With The Twist finally out in the open, it’s time to revisit Pearl’s relationship with Rose.
If there are two things guaranteed to upset Garnet, it’s someone betraying her trust and the Diamonds. Needless to say, she does not take the whole “Rose was Pink Diamond” revelation very well.
Sapphire: She lied to us! She lied about everything! She held our hands, looked us right in the eyes, and told us never to question who we are as Garnet. We never questioned ourselves…or her!
Ruby: We couldn’t have known!
Sapphire: No, you couldn’t have known! You never know what’s going on. That’s what I’m for!
Sapphire: But I never looked into her! I trusted her. I let her make fools of us all!
Ruby: Sapphire, wait! Please! We can just stay calm and talk about this, right? Let’s just talk.
Sapphire: Talk about what? How our relationship is based on a lie? What else is there to say?
Poor Ruby is (understandably) shocked and upset by Sapphire’s anger, and while Steven and Pearl might have similar feelings about Garnet falling apart, their first priority is to find Sapphire and try to talk some sense into her.
At least it’s not hard to find her – she ran off to Rose’s fountain and went all ice queen on the place.
Sapphire: Everything we were running from…she was right there all along. Using us for her little war, smiling at us with her knowing eyes, making me believe in a better future that I couldn’t see. Because it wasn’t real! And now here we are, our friends shattered and corrupted! Of course she was a Diamond. What a long road she took to torture us like this.
Steven: It wasn’t like that! You know she didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Sapphire: I don’t know that! Clearly I don’t know anything.
Pearl: You deserve to know everything. I was given to Pink Diamond just a few thousand years before she was given the Earth. I was supposed to make her happy, I just never could.
And so Pearl proceeds to recontextualize Rose’s relationship with Garnet (and the rest of the Crystal Gems) by telling what she knows of her life as Pink Diamond.
Pink Diamond: Could you imagine that running a colony would be this dull?
Pearl: I could imagine it, if you would like me to, my Diamond.
Our first glimpse of Pink Diamond has her looking decidedly out of place within the sterile environment of the Moon Base – even Pearl looks more at home there, although she’s also still trying to figure out what exactly Pink Diamond wants from her.
Pink is certainly excited when the Gems finally start to emerge in the Kindergarten.
Pink Diamond: Look at this, Pearl! We’re creating life from nothing!
But she’s a bit dejected to remember that the observation orb thing isn’t the same as being there.
Pink Diamond: I wish I could just be there…
Pearl: I’ll have us warped into the Kindergarten at once, my Diamond.
Pink Diamond: What? No, no – if I went down to the Kindergarten, I would never hear the end of it from Yellow and Blue. Oh, but could you imagine, me down there, laughing and playing with the amethysts?
Pearl: Of course I can, my Diamond. You look so happy.
Pink Diamond: I won’t be so happy when Blue and Yellow find out.
Pearl: They won’t find out. […] Because…you’ll look just like a Quartz. You changed your shape for a day!
Pink Diamond: That’s brilliant, Pearl!
And thus Rose Quartz was born!
And this is about the time when you realize you’ve seen this sort of thing before – because Pink Diamond is basically a princess. She feels burdened by the expectations of her family, and there’s no denying she has tons of uninterrogated privilege, but she doesn’t have much actual say over her own life, let alone policy. And so, in the grand tradition of Disney princesses, she disguises herself to escape her golden cage for a while and see what the world looks like.
Pearl: My Diamond, please, let’s not draw anymore attention to ourselves than we already have.
Rose Quartz: Ah, you’re right. But things were getting really fun…
Pearl: What if we took some time to explore some of Earth’s other features?
Rose Quartz: Pearl! You’re so smart.
Okay, these two are officially adorable. Even if their power dynamic is still very yikes.
I love the use of color in this episode! The Moon Base is full of dark blues and greys, but the Earth is positively brimming with pink (and green, which is a complementary color). Even Pearl has a notable amount of blue and yellow in her color scheme, which distinguishes her from the other Diamonds’ monochromatic pearls, and seems to indicate she was a gift from them.
It’s interesting to see how this intersects with the narrative Garnet told about Rose Quartz a few episodes ago – it’s pretty nearly the same so far, except that she fears the wrath of the of the other Diamonds rather than Pink Diamond. Also she has Pearl to come up with plans and stuff, which honestly makes more sense when you think about it.
Steven: So it was all just so she could get out and have some fun?
Pearl: Well, that’s how it started…
Pearl: Is everything alright, my Diamond?
Rose Quartz: All this life that’s been growing wild here on Earth…none of it will survive my invasion. We’re not creating life from nothing. We’re taking life, and leaving nothing behind.
Pearl: Forgive me, my Diamond! I shouldn’t have brought you to such a place.
Rose Quartz: No. I needed to see this.
Part of the reason Pink Diamond wanted a colony was just because she was bored, and maybe because she thought it would make the other Diamonds respect her, but it seems that another big reason was that she wanted to create. She thought that’s what colonies did, but now that she knows they’re only producing Gems at the expense of other species (including sentient species), she realizes it’s wrong and wants to put a stop to it.
Sapphire: So what? She suddenly started to care about Earth? Why did she have to rope us into all this? Why couldn’t she just stop the colonization herself?
Pearl: She tried. When she told the other Diamonds she didn’t want to go through with the colony, they told her to finish what she started. When she told the other Diamonds she wanted to preserve life on Earth, they created the Zoo and threw a handful of humans in. She did everything she could as Pink Diamond, but her status meant nothing to Blue and Yellow. So she decided to make a stand as someone they couldn’t ignore. She was going to scare every Gem off the planet.
She’d concluded that the Earth and its inhabitants deserved to be free, but she didn’t consider herself an Earthling. Perhaps it hadn’t occurred to her that freedom was even possible for Gems – until she met Garnet.
Rose Quartz: I still can’t believe it. Only on Earth, don’t you think? Only on Earth where anything can happen! A fusion of two completely different Gems! Can all Gems do that? How have I never heard of this? I’ve only ever heard that it’s unheard of! Can you imagine what that must feel like-
Pearl: Fusion activate!
Once again, I am torn between Pearl’s adorable earnestness and the general squickiness of a literal slave falling in love with her owner.
Pearl: Oh, I thought- if a ruby and a sapphire…but you’re a Diamond! Forgive me. What am I doing? I need to be replaced immediately.
Rose Quartz: No!
Pearl: But I’ve been imagining things, even when you haven’t asked me to…I imagine that I ran away and met you here on Earth, a Rose Quartz. And I’m not yours, but I make you so happy anyway. Isn’t that ridiculous? Tell me to stop.
Rose Quartz: Please don’t ever stop!
Pearl: This is very not allowed…
What’s kind of sad is that I think all Pink Diamond really wanted (at least initially) was a friend, because she was just so isolated, with the other Diamonds looking down on her and all the other Gems looking up to her – she wanted someone to relate with on her own level. Pearl, on the other hand, was still mostly concerned with fulfilling her “purpose”: Making her Diamond happy. She just happened to want a Pearl who thought for herself, so that’s what Pearl became. And that’s also why they never quite managed to make their relationship work, because Rose could never quite forget that she’s somehow owed Pearl’s adoration, and Pearl couldn’t shake off her obligation to make Rose happy. That’s why she loved Greg so much – because they treated each other as free people who freely chose to love each other, not for what they were, but for who they are. He met her as an equal.
Pearl: Before Garnet, Rose was only fighting for Earth. But Garnet changed everything. Rose wanted to fight for her. She wanted to fight for Gems. And maybe she was foolish, and maybe even selfish, but, but she was-
Sapphire: Following us. This whole time, we thought we were following her, but she was following us. How could she not, after you swept her off her feet?
Pearl: What? Me?
Steven: Are you kidding? You took her on this whirlwind tour of Earth and then she wanted to live here with you forever!
Garnet made Rose realize that she wasn’t the only one suffering under the constraints of Gem society, and seeing her act on the freedom Earth provided made her realize that other Gems might want a place like Earth as much as she did.
With Sapphire finally at peace about Rose’s identity, she remembers that she abandoned poor Ruby and sets out to make amends with her…