Steven spends the whole episode trying to win over an enemy. It doesn’t turn out like he hopes.
This is surprisingly low-key for a season finale, as most of it consists of Steven drifting through the emptiness of space in his bubble (with Eyeball for company).
Steven: There goes the Earth.
Eyeball: There goes my whole platoon! This is a mess! What’ll I say in my report? How will I even make my report? This is a nightmare! And this is all your fault.
Steven: Woah, hey, no it’s not! You were trying to hurt my friends!
Eyeball: But you opened the airlock in the Moon Base. You sent us flying into space, with no hope of ever returning!
Steven: …Okay, so maybe that was my fault. I’m sorry. There! Are you happy?
Eyeball: No! You’re lucky you’re in that bubble, or I’d pop you right in the face.
Steven: Well if you’re going to be a grump about it, then we can just float in silence until we both die!
It’s just his luck to run into the most argumentative of the rubies.
But of course they can’t keep quiet for too long.
Eyeball: I shouldn’t have ever come back to that dumb planet! When I heard rumors there might still be Crystal Gems on Earth, I couldn’t believe it. A thousand years of fighting, were all for nothing. Rose Quartz might still be alive? She must be. Why else would someone as important as Jasper be back on Earth? For closure, that’s why. I wanted it too. I wanted to see Rose Quartz with my own eye. At the very least, I thought Jasper might have some answers. But it wasn’t even her. Just another trick.
Steven: That’s what you really wanted – to see Rose Quartz?
Eyeball: More than anything.
Steven: Well, today’s your lucky day.
Steven, I know you want to make friends with everyone, but you should really know better than to go around telling Homeworld Gems that you’re Rose Quartz by now. Especially now that you know what their beef with her is. It’s really not going to help you make new friends. But it’s kind of a moot point here, as the Crystal Gems have tricked the rubies so many times that Eyeball (understandably) disbelieves Steven’s claims.
Then they run into an asteroid belt, and Eyeball takes a hit to her Gem.
Steven: Don’t worry, I can fix your Gem!
Eyeball: I’m not falling for any of your tricks!
Steven: I’m serious! I can help.
Eyeball: Fine. I guess I got nothing else to lose.
So Steven finally proves his “identity” by healing her.
Eyeball: I-I can’t believe it! There were rumors back during the war, that Rose Quartz could heal her Crystal Gem soldiers, keeping her small army in contention with the superior forces of Homeworld. Wow! It really is you! Rose Quartz!
Steven: See? That’s what I was trying to tell you! Yep, it’s me, the mighty Rose Quartz.
Eyeball: We’re stuck out here, floating aimlessly through outer space!
Steven: How’d we get ourselves into this mess?
I love how they capture the beauty and terror of the vast emptiness of space.
And then the inevitable occurs.
Eyeball: The mighty Rose Quartz. I never thought I’d get a chance like this. I can’t believe you’re all mine!
Steven: Why are you attacking me?
Eyeball: Don’t act surprised, Rose Quartz. You shattered a Diamond!
Eyeball: I’m gonna take your Gem and bring it back!
Steven: What? No! Please don’t take my Gem! Wait, what would even happen to me?
He does his best to reason with her (like reminding her that she’d still be lost in space), but delusions of grandeur (and revenge/justice) have overtaken her sense, so Steven is forced to throw her out of the bubble.
Poor Steven is left alone to contemplate his own impending death (not to mention the probable destruction of the rubies), plus, y’know, that bombshell about Rose shattering a Diamond.
But this is a cartoon, so it can’t get THAT dark.
Of course the Crystal Gems hijacked the ruby ship to seek him out.
And now we know why the modern Diamond insignia has three points while the old one had four…
Steven: How come nobody told me about Pink Diamond?
Garnet: We all did what we had to during the War. Everything’s different now.
Steven: But did Mom really do it? Did she really shatter her?
Garnet: She had to. The Earth belonged to Pink Diamond. Destroying her was the only way to save the planet. For Amethyst to be herself, for Pearl to be free, for me to be together, for you to exist.
Steven: But I thought…at least she’d never…
Garnet: She didn’t always do what was best for her, but she always did what was best for Earth.
Somehow, saying that Rose was willing to get her hands dirty if it meant saving the planet makes her seem more perfect, not less. Although I feel like this would be the perfect time to ask if there are any more dark secrets about Rose that they’ve hidden from him…
What’s really interesting about this season is how little is actually accomplished plot-wise (particularly after the first two episodes). They save the planet (first from Malachite and then from the Cluster), but the only other major thing they do is capturing Jasper. That’s not a complaint, though – I much prefer the more natural character development in this season to last season. It’s not a perfect balance of plot and filler, but at least it has room for filler, and develops all of the characters pretty evenly (including some love for the ordinary townsfolk).
Rather than significantly moving or changing the plot, this season established a new, worrying pattern: New Gems show up, find out about Steven’s connection to Rose, and subsequently turn on “Rose”. Steven’s finally seeing a side of Rose that he doesn’t like, seeing how she hurt people during the war, seeing how she made people hate her (whether she deserved it or not).
Until next time…