ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Mar. 12th, 2015
SYNOPSIS: The Crystal Gems prepare for the arrival of a Homeworld ship.
During an unassuming day in Beach City, Steven yaks on and on about Peridot and her robonoids to his father. Greg gets increasingly worried that his time with the Gems might be getting a tad dangerous. He probably has a point because all of a sudden, an alien sound rings throughout Beach City, loud enough to shatter glass within its range. Above the sky is a giant green hand pointing down at them as if telling the citizens of Earth that their days are numbered. This is a Homeworld ship.
The Crystal Gems fire Rose's light cannons, but the ship blocks it like it was nothing. The Gems have no choice but to take their opponents head-on, but not before evacuating the entire town. Steven thankfully has a friend in the political circle: he dials Mayor Dewey who storms out and tells everyone to get the heck outta there! That includes Steven himself. Garnet informs Steven that though they often treat him like a child, they rely on him just as much. Steven has become a different and unique voice for them throughout the series, lending his own perspective and solution. He is the tie between Gems and Humans and a constant reminder of why the Crystal Gems fight for Earth. Handing him a bullhorn, Garnet tells Steven to take that inspiration and use it to soothe the panicking crowd. Though this is meant to keep Steven away from a greater threat (something even the Crystal Gems are hopelessly outmatched on), Garnet speaks to him not with a lecture, but with respect and acknowledgement of his place within the team. Throughout the recaps, I've often called the group "Steven and the Crystal Gems", but I'd argue more than anything that this is the episode where he upgrades from apprentice to full-time member. He no longer trains so he can be a Crystal Gem; now he trains as one.
Steven agrees and leaves with Greg. As he and his father depart Beach City, Steven hopes the Homeworld Gems aboard the ship will see Earth and realize how nice everyone is so they won't have to invade anyone. Greg warns Steven that the Crystal Gems are swell folks, but the others aren't as nice as evident by the big war thousands of years back. Greg unfortunately drops a major bombshell during: the Homeworld Gems didn't intent to lord over Earth, they planned to use it for their own means that would have ended in its destruction. Earth was nothing but resource to them. If Rose hadn't lead the rebellion, this planet would have been gone thousands of years ago. Even if they won, it was at a great cost; many Gems and Humans died and Rose could only save a handful of her friends.
The Crystal Gems are in a far bigger mess than Steven realized, so he desperately begs his father to turn the van around so he can protect them. Greg is increasingly getting agitated because doing so might mean dooming his son. The Crystal Gems need Steven, but so does he. Greg eventually relents, knowing he'd sooner have a better shot stopping a hurricane than his son. That fear I mentioned way back in "Cat Fingers?" That wasn't even close to how Greg feels now and it must be devastating that he legitimately cannot do anything to stop his son. More so when he knows Steven is doing the right thing. Hitching a ride on Lion, Steven quickly dials Connie's home phone number and leaves a voice message. He doesn't tell her that he may never see her again, but to call her back when all this is over. Aww.
The Crystal Gems try all they can to stop the ship, but nothing can penetrate its chassis and now they have Steven to worry about when he and Lion arrives. The ship parks in front of the Gem temple and it is massive - way larger than the temple. Peridot returns and with her is a muscular Gem warrior: Jasper. Lapis Lazuli is also along for the ride, albeit as an unwilling prisoner who was forced to reveal the Crystal Gem's base. Jasper is not impressed; she had been looking forward to meeting the fabled Rose Quartz, but all she gets is a "defective Pearl", an "overcooked runt" (Amethyst), and a "shameless display" (Garnet.) And yes, you can bet your bottom dollars these are foreshadowing terms. Jasper thinks this is a waste of her time, so she lamely orders Peridot to kill them all with the ship. Peridot casually launches a laser from the ship's finger, but Steven saves the Crystal Gems with his shield. That catches Jasper's attention.
Lapis tries to save Steven by informing Jasper that he isn't relevant to their mission, but Jasper doesn't care, she's thinks someone named Yellow Diamond needs to see him. After all, he IS Rose Quartz. Though why she chose to take on such a weak form is something that confuses Jasper since she doesn't get that Steven is her son and a separate person entirely.
Just to give you an idea of how hopelessly outmatched they are, Garnet charges in and is instantly shocked by a Gem destablilizer that Jasper was carrying. She literally falls to pieces in front of her comrades, reverting back to her dormant Gem state (weirdly comprised of two gems, not one.) Yes, the powerful, stoic, and unflappable Crystal Gem leader falls without even getting in a single hit.
Still believing him to be Rose Quartz, Jasper addresses Steven, saying she was there during the war. They were on opposite ends, but she respected Rose's tactics, but this? This is pathetic. Rose Quartz has failed. Steven has failed. The Crystal Gems have fallen. Then Jasper knocks him unconscious.