Garnet’s secret finally comes out, and Steven saves (almost) everyone.

SU 49-1

Steven has a shockingly easy time escaping his cell – apparently they were only made to contain Gems with their light-bodies, and Steven’s flesh-body is able to pass through the forcefield with minimal discomfort. Then he finds Ruby the next cell over.

SU 49-3

Ruby: Let me out of here! Please! I need to find Sapphire!

Steven: Is she your friend? I’m looking for my friends, too.

Ruby: She’s all alone, I need to find her!

My, but Ruby does seem to have a one-track mind…and of course Steven tries to help this Gem he just met despite, well, everything else, because he is precious and he’s not one to abandon a person in such distress.

Steven: How many more Gems are trapped here?

Ruby: Don’t know, don’t care.

SU 49-4

Ruby is frustrated to find Lapis Lazuli instead of Sapphire, but of course Steven wants to help her, too.

Steven: Lapis, I can get you out.

Lapis: Stop!

Steven: It’s okay, I can-

Lapis: No! I don’t want your help. Things are bad enough as it is. I’ve already made too much trouble. Once we get back to Homeworld, they’re going to decide what to do with us. […] Steven, whatever you’re doing, just stop. If we do everything they say, they might go easy on us!

Steven: But they’re…mean! They hurt my friends, they hurt my face, they’ve got you here in prison!

Lapis: That’s why we can’t fight them.

Steven: That’s why we have to fight them! I’ll come back for you.

SU 49-5

Lapis’ character is just so sad.  She wanted to go home, but somehow she got dragged off into trouble again, and Steven seems to be the only other person in the universe that cares about her.

But Steven has to run off and find Sapphire, who seems to recognize him for some reason…

SU 49-6

Ruby: Did they hurt you?

Sapphire: No, no, I’m okay. Did they hurt you?

Ruby: Who cares?

Sapphire: I do!

These two are just adorable – they actually remind me a bit of Frodo and Sam in their dynamic, although part of it might be that singing plays a role in their escape, which reminds me of the Tower of Cirith Ungol.

And then they fuse into Garnet, and suddenly everything makes sense.

SU 49-7

Steven: Garnet! You’re a fusion?

Garnet: Oh, I’m sorry. We didn’t want you meeting us here like this.

Steven: Well, did I make a good first impression?

Garnet: Aw, Steven, we already love you.

THIS IS JUST TOO PRECIOUS.  Also, fun fact: rubies and sapphires are actually from the same “species” of gem, just at different ends of the color spectrum.

With Garnet back together again, she’s able to use her “future vision” to direct Steven toward Pearl and Amethyst, while she stays to hold off Jasper.

Steven: Wait, are you gonna be able to beat her on your own?

Garnet: It’s okay, Steven. I’m never alone.

Jasper: Oh, great. You’re both out? And you’re fused again? Why? Fusion is just a cheap tactic to make weak Gems stronger. Quit embarrassing yourselves! I’ve seen what you really are.

Garnet: No you haven’t.

SU 49-8

Then we get our first song from Garnet (but far from the last, her voice actor is apparently an indie singer), “Stronger Than You”.

This is who we are
This is who I am
And if you think you can stop me then you need to think again
Cause I am a feeling
And I will never end
And I won’t let you hurt my planet
And I won’t let you hurt my friends
Go ahead and try to hit me if you’re able
Can’t you see that my relationship is stable?
I know you think that I’m not something you’re afraid of
Cause you think that you see what I’m made of
But I am even more than the two of them
Everything they care about is what I am
I am their fury, I am their patience, I am a conversation
I am made of love
And it’s stronger than you

This song alone tells you so much more about what fusion is supposed to mean – it is, as she once said, an experience, but what binds them is their feelings.  Although it turns out fusion isn’t necessarily an inherent good…

SU 49-9

So Steven & co manage to overpower Peridot and crash-land the ship after Garnet punches Jasper into the engine or something.  But somehow that’s not enough to take Jasper out of commission.

SU 49-10

Jasper: Don’t think you’ve won. You only beat me cause you’re a fusion!

And then Lapis shows up and I can’t.

Jasper: Lapis, listen – fuse with me.

Lapis: What?

Jasper: How long did they keep you here on this miserable hunk of rock? These Gems, they’re traitors to their Homeworld. They kept you prisoner, they used you. This is your chance to take revenge! Just say yes.

SU 49-12

So, that pose.  It shows up in Revolutionary Girl Utena as well as Ikuhara’s later works as a (mostly metaphorical) stealing of a person’s heart, and I can’t.  I know I keep saying that, but Lapis’ story hits surprisingly close to home for me (for reasons I won’t be able to get into for another season or two, at least).

So they fuse into the ginormous Malachite…only for Lapis to turn the tide.

SU 49-13

Malachite: What are you doing? I’m done being everybody’s prisoner! Now, you’re my prisoner, and I’m never letting you go!

Steven: Lapis!

Malachite: Let’s stay on this miserable planet, together!

So yeah. Fusion is only as good as the feelings it’s made from, and when those feelings are of the “hate and frustration” variety, it can only bring pain to everyone around.

SU 49-14

Again, these are all valid reactions.  Also, Connie calls Steven, because seriously that message he left last episode.

Connie: Steven, I got your message, are you okay? What’s going on? Steven?

Next time: Full Disclosure…

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