at this point. If they did it it would feel like selling themselves short for pure shock value.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:00 PM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

It would be a series finale, built up over at least one season, the idyllic picture the gems have of themselves would gradually deteriorate as they examine their past and present interactions with homeworld. In their minds they're heroes, they haven't seen the all pain and terror they've caused, they were six thousand years younger during the war, what they felt was justified at the time would seem horrific to them now.

We know Rose kept secrets (Lion),Rose could have had more pearls, their obedience would make them excellent suicide bombers. No one would suspect a pearl would be a threat. In this episode we saw her attempt to assassinate the diplomats and Blue Diamond, and I don't think it was a coincidence that Rose came across Garnet, she saw a vulnerable person and decided to take advantage and recruit her for the rebellion.
posted by FallowKing at 10:21 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved the way that every gem was single coloured until Garnet's fusion. It's her story and of course the whole world would look different to her after that.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 11:08 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm betting that Rose and Pearl fusing was the second non-homogeneous fusion ever. So now I'm wondering who asked who to fuse, how it felt the first time, and what Rainbow Quartz looked like the first time.
posted by glass origami robot at 11:59 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

  1. "Her terrifying renegade Pearl." Pearl poofs six gems here, including four warriors, one of them three fused Rubies, pretty effortlessly. I had suspected for some time that Pearl had been an enforcer for Rose, and a far more capable combatant than we've seen so far, possibly the best fighter among the Crystal Gems if A. she can believe in herself long enough, and B. if she's got strong support, like Rose.
  2. The differentness of Blue Diamond, in size, suggests this is another nail in the coffin of the Rose-is-Pink-Diamond theory. May I suggest another theory? Pearl is a renegade because she broke free of the conditioning of Pearls as made-to-order servants. What if Pearl wasn't made for Rose originally, but Pink Diamond? And as for while we haven't heard anything at all about Pink Diamond so far, maybe Pearl rebelled against her former owner, and shattered her. Such an act would make a gem greatly feared and pretty much Homeworld's Most Wanted, so while fleeing from retribution she finds Rose just as she's planning her own rebellion....
Here's another theory for you guys. Remember back in Sword To The Sword, Pearl told Connie that the Sky Arena was where some of the first battles for Earth took place? This is obviously one of those battles. Pearl apparently has already learned about being a knight, which she then identified as a human concept.

Knighthood developed among humans, in the real version of Earth, centuries ago, not millennia. This seems to suggest that the "present day Earth" of the show may actually be far future Earth, but something has stalled humanity's development.
posted by JHarris at 1:08 AM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, and here's something else that a redditor came up with that I think is insightful. There's a bit where Garnet narrates that Sapphire knew every moment of her life until Ruby's impulsive act, which apparently is her first clue that fate isn't as locked down as the thought.
  1. Remember Garnet's statement in Future Vision, and she has the map and she steers the ship. We've always known that Sapphire's the one with future vision, but this makes it pretty clear that it's Ruby that allows her to jump free of that vision and push it along new lines.
  2. My own thoughts. Future vision doesn't seem as perfect for the Crystal Gems' adventures on Earth as it did for Sapphire through most of her earlier life. Maybe Earth environments are more chaotic than she was used to, and harder to predict?
Okay, one more thing: I think this episode is really made by Ruby's voice.
posted by JHarris at 1:28 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rebecca Sugar styled the animation in this episode after Lotte Reiniger, a creator of early animated films. The aesthetic looks cool and it's a good way of illustrating the story without showing us too much of the Homeworld gems, but more interesting is the allusion to a female innovator in her field, which is thematically spot-on.
posted by painquale at 6:43 AM on January 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

I thought it looked like The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

I really don't think Garnet was the first ever heterogenous fusion, because there seems to be a strong societal aversion to it which probably wouldn't be there if it were entirely novel.
posted by Small Dollar at 7:20 AM on January 5, 2016

And Reiniger drew from wayang kulit, or Javanese shadow puppetry. It would be pretty cool to see SU depicted wayang-kulit-style actually.
posted by divabat at 7:28 AM on January 5, 2016

I'd like to see Rose revealed as a villain, a terrorist leader wanting to colonize Earth herself, sending gems on suicide bombings, assassinating diplomats, shattering captured homeworld Gems and seducing a stupid Earthling into incubating her back into her proper form as Pink Diamond by using Steven as a chrysalis.

I've been chewing over a theory about this.

So my toddler daughter is even more obsessed with Steven Universe than I am. I got her a copy of the Gem Glow DVD which I frequently play for her in the car to keep her awake on long trips (naps ruin our lives) so I've listened to the first handful of episodes countless times at this point, and we've streamed the rest of the series plenty, too. A few things have stood out to me:

-Cookie Cat, introduced as "a refugee from an interstellar war" who "left his family behind" but then is revealed in "Future Vision" to be a traitor.
-The samurai movie where the janitor is revealed to be the evil president all along, which Pearl points out was really pretty obvious given that he's lurking in the background of every battle scene and pictured on the DVD box.
-The bulk of the plot of Garnet's Universe, where a "sweet, sweet Foxman" who wears a string of pearls (!). Ringo accuses the Foxman of stealing a "gem of ultimate power" to take over the shrine, but then it turns out that Ringo actually wanted the gem for himself and it was all just a plot to manipulate Garnet.
-The mosaic in

SO. My first thought was that we're going to get a face-heel turn with Rose, revealing that she's pink diamond. After all, she's the character frequently seen in the background (in her portrait, usually with her eyes obscured by a beam, hinting at her conflicted/dark nature). But I don't think that the evidence fully supports that. We're told she's a quartz and she sure does look like a quartz, and the sizes of other quartzes (Jasper, the background quartzes in other episodes) and Blue Diamond's size only confirms that. Plus there's this mosaic, where Rose is carrying a diamond-type stone and wielding it against a diamond but has her own gem in her belly.

I'm thinking what happened was that Pink Diamond, who opposed the colonization, was broken and Rose, some sort of lieutenant, used it against the other diamonds as a weapon to win the war. I doubt Rose was evil, but I think Steven's going to meet someone at some point--possibly someone who has been with us all along--who will cast that into doubt and tell him that PD was destroyed by Rose as part of a plot to destroy the diamond authority. But that individual will actually have nefarious intentions and be seeking to take Pink Diamond's gem herself.

Also I really want to know if other Pearls can't/don't shapeshift.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:39 AM on January 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

I really don't think Garnet was the first ever heterogenous fusion, because there seems to be a strong societal aversion to it which probably wouldn't be there if it were entirely novel.

Probably the kind of thing every Gem thinks about once in a while, asks innocent questions about and that is strongly discouraged from considering, and has warning tales told about it, where the fusion comes to a terrible end and is shattered. Which means that yeah, it happened before. Probably happens still in secret. Who's to say there aren't other rebel Gems on other worlds?
posted by emjaybee at 8:41 AM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Other thoughts:

-The only gem in the background that's not shaded blue or red is a black gem that looks like Connie
-None of the gems shapeshift or summon weapons. Pearl uses two swords instead of her spear.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:54 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm going to guess that the heterogeneous gem fusions are taboo because they complicate the social hierarchy. Is the Ruby/Sapphire fusion Ruby-tier? Sapphire-tier? A Ruby-step above Sapphire? Half-way between the two?

When Peridot calls Garnet "War Machine," it suggests that cross-caste fusions have a function in society, but it's purely military. They're recognized for their power and utility (also consider Jasper telling Lapis to fuse with her in order to fight the Crystal Gems), but they're outside the caste system, and so unable to fit into society, which is why a ship full of diplomatic gems would have never seen such a fusion before.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 9:31 AM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Is it wrong how much joy I got from Ninja Death Wind Pearl ? I know violence is bad and everything but man it was so great to see her OWN. Pearl losing has been a trope for so long on SU it was kind of getting me down.

> I'm sure Garnet/Sapphire was quite the get for Rose. Future Sight would be very useful to a rebel group.

It looks like Sapphire was the main strategic target- Pearl went pretty much straight for her slicing through everything in her path like a samurai Pavlova which makes sense. That she was co-opted instead is a fun detail.
posted by Erasmouse at 11:57 AM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you haven't checked out the Steven Crewniverse tumblr recently there's some really interesting stuff there, Rebecca Sugar singing the demo for Ruby and Sapphire's song (how can any one person have so much talent??!), and some exploration of the look in storyboards.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:08 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rebecca Sugar singing the demo for Ruby and Sapphire's song (how can any one person have so much talent??!)

I like Rebecca's demo for the extended theme more than the recorded version, I think!
posted by painquale at 3:08 PM on January 5, 2016

This was a great New Year's gift for fans! I loved this episode so much! It makes me appreciate Garnet that much more.
posted by numaner at 9:57 PM on January 6, 2016

I just watched it and... I think it must be dusty in here
posted by Foosnark at 4:36 PM on January 7, 2016

Last night I realized why Rose Quartz calling Garnet's emotions "interesting" rather than "important" bugged me so much.

It reminds me waaaaaaaay too much of "omg you're so interesting, so exotic!" which I get on the disturbing regular.

Rose Quartz is objectifying Garnet, just like she objectified Greg before he called her out on it. And I suppose there's some argument to "well Rose doesn't know how to have empathy yet" but Ruby and Sapphire were way ahead of her on that.

yeurgh heebee-jeebees
posted by divabat at 7:08 PM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

I don't know, divabat, I keep going back and forth on how to read that scene.

On the one hand, when Garnet asks Rose if she's disgusted, Rose doesn't say no, she says her feelings on the subject don't matter like Garnet's do. Which is a dodge-- maybe she is freaked out-- but it's also incredibly kind: she's telling Garnet that how Garnet feels about herself matters more than how anyone else feels about her. But then, yes, there's also that choice of word-- 'interesting,' not 'important' or 'meaningful' or anything else.

The picture I'm getting of Rose, at this point, is someone who is actually extremely empathetic, but not naturally so-- and that her learned empathy arose out of her fascination with difference in all its forms. Her species is literally mass-produced. The idea of every living thing having a unique experience (as she puts it in Lion 3) must have been profoundly alien to her at some point. It must have taken conscious effort to see that as something positive, something to be nurtured, instead of something to be stamped out. Her first reaction to something entirely new, like Garnet, might still be that initial fascination, tempered by the empathy she learned later.
posted by nonasuch at 8:57 PM on January 7, 2016

"Don't ever question this. You already are the answer."
posted by signal at 4:46 PM on January 10, 2016

I wonder what the blue pearl thinks of Pearl? She must have seen her poof those gems.
posted by domo at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

The "Stronger Than You" leitmotif in the song was nice.

Also the same song Sapphire was singing/humming in her cell on the hand ship when Ruby was looking for her, shortly before we saw them fuse!
posted by duffell at 8:25 AM on September 1, 2017

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