Between Peridot’s offensive remarks last episode and her general sneakiness, Steven’s finally losing patience with her.
Honestly, the least believable part of this episode is how quickly and completely Steven turns on Peridot (even with all the things she pulls).
Steven: I wanted to ask you…about the Diamonds.
Peridot: Oh! I don’t know what the others have told you, but there’s a reason they’re in charge!
Steven: Why’s that?
Peridot: They’re objectively better than us! Every Gem has their strengths and weaknesses, but not them. They’re absolutely totally completely flawless beings! Especially my Diamond, Yellow Diamond, the most reasonable, rational, efficient decider ever to exist in the universe!
Steven: You’re really loyal to her, aren’t you?
Peridot: How could I not be? We might have our little truce, but I’ll never forsake the Gem I was made for!
At this point, Steven grabs the thing she took from the Diamond Base, locks her in the car, and demands answers.
Peridot: Alright, look. I have a plan. Allow me to explain. It’s a communicator, meant for the express purpose of contacting the Diamonds back on Homeworld.
Steven: You’re still trying to contact Homeworld?
Peridot: Yes, of course! I figured it out. You simple clods keep trying to protect the Earth, but you can’t do anything right! I let myself get carried away, too. Laughing, singing, building our little machine. But don’t you see? None of this matters! All that matters is that I’m of use to Yellow Diamond! This planet can be of use to Yellow Diamond! I must contact her, to reveal what I’ve discovered!
Steven: But the Diamonds are bad! They don’t care about the Earth – they wanted to hollow it out and now they want to blow it up with the Cluster!
Peridot: Yes! That’s the point!
Steven: Why do I keep sticking my neck out for you? You’re never gonna be on our side!
Peridot may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (er, barn), but she’s not stupid. If she really had nefarious intentions, she wouldn’t spell it all out to Steven, so it follows that she’s doing, at the very least, what she thinks is right, and probably with no ill intent toward Steven. She reveres the Diamonds as “flawless”, so she would naturally assume they’ll do what’s right.
But Steven just jumps to the conclusion that she’s back to her old tricks, so he runs off and tattles to the Crystal Gems.
Garnet: You offered her a lot of your trust.
Steven: I did! And it blew up in my face. You guys have been protecting the Earth for thousands of years. She could’ve destroyed all of that – a whole Earth. Why did I think I could change her mind?
Garnet: […] It’s good that you believe in everyone, Steven. Like your mother, you seem to have a little more patience than the rest of us. But the truth is, not everyone deserves that patience.
I don’t think the issue here is “patience” so much as “trust”. You can treat someone with tons of patience and still not always trust them, or vice versa. Trust is a thing that must typically be earned, but patience can be extended indiscriminately (if you want to know what it looks like to trust indiscriminately, see The Foolish Traveler).
But somehow Peri escapes from the car and gets her giant robot running again, resulting in a fight/chase over the communicator.
Steven: You’re not getting away with it! I trusted you! I spent all that time bonding, and hoping, and caring about you…
Peridot: You don’t get it, either! This is your whole problem, your emotions rule out reason. I will do what has to be done! She’ll sort this out.
Fun fact: Yellow Diamond is voiced by Broadway legend Patti Lupone. Yes, she will sing at some point…
Yellow Diamond: This says you’re behind schedule on your mission to…how is the Earth?
Peridot: It’s…full of life.
Yellow Diamond: Organic life…and where is the jasper I assigned you? And why aren’t you calling from the ship?
Peridot: The ship was destroyed.
Then she proves her good intentions by claiming the ship was destroyed by accident, taking the fall for it herself.
Yellow Diamond: And what is the status of the Cluster?
Peridot: The Cluster will emerge shortly.
Yellow Diamond: Good. We’ll finally get some use out of that miserable planet. Thank you for your report, Peridot. There’ll be a ship heading to your location to take you to your next assignment.
Of course, if she really didn’t care about the Crystal Gems or the plight of the Earth, this is where the conversation would end. But it’s not.
Peridot: Wait! I-I wouldn’t have called just to waste your time with a report.
Yellow Diamond: You already have.
Peridot: No, I mean, the reason I’ve called, the real reason is, I believe we should terminate the Cluster.
Yellow Diamond: Why?
Peridot: The organic ecosystem creates resources unique to this world. We can’t sacrifice all that potential just for one geoweapon! I’d like to tell you some plans I came up with to utilize the planet without disrupting the local-
Yellow Diamond: I’ve heard enough. I don’t care about potential and resources.
Yellow Diamond: I want my Cluster. And I want that planet to die, just to make that happen.
Yellow Diamond: Are you questioning my authority?
Peridot: I’m questioning your objectivity, my Diamond.
Yellow Diamond: You are out of line.
Peridot: I just think-
Yellow Diamond: I’m not interested in the puny thoughts of a peridot. You have disrespected this channel and my time with your presence, and you would do well to shut your mouth! You have failed at every stage of this mission. Your only chance to redeem yourself is to obey this one simple order: You are to leave the Cluster to grow. It will tear apart the Earth, and I will take immense satisfaction in erasing that hideous rock off of our starmaps. Is that clear?
Peridot: I won’t do it! I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!
Yellow Diamond: What do you know about the Earth?
Peridot: Apparently more than you, you clod! Uh, Peridot out!
Peridot: I thought I could reason with her…
Amethyst: Yeah, you really made her mad.
Pearl: And then you insulted her to her face!
Steven: Do you know what this means?
Peridot: I’m a traitor to my homeworld.
Steven: You’re a Crystal Gem!
Garnet: Whether you like it or not.
She assumed that Yellow Diamond was totally rational and logical, in which case she would at least want to hear suggestions about how Earth’s resources could be better managed, but it turns out she’s more interested in vengeance…which certainly leads one to wonder what she’s so sore about. Is it really just the fact that a little band of rebels managed to throw off their shackles?
Until next time…