ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Jul. 13th, 2015
SONG: Yes, “Tower of Mistakes”
SYNOPSIS: Garnet and Pearl form Sardonyx in order to destroy Peridot's communication tower with disastrous results.
Oh boy, this episode. If I had to pick a Steven Bomb that I felt was the most emotionally compromising, it would be this: the week of Sardonyx. There have been other Steven Bombs that tore me into a million pieces, but "Cry for Help" was one of the first to really go out of its way to rip my heart out and repeatedly stomp on it. Even with tearjerkers like "Lion 3: Straight to Video" and "Rose's Scabbard", I was not prepared.
A pleasant day is ruined when Steven's TV act up, a recent reoccurring problem that is only answered when Peridot appears on the little screen. Peridot has been broadcasting a signal in an effort to contact her superior, Yellow Diamond, so she can request for help now that her mission has been compromised. The reception is so powerful it's hitting all the televisions in Beach City. There's only one thing that can send waves that strong: a Homeworld Communication Hub.
The Communication Hub towers over the Crystal Gems and they need a fusion big enough to knock it down. Amethyst was looking forward to the possibility of Sugilite popping up so she could give the hub the ol' one-two, but Garnet vetoes it. Last time was a disaster and until they can get a fix on their flaws, Sugilite is officially on the bench. Fortunately they have a Plan B: Sardonyx, Garnet and Pearl's fusion. You can tell Pearl is honored because she's making this face.
Sardonyx's appearance is my favorite of the fusions by far and her personality is a big part of it. Going for a magician motif, Sardonyx is a charismatic entertainer. She carries Garnet's confidence and strength and Pearl's articulation and pride. She easily smashes though she prefers to be "specific, intelligent, accurate, faultless, and elegant", though she's been known on occasion to "smash" - the tower down in a considerably meticulous manner than Sugilite would have done. Amethyst is brooding in jealously as Garnet and Pearl celebrate their success.
The fix was only temporary, Peridot managed to restore the hub again the next day. Sardonyx is on the scene and Amethyst is left to literally pick up the pieces. She sings about her insecurities and how she used to fuse with Garnet to feel strong. Nowadays she's racked with guilt left over from their last fusion. Amethyst feels so inferior with herself that she thinks Pearl and Garnet might be better off without her. Though it should be noted she wants to try and fix her past mistake instead of running away from it or getting mad once it's come to light, a step up from her early days.
The ever perceptive Steven attempts to cheer her up by taking Amethyst alone to the Communication Hub the next night. Peridot's going to repeat this however long it takes, so if Amethyst can capture that Green Gremlin, then Garnet will have to be impressed! The two wait for hours, but it pays off, they spot Peridot's escape pod. This is unusual because the pod is with the Crystal Gems, so how did Peridot steal it? The two watch as she fixes the hub, but to their horror, the pilot isn't that rascally misfit, but Pearl!
Amethyst picks up on it right away, but Steven is clueless. She approaches Pearl and Garnet the next night to confess what they saw. Pearl had been fixing the hub nonstop just to get a taste of Garnet's powers. Garnet is a bit miffed. Amethyst tries to defend Pearl, but Garnet is beyond reason. The usually unflappable Gem is not happy. In fact, she's furious. Steven Universe was never shy about using fusion to define relationships. Ruby and Sapphire embodies pure, unconditional romantic love that keeps them so in sync that Garnet is basically a permafusion. Opal is what happens when two clashing personalities can set aside their differences and find common ground. And Steven and Connie's fusion is nigh perfect to a tee because of their solid friendship. In all those instances, fusion was a consensual partnership. So how do you think Garnet felt when Pearl abused something very personal to her? Garnet was used by Pearl without ever asking how she felt or if she wanted this. Pearl tricked her into fusing. You see where I'm going with this analogy?
Garnet angrily asks Amethyst to fuse with her so they can get this over with. Sugilite smashes the hub down with such force that there's no way anyone could ever make use of that tower again.
Come the next day, Garnet and Pearl aren't even on speaking terms with each other. Garnet is too angry to say a word, leaving Pearl to stew in her own guilt. Amethyst and Steven can only watch helplessly. That's it. That's how the episode ends because when you betray someone's trust and manipulate them, then you can't hope to repair it instantaneously. Even Amethyst's story doesn't get a conclusion; "Cry for Help's" focus on her grief was a Red Herring for a bigger problem. Yeesh, what a heavy episode.