• Episode Followup: Can't Go Back / A Single Pale Rose

    It's a day late, but here we go, folks! This has been billed as a doozy of an episode. It hasn't even been pre-released on the Cartoon Network app! Fandom-shattering revelations await you after the break!

    But before that, we gotta set a few more things up. It's time to go back! Er, not go back.

    Right off the bat we get this adorable shot. Peridot is best gem now. I don't care anymore. Fight me.

    Crewniverse is so good at representing the human condition. Here, Steven demonstrates the look of having to mentally talk himself out of committing murder because someone won't let him sleep. I know the feeling, don't you?

    And of course it's Ronaldo. No, Fryrocko, you can't join the Gems again. That ship has sailed, and then you sank it.

    "There's something on the moon!" "Can't you call Nanefua?" "Not a fourth time!"
    Oh, Nanefua has to deal with these Ronaldo outbursts? Ha ha, got out just in time, Dewey.

    "I have so many questions! 1: Why didn't you tell me about your moon base? 2: Take me to your moon base. 3: Why does it look like a barn?"
    How come it took so long for you to notice the Moon Base, Ronaldo? Heck, how come nobody else has ever noticed? Man, humans in this universe are so anti-curious. No wonder everyone thinks Ronaldo is so weird. Also that second thing isn't a question. And it looks nothing like a barn, what are you...

    Oh! Nice find, Ronaldo. Everyone, Ronaldo was useful. Did you see that? Ronaldo was useful.
    Also dang, Lapis, that fits perfectly in that crater. Nice work!

    Wait, Steven, don't do that! You just got blown out that door, how on Earth the Moon do you plan on getting back in? Did you even tell the gems you were here? What's your rescue plan?

    Huh, looks like not a single picture fell down or Meep Morp fell over. Even the leaf is still in place. Either Lapis had a lot more gentle a touch than it looked, or she meticulously put everything back together once she set the barn down.

    Oh and he just walks back in. Is the first floor of the Moon Base just one giant airlock? Where does the extra air come from?

    So that's what that orb thing is. A map of the planet! Weird that Garnet wanted to keep Steven away from it.

    "I sleep with a teddy bear. No judgements."
    Wait, doesn't everyone? Am I the strange one? Don't judge me!

    Oh wow this is much more than a map! It's sunrise in Beach City and Sadie Killer and the Suspects are walking home from being suspicious. Gotta love that band's commitment to the bit! So can this thing see anywhere?

    Oh hey, Mask Island! Or Super Watermelon Island, depending on your preference. And judging by where Steven's pointing, it's somewhere in the northern Pacific Ocean. Guess Pearl didn't mark it on Buddy's map.

    But don't worry folks, Lapis isn't working with the FBI or anything. She's only using this device to spy on Peridot. Or, well, at least the Crystal Gems. But mostly Peridot.

    Is this thing just live, or does it record as well? If the Diamonds had tools like this, how were the Crystal Gems able to get away with anything at all? I guess that just goes to show how secretive they must've had to be. As soon as the diamonds knew a location of their base, they could be spied on at any time without ever knowing. At least it doesn't seem to pick up sound. Yikes.

    "Well, I wouldn't call it spying... because that would make me feel bad."
    Ouch. Ok, let's compromise. We'll call it "creeping."

    "What if something bad happens?" "Well, what if something good happens?!"
    And there's Lapis in a nutshell. She's still reeling from being trapped in the mirror. She's so used to things going wrong that she doesn't even consider that they might go right.

    She even wrote a song about it!
    No wait it's this one.
    No I'm just kidding it's this one.

    And what a beautiful song it is! Lapis wants to stay and be friends. She wants to have fun, and she doesn't want to be alone. But in the back of her mind, gnawing at her all the time, is the terrible thought that something will come along to ruin everything. And she doesn't want to be around when it does. She can't escape these intrusive thoughts. She has to live with them.

    And so while she can pretend to be fine and at home with everyone, she can't process that it's real. As far as she's concerned, any happiness she finds is fake or fleeting. She can't stay positive like Steven, and she can't live in the moment like Peridot and Amethyst.

    "I was so sure the Diamonds would destroy my new home that I did it myself."
    Admitting your mistake is the first step to fixing it, Lapis. Let Steven help you.

    As an aside, this entire episode is especially beautiful, but I love this shot the most. It just looks so peaceful and lovely, and a perfect place for Lapis to work through her emotions.

    "You could drop the barn on the beach. Then we'd all be neighbors. I'd come over to borrow a cup of sugar, and you'd be like, 'What's that?'"
    Ahh Steven, you paint a beautiful picture. Things don't have to be the same as before; they could be even better!

    "Hum. When I go back..."
    Yes! You're winning her over! Lapis is coming back, everybody!

    And now, this:
    "But this is what you wanted! You begged us for a colony of your own, and now all you want to do is to be rid of it! First, there were too many organics. Then, their cities were too difficult to dismantle. And now these Crystal Gems? We're tired of your excuses, Pink."
    Steven how come you have Pink Diamond dreams whenever you fall asleep in a moon base? Also now we get to see how Blue Diamond interacts with Pink... basically like a mother scolding a child. While Yellow stands by seemingly muttering "I told you so." Look, maybe Pink wants to run her colony her own way? Don't you remember your first colonies? This colony business sounds tough!

    "You must understand, you are a Diamond. Everyone on this planet is looking to you. You don't even have to do anything! Just smile and wave. Show everyone you're unfazed by this little uprising. Your gems will fall into line, and these Crystal Gems will be no more. As long as you are there to rule, this colony will be completed."
    Wow, sounds like Pink Diamond doesn't have a lot of say over what happens on Earth. Are Blue and Yellow just overbearing parents who aren't letting their daughter do anything? Just be a figurehead, Pink. We've already told your gems what to do. They'll oppress the populace and destroy the planet for you. Smile and wave as they wipe out the organic life in your name. You can't stop them. As long as you're around, they'll mindlessly build the colony the way Blue and Yellow wanted.

    Oh. Maybe that's why Rose did it.

    Calm down, Steven. Yeah it's Pearl carrying a big sword. But it's your mom's sword. The sword that Bismuth specifically made for your mom to never be able to shatter a gem. Ok I mean it's a little odd that Pearl has it, but...


    "I dreamed about them. They were in this room." "What does that mean!? Are they coming?" "I... I dunno!"
    What do you mean you don't know, Steven? It was a Pink Diamond dream. It's the past. Reassure Lapis it was a dream about the past. Last time you dreamed about Pink Diamond, did the Diamonds show up? No. Just some big fat bird showed up. There are no Diamonds here Steven. Reassure Lapis. She's freaking out.

    "Why else would you see them? Steven!"
    Steven you are going to lose Lapis if you don't open your stupid mouth and tell her that it was only a dream and it was of the past! Steven there's no Diamond threat here, tell Lapis that! Say something! Steven!
    "Where are you going!?"
    Oh now you can talk. Now that the door's open and Lion has to hold you back from being literally blown into space. Too little, too late, Steven. Lapis is gone.

    "I'm not like you and your friends, Steven! I can't just let go of what happened to me! I can't go through that again."
    Well I mean to be fair the Diamonds probably won't crack you and install you in a mirror again. If they catch you with the Crystal Gems this time, you'll likely end up corrupted or shattered! Uh ... or free! What if something good happens, right?

    "Would you rather be alone?"
    That look. She's trying her hardest to resist her flight impulse... but it's not enough.

    Oh, and she's headed for space. I guess you're just going to leave the barn on the Moon, then?

    And why is she smiling?
    Maybe Lapis has a secret plan?
    Maybe the Diamonds are going to regret ever messing with this planet?

    I sure hope so. You can't keep running forever, Lapis.

    Well, that's that done. Only one piece of important business left...
    "Lion, I need you to take me to Pearl."
    Next time, on Steven Universe! ... Actually, for once, we don't have to wait! Let's go!

    Amber Cragg and Hilary Florido. Oooh, they brought the heavy-hitters for this one.

    "I can't believe you've had your phone for over a month and you still haven't used it at all!"
    Wait, Pearl, you went through all the trouble of getting a phone but still haven't called Mystery Girl back? You didn't lose her number, did you? The poor girl.

    Pictured: your next phone wallpaper. Don't deny it!

    D'aww, Pearl is such a mom.

    "You remember how Mom shattered Pink Diamond? Well, I was just wondering if maybe... you shattered Pink Diamond."
    Y'know, I was kinda wondering if we'd be spending half the episode on you being unable to ask. Thanks for getting straight to the point, Steven!

    Pearl, Amethyst just said not to drop your phone like that!

    Sorry, I simply must be off. The 8:30 train to Nopeville is just about to leave.

    I recognize that emoji! That's 🙊Speak No Evil! Uh oh, what evil, Pearl? Garnet said shattering Pink Diamond was for good!

    Oh, that's where the remote was.

    Pearl, don't drop that, Connie's gonna need that back!

    Pearl's "I went back and paid for them" money.

    Ooh, is that the single pale rose? Well ok, it's a hibiscus 🌺, but those can be called roses, so...

    Wait, living things can be put into Pearl's gem? Ok, I know they did it in the comics, but that was the comics. This is the show. This is the big leagues. This is what matters!

    "Let's just go alphabetical. S... ST..." "Wait, no! Don't file me!"
    My, Pearl's gem really is full of things. Let's see what she's got!

    Scissors, Screwdriver, Sea Monkeys, Seashell, Shotgun (!), Sloop, Stapler, Stethoscope, Sticker, Sugar, Suitcase, Sunscreen, Tinfoil, Tissues, Television...

    Shouldn't Television be before Tinfoil? It is a CRT, maybe she's filed it as "Tube"? But then wow, she must not have a lot of T things.

    Also it's not just the lighting. The Pearl Point sticker's hair is still peach-colored, but Pearl's Pearl's Pearl's hair is pink!

    Plant, Paper(?), Photograph, Photograph,  Phone Book, different Phone Book, Phone number...s... Guess she didn't lose it. Oh Mystery Girl, you weren't the only one! They're all different numbers! All with a Delmarva area code! One with an e-mail account, so it's recent! That one has hearts, and that other one has a lip print! Oh Pearl, what have you been up to and why have you never called these people?

    Oh and she has an old cordless phone.

    Candelabra, Cannon (!), Candy, Card, Carp, Carbonated Water (?), Cassette, Cauldron (!), Cellophane, Cellular Phone (not pictured), Cleaver, Clock, Comb, Compass, Controller, Cream, Crepe, aaaand....
    Is that Jasper!? 
    Nah doesn't fit alphabetically. Maybe it's a half-eaten Croquette.
    It is a little hard to tell, since she somehow makes everything the same size when she files them.

    "I'm very good at compartmentalizing everything. That's why I get to be surface! And they have to be put away."
    Pearl represses her emotions confirmed. Oh Steven, you're going to be diving into a world of things Pearl never wants to deal with.

    Hey wait her hair isn't pink in this shot. Is it just lighting after all? Maybe we need to take a closer look.

    Pearl's Pearl's Pearl's Pearl is very pink inside!

    "What am I going to do when she disappears? I'm going to lose her..."
    Huh, honestly I wasn't sure if the show was ever going to address this. I figured there was no way Pearl was going to talk to Steven about this time of her life, and that that was the only way he would know. I wonder if they're going to explore this more in the future!

    "It's probably where I lost everything else."
    Looks like we're going deeper everybody get ready we gonna do this!

    Sooooo... props to Rebecca Sugar for figuring out a BS&P-approved way of showing dead soldiers lying on a battlefield on a kids show. Ok, alright, those gems look intact, so I guess they're just sleeping.

    "We're the only ones left. Homeworld... they were all leaving! We thought we'd won. There was a bright light and everyone was... Why did I do it?"
    Never mind, they're not sleeping. They're all corrupted! Pearl just doesn't know it yet! No wonder what she meant by "lost everything." This whole thing is... really messed up.

    For those keeping track, we're now 4 layers down. That's as far as Ariadne and Fischer went. Any further and you risk getting stuck forever.

    It's that flower! We're getting close!

    And there you have it. The actual event. Rose killed Pink Diamond. I knew it! But she's using her sword! The very sword Bismuth made for her that absolutely cannot shatter gems! So how did Pink Diamond get shattered?

    O-ok, so Pearl killed Pink Diamond, while disguised as Rose. I knew it! That explains how she was able to sneak up! There was no Pearl to yell, "Watch out, My Diamond!" Gems can't tell a shape-shifted gem apart from gem in its normal form!

    B-but that's Pink's diamond! So she wasn't shattered after all! Did the Crystal Gems bubble her and let the Diamonds think she was shattered as a ploy to scare them off? Hey Steven, let's go off to the Bubble Room and get Pink Diamond out! You can apologize to her directly and win her over in your own Steven-y way! And if she's not swayed, Connie can poof her again. Worked the first time.

    And now we descend into Limbo. Point of no return? Let's hope not! As far as time hops go, this one only turns out to be about 5 minutes back.

    "Blue and Yellow don't care. They never have. This is Pink Diamond's colony. We can end it all right here, right now."
    As we saw before, Blue and Yellow Diamond don't care about Earth. As long as Pink Diamond is ruling over it, Earth is doomed. Rose knows this, and knows the death of Pink Diamond is the only thing that'll stop it.

    "You know this is crazy, right? Your status... my purpose... none of it will matter anymore!"
    But you knew that going in, Pearl. Rose said it herself. "If we lose, we'll be killed. And if we win, we can never go home." Unless that conversation hasn't happened yet? I dunno, seems like we're at the point of no return already.

    Oooh, that nod. Rose is 100% in. She's willing to do whatever it takes to save Earth, even if it costs her her status, her life, her home...

    Wait. But Garnet said Rose was made on Earth and had no status.
    Could Garnet be wrong? Something isn't adding up here.

    "We can leave our old lives behind. If this is really my world, I want to give it to the Crystal Gems. I want to live here with human beings! I wanna live here with you! We'll both finally be free!"
    But Rose, I thought you were the Crystal Gems. Was there a leader before you? Wasn't it just you and Pearl during the assault on the Cloud Arena? Blue Diamond only seemed to regard you as an annoyance, so that had to be before this, right? How did you get Pink Diamond's entourage to let either of you into her Palanquin when you're already known criminals!?

    "I can't believe I'm going to do this." "I can't exactly shatter myself!"
    Well yeah, I mean... well, no, ... I mean, could you? Just take your big sword and...

    Wait, what?

    Ok no no no wait hang on. Let's not get into who was right and who was wrong. Let's just go over what this changes. I gotta think this through. What was Pink Rose trying to accomplish here?

    So the earliest info we have is from Jungle Moon. Pink Diamond is a little brat who wants to command a drop ship. Yellow tells her she can do that when she has her own colony. So she wants one. She wants her own army. She wants her own planet. And she throws a fit when she can't have one. We know that later, her first colony is chosen to be Earth.
    Next we have Garnet's story of the origin of Rose Quartz, but uh... judging by the screenshot above, I think we can throw that out.
    Then we have Steven's dream in the moon base. It seemed like at this point, Pink Diamond wanted Earth to remain unchanged, and Blue Diamond was scolding her for her "excuses."
    Then we have The Answer. We know that's pretty accurate, because Garnet was there for that one. The Crystal Gems (Pink Diamond as Rose and Pearl) try to sabotage Blue Diamond's colonization efforts at the Cloud Arena. Or heck, maybe they were going for Blue herself. Either way, they poof a bunch of gems, but call off the attack when Garnet happens. Sooo hum, Pink Diamond is not only interested in human life, but in multi-gem fusions like Garnet.
    Y'know what, I guess that makes sense! She comes across as a very young Diamond. She's basically the second (or possibly third; we don't know how old White is) generation. She doesn't have the same values of order and empire like Yellow and Blue do.
    Ah ha, and of course, we also see that during the colonization, Blue is keeping to her word. Pink doesn't have to do anything. Blue will oversee the colonization effort and make sure it goes through, whether Pink Diamond wants it to or not. Blue won't listen to Pink, and Blue won't stop unless she gets stopped.
    So ok, she couldn't take out Blue Diamond. What's the next best thing? Well, she could take out Pink Diamond. After all, Blue said that the colonization of Earth would be completed as long as Pink Diamond was there to rule. Remove Pink Diamond, and you stop the colonization, right? Makes sense to me.

    So all she had to do was convince Blue and Yellow that Rose Quartz, the gem they had repeatedly assured her was not a threat, was a big enough threat to take down a Diamond. Herself. I mean heck, the gems apparently can't tell a pink diamond from a rose quartz if you just turn it on its side, so... yeah, should work! And so she did. And now we're going to see it happen.

    Also she did it wearing tiny planets on her shoes. Adorable!

    Oh-hhh, the Single Pale Rose! It's a hibiscus, but we know this happened in Korea. And the "Rose of Korea" is a type of hibiscus!

    Wait, did she just blow on that dirt and then compact it into gem shards?

    If the Diamonds can do that, why on Earth do they need kindergartens!? Is this how the first gems were made?

    "No one can ever know we did this. I don't want to look back. So, for my last order to you as a Diamond, please... let's never speak of this again. No one can know."
    "For my last order to you as a Diamond, I want to give you an unstoppable mental tic that makes you slightly neurotic!" C'mon Rose. In the 5000 years following this, that never came up? Maybe when you were about to give birth to Steven, you could've countermanded that order?

    Maybe Steven could now?

    "Sorry to make you come all this way."
    Commendations or condemnations of Pink "Rose Quartz" Diamond's actions aside, I think this was a beautiful way to tell this story. It provides a perfect reason for why Pearl, the only one to truly know the secret of Rose Quartz, couldn't let Steven know his own heritage. She finally figured out the loophole... to let him physically enter her layers of repressed and bottled memories. She knew this is what he would find and made sure he found it.

    And now, like a coiled spring, the memories unwind.
    They really sold it! Look at how Pink glared at "Rose," her "betrayer." They knew that the gems in the battle around them would take notice. They knew this image would be burned into the memories of some gems, so they had better make it look good.

    And a masterful slight of hand on the part of Pearl. Still, makes you think. Will Pink Diamond regenerate as Pink Diamond and have to shapeshift into Rose?
    We already know that Amethyst and Steven both have had trouble holding a shape for a long time. Did Rose keep her form the entire 5000 years? Did Rose actually reprogram herself during this time spent in her gem so that her new form would just be Rose Quartz? I guess that makes sense.

    Ohhh and speaking of that I guess that also explains why Steven and Stevonnie could interact with Diamond-only tech in the moon bases. It wasn't just that they knew the code. They also had the gem.

    And there's probably a ton of other tidbits to find! After all, the Crewniverse says they've been planning this since back when the show had just started! Follow the clues, Gumshoes! There's a good reason plenty of fans called this twist in advance!

    And now we're back to the gem war where Pearl lost almost everything. Hey, there's Garnet doin' her thing!

    And there's Pearl. Yikes!
    So yeah, we know the rest of the story too. "Shattering" Pink Diamond did stop the colonization efforts, but it didn't drive the Diamonds away. Instead, it turned the whole planet into a battlefield. And as we know from Pearl's earlier memory and Garnet's story in Your Mother And Mine, it ended with the remaining Diamonds blasting the planet and destroying or corrupting every gem left on it, aside from Amethyst (safely in the ground) and Rose, Pearl, and Garnet.

    What a heavy burden to bear.

    Going back towards the future, we see how thrilled Pearl was to learn of Rose's pregnancy.

    And the aftermath.

    "I wanted to tell you for so long."
    Aww, Pearl. At least now, the 5000 year struggle of having to keep that secret is over. Steven knows, as he should!

    And so do Amethyst and Garnet! That's sure to go over well.

    So what are our heroes going to do with this new information? Will Steven take up the mantle of Pink Diamond and demand that the other diamonds leave his planet alone? Will he even be able to prove it? So many things left to discover!

    Like, we know Blue Diamond stayed on Earth to "help" Pink colonize it. Did Yellow as well? We saw her in the moon base. And we also know what the moon base is capable of, thanks to Lapis. Does Yellow Diamond know Pink is Rose? Has she been keeping that a secret from Blue ever since? Is that why Pink Diamond was scrubbed from the Diamond insignias on Yellow's ship and the inverted pyramid? Intrigue! Insanity! Gems! And we're gonna find out next weeeeeee this Summer!

    And by Summer you had better mean June, Cartoon Network. You can't keep doing this to us!