Where did we go? What did we do?
I think we made something entirely new
And it wasn’t quite me, and it wasn’t quite you
I think it was someone entirely new

SU 74-9

First off, this is a great episode.  It looks gorgeous and tells a sweet standalone story that helps flesh out the characters and the setting.  It is easily one of the best episodes of Season 2 (and probably one of the best in the series).  That said, I found it kind of difficult to enjoy properly when I first watched the show on DVD because it acted as the last episode of the Season 2 DVDs, aka the last episode of the show to have a physical release in America (I mean, technically there were some later compilations, but no more full seasons).  What I’m saying is, this is a great standalone vignette, but sorely lacking as an endpoint (especially because there ARE a few more episodes in the season).  It might have worked better had the season in general been as episodic as the first, but since this one’s been so focused on plot and overarching storylines, the brief return to an episodic narrative is kind of frustrating.

But as for the actual episode, it begins at midnight on Steven’s birthday. Garnet wakes him up, and since her original plan to introduce him to Ruby and Sapphire was ruined, she instead regales him with the story of how the two of them first met: The birth of Garnet!

SU 74-1

Garnet: The Earth, 5750 years ago. It was a promising site of a new Gem colony, but progress was being thwarted by a small, persistent group of rebels. A team of diplomatic Gems was sent from Homeworld. Among those Gems was Sapphire, a rare aristocratic Homeworld Gem with the power to see into the future. Assigned to her were three rubies, common soldiers with a mission to protect her.

I love the art style here.  The silhouettes convey both physical and emotional distance, not to mention that all of the Gems Steven is familiar with have their regular voices, while those in the crowd are all narrated by Garnet.  Although I do notice one familiar blue silhouette…I wonder if Garnet remembered her or not?

The only strange Gem that gets any detail is Blue Diamond (though she’s still voiced by Garnet), seemingly the one in charge.

SU 74-6

Blue Diamond spoke. “Sapphire, tell me what will happen here.”

Sapphire: I foresee the rebels attacking the Cloud Arena. Before they are cornered, they will destroy the physical forms of seven Gems, including two of my ruby guards, and myself. Immediately after my form is destroyed, the rebels will be captured. The rebellion ends here.

“Thank you Sapphire,” Blue Diamond said, relieved. “That’s all I needed to know.”

Sapphire: I look forward to speaking with you again once I reform back on Homeworld.

Sapphire knew she would be a casualty, but it did not phase her. She saw her whole life laid out before her, and she had already accepted all of it.

SU 74-2

Sapphire is cut from the same cloth as the traditional genteel young lady/heiress, taught by society to sit back and observe while other people act.

Sapphire: What a beautiful place to build a colony. I wish I could’ve seen more of this planet.

Ruby: Uh, there’s still time.

Sapphire: That is a nice thought, but…no.

These two are adorable.  But of course it’s not long before the Crystal Gems show up – just Pearl and Rose.  It seems like this was only the beginning of their rebellion…

SU 74-3

Sapphire: Thank you, Ruby. You did your best.

Ruby suddenly realized what Sapphire had meant. She had known that Ruby would fail. Sapphire had accepted it. But Ruby…Ruby could not.

Because of course Sapphire is rescued by Ruby’s rash actions.

SU 74-4

Garnet: What? What…what is this?

Everyone is distracted by the sudden fusion (including Pearl), so Rose takes the opportunity to escape while they still can, further confounding Sapphire’s predictions.  It makes sense that she wouldn’t have seen this future, though – even if she had seen the possibility, she would have immediately dismissed it as highly improbable.

SU 74-5

Naturally, everyone else is outraged by this turn of events.

Sapphire: This is…not what I saw. I don’t know what happened, I-

Ruby: No! It was me!

“Clearly,” said Blue Diamond. “How dare you fuse with a member of my court?”

Ruby: Forgive me, I-

“You will be broken for this!”

Then Sapphire takes the lead, seemingly for the first time in her life, grabbing Ruby and running to safety.

Ruby: Wait! What are you doing? No! Why’d you do that?  I have to get you back up there!

Sapphire: They were gonna break you!

Ruby: Who cares? There’s tons of me! What do we do now?

Sapphire had known every moment of her life, how it would happen, and when. But because of Ruby’s impulsive gesture, she suddenly jumped the track of fate, and everything from that instant on was wrong. And new. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t move. She was frozen.

Fortunately, now she has Ruby around to take care of her when she’s crippled by indecision.

SU 74-7

These two are precious.

This certainly helps contextualize their relationship as Steven knows it – Ruby is constantly worried about Sapphire’s safety, and Sapphire in turn has to remind Ruby that she has value, too.

On Homeworld, fusion is only acceptable between Gems of the same type, like how the rubies fused to defend Sapphire.  It serves the dual purpose of encouraging uniformity in the various types of Gems and reinforcing the class distinctions.

Sapphire: I-I’ve seen Gems fuse before, but I had no idea that’s what it felt like. I always thought- I never realized that fusion…that you disappear like that.

Ruby: It’s never like that! Whenever I fuse, it’s always just me, but bigger. I-I’ve never had a third eye before.

Sapphire: I’ve never had more than one! It was nice.

It’s worth noting that even among the rubies, our Ruby clearly had a distinct personality – the others seemed more inclined to violence for its own sake, while Ruby preferred to focus on the act of fusion.  They’re led to believe that they’re all essentially interchangeable, which is to say, expendable.

SU 74-8

Did I mention this episode is gorgeous?

Then they have a cute little duet and it is precious.

Where did we go? What did we do?
I think we made something entirely new
And it wasn’t quite me, and it wasn’t quite you
I think it was someone entirely new

SU 74-10

I’m so sorry
No, no, don’t be
And now you’re here forever!
What about you?
What about me?
Well, you’re here too
We’re here together

It’s adorable watching them awkwardly talk (sing) through their feelings, both toward each other and toward an uncertain future – particularly as they come to realize what it might mean to actually be able to live freely.

Garnet: I was back! I was someone, but I didn’t know who.

SU 74-11

Then she/they stumble upon Pearl and Rose again (quite literally).

Garnet: Don’t hurt her! Don’t hurt…me?

Pearl: It’s you! The fusion.

Garnet: We didn’t mean to fuse! Well, we did this time…we’ll unfuse! We’ll…

Rose: No, no, please. I’m glad to see you again. […]

Garnet: I don’t…upset you?

Rose: Who cares about how I feel? How you feel is bound to be much more interesting.

Garnet: How I feel? I feel lost, and scared, and, and happy. Why am I so sure that I’d rather be this than everything I was supposed to be, and that I’d rather do this than everything I was supposed to do?

Rose: Welcome to Earth.

Garnet: Can you tell me, how was Ruby able to alter fate? Why was Sapphire willing to give up everything? What am I?

Rose: No more questions. Don’t ever question this: You already are the answer.

SU 74-13

Steven: So, what was it? The answer.

Garnet: Love.

Steven: Wow. I knew it!

Garnet: So did I.

Until next time…

One thought on “The Answer

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