There is nothing resembling a heist in this episode. It does, however, serve to illustrate the rigid structure of Gem society.
Pearl: Right. Like we could just waltz up as an ownerless pearl, a fusion, and- and you!
Steven: We just need disguises! I’ll be Esteban Universidad!
Pearl: Steven, it doesn’t matter what your name is, we’re all going to stand out!
Sapphire: We won’t stand out if we play the roles we were made for.
Methinks Steven is just itching to do a little Gem caper, but Sapphire’s the only one who has a plan, and it doesn’t seem like Steven will have a huge part to play in it.
Sapphire: Today, I’m a sapphire traveling with my ruby guard, and my personal pearl. Esteban, I’ve brought you as an offering for the Zoo. […]
Amethyst: Uh, what about me?
Sapphire: You’re accompanying me as extra muscle. […]
Amethyst: But I’ve never even seen another amethyst before! What do I do? What if I say something wrong?
Sapphire: Just look the part. You’re new, and we’re rusty, but we just have to sell this long enough to find Greg.
Pearl: Is this really going to work?
Sapphire: No. Just stick together, play it straight. Let’s change the future!
Fortunately, Sapphire seems to be the only one anyone else deigns to address, and evidently she’s of status high enough to merit extreme deference.
Agate: Why didn’t you tell me there was a sapphire here? What have you miscreants been saying to them?
Amethyst guard: Nothing, Holly!
Agate: You’ll have to forgive them, they’re from Earth.
The one in charge is Holly Blue Agate, a type of agate that sounds particularly weird considering that it’s named after a town in Wisconsin, which only reminds me of all my other linguistic questions that this series has absolutely no interest in answering.
Agate: How unprecedented! Nothing for millennia, and then two humans back to back! Well, it’s probably for the best. That first one wasn’t in the best condition…
Steven: Dad! That’s him!
Agate: Oh, their incessant barking! What is it saying? The other one was loud, too. And all that thrashing about…I’m sure Blue Diamond will want to thank you personally, but you just missed her!
Naturally, Sapphire makes a play for more time by requesting a tour, and things seem to be turning out more or less in their favor with Blue Diamond away.
But fate conspires to separate them one by one.
Agate: Amethysts are to stay and guard the door.
Amethyst: Uh, but-
Agate: The door!
While the outside is all pink, the interior features both pink and blue in its color scheme – even the amethyst guards are purple, sitting a little uncomfortably between pink and blue.
Agate: This facility originally belonged to Pink Diamond and houses and staffs all the otherwise useless quartzes she produced on what was her colony, but Blue Diamond and her trusted Agate – that’s me – have been maintaining this place since the dawn of Era 2…Is she going to do it, or should I say something?
Sapphire: Oh – Pearl. The door.
Pearl: Oh, right. Right! I got it.
Agate: You’re so patient with her! How do you do it?
Sapphire: As a sapphire, I know it will happen eventually.
Agate: That will be all.
Steven: Hang in there!
Agate: Do keep up, Pearl!
Agate: The bottom half of this structure is devoted entirely to specimen containment. Apparently humans don’t take well to captivity. But once you understand their needs, they’re easy to control. It’s tragic that Pink Diamond’s existence in this universe ended up being so finite. But what a selfless act for Blue Diamond to step forward and spend her own time and energy preserving this place in Pink Diamond’s memory! It’s a real testament to Blue Diamond’s merciful and giving nature, don’t you think?
Sapphire: Uh, of course.
As unsurprising as it is that the person who runs a human zoo doesn’t treat humans like people (whenever she hears Steven speak, she thinks of it as animalistic nonsense), it’s telling that the only person she treats with any respect at all is Sapphire, her “superior”. With everyone else around, she’s constantly belittling and abusing them (save for Steven, whom she clearly deems to be beneath her consideration). It subtly implies how oppressive systems can affect people to produce prejudice.
Eventually, they get tired of beating around the bush and Sapphire just asks how one would enter the Zoo.
Agate: On the rare occasion we would need to enter the containment area, we would do so via the service door.
So with a nudge from Ruby, Sapphire orchestrates a diversion to give them a few minutes alone with the service door.
Ruby: I can’t believe all that stuff about Blue Diamond being “merciful” – she’s a shatterer! She yelled at Sapphire, she hates fusion and love!
Go ahead and get that out of your system, Ruby. You do you.
But on a more charitable note, no matter what she might have done in the past, Blue Diamond really didn’t do anything “evil” in the past few episodes. All we’ve seen her do is mourn the loss of someone dear to her and…well, take Greg away, but it didn’t seem to be out of malice, just ignorance and condescension. She thought she was “rescuing” him from the imminent destruction of the planet, not unlike some animal-lover who “rescues” a poor lost fawn, inadvertently ruining its life in the process.
Unfortunately, Pearl can’t seem to open this door, and before they can attempt to get through by brute force, Sapphire and Agate return. And apparently Blue Diamond is on her way back now, too!
Agate: Surely Blue Diamond will want to thank you personally for this special delivery, Your Grand Clarity.
Sapphire: Yes. I suppose she will.
And thus Steven is finally taken away to the “assimilation chamber” to enter the Zoo alone.
Next time: The Zoo…